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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.

1,366 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,366
Reviews: 558
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 13.1%
Wants: 42
Gots: 140 | 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: 1,366 | Reviews: 558 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ehammond1

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

11-04-2011 01:10:00 | More by ehammond1
Photo of BeardedRiker


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

02-24-2011 08:34:07 | More by BeardedRiker
Photo of AnPiobaire

New York

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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!!!

04-17-2011 23:29:40 | More by AnPiobaire
Photo of beerluvr

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

10-10-2004 19:36:38 | More by beerluvr
Photo of Brutaltruth


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

07-27-2014 21:42:18 | More by Brutaltruth
Photo of Darkale


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

09-24-2003 17:22:36 | More by Darkale
Photo of soupyman10

District of Columbia

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

09-02-2009 01:00:28 | More by soupyman10
Photo of velosuds


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

06-17-2010 04:31:06 | More by velosuds
Photo of titty_mcbitty


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

03-08-2014 04:05:10 | More by titty_mcbitty
Photo of emmasdad


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

08-22-2011 04:06:10 | More by emmasdad
Photo of czechsaaz


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

02-20-2007 23:21:45 | More by czechsaaz
Photo of Wasatch


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

11-19-2008 00:56:58 | More by Wasatch
Photo of TempeBeerMan


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

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.

09-19-2012 03:05:52 | More by TempeBeerMan
Photo of Zeisloft


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

Appearance: Dark dark brown. Tan head. Nice looking Imperial Stout.
Aroma: Initially hits the nose with a huge dose of coffee and roasted malts. Searching can find a bit of vanilla and maybe some "dark fruits"- if you can find it.
Taste: Initial taste follows the nose, with the coffee and roasted malts being extremely prevelant. The bitterness comes through at the end, to make sure that you don't forget about it.
Mouthfeel: Not too light, not to heavy. Thought it would be a bit thicker, being a Imperial Stout. An observation, not a complaint.
Overall: This beer is nice and drinkable. Carbonation is right inline with the malt/hops, and the alcohol (even thought a bit high) does not overshadow the rest of the beer.

Second thought (after it warmed): The beer tended to thicken up a bit, the mouthfeel improved, and the roasted malts overcame the coffee tastes to forefront. After warming, a few esters came thought adding another dimension to the beer.

04-27-2011 17:41:00 | More by Zeisloft
Photo of waterintobeer


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

I'm working on the theory that Lagunitas has changed the recipie of this stout because all of the previous reviews mention a lower alcohol content. The bottle that I have states more than 10% alcohol. On to the review:
This isn't the darkest stout there is a faint ruby highlight. The smell is a little alcoholic, burnt coffee, and dark chocolate.
The taste is of dark bitter chocolate, figs and a little burn on the end. I really like the mouthful, sticky full and ends with me wanting another sip.
I really enjoy this stout. The perfect companion to a cold winter night.

02-10-2011 04:08:06 | More by waterintobeer
Photo of Cwrw

Alberta (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

650 ml dark bottle, with the always comical and nonsensical story on the side of the label, as with the other Lagunitas' beers. I think the Lagunitas symbol should be, not a dog, but a picture of someone scratching their head with a confused look. Lagunitas is always entertaining. I love a brewery with a whacky sense of humour, and one not afraid to put balderdash on their bottles. Tasted at room temperature. The "unlimited release" Imperial Stout poured syrupy dark; held to the light a very dense mollasses brown, along with black cherry and maple syrup hues. The head is very light red in some spots, and a mocha or chocolate milk colour in others. The edges of the head are darker. It is consistent at a thin layer, but holds an ice-cream tightness. Lacing was average and seemed to move too quickly on the glass. It definitely induces drinking by its appearance, however. Black pepper and licorice aromas at first, and a strong hit of margarine or stale butter which was interesting but not overly appetising. I like a buttery or creamy smell, but this one does the aroma no credit. Still, over top of that you can find other rich aromas; in fact, smelling more inside the glass I get less of the lactose and more of the mollasses, brown sugar and horehound. Rising bread, dirt, cinnamon, beef jerky, tobacco, leather. A wide range of aromas, and quite succulent, but that stale butter keeps coming back to limit this beer's smell; and I hoped it would not be present in the taste, but alas! it was. Not to say that the taste is not exceptional, because this is one delicious stout--perhaps not the best in the Imperial category, but full and rich and robust nonetheless. At first is the lactose, sour milk taste, followed by all the dustiness of diabolically roasted malts and all the meaty tastes, swarthy and nourishing. As I said, though, the milkiness gets in the way of some otherwise excellent background tastes. Definite brown sugar tastes and mollasses, and in the middle of the tongue some woodiness; oaky; syrupy. The finish is worty and a tad sour, with good balance, as neither the dryness nor the sweetness overpowers. The carbonation seemed just a tad strong for the style, but still this beer is full-bodied and like oil on the tongue. The lactose sourness really limits its drinkability. Their imperial stout is delightful, and though perhaps not the best of its style, I seriously cannot point out any flaw in this beer save the margarine/stale butter characteristics. In my opinion, the beer should be awarded no less than a 3.8 score. Any less is a discredit, Imperial Stout or not. Definitely a beer that will find me staring down into its black heart again soon.

(Postscript(AKA--after reviewing and then reading the other reviews)) Yes, I have to go against the "BA Grain" on this one. I guess it is all about personal taste, but I seriously cannot think why so many rated this so lowly. Oh well, it does not affect my rating or my review: the fact remains that I enjoyed this beer immensely.

07-22-2005 08:42:04 | More by Cwrw
Photo of cavedave

New York

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

Three fingers of brownish-beige, thick foam top a black brew of menacing opacity.

Medium aroma is full of dark caramel and licorice, a touch of estery yeast, with light amounts of roast.

Taste follows the script of the nose almost exactly. As it warms some nice char enters the end of the sip and lingers on the palate. Not the most complex stout of this style for sure, but quite tasty.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin and overcarbed for style, but it works for the flavor profile so I'm not gonna punish it. Not an epic finish, but quite decent.

Overall this is a wonderful stout, one I hope to revisit if I get a chance.

Nice to see a pretty good stout for less than a king's ransom. Recommended.

03-31-2011 21:26:07 | More by cavedave
Photo of birderbeerer


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

Near-black with a billowy coffee head.

Hugely sweet aroma. Lots of licorice and chocolate and malt.

Loads of licorice in the taste. So much so that it almost turns to a barleywine taste of sweetness. There's hardly any roast and what's there is hidden behind the licorice. There's also some chocolate and toffee and maybe raisins that add to the complexity.

It's good. It's a little thin, especially for an imperial. But it's a good beer.

12-20-2011 02:20:57 | More by birderbeerer
Photo of BlurryVisi0n

New York

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

Poured unto a snifter.

Appearance: Superior dark brown (pretty much jet black) with a 1/3" tan head.

Smell: Smells like molasses and pumpernickel but extremely dim.

Taste: Liquid pumpernickel bread, as I was told by a fellow drinker (my g/f). Extremely tasty and quite potent.

Mouth: This beer biggest problem is how flat it gets after 5-10 minutes. It is smooth somewhat sweet after taste but texture could be tweaked.

Overall: Has it's "issues" but not my issue if you know what I mean. Keep drinking and be blessed, this is awesome beer. Salud!

01-17-2012 01:23:25 | More by BlurryVisi0n
Photo of DaftCaskBC

British Columbia (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

A: 1/4" mocha coloured head that dissipated quickly over black liquid.

S: Dark chocolate syrup, alcohol, and some coffee.

T: A very bitter dark chocolate taste up front, toasted malt in the middle, and a finish reminiscent of a strong dark roast black coffee.

M: Thick viscosity with a low level of medium carbonation.

O: A bitter Russian Imperial Stout that I consider to be a sipper. A decent representation of the style that doesn't particularly stand out.

08-22-2011 23:01:10 | More by DaftCaskBC
Photo of RoamingGnome


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

Poured fom 22 oz bottle into CBS snifter.

A) Black with two fingers of tan head, which settles to a dusting. Decent lacing, and seems to have some feet .

S) Light coffee roast, along with an oaky barrel aged aroma. There is a little chocolate, really like chocolate covered raisins. A pleasant vanilla bean sweetness.

T) Follows the nose closely. The alcohol is well hidden, but detectable, which should be expected at 9.9% ABV. There is light earthy hops and more roast on the finish.

M) Decent, quite smooth. The carbonation is light, the body is medium. It was a little thinner than I expected for an Imperial Stout, but it worked.

O) Nice beer... A pleasant sipper for the snifter. The 9.9 makes one bomber plenty for unwinding after a long day. Thanks Lagunitas, glad to recommend.

07-03-2012 02:15:16 | More by RoamingGnome
Photo of flannelman808


3.95/5  rDev +5.6%

This 1 pint 6 oz bomber reads that it has an:
IBU of 72.45 (IBU's are bogus so who cares...)
O.G. of 1.092

but unlike the reported abv of 8.20% this reads
Alc. 9.6%

A: Extremely dark brown in color with very little light able to shine through (some does however and has a muddy orange/red dark hue). A light tan colored head tops it off with ok-good retention and poor lacing.

S: Herbal citric hop notes on the nose along with chocolate malty notes and suggestions of caramel.

T: Layers of chocolate up front ranging from sweet to bitter, light to dark. Suggestions of mocha laté along with sweet dark fruit (raisin comes to mind) follow as an afterthought. Hoppy citric orange zest seems to show up as well. All these fruity flavors accenting the chocolate.

M: a bubbli'n crude

D: fairly high given the abv, however given the overall richness I cant be above a 4.0

03-01-2011 07:14:27 | More by flannelman808
Photo of Tonmeister


3.94/5  rDev +5.3%

Bottle Poured in 8oz cup

A: dark blackish with a solid brown head.

S: chocolate caramel sweetness blended nicely with roasted malt

T: citrusy, chocolatey, carmel, roasted malt, hint of coffee. Not as sweet as other Stouts that I've had. It's Very citrusy for a stout. Not really bitter, more citrusy.

M: Syrupy, Medium bodied with low carbonation. Not too creamy.

Overall, This is a very citrusy stout. nonetheless, this is a great Stout, I Liked Stone's Imperial version better, but this is up there. Lagunitas Brewing Company should market this as their Stout, because there is room for improvement. Not quite as balanced as I would expect from a RIS.

06-26-2013 07:38:17 | More by Tonmeister
Photo of SerialHiker


3.94/5  rDev +5.3%

Appearance: Pours black with pinky finger thick, mocha colored head…nice lacing when I swirl it around…a good lookin’ stout…(3.89/5)

Smell: Cocoa, creamy vanilla, caramel, alcohol heat, tons of roasted malts, dark fruit sweetness, mild earthiness…I’m picking up some smokiness and citrus hops aroma as well…there is a touch of soapiness…(3.83/5)

Taste: Yum! Tons of roasted malts highlighted by creamy, dark fruit sweetness and cocoa notes…it’s sweet without being milky…there is a bit of hops bitterness bite, earthy/citrus tones that show in the later half…more milk chocolate as the brew warms…the flavor isn’t overly complex, a fairly straight forward roasted malt based imperial stout, but what I do have here is very good...alcohol warms my belly with every sip…(4/5)

Mouthfeel: A full-bodied brew…medium carbonation fluffs up nicely spreading roasted malty goodness all over my palate…wet, chewy, vibrant feel…a touch of citrus bitterness in the after taste, but mostly a malt heavy brew…alcohol heat is apparent…(4/5)

Overall: This is a well crafted brew…it’s not dominant in any one category, but the overall package is fantastic…at 9.9% ABV, one bomber is a nice night of relaxing with a board game or hanging out with the wifey…it’s lower upper level for the field and easily recommended for your consumption…I’d consider buying another one of these for cellaring, just to see how it plays out in a year or two…(4/5)

01-25-2013 02:58:17 | More by SerialHiker
Photo of vcoggins


3.94/5  rDev +5.3%

22 oz bottle
Served in a tulip glass

A - Pours very dark brown almost black with an off-white 1 finger head.

S - Smells of dark roasted malts, chocolate and slight coffee.

T - Dark rich toasted malts. Chocolate and coffee. A little bit of bitterness but not hoppy. Warm from the 9.9% ABV.

M - Thick body that coats the mouth fully. Low carbonation give this beer a very creamy feel.

O - This is a superb beer. Something that would be best on cold winter nights around the fire. Great value at $3.99. Definitely worth buying again next time I see it on the shelf.

06-08-2013 01:34:39 | More by vcoggins
Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 1,366 ratings.