Winter Stout (Russian Imperial Stout) - St. George Brewing Company, The

Not Rated.
Winter Stout (Russian Imperial Stout)Winter Stout (Russian Imperial Stout)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

67 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 67
Reviews: 58
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 11.76%
Wants: 9
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
St. George Brewing Company, The visit their website
Virginia, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  7.60% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mmmbeer on 01-14-2006

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 67 | Reviews: 58
Reviews by bgildea:
Photo of bgildea
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown black color with a very thick dark tan head that stick around and leaves some decent lacing.

S: Slight smells of roasted malts and chocolate. Not a very distinguished flavor.

T: Starts with a very slight sweet taste, maybe some semi sweet chocolate. The flavor fades into a roasted malts and bitter, almost coffee flavor. Nice balance of sweet to bitter and leaves a very distinct bitter aftertaste.

M: Realtively thin beer. I was expecting a much thicker beer for an imperial stout.

D: It's a drinkable beer. Pretty tasty Russian, and I would definitly have another.

Overall: Overall the beer was pretty good. Nice balance of sweet and bitter flavor with notes of chocolate, malts, and coffee. Leaves a very distinct bitter aftertaste, that I think many hop lovers would appreciate.

More User Reviews:
Photo of asabreed
4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: A thick and bubble head with hardly any air between it. This looks like ice cream, though doesn't bubble up like a Belgian. Some thin but very spotty lacing down the glass. And the body is as dark if not darker than Storm King.

Smell: A good amount of sweet malt, bitter chocolate, and some oatmeal sweetness also. Slight coffee, molasses, maple, and vanilla come through also. Didn't expect it to be this sweet in the nose, though it's pretty nice.

Taste: Initial sweetness, and lots of it. Almost pungent malts, with some hoppy bitterness also. I wish some more dark fruit was there, as there's just a tinge of it. Is the sweetness coming from the molasses? Not really sure. Again, a very oatmeal-like sweetness, is there oatmeal in here too? Hmmm. There's also a surprising bitterness from the hops at the end, and it really seems to work in the finish's favor. Some more roastiness could kick this up a notch, but as is it's pretty good.

Mouthfeel: Thick, creamy, full, and unyielding. Carbonation's not too much and not too little, and fits the body well. Nicely done.

Drinkability: Though I used to be a huge RIS drinker, I usually stick to them now as desert brews or winter brews. Regardless, this is pretty tasty and isn't your same old version of the style. St. George does a great job with this, and though I've only seen it in the Dragon Pack, it's worth a shot if you see it. St. George has continued to impress me, and I hope they make many more and branch out a bit.

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz single, gifted by blackie, consumed during the madness of march

appearance: poured into a snifter, dark mahogany body with a creamy milk chocolate head and some frosty lacing

smell: roasty and rich, espresso, dark chocolate, a touch of cream, toasted oats, licorice

taste: nice RIS - nothing we havent seen before but some solid flavors throughout. this beer is quite rich and features a creamy dark chocolate core with hints of vanilla, licorice, booze, espresso and dark fruit

mouthfeel: creamy, perhaps a tad light, moderate bitterness

drinkability: good

Photo of ebby82
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Upon first pour, there is an obvious coffee smell. However, the coffee flavor is not overwhelming; Pours a medium black into a tulip glass. Head is minimal. The taste has coffee notes without being overwhelming. Additionally, there is a minimal smokiness to the aftertaste which adds rather than detracts from the overall flavors.

The alcohol is barely noted in the taste, although it is evident upon the effect's of a bomber's worth of beer. Although its a Russian IPA, it manages to have a light to middle bodied mouth feel; it does not have the oil like consistency of some other Russian IPA's, and it is very drinkable, although certainly not a session beer.

Eminently enjoyable and extremely affordable, this is an excellent beer.

Photo of nickd717
3.5/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Pours just about black with a one finger tan head and decent lacing.

The aroma is roast, chocolate, dark fruits, anise, and a little sweet caramel.

The flavor is sweet caramel and chocolatey malts, molasses, anise, black cherries, and metallic notes.

Medium full bodied and smooth with soft carbonation.

A solid but not great imperial stout. Hard to be too impressed after having almost 200 in the style I guess.

Photo of russpowell
4.31/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Clearly this was the clear winner in this mixed 6 of this brewery (based on notes from late March)

Pours midnight black wit 1" of tan head. Great lacing & head retention

S: Chocolate & then some fruitty notes

T: Choclate & boozey warmth followed by iron. Finishes dry, a little oily &sweet

MF: Oily, chewy & near perfect carbonation

Drinks a little slow, but what do you expect for the style. Nice/great offering!

Photo of Kegatron
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on cask at the Capital Ale House (Richmond, VA)

Pours a very dark brown/black with a finger width of creamy tan head. It maintains a creamy retention with nice dark sticky cask lacing all down the sides of the glass. The aroma is deep with roasted and chocolate malts, coffee, and some dark fruit elements.

The taste is a mellow chocolate sweetness, roasted malts, a tangy dark fruit tartness, and a nice tingling hop bitterness. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with a creamy feel and the 10% ABV being very well hidden.

This was another very well done and extremely drinkable brew from St. George. The rich flavors and creamy body real really stood out with this cask version.

Photo of Riverwarrior
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

S = The chocolate malt aroma is incredible in this brew. It jumps out and hits you like a medieval hammer (hence the label art).

T = The taste was phenomenal. The dark chocolate flavors came through strong and the hop bitterness was very tame which made it well balanced.

MF = Very creamy and smooth with low carbonation.

The finish was great. Even after the beer warmed, there was no harsh burnt coffee taste or bitterness which made this brew so enjoyable. I definitely recommend trying this offering. It has become one of my favorites.

Photo of austinhensley
3.29/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured basicly dark brown with orange hue at bottom of the mug. Creamy inch thick head. Did not ecspecially enjoy the mouthfeel or the after taste, but the flavor was exceptional. Did not feel very heavy, but definitely warmed me up. Great lacing that stayed on the glass almost all the way until I was finshed with the 3 pint mug.

Photo of Jredner
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glop, glop, glop. Pours stygian black with a quarter coin thickness mocha head. Aroma is strong with dark chocolate and dried cherries. Head quickly fades leaving it looking like an oil spill in some ocean in hell. Very nice lacing. Flavor is huge burnt and roasted malt followed by dark baker’s chocolate, blackstrap molasses, espresso and some lightly sweet cream and dark fruit notes. It’s pretty still with a tiny level of carbonation. It has the feel of much higher ABV Imperials and if I lived close I’d buy cases of it to imbibe when I wanted an Impy, but not a raging buzz. A very nice brew from Virginia.

Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

as if nearly a week of liver punishment in Madison weren't enough...picked up a six on one of many work related forays to Langley, probably around two months in the bottle, consumed near room temperature

a: into my young but experienced Piraat snifter, the pour produces a brief pillow of mocha colored head that quickly recedes to only thin wisps on the surface, with subsequent tips of the glass again rousing the head, the beer itself nearly black in color

s: smoky roast, vivid molten dark chocolate, light roasted coffee bean, chocolate cake caramel coated dark fruits, moderate booze, earthy hops with a hint of dark evergreen, extremely solid aroma but lacking that little edge to set it apart

m: delicate traces of carbonation on the tongue, full body, smooth

t: liquid dark chocolate with waves of booze, turns from chocolaty towards dark roasted barley after the swallow, pine bark hop flavor, moderate bitterness

d: 10 percent? a superbly drinkable ris

Photo of auxiliary
4.77/5  rDev +22%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance - Pours a black color and had a somewhat fluffy-bubbly head, tannish color. Then the head decended to a ring, with a small pond like head.

smell - Dark chocolate, malts, coffee, java beeans.

taste - Lots of dark chocolate/java up front with some bitterness at the end.

mouthfeel - Thick, chewy and tingley.

drinkability - Wow. This is one of best RIS I have had to date. Was amazed. I have to take it slow on this one because I only have one. mmmm taste so good.

Photo of weeare138
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Max's on Broadway...
Appears pitch black with a 2 finger head of fluff that slowly fades out. Lots of scattered lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted grains, cracked peanut shells, cocoa, mocha, mild fruitiness, and a hint of vanilla.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with a nice, rich, dark fruit flavor standing out amongst the intense flavors.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, roasty along the palate, and slightly bitter with notes of freshly ground coffee.
Served a bit too cold at Max's but it gets much better as it warms, so be patient.

Photo of arguemaniac
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a viscous, oily black with a creamy but brief brown head. Intense dark fruits in the nose along with some obvious toasted notes. While the palate does offer nice variety and complexity, the intense brunt grain astringency overshadows everything else just a bit. Nonetheless, plenty other rich flavors shine through nicely: sweet caramel, bitter chocolate, dark fruit, molasses, and definite coffee bitterness. Coffee and burnt notes in the bitter finish.

Sweeter that most Impy stouts, but the burnt bitterness is really pretty dominant, though I can’t say it takes anything away from this rich, delicious brew. Recommended.

Photo of MaltyGoodness
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz. bottle

Pours a dense black color with a mild cocoa head that recedes. Mild spotty lacing on the glass.

Aroma is a sweet, roasted maltiness with big dark fruity tones. Faint chocolate smell and smokiness.

Sweet and malty roasted taste upfront dropping off into a light hop flavor, some cocoa, and a mild smokiness. The rich fruitiness in the smell has almost no presence in the taste. Finishes with a lingering sweetness.

Full body, light carbonation.

A quality RIS, just falls short of greatness. Would enjoy this again, but probably not more than one in a sitting.

Photo of Thorpe429
3.77/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at The Brickskeller during an event.

Pours a deep, dark color bordering on black. Thin tan head eventually fades into a few bubbles atop the beer. The nose brings some roasted character as well as a bit of chocolate and coffee. Everything gels pretty well.

The flavor isn't quite as complex and integrated as the nose, falling just a bit flat. There are some coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt notes, though they never seem to find that cohesion point and really mesh. The mouthfeel is somewhat full but a bit thin for the style, though it works with the flavors and makes it quite drinkable. A 7.6% RIS is something I could definitely handle more often than the typical booze bomb.

Photo of AleWatcher
2.62/5  rDev -33%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Poured into snifter.

This is pretty dark. Bubbles up a dark tan, cocoa-powder head of 3 fingers. Retention holds for a sip or two before all that remains is a lazy and loose collar around the ring of the glass. No lacing at all.

Smell has an astringent alcohol-- certainly a bit of a flaw. Especially for only being 7%! Roasted chocolate, black, and crystal malts show up... A bit underdressed for the occasion. This beer needed a higher OG.
The beer is overly carbonated and a bit thin. If I didn't KNOW this was an RIS, I would certainly not guess it.

The beer has some sweetness up front, but dries out through the middle--- and finishes dry. A slight note of black licorice seems to creep in. Very roasty malts. The anise finish hurts the overall mark for the taste. The astringent booze doesn't help either.

Overall... This is not a good RIS. This would be a solid American Stout... Sadly, the label says RIS! It makes an attempt to hit the right notes, but much like my tone-deaf wife, we suffer for it. Is this awful? No. Undrinkable? No. But is it anywhere near where I'd like to see it.

Photo of PhageLab
4.18/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery. Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pitch black brew of course, low bit of froth, decent retention, nice lacing. Looks a tad intimidating, but I'm ready for it.

S - Abv is quite obvious here, but under that there are hints of plum and bitter chocolate, and perhaps a bit of spice as well.

T - Wow, very delicious. Very bitter body with a boozy backing and sweet dark fruits in the aftertaste. Very dry, but well balanced. More complex than I had anticipated.

M - Full bodied, low carbonation level, dries the palate.

D - Amazing, I could drink several of these and be more than content. Of course it may have some disastrous side effects with the high alcohol content, but I think I'd be willing to trade sobriety for a few more pints of this. A must try if you're in the area.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.38/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Pours a thick, opaque black with about a half-finger of bubbly ecru head that dissipates rather quickly. No real lacing is produced. The nose is dark malts, figs, molasses, brown sugar, toffee, and a tiny, tiny hint of smoke. The tongue differs a bit from the nose, in that the malts become wheatier, the figs, molasses, and brown sugar almost completely drop out, and the toffe combines with a very light vanilla, some bourbon, and a good deal of (unfortunately) leather. The body is a hefty medium, with low carbonation and a nicely smooth feel. Overall, though, the strange leathery flavor weighs down an already weak taste profile and, hence, the overall drinkability. Still, the latter weathers the storm relatively well.

Photo of John_M
4.21/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap during X-mas in July at Max's.

The beer pours an impressive dark black color with a very creamy and dense looking head. The beer has very good lacing, though the head dissipates a bit more quickly then I would have expected. Not a lot on the nose here, just some cola, vanilla and coffee. On the palate this stout is just divine. It has a soft creamy mouthfeel that just caresses the palate. This beer is very, very plush and smooth, and is sweet with flavors of cherry, coffee and vanilla. The beer has a long, lingering finish, and is just a joy to drink. No sharp edges on this one. As the beer sits in the glass I start to pick up smoe more chocolate. The abv. is noticeable in this stout, but is still surprisingly drinkable for such a big beer. The beer is quite warming and tends to sneak up on.

An excellent beer from this brewery. I'm thinking that a bit of age has helped this one out quite a bit.

Photo of CuriousMonk
3.2/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From winter brew tasting notes (2010): Poured a dark brown color with a moderate to large frothy brown head that lasted with good lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted chocolate, dark grape skin aroma. Medium to heavy bittersweet toasted malt and tannic flavor with a medium to heavy sweet finish of moderate to long duration. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. This is a very good complex beer, but does not put together for me when comparing against the likes of better winter RIS styles.

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.29/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Note: this beer is no longer labeled 'Winter Stout', apparently. It still has the exact same label, colors and font, but it now reads as 'Russian Imperial Stout'. Creative title huh? Actually I have had up to here with cute/clever brew names, so I applaud banality in this instance.

Big thanks to Alex for sharing this surprisingly tasty brew.

A - It pours the deepest shade of umber with a small cap of mocha foam, no real lace.

S - The smell is quite robust; huge amounts of roasted malt dominate the olfactory, punctuated by a bit of smoke, chicory, and savory spices. It smells quite good, if a bit one-dimensional.

T - The taste is also quite robust. The roast, toast and char are the star. There are small nuances of bitter cocoa and dark fruit, but mostly the flavor is blackened malt. Not a bad thing in this case. The relatively low ABV is surprising, because the taste is so full.

M - Lingering flavor, velvety feel, lack of alcohol heat are on the plus side. On the minus, it is a tad thin, but otherwise very good.

D - I would definitely drink this again. Not outstanding, but better than quite a few acclaimed stouts.

Photo of Khazadum
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Thanks so much Neorunner for everything up until now and going forward. I know this will be a good one ( its a dark one! ). Tad bit of warming from the fridge, popped top, and casual pour into my brandy snifter.

Fantastic head development. Hooo dogggyyy! I have a collection of frozen pea sized mocha head that keeps being refreshed from the bottom. Many little streams are evident along the side of the glass. As it packs its way down, the lacing is strong, beautiful.

The inky darkness doesn't even have some contrasting or similar tones to offset it. This is seemingly oil come to life in beer form. I have to mention a second time how shocking the lacing is on this beer. There are mountaintops and thunderheads all over the place.

Gentle inhales yield an exponential reward. You can snatch out milk chocolate, sweet bourban-esque notes, attenuated alcohol, and mocha. Further attempts pull forth fresh ground coffee, none of that store bought shit here.

Deep choking gasps allow me to further enjoy this mystery. The alcohol tries to bite me, but barely manages a kitten love bite. The grains finally come forth at this moment and mingle with a mocha presence confusing and clarifying their purpose. Dark fruits are the last thing you find as the receptors lose their activated shape.

Flavor Profile
This beer is a one-two punch of crazy delicious. The first jab to my mouth is a burnt grain infused with alcohol. Quickly the carbohydrates escape and leave me with heavy ethanol and oxidized metal. I'm shocked and awed the first time I sipped this. As the alcohol loses its interest, I find that a right hook is coming straight for me.

Right through my jaw comes the sweetness of knuckles dabbled with great coffee grounds. This dark chocolate cup of Joe lingers and actually bows out to a new partner for my tongue to waltz with. It actually has a separate hop finish. Its just as how it should be. Enough to notice that I'm getting tingled with bitter tendrils, but not nearly enough to force me to forget the prior candied moments.

However, just like a boxer, this beer is not all one attack. This beer can't go out swinging with just one arm. It has finishing notes of your favorite homemade cups of coffee. The opening at times is pure dark chocolate bliss. It is never the same sip, and it is always a great time.

Oral Sensations
Here, I draw the line. We were on a roll! It had me down for a 9 count, but up I shot at this point. This beer is watery in feeling. Its not the most watery stout I've ever had, but from the looks of it it should not be at this level. It comes through perfectly on the carbonation, and reminds me of a smooth vanilla shake. However, it lacks that consistency I'm looking for. It truly borders the thinness I expect from other styles.

What a great beer. As it warms up it evolves, it changes, it allows you to never be bored. I drank this beer with no expectations and was floored, for the most part. I would drink this again in a heartbeat if it was popped in front of me. It has just a few errors, and with those it makes me wonder if I would trade for it. Sure, I'd buy it to share at a nice stout themed tasting, but for myself again... I'm curious to know myself!

Oh, this is a RIS. There is no doubt in my mind. My favorite style can't fool me!

Photo of scifan
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Found this beer while in Roanoke, Va. I love RIS's and so I thought I would give it shot. Don't think I'm gonna be dissapointed.
Pours like a typical RIS. Pitch black body with a nice mocha colored head that was big and fluffy. Although it settled down quickly leaving some lacing along the glass.
Smells good. Nice roasty character up front. Smooth milk chocolate in the background giving it a little sweetness. Also picking up a slight coffee aroma, not fresh coffee more like used coffee grounds. Very nice.
Has a nice roasty taste as well. Dark roasted malts dominate the foreground that soon gives way to nice chocolatey finish. Hints of coffee and sweet dark fruits make themselves known. Has a nice clean roasty, bitter finish.
Kind of one the thin side, but then again this isn't one of "those" big stout either. The carbonation is good for this beer its neither too creamy or too prickly on the tongue. Overall a very solid stout not overwhelming or mind blowing just a good example of the style.

Photo of cichief
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on draft at Friscoe's Grille, Columbia, MD.

A- Pours a deep brown-black, almost opaque, with a nice brown head.

S- Scent of coffee and malted barley prevalent, slight hop background.

T- Very strong coffee flavor with a dry hop finish.

M- Well balanced, thick on the tongue.

D- A decent beer, great for the cooler weather.

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Winter Stout (Russian Imperial Stout) from St. George Brewing Company, The
87 out of 100 based on 67 ratings.