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Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

656 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 656
Hads: 1,942
Avg: 3.71
pDev: 21.56%
Wants: 76
Gots: 386 | FT: 6
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 656 | Hads: 1,942
Photo of Wasatch
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks goes out to tburkhart for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice notes of chocolate/toffee/coffee. The taste is sweet, malty, with some chocolate, toffee, coffee. Medium body, the alcohol is very well hidden. Drinkable, this is a very tasty RIS.

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Photo of mj001jk
3.69/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, coffee like color with a hazel-colored foam. The nose surprises me with a lighter profile, dried figs and raisins, toffee and hints of coffee. There is not as much dark-roasted character as I would have expected and there is also a slightly metallic aspect that is not entirely agreeable.

On the palate I like the soft, rich and silky mouthfeel that unloads a whallop of coffee, cream caramel flavors with a nice astringent, dry bite towards the end. Hops are barely noticeable and so is the high alcohol level. All-in-all a nice beer, but the nose is a little subpar and not as complex as I would have liked it.

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Photo of glid02
3.28/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Got this from Tower on Piedmont in Atlanta.

Pours a very dark brown color that lets just a bit of light through. There's almost no head, even after emptying the bomber with a vigorous pour. What little head there is settles to a thin ring around the glass with no lacing.

Smells very sweet. The sweetness is accompanied by slight dark fruit and coffee aromas. As the beer warms the sweetness is brought to the front even more.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Very sweet up front, with a dark fruit and coffee flavor following shortly. As the beer warms the dark fruit flavors subside and just the sweet malt is left, with a very small amount of coffee. Bitterness is decent throughout.

Mouthfeel is alright. The thickness is good, but the carbonation is a bit much for me.

Drinkability is alright. This is a decent Imp Stout, but I'm not excited about getting this again.

Overall this is a good deal (~$3.70), but if you're looking for a very good Imp Stout keep looking.

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Photo of AgingWarrior
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. Poured a deep dark brown, but not black, with minimal reddish brown head. The head dissipated rather quickly and provided only minimal lacing.

Smells of chocolate and fruit. I think I smell dates, but not positive.

Taste is very smooth, with almost no alcohol burn they I normally associate with an RIS.

Medium body, smooth and creamy in the mouth.

Very drinkable stout. I could have easily drank another one... maybe two!

This may not belong in the RIS style, but it's a tasty and enjoyable brew nonetheless.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
2.45/5  rDev -34%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Transparent dark cranberry with slim tangerine edges. A Russian IS that isn't even close to opaque? What the hell are these guys thinking? The appearance score deserves to be marked down for that fact alone. I've seen darker brown ales. The golden beige head is incredibly light in color as well. This could be interesting.

Unfortunately, the aroma is just as lacking. It's way too weak, delivering no more than a passing whiff of dark malt. None of the usual stoutiness is present, because not much of anything is present. Big disappointment so far.

Even though Imperial Stout is no kind of RIS at all, at least it has some amount of flavor. Could the brewers have meant for this beer to look, smell and taste like this? It's hard to imagine, especially since it's obvious that they know their way around a mash tun and are capable of brewing some real humdingers. In fact, I think they do a bang-up job (present company excepted) and are underappreciated on the whole.

My first impression was that LIS is barely average, but it doesn't even reach that low bar. It's horribly thin, with almost no malt sugar sweetness, and tastes like burnt black bread, charred coffee beans and bits of bitter black licorice. Cappuccino Stout is damn good stuff, so this abomination is even harder to figure.

The body/mouthfeel is worse than pathetic (for the style). Thin, thinner, thinnest. The carbonation is okay in terms of quantity, but there's no creaminess whatsoever. With very few ingredients to run interference, it's no wonder the bubbles feel harsh.

Imperial Stout needs a bumper-to-bumper overhaul and needs it right now. It's tempting to assume that this bottle isn't representative, but it looks like this offering is near the bottom for Lagunitas when sorted by overall score. Yikes, this is bad.

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Photo of DrJay
2.87/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Got this one recently from Ding as part of Good, Bad, and Ugly BIF. Thanks!
Dark brown with a reddish hue, clear and not quit opaque. A two finger cap off the pour settled quickly to a solid, light tan collar and skim of fine bubbles covering the top of the beer. Sticky lacing. Malty aroma, mild roast character with sweetness, toasty and chocolate. Thin flavour for an imperial stout. Quite sweet overall with caramel throughout, some chocolate notes, but not much in the way of burnt or roast character (just a hint in the finish). Mild to moderate bitterness. A little brown sugar and nuttiness lingered on the palate. A little more than medium bodied with average carbonation. Definitely lacking the bold complexity I expect from an imperial stout.

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Photo of ALESwhatCURESya
2.75/5  rDev -25.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22oz Twist-off bomber

Pours a surprisingly clear deep brown with intense ruby highlights. The appearance has me a little concerned right off the bat when expecting a bit more depth and darkness from an RIS. The head created a slight and quickly disappearing layer of beige head. The aroma, although slightly roasted, also concerns me before I take my first sip. The slight diacytel and all malt smells immediately remind me of a dopplebock and not an RIS. Coming from Lagunitas, I was anticipating the always-present hop punch, but that was nowhere to be found. The taste follows suit on the dopplebock. A slightly buttery and metallic taste seems far from a stout and confuses my mental palate. There seems to be very little that resembles an RIS. I am not an advocate of style guidelines at all, but this one just doesn't fit the bill for me. Lagunitas has never failed me and I consider them to be one of the best West Coast brewers that have kept it real on the price gouging of other brewers. They have earned a great reputation, but this one is a definite miss. I LOVE a good RIS, but this one is a bit tough to put down. Besides, I didn't even get to reuse the bomber for homebrewing (twist off) :(

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Photo of clayrock81
3.7/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a brownish body with a one-finger tan head that stayed around for awhile and left a lace ring. Good whiff of some chocolate and roasted malts, as well as some coffee and sweet malts. Medium-bodied but a little thinnish for an Imperial Stout, the ABV is hidden well and it is more of a sweet and smooth malt taste with less dryness on the backbite than most heavy stouts. Still, the coffee and roasted malts make their presence felt along with the sweetness. A good beer all the way around, although not my first pick if I'm looking for a real heavy imperial stout.

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Photo of CrellMoset
3.62/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle from Smoke Rise Bottle Shoppe, Lilburn, GA. Poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a thick, brown but not nearly opaque or black liquid with what is initially a nice, slightly tan head that quickly fades into nothing but a ring of lace. Lacing forms runny sheets that just drop down the side of the glass in glittery, shimmering curtains. Nice, but stylistically, some better retention/sticking of lace would be nice.

Aroma: Faint, with cocoa powder, baker's chocolate, and both dark and light fruits coming through. Well balanced though.

Taste: Lighter than most RISs, and in line with the abv%. Lots of toasted malts, dry, with more (dark, powdery) chocolate than coffee, and some other toasty, bready notes. Faint smoke. Some fruit comes through as well, though it's mostly light, fruity, perhaps "off" notes from the yeast, though there are hints of raisins and figs. Lightly hopped. Solventy alcohol begins to rear its head as this beer warms near room temperature (and a bomberful of beer definitely provides enough drinking-time to allow this to happen).

Mouthfeel: Pretty uneven in the mouthfeel, a little slick, pretty thick and chewy, but not bad by any means.

Drinkability: Not nearly as bad as I think the score suggests it should be, but certainly not the best RIS I've ever had. It's a lighter one, with a few fruity off notes, and I know Lagunitas's quality control isn't as good as it should be (I got a good bottle), but I really didn't think this one was terrible. There may have been a few light, lower molecular weight fruity esters from over-active yeasties, but still, this was a decent beer. The alcohol was largely well-hidden, the malt profile was decent and balanced ... hell, give it a shot.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
4.3/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber time! Pours a super dark brown color with a creamy tan head.

Chocolate, cocoa, honey, fried plantains...mostly scents from sweet dark malts.

Mmmm, whats this? A hoppy chocolate candy bar?! Very smooth. Very drinkable. Fresh tasting with hints of dark berries and hot cocoa with marshmallows. Alcohol is hidden well and the hops add a nice clean, dry finish.

A smooth, semi-sweet easy drinking Impy Stout. Does not exactly fit the "Russian IS" category, but it does taste very good. I will be buying this again. Another fine offering from Lah-Goo-Knee-Tuss.

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Photo of jwinship83
4.2/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

thanks goes out to Lvnloud for this extra in a trade

A- black body with a tan head on it. minimal lacing

S- lots of chocolate and roasted malt. faint touch of toffee. mildly hoppy finish.

T- very dry and roasty with a coffeeish aftertaste. i got alot of dark chocolate as well. just a little bit of warming from the alcohol. better than i was expecting.

M- full bodied and slightly chewy. not as much so as i would like, but far from bad.

D- this was alot better than i was expecting. the other offerings i have had from lagunitas have been good for bargin brews, but nothing too special. this one is something ill try to search out again. very happy for the opportunity to try it.

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.25/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brownwith ruby red throughout, no light penetration. Smallish tan head, creamy looking. Good retention.
Smell notes of malt, coffee, peat, chocolate, light hops, wheat, smoke.
Taste is all that and oak, soy sauce and milk with a touch of sweetness. well balanced with a fruitcake note.
Smooth, creamy, very light effervescence, with the smooth, flowing character of a milk stout. Aftertaste is just a continuation of the taste. Nearly perfect.

A second bottle 5 months later came up nearly the same except for the mouthfeel. The body was weak and watery for an Imp. stout, more like a brown ale. I'm hoping this was an aberration but have knocked the mouthfeel score down from 5 to average the two scores.

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Photo of tedpeer
3.33/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce into a chalice.

A - Pours a dark brown (ruby highlights) with a sand colored head that quickly became a whispy layer and ring around.

S - Coffee and chocolate.

T - Sweet, a little roasted flavor. No real aftertaste or linger.

M - Thin, fizzy.

D - Weak for the style

Have to say that this is not a RIS, or if it is really considered one, it is a very weak one.

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Photo of popery
3.82/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Admittedly, I don't have the most experience with the glory that is RIS, and my other forays into the style have been with the hallowed offerings from Stone and North Coast (Old Rasputin), so my RIS palate might be a bit pampered and narrow. This is not to say that I disliked this beer from Lagunitas but rather that it's not in the same class as my idea of the top tier of the style.

In my glass, the beer is dark with a light dissipating head. The apparent viscosity seems a tad on the weak side. Maybe, my taste impressions are influencing my thoughts here, but all the same I like when dark beers look thick and heavy.

The beer has a very pleasant aroma that mostly carries over to the taste. The aromatic promise of roasted malt and chocolate does not carry through entirely to the tongue. The taste just doesn't have enough body, which is really my main problem with the beer. With a big stout, I want more flavor than this beer offers. It's certainly on the right track, but it almost tastes scaled back. This sounds a bit snobby but making a RIS is a golden ticket to snobbish review city.

Oddly for a beer that lacks body, I really like the mouthfeel. It's well-carbonated and drifts around the mouth very nicely. The aftertaste, particularly, is a bit sweet, which detracts from the drinkability. I attribute this sweetness to the deficient taste.

The beer isn't bad on its own, but it suffers from the competitive nature of the style. If you're going to do a RIS, you better go all out and get it right.

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Photo of bigdeuce
4.1/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an oblique color, not much head or lacing. Tastes of coffee, toffee, and chocolate. Very appealing. Nice hoppy action, also on the back half. A bit thin in the mouthfeel, but full of kick. Nice price and I think if aged longer, this will be a great one.

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Photo of bbothen
2.6/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my delerium snifter. That totally matters!

Pours more dark brown/red than black with a small tab colored head that doesn't stick around. Not much lacing or webbing on the glass.

Very mild roasted/toasted aroma. Slight sweetness.

Light roasted flavor with a nice hop fruitiness & bitterness. Drinks more like a porter to me.

Very thin for the style. Moderate carbonation.

A very rare miss from Lagunitas for me. If you're judging this by the style, well, it's dissapointing and doesn't compare to other well known imp stouts. Not horrible as a beer though. If you're having an Imp stout tasting, start with this one first.

Still a bargain for the $2.99 I paid for the bomber.

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Photo of bort11
3.32/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to JohnGalt1 and the Fight Club BIF for this one.

12 oz bottle poured into a pub glass. Thin dark tan head with no real lacing to speak of. Color is a dark mahogany brown.

Smell is a mix of dark chocolate and dark roast coffee. Taste is equally dark and bittersweet.

Mouthfeel is pretty thin for an RIS. Not light like a dry stout, but not the chewy viscosity that I'm used to. Good tasting, but overall a bit of a weak slap for an RIS

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Photo of Cyberkedi
3.6/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Aroma is strong, of roast (not burned) coffee with an undertone of unsweetened chocolate. It pours a dark mahogany with a thick tan head. The flavor does not measure up to the aroma's promise, being about average for a stout and having less smokiness and chocolatiness than the aroma, but is still palatable and pleasing, and has a definite hoppy tone. Texture is smooth and a teensy bit thin for a stout. Worth a try nevertheless.

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Photo of jojox
3.78/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Brown/black. Thin head. Dissipates but islands and the outside ring stay around.

S - slight hops, but dominated by malty syrup, caramelized, chocolate, coffee, stout-i-ness.

T - My kind of stout, balanced towards the malt (or it's got a bit of age). It's got a hint of sour cherry and hershey syrup in there. Almost a faint bit of sour at the very end, in the back.

M - nice carbonation

D - nice, and rich, but really easy going down. 8.2% is hard to believe.

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Photo of josiahschlender
3.34/5  rDev -10%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A cheap impy stout. I think it ran $3.29 for a bomber, so I can't say I came in with the highest expectations.

Look really isn't that good. Lots of light gets through, most porters are this dark brown. Brown head fades quick, no lacing.

It smells like an Imperial Stout, just not the most intense. Dark roasted grain, coffee, alcohol, molasses, hops.

Taste is similar. Not offending, just not as rich as I hope for in a beer that calls itself an imperial stout. Charred malts, molasses sweetness, kind of a dark fruity hop profile. Very short finish. As soon as you swallow, they flavors are gone with nary a trace. Body is thin. The only thing that lingers as it warms up is a dry, ashen mouthfeel. Not my favorite.

The price won't set you back much if you give this a try, but I'll be reaching for something different next time.

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Photo of NCSUdo
2.6/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle

A: Deep brownish black under a small brown head. Very unremarkable appearance. No lace, slight retention.

S: Sweet malt, bit of roasted character. Nutty. Maybe a little fruity. Hmm, this is an RIS?

T: Again, this is an RIS? Very subdued for the style. Sweet with some hints of roasted malt and light coffee. Mild bitterness in the finish.

M/D: Thin side of full bodied, slightly fizzy, no hint of alcohol. It's a drinkable beer, but it only scratches the surface of what a RIS is and can be. Very average in every way.

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Photo of Brad007
3.4/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color: Dark brown with a thin one-finger head.

Aroma: Smooth and roasty with only a mild hint of coffee. Seems a little weak.

Taste: Coffee/chocolate notes upfront with a pronounced roastiness similar to coffee.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin and lacking. Some roastiness and only minute hints of chocolate.

Drinkability: Average for the style. There really isn't anything to make it stand out. Still quite drinkable but you can do better.

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Photo of macster
3.68/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber.

Poured a medium bodied, slightly translucent ebony-brown color. Pour produced a handsome, tight, thick light tan head. Foam retention was decent throughout the glass with a thin coating. No lacing noted.

Aromas were pleasant, but very weak and muted. Faint notes of sweet roasted malts, dark chocolate, fig, raisin along with a touch of vanilla and coffee barely made their way to the olfactory nerve.

Palate was on the thin side, but had a pleasant smooth, creamy texture with a fine carbonation level which helped fill out the mouthfeel.

Flavors were slightly more assertive as compared to the aromas. Definitely leaned to the sweet, malty side like many Lagunitas brews. Dark, dried fruits, roasted malts, toffee, vanilla bean and dark coffee were enjoyed. However, for an Impy Stout they were fairly reserved as compared to many others widely available. Finished with just a touch of woody/hoppy bitterness to tame the sweetness a bit.

The 8.2% alcohol doesn't really make much of an appearance, so this went down real easy. An OK Impy Stout, but I doubt I would seek it out again.

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Photo of jdubjacket
2.92/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a bottle into two pint glasses to share between me and my friend.

Pours a dark brown with a frothy head. Looks pretty bubbly. Smells sweet with not much alcohol in the nose. Taste is pretty underwhelming. Some coffee and roasted malts come out but not much else. Everything about this beer is pretty average. I don't think I'll pick up another one.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, served in a standard pint glass.

L - dark color with a foamy tan head which remained as a layer that left lots of lacing.

S - roasted malt aroma.

T - sweet dark fruit flavor upfront is followed with a touch of alcohol and then finishes with a dry bitterness.

F - medium bodied with a smooth feel.

D - it's different, and it's drinkable.

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Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 656 ratings.