1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

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

1,448 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,448
Reviews: 567
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 12.77%
Wants: 49
Gots: 164 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 1,448 | Reviews: 567 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GarrettMD
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

My bottle says that the ABV is 9.6%, so I don't know if they changed it or if the ABV was never listed correctly here, but that's what my bottle was, not 8.2%.

A - Pours an opaque black with 1 finger tan head after a fairly aggressive pour. Head retention and lacing are good.

S - I can't place the smell, definitely alcohol, some slight coffee and chocolate aroma, but mostly alcohol and dark malts.

T - Taste is very similar to the smell, big alcohol burn, they didn't do a good job covering it up. Coffee/malt taste is pleasant, but is still overpowered by the alcohol.

M - Fairly thick for the ABV, goes down smooth despite the burn.

D - After drinking some of the beer, the alcohol starts to take effect and you don't feel the burn as much anymore, making this a very drinkable beer. Before that though, it was only moderately drinkable, the actual flavor masking the alcohol only slightly.

GarrettMD, Jul 07, 2010
Photo of Billolick
3.75/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

$4.99 for a bomber, at Beverage World in Peekskill, NY. Read a bunch of older reviews, they are all over the place...pours darkest shades of mahogany, with ruby glimmers around the edges. dark tan, minor head, thick film, clinging collar and spots of globby lace. mild nose of some chocolate and dark malts. Mouth feel is a wee bit light IMHO for the style. Notes of more chocolate,, dusty dark malts, chalky dryness. Dry Impy, on the lighter side of the style all the way around. Flavorful, but lacking the real depth of flavors of the heavy hitters of the style.

Billolick, Jul 03, 2010
Photo of barleywinefiend
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a nice jet black with good carbonation and nice brown head.

S: Chocolate, roasted malt and coffee with some booze

T: Easy drinking and tasty. Hints of fig with majority of roasted malt, chcolate, wood and booze

M: Nice and warming, roasted notes with a feel of chocolate on the end with a very, very slight sour feel

D: Not bad at all! I will get another.

barleywinefiend, Jun 26, 2010
Photo of velosuds
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a clear pint glass. No freshness dating on bottle or label. Purchased from local grocery store for $3.99.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown almost black hue with a one finger +, tan head that dissipated quickly and left little lacing. A more vigorous pour with the remainder produced nearly a two finger head that lingered longer.

S-Coffee, caramel malts, and a hint of chocolate, all of which was too faint.

T-Some chocolate, coffee, and caramel malts that are pleasantly sweet with a smoky finish. Balanced nicely by grassy hops for sufficient bitterness. Taste is good, but not great.

M-Too thin for style. And a tad flat due to inadequate carbonation.

D-This is very drinkable for its 9.6% ABV (per label, but website indicates 8.2%). Value is good at $4.00 a bomber compared to other brewers' offerings. Alcohol content is masked nicely.

A decent Imperial Stout, though not quite on par with Lagunitas' Hop Stoopid and Lucky 13 Mondo Large Red Ale.

velosuds, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of Mancer
3.2/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark brown/ jet black with a one finger high light brown head. The head dissipated slowly and lingered on the surface for the remainder of the beer's life. The lacing on this beer is thick and there is a low amount of carbonation. The initial smell of the beer is that of roasted chocolate and caramel malts. The initial taste of the beer is as the smell, roasted caramel and chocolate malts. It finished with a lingering mellow roastiness. The brew is full bodied and seems more like a milkshake, rather than a beer.

Conclusion: All in all, this is a good stout. The smell of the brew was fairly strong. There's not much going on in this brew.

Mancer, Jun 16, 2010
Photo of DoktorZee
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a large (650ML) bottle into a pint glass. No obvious best-before or bottling date.

A - Black in color, but lightly brown around the edges. Non-lacing head disappears quickly. No obvious carbonation.

S - Fragrant coffee, caramel malts with a hint of grass

T - Smoky coffee and dark chocolate, less lingering bitterness than expected resolves quickly into a slight alcohol warmth

M - a carbonated bite over an oily texture - not quite as pleasing as expected

D - ok drinkability, the relatively high alcohol content is hidden initially but comes out with time

Decent Imperial Stout, but not one of the best.

DoktorZee, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of Daniellobo
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice RIS, maybe not very close to style, a bit thin but balanced by a prominent boozy and carbonated sense.

Presentation: 22 oz brown capped bottle. Simple label with typographic design around the name of the brew, hammer and sickle logos, and Lagunitas mascot, tongue in cheek liners ("unlimited release") and a side narrative with a ramble about the Russian revolution and the legacy of this brew. Notes O.G. (1.082), IBUs (72.45), and Alc. by Vol. (8.2%) Served in a snifter.

A - Black pour with brown edges, short bubbly brown head, short retention, minimal surface memory and no lacing.

S - Roasted malt aroma, coffee and a bit of chocolate, and as it warms a climbing note of alcohol.

T - Rich range of roasted malts with a predominant coffee and chocolate complement. Bitter touch at the end adding a nice tone.

M - Medium body and generous carbonation, not overwhelming but certainly picking up what would be a bit thin otherwise.

D - Despite the touch of thinness the way they balance it out works pretty well and if one is not bothered by the role that the alcohol is playing this is fairly nice all in all.

Notes: Hmmm, it´s a nice Lagunitas offering, not a top tier bur still pretty fair. Funny how they seem to have done this trick around the mouthfeel being balanced by alcohol or extra carbonation in some other brews, it does not happen in their better brews but still works nicely.

Daniellobo, May 11, 2010
Photo of Gambrinus1184
3.85/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22-ounce bomber into a Saranac pint glass.

A: Poured a deep, ruby-tinged brownish black color with a one-finger head of tan foam which left some decent lacing.

S: Smells pretty rich and smoky, with aromas of licorice, latte and some herbal, grassy hop notes to boot.

T: Flavor is mostly dark roasted malt and some herbal, juicy hops at first. There's little deviation from this, with hints of carob, licorice, dark chocolate and dark, red fruit juices. Some floal, hoppy grapefruit essence creeps in towards the mildly creamy and fairly astringent, boozy finish.

M: Mouthfeel is pretty full-bodied with a slightly astringent alcohol and bitter hop sting to it.

D: A somewhat unimpressive imperial stout which seems more constructed around its 8.2% ABV and clever story on the label than the complexity of the brew. Not a bad stout, but the spicy, floral fruitiness tarnished the semisweet after dinner sipper I was hoping for. i'll reach for the Cappuccino Stout next time.

Gambrinus1184, May 10, 2010
Photo of drewba
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Nearly opaque deep, almost blood red. Very small tan head which dissipates quickly, no lacing.

S - The predominate smells are booze and raisins. There are hints of other fruit.

T - Nice roasty and carmely malts, hints of molasses and vanilla. The biggest surprise to this beer was the amount of fruit I found in this beer - lots of raisin, cranberry, cherry.

M - fairly thin, light carbonation.

D - I could drink this all night, the crisp carbonation is quite refreshing and the fruityness of this one makes for a highly drinkable stout.

drewba, May 09, 2010
Photo of babaracas
3.98/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with dark brown edges, thin tan head, not much lace. Smell: dark brown sugar, mild roasted note, a little date, in the background green spicy and leafy hops with a touch of alcohol. Taste: dark brown sugar, medium roast, greenish earthy and spicy hops. A rather drinkable and laidback, but not particularly complex RIS.

babaracas, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of superdedooperboy
3.13/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Served at cellar temperature, 45 degrees F. Poured from a 22-ounce brown bottle into a snifter glass.

Pours a deep, nearly opaque brown with a small half-finger of tan foam that falls away rather quickly to a thin crown. No lace left behind on the walls of the glass.

The nose is rather one-dimensional, with some mild caramel notes and a touch of dark roast, along with a big whiff of boozy alcohol.

Nice and full in body with a rich, chewy mouthfeel and just a touch of prickly carbonation. Dark chocolate, caramel and roast up front, with a strikingly huge alcoholic presence overtaking everything in the middle, with a big dosing of hop bitterness lying underneath; screeches into a finish that is bracingly boozy, warming and dry, with a lingering roastiness and a hotness in the chest that becomes more pronounced as the beer warms.

Overall, a pretty mediocre Imperial Stout. Fairly disappointing, as the Cappuccino Stout is much more pleasing. Too boozy and with little comparitive complexity to match, this is perhaps one of the biggest let-downs I've had from Lagunitas. But at a relatively low price of just over four dollars, this bomber is a decent deal as far as Imperial Stouts go.

superdedooperboy, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of jwc215
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a thin head that holds on pretty impressively for abv/style.

The smell is of chocolate, black olives and a touch of coffee. Hint of roast fades in and out.

The taste is sweet - toffee, sweet chocolate with black olives and some solvent alcohol. Not quite roasty, not bitter, yet sweetness fades in the finished.

It has a medium-full body and is rather slick/oily. Could be fuller for style, but despite slickness/oiliness there is a touch of creaminess thanks to carbonation being about where it should be.

Not a deeply complex or layered RIS, but certainly enough to be enjoyable. Not astringent, it does drink pretty well for abv that isn't exactly covered.

jwc215, Apr 01, 2010
Photo of thegodfather2701
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-Pours nearly pitch black with a tan head that dissipates after about two minutes. There is some decent lacing.

S-Espresso, alcohol, dark chocolate, and some dark fruits. The alcohol seems a little strong especially given its only 8.2% and give it a sweet smell.

T-Espresso, milk chocolate, alcohol, cream, and just a hint of dark fruits and some brown sugar. As I continue to sip this beer it seems as if it is missing a little something. I don't know what, but it could be a little more complex.

M-Thick and creamy, not much carbonation.

D-Pretty drinkable RIS. The alcohol is a little noticeable especially in the throat and it makes it a little sweet. One could definitely drink a bomber alone.

Overall, I enjoyed this RIS. It isn't one of the best of the style, but it is still really good. For its price $4.99 a bomber it is a really good deal and I could see myself drinking this again.

thegodfather2701, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of keithmurray
4.1/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle

Appearance is a deep dark brown, almost purple eggplant color. Very thin, mocha colored head that didnt stick around for very long.

smell is very appealing - mocha, coffee, toffee, malts, almost smells like chocolate milk

Taste - nearly mimics the nose, cocoa, Malt

mouthfeel - very good carbonation to this, the end of the sip gives a good hop kick. Good balance between sweetness and bitterness on this

Drinkability - at over 8%abv, not sure I can handle more than one or two 12 oz servings of this, this is a pretty thick beverage.

This is my first official Imperial Stout and even though I don't have anything to compare this to (yet), I find this particular beer to be plesant. I would drink this again and I'm also looking forward to some of the other Imperial Stouts that have graded higher than this example.

keithmurray, Mar 21, 2010
Photo of droomyster
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I'm having this side by side with a another imperial stout that I've long enjoyed. Pours a very dark brown with a small brown head. It's neither as dark nor as foamy as others of its style. It has all the aromas, flavors, and complexity one expects from imperial stouts, but a major hindrance to my fully enjoying this beer was the obvious presence of alcohol on both the nose and palate. Overall not bad but not great.

droomyster, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of Metalmonk
4.28/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Geez, with all the great names Lagunitas has come up with for some of their other beers (Little Sumpin' Sumpin', Brown Shugga, Hairy Eyeball) you'd think they could do better for their Imperial Stout than "Imperial Stout." But hey, what's in a name?

Love the bronze/gold hybrid color of the head, and it leaves a nice loopy trail of lace as it settles. Color is an opaque dark brown, as brown as it gets before going totally lights-out black.

Aroma is pleasing enough. Nothing too bold, but then the ABV is on the low end of the scale, for the style. There's a nice balance between roasted grain, dark fruit, coffee nuttiness and fresh cream. Even if the alcohol creeps in, with warming, I still wouldn't guess "RIS" when sniffing this, but it's nice.

No worries that this Imperial Stout won't deliver the flavor though. It's big and bold and full of much wonder. Dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, fig, plum, graham cracker, sweet cream, even a trace of marshmallow. Together with a great texture that balances gooey thickness with tingly effervescence--and having a buoyancy most stouts don't--I'd say this is not only flat-out delicious, but also: 1) a steal at $4.99 and 2) underrated.

Nope, despite the almost sensible ABV for an imperial stout, this is no impish stout. I should have never doubted Lagunitas, as they seem to excel when it comes to the big stuff.

Metalmonk, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of Bung
3.08/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. A basic very dark brown pour, nearly black. Some cream colored bubbly that recedes to a ring.
Aroma has a small amount of cocoa, caramel just a hint of roast. Not overly aromatic.

Taste is a bit chalky, with quite a bit of dry cocoa. Definetely not a whole lot of roast. Slightly "milky" even. More milk chocolate, some chocolate liqueor like qualities, but the alcohol is not overly present. Just a bit of that chalky cocoa lingering in the finish.

Some of the flavors may not be helped by the thinnish body of this. Not tough to drink by any means, but not begging you to take another sip either.

Outside of a few hop bombs, I just can't get into any Lagunitas brews, the hop bombs are even a stretch.

Bung, Mar 09, 2010
Photo of beerbully
3.23/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bomber into a pint glass

A-black little to no head some lacing that does not last long

S-Sweet chocolate

T-Some chocolate taste similar to its smell. Minor coffee and bit roasty has a lingering sweet / syrupy taste

M-Bit watery not as thick as one would expect for imp stout. very little carbonation

D- This is probably a bit sweet in the aftertaste to drink more than 2

I have had some good offering from Lagunitas and was hoping for more than this beer delivered. a bit dissapointed. This beer is a bit boring

beerbully, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of CBlack85
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a pint glass

Pours black, nearly opaque, with slight hints of ruby red highlights. The head is thick, dense, a rich tan color that is about two fingers high. the head seems to linger on forever, but leaves no lacing to speak of.

The aroma is sweet and chocolatey. There is also a hint of alcohol, and some subtle hop aromas. Very nice and completely right on for the style. A bit more alcohol than I would typically expect, but very nice none the less...

A fair amount of chocolate is present, as is a ceratain roasted malt quality, not as strong as I would like to see, but definately there. Very smooth and easy to drink, not nearly thick, and substantial enough for the style, but very pleasant and drinkable.

CBlack85, Feb 15, 2010
Photo of argock
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz brown bomber into a clear glass snifter. No freshness date. Purchased at Market Street Wineshop (Charlottesville, VA) for $4.49.

A: Semi-opaque dark brown with healthy 1-2 finger head with decent retention and spare spots of lace.

S: Delicious aromas of roasted malt, chocolate, coffee, berries and leafy hops

T: There must be a reformulation, as this is great stuff. Even fresh, it is bursting with non-boozy stout flavors including coffee, sweet and dark chocolate, roasted malt with light char finished with leafy, tobacco hops. Delicious sweet chocolate aftertaste. Alcohol is not at all detectable.

M: Thin for the style but still pretty substantial with medium-full body and very low carbonation leaving a smooth, milky feel.

D: A fine stout with a sweet body but a nice leafy bite in the end. Drinkable now for certain. I am a little worried that this won't hold up with time, but that won't stop me trying. Another excellent brew at an exceptional price from Lagunitas.

argock, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of thespaceman
3.63/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass:

Appearance: Pours a deep, jet black in color, minimal size tan head emerges and quickly leaves small wisps of lacing around the glass. Head retention is decent here.

Smell: Up front I get a nice roasted aroma, deep chocolate and a touch of raisin. Getting deeper you start to sense a bit of booze, with bit of coffee and some espresso bean. A small hint of hops blended with some malt spice here as well.

Taste: Lots of coffee flavors up front, some dark chocolate rounds out the taste and adds a bit more depth. Some roasted nuttiness comes into play, and is divulged into a deep malt presence. A nice hint of booze shows it's head towards the finish as well some darker esters and a touch of raisins and some fig.

Mouthfeel: A bit thinner then I like my RIS's, mouthfeel is a bit watery and sticky. The alcohol tends to add a bit of much needed umph in the body. Medium bodied, light carbonation and just a touch of bitterness.

Drinkability: A great drinking stout by any means, although the mouthfeel can use some work, the overall presence of flavors in the beer make this an easy sipper. The coffee and chocolate in the aroma is spot on, and that slight touch of booze makes this a nice brew to enjoy a some chocolate dessert or even a good cigar. Not a stand-out stout but one to definetley try.

thespaceman, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of wordemupg
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

650ml bomber poured into pint glass jan30 2010

A pours black with a fast falling cola like fizzing tan head that's gone in an instant and leaves no lace

S a little molasses with some dark chocolate and mild coffee

T not far from the smell but a little stronger and I pick up on a little raisins and booze

M not as thick as I would have guessed but not bad

D for the strength it not to bad, fairly smooth and decent flavor

worth trying but not the best beer this brewer offers, and for the price you could buy a better stout.

wordemupg, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of DaveJanssen
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Split a 22 two ways. Reviewed 6/29/2009.

Ar: Dark Fruit, rum, alcohol, sweet molasses, roast/burnt bread, plum, dark chocolate, chocolate cherries, smoke hints, mild and complex, fruitier than many stouts, tart sweetness, alcohol strength increases as it warms

Ap: very fine dusting of dark tan head, fair retention, black with dark brown highlights

F: dark chocolate (still sweet), burnt toast, roasted nuttiness, dark without strong coffee/burn, burnt flavor, dark fruit, citrus (mandarin), very sweet, darkness and bitterness balance sweetness, strong fruitiness, roast balances sweet at end, black licorice, very fruity, dark caramel, brown malt, chocolate fruit, long aftertaste of dark toast and chocolate, light alcohol

M: low carbonation, very thick and creamy, velvet, heavy and filling, clean end lightly cloying, *sickly sweet

O: less dark than many other stouts, could be drier, too sweet, unique and intriguing but could use more, alc very clean, *full, initial reaction was the beer is very good, then sweetness is too much, would like more roast and dryness, very filling, sweetness makes it hard to drink, still good

*=Ideas from fellow taster

DaveJanssen, Jan 31, 2010
Photo of kirok1999
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours nicely black with a thin ring of foam on the edge of the glass. Hints of garnet around the edges of the snifter.
Smells of milky coffee with a bit of chocolate shavings. A hint of mild sweetness with a bit of hop bite.
Tastes much the same as the smell with a crisp, dry finish. Coffee comes through more in the smell with some mild, bittersweet chocolate.
Feels a bit thin and watery. Smooth, without much carbonation. Easy enough to drink but not my favorite winter evening brew.

kirok1999, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
3.58/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-deep reddish brown color. an aggressive pour creates only a small bubbly, dark tan head that dissipates quickly and leaves no lacing

S-big notes of mollases, some roasted coffee malts, hints of milk chocolate, and a touch of dark fruits at the finish

T-the taste is overpowered by dark fruits of cherries, plum, and grapes. it actually starts with a light roasted malt, touch of bitter chocolate, some coffee, and citrus. like i said, the dark fruits are still the most present flavor throughout the entire taste of the beer.

M-the beer is on the lighter end of full body, extremely smooth, very low level of carbonation and dries the mouth slightly

D-it is a lighter imperial stout and extremely sweet. my idea of drinkability is wanting to drink it in terms of its style so the rating isn't great. still not a bad beer and is somewhat enjoyable.

cpetrone84, Jan 06, 2010
Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,448 ratings.