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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.
very good

1,517 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,517
Reviews: 574
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 12.77%
Wants: 51
Gots: 180 | 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: 1,517 | Reviews: 574 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bum732
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

S: Dark fruits, prunes and plums mostly, some port wine

L: Very dark brown, bordering on black, light tan head with ok retention.

T: Dark fruit and port like malt, burnt raisins, some molasses. Fruity mild bitterness leads to some more dark fruit with a hint of roast. Semi-sweet finish.

M: Medium full body, medium low carbonation.

A very different RIS, more dark fruit oriented than coffee roastiness. Berkshire brewing RIS is very similar which i did not like. That being said, this is more sucessful than that beer, even thought i probably wouldn't buy it again.

bum732, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of AnPiobaire
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I poured the Lagunitas Imperial Stout into a snifter at about 53 degrees, and it poured a dark brown with tan head that faded fairky quickily.

My initial nosing was of malts, coffee and raisins. This brew is labeled at 9.6 ABV and the alcohol is evident in the nose. This is a very pleasant smelling brew.

The taste is malt, coffee, bitter chocolate and perhaps licorice that fades to a nice balanced hop finish.

The mouthfeel is a little thinner then I would've expected but not at all unpleasant. Finishes creamy though with a nice hoppy fade.

Overall, I was not expecting much as I was not overly impressed with some of Lagunitas' other offerings, but this is one nice Russian Imperial Stout and I will be buying more of these, you should too. Enjoy!!!

AnPiobaire, Apr 18, 2011
Photo of godless1one
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - deep dark brown nearing black with a latte colored head that dissipated rapidly
s - coffee, chocolate, malts a touch of licorice
t - a dark coffee and chocolate taste a bit of molasses and vanilla, and a bitter finish
m - thinner than expected for an r.i.s. but not thin by any means, fairly creamy, decent carbonation, very pleasant

not the darkest of the dark or most complex imperial stout but tasty and enjoyable nonetheless

godless1one, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of vandemonian
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

My Lagunitas Imperial Stout was labelled 9.6% rather than 8.2%. It poured with dark brown colour and a 4 mm head that fades to decent lacing. The smell is roasty malt and also a bunch of hoppiness. The flavour is like a dark chocolate milkshake to begin with and has a bitter slightly hoppy finish. This is a very nice imperial stout, but it's not exceptional.

vandemonian, Apr 08, 2011
Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.15/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

appearance: Deep red. Certainly dark though not the opaque black i hope to see with an Imp Stout.
nose: Sweet dark, fruity and a tad of spice.
taste: oh, that's tasty. Mellow and complex. Cola, and sweet dark chocolate.
overall: Very tasty, drinkable and satisfying.

cindyjeffsmith, Apr 03, 2011
Photo of cavedave
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Three fingers of brownish-beige, thick foam top a black brew of menacing opacity.

Medium aroma is full of dark caramel and licorice, a touch of estery yeast, with light amounts of roast.

Taste follows the script of the nose almost exactly. As it warms some nice char enters the end of the sip and lingers on the palate. Not the most complex stout of this style for sure, but quite tasty.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin and overcarbed for style, but it works for the flavor profile so I'm not gonna punish it. Not an epic finish, but quite decent.

Overall this is a wonderful stout, one I hope to revisit if I get a chance.

Nice to see a pretty good stout for less than a king's ransom. Recommended.

cavedave, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of spree92
4.2/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle has 10.14% abv., not the 8.2 as noted above. A thin black stout with a minimal head. The nose was first licorice followed by the roasted malts. The taste is well balanced. The malts are prevelant, coffee and espresso, and the hoppiness finishes the beer. The high abv is noticed in the stomach as a warm feeling washes over you. The mouthfeel is very light and smooth. Overall, a solid beer that is rather easy to drink. Not like a lot of other Imp. stouts, well balanced with subtle various flavors.

spree92, Mar 25, 2011
Photo of BurpingtonDC
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This "Unlimited release :) stout was poured into an imperial pint glass.

A - Black as oil with a coffee color head that dissipates rather rapidly.

S- Carmel and coffee notes with just a touch of alcohol.

T- Quite a tasty Imp stout, but a little sweeter than I would normally seek out. Tastes malty sweet, coffee and chocolate, very chocolatey actually.

M -Chewy, full flavored with light carbonation.

O- Pretty good stout if you like them sweet, but I like the drier varieties. Might try it again, but I'd normally opt for another.

BurpingtonDC, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of silentjay
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours almost black with a huge grayish khaki head that sticks around for a while and leaves decent lacing behind.

not a terribly strong aroma, a bit of charred, roasted malts and sweet caramel and molasses notes.

some burnt dark roasted coffee, molasses, charred malts, cocoa powder, a touch of anise, a bit of earthy and bitter hops on the finish.

light bodied for the style with ample carbonation and a watery finish that doesn't support the flavor profile well. would like it creamier to make the flavors seem richer.

overall, a decent beer, would be a regular with a richer mouthfeel and perhaps a more complex flavor profile. a tremendous value, and a decent brew, so one I would drink again. pretty easy drinking, and very little noticeable alcohol.

silentjay, Mar 23, 2011
Photo of bohemiandonut
4.08/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It would appear that Lagunitas has heard your bitching and upped the ante a bit this year. LIS pours BLACK now, with a head that dissolved faster than the Soviet Bloc. Smells stouty enough to me, almost like a medium roast coffee might.

I actually quite like this. It's certainly thinner than many other Impy Stouts in the same league but it's got a nice chewiness that isn't overwhelmingly sweet or bitter. This is something I would drink a whole bomber of on a week night and then curse how well hidden the alcohol was upon waking up an hour late.

As it warms the aromas become more volatile but the ethanol does not. Still mostly coffee in the scent but raisin picks up in the taste as does a well tempered hop astringency.

This is a lovely stout that I'm sure will get more love as the years roll by. At least it's here for us while Stone wraps up its obnoxious Belgo phase.

bohemiandonut, Mar 15, 2011
Photo of cbutova
3.3/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pitch black with a two finger mocha tan head. Retention is alright. Not much in the way of lace but a few small suds here and there.

S- Not a very big aroma for an RIS. I basically get a decent mix of old caramel malt, cocoa, roast notes and some dark fruit.

T- Somehow has sort of a Barleywine feel, I get a ton of dark fruit and caramel malt with a fairly roast malt and cocoa overlay. Raisins in play as well.

MF- Silky creamy feel on a moderately thick body. Carbonation is on the high end for the style. Some cocoa bitterness and slight warmth.

DB- A light end Imperial Stout with probably the least roasty/rich profile I have experienced from a good brewery. Drinks pretty well but not what I expect out of the style.

cbutova, Mar 13, 2011
Photo of beergod1
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a little ruby in the edges of the glass and a thick Brown head. There is a bit of alcohol in the nose as well as sweet malts, Chocolate and caramel, but not a whole ton of stout characteristics. The flavor is big sweet up front with hints of caramel and malt. And the Very finish is where the roast and especially coffee finally break through, but a little late. The mouth feel is thick and heavy, but somehow the taste is still a a bit thin.
Hard to explain. Still a decent IS from Lagunitas.

beergod1, Mar 06, 2011
Photo of flannelman808
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This 1 pint 6 oz bomber reads that it has an:
IBU of 72.45 (IBU's are bogus so who cares...)
O.G. of 1.092

but unlike the reported abv of 8.20% this reads
Alc. 9.6%

A: Extremely dark brown in color with very little light able to shine through (some does however and has a muddy orange/red dark hue). A light tan colored head tops it off with ok-good retention and poor lacing.

S: Herbal citric hop notes on the nose along with chocolate malty notes and suggestions of caramel.

T: Layers of chocolate up front ranging from sweet to bitter, light to dark. Suggestions of mocha laté along with sweet dark fruit (raisin comes to mind) follow as an afterthought. Hoppy citric orange zest seems to show up as well. All these fruity flavors accenting the chocolate.

M: a bubbli'n crude

D: fairly high given the abv, however given the overall richness I cant be above a 4.0

flannelman808, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of vitrael
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Imperial pint glass at about 60F.

A: Midnight black with a two finger cream-colored head.

S: Sweet malts, cream, a little yeasty. Relatively mild nose.

T: Sweet malty body with coffee character. Pronounced boozy flavor (bottle says 10.5% abv, so it must be an upgrade!)

M: Smooth and creamy. Just about perfect.

D: High for the style. Goes well with a hearty dinner but I would not want much more than one or two.

Notes: I don't think there are many Imperial Stouts in this price range, and probably not many quite as good. As usual Lagunitas hits it out of the park for the price range, just like their Hop Stoopid ale.

vitrael, Mar 01, 2011
Photo of BeardedRiker
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It has been quite awhile since I've had a stout. Right now seems to be the perfect time to drink one since winter storms have decided to rape half of the United States. Though I'm in Texas, it is still very cold and there is plenty of snow and ice on the ground. What better beer to drink then than an imperial stout? And what better brewery to have my beer from than arguably my favorite, Lagunitas? Perhaps the Mother Earth knew I needed to drink a stout again and opted to unleash her frosty breath upon this great country just so that this drinking and reviewing would seem pre-destined. I'm thankful beer is so versatile in its styles. A stout on a day like today is simply the best thing I can drink.

The color on the stout is a little less dark than I thought it'd be, but it's still an extremely dark brown. When held up to light it is not entirely opaque, not to imply a cloudiness. The edges have that slight ruby red color. The head poured thin and multi-colored tan with a creamy-frothy top and a more bubbly bottom. From first sight the head put me off a bit because it wasn't the uber-creamy-frothy look that most great imperial stouts I've tried had, but I have more than enough trust in Lagunitas to brew me a good beer. When dissolving there is no lacing at all and little film on top.

Upon inhaling my nostrils give me a prominent smell of liquorice and coffee. Dark fruits mix in there too with abundance of roasted malts and some toffee sweetness. Hops linger in the aroma too while there is a chocolate bitterness that mingles with the coffee. If I didn't have one stuffed up nostril because of the cold weather maybe I'd be able to smell it better. Ha!

This is a good Russian imperial stout. It's got plenty of flavors that are well-balanced but it doesn't feel too heavy and is very drinkable. Many IRSs hit you in the face with their alcohol and overwhelming flavors, not to say I dislike that necessarily, but Lagunitas' isn't as in-your-face yet still remains a very good beer. The beginning is sweet on the tip of the tongue with some good hoppiness to it. In the middle comes all of the roasted malts that keep it smooth and mellow out the front. I'd say the coffee bitterness runs throughout while, as does the alcohol flavor but it doesn't intrude despite the ABV being 10.14%, while in the finish there is the roastiness of coffee as well as dark fruit (plum/fig/dark cherry) that you'd expect from a stout mixed with some mango that you'd expect from a hoppy beer. It has a dry end to it as well. I usually prefer a stout that is very full-bodied with a heavy mouthfeel but this one doesn't seem lacking with a lighter mouthfeel. It adds to its drinkability.

I expect RISs to be over-the-top with their flavors and very heavy. Lagunitas' RIS does not have those characteristics but that does not detract from it. It is much more drinkable than most RISs yet doesn't feel "light" or have that watery characteristic to it that some poor porters and stouts have. Overall the beer isn't too complex but it has plenty of flavor and is well-balanced. And at a little over $5 a 22oz. bottle, there's little you can say about this beer to lessen it. If you want a quality RIS with good flavor, balance, and drinkability then pick this up.

BeardedRiker, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of Kakaraht
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours almost black with a small finger of tan head that dissipates fairly quickly but has good tight lacing.

S: I can smell burnt malt, coffee and loads of dark caramel essence. The alcohol is somewhat pronounced. Smells very heavy, and deeply fruity.

T: Heavy coffee and burnt caramel flavor with a rich deep mahogany like fruitiness. As it warms the alcohol becomes half of the flavor, but is not overpowering as it goes well with the sweetness of this beer, giving it a syrupiness.

M: Heavy body, medium carbonation, warm, smooth almost sickly sweet.

D: Little heavy to be in the regular rotation, but perfect for the odd cold night.

Kakaraht, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of farrago
4.45/5  rDev +18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Finger plus of very dark brown foam, somewhat loose with more than a few islands of larger bubbles frothing up and popping away under the surface, lacing much slicker than expected, barely registers on the way down the glass sides. The liquid isn't really black, more like the darkest possible brown this side of black, razor thin aura of orange at the glass bottom. The nose is all about rich, milky chocolate, cocoa, vanilla fudge and caramel with a candied orange infusion, no substantial roast nor toast, just sweetness which also infects/infuses any hoppy pine, herb nuances, blindfolded you would think you were in a Hershey's factory. Full-bodied, softly contoured and expansive in the mouth, close to sloppy bear hug status. Cola, licorice and a lighter orange reduction swirled into the milk chocolate and caramel foundation. Carbonation is average to slightly below. Follows the nose with a good punch of pine and green matter, the hops sinewy and active under all the malts. That said, this is definitely a stout built for visceral pleasure above striving for either complexity or sheer brute power. Earns its place at that table, simplicity is not always an insult.

farrago, Feb 17, 2011
Photo of Aaron420
3.7/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 10.14% abv 22 oz. bottle, into a snifter.

A: Deep black color with a extremely small creamy tan head, that dissipates quickly leaving a small foam residue in the center of the glass.

S: Smells or rich caramel and toffee, with hints of alcohol, coffee, and what I would call a oak like smell, even though this is not a barrel aged brew.

T: The taste is of caramel and molasses with a rich maltyness to it. With a bit of chocolate and a hint of fruity flavors coming through toward the end.

M: It is a little thinner that I would have expected from such a high gravity beer..

D: Not a bad beer but defiantly nowhere near the top of this list in its category.

Aaron420, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of waterintobeer
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm working on the theory that Lagunitas has changed the recipie of this stout because all of the previous reviews mention a lower alcohol content. The bottle that I have states more than 10% alcohol. On to the review:
This isn't the darkest stout there is a faint ruby highlight. The smell is a little alcoholic, burnt coffee, and dark chocolate.
The taste is of dark bitter chocolate, figs and a little burn on the end. I really like the mouthful, sticky full and ends with me wanting another sip.
I really enjoy this stout. The perfect companion to a cold winter night.

waterintobeer, Feb 10, 2011
Photo of TheHoppiest
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. According to the label, this beer is 10.4% abv, not 8.2% abv as stated above.

Pours a dark brown, with a thinnish tan/creme head that congregates around the edge of the glass. Nice lacing as it is swirled.

Has a syrupy, alcohol smell, with a thick bready aroma laced with coffee, hops, and toffee.

Has a smooth, sweet start, with creamy, almost buttery coffee, chocolate, and biscuity malt, with much less alcohol taste than it smells. There is a slight astringency to it as you drink more, with the tongue slowly drying out from a pleasantly bitter finish.

Very full bodied, this is a sipper, especially when served at the proper temp.

Lagunitas always puts out a quality brew, and this is no different. I'm surprised by the "B" rating it has; one could do much worse than this RIS - especially when you consider this sells at $5 for the bottle.

TheHoppiest, Feb 04, 2011
Photo of busterthecat
4.38/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz. into tulip.

A- Pours a velvety rich brown, sits a noble dark brown in glass. A light khaki head, with good lacing.

S- Lots of roasted sweet malt/ toffee. Bitter coffee notes, bittersweet chocolate.

T- Lots of sweet toffee, creamy caramel, mild coffee with gentle bitterness. Also notes of vanilla and hazelnut.

M- A big velvety feel. finishes dry, lingers well. Very pleasant on palate.

D- No alc. Easy to drink, well rounded, not filling. A great IRS at a awesome price.

busterthecat, Jan 27, 2011
Photo of travis224
3.83/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Duvel Tulip. Pitch black with little beige colored head. Probably would have given it higher marks on the appearance but the head was pretty unremarkable. The nose is pretty boozy, coffee, dark fruit, maybe a little bit of port or sherry quality. The taste is more bitter coffee and chocolate than the booze that I got from the nose. High carbonation for a Imp. Stout. Overall a really tasty RIS and for $4.89 for a bomber you can't go wrong. I wonder what a year or two will do to it. Also, this version is marked at 10% ABV.

travis224, Jan 21, 2011
Photo of Pahn
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into Captain Lawrence tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a two inch, frothy tan head that dissipates steadily and leaves a few thin streaks of lacing. Pours a dark, dark red (easily mistaken for black), and leaves several streaks of thin, long lasting lacing.

Smell: The first two dominant aromas are coffee and tropical fruit hops, and they're working surprisingly well together. There's a sweetness to both of them. A few other good stout-like aromas come out quickly to play supporting roles: chocolate, roasted malt, molasses.

Taste: Not as hoppy as the smell, though some grapefruit (and molasses) comes out in the finish. Main flavor is strong roasted malt (with a strong roasted bitterness, along with the high IBUs from hops). Lots of good but similar and not very distinct rich and creamy flavors, but brightened up by the hops and heavy carbonation.

This beer isn't complex, but these flavors work really well together. No complaints.

Mouthfeel: Lighter side of full-bodied with lots of carbonation. Not much dryness, but lots of bitterness. I like my stouts less carbonated and with more body, but it's not like the mouthfeel is preventing me from enjoying these strong, well-done stout flavors.

Drinkability: This is a good everyday stout. It doesn't hit you over the head with anything, but all the flavors are solid and good. It's a bit hoppier than your average RIS, but the choice of flavor and aroma hops mesh really naturally with the malty stout goodness that is the rest of the beer.

Another bargain from Lagunitas. At the equivalent of about $8.75~ a 4pack, this beer easily competes with North Coast Old Rasputin and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout in terms of bang for the buck (actually, I far prefer Black Chocolate Stout, but they're very different animals; Lagunitas could easily be the best of the 3 for any given drinker). Yeah, it's a little thin and not too complex, but the flavors are very bold and very good. If I saw this beer more often, I would definitely buy it again.

Pahn, Jan 19, 2011
Photo of barknee
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This excellent brew pours as dark as the ace of spades with a diminutive head that dissipates quickly. The nose soars with the aroma of, well, a Mr. Goodbar chocolate confection. Yes generous aromas of milk and slightly sweetened chocolate along with salty peanuts gain your attention immediately! Not distracting to the experiance but nicely reminiscent of this ageless product. Lightly carbonated and well hopped under the thick layers of chocolate, malt syrup and marshmallow, the alcohol just peeks itself above the ceiling threshold of this well saturated and flavorful brew. Like most of Lagunitas products, this too is well made, well balanced and an absolute pleasure to consume.

barknee, Jan 18, 2011
Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown into my pint glass with some reddish tones in the light with about two fingers of tan head, moderate retention and nice lacing.

S - As usual Lagunitas lives up to their hop hype, even with an imperial stout the hops are very present, actually masking the other wonderful qualities of an imperial stout. Somewhere in there are roasted malts, a bit of bittersweet chocolate, anise, and a bit of dark fruit.

T - The flavor here is good, but just missing the mark a little, not as robust and complex as an imperial should be. Roasted malts, toffee, bitter chocolate, anise, dark fruits, but all are taken over by the hop presence.

M - Pretty well balanced, a little on the thin side.

D - Interesting take on an Imperial Stout, I am usually a hop head, but I feel the hops took away from this beer. I look forward to trying it again in the future to see if my opinion stays the same.

StoneBrewFanatic, Jan 16, 2011
Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,517 ratings.