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Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

642 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 642
Hads: 1,893
Avg: 3.7
pDev: 21.89%
Wants: 77
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: 642 | Hads: 1,893
Photo of Pegasus
4.29/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Massive, dense, and lingering fine beaded tan head surmounts an obsidian body. Fine-beaded lacing utterly coats the glass walls.

Aroma: Cold coffee, bitter cocoa, dark roasted malt, slightly sweet alcohol, hints of vanilla and wood, and prominent herbal hops, pleasantly free of pine or grapefruit notes.

Taste: The taste opens with a wave of dark roasted malt. Soon after, bitter cocoa and cold coffee present. There is an undercurrent of wood as well, and occasional hints of vanilla. The very high ABV (9.9%) is quite well concealed, being all but absent from the taste, its carte de visite being a gradual and gracious warming sensation. Late in the taste, the bitter cacao and hops dominate, with the charred malt offering a flourish at the close of the taste.

Mouth feel: Soft, full and creamy, with delicate carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: Very pleasing on a cold winter's day, a day that beers like this were made for. Would serve as an elegant presentation with chocolate cheesecake.

Presentation: Packaged in a twenty-two ounce standard brown glass bomber with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

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Photo of timontheroad
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Poured a very dark brown with a nice fluffy tan head, very good retention and lacing.
Smell: Coffee, chocolate and dark roast malts are very dominant. I'm also getting some vanilla, and a whiff of alcohol.
Taste: Taste doesn't quite live up to the aroma, the coffee and chocolate seem fairly subdued compared to the aroma. I'm also getting some vanilla, and just a touch of dark fruit sweetness.
Mouthfeel: Pretty thin for an Imperial Stout.
Overall: This was a passable beer, just a bit disappointing for an Imperial Stout. I like their Cappuccino Stout a lot more.

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Photo of seabeetastetest
3.65/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a coffee black with little head it wasn't an aggressive pour mind you. Smells of roasted malts, coffee beans and a bit of molasses. Tastes of a roasted sweet malt, dark chocolate, dark fruits , and a bitter coffee taste at the end. Overall a good brew for a great price. Give it a 8.75

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Photo of ThaneMcC
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

App - Pours a warm dark brown with brown head which resolves to fine brown lacing and minimal effervescent.
Smell – A medley of roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate/carob and a good bit of leather.

Taste - A complex blend of sweet malt, bitter chocolate/cocoa, molasses a tad syrupy but not unpleasant. Definitely more sweet than other RIS, but quite enjoyable without being cloying or saccharine

Mouthfeel – Medium body (somewhere between 2% and whole milk), definitely better texture at slightly warmer temp.

Overall: Great beer for the style, sweeter than many but delicious. Make sure its not too cold otherwise you'll miss a lot of the flavors - I will definitely stock up on this beauty. Thanks Lagunitas for this 'Unlimited Release' !

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Photo of richj1970
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter.

A: Pours very dark black with two finger mocha head with lasting retention and plenty of stringy lacing.

S: Light roasted malts, and semi sweet chocolate. Faint aroma of coffee beans and vanilla.

T: Chocolate, vanilla, roasted malts, and a bit of espresso.

M: Full bodied with a creamy texture and slightly bitter finish.

O: Very nice basic imperial stout. Highly drinkable, and very affordable. I need to add this to my list of regular stouts.

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Photo of rdilauro
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A very light Imperial Stout. Really no distinctive coffee or chocolate overtones in this one. There was some bitterness, that I have to conclude came from a dark chocolate that was use
Not a strong finish to this beer.. Weak to start, weak in the mouth and basically weak in the finish.
But you cant always find that gem

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Photo of Carolvs
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great, hearty, thick stout that will spin your cranium at 9.9 abv. A bit on the sweet side, but I'm desperately searching for a flaw - awesome stout overall.

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Photo of superspak
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 9/2/2014. Pours pitch black color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy tan head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense soapy lacing clings around the glass, with a moderate amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, toffee, dark bread, molasses, light nuttiness, light dark fruit, light char, herbal, and roast/toasted earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted/bready malt, earthy hop, and light dark fruit notes; with good strength. Taste of big dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, toffee, dark bread, molasses, light nuttiness, light dark fruit, light char, herbal, and roasted/toasted earthiness. Light-moderate herbal/roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, toast, toffee, dark bread, molasses, light nuttiness, light dark fruit, light char, and herbal/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Damn nice complexity and robustness of dark/roasted/bready malt, earthy hop, and light dark fruit flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a very smooth, moderately creamy, and lightly sticky/chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a light warming present after the finish. Overall this is a damn nice Russian imperial stout style. All around great complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/roasted/bready malt, earthy hop, and light dark fruit flavors; and very smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A very enjoyable offering.

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Photo of Safa1
2.75/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.75

Tastes like an imperial stout. Looks like an imperial stout. Feels like something is off. Take caution in buying this beer for the price. You get what you pay for.

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Photo of QuakeAttack
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Hair of the Dog glass. Smooth, with the usual chocolate and coffee notes. Nice lacing. As mentioned, this is a great beer for the price.

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Photo of boesesfleisch
3.71/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

By no means a bad beer. However, it seems to me to fall between a regular stout and an imperial stout (regarding flavor, not alcohol), and does not come anywhere close to having the complexities seen in others (Stone RIS, Rasputin, etc.). Considering the price though it is a pretty good bargain. I would recommend this as a good beer to try for beginners before getting into some of the other RISs mentioned above.

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Photo of 57md
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Dark brown with honey edges. Nose has the prototypical roasted notes. The body is standard and the roast profile is definitely above average for the style. There is a nice roasted bitter finish to this offering.

Honestly, I picked this up as a afterthought because the price was pretty reasonable for an RIS. It proved to be a solid straight-forward stout that is not a wallet buster.

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Photo of fscottkey
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

A: [4.75] Pours straight black. The head is 2-3 finger and is dense khaki bubbles. The head is receding very slowly leaving a thick, milkshake like, coating on the glass. The appearance is spot on for this style. The really hard to read date code says that this was bottled exactly 3 months ago. The ABV is listed at 9.9%.

S: [3.25] While the beer is cold I am getting mostly dark fruit. There are also charred malt aromas. As the beer warms I am getting more bbq smells and some wafts of the alcohol.

T: [3.75] The taste is on the sweet side. Blindfolded I would guess it was a milk stout. The taste is sugary chocolate or sweetened dark fruits. It is nice overall. No taste of the alcohol.

M: [4.50] The mouthfeel is great. There is no sense of real carbonation - feels like a nitro with fine bubbles. The feel is silky and smooth but chewy.

O: [3.75] Overall this is a decent beer. I think there are 12 oz. bottles that I would go to first - but this is a good one to share or sip over a long period. The nose is a little off for me - but there is nothing offensive on the palate and the mouthfeel is in the really good range.

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Photo of microbrewlover
3.96/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

This brew pours a solid mahogany black with a three finger off-white head some of which lasts until the end and medium lacing.

The smell is strong with hops, floral and citrus. Roasted malts and some coffee in the background but the hops dominate; as is common for this style.

The hops dominate from beginning to end but the chocolate malt background makes itself felt and everything mixes well together from beginning to end. It is not over hopped to the point of tongue shredding like many other Imperials but well balanced.

Overall this is another winner from Lagunitas.

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Photo of OrangeMen
4.07/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance- Black as night, opaque. Pours a tan khaki colored head, 1 1/2 fingers thick, frothy. Hangs around a touch and then dissipates. Decent legs on sides of glass.
Aroma- Sweet milk chocolates, pronounced roastiness, little bit of wet graininess. Touch of astringency, little bit of alcohol notes. Fairly subdued aroma.
Taste- Nice dark chocolate notes, but also sweet and creamy chocolate. Huge roastiness follows w/ maybe a touch of coffee. Very rich but finishes bitter from roasted malt and perhaps hops as well.
Feel- Medium mouthfeel, creaminess definetly adds to depth. Ideal amount of moderate carbonation.
Overall- Enjoyable offering, huge roasted malt just balances wonderfully with rich chocolates. There is a lingering bitterness that is not overpowering, quite enjoyable, but its also balanced by a certain creaminess throughout, almost some caramel and vanilla flavors poke through. Not much alcohol detected at all, just a real nice sipping beer.

Im not sure how this beer is rated so low on this site, perhaps there used to be a different recipe? It says in the notes is was 8.2% in 2010, now its 9.9%, not sure. Anyway, this is a bargain at the always low Lagunitas bomber pricing, and a very underrated beer.

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Photo of micromaniac129
3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A pretty taste beer here with lots of char, coffee and dark fruits.
Smells the same with coffee and roast, leather and tobacco.
Looks nice on the pour...I seen better.
A good beer with a good taste.

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Photo of DrinkMoreBigBeers
4.3/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

When pouring it looks dark brown and turns black as it settles into the glass while producing a dark tan head. The smell hits you with its roast qualities, dark bitter chocolate, smoke, bbq, and a slight sweetness. As you sip the beer the dark roast shows its face first; then coco, and sweetness with a cherry note, slightly bitterness, and a pleasant creamy finish. The beer has a satisfying medium to full fluffy - pillowy soft body that leaves an oily residue in your mouth.

The more I drink this beer the more I like it, it must be the warming to the right temperature that is doing it (make sure you let it warm up to around 50). Awesome stout and surprisingly drinkable at 9.9% abv with no hint of alcohol. If you like stouts this is a must have, Cheers!

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at Wegmans for Lagunitas' typical bargain bin prices. Awesome!

Pours a dark black, with a thick mocha-colored head that lasts a while, leaving spots of lacing on the glass.

Smells like sweet chocolate, roasted malt, espresso beans, and a little bit vanilla.

At this ABV, it's pretty incredible that the booze is not a taste factor at all. This is so smooth. It's not the most terribly complex RIS I've ever had, but it tastes great anyway. There's a good helping of darkly roasted malt, with some sweet chocolate cream flavors, and a bit of roasted coffee bean. It tastes like most big RIS's of its kind, but it nails the intended flavors at a great price.

This is medium bodied, could be slightly thicker, with a very creamy, rich mouthfeel, and a lower level of carbonation. This is very drinkable for its heft.

A most excellently priced and tasty imperial stout. I think this would benefit really well from time in the barrel, to add more layers of flavor to it.

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Photo of EvoRich
4.57/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours black with a big fluffy head. Head retains for a shot period of time. Great looking beer.

Smell: Malty with hints of vanilla. Very faint coffee. The smell overall is very weak. The smell is good, just very hard to pick up.

Taste: Malty, hints of chocolate, with a slight, and I mean SLIGHT alcohol burn. A woody, barely, coffee like finish.

Feel: full bodied and creamy texture. The way a stout is supposed to be.

Overall: Pretty enjoyable. Not the best RIS I've had, but pretty damn good. Would certainly buy again.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +8.1%

Lagunitas Imperial Stout
22 oz. brown glass bottle,
$5.99 @ Wegmans Market

Lagunitas delivers a fairly typical Imperial Stout but with a touch of "west coast" thrown in. It displays dark bittersweet chocolate, black coffee, milk-chocolate covered espresso beans, almost burnt-sugar, burnt toast, dark caramel, dark skinned fruits, and some minor black currant backed by minty, piney, floral and leafy/grassy hops. It's a touch spicy as well but I'm not sure if that's from hops or alcohol, and there's also a minor suggestion of Bourbon as well. There's almost a smokiness to it just before the swallow, and then it gives off notes of licorice and ash. It lingers, slowly fading, eventually giving up a ghost of ashen-smoke, leaves, and Bourbon. The real flavor, however, is at the front where all of the chocolate is, and it's got great depth of flavor, if not as full in body as some might expect. For the price, this is a steal!

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.6/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Lagunitas Imperial Stout has a thin, beige head, thin lacing left on the glass, and a dark brown (essentially black) appearance. Aroma is of dark-roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee, but the smells are rather faint. Taste is somewhat bolder, with added sourness, char, bitterness, and acidity. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, and Lagunitas Imperial Stout finishes powdery and strong. Overall, this does not have the boldness or intensity of Narwhal or Old Rasputin, but it is still outstanding.


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Photo of Motleydrunk56
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%

22 Oz Bomber.Pours black color into a charmay glass.Smell is a light chocolate with a hint of coffee.Taste is fairly smooth.Light chocolate with coffee.I liked it.It wasn`t what I would say was great but pretty good and you can`t beat the price at 5.99 a bottle.Nice ABV at 9.9.Give it a try.Great Value.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.5/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/18/2014: Bomber in a oversized wine glass. 2014 Bottling.

Appearance: Black as midnight, poured about right for a RIS (thick and chewy), light tan head of microscopic bubbles cling to the glass.

Nose: Coffee, chocolate, toasty, slightly burnt sugar, not fruity at all, slight hop notes in the end

Taste: Roasted malts, rich espresso, bakers chocolate, not milky like some RISs but it does have a creamy and chewy texture, mildly hoppy for for a West coast beer, alcohol that matched the big and bold flavors presented.

The price is the true selling point here: $5 for a bomber. I have another one in the cellar but I'm going to pick up more to age and enjoy. Great RIS.

Cellar review 10/1/2015

Age has brought out a ton of dried fruit character and some sweetness. There is less cocoa and almost no hop bitterness. I detected some graham cracker in the nose as well. Very pleasant and drank wonderfully. There was no alcohol heat at all. Could go further in the cellar.

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.6/5  rDev +24.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is highly underrated IMO. Incredible balance of bitter chocolate and coffee combine with a great medium bodied mouthfeel to make this highly drinkable.

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Photo of jzeilinger
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%

A - Dark black pour with a thick toffee, creamy, sticky layer of foam.

S - Dark roasted chocolate and coffee beans with a hint of caramel and light smokiness.

T - Dark roasted chocolate bitterness and Espresso throughout with a lingering dark chocolate bitterness, dark roastiness with little to no alcohol warming on the way down which is impressive for a borderline 10% beer.

M - Thick medium body, gentle carbonation.

O - A solid stout at a bargain price.

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Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 642 ratings.