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Southampton Imperial Russian Stout - Southampton Publick House

Not Rated.
Southampton Imperial Russian StoutSouthampton Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

160 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 160
Hads: 342
Avg: 4.21
pDev: 10.45%
Wants: 410
Gots: 95 | FT: 10
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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-08-2002

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Southampton Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 160 | Hads: 342
Photo of Gavage
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle label: 2013 version, bottle #149 out of 450.

Appearance: pours a black chocolate color with a mil chocolate colored 2" head that slowly falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: roasted malt, chocolate, and some alcohol come through to the nose.

Taste: big roasted malt, dark bread, and dark chocolate flavors here. Prunes, a bit of molasses, and a hearty bitterness rounds out this big beer. Alcohol provides a bit of warming after you swallow.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth at the start, velvety at the finish with some warmth and a touch of dryness. Long lasting aftertaste here.

Overall: Super RIS. Very slow sipping, but this is a meal in a glass. Expensive at $16 a bottle, but worth the splurge.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Thick black body. Medium mocha head. Thin collar.

Smell - Licorice. Roasted malt and coffee. A little boozy.

Taste - Fruity. Licorice. Deeply roasted malt. Hefty bitterness. Fudgy in the back end. Boozy finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Medium carbonation. Definitely a sipper.

Overall - An intense and delicious stout. Excellent.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
4.54/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage. Thanks Overlord. Consumed on 10/10/2009 with Masterski and Overlord. The beer looks like a Russian Imperial Stout. It's black and viscous. It looks like motor oil flowing out of the 22oz bottle. The head is two fingers and light brown with excellent retention and scattered lacing.

The aroma is of dark chocolate with a strong roasted malt presence. Black coffee is evident (as it tends to be), as are dark fruits. Alcohol is well hidden.

The flavor is dry and roasted with notes of black strap molasses. Coffee adds complexity and moderate astringency. Dark fruits are subtle, and there is a low level of sweetness .The finish is very dry with lingering roast and coffee. Booze makes itself known with some warming in the finish. I don't even get a trace of oxidation.

The beer is medium full bodied with a viscous, sticky, and silky mouthfeel. Carbonation is at an upper low level.

The beer's lack of any detectable trace of oxidation speaks to the importance of proper storage. This has aged remarkably and is one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts I've had recently.

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Photo of weeare138
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of John_M
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled during the gala tasting over at Dyan's the other night. This was bottle number 83 from the 2009 release.

The beer pours blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. Nose is very unusual in this one, with aromas of dark chocolate, licorise, malt balls, sawdust and manure fertilizer. While certainly not repulsive, needless to say this isn't something I smell every day in a beer. The beer is much better on the palate, with dark chocolate and milk chocolate, licorise, roasty malt and a hint of vanilla. The beer is definitely on the sweet side, probably excessively so (at least to my palate). There's some decent bitterness on the finish, but it's really not enough to counter the sweetness in this beer. The beer is pretty smooth and long, and there's no denying that this beer is an absolute presence on the palate. The beer is otherwise very full bodied and rich, and drinkability is OK for the abv. and style. However, the excessive sweetness and noticeable alcohol make it difficult to drink a whole lot of this.

An interesting beer, but not sure I'd want to drink this on a regular basis.

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Photo of plaid75
4.37/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery.

Poured a deep black hue with a half finger dark caramel head.
There was decent retention and good lacing.

The smell featured a light coffee aroma with elements of molasses and smoke.

The taste consisted of a robust burnt grain, some caramel, dry coffee and a hop bitterness at the finish. Traces of ginger as well.

The mouthfeel was of average fullness for the style.

Overall a superior RIS and relatively user friendly.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.62/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I wanted to get a few reviews in while the beer was fresh on my brain and the notes still made sense.

Big Ole 2009 vintage 750 provided at the Friday the 13th tasting by Jake65... Seriously huge thanks to Jake.. this is one of my biggest white whales... bottle 375 of 450.

Poured into my Delerium goblet... Dark tan head.. good/great lacing and retention.

Nose is a beautiful mix of all traditional RIS aromas.. very dark roastiness.... no astringency really.. some good hoppiness that mixes well with some sweetness from the malts.

Flavor has more dark chocolate and less sweetness... tastes very fresh and is very rich.

The body is not as thick as many of the huge RIS out there.. and I'm happy about that.. This is damn near the perfect example of a RIS that doesn't need all the bells and whistles many brewing companies use.. no barrel aging.. not huge viscosity.. no fruit.. just an awesome RIS.

Thanks Jake... I wish I would have taken better notes... this would be one of my never ending keg dream beers.


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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.15/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured jet black with good carbonation leaving a nice brown cap

S: Funk, faded hops, cocoa and caramel

T: Typical profile. Roasted malt, light coffee faded bitter chocolate and hops which once lended some floral notes. Has a nice dose of funk and caramelized sugar

M: Thinner than expected, still a big bidy but watery, faded hops and malts which are not holding up and some light booze which has also faded

O: Average RIS

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Photo of akorsak
4.02/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of tobelerone
4.13/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Lovely pour, black body with a huge tan head of great retention. Excellent lacing; looks like a stout milkshake. Aroma of bitter chocolate, roast malt, mild earthy hops, subtle anise. Typical but nice.

The flavor matches the aroma. Typical imperial stout but very well made and drinkable, rich and flavorsome, particularly for a non -barrel aged example. Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt dominate; again there are hints of anise and verbally, earthy hops. Booze is pretty much hidden and any amount of modest sweetness the beet has dries up almost completely on the finish. A little bit of bitterness lingers in the aftertaste.

Medium full bodied, medium carbonation, smooth overall feel. This one isn't a monster, it's balanced and exceptionally easy to drink for the style. Not earth shattering, but elegant and enjoyable.

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Photo of corby112
4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Serving type: on-tap at Brigids in Philadelphia, PA during a Southampton event at the 2007 Philly Beer Week.

Pours pitch blaack with a coffe colored head. Aroma is dominated by roasty malts. Also, oatmeal some coffee, chocolate and caramel. A lot of oatmeal up front followed by rich creamy chocolate maltiness, roasted coffe flavor, chocolate and toast. Dry finish.

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Photo of DrJay
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.32/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 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!!

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Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle opened on 11.6.13
2012 vintage Bottle 148 of 650

A - Pours a motor oil black with a huge dark brown active head that fades slowly.

S - Malt, a touch of chocolate, overall pretty mild.

T - Creamy milk chocolate and vanilla. So good!

D - Tons of carbonation with a heavy body. Silky smooth.

O - Nose is subtle, but the taste is sublime. Great beer!

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, one of the better bottles in the WW2 BIF from tprokop7 (thanks Todd) Opened during a tasting/party at DrGonzo's place in northeastern OH.

This pours a black color with a few fingers of dark tan foam. It looks and smells really solid, I love the dark foam. I get tons of roasted malts in the nose, along with some cocoa. I'm so used to bourbon aged stouts any more that I actually searched for bourbon. But this doesn't need it, a very nise smelling RIS.

The taste matches my memory of Bolshoi, although not as much chocololate in the Southampton. Lots of roast character in the aftertaste, this was really good from start to finish.

I know this bottle is a real pain to get, but I highly recommend it. Definitely a nice RIS, one of the better ones I've had in recent memory.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.74/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle poured in my Darkness glass. Bottle 99 of 500. A birthday present from my girlfriend, what better night to open up then to hopefully celebrate OSU's Sugar Bowl win...Midnight black pour, looks good. No head at all though, looks like a barrel aged beer with only the slightest dark tan head. No lacing. Disappointing look...The aroma is full of fresh cocoa, brownies and dark fruits. At first its sweet, but then its real backbone is lightly bitter with cocoa being the major player...The taste is awesome with extreme balance. Sweet and bitter at the same time, main player again is the cocoa. However, the sweet chocolate brownie note is huge, its almost like drinking a liquified brownie. This is what a RIS should be, best one I've had in a long time that WAS NOT barrel aged...The feel is a little lacking, on the lighter side for a stout, but a nice tannic and warming sensation...Incredibly drinkable, because it taste great and you can't detect the alcohol on the nose or taste at all.

This is a must try. For a pure stout (not barrel aged) this is probably the best I've had besides stormaktsporter. Get this!!!!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared at the Plan Bee Savage release. '10 vintage.

Pours a very dark black, looks a little thin, though. There's a small mocha colored head, and no real lacing.

Smells like dark fruits, leather, tobacco, caramel, and honey.

This is in an interesting stout, there's a lot more flavors than the typical roasted malt and chocolate, which are there, but in small amounts. I get the impression of honey-covered raisins here, with some vanilla, leather, figs, tobacco, etc. With the age, 4 years at this juncture, the bitter roastiness seems to have all but faded, which is ok. It's a bit sweet, but not cloying.

This is slightly thin bodied, with a oily but creamy mouthfeel, and a very low level of carbonation. Age seems to have diminished the mouthfeel here.

This is excellent, I'm glad to have finally tried this one. At this age, it's become more like an old ale or something like that, rather than a stout, but it tastes really great.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.05/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for knocking off this long time want, Devin! This is the 2009 release

Jet black with a dense, dark brown head with great retention and lacing. The nose is loaded with roasty aromas with plenty of dark fruit character. Some bitterness is apparent, there is some pine character as well. Mild oxidation is noticeable (and surprising) with plum and a little cardboard. Mildly creamy, I get some malted milk balls as well. The palate opens big, thick and fruity with a blend of milky, creamy sweetness, hops, oxidation and a mild bitterness. The combination of pine and malt sweetness results a a flavor that's mildly vegetal, with some cooked fruit character. Roasty on the finish, this feels a little flabby. Solid stuff. Big in body with soft, smooth carbonation, the finish is roasty. The intensity of this beer makes it hard for me to drink more than the 4oz I poured myself.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at the release party

Pours a viscous black color with a bubbled toffee brown head which slowly dissolves into some wisps of film and sprinklings of lacing on the glass.

Strong scents of heavily roasted malt, subdued by softer chocolate and sweetness with touches of coffee and molasses.

A mix of roasty malt and caramel with some sweeter flavors. Dark chocolate and molasses balanced with hoppy bitterness. Lighter coffee flairs alongside alcohol warmth. All of the flavors are well balanced and in relative harmony, allowing each one to shine equally. Finishes with a spike of booziness and toasty malt.

Heavier body, mild carbonation, chewy yet smooth and soft on the palate. Pleasant drinking, excellent balance, and one of the better non-bal aged beers I've had in a while. The alcohol is just right, and there's enough hop bitterness to counter the sweetness and roasty malt. Great beer.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Thirstybird for braving the cold and sharing this one at our last tasting. Bottle 401/500. Pours black with a thin, quarter inch, khaki-colored head that quickly dispersed into a swirl. Nose reveals dark malts, roast, brown sugar and molasses. Taste is roasty and chocolatey with some brewer's licorice and some light bittering hops at the finish. Sweet, but not cloying so. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a pleasant, even carbonation and a slight viscosity. An excellent example of the style. No bells and whistles, but a fair amount of complexity and drinks extremely easy. Hard to believe it has a 10.2% abv. A really top notch RIS.

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Photo of cpetrone84
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had again July of 2012 (2012 vintage). pour is black with tight full dark chestnut brown. The nose has roast, marsh mellow, dry bakers chocolate and a touch chalky. Taste is roasty, very roasty with an interesting balance of dark berry sweetness. Loads of creamy chocolate and marshmallow. Dry finish, thick creamy body, delicate carbonation.

Thanks to Pittbeergirl for sharing this one. 2010 vintage.

A-completely opque black in color and thick in viscous looking. The head is a dark caramel color that appears pretty thick and creamy. It has some retention with a thick slow falling head

S-roasted malts hit right up front with a touch of roasted barley. Molasses and some sweeter anise fade in. This gives way to to a light malt sweetness of plums, cherries, figs, raisins and some notes of fusel alcohol.

T-similar to the nose the roasted malts kick in from the start. Chocolate that wasn't really there in the nose takes hold and has a strong grip. Sweetness picks up with notes of anise fading into dark fruits. Plums raisins, and a hint of alcohol and heat towards the finish; but just enough to let you know this is a big stout.

M-this has a huge full chewy body that is extremely smooth and creamy on the palate. It is soft with low carbonation to let it slip down the throat but none of the body falls off.

D-this is an awesome imperial stout. It is huge and size and flavor yet well rounded and complex allowing the flavors to blend with each other. Awesome!

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Photo of thagr81us
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shared during a small Charlotte BA tasting with marine1975, caSSino, CarolinaKevin, and GehenHerzog. Massive thanks goes out to CarolinaKevin for sharing this tick with the group! Bottle 610 of 650! Served from bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Poured pitch black with a three finger brown head that subsided to one finger massively slow. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, sweet malt, dark fruit, sweet alcohol, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of roasted malt, smoke, dark fruit, dark chocolate, and alcohol on the followthrough. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation that was almost felt creamy on the palate. Overall this brew was quite excellent. The flavor was both very smooth and nicely complex. Also it had a nice toasty aspect going on too. The aroma was very inviting and pleasant was well. Really glad I got a chance to try this one and I suggest you seek it out as well.

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Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to gn0sis for stuffing this into a small box, slapping my address on it, & tossing it into a Minnesota-bound truck. This is one of those rare beers I hate to open, because I'm expecting great things. Oops! Well, too late now. Split with my wife (OK, I might have taken just an extra ounce. Maybe two. Hope she reads this while she's at work & I'm far away. Love you sweetie!)

Bottle 270 of 500, 2010 vintage. Nice clean, attractive label. Pours a rough, heavy black with little to no head or carbonation - fine by me. Even when stone-cold, this smells like the asphalt outside the gates of heaven. Billionaire roasted malts. Deepens & really opens up as it warms.

Southampton IRS was crafted by a master. Roasted malts & chocolate blitz the tongue, along with a graininess more common in a hefe; weird, & weirdly appealing. Feels rough around the edges, like it grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in a John Hughes film. Cocoa powder dry, tiny current of dark fruits, with a bitter finish that might be sharp chocolate or hops still fighting for their lives. Horrifically drinkable for a big stout.

Excellent beer. Southampton has succeeded in making a beer that's not terribly complex, but with great depth. This is the hewn-wood equivalent of a cabin in the forest that you want to go back to. Frequently. Yummy.

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Southampton Imperial Russian Stout from Southampton Publick House
93 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.