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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

1,445 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,445
Reviews: 567
rAvg: 3.76
pDev: 12.77%
Wants: 50
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
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Ratings: 1,445 | Reviews: 567 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of oakbluff
3.1/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

From a bomber- vintage unknown. Pours a ruby hue dark brown with a fizzy mocha head. Nose- light roast, some molasses and anise. Taste- stewed fruits followed by a chocolate powder dryness. Lacking depth, rather thin body. Minimal roast flavour. High carbonation for the style. Drinkability is decent given the relative simplicity of the brew.

oakbluff, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of kegger22
4.05/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown with a modest head that quickly dissipated to a collar. The aroma was molasses. The taste was vanilla and molasses, no coffee to be found. The feel was medium bodied with good adequate carbonation. Drinkability was good. I was outside the bell curve on this one, I liked it. Lagunitas, not exactly known for their dark malt beers, more for the hoppy stuff, but they did a fine job on this one IMO.

kegger22, Oct 23, 2009
Photo of GreenCard
3.38/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: deep dark brown, slight haze visible around the edges of the otherwise opaque brew, medium layer of spongey foam that collapses to a creamy cap

Aroma: ethereal whiffs of coffee, malt, dark brown sugar, and rum

Flavor: rich malt sweetness wrapped in a velvety cloak of roast flavor; hints of licorice, coffee, and burnt sugar; finishes semisweet with a lingering toffee candy taste

Mouthfeel: full/heavy body (almost syrupy), pert carbonation, somewhat sticky/oily

Other comments: Definitely IMPERIAL. Potent and thick. This is what people who only drink light beer probably think all stouts are like: strong, thick, and heavy.

GreenCard, Oct 12, 2009
Photo of CrazyMacHarris99
2.25/5  rDev -40.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

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

CrazyMacHarris99, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of soupyman10
3.95/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aged 12 months

Decided to age this one right off the bat because of Lagunitas's tendency to be a bit boozy tasting.

Pour is solid - deep, deep brown with nary a highlight. Small tan head dissolves down to a fine film fairly quickly. Nice look.

Nose is easy - cookies and some light vanilla. Chocolate. A very mild hint of dried fruit, cherries perhaps, and similarly light malt. Not bad, just very simply and straightforward.

Taste is a notch better - chocolate, cookies, roasted malt. A touch bland - that slight corniness of a thinner imperial stout. Mild, all around - roasty, smoky on the back of the tongue.

Body is a little thin, but with good smooth carbonation.

Overall, an alright brew. A little bland and a touch too straightforward for what is usually an exciting style.

soupyman10, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of ThreeWiseMen
2.6/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Purchased this at Mangrove Bottle Shop here in Chico. Wiseman Nick reviewing, as usual.

Poured into a New Belgium globe.

Appearance: Pours out dark reddish brown. Once settled, the body is pretty close to opaque, but still shows shimmers of reddish brown near the bottom of the glass. The brown foamy head took its time arriving but was quick to leave. All that remains at this point (about two minutes in) is a toothpick-thin halo. Light stringy lacing. Weak.

Smell: Molasses, fudge, red currants, and a bit of alcohol. Very sweet and syrupy. I really had to dig to find some roasted malt. Not a typical smell for and RIS, but not terrible either. I'd rather have something else personally.

Taste: This one started off pretty tart, but after several minutes it smooths out quite a bit. Still lots of sweetness on the table: chocolate syrup, molasses, fudge, cola, and something else dessert-like that I can't seem to put my finger on. The roasted aspect is a bit stronger in the taste than the smell, and the finish is quite bitter. The hops are sweet, fruity, and very oily. I suppose I still get a bit of sourness/tartness. Overall, this one is just okay.

Mouthfeel: Oily, syrupy, and dry. Carbonation is a tad higher than normal for the style, causing a mild sting in the finish. Body is full, but not the good kinda full. I feel like I've got a big glob of sugar sitting in my gut - the same feeling I used to get after drinking a jumbo Slurpee. No creaminess. Pretty much all wrong, haha.

Drinkability: I've been searching this one out because it's the lowest rated RIS in BA's database (with at least 5 reviews). Maybe that led to some negative PREMONITIONS (<- find a better way of writing this) - who knows. This is one of the lousiest, if not the lousiest, Russian Imperial Stouts I've had. (Two Brothers Imperial Stout and Mikkeller Black Hole were pretty terrible as well.)


ThreeWiseMen, Aug 17, 2009
Photo of bluejacket74
3.93/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours dark brown with about an inch frothy tan head. Head retention is good, not much lacing at all. Aroma is roasted malt, chocolate, dark fruit and Whoppers malted milk balls candy. It's a very sweet and malty aroma. However, it tastes like roasted malt, coffee, bittersweet chocolate and smoke. It doesn't taste as sweet as the aroma would lead you to believe. Luckily I still think it tastes good. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it seems a bit thin for a stout, and it also has good carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. I think it's a decent overall brew, I enjoyed it.

bluejacket74, Aug 07, 2009
Photo of BB1313
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I was not let down with this one. I suppose my expectations weren't the highest for whatever reason so maybe that made it all the better! Pours a dark dark brown w/ little head and decent lace. It didn't have the thickness I expect, more on the lighter side. Lots of burnt chocolate, expresso,and black licorice. The drinkability is very nice and so is the taste. It's not as hoppy as I expected.

I would definitely seek this one out again or recommend, not a top of the line RIS, but it's extremely easy drinking and should be respected.

BB1313, Aug 06, 2009
Photo of MaltyHoppyGood
3.6/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost like a Scotch ale gone stout.

Appearance: No opacity... C'mon, this is a stout! Where's the black patent? Minimal head.

Smell: Sweet, sticky dark carmel type smell. Like a dark scotch.

Taste: Luckily this beer has decent flavor. Ultimately this fails as a "Imperial", but it does pack a punch. It's mildly sweet, a smidgeon roasty and full of dark toffee accents. I don't like beers which are too sweet- this is a good stride acceptable from borderline. Certainly no Russian Imperial Stout, it holds its' own. Aftertaste lingers and is both smooth and somewhat rough. I like the "smooth and bumpy" character, as it gives some dimensionality and seemingly presents a wild beast in a suit and tie. Esters from yeast tango well with the malt and the alcohol, although sometimes the alcohol just floats through the nose.

Mouthfeel: Mouthfeel is really quite perfect for what the style is trying to achieve. It's not to light, but it's also not too heavy like a RIS or Barley wine. Somewhat crisp, yet bold enough to inform the drinker that this is in fact imperial grade. Good bottle conditioned carbonation.

Drinkability: 4/5 Again, because the sweetness is medium and not overpowering, I can take hearty swigs without feeling sick. It's a bit strong, yet it could probably be a session beer if there was an occasion.

Overall: Not what I expect from a stout, but totally worth drinking. As far as I can tell, there has always been a gray line between porters and stouts. This beer leans towards the former yet it's flavour passes as the latter. Odd, enjoyable. The focus here is dark malts with medial - minimal bitterness.

MaltyHoppyGood, Jul 31, 2009
Photo of BedetheVenerable
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 24oz brown pop top bomber

Appearance: Dark garnet brown beer with sticky dark tan head

Smell: Big husky dark graininess...very similar to a fresh dark-grain boiling wort...simple but tasty...a touch of dry cocoa powder on the finish

Taste: Roasty, dark chocolate, burnt grains, with a touch of coffee and smoke on the finish...fairly complex, yet approachable and drinkable

Mouthfeel: Medium/heavy

Drinkability: Pretty high

Conclusion: Nice, solid, decently complex, good value

BedetheVenerable, Jul 30, 2009
Photo of earthboundagain
3.88/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

From Notes:

A: Poured from a bomber the beer is a deep dark brown, bah there is a wee bit a light creeping through. Very thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted dark malts, chocolate, and some very weak hop

T: The taste is of whoppers and roasted coffee. There's an above average hop presence for a RIS but it provides a nice balance. The after-taste is bitter sweet.

M: Crisp and a very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky. Tad too thin for my liking, but not too bad.

D: Very easy to drink, due to a good balance of flavor and not being super thick. This is not a heavy handed brew, but tasty enough to make me buy it again. A different twist on the style.

earthboundagain, Jul 27, 2009
Photo of jdklks
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- not great for an imperial stout. looks thinner than it should be. the bubbly head dissipates quickly, suggesting over-carbonation (think of soda), and the color is black, but not impenetrable, like it should be.

S- the smell is fantastic. a nice, sweet bourbon smell with sweet, smoked malts, and a hint of chocolate. vanilla may be in there too.

T- Taste is good, not great, and far from exceptional. overly sweet, like candy almost. the smoky sweetness in the nose dominates the flavor on the palate, and there isn't a whole lot more to be found. some alcohol and a hint of chocolate. im going to let this one warm up a bit, as it seems like it might taste better that way.

M- slightly (not as much as i expected) over-carbonated. although this may actually help the beer, since more flavors need to "pop" out. the consistency isn't nearly as thick as an imperial stout should be.

D- eh.

jdklks, Jul 22, 2009
Photo of DavoleBomb
4.18/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle split with a friend and poured into a pint glass.

3.5 A: Near black color and from what I can tell, clear. One finger of creamy yellow tan head with average retention and plenty of lacing.

5.0 S: Awesome aroma. Smells like a chocolate milkshake. Lots of roasted barley and the slightest tinge of alcohol.

4.0 T: This is almost like a ST Choklat only less chocolately and more drinkable. Big semi-sweet chocolate taste. Alcohol is more prominent. Pretty good, but didn't live up to the aroma.

4.0 M: Heavy-Medium body. Good carbonation. Creamy, but could be more so.

4.0 D: I like it and I'm not a stout guy.

DavoleBomb, Jul 20, 2009
Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color with a thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted dark malts, chocolate, coffee and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty as you would expect but not as heavy as most big stouts with flavors of dark chocolate and roasted coffee. There's a decent hops presence that provides a nice balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling, good kick, decent representation of style, I wasn't expecting much from this beer but was surprised to find that it was a pretty good stout to drink for a while.

TheManiacalOne, Jul 09, 2009
Photo of rapidsequence
3.8/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle

Appearance: Looks like Coke with less carbonation and less head. Dark brown with reddish hues when held to light. Not dark enough.

Smell: Dark roasty chocolate malts. A little bit of hops aroma.

Taste: This is good. Rich burnt, roasty, and chocolately. Some balancing bitterness. Sweet and delicious, with that mild bitter finish.

Mouthfeel: A little thin, but not watery. Dry.

Drinkability: This stuff if really good. I'll drink it again.

rapidsequence, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of plaid75
3.53/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a black hue with a one finger tan hue. There was decent retention and lacing.

The smell featured a heavy cereal grain and some sweet chocolate.

The taste was upfront heavy barley with a touch of roasted malts.

The mouthfeel was typical of the style and creamy.

Overall a very malty and uninspiring stout.

plaid75, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's.

The beer pours the expected darkish brown color with good head retetion and lacing. The nose is pretty exocitic, consisting milk chocolate, prunes, stewed plums and sweet licorice. The flavors on the palate replicate the nose, except the plum and prune flavor really come on strong. The beer is a bit on the sweet side, with a soft, medium bodied mouthfeel. Drinkability is pretty good, though the sweetness and noticeable alcohol detract a bit. Still, this is a pretty nice, easy to appreciate stout from Lagunitas. While nothing spectacular, it's a nice enough beer.

John_M, Jun 07, 2009
Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.4/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber bottle into matching shaker glasses. Split with psycohops. The stout appears a dark brown color with about two fingers of fluffy, but quickly fading ecru foam. Smells and tastes of medium roasted grain, milk chocolate, mild coffee notes, a hint of caramel and vanilla, whopper candies. Barely medium in body with a decent amount of carbonation. Not bad, but it's just missing something.

ClockworkOrange, May 27, 2009
Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.22/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black completely opaque. A frothy, bubbly one-finger head tops the beer. Smells of coffee, chocolate, and licorice. First sip is quite bitter with dark, dark chocolate and coffee leading he way. There is a ton of tobacco here and it is quite hoppy for the style. Lightly bodied too.

ATLbeerDog, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of Drew966
3.5/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Lagunitas Imperial Stout pours black in color with very little head from a brown twenty two ounce bottle. There is a bit of roastiness in the aroma. The flavor has a bit of roastiness too, but more of a toffee or caramel like flavor. The alcohol is noticeable to me. Not bad, worth a try.

Drew966, Apr 04, 2009
Photo of aforbes10
4.25/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from the Davis Co-Op. Ive tried so many RIS's now, why not just go for the rest? Pours a very dark brown, approaching black. Looks a bit thin for the style. Short light brown head retained well. Smells of chocolate, alcohol, nuts and plums. Flavor is of dark chocolate truffles, with hints of coffee, decadent chocolate covered black cherries, rich like pudding. Ethanol on finish. Medium to full bodied, velvety mouthfeel. Very tasty, grows on me as i drink more. Definitely on the fruiter end of the RIS spectrum, which wins points from me.

aforbes10, Mar 30, 2009
Photo of djeucalyptus
3.48/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

pours a dark mahogany with ruby highlights and some murky muddled inkiness. A tan two-finger head fades pretty quickly but leaves a fair bit of descent lacing.

aroma of dusty malts, molasses, caramel, cocoa, licorice. An interesting and formidable beast. buttered rum. funky.

taste follows suit. thick and murky with burnt raisins, molasses, licorice and cocoa. Not as "imperial" as anticipated, but a definite strength to it. a bit of rum, a bit of funky butter, a bit of dirt. Not sure I'm sold, but the richness isn't offsetting... just a bit different.

mouthfeel is a bit thin and a bit fizzy for an RIS, falling a bit short of expectations. not horrible, but a better, fuller and richer mouthfeel would have certainly helped this one.

all in all, a decent stout with a bit of funk, but a pretty mediocre RIS. It falls into the same category of other odd stouts (which Lagunitas seems to have a propensity for)... not quite what they set out for, but not necessarily horrible. I finished it and wasn't disappointed, but I certainly wasn't wowd. A decent cocoa licorice stout, but a weak RIS.

djeucalyptus, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of ndekke39
3.55/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I was given a bomber of this as a birthday gift. Decanted into a brandy snifter. Appearance is an oily black with brown edges. A small layer of brown foam that sticks around the whole time. Strong mocha aromas, with hints of bitter chocolate and burnt toast. Flavors are fairly mild for an Imperial Stout. Definite dark roasted coffee, with a coffee bitterness that blooms on the middle of the tongue. Light chocolatey aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a little too watery for an Imperial Stout. Overall, definitely drinkable, and not a bad beer by any stretch, but it's just not as big and bold as I like my stouts.

ndekke39, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of Magpie14
2.6/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A: the pour pushed forth reds and amber colors with a light khaki colored head. The head was a creamed foam paired with a ring, string, and blobs of lace. The overall color is dirty browns with thin shades of black. In some regards, it does not carry much for appeal

S: i am really having to pull these smells out: dark malts, roasted notes, buttery brown sugar. Kind of lacking in the nose as well, I was hoping for huge smells from a Lagunitas "Imperial Stout"

T: malts have a minimal presence and start to push through after the sip with black, dark, roasted tones. The overall flavor profile is kind of weak. The malts are nowhere to be found, has subtle java notes/wet coffee grounds, and has a indulgent lactose type of saccharine sweetness. I also can pull out some traditional dutch black licorice tastes sprinkled with vanilla.
Not any alcohol is showing up within the mawkish flavors. I am a bit baffled as to how to describe some of the flavors, all I know is that for an Imperial Stout this is timid

M: not to bad in this category. First and foremost it is rather thin for any stout and gets foamy at the back of the tongue. I find that it does go down alright and it is getting hot (alcohol), just a bit

D: I never thought that I would say "Lagunitas" and "no thanks" in the same sentence

Magpie14, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of biboergosum
4/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

650ml bottle. Heavy on the historical Russian references, but funny all the same.

This beer pours a clear deep, dark brown hue, with pervasive cola highlights (it's actually the exact same colour as my girlfriend's glass of Coke, when not in the light), with three fingers of puffy, loosely foamy beige head, which melts away at a fairly loping pace, leaving some decent layered cloud lace around the glass.

It smells of gritty medium dark powdered chocolate, besotted black fruit - prunes and raisins, mostly - molasses, roasted caramel malt, and a bit of day-old coffee. The taste is sweet, lightly toasted caramel malt, chocolate pudding, sour cherry, well sugared coffee, some mildly bitter earthy, leafy hops, and a slight warming alcohol astringency.

The carbonation is moderate, not too big, not too small, the body a decent medium-heavy weight, and generally smooth, but for a wee boozy interloper. It finishes pretty sweet, with the overall toasted, slightly smoky character saving the day.

I do quite enjoy Lagunitas' version of the style, as it is more laid back, and drinkable than many of its colleagues (but still nice and warming). I poured the last third of the bomber into my slowly simmering Irish stew, and expect that it will have a similar positive effect on tomorrow's holiday (in my mind, anyway) dinner party.

biboergosum, Mar 17, 2009
Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,445 ratings.