Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

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620 Reviews
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Reviews: 620
Hads: 1,815
rAvg: 3.67
pDev: 13.62%
Wants: 73
Gots: 325 | 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
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Reviews: 620 | Hads: 1,815
Photo of sockeye101
3.57/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

As many have stated before, this is a stretch to put in the RIS category, and in my mind, it is barely in the American Stout category, closer to a porter in my book. But, that being said, it is still a good beer, and worth drinking, but not worth driving out of your way in search of the almighty Lagunitas Imperial Stout. Upon pouring I immediately noticed the dark brown with reddish tints, and not a jet black color, and the head just never devolped like I was expecting, about one finger, nicely tan, and lasted about a third of the drink. No lacing whatsoever. Aromas were nicely sweet, dried fruits and chocolate. Taste was good, with a nice rich malty flavor that focused on toasted grains and chocolate. Not much hop bitterness, but a little to balance the malts. Mouthfeel was decent, kind of thin and not at all RIS-like. Overall a good beer, worth drinking and the alcohol was masked very well. But if you want a kick you in the ass RIS, go elsewhere. (962 characters)

Photo of dgallina
3.42/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce brown bomber without freshness date.

Pours dark brown,with tiny head and thin lace. Smells coarse and grainy, with coffee malts, fusel alcohol. Weak in flavor. Thin grains up front; segues quickly into alcohol and toasted bread finish. Light-to-medium body, a bit high in carbonation and low in creaminess. Nothing wrong with it, but rather undistinguished overall. (377 characters)

Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

1 Pt 6 fl oz> oversize wine goblet

Appears dark brown but with red hues when in direct light, the color is a bit thin but the head is 2" thick, mocha colored and the "eye" of the head is bubbly and active like most high quality RIS display (and Belgian quads & trips.) The direct center of the head (I like to call it the eye) is very active in the center, the rest of the head dissipates to a scattered thin covering. The middle remains active and bubbly throughout.

Smells of rich sweet caramel malt, smokey oak scents. Alcohol content is mildly detectible. Overall, the aroma is very heady.

Taste: The first hit is an oaky malt flavor with semi-bitter green hops. It's not as sweet tasting as it smells, there is a sublte light-chocolate taste. This is a very hoppy RIS, not as hoppy as say...the Yeti RIS but the hops are very prominant.

As the look of the beer would suggest, it feels a bit thin, the lively and bubbly head gives it a smooth feel though.

The feel is thin, but the 8.2 % ABV makes it a bit more easily drinkable than some of the heavy RIS. (1,080 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear, dark mahogany body with a thin, frothed milk-colored head.

Smell: A hopeful scent of roasted malts, chocolate-covered coffee beans, almonds, glazed prunes and a tiny smidgen of spicy hops and alcohol.

Taste: This is a circus of chocolate flavors! Armed with plenty of lactic smoothness to round out the roasted flavors. Hints of vanilla beans and nuttiness. Finish is a blend of semi-sweet chocolate and herbaceous hops.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied with a milky texture and low carbonation.

Drinkability: This is my take: Certainly drinkable and fairly tasty, but this isn't really what I'd consider an "Imperial" Stout. One thing did jump out at me right from the get-go - the well-hidden 8.2%. (715 characters)

Photo of SilentSabre
2.95/5  rDev -19.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is my first sampling of anything from Lagunitas. I am reviewing this beer at approximately 20C (68F). It was easily the lightest coloured RIS I have ever seen. It was still dark, but light could easily pass through it. An aggressive pour yielded a khaki coloured foamy head the should have been the result of a standard pour. Plenty of hops in the nose, with moderate malt and nuances of coffee beans. I like the reverse to be true with my RIS's, quite honestly. Taste is citrusy bitter hops up front, with a dry roasted malt making itself noticeable several seconds after the sip is swallowed. Mouthfeel is very thin for the style. Overall, I'm a bit dissappointed in this. (679 characters)

Photo of rajendra82
3.4/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This “Unlimited Release” of Lagunitas Imperial Stout came home in a 22 oz. bomber. As I was pouring it in an oversized wine glass, I immediately noticed how clear and light the body was. When held up to the light, this was a far cry from the opaque and forbidding body that many other beers from this style exhibit. Instead, this was translucent reddish brown. The head was a little too small as well. While not an unattractive pour, I had to take a full point off the appearance score for being so light.

The smell of the beer was light as well, with grassy and spicy hops, and sweet toffee. Not much roasted coffee or chocolate on the nose. The taste was clean, sweet, and lightly roasty, with tinge of acidity. In other words, it was near dead on for a Baltic Porter, and way too light to be a Stout. Thin and sticky mouthfeel was Porter-ish too, and the slight but noticeable hop bitterness wiped the palette clean after each sip. This was a remarkably easy to drink beer, considering the 8.2% ABV. Not the Imperial Stout to go for, when you are in the mood for a heavy nightcap. (1,088 characters)

Photo of idResponse
3.86/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I love you, Russian Imperial Stout.

By the way, this is a really good one!

See, I never thought Lagunitas could do anything other than big ales and big IPA's and big ... uh... beers...

but a big stout? can lagunitas really do that?


and with great fervor and happiness I would like to say this thing looks great! I'm drinking motor oil! Yes!

The smell doesn't get me off, I don't really notice much smell. I think my nose is broken from years of smoking cigarettes, but i'm reformed these days.

This thing tastes pretty damned fine. It's a little on the sweet side and at 8.2% i was suprised to see it come anywhere near sweet. Sometimes it overwhelms with sweet but it's offset by a really nice rich dark hop.

The mouthfeel is smooth and beautiful. I can hold this in my mouth for years.

This is easily a highly drinkable and easily consumed beer. I commend Lagunitas for having created something as wonderfully tasty as this. Thanks! (975 characters)

Photo of MLegendre
3.64/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: Dark translucent brown. When held up to the light it looks blood red, carbonation is also visible when held up to light. Paperthin head that disapeared before it had a chance to even form leaving a little bit of film on the top. Kind of looks like a glass of coke.

S: What it lacks in appearence it makes up for in smell. Roasted dark fruits dominate the nose, chocolate also makes an appearence.

T: The taste is definatly weaker than the smell. Roasted malt and toffeelike flavors dominate in the beggining, midtaste some coffeelike bitterness comes in and takes over for the finish. Not a very strong beer, but good none the less.

M: Very light (for a stout), and a bit watery. Carbonation was a little too high. Alcohol is very well hidden.

D: This is a very light Imperial Stout. Fans of big beers like Stone will probably be disapointed, but this would be a good place to start for those new to the style (as I am). Not great, but drinkable and something I might get when I'm in the mood for a stout, but not in the mood for a big kick in the mouth. (1,073 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.02/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a bomber of Lagunitas Imperial Stout served in a Troegenator seidel. The stout is cool.

A: The beer poured with a reddish tinted black color, fairly surprising given the style. There was a nice ring of head that did not retain well.

S: This stout has a deep chocolatey aroma.

T: Chocolate notes are, again, the dominant theme here. They also give way to some sweet caramel notes. The deep depth of a normal RIS is not present, giving it a nice change of pace from some of the bigger, badder RIS' on the market.

M: The chocolate is pleasant but there seems to be a lack of depth here, as that chocolate is a one-trick pony.

D: Even at 8.2%, this is very drinkable with a smooth sweet finish that yields hints of roasted malt. (747 characters)

Photo of TheBungyo
3.2/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

A bit lighter than I'd like to see in terms of body color. The first pour out of the bomber had no head at all. The second had a nice solid finger's worth. Reminds me more of cola than stout. Nose is mostly milky chocolate and alcohol. Taste is the same but with a tart sourness in the finish. Weird that Lagunitas makes so many good beers but can't get the style right here. I'm honestly surprised. Mouth is too thin for a stout. Won't be buying this again. Spend a lonely penny down a well and wish for a better beer. (519 characters)

Photo of briman
3.59/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from bottle into standard pint glass.

Pours dark brown, with ruby around the edges when held up to the light. Light also shows that it's noticeable clear, and not opaque. About a half-inch dark tan head, decent retention. Little lacing.

Aroma is dark roasted malts, chocolate, & coffee.

Taste follows through. Chocolate is light upfront, giving way to rich dark roasted malts through the middle, and finally moving to nice roasted coffee notes towards the finish. Not much aftertaste, no bitterness, and no noticeable hop contribution.

Medium-full body, low carbonation. Very smooth, mabye too much so. Alcohol is hidden very well, I almost wonder if it's really there. Only negative is, it really doesn't seem much like an imperial stout. Maybe a nice porter, or a very, very mild stout, but an imperial stout ??? I think not. It's really not a bad beer, and I wouldn't mind having another, just doesn't fit the all. (947 characters)

Photo of Crotor
3.91/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Why are imperial stouts ever done as a summer release? Lagunitas, Stone... It just doesn't make sense. It's 90+ degrees in the Sacramento Sprawl right now, and I'm feeling the light (in alcohol and flavor) kolschs and light (in mouthfeel, but not flavor) saisons, not the impy stouts. Nevertheless, I finally decided to try Lagunitas' offering in the style. And I'm glad I did.

I have issues with Lagunitas. I don't quite trust the brewery. Half of their beers I hate. Half I love. Until now, I couldn't quite discern the pattern of their schizophrenia. It's the hopping. I love their "non-hoppy" beers, while I loathe (nearly) everything they do in the "hoppy" styles. Something about their hop choice turns me off from their IPAs, DIPAs, and pale ales - the Imperial Red is the only exception. But their "non-hoppys" have all been damned good. Their saison (#9) and Neuvo Noir were both *wonderful,* and this imperial stout aint too shabby.

It poured a clear and exceedingly deep amber. Not black, mind you, but *dark* amber. Not unpleasant, but a bit out-of-style, so I'd dock a few points on appearance.

The aroma is all I like in an imperial stout. A hint of roastiness, hopping subdued, and a big, mealy, malty, gamey, indefinable odor unique to good RISs and dopplebocks. There are also undercurrents of currant and plum. And chocolate. A definite winner on the aroma...

The flavor fills the mouth with stabbing bits of charcoal and chocolate, and there's sweet, dark fruit at the end, but in the middle it's a bit anemic... I could use a bit more malt body to carry it through. The mouthfeel suffers with the lack of residual sugars that impact the "middle" of the flavor, but the acrid bits at the end from the roasted malts make up enough to land the beer in the territory of "interesting" in terms of mouthfeel.

Overall, a damned drinkable RIS, and at the relatively low price at which my nearest supermarket is offering it, I should think I should often find myself drinking this beer. That is, were this not a bloody hot late-spring/early-summer. Move this release to winter, and I might choose to live off this stuff through the cold months... (2,172 characters)

Photo of MattBrooks
4.52/5  rDev +23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Shared this 22oz bomber with some friends the other night, and I was totally impressed. Imperial Stouts are my thing, and I usually like them black as night with tons of chocolate overtones...but this one's a little bit different. It has a serious toffee, coffee, caramel nose and flavors to go with that as well. It pours brown with not too much head, and the finish is a little on the hoppy side, but that's what they're known for. Excellent version of an Imperial Stout. I was impressed! (490 characters)

Photo of ddarity
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a pretty good beer. Although the head is a little thin, I do not know that is inappropriate for the style. Nice dark color.

The aroma has a hint of green apple and a few buttery notes. There are also some roast notes but they are pretty muted.

Nice tasting beer, maybe a little sweeter than I expected. Not many flavors that I would attribute to hops. I think a few more finishing hops would really make this a great beer.

The mouthfeel finishes with a nicedry bite that I enjoyed but found overall to be a little thin.

Over all found this a very enjoyable Imperial Stout. (593 characters)

Photo of mntlover
3.24/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a dark, dark brown looks black at a glance but can see thru when held up a small one finger brown chocolate head.

Aroma is big lots of caramel malts, big toasted toffee flavors. Not Impy Stout like character but enjoyed the smell of this one even though not to style.

Taste is lots of toasted caramel malts leading to toffee like flavors with hints of chocolate, that linger and blend into coffee hints. About the only hints of an impy stout in this one. The finish is dry and somewhat chaulky with hints of nuts. Doesn't taste like an Ipmy Stout more like an Imerial Brown crossed with a Porter.

Mouthfeel is light for a stout right about medium nice level of carbonation, just to light for the style.

Drinkability is ok for a beer not an Impy Stout again, who knows what they were thinking with this one. (824 characters)

Photo of beertastegood
2.53/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black as night with a smallish tan head that dissipates quickly. Aromas of cocoa, molasses and sweet dark fruit. No hop aroma detected.

Taste: Chocolate!!! This beer captures the essence of the flavor I think of as chocolate to a T. Slight roasted coffee flavor in there as well, and the alcohol makes its presence known, without the harshness of fusels. There is a tangy acidity as well, not sure if this is intended, but it is reminiscient of Guinness and its blend of soured and standard beer. There is no hop presence at all, which is definitely not to style.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with a slick alcohol feel on the tongue. Low carbonation, enhancing the full feel.

Drinkability: This beer is a little too sweet to be that drinkable.

Overall: Sadly, this beer gets many points off for being completely out of style. This is a specialty beer - an imperial milk/sweet stout. I really like this beer, and it is a fantastic dessert beer, but it does not live up to the imperial stout name. (1,008 characters)

Photo of santoslhalper
2.52/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Appearence: Pours a reddish dark brown with a thin, quickly dissapating beige head.

Smell: The nose has chocolate and coffee stout aromas, but there's also an underlying smokiness, that gives it an almost imperial rauchbier smell.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Very smoky. Nearing rauchbier levels, with the background being more porter-like than stout-like, with chocolate and roasted malt notes throughout. A decent amout of hop bitterness, but it seems uncalled for. Thin, and unsatisfying mouthfeel, for a stout.

Drinkability and Overall: Call it an imperial rauchbier and I love it. Call it an imperial stout, and I'll call you a liar. All I can taste is the smokiness. I'm reviewing by style here. If we drop styles and focus on how it tastes, this is a pretty decent brew. (780 characters)

Photo of pjwilson
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance: very red for a stout, let alone a RIS. even in the dark you can see it's more of a dark red than actually black. nice enough head though

smell: not much of a smeller, some roasted notes

taste: well i had black bear last nite and just had a couple of seirra neveda stouts. this beer isn't even close to as roasty tasting as those. This is more of a very nice smooth creamy tasting beer. It's pretty sweet but works. I like it, reminds me of the capicinio stout

mouthfeel and drinkability: nice and lite and drinkable little stout here. It's not really in the same league as stuff like raspution or Stone RIS, but i'm enjoying it, it was only 2.95 a bomber...ain't bad. It's completly different from those beers.

I know what this beer is. An imperial Milk/Sweet stout. this would go great paired with some chocolate. (839 characters)

Photo of FLAbeergutinMASS
3.7/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Funny how a breweries beer can taste so similar. This one is not exception. All Lagunitas beers, to me, are overly sweet. Not an overly interesting stout, but not bad.

A. Uninspired ebony-opaque. Vitually no nead, unless aggresively poured. No lacing either.

S. Decent, at best. Pretty typical characteristics for a stout. If you have a Imperial before, you know. In this beer they're all minimal.

TMD. At 8.2 goes down exceptionally easy. Not very think, not very warming either. Altoghter not a bad beer, but at 4.99 a bomber, I'll pass next time. (558 characters)

Photo of Bierman9
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber, it had an oily-dark color, topped by a tan, creamy head. The topping didn't last long, and left scant lacing in the glass. Smell was mild, for the style, with some cocoa and bitter notes, but lacked oomph. Very disappointed with the mouthfeel. Though it was fairly smooth, it was exceedingly thin for what's called an Imperial Stout. Not a lot of "there" there. Flavor had more of the cocoa/choco aspects hinted at in the aroma, yet little in the way of Imperial complexity. Found little, if any, dark fruit notes, and the hopping was just a touch floral and, basically, pretty straightforward. All in all, a rather simplistic take on the style.


overall: 3.5
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3 | drinkability: 3

877 (773 characters)

Photo of twelvsies
2.85/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Ehh, this one was just ok. I could tell just after pouring that this beer was a tad thin for a stout. Not that everything within the style needs to be pitch black, but this was fairly easily seen through, with shades of red. Smell and taste fall just a bit short of interesting. A little too sugary sweet, not enough bitterness, and no real complexity. Definately a bit watery in the mouthfeel. I've had some good beers by this brewery for sure, but this one didn't hold my interest. (483 characters)

Photo of Hibernator
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Lagunitas Imperial Stout
22 oz brown bottle
Served in a 20 oz tulip pint glass

This beer pours a mild shade of black with chestnut highlights on the bottom of the glass. Nice looking head with a semi aggressive pour. Lacings appear on the glass too.

Whiffs of a chocolate bar.

Taste has dark roasted malt flavors with a chocolate syrup quality. Powered mocha sweetness and black olives. Creamy mouthfeel and surprising at 8.2% ABV.

I like this offering from Lagunitas. (483 characters)

Photo of baiser
3.3/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a watery, lifeless dark brown colour, with a small, short lasting head. If you're expecting a full bodied, thick creamy and smooth stout, look elsewhere. What I had after the pour was a light bodied, somewhat watery stout, more reminiscent of a porter. Not much in the nose - some roastedness and coffee. Taste had some roastedness, hop bitterness, chocolate, some tartness, and some dark fruitiness. Overall, not a very good imperial stout. (447 characters)

Photo of Morris729
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours black ruby in color with a tall foamy tan head that coats the walls of the glass with sticky lace as it dissipates. Nose is dark chocolaty malt but is a bit subdued. Taste begins with sweet roasted malts and fresh coffee followed by some notes of cocoa and mildly spicy hops. A decent enough beer but it seems rather reserved and subdued for an imperial stout in my opinion. (380 characters)

Photo of taez555
4.07/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured dark black body with a small tan head.

The nose is a slightly woodsy, mild mild chocolate. Hints of belgian dubble even with touches of sugar, plums and portwine.

Big bodied, in your face stout flavors. Dark roasted malts, dark chocolate. Very rich and very nice. Touches of earth, soft milkiness, mild hints of smoke. Very well balanced. Not much in the way of an over the top citrus or piney hop flavor. Any hop is purely used for balance. MIld bitterness that makes way for the rich malt body. It ends smooth with an even bitterness.

A surprisingly tasty beer. i wasn't crazy about my first experience with Lagunitas, but this is pleasantly yummy. This is what an 8% abv session imperial stout tastes like. A perfect compliment for a rick desert or just something to sip while relaxing. A great beer. (829 characters)

Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 620 ratings.