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Southampton Imperial Russian Stout - Southampton Publick House

Not Rated.
Southampton Imperial Russian StoutSouthampton Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

291 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 291
Reviews: 155
rAvg: 4.23
pDev: 10.4%
Wants: 388
Gots: 94 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Southampton Publick House visit their website
New York, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.20% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-08-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 291 | Reviews: 155 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerTruth
4.35/5  rDev +2.8%

This super rare treat was graciously provided by the extremely generous Aprilluvsbeer. Thank you so much!!

750 ml black foiled top bottle poured into a snifter. Served at around 50 degerees. 2008 vintage.

Pours as dark as the midnight sky with a frothy one finger mocha colored head that slowly dies down to a creamy layer of foam. A solid wall of lacing remains on the sides of the glass throughout. Very powerful aroma consisting of fig, roasted malts, licorice, and oak. A good amount of dark chocolate, French Roast coffee, elderberries, and booze. So much going on in the nose, very strong and enticing. Taste begins with charred malts, burned sugars, and coffee beans. The dark fruits really become noticable midway with very ripe cherries, plums, and blackberries. Aftertaste is very warm and boozy with bitter earthy hop flavors, wheat bread, and cocoa powder. Big and chewy body with a harsh mouthfeel and an aggressive carbonation. This is definitely a sipper, but it's cold as hell and we're supposed to get a foot of snow in Syracuse tonight so I have no problem taking my time with this monster. I could see this being sublime with a year or two of aging. Thanks again April!

BeerTruth, Nov 22, 2008
Photo of hopdog
4.58/5  rDev +8.3%

1st bottling tasted courtesy of egajdzis. I've also had the 2nd bottling and on tap at the Southampton Brew Pub.

Poured a dark black color with an averaged sized brown head. Aromas and tastes of roasted malts, dark fruits, chocolate, licorice and I was getting some grapes in there.

Light alcohol in the end. Very easy to drink for such a big beer.

hopdog, Nov 05, 2008
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%

A huge thanks goes out to Los for this gem.

2008 Vintage

Almost three fingers of thick rocky foamy carmel brown head leaves a crown of lace as it slowly fades. Body is jet used oil blackness. Nose is lovely with tons of over ripe cherries, roasted malts, leather, dark fruits and even hints of oak. Dark fruits are nicely spicey as you take first sip. The balance and richness almost seems as if it were oak aged. Vanilla and carmalized malts come in layers of balanced sweetness. Zesty on the back of the palate shows you can use hops to balance a beer rather than over hop it like some other well rated big stouts. A bit of bourbon and chocolate on the mouthfeel turns a bit boozy. Warms the belly well. A joy to drink now, but would age well.

SPLITGRIN, Oct 16, 2008
Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +6.4%

Thanks goes out to shaebs99 for this brew.

2008 Bottle/Vintage

Pours a very nice thick black color, nice carbonation, nice one finger creamy tan head, with some islands and sticky lacing. The nose is big and malty, very nice touch of coffee/toffee/chocolate, vanilla, nice note of roastyness, with some caramel. The taste if very nice, malty, with some sweetness, very nice tones of the big three. Full-Medium body, the alcohol is hidden very well. Very drinkable, what can I say another awesome brew from Southampton, thanks Steve.

Wasatch, Jul 13, 2008
Photo of Overlord
4.65/5  rDev +9.9%

Pours a gorgeous dark brown black with a cascading dark brown head. Surprisingly long lasting foam. Nicely carbonated.

Smells enticing, with sweet chocolate/cocoa, coffee, and roasted malt. THe flavor adds more complexity, with lingering vanilla, an awesome hoppy/burnt bitter aftertaste that isn't too overpowering, and some truly stunning roasted malt, chocolate, and espresso backgrounds.

Mouthfeel is nice and thick. I wouldn't say the alcohol is well hidden, but it's very drinkable none the less.

Now one of my faves. Thanks for the trade!

Overlord, Jun 30, 2008
Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +5.7%

On tap at Capone's...
Appears a near black with a 1 finger tan cap that quickly fades into a mild collar. Spotty bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, rich caramel, black grapes, fudge, tobacco, and spice.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas but a bit more tamed with the rich cocoa and caramel being left in the background.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, roasty, sweet, and balanced.
This is one tasty stout.

weeare138, Jun 25, 2008
Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -5.4%

A snifter glass served at Capone's.

A: The stout is big and black, bold in ites depth with a tan head that lightly sits atop the ale.

S: The aroma is just as you'd expect, burnt with coffee, baker's chocolate and charred toast throughout. Lactic milkiness manages to break the density up a bit.

T: The taste branches out a bit, showcasing more of the imperial stout flavors with sweeter elements. Toffee and hops are far more prevalent this time around, as is coffee element. Overall, the stout is thick and chewy, a meal on its own.

M: The mouthfeel is dense and easily overwhelms the palate. Nothing within the ale stood out as earth-shaking but there's no denying that the beer is pleasant.

D: At 10%, this beer is a doozy. I limited myself to one and, in hindsight, that was a brilliant decision. I'd still curl up with a glass of this on a cold night.

akorsak, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of DrJay
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%

Pitch black beer topped by a dark brown cap. Fine bubbles formed a lasting skim and ring, and a few spots of lace clung to the glass. Great aroma, lots of toffee and caramel, dark chocolate and roast. As it warmed, there was a lactose sweetness and a bit of fruit, slight booze. The flavour was quite sweet with balanced bitterness. Some toffee and roast, lots of dark malt character that really dried things out. Nutty with mild hops, licorice in the finish. Heavy body with creamy carbonation, alcohol warmth. Very dry texture throughout. Seemed a bit unbalanced with dark malts in the flavour and texture, but that was a fairly minor issue for me. The aroma was great and it was a satisfying drink.

DrJay, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of jmalex
4.1/5  rDev -3.1%

Sampled on tap at Capone's on 6-12-08. This review is from notes taken.

APPEARANCE: Served in a 10 oz. snifter, the beer came pitch black with essentially no head to speak of save a small, wispy collar. Despite this, some slight, splotchy lacing formed down the sides of the glass.

SMELL: Equal parts roasty and fruity with a little alcohol bite and maybe a touch of smoke. There's definitely more than just a balancing hop presence, but it gets overpowered by the big, malty aromas.

TASTE: The taste goes back and forth between the heavy roast coffee and the ripe dark fruits. The alcohol hits you right off the bat and is pretty much the one major detractor in an otherwise delicious beer. The hops are even more prevalent in the taste and come on mostly toward the finish, before giving way to a lingering roastiness that seems to keep hanging on.

MOUTHFEEL: Thick and chewy, yet not syrupy. Carbonation is low and appropriate. In other words, spot on.

DRINKABILITY: Certainly delicious but it's a big beer with some of an alcohol bite. For style though, not too bad.

I'm glad I got a chance to try this given it's limited availability. Time will tell if the hype machine grabs hold or if it gets lost in a shuffle of so many good Imperial Stouts. I suggest trying it if you can.

jmalex, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.98/5  rDev -5.9%

This beer came a deep dark black with an off-tan collar that left some nice rings of lace in the 10oz snifter at Capone's

Smells of sour prunes and a touch of cough syrup with some dry cocoa, oranges and a slight smokiness.

Tastes easy and smooth with a sweet barley and the same sour over-ripe fruits from the smell but is rather balanced. This is accompanied by a series of little pin-pricks of carbonation. Finishes with a touch of coffee.

Feels glassy and dense with a swarm of little pin-pricks that melt into my tongue.

A nice and easy RIS.

DarkerTheBetter, Jun 12, 2008
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev +1.2%

Appearance: Pours a simple black body with a bubbly, beige head.

Smell: Roasted malt aroma with supporting notes of prune juice, licorice, fudge, and French Roast coffee.

Taste: Sweet, roasty maltiness. Light taste of dark fruitiness. Rich chocolate fudge and a robust cup of coffee. Hint of licorice and toffee. Some earthy bitterness. Finishes sweetish and decidedly creamy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It's good, damn good, even.

ChainGangGuy, May 29, 2008
Photo of hoppymeal
4/5  rDev -5.4%

Pours black with a decent sized dark tan head that slowly recedes. Aroma is a nice mixture of roasty coffee, nutty chocolate, sugary maltiness, and a bourbony alcohol. Taste leans towards the roasty side of things but is well balanced by some of the nutty chocolate flavor and a good dose of the bourbony alcohol especially towards the finish before a coffee aftertaste dwells. Mouthfeel is medium to full body, soft and creamy on the tongue, bit of a warming alcohol bite at the back of the throat in the finish. Easy drinking for the abv, nice coffee presence. Very nice beer, look forward to the bottled version to see how they compare. Thanks Tyler for the opportunity.

hoppymeal, May 04, 2008
Photo of mikesgroove
4.72/5  rDev +11.6%

So, I hunted and looked and finally was able to get my hands on one of these. I had heard mixed things about this one, but really wanted to judge for myself what this one was all about. I decided last night to unwrap the black foil and pop the cap on this beauty. Bottled on 2/16/08, this was going to be nice. The pour was huge, and absolutely perfect. Pitch black with absolutely no light shining through; it was like looking into a dark windowless room. A huge tan head formed on top that almost came out of the over sized wine glass it was in. Insanely good looking, I was foaming at the mouth when I looked at this one. A slight settling left behind a nice two finger head that lasted through the night, along with copious amounts of dripping chocolate colored lace all over the glass. Really just, perfect looking for the style, really hard not to be impressed with this one.

The aroma was just as huge as the appearance. Deep rich notes of sweet lactose sugar, with loads of cocoa mixed in. A very nice mingling of bitter dark coffee as well as a touch of vanilla. Really quite nice. There was a touch of some alcohol in there, but it mostly blended out by the time this one warmed up to the right temperature. Really a very solid score going for this one. The flavor was very nice, with a lighter feel then I would have expected. It was nicely carbonated, with even the last few drops a couple hours later still having a good deal of life left in them. Smooth across the palate, though a little thinner then expected, but this only added to its Drinkability. The flavor of cocoa dominated this one, with the rich bitter taste. Very nice coffee tones throughout, were really well blended. As it warmed, there was a touch of some earthy, woody type of hint that started to come through with hints of vanilla and sweet sugary notes coming in and out. The finish was perfect, with a nice little bit of a grassy hoppiness to it, but then shut down with a deep bitter chocolate taste and a gorgeous hint of vanilla lingering on forever. The alcohol was very well hidden in here, with it clocking in at over 10% I was amazed at how smooth it was. You really could barely taste anything in this one, and I had all I could do from drinking it too fast, and not giving it the time needed to really pick up some steam and show off what it could do. Really just a fantastic beer that they have made here.

Overall, I would have to say that this one more then lived up to the hype for me. It was just completely wonderful with a huge flavorful profile, a lightness that was rather unexpected, a beautiful finish and really just outstanding on all sides. I was more then impressed with this, and actually thought it over performed to my expectations. I would love to get more of this one as it was just that good, really just an enormously good beer and something I would have to recommend to anyone. Definitely up there with the best of the style.

mikesgroove, Apr 02, 2008
Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.03/5  rDev -4.7%

05 vintage consumed just over a year ago. Review from old notes. What a beer and what a brewery. I continue to be blown away by South Hampton. Dark brown, almost black body with a thick tan head that quickly diminishes to rest as a thin but pretty lace over the beer. Aroma is heavy on chocolate followed by well roasted malts. Some alcohol elements. Flavor is an exquisite blend of cocoa powder, burnt to the point of blackness malts, and figgy/plumy dark fruit booze. Minimal oxidization. Bitterness seems more coffee/chocolate in nature than hops. Light carbonation, thick body, but very drinkable. Outstanding.

DaPeculierDane, Mar 26, 2008
Photo of hopbar
3.5/5  rDev -17.3%

Southampton Publick House
Pint Glass

A: Dark, almost black, with dark brown hues. Two finger head that disappeared quickly. Nice lacing.

S: Coffee smell with some hints of chocolate and toffee.

T: Strong, coffee taste. Burnt and dry. Even a little bitter.

M: Thick and bubbly.

D: Definitely worth trying again. Not really a session beer, at least not for me.

hopbar, Jan 30, 2007
Photo of MuddyFeet
4.68/5  rDev +10.6%

Vintage 2005. Been sitting on this bottle for about a year and a half.


I think my one-word description above hits it all. Midnight black. Only way to descibe the color of this beer. Thick, dark brown head that just recedes ever-so-slowly. Great retention. Nose is dark, coffee malts, but not much else.

Flvaor is overpowering coffee-like. One of the few time I really enjoy such a beer so over-blanced. As if it is meant to be. Also, some incredible chocolate mocha and dark toffee tones going on as well. Little bit of licorice too. Very full body, Lingers throughout. Sticks to the cheeks. Very silky and thick--like velvet drapes. The alcohol is very transparent, but nicely balance with the the malts the the slightly minty hoppniess. Really want to get another bottle of this fantastic beer. So easy and smooth to drink.

MuddyFeet, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of Bitterbill
4.33/5  rDev +2.4%

Poured from 22oz bomber(2005) a very dark brown/ with a very large head of foam that shrank slowly leaving just a fine layer.

The smell is hugely sweet..I note caramel and chocolate with a pretty big nose of alcohol. I know it's still summer but the aroma gave me visions of sitting in front of a fireplace with a few feet of snow outside....err... I digress.

The taste is really big on roasted malt, coffee, caramel, and chocolate and is sweet as all heck right up to the finish where there's a bit of hop bitterness and some alcohol warmth. After a few sips, I noticed more bitterness from the chocolate and coffee flavours so the over all sweetness of this stout calmed down a bit and I was able to enjoy it more. Good and tasty stuff but I could not drink more than 1 of these at a time for sure. ;^)

Bottom line: This is a very tasty RIS that one should try given the chance. My thanks to Nutbrown for this sample!!

Bitterbill, Sep 10, 2006
Photo of Jason
3.1/5  rDev -26.7%

22 oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 2005 on the cap.

A- Used motor oil black color, nearly poured like it as well. Slow moving brown head holds its ground for a while.

S- Wet acrid burnt malt, underlying burnt sugar sweetness and some ripe dark berries make up the aroma.

T&M- Big sweetness, a higher sweetness of unfermentables. A bit too sweet as the burnt grain rides higher with a sharpness rather than complexity. Small complexity of estery dark berries and burnt coffee drive at the palate with a further sharpness. Smooth with a viscous creamy heavy body.

D- Couldn't finish the bottle ... I even let it warm up and tried again later to no avail. Not horrible but just misses the mark, I did not mind sipping about 6oz of it ... paired well with some dark Belgian Chocolate.

Jason, Jun 08, 2006
Photo of Jredner
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%

2005 Bottle

Aroma is forceful and includes mild hints of soy, huge cocoa, chocolate, espresso, roasted malts, dark fruits, unsweetened brownie batter, raisin and rich chocolate cake. Pours is motor oil gloppy and settles into a stygian blackness in the glass. The head looks like a Stout Parfait with distinct shades of mocha and tan (one atop the other) combing to make an amazingly lasting thumb thick beauty of a head.

The fore is extremely packed with dark chocolate, cocoa, esspresso, raisin, stewed prunes and light soy sauce. This segues into a cramier, sweeter tasting middle that is more creamed coffee and milk chocolate. The mouthfeel is divine and spot on. The finish lingers forever with lip smacking dark fruits, chocolate, esspresso, cocoa and that unsweetened brownie mix I swear I smell and taste. There are also hints of raisin and plum in the far finish as well. This beer just has amazing range, flavor intensity and depth. I really wish this was a more regular Southampton offering. Fantastic brew.

Jredner, Jun 07, 2006
Photo of lou91
4.75/5  rDev +12.3%

2005 in May 2006. Picture perfect on the pour – dark black with a dark brown head. The nose was also picture perfect with roasted malt, dark chocolate, espresso and an alcohol smell giving you fair warning. Once I poured it I couldn’t wait to try it so I had a teaspoon and it was BIG and tasty. The taste matched perfectly and is both a sipper – rich thick complex and also so tasty that big sips are oh so easy. This goes back on my want list and yes Jetsbeer I want another one.

lou91, May 25, 2006
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.53/5  rDev +7.1%

2005 bottle date, Sampled May 2006
Pours with a rich, chocolate brown colored head that is initially three-and-a-half finger thick. The beer is just plain black, about as dark as one can get. As I pour this beer I notice that this beer has a heft to it; it pours viscously into my glass. The aroma is defined up front by notes of concentrated burnt fruit; notes of raisins, prunes and figs intermingle with burnt, caramelized roast notes; as if the fruit had been caramelized and roasted under a blazing hot broiler. Wow the aroma is just so intense, yet so well balanced; lots of roast character resides in the aromatics, but it is tempered by the concentrated fruit notes. After a bit of intense schnozzing this beer picks up some toasted, dry, malty notes that never quite overtake the sweet fruit and malt notes. In fact there is a bit of alcohol towards the end, which just tends to accentuate the sweetness. The aroma on this beer is almost perfect, it is hard for me to ask more of the nose on an Imperial Stout.

The beer is thick and viscous on the palate; up front it almost has a lightness to it, but as the beer passes through the mouth it tends to stick to the palate and linger into a long finish. The finish is dominated by chalky roasted notes characterized by a burnt acidity and ample roasted grain character. Gripping note or dark roasted espresso dominate this beer. A touch of acidity stays through out this beer (most likely dark malt derived) and helps to accentuate the burnt, caramelized fruity notes that are found in the nose. The concentrated fruit notes are not nearly as evident as they were in the nose though. One gets the sense that this beer needs to age a few years in order to let the roast notes mellow out and to allow the fruit notes to come more to the fore.

There is something here that reminds me of tamarind; a sort of combination between the acidity and the fruit character. This is a really nice beer, nice enough that I am definitely wishing I had about a case of this beer to age and slowly sample from over the next 15 to 20 years. To my palate this beer has some of the best aging potential of any Imperial stout; ample roast character to fend off oxidation, and a complex malt and fruit character that should change and come to the fore over time. What this all means is that this beer, while over the top and intensely flavored, strike a balance that should carry this beer through many years of aging.

Gueuzedude, May 21, 2006
Photo of Crosling
3.3/5  rDev -22%

I tasted this in a blind tasting last Sunday and it came out # 10, out of 19 different Imperials. I noticed my score was fairly low considering the norm, so that, on top of the fact that I didn’t take notes at the blind tasting, Pdee and I cracked a bomber tonight and shared it. Perfect appearence for an Imperial, inky black, with a huge, creamy and fat head, which appears muddy brown in color. The aroma is fairly subtle, with coffee bean and mocha hints, a slight note of chocolate and sharp, resinous aroma hops. Flavors begin with sharp anise notes, which lead into light grape and vanilla flavors, followed by a slightly chocolatey and coffee malt finish. Yet it remains flooded with aroma and flavor hops, particularly on the finish, which delivers a bitter and citrusy finish, and completely manhandles the assumingly great malt finish. At first the mouthfeel was a bit fizzy but it tamed and settled and eventually ended up being quite nice. I usually love Southampton, but definately not this one.

8 Month old bottle: The agressive, crude hoppiness of the initial batch has tamed substancially, both in the aroma and the flavor, yielding a balanced hop character right now, whereas the original batch was way over the top. Opaque black color, with a full, light brown head. After the aroma hops subside, a rich malitiness overwhems the senses, with a coffee ground, fudge character, with hints of charred fruits. Still hints of hops in the aroma, albeit light. Flavor has improved in a shocking manner, revealing the magic that the agressive hop rate concealed. An array of gummy, charred fruits and chocolate blanket, while the finish leads into a lightly alcoholic and lightly bitter hop finish. This really had molded into a classy drink. I look forward to seeing further improvement, but, unfortunately, my original fresh bottle rating still stands. 8/4/9/4/17

Crosling, Mar 14, 2006
Photo of bultrey
4.88/5  rDev +15.4%

Essentially black, with ruby tinge. Viscous liquid with coffee-and-cream-colored head. The carbonation and head lingers through to the end of the beer. Smell is quite vinous, reminiscent of tawny port, chocolate ganache, and concentrated dark fruit, like blueberry syrup. A bit of alcohol is present in the nose, as well. A fantastically complex flavor -- coffee with amaretto cream, bittersweet walnut, cocoa powder, anise and a little soy sauce -- just phenomenal. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, yet light and airy for such a dense beer. Drinkability only suffers slightly because this beer is just a tad hot still. Oh to try this beer again in, say, four or five years. I could never wait that long. Stunning.

bultrey, Feb 15, 2006
Photo of meathookjones
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%

2005 vintage.

Pours out a pitch black opaque body with a good sized brown head of tightly packed small bubbles. A good amount of webby lacing was left sticking to the glass as this was consumed. Aroma starts with a huge roasted malt kick before the burnt dark ripe fruit scents come through. Light alcohol and chocolate are present as well. More sweet dark fruits are found in the flavor with a backing of burnt malts. Some bitter dark chocolate is present as well as coffee notes. Bitter coffee finish. Very big on the flavor and the taste with lots of things going on. Pretty damn warming and plenty thick enough to support the big flavor. Also slick going down. Another example of a big ridiculously drinkable beer. I could have drank several bottles of this stuff.

meathookjones, Feb 14, 2006
Photo of clvand0
4.7/5  rDev +11.1%

Pours a very dark color with a medium head that falls slowly and leaves a little lacing on the glass. The aroma is all chocolate. Lots of malt business, but it's mostly chocolate. Smells great. The flavor is as expected - very malty, lots of flavor. Lots of chocolate and hints of coffee and alcohol along with a small hint of dark fruit. Very tasty. The body is thick and the drinkability is excellent for having the high alcohol. Great brew here.

clvand0, Jan 06, 2006
Southampton Imperial Russian Stout from Southampton Publick House
94 out of 100 based on 291 ratings.