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Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

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1,280 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,280
Reviews: 546
rAvg: 3.73
pDev: 13.14%
Wants: 39
Gots: 118 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.90% ABV

Availability: Summer

Notes/Commercial Description:
2010 8.2% abv

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 08-31-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,280 | Reviews: 546 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BedetheVenerable


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: 24oz brown pop top bomber

Appearance: Dark garnet brown beer with sticky dark tan head

Smell: Big husky dark graininess...very similar to a fresh dark-grain boiling wort...simple but tasty...a touch of dry cocoa powder on the finish

Taste: Roasty, dark chocolate, burnt grains, with a touch of coffee and smoke on the finish...fairly complex, yet approachable and drinkable

Mouthfeel: Medium/heavy

Drinkability: Pretty high

Conclusion: Nice, solid, decently complex, good value

Serving type: bottle

07-30-2009 06:01:18 | More by BedetheVenerable
Photo of BeerNutz324


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bomber poured into a pint glass

Ap- dark cocoa/black in color. cinnamon colored head that fades quickly.

Ar- smells like black licorice, molasses and alcohol.

T- just like the nose. sweet with roasted malts with a black licorice and molasses aftertaste. Feel like I get a little choc in the aftertaste as well. For being 9.9% the alcohol is pretty well hidden.

M- medium feel with perfect carbonation for this style. Leaves a wee bit of sting of alcohol on the mouth after sitting for a while.

O- Pretty good IS in IMO. I like it, especially for the price!

Serving type: bottle

10-08-2011 04:08:45 | More by BeerNutz324
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

3.9/5  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.

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2008 22:59:16 | More by atsprings
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a nice jet black with good carbonation and nice brown head.

S: Chocolate, roasted malt and coffee with some booze

T: Easy drinking and tasty. Hints of fig with majority of roasted malt, chcolate, wood and booze

M: Nice and warming, roasted notes with a feel of chocolate on the end with a very, very slight sour feel

D: Not bad at all! I will get another.

Serving type: bottle

06-26-2010 02:50:06 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of Hibernator


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

12-04-2005 18:29:19 | More by Hibernator
Photo of Tilley4


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a solid offering... not a world class brew but a workhorse if you will...

It hits all the marks for the style... bold, brash, touches of booze... rich and dark...

I enjoy this one every time I have it and I get it pretty frequently... again, not a barrel aged monster or so thick you can't pour it but its a fine example of the style...

Goes great with a good cigar...

Serving type: bottle

04-29-2014 15:13:15 | More by Tilley4
Photo of idResponse

North Carolina

3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
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!

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2006 18:36:58 | More by idResponse
Photo of Meerkey


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Thin head. Black, with just a little dark brown highlights when held up to the light.

S: Dark and sweet. Chocolate and coffee. Some alcohol. Faint hops.

T: Sweet and a little bit of a tang. More coffee and chocolate and also some ripe, dark fruit. Roasted malts.

M: Full, carbonated. Nice.

O: Not an outstanding imperial stout, but still a good one. I'd have another. Recommend.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2011 03:44:52 | More by Meerkey
Photo of mynie


3.9/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours ruby with a small fizzy head that dies away fairly quickly. Not bad, but not impressive.

Well, it smells like a Russian Imperial, at least. Raisins, alcohol, roasted malt, dark chocolate, red wine. Very nice.

Tastes much like it smells. Sweet and dry red wine, burnt dark malt, juicy red fruit and an earthen, dry finish with a lingering stickycitrus hop that's more than a little uncommon, for the style.

Flavor is taken down a notch by a weak body, but this is more than drinkable. A good but uneven RIS. Maybe it could some aging...I dunno.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2007 05:49:16 | More by mynie
Photo of Garin

Alberta (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Um. Is everyone else reviewing a different beer? Weird.

It pours a deep clear black with whisky edges. A thin creamy head lingers.

Immediate roasty flavours blend in with coffee and fruity, sherrylike alcoholic warmth. A sturdy black bitterness fills in after the swallow. Long afterwards, hops aroma sneaks in for the finish. The mouthfeel is nice and rich without being gummy or syrupy. I'm finding loads of different angles to this beer as I get through the pint.

Maybe it's not the most life-altering mind-bending (guess we're calling it an "American double stout" these days) but I appreciate that it shows a bit of restraint. It's easy to just keep piling in the OG, but I'm glad to have a beer that I can drink easily.

Serving type: bottle

03-27-2005 06:18:41 | More by Garin
Photo of JayS2629


3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a murky dark brown. Almost black. With a creamy tan head that faded too quickly and left small rings of lace.

The smell was of roasted malts, coffee, some dark fruit, bakers chocolate, and some earthy notes.

The taste was rich chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, cherries, dark fruit, and earthy elements. Balanced well.

Nice, smooth, and silky. A bit thin for the style. Overall an easy sippin, simple stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2011 23:33:22 | More by JayS2629
Photo of Crotor


3.88/5  rDev +4%
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...

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2006 02:42:28 | More by Crotor
Photo of mactrail


3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is a different take on the RIS style. It seems more of a stew of flavors and less of the velvety bomb of some others. Rather sweet with raisin and fig flavors. Very fruity, like an Old Ale with the sweet vermouth flavors. Touch of licorice and toffee. A fair acidity with medium body rather than syrupy. Dark mahogany brown in the tulip glass. Nice carbonation in the mouth.

I can see people having differences of opinion on this but it's intriguing, it's powerful, and it's $5 for a big bottle.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2011 05:53:04 | More by mactrail
Photo of beachbum1975


3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Opaque dark brown with a surprisingly light tan head.

Great nose on this one, but I'm shocked this is a Russian Imperial. The nose, in fact, reminds me of the nose on Firestone Walker 11! Lactose sweetness, vanilla, nuttiness and heavily roasted malts. Not burnt essence to be found.

Taste is much like nose with vanilla, caramel and semi-sweet malts.

This is a nice stout, but not a good example of a Russian Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-01-2009 05:09:04 | More by beachbum1975
Photo of rfbenavi80


3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.
An aggressive pour.

A- Pours almost pitch black with only some small brown highlights when held up to a light, with 1 finger width of foamy mocha colored head that leaves no lacing and has gone down to a very thin layer of bubbles sitting on top.

S- A little dark chocolate, dark roasted malts. There is a fruity aspect to this beer that's hard to place, sweet ripe plums maybe.

T- Kinda laid back for an Imperial Stout. More malt forward than most. It is enjoyable. The malt sweetness hits your tongue first. The plum fruitiness comes through. 9.9% ABV gives a nice warming feeling. A nice sipper.

M- Could be a tad thicker. Almost no carbonation. The creamy texture is pleasant.

O- At 4 dollars for a 22oz bomber you will be hard pressed to find one better quality. I would buy this again.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2012 10:14:41 | More by rfbenavi80
Photo of PacNWDad


3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A: Midnight dark, with a slight reddish tinge to it. Not a very thick layer of off-white head, that dissipates quickly leaving lace on the sides of the glass. Fairly clear overall for a stout.

S: Roasted malt, toffee, with black cherry, coffee and cocoa notes. I think I poured it too cold, because the aroma improved (a lot) after it warmed up a bit. Not much in the way of hops comes out.

T: I get oatmeal, roasted malt and sweet flavors (chocolate, dark fruit), with bitterness from the hops lingering for a time.

M: Very robust, modest carbonation, fire from alcohol is apparent.

O: A big stout that I enjoyed a lot. Make sure to let it warm up a bit before imbibing.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 19:00:57 | More by PacNWDad
Photo of earthboundagain


3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

From Notes:

A: Poured from a bomber the beer is a deep dark brown, bah there is a wee bit a light creeping through. Very thin off-white head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted dark malts, chocolate, and some very weak hop

T: The taste is of whoppers and roasted coffee. There's an above average hop presence for a RIS but it provides a nice balance. The after-taste is bitter sweet.

M: Crisp and a very smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky. Tad too thin for my liking, but not too bad.

D: Very easy to drink, due to a good balance of flavor and not being super thick. This is not a heavy handed brew, but tasty enough to make me buy it again. A different twist on the style.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2009 20:19:10 | More by earthboundagain
Photo of SolomonGrundy


3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Go CAL!!! Pours a super-dark brown near to black, but still some clarity near the edges. Huge three-finger creamy tan head settles down to half-finger of persistent head, lots o' lacing. Nice so far. Some metallic notes in the nose, but mostly lots of roasty malt, some sour dark fruit like black cherry, a hint of sweetness, and some nice hop notes. Huge robust flavor. Lots of semisweet chocolate and the black cherry right upfront. Evolves into a luscious espresso, and finishes super-long and roasty. Delicious beer. Can't recall the price, but Lagunitas is always well-priced. I wanna say $3.99/bomber on this, so a tad medium-hi pricing.

What I like Most: The awesome upfront flavor characteristics.

What I like Least: The metallic notes in the nose.

Verdict: Fantastic robust stout. Worth tracking down.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2010 19:36:52 | More by SolomonGrundy
Photo of Deadstar


3.88/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out of a 22oz bottle into a tulip. Fine bubbles line the glass and float around on the surface of the beer. Not really black, just a very dark brown. Lacing slides down the side of my glass. The aroma is full of malt sweetness, a hint of chocolate, some roasted malts too. I mostly pick up crystal. Taste is much the same as the nose. Not a whole lot of hop bitterness up front, mostly malt sweetness, little bits of chocolate, some dark fruit flavors but they are all balanced by a lingering hop presence. The finish is slightly sweet.

This stout isn't incredibly thick, but it has a nice body. It is well attenuated. Carbonation is right on the mark; some brewers carb their stouts up so high that it detracts from the mouthfeel of the beer, making it livelier than it should be, but this one does not.

Overall, this is a good imperial stout. I'd make it a little less caramel sweet and more towards the chocolate end of things, but it's solid. Another good bomber from Lagunitas.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2012 03:03:31 | More by Deadstar
Photo of AmitC

New York

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

Poured from a bomber into a snifter.

Color is dark brown while pouring and pitch black inside the glass. About a finger thick head of slightly shining brown color. Decent head retention. Good lacing on the sides. Opaque.

Aroma is of strong booze. A lot of heavy and dark roasted malts. Strong malt and warmth. Alcohol take this beer over and is a bit disgusting and two dimensional. Strength is good to strong.

Taste is of naked roasted malts. Dark and heavily burnt up charred character. Hops are absent. Bitterness is mainly due to burnt up malts. Huge on warmth. Boozy all around. No balance. Very very warm beer. Drink strictly in chilling winters. Difficult to finish a bomber by self, even when I like boozy and strong beers. Finish is semi-sweet.

Mouth feel is full bodied. A lot of body and thickness makes it a very robust brew. Highly astringent in terms of alcohol and charred character.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2013 16:03:01 | More by AmitC
Photo of Chirpie


3.86/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

It's another big blizzard on the way outside, so i grabbed one of their medium sized bottles (1 Pint, 6 oz) of this off the shelf after having tried every variation under the sun of Little Sumpin.

Poured it into a glass where sweet chocolate notes, a tan head, and a typically dark appearance awaited. Everything was great so far.

The taste? Dark chocolately flavors. Espresso. And yeah, pretty darn chalky. Bitter coffee beans is the predominant flavor.

If it sounds like I'm a little lukewarm on everything, that's because I kinda sorta am. I still liked it more than some other people here, but my favorite go to budget stout is still Green Flash's Double Stout.

Glad I tried it though...

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2013 00:46:24 | More by Chirpie
Photo of Celtics17


3.86/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black, slight tan, but looks like a cola.

Dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, or chocolate, not coffee at all.

Sweet roasted malt, hints of coffee and bitter dark chocolate, turns into milk chocolate. Sweet candy on the taste. Like butterscotch.

Nice feel in the mouth.

I liked this imperial stout overall. Nothing to complain about.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 08:14:23 | More by Celtics17
Photo of kawilliams81


3.86/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a Lost Abbey chalice.

A- pours black with a big 2" mocha head. Big blotches and bubbles of lacing remain on the glass.

S- nice chocolate, some sark fruits and coffee.

T- sweet chocolate, some light roast, dark fruits, coffee that's has some light bitterness.

M- medium body and carbonation. Very smooth and drinkable RIS.

O- This is a very good RIS for the price! Is it a great RIS no, but solid and will drink again.

Serving type: bottle

02-16-2013 03:59:10 | More by kawilliams81
Photo of Mora2000


3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is from the most recent batch, now labeled unlimited release.

The beer pours a dark brown color with a tan head. The aroma is very one dimensional and is very heavy on the chocolate. I don't get anything else, which is a little bit of a disappointment.

The flavor is more complex. I get a lot of chocolate and roasted malt, as well as some licorice and dark fruit. As the beer warms it gets a little bit ashy, but not really smokey. The alcohol is also present and is warming.

Thin to medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2011 22:36:53 | More by Mora2000
Photo of StoutHunter


3.85/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Lagunitas Imperial Stout a couple weeks ago for $4.99 at The Lager Mill. I have been wanting to try this beer for a while now so I was happy to see that the store just got some in, lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date, but I know it's fairly fresh. Poured from a brown 22oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label is plain and isn't that eye catching, the emphasis seems to be on the imperial side of things. It poured a very dark brown color that was close to being black and imparted a finger and a half worth of tan head that quickly died down to a thin ring that stayed till the end. This is an ok looking RIS, but I wish it had a little better head.

S- The aroma starts off with tons of dark roasted malts that have a low amount of medium sweetness and impart some nice dark chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and toffee flavors with a little bit of coffee and cream showing up towards the end. I didn't pick up any hops in the aroma but I did get a real slight alcohol aroma. This beer has a pretty nice aroma that is very true to style.

T- The taste seems to be very similar to the aroma. The first thing I pick up are loads of dark roasted malts that have a medium amount of roast and a low amount of medium sweetness, the malts impart some nice dark chocolate, caramel toffee, coffee, and cream flavors that come together pretty well. I couldn't taste any hops but I did get a light amount of warming alcohol on the finish with a roasty chocolate aftertaste and a low amount of medium bitterness. The flavor of this beer was nice and the alcohol was hidden pretty well for a 9.9% RIS.

M- Pretty smooth, a little creamy, on the full side of being medium bodied, and it had a high amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel was ok but I thought that the carbonation could be toned down just a touch.

Overall I liked this beer and I thought that it was a good RIS, I have had many beers from Lagunitas but all them have been pretty hoppy so I didn't know what they could do with this style but they ended up making a pretty traditional RIS where the roasted malts are the highlight and the hops take a back seat. This beer had good drinkability, it went down fairly smooth, wasn't overly boozy and if I wasn't splitting this bottle with my brother I don't think I would have a hard time drinking it by myself. What I liked most about this beer was pretty much everything, there wasn't anything too off or out of style with this RIS. What I liked least about this beer was the slightly higher then normal carbonation and the fact that it wasn't as roasty and robust as some of the better RIS's. I'm pretty sure I will buy this beer again next time they release it and I recommend this to anyone who likes the style. I was pretty satisfied with this RIS, it's not up there with my favorites of the style but it is still a good and tasty RIS that hit the spot on a cold winter night, I was unsure how good a dark beer from Lagunitas would turn out but they proved to me that they just aren't a tasty hoppy beer brewery, they have more range then I thought and that only further cements my feeling that they are one of my favorite out of state brewery's, keep making tasty beers and I'll keep drinking them.

Serving type: bottle

02-05-2012 05:29:05 | More by StoutHunter
Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,280 ratings.