Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

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very good

1,576 Ratings
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Ratings: 1,576
Reviews: 582
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.73%
Wants: 54
Gots: 196 | 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: 1,576 | Reviews: 582 | Display Reviews Only:
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!!!

Photo of godless1one
4.22/5  rDev +11.9%
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

Photo of vandemonian
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
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.

Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.15/5  rDev +10.1%
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.

Photo of cavedave
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of spree92
4.2/5  rDev +11.4%
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.

Photo of BurpingtonDC
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of silentjay
3.7/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

Photo of bohemiandonut
4.08/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of cbutova
3.3/5  rDev -12.5%
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.

Photo of beergod1
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
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.

Photo of flannelman808
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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

Photo of vitrael
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
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.

Photo of BeardedRiker
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of Kakaraht
3.5/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,576 ratings.