1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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.
BA SCORE
85
very good

1,388 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,388
Reviews: 561
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 44
Gots: 149 | 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: 1,388 | Reviews: 561 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of travolta
3.05/5  rDev -18.7%

Apperance: An obvious dark dark coffee color. Tan head with tiny bubbles. Frothy. Head retention is moderate. Lacing is nice. Rings and spotting are decent.

Nose: Sweet chocolate, sweet malt. A smooth syrupy smell.

Taste: Really light and watery in the mouth. Lightly roasted malt, chocolate, but not bitter, a nice sweet chocolate. Some slightly bitter coffee.

Notes: The logo has the word "Imperial" in massive letters across the label. I have been misled. This is not as imperial as I thought it would be. As someone has said before, this would be a good beginner's Imperial Stout. As for someone looking for something challenging and exemplary of the style would be advised to pass this one up.

travolta, Jan 13, 2005
Photo of carln26
3.13/5  rDev -16.5%

This beer pours a deep brown to black with definite ruby highlights. A light tan colored head gives way to virtually no lace as the beer settles. The aroma has a licorice character followed quickly by chocolate malt. No real hops to detect in the nose. More licorice, and chocolate malt when I taste the beer, a little alcohol heat, and something else. Man I almost swear it’s chicory or something of that nature. This beer is thinner than I expected. I’ve been recently turned on to some great Imperial Stouts, and one of the things I’ve begun to expect is a rich, velvety mouth feel. This beer isn’t close. It’s decent, and drinkable, but not a great representation of the style.

carln26, Jan 13, 2005
Photo of bigbeerdrinka
1.88/5  rDev -49.9%

Pours a deep opaque black color with a large frothy white head that leaves no lace. The aroma on this beer just smelled putrid: a mix between sweaty oats, slight roasted malts, and some lactic acid tones. At first I thought this brew just may be contaminated but after tasting and checking some other reviews this seems to follow most peoples opinions. Aromas start off sweet with hints of dark fruits and just a touch of roasted malt. The body to this brew is super thin which is adds to my dissapointment. There is almost no bitterness throughout, but there are tones of light coffee and cocoa in the mix. The finish consists of a strong lactic acid taste to it... Overall this is a really bad attempt at a milk stout.. This is no way in hell an imperial stout, so don't be fooled by the label.. Overall this beer is truly a dissapointment for the brewery, considering I absolutely love brown shugga and maximus.. Hopefully someone will inform them as to what an imperial stout is supposed to taste like..

bigbeerdrinka, Jan 04, 2005
Photo of clvand0
4.4/5  rDev +17.3%

Pours a very dark color with a moderate head that doesn't stick around long, but leaves some lacing on the sides of the glass. The aroma has a lot of chocolate malts in it, but that's about it - very enjoyable, but subdued. The flavor is all about the chocolate with just a hint of coffee/roasted flavor. Finish is slightly bitter and the body is thick and creamy. Extremely easy to drink for the alcohol level.

clvand0, Dec 22, 2004
Photo of kmpitz2
4.43/5  rDev +18.1%

This beer pours a dark brown color with 2 fingers of head that falls to coat over the beer. The nose is rather subdued, with some chocolate coming through, but not much else. The flavor is full chocolate with the slightest coffee finish, that may be in my head. Nice flavor. The feel is moderate, with a very slight creamyness. Drinkability is really nice. For a beer at 8.2%, the alcohol is not even on the radar. Damn. Nice beer,

kmpitz2, Dec 16, 2004
Photo of mgdeth
2.93/5  rDev -21.9%

Appearance - A nice thick tan head forms on the pour. The color initially seems more or less black, but I can see some ruby red highlights reflecting through the bottom of the glass. The head remains for the entire beer.

Smell - This beer has a fairly strong coffee-like roasty aroma. I do not detect hops. I can also small the alcohol jsut a little bit.

Taste - Malty sweetness tends to dominate the flavor profile of this beer at first. An alcoholic taste is present as well. The hops tend not to present themselves very well. The taste is not bad, but where is the roasty-toasty flavor? This beer is overly sweet.

Mouthfeel - This beer is not as thick as expected. I think it needs a little work.

Drinkability - This beer has a few flaws. The flavor is not what I expect in an imperial stout, and it is not really "filling." You might want to drink more than one. On the other hand, the beer is overly sweet, so you don't really want to drink too many.

Comments - This beer is worth a try, but it can be improved upon. Compare it side-to-side with other imperial stouts to assist yourself in picking out aroma and flavor differences.

mgdeth, Nov 22, 2004
Photo of donnebaby
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%

Dark brown black looks, not quite as dark or thick as other stouts are. Excellent, lasting cream, all-over-the-place bubbles and drift lacing. Very nice. Sharp and acrid vanilla and caramel rush, very sweet. Some green coffee beans notes.

Taste is disappointing, rough and seemingly undeveloped. Spots of caramel, vanilla, and coarse grains, with a medium, dry hop aftertaste, which feels like ripped-up, stale wheat. The best part is perhaps how the alcohol disappears in the chaos: taste is thin--but also makes it feel like a porter in its lack of thick smoothness and dearth of body.

Good brew, but not exceptional for the style.

donnebaby, Nov 12, 2004
Photo of hobbes2112
3.4/5  rDev -9.3%

22-oz

Pours a dark brown with small espresso-crema brown head. Help up against a light reveals a deep garnet color.

Smell is fairly tame, some chocolate malt and a little roast. As the head fades so does the nose.

The taste is more pleasing than the smell thankfully. More chocolate malt, roasted coffee but not really at the levels I expect in an Imperial Stout. Alcohol taste is oddly missing in this 8.2% As the beer warmed I started to note a little more of a nutty taste, possibly a hazlenut tinge.

The finish is not as dry as I would like, and the taste doesn't stay with you like in other beers of the style. I respect this beer, but don't know if I will pick it over another Imperial again.

hobbes2112, Oct 17, 2004
Photo of beerluvr
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Pours out with a light to medium brownish head that settles over clear deep chocolatey brown liquid...not the darkest Imp.Stout I've seen. Deep malty nose with complex dark fruitiness and some chocolate notes and not much hop. A thinnish (for the style) mouthfeel offers flavors of light chocolate, subtle roasted grains, light fruitiness and abundant hoppiness. No sign of alcohol here, quite drinkable with a nice latent bitter roastiness. Finishes pleasingly bittersweet. I'd say this makes a decent Baltic Porter, but a poor Imperial Stout, speaking strictly style-wise.

beerluvr, Oct 10, 2004
Photo of HardTarget
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%

Aroma: A presumptuous level of citric hops with a sweet candy smell backing them. Who does this upstart think it is, an IPA?
Appearance: Very black with strong back light only showing strong carbonation streams feeding a dark creamed coffee head of midsized bubbles. The head faded away about half way down the glass, but left some fair lace as a calling card.
Flavor: Nose predicts the taste well. Sugar sweet, but the citric hops keep it from going cloy. There is a slight metallic taste working, almost blood like, and a strong note of cherries. What is interesting is what I’m not tasting, no coffee, no toffee, little to no chocolate, no alcohol, very un-stout-like. As it warmed a bit, I got some light chocolate notes, and minor roasted malt tastes.
Mouthfeel: Very thin body for a stout, a bit bubbly.
Overall Impression: A good tasting beer, but very odd for style. The carbonation level and thin body really put it out there for any kind of stout, especially a Double Stout. For all of that, it made for easy drinking, scary given the abv.
Very unusual all around, but none the less, enjoyable.

HardTarget, Oct 08, 2004
Photo of allengarvin
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%

22-oz bottle, poured into a liter glass (with some left-over in the bottle. I need some 22-oz glasses. Served at around 50F.

Appearance: Black, completely opaque, with just a tint of brown at the edge. Small tan head.

Aroma: Chocolate malt with some roasted notes.

Flavor/Body: Roasted malt up front, fairly smooth, with some oily, syrupy chocolateness afterwards. Alcohol sweetness at the end, and slightly dry finish. Very little fruity-esters detected. Medium body, not as much mouthfeel as many imperial stouts. Fairly well-attenuated.

I'm a fan of most of Lagunitas' beers, but this lacks complexity. It's really nothing more than a stronger typical American stout.

allengarvin, Oct 01, 2004
Photo of freed
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%

Pulled this beauty off cask at the Rose & Raindrop. Poured a simple black with an off-white head. Nothing much to describe the body of the ale other than it was solid and elegant.

The aroma was fairly mellow. A little bit of smoke and peat, and a little of that nice cask yeast tartness.

The taste was fairly simple, and great. Smooth chocolate and coffee but not as bitter as you'd expect. It had a thinner body than the bottled variety, and was dangerously easy to drink. It was good on cask, but didn't really shine like I'd expected it to.

freed, Sep 24, 2004
Photo of PopeJonPaul
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%

Mmmm....chocolate.... Light chocolate nose with a dark chocolate taste. Fat tan head that disappeared in about 20 seconds, deep brown with just a hint of red hiding in the darkness. Not a very complex beer (though a well-balanced one), tastes like semi-sweet chocolate and not much else, has a bit of roasted coffee aftertaste though. I disbelieve the 8.2 ABV. Pretty tasty stuff if you're in the mood for chocolate, but doesn't quite measure up to what I expect of an Imperial stout.

PopeJonPaul, Sep 01, 2004
Photo of euskera
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

22oz bottle...

Pours out dark brown/black into my snifter. Not too much of a head to it. Smell is the usual for an Imperial Stout, lots of chocolate hints with coffee; not very intense though. Taste is OK, not well defined and a little bitter for the style. The well defined flavors of other Imperial Stouts just wasn't there; what I was left with was a brew that tasted a heck of a lot more like a porter. Too many other unbelievable brews in this category for me to seek this one out again..

euskera, Aug 25, 2004
Photo of mudhoney
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%

Poured a dark black, with a tan malty foam that quickly disappeared and left nothing behing to linger.
The smell is toasted, nutty and chocolatey.
The first taste was bitter coffee followed by a semi sweet chocolate that hangs on the palette. Almost a hint of almond followed by more chocolate flavor.
Although the mouthfeel isn't as thick as most Imperial Stouts, or as the dark color might indicate, it defintely has a remarkable drinkable quality.
I love most of Lagunitas beers, and I can't say I am disappointed in this one. Maybe not traditional "Imperial" by most means, but a very nice Stout nonetheless.

mudhoney, Aug 20, 2004
Photo of WVbeergeek
2.42/5  rDev -35.5%

Appearance: Dark caramel brown thin tan head leaves specks of lacing. Aroma: Relatively bland lacks much of anything but mild chocolate tones from this one. Taste: Once again where's the imperialness this doesn't like a big stout of Russian decent that I have come to know and love. Dulled down chocolate, wood herbal finish weak flavors watery in a sense what the fuck. Mouthfeel: Medium to thin for an imperial stout pass on this one. Drinkability: I have tasted many Imperial Stouts this one is lacking in every department after falling in love with a couple Lagunitas brews I picked up this one, disappointment.

WVbeergeek, Apr 28, 2004
Photo of frank4sail
3.03/5  rDev -19.2%

Very dark opeque black/ruby color. 1/8 inch light tan head that settled quite quickly. Not much nose at all just a touch of roasty malt sweetness but it is faint. Roast malt taste but it is very light and there is a slight hop sharpness to the finish. Seems a little weak and watery in the mouth and in the taste. Its ok but that is about it... not one I would seek out.

frank4sail, Apr 26, 2004
Photo of watermelonman
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%

This is good and dark with a solid head that went away quickly and didn't leave much lace.

The taste is good for a stout, but as others have reported, it's a bit small and thin for an imperial. The alcohol content is still fit for an imperial.

Coming up somewhat short of being an imperial makes it pretty drinkable.

watermelonman, Mar 22, 2004
Photo of Reidrover
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%

Bought in the usual 22 oz bromenbomber..same ole Lagunitas style label..though a bit perplexed at the use of "hammer and Sickle" signs on a Russian Imperial!
Quite a nice looking beer when poured into the Imperial pint glass..quite black in colour with a good sized creamy head that is tan in colour.
The aroma is of mostly dark roasted malts..some winey alcohol in the background.
Not too bad of a taste, pretty one dimensional, the burnt malt. Its creamy on the back of the tongue..has a nice bitterness at the end.
Pretty smooth on the palate..but not very "thick" for an Imperial.
Quite a nice drinkable stout..though its odd with this much alcohol..there is no real Imperial taste..I liked it though and would consider buying again.

Reidrover, Feb 23, 2004
Photo of RedDiamond
2.58/5  rDev -31.2%

This beer is dark, but more like an inkish cola or a robust porter than a stout. Opacity is not achieved as might be expected from an imperial of such high gravity. The aroma carries faint hints of chocolate poised against a disturbing acetone backdrop that reminds me of a recycling factory I once worked at in Seattle. The head is tan, fades quickly, and contributes nothing to the beer's character. Mouthfeel is simply insignificant.

There is little roastiness or abundant flavor to speak of here. Any balance that is achieved is defined by its absences, not its imperial richness. This is not a bad beer per se, but I certainly would not present it to the Czarist Royal Family.

RedDiamond, Feb 10, 2004
Photo of HiroProtagonist
3.2/5  rDev -14.7%

Pours a deep ruddy brown...in the glass it has a hint of mahongony transparency, but otherwise mostly black-not imperial black . A minimal head formed, but disappeared quickly. Aromas were not too powerful...soft toasty malts. Tastes were also mild for an imperial..gentle malts, some chocolate and low bitterness .Good, but mild. Mouthfeel is thin for an imperial. It is quite drinkable..alcohol is well hidden. This is a good stout, but does not have any imperial qualities!

HiroProtagonist, Dec 30, 2003
Photo of Gusler
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%

The beer pours to a charcoal black with an immoderate head that is frothy in texture and a beauteous light tan color, as it fades rather quickly the lace left behind forms a thin but complete covering upon the glass. The nose is saturated with the aroma of toasted grain, sweet malt, light hints of bittersweet chocolate and the start sweet and nicely malted, top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is stern in its acidity with the hops delightful in their spiciness. While a drinkable stout, certainly not the most “Imperial” of Imperial stouts, but worth a sample, maybe a “beginners” “Imperial Stout”!

Gusler, Dec 19, 2003
Photo of RoyalT
3/5  rDev -20%

Appearance – Nice, dark (almost black) body with a decent head that laced the glass well.

Smell – The aroma is very faint, even after warming, but I’m picking up some nice cocoa notes and a bit of roasted malt.

Taste – This was pretty lightweight for an Imperial Stout. The chocolate flavor was there, but the biggest part of this one was the hoppy backbone. It was good, but very different from the other IS’s that I’ve tasted.

Mouthfeel – This was the stout’s weak point, IMHO. It was very thin, not even medium-bodied, and lacked any kind of alcohol sensation.

Drinkability – This went down well but the label is misleading.

Comments – I guess you have to wonder about an Imperial Stout with an Availability rating of, “Summer Seasonal.”

RoyalT, Dec 08, 2003
Photo of GCBrewingCo
4.05/5  rDev +8%

Very dark brown almost black with ruby highlights near the bottom of the glass with a long lasting head. Aroma of sweet malt, chocolate, roasted barley, and hops. The flavor is very smoth with roasted malt, chocolate and coffee. The flavor begins as slightly sweet chocolate and ends as dry slightly bitter coffee. The body is a little light, but the drinkability is very good.

In all fairness to this beer, I was given two bottles by a store which was not going to sell them since they were over a year old. I found nothing wrong with the first bottle, and rated the second.

GCBrewingCo, Nov 30, 2003
Photo of rkhaze
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

Poured a dark mahogany color with a nice tan head. Left good lace.
Really sweet roasted malt aroma with some chocolate and red fruit.
Roasted malt taste, caramelly sweetness, some red fruit and a bit of licorice. Tangy hop finish. Some nice flavors going on, just not of the "in your face" intensity of an Imperial Stout.
Pallid mouthfeel for the style. Great drinkability due to the thin body and well hidden alcohol.
Doesn't have the punch of a good Imperial. I totally agree with the majority of other reviewers of this beer. It's an enigma of the Imperial Stout style. A poor Imperial Stout but a tasty brew nonetheless.

rkhaze, Nov 25, 2003
Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,388 ratings.