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Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

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very good

1,565 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,565
Reviews: 580
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.73%
Wants: 53
Gots: 192 | 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: 1,565 | Reviews: 580 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bsp77
3.05/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter. Bottled on 074 of the Julian calendar (March 15, 2011).

Appearance: Near black maroon with initial billowing tan head, leaving a fine lace.

Smell: Molasses, brown sugar, soy sauce and booze. Somewhat one dimensional.

Taste: Fairly sweet with molasses, soy sauce and very light roasted characteristics. Odd sticky and still sweet hoppy finish. Leaves a bad sugary aftertaste.

Feel: Somewhat thin body for an Imperial Stout. Moderate carbonation, quite boozy.

Overall: Simply too sweet, too thin, not much roasted character and a bad aftertaste. Obviously, I think this is a sub-par Imperial Stout.

Photo of shand
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a chalice.

This has amazingly low reviews for an imperial stout, I can't say my hopes are very high. Nonetheless, on with the show. This one pours a deep brown bordering on black. Only the slightest wisps of head are visible after a minute or so. The aroma on this is of dark fruits, chocolate covered coffee beans, and roasted malts. A bit weak smelling for a RIS. The taste is also a bit one-dimensional for what's typically a deep and complex flavor, but hey, it still tastes good. It comes on with some sweetened dark fruits and sweet chocolate, it's a very sweet RIS. There's a bit of coffee roastiness on the finish, along with just a bit of booziness and some lingering sugar sweetness.

The mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a fairly high amount of carbonation for the style. Drinakbility is alright, even if the sweetness is just a bit grating. Overall, this was a pretty alright RIS. For the cost, it's a great brew, but spending just a bit more on some Old Raspy would probably be a good idea. It's still a pretty good brew though, just not as good as the average RIS.

Photo of BigE90
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark with head that comes and goes quick. Very carbonated. I am assuming a 2011 bottling as the label reads 9.9% abv and ibu @ 72.45. Does not taste like a high abv stout. Just a good average stout that happens to have a high abv. Toasted notes, almost burnt, really come out in this. However the price point, $3.69 on sale for a 24, makes it very good buy that I would do again. Overall not bad but not at the point where I gotta buy a bunch to put into the fridge.

Photo of boneboy
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - This beer poured a dark brown/black color with a finger width, tan head that dissipates quickly. There was little, if any, lacing.

S - The aroma is of molasses, caramel, roast grain, and some alcohol.

T - The taste is similar to the aroma, with the alcohol being fairly present, and some hop bitterness.

M - This beer is medium bodied, pretty smooth, and fairly clean.

O - Overall, for $3.99 this is a pretty decent brew. It isn't my favorite for the style, but not bad either. I may revisit this again in the future.

Photo of scootny
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A dark reddish brown with a tan head and light lacing. Slightly sticky on the glass. Smell is a rich blend of chocolate, cherries, molasses, mocha, vanilla and roasted grains. Taste follows suit with a nice coffee bitterness in the finish. Some brown bread and a hint of earthy hops gives and English aspect to the brew. Feel is akin to a frothy, creamy hot chocolate. Nice. A heavy gravity gives it a lovely girth while the carbonation is excellent. A solid RIS at a great price from a brewer that may give the best value for your dollar anywhere. Cheers

Photo of WYVYRN527
3.98/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Deschutes Snifter from a 22 ounce bottle.

A: Black in color, although some light still tends to shine through. Head is eggshell in color, and quickly settles to a very thin film on the surface. Lacing is minimal.

S: Charred grain and espresso notes are dominant, with hints of dark fruit and molasses.

T: Much like the smell. Sweet notes of chocolate and raisin, long with molasses, followed by a dry, roasted malt character. Hops are noticeable on the tail end, with a warming, slightly boozy finish.

Notes: This full-bodied sipper has loads of flavor, complexity, and mouthfeel. Despite it's ABV, it's not overpowering. Another solid effort by the folks at Lagunitas. A tasty brew indeed.

Photo of jayhawk73
3.4/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color w/ a very thin chocolate head w/ disappears immediately. Below average lacing and carbonation. Smell is pretty weak for this style, with roasted malt, coffee and chocolate the only things I can distinguish. A little thin on the taste, and the smells are all there. A little better on the taste than the nose, but not among the best in this category. Also a little thin on the feel. All in all a fairly average Russian Imperial Stout. Probably won't pick this one up again, but glad I got to try it.

Photo of jhimstedt
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A - Mostly black but translucent with red tint, decent head retention when poured upright, light tan head fades into little ring with slight lacing

S - on the sweet side, syrup sweetener, some roast, not much deep fruit, cocoa or spice

T - nothing to write home about...decent roastiness, cola/root beer quality, little to no fruit, vanilla or chocolate notes. slightly astringent

M - way too thin for my taste, overcarbonated and soda-like

O - no life changing beer here, but not a bad go to for 4 or 5 bucks a bomber. barely qualifies as an imperial stout, but quite drinkable. Is it better aged? I'll probably never find out.

Photo of Krakistophales
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours jet black with a finger's worth of brown head that settles into a halo.

S: Dark chocolate, caramel, slight hint of dark fruits, some alcohol

T: Dark chocolate covered berries, creamy caramel, and slight roast in the front, finished with a slight woodiness and dark roast quality towards the end. Earthy hop bitterness.

M: Thick, viscous, good carbonation, warms well.

O: This is a pretty good stout, but nothing special going on here. Usually I'd like a certain quality to stand out in a stout, and this one just has great balance, so I'm not partial to it. Still, a very good brew.

Photo of DrDemento456
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a fresh bomber from this year for $5.99 been looking to try this for at least a year.

A - Pours a bit lighter than expected. Not that a darkened shade of brown is bad. I got a half inch of mocha colored head with some pretty decent lacing.

S - Smells a bit fruity rather than roasty or with chocolate. Second whiff I do get a bit of alcohol and a touch of roast.

T - Fruity esters of raisin's and figs with a touch of roast a cocoa powder. I like that even with the lack chocolate this beer is rather tasty.

M - Surprisingly it has a relatively medium body which may off put some but it drank rather smooth and velvet like with little to no burn of alcohol.

Overall I am glad I picked up a second because this beer drinks fantastic. Kind of a nice change from all the chocolate and coffee bitterness to get more dark sweet fruits. Worth a try if you like the style.

Photo of brystmar
3.38/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This bomber was on clearance at the grocery store for $3.99!

Black as night, plenty of tan head. Roasted malts give way to sweet fruit and booze. Really smells like a dark Belgian strong ale towards the end.

Hints of roasted stout-i-ness up front recede quickly in sweet fruits. Again, reminds me of a dark Belgian. Finishes dry with bitter coffee notes. Decent balance, reasonably easy to drink.

Kinda thin and weak for a stout. This brew truly suffers from an identity crisis, as it shares many more qualities with Gulden Draak than other stouts. Not the greatest by any stretch, but a helluva bargain for $4.

Photo of billshmeinke
2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Impenetrable blackness, two fingers of khaki head that dies down to a good layer of foam on top. Some decent lacing left behind. Looks a little thin when swirled though.

Smells of some raisins, figs, and a bit of chocolate. Only a bit of roast. Some alcohol.

Taste follows smell. A little on the sweet side. Too much about the fruity esters, not enough about the chocolate. Also, alcohol is pretty huge and in your face.

Alcohol is tongue numbing and not well hidden. Also, it's quite thin. Mouthfeel is pretty lame.

Overall pretty meh.

Photo of billab914
3.43/5  rDev -9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Bruery tulip glass. It poured dark brown in color with a frothy tan head filling the top inch of the glass. The head faded to a thin ring and also left some decent lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a sweeter, milk chocolaty and caramel flavor to it. I get a good dose of citrusy hops coming out as well in it. The roasty, bitter stout characteristics seem a little light though. Decent aroma overall but not one of the better ones of the style.

The taste has a good mix of roatsy, biter-sweet chocolate and citrusy hoppiness to it. I get a good amount of caramel malt and sweet flavors to it throughout the flavor as well. The flavors really come together pretty nicely in it though. It's not in the top of the style class, but I give them credit for managing to integrate the hops pretty nicely in it.

The mouthfeel is medium for the style and carbonation is moderate. Overall it was a very drinkable and flavorful stout. The hops really mixed with the stout flavors better than most versions that try and do that. Overall though it just fell short of the best versions of the style. It felt to thin and light without enough roasty, bitter character to it. Pretty decent beer overall but not an exceptional one.

Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME
2.98/5  rDev -21%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottled the 33rd day of 2011 - February 2nd, 2011
Consumed May 12

A - Black with light brownish tints. Sadly, it looks thin for a imperial stout at 9.9%

S - Muted. Some coffee, vanilla, earthiness, dark fruits.

T - Vanilla is there, not much roastiness, earth, the dark fruits are there but in a sweet way that isn't normal of Imperial Stouts. No umph to this beer.

M - Thin. Not oily, nor slick. Easy to put down but there was hardly anything to this stout. Almost drain poured the last 5 ounces not because it was bad, but because I was expecting more. Age would do nothing for this beer.

O - Very avaerage. Below average from a brewery as highly regarded as Lagunitas and I really wanted to like this one. In all fairness, they promote their FOE-tay as hops which they obviously do much better.

Photo of optimistictour
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Grabbed a bomber, noticed it's 9.9% instead of the 8.2 listed here, and was intrigued/impressed. Thankfully my $5 investment paid off.

It looks like an imperial stout should - which is to say great - but perhaps at the lower end of great. Dark but not pitch black, some head with solid lacing action, some light shows through and it comes across maybe less intimidating than many RIS's.

Smell approaches in the same manner as looks: solid but cautious. There's the requisite smoky malty sense, a minimal whiff of oak and burbon, and not much else. It's highly appealing without much personality.

Taste is where things improve. It's smooth as silk with just the right ratio - bitter coffee/chocolate balanced with a syrupy dark fruity feeling. Basically all I could ask for taste in an RIS, without any standout 'wow' factor to put it over the top.

Mouthfeel reflects taste almost tit for tat. It's as expected (which is a lot considering the style) and then some, with a slightly sharp carbonation standing at attention yet ceding control to the malty steamroller of smoothness at its center. Coats the tongue but never approaches the oil-slick of certain heavy weights in its class.

Overall I just can't find fault with this beer other than its lack of true distinction. It hits all the right marks but offers nothing unique or profound to the RIS fan other than it's solid covering of the requisite bases.

In other words, I recommend the hell out of it, but if you're an avowed fan of the style (as I am) you'll still find yourself thinking of those uinque experiences other, greater beers have bestowed.

Photo of Lerxst
3.68/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a very dark brown, almost black, with a one finger mocha colored head that has fair retention receding to an outer ring that remains.

S-Dark fruit, hints of coffee, booze and chocolate, some roasted malt lingering in the background. A more prominent nose would bump this one up a half a point or so.

T-Roasted malt comes through more here than in the nose, some dark fruit, coffee, chocolate, a slightly astringent aftertaste.

M-Thin for the style with prickly carbonation that is a bit distracting. This is the weak point of this beer.

O-This didn't knock my socks off, but it was a good beer that I enjoyed. Good value for the price (Think I paid $4.50 for a bomber). It didn't look or smell particularly impressive (slightly above average) but the taste was good. A more luxurious mouthfeel would really add to my enjoyment of this beer

Photo of raszputini
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

BARGAIN ALERT! I assume it is like this in other places, but I can pick a bomber bottle of this up for less than 4 bucks. It admittedly isn't the best Imperial Stout in the world, but is nonetheless rock solid. It pours jet black with a thin tan head due to the elevated ABV. The nose is dominated by chocolate, coffee and a tinge of alcohol. The mouth is a little thinner than I'd like, but it is slightly oily and definitely not weak. The taste is robust with notes of chocolate, roasted malt, coffee and some darker fruits - maybe cherries. It's a very decent stout, and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Photo of Offa
3.64/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Essentially black but not totally; small tan head quickly dissipates to foamy ring.

Aroma is nice but mellow and fairly simple: brandied and caramelized prunes, very dark toast, and wet sawdust.

Taste is fermented prunes and dark toast and otherwise only a nice, but faint, chocolaty creaminess and an alcoholic bite at the finish. It has a good feel with a nice slightly oily/creamy feel that is not too oily or heavy – creamy rather than slick or viscous. Despite the alcoholic bite at the end, it is otherwise not too alcoholic or boozy but it also is rather bland and one-dimensional. It’s good, easy to drink, but rather dull and boring, esp. for what it is and the high ABV.

Photo of omnigrits
3.05/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a perfect pint glass.

A. Looks black at first but holding it up to a light shows that it's a deep ruby colour, like Elton John's original LPs. A decent light tan head and some lace.

S. Quite a lot of grain in the nose, and less dark roasted notes than I'd expect from an imperial stout. Some raisins and prunes.

T. Bittersweet, with the emphasis on sweet. Kind of muddled and confused. Some liquorice I think, and an astringency that's not welcome.

M. Would be good for stout, but not an imperial stout.

O. Not one that I'd buy again. On a purely personal level this one's a bit too sweet for me - I prefer a drier stout although I know sweetness is the norm for a RIS. On a style level I find this one lacking in several areas. I can't find any definition to it. It's missing all those roasted malt notes of coffee and chocolate and there's too much fruitiness. It's almost like an alcoholic Vimto.

Photo of sirdillon
2.17/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

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.

Photo of Zeisloft
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark dark brown. Tan head. Nice looking Imperial Stout.
Aroma: Initially hits the nose with a huge dose of coffee and roasted malts. Searching can find a bit of vanilla and maybe some "dark fruits"- if you can find it.
Taste: Initial taste follows the nose, with the coffee and roasted malts being extremely prevelant. The bitterness comes through at the end, to make sure that you don't forget about it.
Mouthfeel: Not too light, not to heavy. Thought it would be a bit thicker, being a Imperial Stout. An observation, not a complaint.
Overall: This beer is nice and drinkable. Carbonation is right inline with the malt/hops, and the alcohol (even thought a bit high) does not overshadow the rest of the beer.

Second thought (after it warmed): The beer tended to thicken up a bit, the mouthfeel improved, and the roasted malts overcame the coffee tastes to forefront. After warming, a few esters came thought adding another dimension to the beer.

Photo of metter98
3.58/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cask at d.b.a., Brooklyn, NY

A: The beer is near black in color (some traces of amber are visible near the bottom of the glass when it is held up to the light). It poured with a thin beige head.
S: There are moderate aromas of roasted malts and alcohol in the nose.
T: The overall taste has flavors of roasted malts and raisins.
M: It feels full-bodied and very smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
O: The beer isn’t that difficult to drink because for the most part the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

Photo of JackieTH
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks Rob for providing this one!

Poured the entire bomber into a 28-oz Minnesota Renaissance Festival ceramic goblet. I easily kicked up a huge pillowy, thick-appearing, khaki-tan head that would have easily cushioned and supported coins dropped from above. Unfortunately however this was the pinnacle of this brew. Smell was weakly of watered-coffee and burnt molasses. Taste was mildy hoppy with an odd combination of barleywine style dark fruits..raisins, plums with stout-like coffee and chocolate. Summary : A bit too sweet, light bodied, and all over the place. Disappointing.

Photo of bum732
3.6/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

Photo of AnPiobaire
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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!!!

Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,565 ratings.