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Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

644 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 644
Hads: 1,898
Avg: 3.71
pDev: 21.83%
Wants: 76
Gots: 362 | FT: 5
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 644 | Hads: 1,898
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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Photo of ppoitras
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle obtained via NoBS BIF v3 from Vancer. Thanks for the opportunity...

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" brown head over the clear dark brown with burgundy highlights brew. Head lasts well, with lots of sticky lasting lace. Aroma is rich dark malts and fruity alcohol. Taste begins with malty sweetness, goes to dark fruit tartness in the middle, and closes with prevalent alcohol character. Mouthfeel is a bit harsh due to the intensity of the flavors, and drinkability is somewhat limited by same. Different issues this time than last, but still not really a fan.

3/26/05 - 3.5/4/3/3.5/3.5

22oz bottle purchased as a single at The Spirit Haus, Amherst, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" brown head over the clear dark reddish mahogany brew. Foamy head lasts well, and laces nicely. Aroma is heavy on the dark grains, with maybe a touch of dark fruitiness, no alcohol noted. Taste follows the nose almost exactly. Way off base here on the style, almost more like a schwarzbier. Mouthfeel and drinkability are reasonable, but the label is so misleading per the style it is disappointing. Worth checking out as a brew, but stay away if you're looking for an imperial stout.

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Photo of SchmoTerp
2.83/5  rDev -23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours dark as a imperial stout should but had very little head. Smell and taste had no defining characteristics, just the general "stoutness". No smokiness, no real malts, no creamy smoothness....nothing. Mouthfeel was clean and easy going, very drinkable.

I was not impressed at all with this beer and felt it just lacked in all important areas. I had had an ale just previous to this but I do not feel that the previous beer inhibited this review. I will probably not try this again.

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Photo of IntriqKen
2.8/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

What a disappointment from Lagunitas.

The poor is dark amber but thin....nice head but melts too fast.

Aroma has tons of chocolate..milk chocolate with little else but it is pleasant.

Mouthfeel is really thin for the style...very watery.

Taste is bittersweet chocolate with a bit of hop bite, but very simple and undimensional.

Aftertaste remains clean...there is very little to leave in the mouth.


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Photo of Monkeyknife
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle a dark brown with ruby highlights. Mocha colored head is thin and small-bubbled.

Aroma of sweet roasted malts, toffee, dark fruit, and caramel.

Tastes of dark fruit, caramel, coffee, roasted malts, and a touch of booziness. Some tartness and bitterness in the finish.

Medium mouthfeel, smooth and creamy, and lightly carbonated.

This one falls on the lighter side of the Russian Imperial Stout category. Fairly easy to drink for an RIS.

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Photo of IPAcraig
4.32/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Championship. This beer was poured in celebration of Boston College's hockey national championship over the hated fighting french of Notre Dame.

This beer does not pour the typical oil black of imperial stouts. It has the faintest hit of ruby brown with a light mocha head.

This beer has an initial smell of unmashed malted barley that is really quite nice. There is a faint mix of the typical roasted flavor, with a bit of toffee in the finish.

A nice tasting stout that gives you a nice mix of flavors that stouts offer, toffee, coffee, chocolate. It is all in here, but this beer is a bit docile for an Imperial Stout.

Big head yet gentle carbonation makes this beer fell exceptional.

Drinkable, and flavorful; near perfect, just lacking a big punch. Another winner from Lagunitas. It didnt bring home the championship like my beloved Eagles, but it is a stellar beer nonetheless.

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Photo of cokes
2.5/5  rDev -32.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Dark cola brown, with a fair amount of translucency. It looks a lot more like a Brown Ale than an Imperial Stout. An ashy brown head sprouts up, swirls around the glass a time or two, then vanishes.
Into the nose, it flashes carob briefly, then fig, then just flatlines into a nondescript toasty maltiness, flecked vaguely with coffee bean and caramel, which arrives a little more as it reaches room temperature. Nevertheless, this is feeble smelling within the style. While not bad or off-smelling, just impotent and vacant.
Tastewise, it's more of the same. While most Imperial Stouts are fitted with overdrive, this has to downshift just to make it up the hill. It putts across the tongue, leaking caramel, milk chocolate, and raisins. But they are merely spots on the pavement here, not the quarter-mile long skid marks that indicate high performance. It stutters and starts with blue clouds of toasted malts with occasional chokes of roastier exhaust. A sputtering of rusty dead plant hops gives a bump of bitterness, but conks out before any real flavor arrives. It coasts home on intermittent fumes of cocoa and ethanol.
And it's not because the oil hasn't been changed regularly. Most Impys look like they were driven 100,000 miles between services.... The metaphor falls flat here, because this has no semblance of motor oil. It's thin, lacking structure, and carries very little of anything. The 8+% isn't in the way as far as drinkability is concerned, but sheer boredom absolutely is. I've had 4% Stouts with quadruple the character.
This is a lemon in every way. The Edsel of the Lagunitas line. It entirely lacks the features of other entries in its class.

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Photo of latercol
4.47/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased this in a 22 oz bottle at the local grocery store.

I poured this into a snifter. It is super dark brown and had to watch my pour to keep the head under control. The head rose quickly but also fell quickly. I need a bigger snifter as well, I filled it to the brim. Overall a nice appearance, could be more lacing.

Smell is wonderful with caramel and some fruity tones. There were no unpleasant qualities with the smell. The waft of alcohol was nice too. The smell gets better and stronger as the brew warms up. Could be stronger. I would have given a 5 if it was a little more "in your face".

Great taste. Caramel and fruits again. Not too sweet though. It was just right. The alcohol content is just right too. Nice warming effect.

Mouth feel is also excellent. Super smooth, super creamy and the carbonation feels nice. This has a medium heavy feel to it. Just what I was in the mood for.

I could drink several of these. They taste great and go down really easily.

Overall I really like this beer. It is near perfect other than the head problems I had. It may have been my own fault for trying to pour all 22 ounces into a snifter that was not meant for that. Other than that, this beer is on my A list.

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Photo of ralree
3.09/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

A: Very deep reddish brown with a 2-finger tan head that settles nicely to 1/2 a finger.

S: Very pungent fruity smell is immediately noticeable. I am not a big fan of this smell, so the beer loses points here. Otherwise there are some nice smoky undertones.

T: Pretty fruity, but bearable. Dark fruit is the main flavor, backed by a smoked malt. A little cloying. Bananas?

M: Thick and pretty creamy, medium-heavy bodied, good carbonation, slight astringency.

D: Not drinkable for me - too rich. I'm going to have the fiance make it into bread.

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Photo of atsprings
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber into a Duvel snifter. Pours a deep black with a frothy tan head that diminishes to a thin layer and leaves spotty lacing. Aroma is some roasted malts and slight chocolate. The taste is a decent blend of roasted malts, espresso, bitter cocoa and some molasses and dried fruits. The beer is slightly heavy bodied with warming alcohol, still somewhat smooth. This is a decent Imperial Stout.

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Photo of zeff80
4.22/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out a jet black color with a small, caramel-colored head that left a little lacing.

S - It smelled of caramel and strong roasted malt. Also, some hops and chocolate aromas.

T - It had a bold roasted malt taste. Slightly bitter. The chocolate flavor increased in intensity as the beer warmed up.

M - It was soft and creamy with a warm alcohol presence.

D -This is a flavorful RIS and very affordable.

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Photo of cichief
3.47/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz. bomber into a pint glass.

A- Poured a very dark brown, almost black, with a thick tan head, which didn't stay around long.

S- Smells of roasted barley and coffee, sweet.

T- Big coffee flavor, sweetish, with a decent dry finish. Alcohol flavor is present but not overwhelming.

M- Effervescent, lots of good carbonation, but not gassy. Medium to thick in body.

D- Very drinkable, the alcohol isn't over-powering.

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Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.57/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured a bomber into a pint glass.

Dark but not black, with some red showing through the edges. Tan head was limited and short lived.

Smells of roasted dark malts, some coffee and chocolate. Not terribly deep in this department. The taste, is roasty and a touch on the alcohol side. Again, not a lot of complexity here. I was hoping for more from this one. Maybe a bit of prune in the taste, but not the darek mysterious fruits that I like to taste in thie style.

Good body, and drinkable for sure. Really maybe a good one to start with if venturing into this style for the first time. I won't go back to it though.

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Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 644 ratings.