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Lagunitas Imperial Stout | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.90%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
2010 8.2% abv

Added by kbub6f on 08-31-2001

User Reviews
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Reviews: 672 | Ratings: 2,002
Photo of beerking1
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with red highlights, but not the black one expects from a stout, especially an imperial stout. Small tan head leaves minimal lacing. Aroma is black malt and green apples (acetylaldehyde). Flavor is sweet dark malt, without the warmth one would expect from a beer of 8%. Body is medium but the beer goes down very smooth and creamy. Tail is all black malt and chocolate.

 393 characters

Photo of TheStove
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Pours nice and dark black with a good few fingers of foam which reduce down to a small foam line across the top. Nose to the glass reveals strong notes of toasted malt.

First few sips reveal that this is a good thick stout. Nice and heavy mouth feel, almost as if my mouth has to get through the texture before it can enjoy the flavor and I like that. Despite this the sips finish with a welcome ease, like the stout has gone from heavy to runny in a matter of a second.

Great toasted malt flavor with a prominent coffee and cocoa midsection. These flavors remain in a good way and despite being an "imperial" stout there is a noted booze character without noticeable bitterness or hop influence. Of course this changes and the hops begin to come out near the end with light fruit flavors almost like that of an IPA. It all melds together into a good beverage.

I don't know if I'd rate this a top tier stout but it is definitely an easy drinker. I almost want to call it stout training wheels as it is smooth and flavorful yet it doesn't favor any one flavor profile to make it more appealing to a certain palate. Lots for everyone in this one.

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Photo of Truh
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The throngs bowed in adoration of me with this one on 12/15/2004. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a shaker glass.

Mocha, corpulent head that dies quickly to a fungal covering. Not black but closed, deep red hue on the claret side. Which surorises for the style – expected inkiness. Malty jam with a sweet port fullness in nose that reminds me of a barleywine. The oak char touches to taste are almost overwhelmed by the sweet vermouth maltiness and raisin puckering on mouth. For an imperial, this one is closer to being a court jester.

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Photo of josiahschlender
3.34/5  rDev -10.2%
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 msubulldog25
3.34/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

My first try of this "Unlimited Release" from Lagunitas, poured at cellar temperature from a 22 oz. bottle to a pint glass.

A: Notable light in color for the style. Deep mahogany brown that shines ruby in the light. Fizzy cola-bubble tan head, about 1-finger worth, that disappears in seconds. Lace is slippery, sticking for a few brief moments then gliding back down the glass.

S: Good smelling, with malt sweetness of smoke, cocoa, molasses, dark fruit and some vanilla. Not terribly complex, but pleasant and true to the style.

T: Smoky toasted grains and low-grade chocolate-covered raisins. Caramel, cocoa powder, and some earthy hoppy bitterness melds with a generally sweet, malty character.

M: Weak mouthfeel, quite thin. A little sticky on the lips and chalky/bitter in the finish, tasting mildly of stale coffee. Carbonation is light to moderate. Alcohol content is masked, but generally there's not much to like...

D: Compared with the many fine examples of Russian Imperial Stout out there, this lags well behind. Aromas and flavor are decent enough but mouthfeel really fails to match the robustness expected. The look of the beer also belies it's thinness. Despite the fact I've liked other beers from Lagunitas, I probably wouldn't get this again.

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Photo of tedpeer
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
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 ccarney2
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Jet black body, no light gets through at all. It pours a single finger head that vanishes fairly quickly and leaves very little lacing down the glass.

Smell - Rather mild nose, lots of a bready smell and a good bit of sweetness from the grain. There is also a little bit of a vanilla scent too.

Taste - Starts off sweet with lots of roasted malt flavor and a little bit of a smokey finish. The 9.9% ABV is masked rather well by all of the sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Moderate carbonation and viscosity, pretty average for this style in my opinion.

Overall - This was one of the less impressive Lagunitas brews that I've tried recently. I normally am extremely happy to sample one of their brews, but this stout was a little too simple. The sweet/smokey roasted malt was really the driving force behind this Imperial Stout and it completely dominated the beer.

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Photo of brewcrew76
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle

A - Pours a deep brown/light black with slight ruby highlights and a thin brown head.

S - Chocolate and lactose and not a lot else.

T - Sweet chocolate and lactose again. Very one dimensional.

M - On the thin side for the style.

D - Not a bad overall beer, just more of a thin sweet milk stout.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
3.33/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a very deep brown color that passes a bit of light when held up directly to a light. There is about an inch of tan foam on top of the beer that retains fairly well. Barely any lacing.

Aroma: I just get a whole lot of Chocolate along with a bit of nutty/toasty malt. There is a little hops in here also, but it just coexists with the nutty aromatics rather than playing a major role.

Taste: The flavor is dominated by the malt, but I get a metallic flavor in this particular beer that I don't remember being there when I had this beer last year. Other than this, there is a bit more hops in the flavor than the aroma. There is still a malt balance, but there is a lot more going on in the flavor. I even get a bit of bready yeast in the flavor also. The beer finishes pretty neutral from the hops and chocolate. I don't get much roast in this beer if at all.

Opinion: Well, I remember really liking this beer last year, but now I think that it needs a bit of improvement. I have one of these from last year, so I would like to try them side-by-side. This beer seems to have a lot heavier water in it or something. Still not a bad beer, but it would be hard to put it up beside an Old Rasputin.

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Photo of TenHornsProud
3.32/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a clear dark brown with a tan head. Oddly light in color...

Smells of toffee, caramel, toast, roasted character, really bready and toasty.

Taste is up front caramel with some roast that fades into a more roasted/astringent note with toast character that ends on a slightly fruity/alcohol/astringent/roasted flavor. Some lingering alcohol and astringency that is not particularly pleasing.

Medium body with medium to lower carbonation...feels a bit thin and boozy.

This is almost like an imperial brown ale with a more roasted character. Not particularly complex...the lingering astringency really hurts the flavor overall. This just doesn't quite come together to me, and is a rare let down from Lagunitas.

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Photo of Freshie
3.32/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I scoring has been so weird lately. So many beers out of the norm.

Anyway, pours a dark color. Head dissipates quickly. Very discouraging for an imperial stout.

Aroma is good. Roasted, and nutty quality.

Tastes sweet. Coffee like. Roasted malt with a earthy and peaty hops. Its alright, but doesn't knock my socks off, like a Russian imperial should.

Mouthfeel is a bit sticky but alright. Like the roasted coffee flavor.

Decently drinkable.

I need more power!

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Photo of bort11
3.32/5  rDev -10.8%
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 PlaywrightSam
3.32/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber into tulip glass. A: Lighter than I expected, very dark brown, some fluffy head that doesn't stay around very long. Lacing is pretty short lived as well. S: Darker malts, grains, some grassy hops, some cocoa. Smells like a porter to me. Alcohol present. T: Surprisingly light. Pretty bitter up front, the hops are surprisingly present. Some coffee and cocoa flavors, vague citrus flavors toward the finish. D: I'm not well versed in the style, but it seems a tad thin to me. I'm actually having trouble finding things to say about it, the flavor isn't terribly deep. But still, it's very drinkable, and I wouldn't get the abv to be as high as it is. A surprising beer, but good.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.31/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz into a glass

A: Black in color but on the light side for a RIS. 2 fingers of tan head with some lacing.

S: Roasted malt. Not as bold as you would expect for the style.

T: Roasted malt some coffee notes and a slightly bitter finish. Nothing spectacular. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M: Really thin for the style. I mean this is the thinest RIS I have ever tasted.

D: For a RIS this is a very drinkable beer. The alcohol is hardly noticeable. On the other hand when I reach for a RIS I expect something thicker and to be more of s sipper. Don't get me wrong this is not a bad beer but I expect more from Lagunitas. It was on the cheap side so pick it up and give it a try especially if you are new to a Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of baiser
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
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.

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Photo of euskera
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle...

Pours out dark brown/black into my snifter. Not too much of a head to it. Smell is the usual for an Imperial Stout, lots of chocolate hints with coffee; not very intense though. Taste is OK, not well defined and a little bitter for the style. The well defined flavors of other Imperial Stouts just wasn't there; what I was left with was a brew that tasted a heck of a lot more like a porter. Too many other unbelievable brews in this category for me to seek this one out again..

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Photo of yourunclewalt
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a watery, Coca-Cola black with a likewise head. Deep red around the edges when light hits it.

S - Obviously a very malty aroma, little to no hop presence. Toffee, caramel, butterscotch.

M - Surprisingly watery initially, medium carbonation in the middle to a sticky finish.

T - Caramel malt with a smooth butterscotch finish. Very faint spiciness.

D - A pretty well balanced, standard stout...but for an Imperial, I was expecting something inkier, heavier, and more complex than just your standard caramel twang.

 537 characters

Photo of Xadoor
3.3/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured the typical black colour with a tan head. Taste is a little too sweet and mouthfeel is a little too thin. Despite having an ABV of just over 8%, the alcohol is not really detectable. Its not necessarily a bad beer, but I've certainly had better tasting stouts.

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Photo of glid02
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
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 Gryphon69
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

1pint Bottle
no visable date, purchased 6/13

A- Near black, no light coming thru, finger high head that's a light tan. Some lacing but it doesn't stick to the sides, rather it slides back down to the drink

S- Lots of sweet dark fruits, rasins, plums, etc.., some cocoa but not much, some vinalla, no noticeable coffee or roasted malt.

T- Tons of dark fruit sweetness almost to the overpowering point. I cant pick out any chocolates,coffees or anything that makes me think stout. kinda blah

M- Decent mouth, medium to full and very slick and slippery. Carbonation fizzles all over the tongue.

O- Pours and looks decent, this bottles smell is very over the top dark fruit and sweet.
The taste was very close to the smell, very overpowering dark fruit and very sweet. No noticeable roasts, chocolates, coffees or anything that makes me think stout, very disappointed.
Maybe it was a off bottle, but I wont be rushing out to get another one that's for sure.

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Photo of walleye
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

from the ottle poured deep mahogany with brown head. aroma, cocoa, chocolate, molasses, dark cherries, malts, honey, alcohol, floral, coffee. flavor bitter sweet chocolate, cherry juice, grapes, hints of honeyhints of alcohol. dry mouth feel. all flavors were on the weak side

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Photo of olmatty
3.28/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours a very thin tan head with poor retention, beer is a dark brown/black.

Smell- Surprisingly little aroma a bit of roasted malts is all I pick up.

Taste- A touch of bakers dark chocolate and espresso and a mouthload of licorice and dried fruits. Hop bitterness follows on all this, finish of overcooked coffee.

Mouthfeel- Moderate carbonation, somewhat thick but less mouthcoating and flavorful than many imperial stouts

Drinkability- Heavy enough flavor and high ABV enough to slow you down. Unfortunately, not a great example of the style or a good representative of Lagunitas beers.

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Photo of rayjay
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Relatively thin dark brown body with a sweet smokey carmel nose. A decent beer, nothing to turn me away, but a bit tame for the RIS title. Loses all of its carbonation very quickly. Its got a tangy roasted kick from the malts, lots of carmel malts too. Noticable bite from the hops as well.

The body isn't big enough for a stout; it reminds me more of a prickly tasting porter. It is too sweet for my taste, and the mouthfeel is a bit boring. I expect more from a beer in this category. It wasn't exactly horrible, but I wouldn't go out of my way.

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Photo of Hoopster4hire
3.27/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Not what you would typically expect of an Imperial Stout.

Pours a cherry stained finish of a color is the best way to describe it. The head is a frothy light brown and quickly dissipates.

Smell is of roasted malts, slight coffee aroma with a small alcohol odor to it.

Definitely can pick up the roasted and caramelized notes. Coffee tastes lingers as you drink it, while faint amounts of cherry flavor tweak the palate. Molasses makes an appearance, however brief. There is another flavor in there, somewhat sour, but hard to describe beyond that.

Surprisingly carbonated. When I think of Imperial Stouts, I think creamy and thick. This one definitely has some bite to it still.

Highly drinkable, which can be dangerous or a lot of fun considering this bomber was 3.50.

Overall, a good beer, but definitely not a great beer. I wouldn't turn it down if I was offered another, but I probably wouldn't purchase another.

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Photo of nickhiller
3.26/5  rDev -12.4%
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.

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Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 672 ratings.