Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout - Rock Art Brewery

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout
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very good

93 Ratings
very good

(view ratings)
Ratings: 93
Reviews: 15
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 2
Gots: 20 | FT: 5
Brewed by:
Rock Art Brewery visit their website
Vermont, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SpasmWaiter on 12-13-2013

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Ratings: 93 | Reviews: 15
Reviews by mletten:
More User Reviews:
Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From BeerAdvocate Magazine #85 (Feb 2014):

Boozy, Woody, Brash, Bourbon

We have a bold one here. The darkness is alluring, but it is that nose that sucks us in. Boozy, roasty, espresso aroma. Slickness to start, smoothness with a big body. Very warming with a thick wave of woodiness and bourbon on the palate. Booziness rides on top of the Imperial Stout character. The underlying sweetness brings suggestions of burnt sugar, while fumey alcohol gets rosey on our breaths. A stellar brew.

STYLE: Russian Imperial Stout | ABV: 10.0% | AVAILABILITY: Limited

Photo of chinchill
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a shared bomber.
A very solid, middle of the road, bourbon barrel RIS with perhaps a touch more bourbon barrel contribution than average. Also it had a slight smokiness. The bourbon barrel does not overwhelm the dark malts altogether but does contribute vanilla, oak and bourbon flavors and does dominate the aftertaste. Very good bitter-sweet balance.

Photo of blindhoedeath
4.87/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Probably my favorite beer! I've never had a beer that's got such subtleties to its flavor. Past that chocolaty stout taste are plums and blackberries and coffee. Its got an odd sweetness that's hard to place. But i still remember the first time i tasted it. For me and my pal, this is the king of beers. Its a truly beautiful beer. If you see it, grab it.

Photo of puboflyons
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From the 650 ml. bottle. Sampled May 17, 2014.

It pours jet black with a long lasting beige head, It is a soft delicate one.

The aroma has a definite bourbon and hard liquor scent to it along with the dark malts and vanilla scent. Earthy hops.

The mouthfeel is pretty bold and creamy.

It is hard to get beyond the boozy bourbon and hard liquor flavors that dominate this over the dark malts and vanilla. This is something that has to be savored slowly.

Photo of jinan
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A little over the top for me. Guess you need to like boubon

Photo of ppoitras
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle purchased as a single from Beverage Warehouse, Winooski, VT.

Poured into DFH snifter, formed a 3/4" brown head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Dense head holds nicely, with thick coating lace. Aroma is hearty, rich and boozy.

Taste is starts with dark malts and chocolate, dark fruits in the middle, and closes with tannins and bitterness and plenty of alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is slickery smooth, and drinkability is dangerously good. Nice one.

Photo of founddrama
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sooooooo black. Dense tan head. Boozy aroma, but not as "big" as I'd expected. Strong boozy bourbon flavor up front. A chocolaty finish. No hop profile that I can taste. Oily mouthfeel. Overall pretty nice.

Photo of Gavage
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%

Pours a black color with a short head. Aroma is focused on chocolate and some coffee. The flavor profile is roasted malt, dark chocolate, some mild vanilla, coffee, a hint of bourbon, some woodiness, and a moderate bitterness. Smooth throughout, Alcohol is mildly warming. Slow sipping beer but good on a cool fall evening.

Photo of floridadrift
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pretty cheap and great tasting, bought instead of Grimm Double Negative and I'm glad I did. Very nice flavors. Taste so much like Parabola, its unreal. Didnt both to cellar, seems just right for vanilla flavors, oak, bourbon and sweet chocolate. Highly recommended if you can still find one in VT.

Photo of jmdrpi
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle. No date

Black in color, thin tan head. A bit of boozy bourbon aroma. Roasty taste, a bit dry. Whiskey is again dominant. Medium bodied

Photo of sgulner
4.64/5  rDev +16.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Aged perfectly in my rock lined basement. Bourbon burn is all but gone and replaced with nice sweet vanilla and subtle caramel sweetness. Both of these hide the usual ashy roasty IRS that Im used to. Aging this is why Im sure my RDev will be high. If youre holding this, drink this now cause its def in its sweet spot!! Good job @rockart

Photo of cpetrone84
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pour is black with a light tan head. Nose is moderate wood and bourbon, light milk chocolate, a hint of sweet fruitiness from bourbon. Flavor is stronger chocolate cake malt, moderate wood, decent bourbon note. Medium body, not overly big, assertive carb.

Photo of JMScowcroft
4.48/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Rock Art Brewery - Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, poured into a Lawson's tulip.

Look - Pours motor oil high viscosity with a decent sized soapy head that retains a layer. Great lacing.

Smell - Vanilla, oak, bourbon, and chocolate. This improves as it warms, which is typical of the style.

Taste - Creamy and delicious chocolate and coffee with vanilla oak and a warm bourbon finish.

Mouthfeel - Mouth coater, nice and boozy warm. Some woodiness settles. Full bodied with medium carbonation. Good drinkability. Some cola feel but not bad.

Overall - This is a great brew by Rock Art, color me impressed. It is a contender in the BA RIS market but I will admit that it isn't quite as "mature" as some of the others that have been doing this for a while. Would love to try one of these aged another year to see how it transforms.

Photo of Jeffo
2.54/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Doopie opened this one for a random beer night a couple weeks back. Thanks to youbrewidrink for sending this one over to us. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter
IBU: 70

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a three finger, medium looking, fluffy, creamy, light tan head with very good retention. Clear bistre brown in color with higher levels of carbonation for the style. Very light and carbonated for sure. Head slowly fades to a big foamy cap and coats the sides of the glass. A half wisp remains and leaves some decent lacing down the glass. Good head and lacing for sure, but lousy color and carbo for the style.

SMELL: Lots of caramel, vanilla cream, milk chocolate, oak and bourbon on the nose. Quite bold. Not much in terms of base roasted stout, but the barrel is rather nice here.

TASTE: Mild and rather flavorless up front. Some bourbon and oak perhaps, but I'd expect at least something more to begin with. Much more after the swallow with lots of alcohol, bourbon and caramel. Very boozy finish. Bold and persistent aftertaste of booze, vanilla, oak, and more booze. Very alcoholic and not very complex. Notes of ethanol in the form of hair spray and floor cleaner too.

PALATE: Medium body and higher levels of carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down smooth with a harsh alcohol burn at the swallow and finishes slightly sticky. Creamy and smooth, but too carbonated and harsh. Alcohol lingers.

OVERALL: I love trying unheard of stuff from small, unknown breweries around the United States, but it's always a roll of the dice. This one just wasn't very good. The nose started out promising, but ultimately, it's just too boozy, harsh and uninteresting to be worth while. On the bottle, the brewery says this one was aged and then released once the flavors "reached perfection." That speaks volumes. Pass on this one. Thanks again for sharing Doops!

Photo of jjboesen
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Pop the cap and inhale the massive miasma of bourbon. Powerful and aromatic monster fills the room. Pour into glass, where it is half-filled with a pitch black liquid crowned by a dense frothy crown. It takes time to settle, a long time.

The robust bourbon nose is retained along wit the blackness, a foreboding liquid that is unpenetrated by light. The glassrim is encrusted by a gummy resin. There is some splotchy lacing as well. The palate is overwhelmed by a sweet combination of malt, raisin and plum with bits of brown sugar amid the complexity. There is a heavy plastering of malty plum on the palate and the lingering bourbon hint. I found the body to be of moderate proportion and not the least bit heavy - nothing doughy, bready or biscuity at all. At the finish, one can't help but notice a quick rush of boozy bourbon goodness.

This brew is tempertaure sensitive; do not sip it chilled, but wait, let it sit while the temperature comes down a bit. It requires patience and time; but is well worth the effort. Great brew from a great little Vermont brewer.

Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout from Rock Art Brewery
89 out of 100 based on 93 ratings.