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Laika Russian Imperial Stout - Straight To Ale

Not Rated.
Laika Russian Imperial StoutLaika Russian Imperial Stout

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32 Reviews
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Reviews: 32
Hads: 140
Avg: 4.12
pDev: 21.36%
Wants: 42
Gots: 23 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Straight To Ale visit their website
Alabama, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.75% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: sommersb on 12-22-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 32 | Hads: 140
Photo of Immortale25
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 3/4 inch medium brown head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Lots of char and booze spring forth from the glass. There are some dark chocolate and molasses aromas but mostly just alcohol and burnt bread.

T- Lots of bitter dark chocolate and char. There's also the strong booze flavor that lays over the whole thing. Very bitter aftertaste. There's also a considerable amount of smoke.

M- Very sharp and bitey from the hops and booze, yet very creamy at the same time. I wish I could say they work together but it's just confusing. Medium carbonation and a full body.

O- If you like bitter, charry imperial stouts, this is right up your alley. Unfortunately I like my stouts to have a bit more sweetness. It's not a bad beer, the flavors just don't mesh well on my palate.

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Photo of Ohiovania
3.63/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lots of bandaid in the nose and taste in this one. No bottle date or batch number to compare to other reviews.

There is a brilliant RIS underneath but it's all being muted.

I will hopefully try this one again to see if this is an isolated occurrence.

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Photo of WarEagleJeep
3.72/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pitch black and thick looking pour. Quarter inch dark tan head that dissipates to a thin ring.

S: Dark roasted grains, subtle chocolate, and a heads up on the ABV.

T: Roasted malt at the start followed with resinous hop bitterness right behind it. Finishes with dark chocolate and warm alcohol.

M: Thick like most RIS's I've had, a little sticky, and a bit dry on the end.

O: Pretty good stout but a little too bitter and missing some of the heavier chocolate and dark fruit notes. Worth a try for sure.

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Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Large shared bottle pours near black with a decent head.
The aroma is typical for style with, perhaps, a bit more prominent alcohol esters. Actually about as good as the barrel aged versions which I tried just prior to this, although the flavor lags behind both of these. The flavor as some char and burnt toast notes (too much), with hint of expresso in the aftertaste.
Very smooth, full body.

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Photo of darkstar12
3.76/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on tap into a heavy goblet at Mellow Mushroom in southeast Huntsville, AL

A: classic look of a glass of used motor oil. Not even a hint of either a head or lacing.
S: Faint amount of hops, not much else
T: some bitterness, roasted and burnt taste - begins to taste a little more sugary as the beer warms up. Didn't really taste the alcohol at any time.
M: Very thick and syrupy
O: Another very good beer from Straight to Ale. I'll ask for the beer again

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Photo of Roman5150
3.94/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle into Duvel glass

appearance: pitch black, with large 2 finger mocha head, lots of lacing

smell: roasted malts, espresso, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla

taste: rich oak taste, almost like there's the slightest hint of bourbon, the body is a blend of dark roasted coffee/espresso beans and sharp, bitter dark chocolate. A lot of roasted malt flavor througout. Alcohol is present, felt from the warmth and perhaps not as mixed in as other RIS's.

mouthfeel: low carbonation with a creamy, full, thick body

overall: A great RIS, but probably just out of my top 5. Alcohol presence is too much, while it has some great roasted oak and espresso/dark chocolate flavors, the booziness makes it not as enoyajable as say a Stone IRS, Bells Expedition, or ST Choklat. With that said, I would buy again if I found it cheaper than $9.99 for a 750ml, which is hard since they only distribute to TN and AL. Still, a solid RIS that anyone stouthead should add to their palate.

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Photo of portia99
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a black color in the glass and is topped with a finger of dark brown fizzy foam that lingers for a brief time before fading to leave a foamy collar and no lacing on the glass.

S - Boozy, heavy licorice, molasses, roasted malt, a bit of charcoal.

T - Big roasted malt up front with lots of char, cocoa powder and coffee. Licorice from the aroma carries over here too as well as some sweet caramel and molasses. Fairly boozy too.

M - Thick and full bodied, a bit oily and more than a little syrupy. Carbonation is at a lower level but still tingly on the tongue. Booziness throughout, lots of big flavors to go along with it.

O - Good imperial stout...loaded with big flavors and a bit of a sipper. Missing some of the finer nuances of the best in the style, but this is still quite good. If you like assertive imperial stouts, this is one to try.

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Photo of Reaper16
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on-tap into a pint glass @ Suds of the South beerfest

Pours an inky pitch black. Which is, of course, a good thing. A finger and a half of loose but still voluminous dark tan head forms and doesn't go away quietly.

What strikes me most about Laika is how well-crafted it is. This beer is all about balance (albeit in an admittedly extreme style). There's lots of roast here, but it is held in check by sweet malts. There's some hops here (maybe not enough), but they don't take center-stage at any point. There's some dark fruits here (maybe not enough), but they're always quick to share space with the graham crackers and black bread flavors. The aroma is pretty roasty, but the flavor is so balanced. It provides pretty much every type of flavor that imperial stouts should provide.

The mouthfeel is pretty creamy but not chewy or thick in the ways that some imperial stouts are. Your mileage my vary, but I think it makes the beer quite drinkable. Overall, this is a pretty good imperial stout. Probably the best I've had from an Alabama brewery. It isn't a subtle style, but what separates Laika from, say, Good People Fatso (and there isn't much separation) is its sorta' subtle balance.

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Photo of GPHarris
4/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick dark brown head into a snifter that left a thin ring throughout. the body was dark black.
s - coffee, roasted chocolate, some caramel sweetness.
t - roasted chocolate, coffee with some hop flavors coming through.
m - medium and creamy.
o - another really solid beer from STA. this reminded me of left hand's imperial stout as it had more hop character than most.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Many thanks to richj1970 for sending this bottle my way.

A - Pours engine oil black with a nice creamy layer of toffee colored foam.

S - Roasted dark chocolate, toffee, booze, cherries, oak, and vanilla.

T - Follows the nose with dark roasted chocolate, espresso, vanilla, dark roasted chocolate, oak, light cherries, vanilla, and ends with an Espresso-like lingering bitterness with noticeable alcohol warming in the back of the throat.

M - Thick, chewy, and viscous.

O - Thick, big, and boozy.

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Photo of Tonmeister
4.05/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

bottle poured in a 16oz Goose Island Glass

Appearance: Dark Black with a thick black head when poured aggressively. It also looks highly carbonated. The lacing dissipates a ring around the glass.

Smell: Chocolatey malty citrusy,

Taste: Taste follows the smell. Pretty sweet, Caramel, Chocolate, Dark Fruit citrusy, alcohol.

Mouthfeel: syrupy, medium thick bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: This is a well balanced RIS. I goes down smooth and it it tastes sweet and not to bitter. This reminds me of Stone's RIS.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Easily a half inch of mahoghany colored head. Black in color with no light getting through. I smell dark malt and bakers chocolate. The flavor is sharp dark malt,and strong sweet plum. A bit of coffee is also present. There's a slightly smoky note. The mouth creamy, sticky,and chewy.

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Photo of papat444
4.06/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roasted coffee and chunks of chocolate in the aroma. Body is medium but maxes itself out on creaminess. Creamy coffee flavors as well as fudge make this RIS go down smooth.

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours thick black with barely a finger of very dark brown head that leaves some short-lived lacing and recedes to a wispy cap and ring.

Aroma is coffee, milk chocolate, dark roasted malts, dark fruits, anise, some caramel, hops are there in the background. Good to very good strength.

Flavor is rich coffee & espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malts, anise, molasses, dark fruits, nutty, underlying notes of caramel, fairly sweet, moderate bitterness, moderate alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very thick and creamy, soft carbonation. Really nice.

Very nice Imperial Stout! Straight to Ale is definitely doin’ it right in Alabama. Looking forward to trying some more from these guys.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.08/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black and thick. Head is about 1+ finger and dark khaki in color. Head looks rather thick and sticks around for a while. Heavy lacing lingers.

Aroma is espresso and dark-roasted malt. A bit of vanilla, burnt toffee, sweet cream.

Taste is like the aroma. Roasted malt, dark coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, and molasses. Sweet notes from cream and vanilla.

Rich creamy mouth feel. Thick body with moderate carbonation. Roasted flavors linger, a tad bitter on the back end.

Very nicely done RIS. Big flavors. Really like the smooth, creamy body.

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Photo of Javelin185
4.1/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into pint glass

Pours very dark almost oily with a very rich dark Carmel head

Smell very rich strong chocolate with a slight hint of some type of berry and maybe a little toffee

This is a delicious beer that I would put in the dessert beer category.

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Photo of Dope
4.16/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

No bottle date that I can see.

A: Pitch-black pour with a tall dense head that's nearly the same color. Very very dark brown. Head fades at a moderate pace. Zero lacing and zero head retention.

S: Huh, very interesting aroma. It reminds me of stoneground chocolate and coffee beans. Mexican coffee? Pretty subtle but nice.

T: Taste is even more interesting. Dark fruits and molasses up front. Brief bit of char and smoke with lots of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Coffee heaviest in the finish with more bitter cocoa giving it a quasi-mocha flavor. Coffee and chocolate lingers forever.

M: Heavy with a thick, syrupy mouth-coating feel.

O: I really liked this one. Lots of bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors primarily. Mouthfeel is especially intriguing, it coats the mouth like hershey's. Almost an oily residue. A little "simple" for a big RIS but I enjoyed the flavors a lot.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.2/5  rDev +1.9%

22oz bottle from Sprayberry Bottle Shop (Marietta, GA). 11.99. No bottling date. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours black with two and a half fingers of thick mocha head. The foam settles to a modest halo without much lacing.

The nose is roasty and sweet. Toasted malts, brown sugar, dark fruit, cocoa and mild coffee. The aromas seem deeper and sweeter as it nears room temperature. Impressive.

Flavors are bittersweet and roasty. Burnt molasses, charred malts, dark fruits, brown sugar, dark bakers cocoa, an earthy vegital bitterness, coffee, bark, leather and some alcohol. There is a lot going on in this slightly different blend of flavors that I enjoy more with each sip. Seems slightly hot but that's something that I expect from the style.

Creamy, smooth, medium heavy feel with with fairly light carbonation. Finishes with cocoa, port soaked raisins and charred molasses.

Laika is another great brew from Straight To Ale. In the short time they've been distributed in Georgia I've been quite impressed with their work. This Russian imperial stout hits on all levels from appearance and aroma to flavor and feel. Good stuff and I hope to try the barrel variants at some point.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

A: Black as night, pouring with a brilliant crema akin to espresso. The head is thinnish but dark brown. Viscous and completely opaque.

S: Incredible. Simply incredible. Unbelievably rich and sweet. Fruity and bitter. Dry and dark and engaging.

T: After such a smell, it's sadly disappointing. The flavor is thin (though the mouthfeel is thick) with not much going on. Noticeably alcoholic, with hints of orange peel and cacao nibs. Some chocolate, milky. Aftertaste is strongly bitter and lingering. It does improve as it warms.

O: An incredible imperial stout. Highly recommended to everyone. I really, *really* enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.22/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured jet black with a big, viscous pour yielding a big brown head, good head retention with good lacing. Very nice.

S: Big roast and scorched malt with bitter chocolate, a nice booze sting, a wee bit of coffee. I can smell what is perhaps a crystal or pale malt base underneath.

T: A big scorched malt presence upfront with layers of decadent bitter and milk chocolates. There is a nice mix of bitterness from the IBUS and the scorched black malt here. A nice booziness throughout reminding me this is a serious beer. The finish is big, bold, rich, chocolatey and pseudo boozey. Everything I like in a RIS.

M: Well carbonated, huge body, creamy, filling and decadent. This beer is extremely robust and could please even the hardest of hardcore RIS fans.

O: A well crafted RIS which nails every BJCP aspect of a RIS, it has great bold flavor to boot. Extremely surprised and happy to see my hometown cranking out world class RIS!

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Photo of sommersb
4.25/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Nook in Huntsville, AL. Laika was the name of the first animal to orbit the Earth, a Russian dog. Very fitting name considering Huntsville's space history and the Russian Imperial Stout style.

A: Dark black in color, with no visibility through the beer when held to the light. A small amount of dark brown head with little lacing.

S: Rich aromas of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malts were dominant.

T: Heavy and complex, I picked up flavors of roasted malts with a subtle sweetness, chocolate and coffee flavors. It had some burnt character to it, but not in an unpleasant sense. The balance of malts and hops was done well. Also had a boozy quality to it.

M: Full body and a dry finish with a slight lingering bitterness.

D: This is an intense brew; not one to take lightly. The big flavors are very enjoyable, although this is not a beer I'd drink more than one of at a time.

I updated my score for the appearance after having this in the bottle. The head was a good size with good retention and lacing.

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Photo of Jacurdy60
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

A-Pours a typical stout color with a vibrant brown colored, one finger width head with almost no retention.

S-Alcohol stings at first followed by subtle notes of cherries, vanilla, burnt sugar and a slight woody char. Very complex

T-Chocolate, vanilla extract, oaky, bitter coffee with a spicy boozed bite.

MF-The least impressive aspect of the beer. A bit too much carb and too airy. Not as rich as an imperial should be.

O-StA is not playing around. Them and GP are by far the best breweries in AL. If the mouthfeel on this one improved, I would stack it up against the classic imperial stouts (Rasputin, Ten Fidy, Yeti)

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.31/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks, Corgidad!

A: Black and beautiful. A tan one-finger head that sits for a bit. Thick lacing.

S: Mmmm, nice. Leather, anise, dark fruit (raisins, plums). Brown sugar. Just terrific.

T: Smokey, toasty, malty with anise and plums. Sweet and robust. Chocolate and coffee. Could sip this one all day.

M: Heavy with medium to heavy carbonation.

O: Almost as good as the bourbon barrel and the cabernet barrel versions. Straight To Ale really makes a solid RIS. This little doggie makes a fine fireside companion.

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Photo of richj1970
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bottle into goblet.

A: Poured pitch black with nice one finger chocolate brown head that dissolved to a thin ring which followed the beer all the way down.

S: The nose of this one is incredible. Lots of roasted malts, chocolates, caramel, expresso, and maybe a bit of hops.

T: Big flavors here as well. Bitter chocolate, coffee, caramel, a bit of fruit undertone.

M: Thick and creamy. Everything you want in a big stout.

O: Pleasantly surprised here. This is definitely a top notch stout, and from a local brewer on top, nice!

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Photo of sotted-moose
4.33/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving: On-tap at the Straight To Ale taproom. Served in a snifter-type glass
Date: 12/15/2012

A: Beautiful. Black of night, faint hint of head, ephemeral lacing.

Smell: Coffee notes, heavy breads, faint hops aroma
Taste: Complex taste, hints of coffee, dark chocolate, heavy breads,and an emerging sweetness as the beer warmed up.
Mouthfeel: Faint, lingering bitterness. Good, clean mouth-feel, a bit dry
Overall: An excellent beer. I'm quite impressed with the quality of the beer, which seems to be fairly standardized as I've had this on several occasions. It is good, reliable, and quite enjoyable. I will definitely seek out Laika in the future.

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Laika Russian Imperial Stout from Straight To Ale
90 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.