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Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

1,388 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,388
Reviews: 561
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 44
Gots: 149 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.90% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
2010 8.2% abv

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 08-31-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,388 | Reviews: 561 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChaseT
1/5  rDev -73.3%

ChaseT, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of vinny21bal
1.5/5  rDev -60%

vinny21bal, Dec 02, 2013
Photo of mrasskicktastic
1.83/5  rDev -51.2%

A - A large tan head sits atop a dark auburn brew. A fair build-up of lacing.

S - A faint coffee, dates, raisins, grassy hops and moss. A bit pungent and unpleasant.

T - An initial mesh of dark chocolate, moss, coffee and grasses. Aftertaste is a little medicinal, grassy and mossy with some coffee lingering.

M - Harsh, acidic, thin, not very refreshing. Gummed up in my throat.

D - Bleh. I don't even want the rest of the bomber. Maybe my roommate wants it . . .

mrasskicktastic, Sep 22, 2007
Photo of warmstorage
1.85/5  rDev -50.7%

WOW! What a profoundly mediocre beer. Yet another Lagunitas that I'm bummed to have spent $2.79 at Safeway for a 22 ounce bomber, and poured into a pint glass.

It pours a medium brown, easily seen through in a pint glass, and a clear filtered brew. Looks like a standard brown ale, or maybe Old Peculiar. Sure, a nice enough color for a beer, but absolutely, positively not an Imperial Stout: this isn't "black" in any definition, but rather a medium ruby brown, easily seen through in any serving container. There is significant brown-tinted head, and a little more carbonation than I would expect for this alleged style, and lace which is quickly dispersed.

The smell is sweetish and medium-alcohol, with minimal roast, hop, or esters present. Same true as it warms up to cellar temp. Really, very little is present in the smell here: a little burned roast, but little else.

Taste? This is absolutely, positively not an Imperial Stout: not even a weak, sad attempt at one. It has a sweet, higher gravity presence, with distinct alcohol, with very mild bitterness, zero or minimal hops present in the taste. It's a significantly malty, roasty, boring dark ale. Something like a brown ale with higher than expected gravity. For the style, it's a genuinely terrible beer. Overall, it's drinkable only if you completely ignore the bizarre labeling as an imperial stout, and just enjoy the grain body necessary to get it to the advertised 8.2% ABV, but you have to completely forget what it's supposed to be.

For style, this is the easiest, sweet, least robust, least hopped, least thick, least smelling imperial stout I have EVER had. BLAH!

The mouthfeel is sweet, slick, slightly oily, and defined mostly by sweet alcohol, not by roast, malt, hops, or heavy, dark thickness one would expect in an Imperial Stout.

Overall, I give it a 3 for drinkability only because it's not bad beer, it's just a HORRIBLE example of style, and I finished the bottle only with my wife assisting, and during the course of a hour and a half long movie, with pauses to take notes and record impressions. I was AMAZINGLY unimpressed with this beer: they should re-label it as an "imperial brown ale" or "imperial porter", then throw another couple hundred pounds of grain ber barrel before selling it.

This is very likely the last Lagunitas I'll EVER buy: they are just a consistent disappointment, for style, and for overall drinking, that I regret it every time I buy one. The only I think is worth a damn is the Brown Shugga, and even that is only a middling product in its style. In fact, I have to wonder if this "imperial stout" is an accident of the Brown Shugga brewing, where they tossed in a pound too much grain for their corporate quality control to let it leave the factory, but their market department through they could do something with it.

warmstorage, May 26, 2005
Photo of bigbeerdrinka
1.88/5  rDev -49.9%

Pours a deep opaque black color with a large frothy white head that leaves no lace. The aroma on this beer just smelled putrid: a mix between sweaty oats, slight roasted malts, and some lactic acid tones. At first I thought this brew just may be contaminated but after tasting and checking some other reviews this seems to follow most peoples opinions. Aromas start off sweet with hints of dark fruits and just a touch of roasted malt. The body to this brew is super thin which is adds to my dissapointment. There is almost no bitterness throughout, but there are tones of light coffee and cocoa in the mix. The finish consists of a strong lactic acid taste to it... Overall this is a really bad attempt at a milk stout.. This is no way in hell an imperial stout, so don't be fooled by the label.. Overall this beer is truly a dissapointment for the brewery, considering I absolutely love brown shugga and maximus.. Hopefully someone will inform them as to what an imperial stout is supposed to taste like..

bigbeerdrinka, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of elquinty
2/5  rDev -46.7%

elquinty, Aug 09, 2012
Photo of Halcyondays
2.08/5  rDev -44.5%

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a medium mocha coloured head. Good retention, light lace.

S: Molasses, sweet chocolate, dates.

T: Cloying brown sugar and booze. Really no chocolate flavour, tough to drink.

M: Medium-bodied, light for an Imperial Stout, boozy and cloying as I said. Not a good aftertaste.

O: Reminds me a bit of Ruben and the Jets which I was not a fan of. Just not a good IS at all. Amazing price for the style but not even worth it at that. I was scared when I saw the 1.092 OG this would be underattenuated and I was right.

Halcyondays, Oct 31, 2011
Photo of cwlodyka
2.1/5  rDev -44%

Everything about this beer excites me... until it hit my lips. The first thing I got was that burning flavor of a high alcohol beer. It was difficult to get passed that to further evaluate this beer. A good looking beer and a light roasted scent, big body but it wasn't pleasing to subsequently follow. I was actually a little disappointed I had a whole 22 ahead of me.

cwlodyka, Oct 23, 2011
Photo of mcallister
2.15/5  rDev -42.7%

A thin shade of near black? Lacks that inky aspect that the best of RIS's possess. A very small tan head fades ever so quickly into a ring around the snifter.

Lacking complexity in the aroma department yet still has a nice smell. Dark chocolate, and dark fruits dominate. Big fruit character for the style, blackberry being the main culprit, with a caramel, vanilla rendering.

Geesh, all I can say is this is dissapointing. Very thin and watery and lacking any substance, depth, or complexity. An odd hop flavor on the finish leaves a chalky bitterness that makes you think "why"? Dark chocolate with less fruit than apparent in the nose. Some alcohol in the chest. Lagu guys should consider a change in recipe on this one.

mcallister, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of sirdillon
2.17/5  rDev -42.1%

Poured from a bomber into an oversized wine glass.

Appearance: Pours a really dark brown color, red highlights along the edges, with a light tan head. The head tries to get out of there as soon as possible, fizzing loudly as it leaves. No lacing. No head retention. This does not bode well.

Smell: Dark fruits, overripe apple, alcohol. Not getting much roasty character in the smell. Not appetizing.

Taste: Similar to the smell, very fruity for sure. Besides the fruit, theres some coffee in the taste, as well as some hop bitterness in the finish. Maybe some chocolate. The roasty character is nowhere near what I like to see in an imperial stout. And really, the oversweet apple taste is ruining this.

Mouthfeel: Suprisingly thin and watery. None of the full chewiness that I adore in imperial stouts. Not good.

Overall: I definitely didn't want to bash this beer, and in fact was expecting to like it quite a bit. I've never disliked a beer from Lagunitas as much as this, although Hairy Eyeball comes close. There is nothing necessarily offensive about this beer, but it definitely doesn't deserve even an average rating. Bummer.

sirdillon, Apr 28, 2011
Photo of tiodan
2.23/5  rDev -40.5%

pours dark and thin into me trusty snifter, creating a bit of whitish head that quickly settles down to a little lace around the edge. nearly opaque, but definitely lighter than most imperials upon close inspection. this russian's aroma has apparantly been suppresed by the state, leaving only a dubious suggestion of roastiness. as for taste, a paltry, almost nonexistent start gives way to a blunt, dry, displeasurable bitterness. it's somewhat reminiscent of a corner store chocolate popsicle: vaguely suggestive of what could be, but utterly unconvincing in its own right. mouthfeel is thin and watery, though not actively objectionable if i can distract myself from the taste. drinkability gets low marks because, having had other imperial stouts, i do not want this in my mouth.

tiodan, Jul 19, 2005
Photo of mctizzz
2.25/5  rDev -40%

mctizzz, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of chippo33
2.25/5  rDev -40%

chippo33, Dec 04, 2012
Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
2.25/5  rDev -40%

This one pours a very dark, opaque black with amber hues in the light. The head is thin which results in a thin ring of off white bubbles on the edge. The smell is very sweet with almost no roasted malts, hops or any defining scent that would make this an RIS. The taste is the same unfortunately. Its a little boozy with mostly chocolate syrup with a hint of sweet and roasted malts. The mouthfeel is alright but is a little thin and oily. Drinkability is low due to the cloying sweetness and weak body.

CrazyMacHarris99, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of Bloodbuzz99
2.25/5  rDev -40%

Bloodbuzz99, Mar 02, 2014
Photo of ccrida
2.25/5  rDev -40%

bomber into my New Beligium goblet, garnet tinged black with a quickly receding tan head that leaves light lace.

Smell is lots of chocolate, sweet malt and some alcohol. A hint of piny hops as it warms finally swings it from disgustingly sweet to still not very appealing.

Taste is also very sweet, chocolate and way to much oats for my taste, caramel with just a hint of roast. More like a big sugary porter, to sweet for me, which is not something I often say. Finish is very boozy, especially for being on the smaller side for an RIS, this drinks more like an overdone oatmeal stout.

Mouthfeel is slick, medium bodied.

Drinkability is low, my least favorite Lagunitas to date. Took me a good 1.5 hrs of letting this thing sit and warm up and it barely got any better...luckily, it was only $4!

ccrida, Jan 11, 2008
Photo of PDXHops
2.28/5  rDev -39.2%

Been cellaring this 22 oz. bottle for about a year. Poured into a Duvel glass.

A: Doesn't seem to be any lack in carbonation. Nice fizz and a decent 3/4 finger cream-colored head. Color is not great- a dark reddish brown, not at all as dark as I expected. When I get to the point that there's 5 or 6 ounces left in the glass, I can clearly see through it.

S: The nose starts out interesting as I pick up raisins, burnt sugar, a little leather and tobacco? Not a lot of the expected roasty/chocolate type aromas, though. Kind of strange.

T: Once again, interesting, but somewhat unexpected. Only a hint of the usual stout roasted flavors. More fruity than roasty- figs and raisins. A bit of an unpleasant sourish and very sweet aftertaste.

M: Lighter in body than I expected, but it's velvety and smooth.

D: Not great for me due to the weird aftertaste and lack of dark roasted flavors I want in a stout.

Unexpected was definitely the theme of the day on this one. Sometimes unexpected is good; this time, not so much. By far my least favorite Lagunitas brew I've tried so far.

PDXHops, Nov 27, 2008
Photo of Blakaeris
2.28/5  rDev -39.2%

Pours very dark velvety brown, almost black. Generous head is tan and creamy with nice lacing.

Smell is very slight. I expected a full and rich aroma from a RIS. What I can pick up is subdued dark malt and lactose sweetness.

Taste is sweet, smooth and very chocolatey. Flavor is very mild. Lightly malty with a mild hop finish. No dark burnt grain to speak of. High ABV is very well hidden.

Mouthfeel is light bodied.

This would be a very solid dark lager. Very mild and drinkable with a smooth chocolate character. However, this is a terribly dissapointing RIS. I have been impressed with the other offerings from Lagunitas. What happened here? I've had porters with much more robust and complex flavor (Fuller's London Porter for example). This isn't a terrible beer but it is way off from the style...

Blakaeris, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of Bighuge
2.38/5  rDev -36.5%

There's a decent roasted character in aroma. That's about it. Appearance is very close to black. Creamy brown head with no retention and no lacing ability. This beer is medium to full bodied. Should be fuller in my opinion. The taste is very lacking for an imperial. I've had porters and BROWNS that have been more complex (see DF Indian Brown and Rogue Hazelnut). This is pretty weak for an imperial. Pretty thin for the style too. I get slight roasted and chocolate malt qualities. Very little bitterness. Not recommended.

Bighuge, Apr 23, 2002
Photo of WVbeergeek
2.42/5  rDev -35.5%

Appearance: Dark caramel brown thin tan head leaves specks of lacing. Aroma: Relatively bland lacks much of anything but mild chocolate tones from this one. Taste: Once again where's the imperialness this doesn't like a big stout of Russian decent that I have come to know and love. Dulled down chocolate, wood herbal finish weak flavors watery in a sense what the fuck. Mouthfeel: Medium to thin for an imperial stout pass on this one. Drinkability: I have tasted many Imperial Stouts this one is lacking in every department after falling in love with a couple Lagunitas brews I picked up this one, disappointment.

WVbeergeek, Apr 28, 2004
Photo of santoslhalper
2.45/5  rDev -34.7%

Appearence: Pours a reddish dark brown with a thin, quickly dissapating beige head.

Smell: The nose has chocolate and coffee stout aromas, but there's also an underlying smokiness, that gives it an almost imperial rauchbier smell.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Very smoky. Nearing rauchbier levels, with the background being more porter-like than stout-like, with chocolate and roasted malt notes throughout. A decent amout of hop bitterness, but it seems uncalled for. Thin, and unsatisfying mouthfeel, for a stout.

Drinkability and Overall: Call it an imperial rauchbier and I love it. Call it an imperial stout, and I'll call you a liar. All I can taste is the smokiness. I'm reviewing by style here. If we drop styles and focus on how it tastes, this is a pretty decent brew.

santoslhalper, Feb 27, 2006
Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.45/5  rDev -34.7%

Transparent dark cranberry with slim tangerine edges. A Russian IS that isn't even close to opaque? What the hell are these guys thinking? The appearance score deserves to be marked down for that fact alone. I've seen darker brown ales. The golden beige head is incredibly light in color as well. This could be interesting.

Unfortunately, the aroma is just as lacking. It's way too weak, delivering no more than a passing whiff of dark malt. None of the usual stoutiness is present, because not much of anything is present. Big disappointment so far.

Even though Imperial Stout is no kind of RIS at all, at least it has some amount of flavor. Could the brewers have meant for this beer to look, smell and taste like this? It's hard to imagine, especially since it's obvious that they know their way around a mash tun and are capable of brewing some real humdingers. In fact, I think they do a bang-up job (present company excepted) and are underappreciated on the whole.

My first impression was that LIS is barely average, but it doesn't even reach that low bar. It's horribly thin, with almost no malt sugar sweetness, and tastes like burnt black bread, charred coffee beans and bits of bitter black licorice. Cappuccino Stout is damn good stuff, so this abomination is even harder to figure.

The body/mouthfeel is worse than pathetic (for the style). Thin, thinner, thinnest. The carbonation is okay in terms of quantity, but there's no creaminess whatsoever. With very few ingredients to run interference, it's no wonder the bubbles feel harsh.

Imperial Stout needs a bumper-to-bumper overhaul and needs it right now. It's tempting to assume that this bottle isn't representative, but it looks like this offering is near the bottom for Lagunitas when sorted by overall score. Yikes, this is bad.

BuckeyeNation, Oct 11, 2008
Photo of maximum12
2.48/5  rDev -33.9%

Well, Lagunitas, here we are again. This relationship hasn't really developed like I'd hoped. You, relatively cheap bombers. Me, beer lover. An intersection of interests. But you haven't flashed enough cleavage at me yet. Is this the night?

Pour looks just like a stout into two goblets from the 22 oz. bottle. No goop on the bottom of the bottle, which I appreciate. Your perfume is standard-issue, available at any department store: sweet malt, hints of chocolate, couple beans of roast. Thin.

Lagunitas Imperial Stout, you leave me cold. I'm not interested in the first note from an imperial stout to be the strong, dark fruit notes that emerge, toss a couple plates around, & assume center stage. Intentional? The dripping fruit is mildly unpleasant. Sweet malts, weak, non-authentic chocolate drift in & out of the orchard. Roast is the one good thing going for it, & raises its head just before a fruit tree falls on it. Heavy beer. The fruit plate limits how much of it I want to drink to a few ounces...but have another eight or nine to get through. Sigh.

Well, another blah beer. There are a couple breweries that just don't agree with me, whether its water, yeast strains, or whatever. Unfortunately Lagunitas seems to be one I'm going to be avoiding in the future. This is a sub-average beer for me (& my wife agrees).

maximum12, Sep 08, 2011
Photo of acurtis
2.5/5  rDev -33.3%

acurtis, Jan 16, 2012
Photo of cokes
2.5/5  rDev -33.3%

Dark cola brown, with a fair amount of translucency. It looks a lot more like a Brown Ale than an Imperial Stout. An ashy brown head sprouts up, swirls around the glass a time or two, then vanishes.
Into the nose, it flashes carob briefly, then fig, then just flatlines into a nondescript toasty maltiness, flecked vaguely with coffee bean and caramel, which arrives a little more as it reaches room temperature. Nevertheless, this is feeble smelling within the style. While not bad or off-smelling, just impotent and vacant.
Tastewise, it's more of the same. While most Imperial Stouts are fitted with overdrive, this has to downshift just to make it up the hill. It putts across the tongue, leaking caramel, milk chocolate, and raisins. But they are merely spots on the pavement here, not the quarter-mile long skid marks that indicate high performance. It stutters and starts with blue clouds of toasted malts with occasional chokes of roastier exhaust. A sputtering of rusty dead plant hops gives a bump of bitterness, but conks out before any real flavor arrives. It coasts home on intermittent fumes of cocoa and ethanol.
And it's not because the oil hasn't been changed regularly. Most Impys look like they were driven 100,000 miles between services.... The metaphor falls flat here, because this has no semblance of motor oil. It's thin, lacking structure, and carries very little of anything. The 8+% isn't in the way as far as drinkability is concerned, but sheer boredom absolutely is. I've had 4% Stouts with quadruple the character.
This is a lemon in every way. The Edsel of the Lagunitas line. It entirely lacks the features of other entries in its class.

cokes, Mar 28, 2008
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Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,388 ratings.