Barbapapa Imperial Russian Stout - Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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Barbapapa Imperial Russian StoutBarbapapa Imperial Russian Stout

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290 Ratings
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Ratings: 290
Reviews: 51
rAvg: 4.37
pDev: 6.64%
Wants: 75
Gots: 69 | FT: 8
Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  12.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: DomingoOrtiz on 12-09-2013

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 290 | Reviews: 51
Reviews by Hopdaemon39:
Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.76/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a tulip- pitch black in color, less than a finger of mocha head, no retention or lacing.

Smell is wonderful- unbelievably rich roasted barley notes. There's definitely a chocolate component but it's very very roasty. I love it. Does not give away it's abv.

Deliciously rich. Lots of chocolate, roasted malt, a little toffee. Not much to say except it is very rich but not cloying and has a hell of a roasted malt body.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth with minimal carbonation and full bodied obviously. This beer is awesome- deserves to be listed almost the great RI stouts. Get it!

More User Reviews:
Photo of RickS95
4.76/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Everything about the appearane is simply stunning. From it's dark thick pour to its slow-forming, cascading brown head, it's really a head turner. Pitch black beer with a thick dark head, the look can't be improved upon. The head is over a finger thick, creamy, and retains well. As the cherry on top, the lacing fills the whole glass.

Has the smell you'd expect. Dark roasty things fill the grain bill, slight bittersweet chocolate hiding in the background. No hop presence and the alcohol is well-hidden.

A malt bomb of epic proportions. Milk chocolate coats the tongue. Bittersweet chocolate provides balance before the beer crosses the line. Alcohol is finally noticed.

Feel reminds one of hot chocolate. It's so smooth and creamy, it simply coats the tongue. Bittersweet chocolate emerges mid sip to begin scraping the palate clean. In the finish, alcohol provides a bit of heat for a lingering finish. Very full-bodied. A great winter warmer.

I can't believe how good this is. Virtually flawless. It's extremely strong, but so easy to drink. A stronger scent and this would have run the table with 5s.

Photo of bluejacket74
4.53/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle, bottled December 2013. Served in a DFH snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head that stayed around a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. I like the aroma a lot, the brew smells like coffee, roasted malt, dark fruit (cherries), molasses, nuts, and bittersweet chocolate. Taste is similar to the aroma, it tastes like roasted malt, coffee, milk and dark chocolate, nuts, molasses, smoke, nuts, and a bit of dark fruit. Mouthfeel/body is full, it's creamy and coating with a moderate amount of carbonation. I think this is a pretty good overall imperial stout, I'll have to pick up more the next time I come across some. Pretty Things did a great job with this brew! $8.99 a bomber.

Photo of jlindros
4.43/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally a new beer from Pretty Things... and on top of that a style I love, RIS, just in time for a big snow storm. Best time to enjoy a beer like this, right after coming in from snow blowing the driveway, then playing with my son in the snow for a couple hours. I can warm my cold body nicely with this beer.

Pours pretty dark and semi thick, a nice cocoa colored creamy 1/2 finger head that fades at a med pace, Long legs descend slowly and leave a nice lacing, the beer does look thick pitch black oil like with no light getting through.

Nose is pretty nice, loads of bakers chocolate and black malt, a big caramel and fluffy nougat like center, nice biscuity like malted milk ball too, with a big roasty like black malt without a big acrid roast. A hint of alcohol but it's mostly drowned out by loads of malt, and a hint if an earthy hop mixed in.

Taste starts just as expected, waves upon waves of rich thick dark malts, lots of choc to start, bakers choc and thick cocoa, some black malt and toasty flavours, no real roast or acrid flavours. It gets quite rich and chewy even, some oats I think with a nice creamy flavor. Malts also bring some caramel and mild fluffy nougat, rich thick malts get a little syrupy but not much, and carry a little warming booze, nice touch for a warming beer in the frigid winter. It's even a bit fudgy with all the dark malts touch oats and cocoa and a bit of earthy hops. Finish is long and a bit sticky, fair bitterness, lots more cocoa and choc, sticks to every part of my mouth for a long time.

Mouth is heavy and thick, creamy and a bit lush, mild warming booze, nice fluffy carb.

Overall really good, I had high expectations for this and it met them if not surpassed. Great malt flavours without getting too roasty or acrid, big mouth rich and coats the mouth nicely, and booze is hidden very well. I'm going to cellar a few of these.

Photo of Thickfreakness
4.79/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours like year old motor oil into my Bruery tulip. Huge deep, dark tan head that doesn't so much float atop this pitch black beer, as it does live and grow upon it. Thick and chunky lacing drips, sticks and clings all over the glass. Nice oily legs. I'm not sure I've ever seen an IRS this amazing!
It's key to let this huge brew warm up. Giant notes of dark Belgian chocolate, vanilla, espresso beans and fudge. It has a nice brightness from the citrusy hops with underlying dark dried frruits. Whisps of caramel rolled in cocoa and orange zest. This has amazing depth! Not picking up any of the 12%abv at all.
WOW! just... I need a moment here! LOL! This everything I always hoped I'd find everytime I popped open an Imperial Stout, but almost never do. Rich dark chocolate covered coffee beans, vanilla caramel candy rolled in citrus zest and dark cherry pieces. The alcohol is barely noticeable and that's saying something in a 12% IRS. Just an absolute perfect blend of Citrus, cocoa, coffee and charred malt. It doesn't get much better than this.
So thick you almost feel like you have to chew each sip. It's so creamy in the way it just envelopes your tongue and mouth. Perfection!!!
I'm not sure I've ever had a regular IRS that WOW'd me like this! This is damn near perfection. I'm not even sure if barrel aging this would improve, or take away from what is already damn near a perfect stout. Hat's of to Pretty Things yet again! I need to do a Black & Tan of this and Our Finest Regards!

Photo of galwayjoyce
4.88/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Incredible RIS.
Velvet mouthfeel, Rich with chocolate, vanilla, and almost overwhelming caramel notes. Best last-minute beer purchase I have made in recent memory. $6 with my employee discount, but at under $10 retail, a GREAT value.

Photo of VelvetExtract
4.13/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours black. Zero light penetration. Oily consistency. When agitated, the head grows into a well-sized mass of dark tan foam. Lacks a ton of lacing.

S-Very pungent and unique. It doesn't smell like your generic Imperial Stout. A ton of cocoa powder with a very clear dark fruitiness. Dried, nearly burnt, oaty malts. Espresso and dog food (not off putting). Dark liqueur.

T-A tide of rich, dark complexity. Cocoa powder and pure fudge. Roasted nuts, namely hazelnut and chestnut. Burnt malt. Uber-roasty espresso. Flat root beer. Dark fruit, not raisin but maybe boozy black cherries. Bitter, robust flavors slowly lead into a sweet middle ground that reminds me of candy bar chocolate. Reminds me a bit of Fernet. Lots to describe but it also meshes into one encompassing flavor that is memorable.

M-Soft carbonation. Big, viscous body. Espresso aftertaste is endless. Bitter with lingering feel. Alcohol simmer.

O-Yes, this is a big success. I will be purchasing 2 or 3 more of these to lay down. This is underratedly one of Pretty Thing's best beers. It's unique and multifaceted. Right up there with Our Finest Regards - my favorite offering from Pretty Things...or is it better? Now let's me see if I get a nice message this time.

Photo of imscotty
4.9/5  rDev +12.1%

A: Pours a dark black, some amber coloration when held to the light. A small tan head quickly forms and then fades away. Some lacing evident.

S: Roasted grains, some alcohol, chocolate

T: Wow, really flavorful. The roasted bitterness is beautifully assertive. Roasted, chocolate, coffee, smoke, hazelnut flavors move in waves on the tongue. There is a nice balance and interplay between sweet and bitterness. The bitterness dominates in the finish and leaves you wanting another sip. This is a great beer. Gets better and better as it warms.

M: Fairly well carbonated for a beer this full bodied and assertive, it has a great mouthfeel. A bit oily and thick bodied like I want in a RIS.

O: I have always been a fan of Pretty Things, but I think they have hit this one out of the park. One of the best Imperial Stouts I have ever had that is not Barrel Aged. My hats off to Pretty Things.

PS: If anyone knows of a bottle shop that still has this on the shelves, please please PM me. Thanks.

Photo of sdeese21
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this bad boy up at a beer store in Louisiana! Light beading of carbonation around the edge of the glass and jet black in color. Definitely a noticeable hoppiness upfront. This velvety beer finishes strong with a nice heat at the end. A top notch non-barreled RIS for sure!

Photo of Flounder57
4.4/5  rDev +0.7%

22 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: A two finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a puffy layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything.

Smell: Smoke, roasted coffee, molasses, chocolate, caramel, a little soy, toffee, earthy, toasted, a little nutty, and oats.

Taste: The flavors blend really well together. Ash, roasted, chocolate, oat, toasted, nutty, molasses, toffee, caramel, earthy, slight soy, and mild bitterness in the rear. Alcohol is barely noticeable given the 12% ABV.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full bodied, deceiving hidden alcohol, low to medium carbonation, and ashy bitterness.

Overall: Truly one of the best RIS I have had. I will look forward to more of these in the future. This beer got better as it warmed.

Photo of doremite
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%

This is a great RIS but has a slightly thin mouthfeel and comes across a tad hot in the finish. It is 12% so I get that kind of punch is hard to completely veil. Very flavorful stout overall. A must try for big stout fans. Only factor holding me back from drinking this regularly is abv!

Photo of JamesStreet
4.04/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter

A - Thick black pour with a slight brownish-tan head. Real "clunky" pour. Can already tell this will be a weighty beast. Minimal lace.

S - Dark chocolate, raisin, date, some roastiness

T - Some of the chocolate comes through. A bit of cane syrup comes from the thick, sludgy sip. Some molasses with a little bit of the darker fruit hitting the back of the tongue. Alcohol is well hidden and pretty much lacks any hop presence at all.

M - Very viscous, syrupy mouthfeel. Medium to heavy on the palette. Light on the carbonation. Not quite a cough syrup feel but almost.

O - a little different from what I was suspecting but in a good way! The thick, syrupy mouthfeel was a pleasant surprise. Really good. Pretty Things rarely disappoints, imo.

Photo of alexbutler
4.52/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Jet black pour with a nice chocolately head. Simple lacing developed... but certainly a very impressive looking stout.

S -Melted chocolate. A deep, heavy aroma of roasted malts with a hint of hops at the end. Creamy.

T - Nice and full. A very sweet tasting stout, balanced well with a light amount of hops that doesn't upset the heavy handed malt flavor. You could almost drop a scoop of vanilla ice cream in here, and I'm sure it would match perfectly.

M - Very heavy mouthfeel here, feels like just it looks. I'm not a fan of stouts/porters which don't live up to their appearance (The last thing you want out of a stout is a thin, wateriness). And this beer stays thick. Little bit of a lingering aftertaste, but nothing wrong with that.

O - Great stout, without question. The $8 pricetag is a bit much, but know that you're getting a high class stout with Pretty Things. I'd get this again.

Photo of Brewsephus
4.3/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz into Duvel Tulip glass

A- Black as night. Creamy 2 finger tan head. Superfine bubbles.

S-Roast, intense roast. Chocolate, butter, dried figs.

T-Vanilla bean, bakers chocolate, light roast rye bread, some heat from the alcohol, fresh cut grass, banana esters.

M- Full, thick, viscous. Carbonation is Medium plus.

O- A very tasty, bready, black as the devil's soul, Imperial Stout. Nice balance of roast to mouthfeel and alcohol. Doesn't taste 12%. Lots of flavors to explore as this beer warms. Would buy again.

Photo of HattedClassic
4.37/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The beer pours a fairly vigorous head that takes a while to dissipate. The head is a somewhat creamy and somewhat bubbly light brown that has an interesting texture. The appearance is between creamy but without its glossy appearance. The beer itself is a very dark brownish black that is opaque. The color appears closer to a dark brown than it does a black. The smell has strong roasted malt notes and dark chocolate notes. The beer also has weaker alcohol notes with a bit of barley as well. The taste has the same notes but in different strengths. In the taste, the dark chocolate notes are much stronger than the roasted malts and the alcohol is noticeable from the beginning to the end. The chocolate notes strike the balance between sweet and cocoa, which is interesting. The mouthfeel is fairly heavy with biting carbonation. The feel is thick but smooth. Overall, a very good and very strong imperial stout.

Photo of donkeyrunner
3.94/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$8 for 12 oz at Atwoods, Somerville MA

Opaque no nonsense black with a wet clay color head. Smalls of char and sweet dark roast malt. Dark, dark malt very sweet and very roasty. Plenty of booze. Burnt caramel. A bit too sweet to be balanced the sweetness and booze didn't bother me at first but as this beer warmed up it got a bit cloying.

Photo of cbutova
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On-tap at the Dive Bar in Worcester, MA. Reviewed from notes.

A- Midnight sky, jet black body poured from the tap into a goblet. Small tan frothy, foamy head with good retention. Small ring creates a disproportionately large amount of thick lace rings and webs.

S- Pungent bowl of toasty oats with chocolate drizzled all over it comes to mind with the first sniff. Notes of roast malts, cocoa powder, dark coffee beans, cracked cereal grains and decadent malts.

T- Roast malt and grains seem to dominate but the hops come out to play and balance it all out nicely. Earthy and pine hints from those hops. Chocolate bars, cocoa powder, coffee beans and burnt cereal grain hints. Just a roast attack. Slight yeasty raisin fruit character.

MF- Thick bodied with a medium high carbonation. Creamy texture and silky smooth brew to sip on. Slight alcohol warmth and roasty bitterness lingers on the palate after sipping.

One of the better Imperial Stouts I can think of coming out of MA in some time. I was excited to hear of a 12% RIS from Pretty Things and this delivers. Will have to pick up some bottles to drink with friends.

Photo of BarryMFBurton
4.05/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled in December 2013, four months before the date of this tasting.

Pours an intimidating viscous black with almost no head. Dark, fruity aromas waft up from the glass in waves of deep fig, raisin, molasses, cigar smoke, and chalk. Big imperial palate with a boozy oak char and tobacco, a bitter and uniquely herbal blend that rises with some distinct notes of anise, blackcurrant, hickory smoke, cooked mushroom, and catty hops. Lots of nuance - very sippable. Finishes a tad chalky, with some dry smoke. Moderate viscosity, thinner than normal, with little carbonation. This beer focuses on some of the flavors and aromas that are usually more subtle in other stouts, so it's an interesting drink - and an enjoyable one, too.

Photo of ygtbsm94
4.03/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma of sweet roasted malt, faint coffee, molasses, cocoa. Taste sweet malt, dark chocolate, slight coffee, licorice, mild ABV. Nice!

Photo of sbauer
4.54/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark cherry, coffee, very long palate. Delicious.

Photo of zoober911
4.66/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle to tulip.

A - Pours black. My girlfriend said 'Wow that's dark!' It's dark. A half finger of tan head.

S - Chocolate. Lots of chocolate. Smells great!

T - Dark chocolate bitterness, deliciousness. For 12% not catching any booziness. Very smooth and drinkable.

M - Smooth mouthfeel. Little to no carbonation. Very pleasing.

O- Definitely one of the better RIS that I have had in recent days. It is very reminiscent of GI's Big John. Almost spot on actually. Would definitely revisit this one, and will definitely put one or two away for a later date. Very well done!

Photo of EGoldings
5/5  rDev +14.4%

This is just lovely. Beautiful dark color and lacing. Aroma is coffee, chocolate, molasses. Taste is the same with added caramel. Mouthfeel is thick and full bodied. This might just be my favorite RIS.

Photo of Ohiovania
4.28/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

bottled may 2014

A very nicely hopped RIS. Comparable to Nightstalker and Blot Out the Sun. Wasn't expecting so much hop forwardness and don't hear a lot of others describing it.

I'm going to sit on my other bottle for at least another year and see how it goes.

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.41/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Super dark pour. Lots of roasted malt, milk and dark chocolate. Medium mouthfeel. Delightful.

Photo of smcolw
3.94/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Near black color (no light shined through). Decent start to the head, but it settles to a thin layer of bubbles. Still, it leaves plenty of ring lace and some webbiness.

Relatively mild aroma of chalky, malty dark chocolate.

Milky chocolate without a lot of sweetness. There's a bit of cream, but the predominate flavor is dark chocolate. There's a bit of cocoa flavor in the swallow and it lasts through the aftertaste. There's a strong alcohol kick to the aftertaste. Semi-sweet. The body is good for the style and the carbonation is low.

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Barbapapa Imperial Russian Stout from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
97 out of 100 based on 290 ratings.