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Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,670 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,670
Reviews: 604
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 12.47%
Wants: 57
Gots: 241 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.90% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: kbub6f on 08-31-2001

2010 8.2% abv
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,670 | Reviews: 604 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Pahn
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into Captain Lawrence tulip.

Appearance: Free pour yields a two inch, frothy tan head that dissipates steadily and leaves a few thin streaks of lacing. Pours a dark, dark red (easily mistaken for black), and leaves several streaks of thin, long lasting lacing.

Smell: The first two dominant aromas are coffee and tropical fruit hops, and they're working surprisingly well together. There's a sweetness to both of them. A few other good stout-like aromas come out quickly to play supporting roles: chocolate, roasted malt, molasses.

Taste: Not as hoppy as the smell, though some grapefruit (and molasses) comes out in the finish. Main flavor is strong roasted malt (with a strong roasted bitterness, along with the high IBUs from hops). Lots of good but similar and not very distinct rich and creamy flavors, but brightened up by the hops and heavy carbonation.

This beer isn't complex, but these flavors work really well together. No complaints.

Mouthfeel: Lighter side of full-bodied with lots of carbonation. Not much dryness, but lots of bitterness. I like my stouts less carbonated and with more body, but it's not like the mouthfeel is preventing me from enjoying these strong, well-done stout flavors.

Drinkability: This is a good everyday stout. It doesn't hit you over the head with anything, but all the flavors are solid and good. It's a bit hoppier than your average RIS, but the choice of flavor and aroma hops mesh really naturally with the malty stout goodness that is the rest of the beer.

Another bargain from Lagunitas. At the equivalent of about $8.75~ a 4pack, this beer easily competes with North Coast Old Rasputin and Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout in terms of bang for the buck (actually, I far prefer Black Chocolate Stout, but they're very different animals; Lagunitas could easily be the best of the 3 for any given drinker). Yeah, it's a little thin and not too complex, but the flavors are very bold and very good. If I saw this beer more often, I would definitely buy it again.

Photo of barknee
4.05/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This excellent brew pours as dark as the ace of spades with a diminutive head that dissipates quickly. The nose soars with the aroma of, well, a Mr. Goodbar chocolate confection. Yes generous aromas of milk and slightly sweetened chocolate along with salty peanuts gain your attention immediately! Not distracting to the experiance but nicely reminiscent of this ageless product. Lightly carbonated and well hopped under the thick layers of chocolate, malt syrup and marshmallow, the alcohol just peeks itself above the ceiling threshold of this well saturated and flavorful brew. Like most of Lagunitas products, this too is well made, well balanced and an absolute pleasure to consume.

Photo of StoneBrewFanatic
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown into my pint glass with some reddish tones in the light with about two fingers of tan head, moderate retention and nice lacing.

S - As usual Lagunitas lives up to their hop hype, even with an imperial stout the hops are very present, actually masking the other wonderful qualities of an imperial stout. Somewhere in there are roasted malts, a bit of bittersweet chocolate, anise, and a bit of dark fruit.

T - The flavor here is good, but just missing the mark a little, not as robust and complex as an imperial should be. Roasted malts, toffee, bitter chocolate, anise, dark fruits, but all are taken over by the hop presence.

M - Pretty well balanced, a little on the thin side.

D - Interesting take on an Imperial Stout, I am usually a hop head, but I feel the hops took away from this beer. I look forward to trying it again in the future to see if my opinion stays the same.

Photo of Jaimeb1185
3.88/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Very Dark beer, with not a whole lot of head retention. Maybe a finger of head when you first poor which reduces fast and leaves lacing throughout.

Smells pretty sweet to begin with, but opens up as it warms up. As it warms up I smell more roasted malts and alcohol, the alcohol smell got strong enough that it actually made my eyes water.

Great roasted malt taste with some dark fruits and some licorice. Finishes with a slightly hoppy and alcohol taste.

Medium mouth feel, great taste but somewhat low on drinkability due to the alcohol. This newer bottle is 10.14 abv.

Photo of Mora2000
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is from the most recent batch, now labeled unlimited release.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is very one dimensional and is very heavy on the chocolate. I don't get anything else, which is a little bit of a disappointment.

The flavor is more complex. I get a lot of chocolate and roasted malt, as well as some licorice and dark fruit. As the beer warms it gets a little bit ashy, but not really smokey. The alcohol is also present and is warming.

Thin to medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Photo of nickhiller
3.26/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: coffee brown, light visible carbonation, barely any head to speak of, consistency is on the thick side.

S: soy sauce (I read that in the post below and now I can't get it out of my head; it's spot on), musty earthy funk, minerals and a weird sulfur smell that lingers in the nose.

T: stinky sulfur continues in the taste (it honestly tastes a little like halitosis), very sweet with dark candy followed by bitter coffee and charcoal on the finish.

M: medium bodied, medium carbonation

D: meh. Though I'm a big proponent of them, I think Lagunitas missed their mark with this one. It has a funky smell and taste that I just can't shake.

Photo of JMforman
3.14/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Jet black with a frothy tan head. Good lacing throughout.

S- Soy sauce, chocolate, coffee. Not real impressed with the smell. Maybe it was a bad batch (as the soy sauce smell would indicate).

T- The taste made up for the smell: Chocolate, Alcohol, Coffee, Dark fruit

M- Pretty full. Maybe a bit acidic.

D- Fairly drinkable.

Photo of zachary80
4.35/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

drank 1/10/11
bought 7/15/10

9.6% abv
neck coded 09957010 = Three-digit Julian date, the last three batch numbers, then the military hour (13 = 1pm)

Super dark brown, near black. cm high tan head quickly fades

The aroma is somewhat muted. Chocolate, lots of malt. I like it but would be great if it came stronger

Taste is very good. Taste is long, and seems to change nicely over a few seconds after the sip. Very nice level of bitterness.

Mouthfeel is a little thinner than expected but also seems to coat the mouth, so maybe it is due to a more vigilant carbonation. No trace of the alcohol

Exceptional drinkability. This went away too fast

Overall very impressive and a great deal. No idea what age this bottle was

Photo of chinchill
3.63/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz. bottle served in pint glass. Apparently, 1-2 year old 2009 bottle; no harmful effects of aging apparent (see ABV note) except perhaps some loss of carbonation.

ABV of 10.14% according to label.

A - opaque. Black with dark mahogany highlights. Very little head and it is short lived but with a lasting minimal ring.

S - detectable alcohol; surprisingly sweet and floral.

T - Rich and complex. Primary: Roasted malt with some hop presence. IBU = 72.45 (label) but seems a little lower. Some burnt, smokey, caramel, prune and coffee notes. High ABV largely hidden.

M - very full, nearly thick, with light carbonation

This beer may have changed since its introduction. The ABV is higher than that now reported on Beer Advocate.

Photo of OakedCanuck
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into Maudite tulip

This beer pours a dark brown, to a lighter black. I actually expected it to be darker due to the 'imperial' tag. Nonetheless, the dark yellow-brownish head didn't stick around and lacing was not well formed. It smelled typical of a stout, with chocolate, coffee and malts. Taste was much the same, with stronger chocolate taking front stage. Sweet malts were also present. Mouthfeel was medium to heavy and was heavier than the appearance suggested. Easy enough to drink, but nothing that sets it apart from the other 'imperial' stouts out there, kind of in the "B" or AA league, not bad though.

Photo of theBubba
3.83/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Lagunitas-- a strange name for a stout. By its name you'd expect something in a clear glass bottle that needed a slice of lime. Oh well. That's California.

Poured a deep coffee/cola like hue. Very nice head that quickly faded into a slowly diminishing lace that held up til the finish.

Smell was that of sweet molasses, raisons, and malt.

And so was the taste, with a bursting, almost too malty sweetness. Delicious, but you wouldn't want another too quickly. Nice dessert beer but not nearly as dry and less hoppy as a true RIS. A bit more carbonation would also have helped.

Overall, I enjoyed this beer as a nightcap. Enough alcohol to warm you a bit before bed time in January. And at 5 bucks for a 22 oz. bottle it's a pretty good buy. But a session beer, it def ain't.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.94/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured into a tulip glass. Blackness. Almost no head, just some lacing around the edge.

S - Rich smelling malt. Molasses and chocolate

T - Unlike any other stout I have had. Malt sweetness like a doppelbock, but it is roasted malt. Cherry, alcohol, cocoa powder and ends with a slight bitterness. Very heavy.

M - Syrupy, thick body, low carbonation.

D - Maybe I've been missing out on the stouts that are like this one... or this one is in its own league. Either way, it is good but it is not what I know to be a stout. Consider me educated. Try it, just be prepared for a different stout.

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

Presentation: Poured from a 22 oz brown bomber into a standard shaker pint glass. Label is simple unbleached paper style of most Lagunitas brews with some information about IBUs and Original Gravity. No freshness date.

Appearance: Pours with just shy of 2 fingers of medium tan head. This settles slowly to a thin, incomplete coating of foam leaving behind decent lacing. The beer itself is black as ink with just the slightest hint of a dark brown around the edges. No visible sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Strong roasted barley nose upfront with hints of soy sauce and dark fruit. Distinct alcohol sweetness in the finish.

Taste: Strong dark fruit flavors upfront, fig and black strap molasses, followed by a medium roasted barley bitterness. Finishes with hints of semi sweet chocolate and coffee. Slightly acrid in the end with a long lingering roastiness.

Drinkability: Average to slightly lower than average carbonation. Body is very good.

Drinkability: A solid example of the style and a flavorful sipper that hides the high ABV of a RIS well.

Photo of coronajm
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a large snifter.

A- Pours a nice dark, dark brown. This one is dark, but more than a few shades from opaque. Minimal layer of khaki head that doesn't feel like hanging out with us.

S- Dark roasted malts, some dark roasted coffee, and i think i get some vanilla. A touch of alcohol in there too.

T & M- A bit sweeter than anticipated, but not at all overboard. A medium-bodied mouth is a bit on the light side for this style, but still manages a rich array of chocolate malts. Seems to be a little mild in regards to roastiness and burnt malts found in some of these bigger stouts.

D- This bomber is going down no problem and i could certainly keep going. Wish it was easier to find.

Really enjoyed this beer, especially at $4.99/22oz. This brewery can't seem to miss.

Photo of womencantsail
3.82/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The pour is very dark brown with some reddish notes to it and a thin ring of khaki colored foam around the glass.

S: Quite sweet with plenty of caramel and toffee malt notes. There's a fair amount of roasted malt character with a touch of ash and some minimal alcohol. Perhaps a hint of dark fruits are there.

T: This had a nice sweetness to it with brown sugar, caramel, toffee, and molasses. There's some minimal dark fruit notes and chocolate. Not quite the usual level of roast and coffee as other imperial stouts.

M: The body is medium, about average for an imperial stout, with a medium carbonation.

D: This was a bit on the sweet side for an imperial stout, but still pleasant and drinkable. A good effort from Lagunitas.

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

Pretty much all black with a khaki head.

Soft boozy aromas of dark chocolate and nuts.

Also a soft boozy flavor of chocolate and nuts, the roasted malts are present only in this way without any overt coffee or burnt notes, which I would prefer to detect in the mix. I like the balance of roasty-toasty coffee notes softened by chocolaty overtones, but this aint like that. But it doesn't make it bad, just less fun.

Full body, carries the ABV well, a little boozy dark chocolate bitterness on the finish.

This is worthy overall, but not my idea of bad-ass. This would be interesting with a butt-ton of late addition hops and cask-conditioned.

Photo of michaeljasmin
4.07/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I first tried this imperial stout earlier this summer. The beer that we had at that time was 8.2%. After a long dry spell, the beer is finally back in Alberta. Now clocking in at 10.14% I can't even remember what the 8.2% version tasted like. Considering the strength of the beer I was expecting something a little thicker and a little darker. The beer has a thin head and is a very dark brown color opposed to athe jet black color of other stouts I've tasted along the same lines. This beer dose however have a very pleasent smell and taste. The bitter aftertaste dosn't stay on my palate very long. Somewhat of a disapointment. I would have prefered something a little less dry with a stronger, longer lasting bitter aftertaste. The beer is very thin, goes down fairly easy. This one has a beautiful taste, not the best. But certainly not the worst. A worthy purchase and a great beer

Photo of ADZA
3.53/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

My bottle looks exactly the same as this one except mine says its 10.14%ABV anyway it pours a rich dark non see through cola hue with beautiful carbonation that leaves behind a thick two finger creamy head and nice lacing its abit thin looking for a RIS but netherless it looks nice,the aroma is abit of a let down considering how nice it looks with hints of milky mocha and bourbon and cola,it has a medium bodied mouthfeel which isnt as thick as i usually like my RIS's and exudes flavours of milky coffee,milky chocolate,caramel malts and finishes with a nice toasty hop bitterness,overall its not bad without being great and i can think of alot other beers from this brewery that id rather revisit.

Photo of david18
3.75/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lagunitas is one of the more interesting breweries in my opinion that offers a lot of variations on a single theme. For example they have a ton of double ipas. I wasn't sure, therefore, if I'd tried the Imperial Stout, much less reviewed it. This one is a pretty classic take on the style. A little less hoppy and lower in alcohol than an American Imperial.

Color is very dark, almost black, with significant carbonation. Flavor and aroma was a combination of roast, toast, hops and a little bit of fruitiness. Overall, very well balanced in all areas and very easy to drink...maybe too easy. I will get this again and would recommend it to anyone who likes Imperial Stouts.

Photo of ne0m00re
3.67/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

09/21/10- Had a 22 oz bottle of this at Cafe Apropos.
A: Black with a thin collar.
S: Roasted/burnt, espresso, fruity red wine, pine, fresh, and overall mild.
T: Creamy, chocolate, espresso, sour/tart/burnt at end. Pretty good.
M: Creamy/frothy.
D: OK. 22 oz was good.

Photo of homebrew311
3.65/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I'm not really sure what vintage this is. I picked it up at Woodman's in Madison and notice that the label states that it is 10.4% abv. BA states that the 2010 version is 8.2%. Poured in to NB globe.

A: out of the bottle, this imperial stout looks like cola..kind of thin for an imperial stout. As it collects in the glass, it appears black and opaque. A thin beige collar of head forms and sticks around. The lacing is minimal.

S: the nose features notes of molasses, dark fruit, and mild roasty character. The smell suggests that this is going to be on the sweeter end of the spectrum. The nose is not all that complex as the sweet character dominates.

T: the front of the palate has a quick sharp sweetness with some roasty depth in the midpalate. Lots of dark fruit in there (think Darkness, Dark Lord, Bells Batch 9K style) and a very sweet finish. Pretty one note, but that one note happens to be quite tastey.

MF: the body of this brew doesn't quite match the rich flavors. Perhaps this is the missing factor from making this a stand out imperial stout. The carbonation is low and the texture is almost sticky.

D: this beer is big and rich while being an incredible value (3.99 per bomber). I would recommend this to anyone looking for an affordable sweet imperial stout.

Photo of bgildea
4.25/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark brown/black color. Little tan head that fades quickly and leaves little lacing.

S: Nice sweet smell, that fades to an oaky like finish.

T: Tastes like it smells. The beer starts off with a sweet chocolate taste, then moves to a bitter roasted malts flavor and finishes with a smokey like oak flavor. Overall, I enjoyed the "movement" so to speak of the flavor.

M: Nice thick almost chocolate milk like texture. I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of chew to it.

D: The beer is definitly drinkable. The flavor definitly caries the beer. But I doubt I could put more than 2 of these down before I get anchored to my chair.

Overall: Overall I enjoyed the beer. I thought flavor was great with a nice balance of sweet to bitter. I would definitly recommend this to dark beer drinkers. It might be too heavy for some IPA lovers out there.

Photo of bigfnjoe
2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A- pours jet black with a paper thin brown head that instantly fades. What the hell is with the pathetic head on this? Not off to a great start...

S- slight hints of chocolate. Very weak. Again, the bad start continues...

T- alright, now we're getting somewhere. At least there's some flavor...tastes like chocolate flavored cola. Getting some roasted malts in there as well...but mostly chocolate. A little too unbalanced...no bitterness or coffee notes coming through at all

M- carbonation isn't an issue. Its got a nice thickness to it. Would be rated higher if the beer was more balanced, and the thickness would seem to matter more.

D- not my first choice for a RIS, but its not really undrinkable...just a little boring. Not very complex

Photo of crossovert
3.91/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle, mine says 10.2% alc.

It pours a dark brown, bordering black with a foamy, but short lived tan head that leaves no lacing.

It has a great smell, lots of caramel and toffee, also: coffee, chocolate, and some dark fruits. There even is a hint of vanilla. Thick and rich scents.

The flavor has a ton of chocolate and dark fruit. It has a hint of roastiness and coffee. The caramel is there but subdued in comparison to the flavor. There is a bit of bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is a bit over carbonated but it does still hold a firm medium body. Let it oxidize a bit and it turns out pretty nicely.

This one is pretty impressive.

Photo of StoutCream
2.88/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

$4 and 5 blocks later, poured a bomber into a quart mason jar. That's how i drink, fool.

Appearance: looked like motor oil till I held up to the light. Stout!?! really!?! I could see right through it. Substantial head that settles to a stable finger width after a few minutes. Not lacey, just stable.

Smell: had to pour some in a red wine glass to get anything. What I got was alcohol. After some finegaling got some coffee, mocha, and toast but just hints. Mostly alcohol. To be expected from this lackluster brewery and high gravity.

Taste: burnt chocolate, espresso, caramel, alcohol, with a touch of green herbals that I thought I caught in the nose, too, only briefly.

MF: can something be creamy and bitter? Yes. Smooth in the front, strong in the back. Not the best, not the worst, but not exciting. Almost flat, with the viscosity of burnt coffee. Total session. You don't have to think about this beer. In fact, it's better if you don't.

Drinkable: despite the gravity, this is my session stout when I am out of big city jamaican, as long as I have eaten well that day. Food really makes the bad points of this beer disappear. i recommend pairing with food. Drink at your own risk.

Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,670 ratings.