Southampton Imperial Russian Stout - Southampton Publick House
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Ratings: 283 | Reviews: 155 | Display Reviews Only:
4.1/5 rDev -3.3%
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.
06-13-2008 17:28:58 | More by jmalex
3.98/5 rDev -6.1%
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.
06-12-2008 21:32:28 | More by DarkerTheBetter
4.28/5 rDev +0.9%
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.
05-29-2008 21:34:08 | More by ChainGangGuy
4/5 rDev -5.7%
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.
05-04-2008 01:53:04 | More by hoppymeal
4.72/5 rDev +11.3%
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.
04-02-2008 11:32:03 | More by mikesgroove
4.03/5 rDev -5%
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.
03-26-2008 20:54:35 | More by DaPeculierDane
3.5/5 rDev -17.5%
Southampton Publick House
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.
01-30-2007 02:00:26 | More by hopbar
4.68/5 rDev +10.4%
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.
01-15-2007 04:45:53 | More by MuddyFeet
4.33/5 rDev +2.1%
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!!
09-10-2006 17:14:55 | More by Bitterbill
3.1/5 rDev -26.9%
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.
06-08-2006 02:53:43 | More by Jason
4.53/5 rDev +6.8%
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.
06-07-2006 00:23:35 | More by Jredner
4.75/5 rDev +12%
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 couldnt 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.
05-25-2006 03:24:26 | More by lou91
4.53/5 rDev +6.8%
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.
05-21-2006 04:15:55 | More by Gueuzedude
3.3/5 rDev -22.2%
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 didnt 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
03-14-2006 03:33:23 | More by Crosling
4.88/5 rDev +15.1%
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.
02-15-2006 03:17:31 | More by bultrey
4.7/5 rDev +10.8%
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.
02-14-2006 18:45:15 | More by meathookjones
4.7/5 rDev +10.8%
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.
01-06-2006 20:04:14 | More by clvand0
4.88/5 rDev +15.1%
2005 vintage. Beer pours a dark as dark black color with a finger of deep tan head that falls to a near complete cover over top of the brew. Solid looking beer. Lively and enticing. Nose is very chocolatey with lighter roastedness hanging out behind it with a puff of alcohol when I take a deep breath. There is a touch of coffee in there as well. I am excited to taste it. Flavor is even more complex than the nose. It hits hard with chocolate, almost burnt roasted malt and a touch of dark figgy fruit. It moves to a moderate hop bitter and coffee, turning around to a mocha finish. A superbly tasty brew. I had a sip of this one once in the past and I remember it being thin. That must have been an oversight on my part. This is as thick as any stout should be with a light-moderate carbonation that keeps it from being too thick. I don't think I would want this beer to be much more drinkable. At over 10%, this one does little to let me know its that big. Even a big sip doesn't hit me hard. I am going to have to find another bottle of this beer. Just awesome.
01-04-2006 02:29:19 | More by kmpitz2
4.47/5 rDev +5.4%
2005...Snagged one of these at Shoreline Beverage while visiting the island...
Pours a viscous black ink color with less than 1/4 finger of cocoa head...a thin layer sticks around for the duration.
Beautiful aroma...packed with dark chocolate, raisins, mild coffee, and sweet malt. Not much hop in the nose, but this has been sitting in the cellar for almost a year.
The taste is glorious...masterfully blended. Huge chocolate profile with a nice addition of espresso...mild sweetness and a decent hop addition to bitter up the finish. Alcohol is very well hidden and there is not much heat in the last few swigs.
Mouthfeel is quite thick and not cloying...semi-dry, but sweet enough to make this offering highly drinkable. One of the easiest drinking RIS I have had to date...very glad I sat on this one for a special occasion.
12-26-2005 03:19:25 | More by warriorsoul
4.88/5 rDev +15.1%
11/25/05- Received via trade with Jetsbeer.
Presentation- 22oz bottle, year 2005. Poured into my Duvel tulip.
Appearance- Darker brown, close to black pour with some cherry like highlights. Larger inch plus dirty colored head and patchy lacing.
Smell- Lots of dark chocolate and espresso scents. You can get a whiff of some of the alcohol qualities as well. Maybe some super dark fruits also. Great smeller.
Taste- Like those dark chocolate chunks you get from Gihradelli infused with some dark coffee bean flavor. Rasins and plums hit your taste buds as well. One of the most flavorful stouts I have had.
Mouthfeel- Very low carbonation, especially after it warms to room temp. Creamy and a pretty darn heavy mouthfeel. Thick and viscous.
Drinkability- Right up there with Stone IRS in my book. You can pick up the alcohol a tad more, but I still felt like I wanted another after having to share the bottle. One of my top brews I have ever tasted. Thanks so much to Jetsbeer for another great brew!
11-28-2005 02:49:50 | More by GClarkage
British Columbia (Canada)
4.88/5 rDev +15.1%
22oz courtesy of Malto
Pitch black with a smallish but lingering dark tan head. The nose is old prunes and rich chocolate. The taste is like being stroked by cashmere albeit big coffee backed cashmere that is soaked in hops and chocolate. Much like the Heresy or Stone Impy this beer is so good time seems to slow down with every sip. Dry finish just adds to the sublime drinkability.
11-14-2005 16:46:23 | More by canucklehead
3.93/5 rDev -7.3%
22 oz bomber courtesy of Beerhandy.
Poors jet black into my Rapscallion goblet. A deep brown head tops this one off and sticks around for quite some time. Thus, retention is quite good, lacing is nice as well.
Smell is roasted coffee, chocolate, caramel, and I think I detect a bit (very very very slight) of oxidation, but I don't know how that's possible. Defintitely rich smelling, and remeniscent of chocolate cake. Not a hint of alcohol in the nose at all.
Taste is big chocolate with just a hint of roasted malts and coffee. Caramel forms the backbone of this as well as the chocolate. Not very aggressively hopped at all, but it all seems to balance out. A slight bit of alcohol as this warms the throat going down. Definitely chocolate cake-like. I am still detecting a very very very slight bit of oxidation, but who cares, this still tastes pretty damn good.
Mouthfeel is almost perfect with this one not being too oily or heavy (which looking at it, you wouldn't expect). The mild hops and rich flavors balance out nearly perfectly.
I could drink this one for a while, it's a bit rich to drink all night long, but not bad at all. Another quality beer from Southampton.
10-15-2005 00:44:23 | More by LuckySevens82
3.85/5 rDev -9.2%
Had on tap at the Blind Tiger. Deep black, the thick 1/2 deep tan head lasted for 10 minutes, and then went down to 1/4 inch, where it stayed. Initial aroma came across as milk chocolate, but if you waited, some hints of hazelnut was waiting in the wings. Alcohol made itself known. Thinner than expected mouthfeel. Tastewise, fruits like raisins, stonefruits like plums, dash of alcohol...made for a pretty warming experience.
09-01-2005 12:51:36 | More by PatandDavid
3.95/5 rDev -6.8%
2004 bottle laid in cellar for a few months. Coca-cola dark colour and strong Southampton carbonation. Mellowed taste, and medium mouthfeel not a thick Russian porter. Easy drink, but its like a Coca-Cola in strong caramel, though some grains of cocoa, I am sorry fans, please don't flame me. Enjoyable but overated.
08-15-2005 02:32:33 | More by Sammy
3.9/5 rDev -8%
The appearance of this beer is dark and black. The head is thin, and it dissapates quickly, leaving only a very light lacing on the glass. The smell has hints of malt and caramel.
The taste is great. Chocolate, caramel, and toffee come to mind. Deep and complex. There is a little taste of alcohol at the nose, but it is buried by the malt and complexity of this beer. It hides it well, but gives a warming feeling.
Overall, a very good Imperial Stout. I will enjoy it again, but I don't think it is at the same level of Stone's IRS or Samuel Smith's Imp Stout. Almost world class in my book, and I would reccomend it to others.
08-03-2005 23:55:36 | More by gotbeer
Southampton Imperial Russian Stout from Southampton Publick House
94 out of 100 based on 283 ratings.