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Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

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1,296 Ratings
no score

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Ratings: 1,296
Reviews: 548
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.1%
Wants: 39
Gots: 122 | FT: 4
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: 1,296 | Reviews: 548 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerSox


3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into snifter.

Just by looking at this beer, I would expect it to be a mild RIS. I can see ruby edges, the head wasn't brown (more of a tan), and the head was bubbly and faded somewhat quickly to a thin rim. Spotty lacing along the glass.

The aroma is somewhat bitter, but seems light. Usually the aroma is strong enough so you can barely handle it. This smells like a heavy porter.

The flavor in this one, is once again, on the lighter side. It tastes good, but more like a regular stout. Lower on the hoppiness. Medium bodied (short again) with the proper amount of carbonation. This one feels less thick than the standard RIS. The finish is lingering grain.

Normally an RIS packs a punch, but this one doesn't. I don't want to take off too many points because it still tastes good, with moderate complexity, it's just toned down. It still has the same characterisitcs as an RIS, such as the deep bitter malt with molasses aromas, a bit of chocolate in the flavor, maybe the hops come up short. It's recommended, as long as you're not expecting a full bodied, ultra-bitter, thick, RIS.

Serving type: bottle

11-22-2007 01:44:45 | More by BeerSox
Photo of cjgator3


3.6/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a dark black color that looks dark brown when held up to the light with a really nice light tan head that has good retention and leaves an impressive amount of lacing. The aroma is definitely on the faint side for an Russian Imperial Stout. The aroma features dark roasted malts, cocoa and coffee. The taste is dark roasted malts with a bitter and slightly alcoholic finish. Overall, this is a pretty decent RIS, but it lacks the bold and aggressive flavors that I enjoy in some of the better examples. Nonetheless, it is still recommended.

Serving type: bottle

11-21-2007 03:23:48 | More by cjgator3
Photo of LeftyBWS


3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. brown bomber into a Sam Adams pint glass.
A: Quite dark brown in color, but not quite black and actually light-penetrable near the middle of the glass. 1.5 inches or so of light brown head, bubbly and active, falling quickly.
S: Very chocolatey and dryish in the nose up front. It's not overwhelming, but it is strong and it kinda masks any other smells. If I really try, I can get a grassy scent, not really hoppy, just kinda fresh vegetabley. Not bad, really, just not a lot going on; pleasant but unimpressive. The sugars seem fake, and there's nothing to back them up, really.
T: Smooth malts at first, kinda chocolate, hints of coffee perhaps. Midtaste is also smooth, bordering on some sort of hoppy taste but not quite, mostly just leafy and crisp, but still sweetish. The finish is a continuation of these tastes, plus a bit of a mild roasted taste, partly sweet, partly grainy. Overall, relatively subtle, but definitely not unpleasant.
M: Not bad, but not great. Dryish at first, and oddly cloying in the finish.
D: One of the selling points of this brew. Easy to put back, and hard to tell it's 8+ % ABV.

Serving type: bottle

11-16-2007 04:58:52 | More by LeftyBWS
Photo of cswhitehorse


3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Imperial Stout poured as it should dark as night with no head at all. I did not see a freshness date on the bottle. The smell was of roasted malts but couldn't get much else from it. The flavor was average and it tasted good but there didn't seem to be much going on. It had a creaminess to it. In the mouth is was thinner than I like my Imperial stouts.

Serving type: bottle

11-13-2007 05:10:59 | More by cswhitehorse
Photo of PlaywrightSam

New York

3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber into tulip glass. A: Lighter than I expected, very dark brown, some fluffy head that doesn't stay around very long. Lacing is pretty short lived as well. S: Darker malts, grains, some grassy hops, some cocoa. Smells like a porter to me. Alcohol present. T: Surprisingly light. Pretty bitter up front, the hops are surprisingly present. Some coffee and cocoa flavors, vague citrus flavors toward the finish. D: I'm not well versed in the style, but it seems a tad thin to me. I'm actually having trouble finding things to say about it, the flavor isn't terribly deep. But still, it's very drinkable, and I wouldn't get the abv to be as high as it is. A surprising beer, but good.

Serving type: bottle

11-09-2007 04:43:06 | More by PlaywrightSam
Photo of RyanPB

New York

3.23/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Freakishly offbeat for an Imperial. Incredibly effervescent, light enough to make it register as a porter in my mind. I’ve read a lot reviews saying rum, but to me this is more woody that the spiciness I associate with that alcohol. I actually like the mouthfeel, but doesn't fit in to my imperial stout preferences (neither chalky like Dragonslayer nor oily like Old Rasputin). Pleasantly odd.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2007 23:14:18 | More by RyanPB
Photo of irishkyle21

Ontario (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a fluffy head that has great retention. A ring of lace is left behind after each sip. Has a deep dark brown ( almost black) color.

Smells of burnt coffee malt, a bit of hops and some dark fruits.

The taste follows the trail left by my nose. Notes of dark fruits, chocolate, a bit of coffee. The malts are the key to this RIS. This is wonderfully drinkable. The alcohol starts to come through in a warming fashion as the beer reach's room temperature.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2007 06:06:26 | More by irishkyle21
Photo of tpd975


3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have enjoyed the all the prior bomber Lagunita's offerings that have come to Florida so I really looked forward to this one as a RIS Lover.

A: Pours a nice deep dark black color with a rather mild head for a stout. Appears to be rather thin, just an average looking stout.

S: Hints of choclate and coffee are noted. Some sweetened prunes are noted as well. Nothing too really write home about.

T: Average. Like the nose coffee and chocolate are noted but nothing really stands out. It's an average tasting stout that could be brewed by any company or average home brewer.

M: Thin and watery, much thinner than I like my stouts.

D: It's drinkable and due to the thin quality is less filling than most stouts.

Overall: This one was a pretty big let down which may have led to me being slightly over critical. I have really liked all the previous Laguintas offerings and had high hopes for this one. The taste and aroma are lacking and it is just too thin for an RIS. I will just put this one behind me and look forward to the next Lagunitas offering.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2007 06:27:05 | More by tpd975
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So I had actually had this one sitting around for quite a while but I never got around to trying it for one reason or another, but with the onset of the cold weather upon us, I figured now was the time to give it a shot. Poured a deep dark brown, essentially black with a large tan colored head. Nice slow retention left behind copious amounts of side lace. Smell was full of roasted coffee, chocolate, and an almost Brandy like aroma. Very thick with a bit of a sweet note to it. The taste followed along almost exactly. Very full bodied, rich and creamy feel let you really enjoy the bold dominating flavors of dark chocolate and coffee and the long finish helped you find some of the more subtle hints of a hoppy finish. Just the smallest touch of an alcohol warming, but nothing that really took you over. Overall this was an excellent sipper, really had the dessert, or late night feel to it. An excellent big stout, very complex and nice and full. I liked this one a lot and would say it was definitely worth a shot.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2007 23:48:29 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of mrasskicktastic

New Jersey

1.83/5  rDev -51.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

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 . . .

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2007 04:15:24 | More by mrasskicktastic
Photo of blitz134


3.48/5  rDev -7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish, red colored body. Not the pitch black that would be expected with the style. Initially about an inch of light tan head that reduced to a skim layer fairly quickly.

A bit of chocolate then a slathering of dark fruits, raisins and some plums. A bit alcoholic with some sugary sweetness coming through. Lacks the daker roasted notes I'd like to see.

More dark toasted notes in the flavor and lacks the sugary sweetness that the nose hinted at. Finish is actually a touch chocolaty. Simple flavor overall, just not nearly as complex as the others on the market. Not as much alcohol as the nose alluded to either.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. I'd like to have this be a bit thicker. Carbonation levels seem okay making this one a fairly smooth.

Overall a drinkable beer just simple overall. Good price for what you get I think.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2007 02:03:30 | More by blitz134
Photo of hckyfn9999


3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, with some dark garnet and amber hues, with a decent cream colored head. Not exactly the color you would expect from a RIS, normally a pitch black. Aroma is of chocolate, maple syrup, roasted malt, and a touch of hops. Taste is more like a brown ale with a touch of roasted, perhaps burnt malt on the finish. This is like a big brown, although even if this was classified as a brown, I've still had better. Not quite an RIS or a stout in my opinion. Not bad but mislabeled.

Serving type: bottle

08-08-2007 00:59:42 | More by hckyfn9999
Photo of Blupoet03


2.93/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a deep amber with a tan, foamy head and greats you with a strong hop aroma.

Unfortunately, it looked better than it tasted. There was a definite taste of chocolate in this beer as well the strong hops.

Overall it was thin, but with a crisp finish.

In summary, it I think that for those who love to taste the hops, this will be an ok beer. If you're looking for more complexity, keep looking.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2007 14:19:17 | More by Blupoet03
Photo of WesWes

New York

4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a nice chocolate and black roasted barley scent that is toastey with some residual sweetness. The taste is good as well. It has a rich, black malt flavor that is warm with a thick, roasted feel. It does have a little chocolate malt in there providing a bit of sweetness to balance the earthy patent malt. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking beer. It's rich and flavorful; a fine IS.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2007 00:43:28 | More by WesWes
Photo of BDTyre

British Columbia (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A sessionable Imperial Stout? Lagunitas seem to have made one.

Leans slightly to the dark brown in colour, not the near black that I'm used to. Head is a little vigourous.

Slightly sweet, chocolatey and brown sugar scent. Faint smattering of bitterness, and almost none of the vinous hints that I'm used to...but it works for this beer. A distinct, albeit barely noticeabe warmth in the nose.

Slightly dry, but sugary taste. Brown sugar, molasses, coffee and chocolate. Slightly bitter vinous notes as it goes down temper the sweetness and remind one that this is still a serious stout and not to be taken lightly.

My only major complaint is that this is a bit on the watery side. For an Imperial Stout, it sure is a bit weak. A bit more body would make this excellent. As is, it is bordering on sessionable....

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2007 07:25:54 | More by BDTyre
Photo of zdk9


3.55/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A decent dry RIS with strong cocoa flavors and not much else going on.

A- Pours black with very dark ruby highlights. Just a smidgen of dark brown head that dissipates very quickly. No lacing.

S- Cocoa, and the slightest espresso. Theres a shade of blueberry presence. Overall the smell is shadowed in strength by the taste so I don't find myself really sniffing to much on this one, despite being in a tulip.

T- Strong taste of dark cocoa which dominates over all the other flavors. There is a touch of citrusy hops mostly in the aftertaste. I get some faint coffee hints as if the brewer was roasting coffee while brewing but didn't actually include any of those flavors in the beer.

M- Reasonably dry without being chalky which I like a lot. Alcohol is unnoticible which is a plus (though this isn't the stongest stout in the world).

D- I enjoy the drinking of this beer but the taste didn't quite do it for my. Much too one sided with the cocoa without really any complexity that might follow from that.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2007 22:55:44 | More by zdk9
Photo of williamherbert

New York

3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thick and black with a cardboard-brown head. Like a dark motor oil.

Dark roasted malt smell. Nutty and bitter aroma. Slight hoppy bitterness rather than coffee. Not that sweet. Burnt and bitter.

Excellent balance of bitterness and smoothness. Slight sweetness in the malt. It's a very blaanced stout; slight bitter aftertaste.

Smooth and a bit buttery for a stout. Not the typical chewy dry stout. Nice thickness, very nice consistency. Smooth, balanced bitter at the end. Delicious actually.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2007 23:29:47 | More by williamherbert
Photo of henrysunset


3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle from bottleworks... dark brown beer with a modest head of tiny bubbly tan foam.

smell is a little strange, kind of like a dark whole grain bread. fairly sweet but no bitterness at all.

taste is somewhat bland too, some maltiness but not enough for the style. alcohol is apparent in the taste. aftertaste finally brings in some nutty coffee flavors.

reasonably smooth but thin. drinkable but otherwise underwhelming.

Serving type: bottle

05-14-2007 03:01:36 | More by henrysunset
Photo of RonfromJersey

New Jersey

3.15/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Black body turns more than fifty percent red when held up to a light. Two-plus fingers of very light tan foam. Comes across a bit light on both fronts. A few scattered squiggles of lace.

Nice aroma of roasted coffee, chocolate, and alcohol-soaking dark fruits.

Taste starts off with coffee (au lait?) and a hint of chocolate, mild fruitiness follows, and an undercurrent of hops snaps up at the swallow. Slight sense of alcohol.

Mouthfeel is too thin for an imperial, needs to be chewy. Too drinkable, and not in a good way.

As a general stout, "eh". As a Russian Imperial, way too bureaucractic. I expected more.

Serving type: bottle

04-26-2007 04:26:32 | More by RonfromJersey
Photo of yourunclewalt

New York

3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a watery, Coca-Cola black with a likewise head. Deep red around the edges when light hits it.

S - Obviously a very malty aroma, little to no hop presence. Toffee, caramel, butterscotch.

M - Surprisingly watery initially, medium carbonation in the middle to a sticky finish.

T - Caramel malt with a smooth butterscotch finish. Very faint spiciness.

D - A pretty well balanced, standard stout...but for an Imperial, I was expecting something inkier, heavier, and more complex than just your standard caramel twang.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2007 04:52:50 | More by yourunclewalt
Photo of msubulldog25


3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

My first try of this "Unlimited Release" from Lagunitas, poured at cellar temperature from a 22 oz. bottle to a pint glass.

A: Notable light in color for the style. Deep mahogany brown that shines ruby in the light. Fizzy cola-bubble tan head, about 1-finger worth, that disappears in seconds. Lace is slippery, sticking for a few brief moments then gliding back down the glass.

S: Good smelling, with malt sweetness of smoke, cocoa, molasses, dark fruit and some vanilla. Not terribly complex, but pleasant and true to the style.

T: Smoky toasted grains and low-grade chocolate-covered raisins. Caramel, cocoa powder, and some earthy hoppy bitterness melds with a generally sweet, malty character.

M: Weak mouthfeel, quite thin. A little sticky on the lips and chalky/bitter in the finish, tasting mildly of stale coffee. Carbonation is light to moderate. Alcohol content is masked, but generally there's not much to like...

D: Compared with the many fine examples of Russian Imperial Stout out there, this lags well behind. Aromas and flavor are decent enough but mouthfeel really fails to match the robustness expected. The look of the beer also belies it's thinness. Despite the fact I've liked other beers from Lagunitas, I probably wouldn't get this again.

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2007 05:34:32 | More by msubulldog25
Photo of Kendo

New York

4/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: From a 22 oz bottle into a Sam Smith's pint glass. The result: a 2-finger bubbly tan head settles over a mahogany reddish-brown body that looks black when not well lit. Leaves no lacing at all.

S: Not terribly strong at all, and what there is is all malt -- roasted malt and sugary sweet scents, maybe molasses-like.

T: Like the nose, predominantly malty -- roasted malt, some cocoa, a hint of coffee, and as it warms there's a taste of sweet dark fruit or berries. A dry bitterness finishes it off with some balance.

M: Nice and creamy, but light in heft for an Imperial Stout.

D: Goes down very easily, as it's light in the body and the 8.2% ABV is not even a faint presence.

Notes: If you told me this was an American Stout or even an Oatmeal Stout, this would have scored much higher. I actually enjoyed this beer quite a lot, but it surprised me -- it doesn't seem to have the characteristics that I associate with an Imperial Stout -- at all. There's no noticeable alcohol, no charcoal flavors, licorice or large body. The score reflects that failure to meet style expectations, but doesn't necessarily reflect my overall enjoyment of this beer. It was a solid stout, just not the big stout I was expecting.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2007 12:10:50 | More by Kendo
Photo of BigBry

Alberta (Canada)

3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 ml brown bottle, "Unlimited Release", no visible date on the label. I was glad to see a couple liquor stores carrying Lagunitas.
The beer pours black with a thick and creamy, light tan head. The foam fades, but never really disappears, and leaves thin lace sheets that cover the side of the glass. Held to the light, the liquid appears deep red. The smell has toasted grain, some chocolate, prunes, and a bit os smoke. Taste is nice, with a good flavor of roasted malt, sweet plums and raisins, just enough bitterness at the end. 8.2% alcohol well hidden with no burn or hotness. Might be just a touch thin in the mouthfell for such a big beer. Very good, but now that I have had other RISs to compare it too, it's rank is just a bit lower than others.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2007 16:10:43 | More by BigBry
Photo of Georgiabeer


3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a slight head that fades all too readily. Smell is a little faint as well,but is a fairly balanced sweetness and roastiness with cleam lightly toated maltand a touch of chocolate. The taste is surprisingly light and very creamy. Milk chocolate, light roastiness, and an eggcream finish. Very creamy mouthfeel and restrained carbonation. Pretty drinkable- very smooth,but could use some more depth and complexity.Very pleasant, though.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 04:31:19 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of czechsaaz


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Prunes and other ripe fruit on the nose. A background aroma of roasted malts and some chocolate. No hops to speak of which is OK for the style. There's nothing particularly standout about the aroma, no really bold aromas jumping out. Kind of short on what I'm looking for out of Impy Stout.

Held up to light, it is deep red and a lot more translucent than other examples of the style. Big thick solid head that fades to a beautiful creamy layer that lasts throughout a pint.

Flavor is very nice. I get a big hit of toasty bitterness and solid hop bite on my first sip but the more of it I drink I really start to focus on lots of fruity fermentation esters and lots of sweet malt backbone. It may be a little sweet to some peoples tastes, but I'm good with it since I would prefer a little malt sweetness to aggressive hopping in this style. The lingering aftertaste is mostly dark roast malt which balances out the sweetness.

Carbonation level is right on, light but still lively. The body feels a little thin, again for the style, and you wouldn't pick up the alcohol strength from mouthfeel or body.

A very approachable example of the style. Drinkable in that it isn't huge and doesn't feel like an end-of-the-night beer. It's still pretty big and flavorful but not over-the-top.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2007 23:21:45 | More by czechsaaz
Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,296 ratings.