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Lagunitas Imperial Stout - Lagunitas Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,387 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,387
Reviews: 561
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 12.8%
Wants: 44
Gots: 148 | FT: 3
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: 1,387 | Reviews: 561 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rkhaze
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

Poured a dark mahogany color with a nice tan head. Left good lace.
Really sweet roasted malt aroma with some chocolate and red fruit.
Roasted malt taste, caramelly sweetness, some red fruit and a bit of licorice. Tangy hop finish. Some nice flavors going on, just not of the "in your face" intensity of an Imperial Stout.
Pallid mouthfeel for the style. Great drinkability due to the thin body and well hidden alcohol.
Doesn't have the punch of a good Imperial. I totally agree with the majority of other reviewers of this beer. It's an enigma of the Imperial Stout style. A poor Imperial Stout but a tasty brew nonetheless.

rkhaze, Nov 25, 2003
Photo of WYVYRN527
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

Poured into a Deschutes Snifter from a 22 ounce bottle.

A: Black in color, although some light still tends to shine through. Head is eggshell in color, and quickly settles to a very thin film on the surface. Lacing is minimal.

S: Charred grain and espresso notes are dominant, with hints of dark fruit and molasses.

T: Much like the smell. Sweet notes of chocolate and raisin, long with molasses, followed by a dry, roasted malt character. Hops are noticeable on the tail end, with a warming, slightly boozy finish.

Notes: This full-bodied sipper has loads of flavor, complexity, and mouthfeel. Despite it's ABV, it's not overpowering. Another solid effort by the folks at Lagunitas. A tasty brew indeed.

WYVYRN527, May 22, 2011
Photo of Darkmagus82
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

Poured from bottle into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a nearly pitch black color with a two finger tannish colored head. The head has a decent level of retention, fading over time to leave a good level of lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is big of caramel and dark chocolate mixed with a rather nice dark roasted aroma. The darker aromas are a mix of roasted malt and coffee with them all being joined by a bit of a warming boozy smell.

Taste – The taste begins with a sweeter flavor of caramel and chocolate with a nice hit of roasted malt flavor and a moderate presence of coffee mixed with some flavors of char. As the flavor advances it gains sweetness with some darker fruit flavors entering the taste and a light cream like flavor giving a more mocha latte like flavor when mixed with the roasted flavors. A lighter oat flavor comes to the tongue along this time enhancing the creaminess. Toward the end a lighter boozy taste can be detected on the tongue leaving a rather roasted and lightly warming and sweeter taste to linger in the mouth.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on thicker and creamier side with a carbonation level that is rather low. The creamier body and the lower carbonation enhance and compliment well the roasted flavors of the brew rather nicely and create a nice mouth coating feel.

Overall – The 9.9% abv is actually hidden very well which when mixed with the roasted malt, low bitterness, and the stronger fruit/caramel presence, make for a surprisingly drinkable and enjoyable sweeter imperial overall.

Darkmagus82, Jun 27, 2013
Photo of andrewjraab
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

A - Pitch Black with a moderate head and noticeable lacing. Malty, roasted nuts,velvety smooth mouthfeel. Semi sweet and semi dry chocolate give this beer a nice back bone.

Overall, this is a real solid imperial stout that is definitely worth a shot.

andrewjraab, Nov 08, 2013
Photo of snaotheus
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

22oz bottle into large goblets

Looks very dark brown, almost black, poured with almost no head and consequently no lacing. Opaque, but visible small carbonation bubbles floating up the side of the glass. Smell is sweet with smoke and cherries.

Taste is sweet with smoke, cherries, maybe a little molasses, and a little chocolate.

Mouthfeel is thick and a little gritty. Pretty drinkable, but I think the sweetness would get to me after a while.

snaotheus, Nov 15, 2009
Photo of doughanson78
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Very dark, almost pitch black. Light mocha colored, half finger head that dissipates quickly leaving a small ring. Hardly any lacing at all.

S: Dark fruits. Roasted coffee. Molasses. Very light dark chocolate and caramel aroma.

T: Coffee. Sweet dark cherries. Smooth dark chocolate. Vanilla that was nowhere to be found in the smell. Tad bit of roastiness.

M: Medium to full bodied. Creamy. Good mouth coating. Medium carbonation. Hardly any perceptible alcohol what-so-ever.

O: This was a good RIS. Nice dark fruits like a Doppelbock, but the sweetness is mellowed out by hops (I would guess) that aren’t perceptible. Have no clue (except for slight buzz) that this contained 9.9% alcohol. Only being my 3rd RIS, the last two being this and a Yeti, I really want to try more of this style. Got a Stone RIS and Belgo Anise, and a Parabola waiting patiently. As I’ve read the hoppiness of RIS’s can vary, so if your into sweetness give this a shot.

doughanson78, Jun 30, 2011
Photo of AgingWarrior
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

Poured from 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. Poured a deep dark brown, but not black, with minimal reddish brown head. The head dissipated rather quickly and provided only minimal lacing.

Smells of chocolate and fruit. I think I smell dates, but not positive.

Taste is very smooth, with almost no alcohol burn they I normally associate with an RIS.

Medium body, smooth and creamy in the mouth.

Very drinkable stout. I could have easily drank another one... maybe two!

This may not belong in the RIS style, but it's a tasty and enjoyable brew nonetheless.

AgingWarrior, Oct 28, 2008
Photo of babaracas
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%

Pours black with dark brown edges, thin tan head, not much lace. Smell: dark brown sugar, mild roasted note, a little date, in the background green spicy and leafy hops with a touch of alcohol. Taste: dark brown sugar, medium roast, greenish earthy and spicy hops. A rather drinkable and laidback, but not particularly complex RIS.

babaracas, Apr 19, 2010
Photo of arizcards
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%

Picked up a bomber at BevMo at the end of March for $4.49.

Beer poured black with a nice off white head that is leaving some lacing behind.

Nose is roasted malts with hints of mocha.

Taste is roasted malts, some mocha, with enough hops to balance the huge amount of malts nicely.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and fairly smooth.

Overall this is a pretty tasty brew, nice amount of hops to give it a rough and tumble feel. Definitely a nice price point!

arizcards, May 25, 2013
Photo of IncanGoat
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%

Bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Poured a very dark brown. Two finger tan head that sucks around for 5 minutes and leaves a good lacing down the glass.

S: Milk chocolate, raisin, coffee, cinnamon, slight tobacco.

T: Toffee, chocolate, roasted malts, raisin, black pepper.

M: Smooth, wet, carbonation is light once poured, but enough to bring out the aroma.

O: Fantastic stout for the price! If you know of a better stout that I can find in Cali for $5 a bomber, please let me know.

IncanGoat, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of CalgaryFMC
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%

Poured from a big ol' 1-pint bottle into the equivalent sized glass ... The only beer of the evening, needless to say. This deep, dark, and dense brew is opaque brown grading into black territory with a copious quantity of tan head. A rather fizzy stout and it smells absolutely astonishing. Quite smoky initially, then gets uber-sweet, redolent with burnt toffee, dates, dark chocolate sauce, vanilla, and a hint of citrus hop. Surprisingly almost no alcohol on the nose for such a big beer.... that shows up in spades on the palate though. Taste is a mosaic of aggressive dark malts, earthy tobacco-like hops, coffee grinds, a herbal note like licorice, and dry ash ... There is an initial warm sweetness like chocolate sauce and pecan pie but this does not persist as long as expected, at which point things evolve into a semi-dry oak wood ashy bitterness along with a large blast of aromatic alcohol that after a while starts to recall cinnamon extract (think those little red candies from Valentine's Day). My eyes started to water about half way though a pint, perhaps I should have shared this with somebody. Buttery, thick mouthfeel prolongs the experience. Rather whiskey-like in some ways. Tinges of hop resin put in an appearance. A sweet booze bomb. Solid Russian imperial stout if a tad coarse, astringent and aggressive.

CalgaryFMC, Jan 03, 2014
Photo of boilermakerbrew
3.96/5  rDev +5.6%

A- Pours thick and black with a sizeable, frothy head. Head is creamy and tan in color with great retention and lacing. Body of the beer is inky black in color.

S- The smell of this beer starts out dark and malty with a small dose of dark fruits. A small amount of chocolate come through in the scent, but primarily it is dark fruits and a bit of bitter hops on the nose.

T- The taste of this beer pretty much follows the scent. Starts off dark and malty with just a touch of dark fruit flavors, then a slight bit of hops bitterness. Bitterness brings it back together at the end with just a touch of balance to a semi-sweet chocolate flavor.

M- Thick and creamy, but not too thick and creamy as far as an impy stout goes.

Overall, a solid, and very well priced, imperial stout that is very easy to find.

boilermakerbrew, May 30, 2014
Photo of ehammond1
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Bottle (2011)

Texas Liquor
Carlsbad, CA

Deep dark mahogany brown bordering on black with a thick, persistent brown head. Leaves spots of lacing down the glass, but I expected more mess from this one.

The aroma is a lovely combination of roasted malts, bitter chocolate, and some faint, stinging licorice. This is very nice, and quite unexpected.

Roasted malt, sweet and tangy licorice, some mild chocolate, and a moderate level of bitterness combine for a very drinkable, tasty big stout.

Medium bodied with a moderate to low amount of carbonation. I really wish this was far thicker, though it's not at all distracting from the beer.

A very tasty big stout from Lagunitas, and it actually took me by surprise at how much I enjoyed it. This is a great, inexpensive stout.

ehammond1, Nov 04, 2011
Photo of BeardedRiker
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

It has been quite awhile since I've had a stout. Right now seems to be the perfect time to drink one since winter storms have decided to rape half of the United States. Though I'm in Texas, it is still very cold and there is plenty of snow and ice on the ground. What better beer to drink then than an imperial stout? And what better brewery to have my beer from than arguably my favorite, Lagunitas? Perhaps the Mother Earth knew I needed to drink a stout again and opted to unleash her frosty breath upon this great country just so that this drinking and reviewing would seem pre-destined. I'm thankful beer is so versatile in its styles. A stout on a day like today is simply the best thing I can drink.

The color on the stout is a little less dark than I thought it'd be, but it's still an extremely dark brown. When held up to light it is not entirely opaque, not to imply a cloudiness. The edges have that slight ruby red color. The head poured thin and multi-colored tan with a creamy-frothy top and a more bubbly bottom. From first sight the head put me off a bit because it wasn't the uber-creamy-frothy look that most great imperial stouts I've tried had, but I have more than enough trust in Lagunitas to brew me a good beer. When dissolving there is no lacing at all and little film on top.

Upon inhaling my nostrils give me a prominent smell of liquorice and coffee. Dark fruits mix in there too with abundance of roasted malts and some toffee sweetness. Hops linger in the aroma too while there is a chocolate bitterness that mingles with the coffee. If I didn't have one stuffed up nostril because of the cold weather maybe I'd be able to smell it better. Ha!

This is a good Russian imperial stout. It's got plenty of flavors that are well-balanced but it doesn't feel too heavy and is very drinkable. Many IRSs hit you in the face with their alcohol and overwhelming flavors, not to say I dislike that necessarily, but Lagunitas' isn't as in-your-face yet still remains a very good beer. The beginning is sweet on the tip of the tongue with some good hoppiness to it. In the middle comes all of the roasted malts that keep it smooth and mellow out the front. I'd say the coffee bitterness runs throughout while, as does the alcohol flavor but it doesn't intrude despite the ABV being 10.14%, while in the finish there is the roastiness of coffee as well as dark fruit (plum/fig/dark cherry) that you'd expect from a stout mixed with some mango that you'd expect from a hoppy beer. It has a dry end to it as well. I usually prefer a stout that is very full-bodied with a heavy mouthfeel but this one doesn't seem lacking with a lighter mouthfeel. It adds to its drinkability.

I expect RISs to be over-the-top with their flavors and very heavy. Lagunitas' RIS does not have those characteristics but that does not detract from it. It is much more drinkable than most RISs yet doesn't feel "light" or have that watery characteristic to it that some poor porters and stouts have. Overall the beer isn't too complex but it has plenty of flavor and is well-balanced. And at a little over $5 a 22oz. bottle, there's little you can say about this beer to lessen it. If you want a quality RIS with good flavor, balance, and drinkability then pick this up.

BeardedRiker, Feb 24, 2011
Photo of AnPiobaire
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

I poured the Lagunitas Imperial Stout into a snifter at about 53 degrees, and it poured a dark brown with tan head that faded fairky quickily.

My initial nosing was of malts, coffee and raisins. This brew is labeled at 9.6 ABV and the alcohol is evident in the nose. This is a very pleasant smelling brew.

The taste is malt, coffee, bitter chocolate and perhaps licorice that fades to a nice balanced hop finish.

The mouthfeel is a little thinner then I would've expected but not at all unpleasant. Finishes creamy though with a nice hoppy fade.

Overall, I was not expecting much as I was not overly impressed with some of Lagunitas' other offerings, but this is one nice Russian Imperial Stout and I will be buying more of these, you should too. Enjoy!!!

AnPiobaire, Apr 17, 2011
Photo of beerluvr
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Pours out with a light to medium brownish head that settles over clear deep chocolatey brown liquid...not the darkest Imp.Stout I've seen. Deep malty nose with complex dark fruitiness and some chocolate notes and not much hop. A thinnish (for the style) mouthfeel offers flavors of light chocolate, subtle roasted grains, light fruitiness and abundant hoppiness. No sign of alcohol here, quite drinkable with a nice latent bitter roastiness. Finishes pleasingly bittersweet. I'd say this makes a decent Baltic Porter, but a poor Imperial Stout, speaking strictly style-wise.

beerluvr, Oct 10, 2004
Photo of Brutaltruth
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Nice Imperial stout from Lagunitas. Pours pitch black with light tan head that dies down to lightly clinging lacing. Nose of fudge, coffee, and deeply roasted grains. Taste is excellent. Smooth chocolate fudge like flavor without being overly sweet, coffee and dark chocolate on the aftertaste with a light hop background. Alcohol warmth on the aftertaste gives this one a big boost without overtaking the other parts of the beer. VERY nice. Cheers.

Brutaltruth, Jul 27, 2014
Photo of Darkale
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Standard imperial stout appearance (what else could an imperial stout look like?). Short-lived head with unimpressive lacing.

Sweet, plummy, cherry aroma.

Tries to be thick in the mouth but can't quite pull it off. Not chewy, but close. Brisk hops burn. Hoppier than the usual imperial stout.

Good mix of cherries, malt, chocolate and cocoa. Nice taste. Wish it were thicker and chewier, though.

Not a bad imperial stout. Perhaps "imperial" is a stretch; not quite thick enough to warrant the tag. A creditable attempt, though.

Darkale, Sep 24, 2003
Photo of soupyman10
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Aged 12 months

Decided to age this one right off the bat because of Lagunitas's tendency to be a bit boozy tasting.

Pour is solid - deep, deep brown with nary a highlight. Small tan head dissolves down to a fine film fairly quickly. Nice look.

Nose is easy - cookies and some light vanilla. Chocolate. A very mild hint of dried fruit, cherries perhaps, and similarly light malt. Not bad, just very simply and straightforward.

Taste is a notch better - chocolate, cookies, roasted malt. A touch bland - that slight corniness of a thinner imperial stout. Mild, all around - roasty, smoky on the back of the tongue.

Body is a little thin, but with good smooth carbonation.

Overall, an alright brew. A little bland and a touch too straightforward for what is usually an exciting style.

soupyman10, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of velosuds
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a clear pint glass. No freshness dating on bottle or label. Purchased from local grocery store for $3.99.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown almost black hue with a one finger +, tan head that dissipated quickly and left little lacing. A more vigorous pour with the remainder produced nearly a two finger head that lingered longer.

S-Coffee, caramel malts, and a hint of chocolate, all of which was too faint.

T-Some chocolate, coffee, and caramel malts that are pleasantly sweet with a smoky finish. Balanced nicely by grassy hops for sufficient bitterness. Taste is good, but not great.

M-Too thin for style. And a tad flat due to inadequate carbonation.

D-This is very drinkable for its 9.6% ABV (per label, but website indicates 8.2%). Value is good at $4.00 a bomber compared to other brewers' offerings. Alcohol content is masked nicely.

A decent Imperial Stout, though not quite on par with Lagunitas' Hop Stoopid and Lucky 13 Mondo Large Red Ale.

velosuds, Jun 17, 2010
Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

A: Jet black, maybe a very slight brown to the edges, with a descent foamy head. Bigger bubbles.

S: Cocoa nibs, some booze, some funk.

T: This is actually pretty awesome for the buck put in. Very chocolaty- velvet, sweet chocolate. I get caramel, peanut butter, char, toast, cocoa powder, malt, and a tad bit of hops. This is very nice!

M: Not super thick, but a nice midway between medium and heavy. Velvety, buttery feel with a good syrup-like consistency.

O: This is awesome. I was afraid I'd bought a dud due to the reviews, but no. AND it's so cheap! I will definitely be picking another one up soon.

titty_mcbitty, Mar 08, 2014
Photo of emmasdad
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

thanks to Ratman for this one. Bomber poured a translucent dark brown with a lasting brown head. Aromas of roasted malt, coffee, bakers cocoa, pepper and a hint of vanilla. Palate was medium to full bodied and smooth. Flavors of roasted malt,bitter chocolate, coffee and light vanilla with a smooth lingering chocolate finish.

emmasdad, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of czechsaaz
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Prunes and other ripe fruit on the nose. A background aroma of roasted malts and some chocolate. No hops to speak of which is OK for the style. There's nothing particularly standout about the aroma, no really bold aromas jumping out. Kind of short on what I'm looking for out of Impy Stout.

Held up to light, it is deep red and a lot more translucent than other examples of the style. Big thick solid head that fades to a beautiful creamy layer that lasts throughout a pint.

Flavor is very nice. I get a big hit of toasty bitterness and solid hop bite on my first sip but the more of it I drink I really start to focus on lots of fruity fermentation esters and lots of sweet malt backbone. It may be a little sweet to some peoples tastes, but I'm good with it since I would prefer a little malt sweetness to aggressive hopping in this style. The lingering aftertaste is mostly dark roast malt which balances out the sweetness.

Carbonation level is right on, light but still lively. The body feels a little thin, again for the style, and you wouldn't pick up the alcohol strength from mouthfeel or body.

A very approachable example of the style. Drinkable in that it isn't huge and doesn't feel like an end-of-the-night beer. It's still pretty big and flavorful but not over-the-top.

czechsaaz, Feb 20, 2007
Photo of Wasatch
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Thanks goes out to tburkhart for this brew.

22oz. Bomber

Pours a very nice dark brown color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy tan head, with some sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice notes of chocolate/toffee/coffee. The taste is sweet, malty, with some chocolate, toffee, coffee. Medium body, the alcohol is very well hidden. Drinkable, this is a very tasty RIS.

Wasatch, Nov 19, 2008
Photo of TempeBeerMan
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%

Poured from a bottle into a nonic pint.

A - Pitch black with a foamy three-finger light tan lacing which faded a little quickly. Pretty cool concentric circle lacing as the level of beer dropped in the glass.

S - Nice strong aroma of cocoa, roasted grain, dark fruits, and a touch of lactose.

T - Big sweet stout with juicy dark fruits (getting a lot of plum and black cherry) leading the charge over and beyond any burnt/roasted flavors. Chocolate and burnt flavors are certainly there, but not slapping you in the face and commanding your attention like many other Russian Imperials. Hint of anise floating in the background. An almost acidic quality in the finish. Touch of leafy green hops as the aftertaste fades. Booziness comes through a little starting in the mid-palate and carrying through the finish. Super sweet. Overall pretty tasty.

M - Thinner and more carbonated than most RIS, but you'd be hard pressed to actually call it "thin". More like medium bodied. Carbonation makes it scary drinkable as big gulps are not a problem.

O - A slightly brash, unconventional RIS. Overall solid, and good for those looking for something a little different, or extremely drinkable. For those craving a large burnt bitter profile, this might not be their cup of tea. That said, I really did enjoy this, and might buy again when in the mood.

TempeBeerMan, Sep 19, 2012
Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 1,387 ratings.