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Island Reserve: Russian Imperial Stout - Cisco Brewers Inc.

Not Rated.
Island Reserve: Russian Imperial StoutIsland Reserve: Russian Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

41 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 126
Avg: 3.36
pDev: 32.44%
Wants: 5
Gots: 30 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  13.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: codsmith on 02-25-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 41 | Hads: 126
Photo of brother_rebus
4.13/5  rDev +22.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

Surprised its not scored higher. Very dark. Great foamy thick coffee head. Thin lacing. Subtle fruit hints. Dark molass. Coffee and chocolate. Cant detect hops. Booze is masked well in taste. But comes through on the afterbreath. Good RIS though. Would buy a bottle.

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Photo of OleSkeen
3.13/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2014 cellar pull. Flavor of chocolate and plum. Really thin for an RIS. Really boozy, should have pulled 6 months ago or sooner...My first and last Cisco beer. Definitely wasn't worth the $14.99. Damn Rhode Islanders....

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +19%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From tasting notes. Appearance: brilliant deep opaque chestnut, very finely bubbled 1” tan head. Smell: very fruity: raisins, prunes, sherry, some dark roast, coffee. Taste: chocolate, prune, some sherry notes, Mouthfeel: Exceptionally creamy chewy, full bodied, medium low carbonation Overall: The alcohol is a little hot – a little less heat or more malt might make this more drinkable.

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Photo of ONUMello
3.54/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

750ml bottle poured into a pint glass
A: Pitch black with a one-finger tan head
S: Roasted malts, chocolate, plum, a hint of alcohol
T: Plum, dark malt, chocolate and a big dose of alcohol
M: Full-bodied, fairly boozy
O: Not bad though the alcohol is too high. Reminds me more of a barleywine than RIS. Crank the malt up and abv down and it would be pretty decent

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Photo of deg
3.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured the beer into a pint glass. The beer is very dark. The head is coffee with cream colored. I can smell something, but I'm not sure what. I got cherries on my initial taste. The beer is fruity in initial taste, I can't taste much malt or roastiness. The roasted flavors come out in the aftertaste. I notice an alcohol burn.

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottle from Jaspers, thanks for the Gift Certificate Mike.
Pours a solid black with a huge creamy tan head that persists forever and sticks to everything. Huge hoppy nose of pine resin and citrus with a solid roasty smokey sweet malty base. Mild papery oxidation on the nose as well. Sweet sugary malt flavor with bits of roast and dark chocolate. Plum and anise midway through before a sweet molasses and chocolate with a twinge of alcohol finishes us off. Medium to thick body with a light level of carbonation and a sweet creamy silky mouthfeel. Nice imperial stout.

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Photo of ThickNStout
2.17/5  rDev -35.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

750mL bottle from Bruisin Ales (Asheville, NC). 12.25. No discernable bottling date. Served in a Burnt Hickory snifter.

Pours a deep, near-black brown with a nice finger and a half of mocha hued head. The foam lingers for a while before settling to a thin layer that actually laces pretty well for such a high alcohol brew.

Smell of cocoa powder, light licorice and sweetish dark fruit.

The first flavor I get is a big blast of bitter, semi sweet cherry skins followed by char, imitation dark bakers chocolate, pine bark, burnt cheap coffee, old marshmallow, bittering hops, licorice, moderate booze and a strange unpleasant vegetal astringency. What an ugly nasty mess of disjointed layers.

Oily, dense, medium heavy body with light carbonation. Bitter, caustic cocoa and fruit skin aftertaste.

Wow. This is one of the worst, overpriced calamities of a beer that I've ever had the misfortune of trying. Unlike so many of my favorite high abv stouts this one seemed to get progressively worse as it warmed. A real shame that I paid so much for something I could only stomach for about 8 ounces before drain pouring the rest of the bottle. Stay away. Seriously.

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Photo of Juuroumaru
3.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

A- Pours black with a nice 1 1/2-2 in tan head and a lot of particulates/sediment collecting at the bottom (small to large). head starts to dissipate at around 90s and leaves a nice lacing around the rim of the glass.

S- A nice chocolaty malt comes through and that's about all i pick up.

T- slight chocolate with a smooth roastyness with a very slight bitter after taste almost like eating very high % Cacao chocolate

M- Coats the mouth nicely with a medium body, not to strong up front or on the back end.

O- i really enjoyed this beer even tho i found it lacking in a few places. For the price im not sure if i would pick it up again considering there are so many great stouts out there for less. i give it a B+

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Photo of puboflyons
4.05/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

From the 750 ml. bottle. Sampled on June 28, 2013.

Wow! Tough audience here as I look at earlier reviews. I think it has a fabulous A++ jet black pour with a moderate tan silky head that lingers.

There is a ton of aroma coming off the bottle and right into the glass. I get esters of dark roasted malts, mild chocolate, and dark fruit like plum or fig.

The body is not as heavy as I might like for the style. It is medium to heavy but there is also a strange astringency.

The taste tends to emphasize the dark fruits more than the chocolate or malts so that is a little unusual for the style. But at the same time it makes it unique. It finishes dry. I enjoyed it (slowly at 13%).

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Photo of montrealbcr89
3.15/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A: Pours a dark brown with a 2 finger mocha-colored head with very tight, creamy bubbles.

S: Did not expect this. The nose is almost straight hops with some alcohol. Smells almost like a black IPA. Only after REALLY getting my nose in there did I detect some chocolate or roastiness. Certainly not what I would expect for a 13% RIS.

T: Immediately hit with some hops. And then...sourness? Im confused. It doesn't taste "bad" but I am a SLIGHT chocolatiness up front, and then it moves to some sourness towards this middle (with a slight metallic taste) and finishes with a mild coffee flavor.

M: Less than medium. I like the fact that it is not overwhelmingly carbonated (that is what really kills an RIS for me), but its is too thin for the style.

O: Strange. It's not necessarily a "bad" beer, but does not fit the style. All the core components of an RIS are almost nowhere to be found. And the sour/metal notes are confusing me further.

I wouldn't pick this up again, but it was interesting to review. Really threw me for a loop!

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Photo of socon67
3.69/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had at the Cisco event aboard the Ligthship Nantucket at Hudson River Pier

A - Black pour with a high cola colored foam. Lacing is not too pronounced; half moons of sticky lace on the glass.

S - Scents of cocoa and roasted malt. Has a lingering boozy smell and some smoky qualities as it warmed.

T - A chocolate malt bomb. Perhpas a tad too sweet. There is a slight warming burn in the finish.

M - Pretty much was a one and done for me. The high ABV and sweetness made this sipper. This is a beer people can satisfy a sweet tooth, and then feel sick afterwards.

O - A pretty good dessert beer, but maybe the malt was a bit too sweet and too heavy. Overall fun but really a nondescript RIS.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.7/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pitch black with nearly zero head. Barely any lacing too.

S-Big and bold. Booze emanates. Nose isn't exceptionally aromatic. Coffee/chocolate of course. Also get a decent amount of dried dark fruit (nearly Belgian-esque)

T-Again, the flavor is not as overwhelming as it should be. The booze stands out just as much as any of the flavors. Its not exceptionally roasty. I get way more dried dark fruit than roast. It reminds me of a Belgian Imperial Stout. Chocolatey and plummy but not supremely roasty.

M-Big and boozy but the body is somehow thin.

O/D-They either messed this up or they wanted to carve out their own niche here. I was shocked to find out this was nearly 14%. Its thin and lacks flavor yet its uniqueness is oddly addictive. Definitely the most curious pint I had tonight.

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Photo of SLeffler27
3.97/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black, very black, in a Dogfish Head snifter. A ring of fine dark foam forms a hazy layer above this viscous and syrupy Stout.

Strong roasted coffee and roasted chocolate dominate simply in this well-done aroma profile.

The flavor is almost exclusively malt with slight malt bitterness and trailing candy sugar. Semi-sweet chocolate combines with light wood notes in the middle, while modest sweetness fills out a short finish. Warmth develops these characteristics exceptionally well, while nonetheless mellowing and focusing the chocolate syrup flavors.

A dense, syrupy body with warming, yet controlled, alcohol for 13.5% abv.

This is a good sipper, perhaps best after dinner or with moist chocolate cake. While a bit too sweet for the style, it is still highly enjoyable.

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Photo of Kooz
3.72/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured dark and opaque with a dark brown head. Smelled of molasses, which lingered throughout and was pleasant. Very nice taste. Chocolatey with a hint of coffee in it at the tail end. Mouthfeel was good--this stout had a good body to it, and despite the high abv, there was nothing boozy about it. Overall, i enjoyed it a lot and would recommend it, but one is plenty for a night.

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Photo of scruffwhor
3.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I've been sitting on this bottle for more than six months, easy. Had to crack this bad boy open after taking down the Christmas lights. This is the day before temps get UP to 15 degrees in the chi-town area.

Poured into my Lunar Brewing co. Neil Armstrong snifter.

Oil slick black with a medium brown head of maybe one finger. There's a residual ring of foam that thins out more and more with each sip.

Roasted bread crust, coffee beans, with a viney and warm alcoholic warmth. Perhaps, not the aroma I anticipated, but still pretty good.

As this beer warms, the palate gets thinner, and the abv. content becomes more and more domineering. I still get strong roasted malt flavors, still lots of coffee and dark cocoa. There's still a slightly sour, viney finish, along with the alcohol. Palate is a watery oil mix.

This RIS isn't "bad" per-se, but this something i would not reccommend to someone, or buy again. Glad I tried it though.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.57/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle shared my wife after it sat in the cellar for 6 months or so. Poured jet black with a huge khaki colored head of excellent retention; tons of sticky lace clinging to the glass. Aroma is roasty; bitter chocolate and some surprisingly hoppy notes, floral and a bit piney, emerge over a lingering whiff of fusel alcohol.

The flavor is moderately sweet, moderately roasted, but aggressively bitter and hoppy, again with pine and floral notes that come to dominate the taste. Booze is present but not obnoxious. This tastes almost like a super-charged India Black Ale with a big body. Caught off guard by this unexpected twist, especially as the bottle’s been sitting for a while.

Medium full bodied, with moderate carbonation and a decent amount of smoothness. I guess I liked this ok; certainly more the BA community seemed to, but it wasn’t something I’d need to have again. The booziness was a little unpleasant and the hoppiness was just a bit too much in a stout, at least for my tastes. Interesting though, and not terrible by any means.

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Photo of abraxel
3.84/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Reviewed blind as part of Blind BIF 7, courtesy of ShogoKawada.

A - How much more black could this be? None. None more black. The head is awesome. It's sort of a cinnamon creme color, very thick, and leaves wonderful lacing.

S - Rather hoppy, surprisingly. It reminds me of smelling a bag of hop pellets, though not nearly as intense. Also a touch of roast. I'm thinking this'll be a interesting blind experience.

T - A whole lot of things going on here. Licorice, molasses, coffee, and sweet fruits, with those same hops as in the aroma ever-present (not a ton of bitterness, though).

M - Full and thick and smooth. Lowish carbonation. Almost no hint of alcohol.

Overall, I like this quite a bit. It's rather hoppy, but otherwise seems like a pretty normal imperial stout.

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Photo of TheBeerologist
2.46/5  rDev -26.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

750 mL into a CBS snifter

Dark brown translucent pour with a thin tan head. No lacing,

At first I smell strong alcohol presence with a subtle backing of roasted malt and molasses.

Tastes like it smells - hot, and not much flavor behind the alcohol

For a RIS the mouthfeel is fairly thin, though well carbonated. Kinda watery.

Overall nothing I will pickup again or recommend - many other RIS's available at the price point ($11) that are much more worth it.

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Photo of zaphodchak
2.83/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

From 2011 I think.

Thin fine tan head. Dark opaque brown body.

Nose has some booze and a trace of hops.

Taste is mostly of grassy, medicinal hops. Like hop cough syrup. I let this one sit for a while but it hasn't calmed down. Kinda disappointing.

Mouthfeel is generic as well.

This was neither worth the money nor the cellar space. Glad I opened it rather than face disappointment later, but maybe it would get better with time.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured on-tap and served in a snifter, the beer is a dark brown-to-black coloring with a thin, solid coating of chocolate milk colored head. Cocoa and coffee on the nose, with some roasted qualities helping to blend. Smells rich and warm. Flavors are roasted coffee, molasses sweetness, and a boozey undertone all mixing together evenly. The beer has a rich molasses and booze aftertaste, with a rich, slightly cloying finish. Very rich and very smooth, this beer would likely age well. Would make a good cold weather brew.

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Photo of korguy123
2.39/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle into snifter, no freshness date. Purchased 07/07/12

A- Opaque black pour with brown around the edges. Finger width dark tan head, lacing is decent.

S- Dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee and a healthy dose of alcohol. The alcohol kind of muffles everything else. There is some brown sugar and molasses.

T- Booze up front, dark roasted coffee, burnt toast and a slight medicinal taste.

M- Slightly thin, lively carbonation, sticky on the lips.

O- Wow this thing is a mess from sip one. The booze in this really just overpowers everything. I've had 19+% beers that you don't taste the alcohol, this one tastes as it is a 30% abv and only 13.5... I've never had anything from these guys before (or heard of them) but I'll give anyone a chance, especially a RIS but this is a train wreck.

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Photo of CHADMC3
3.25/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours an opaque black body beneath the thin, yet sticky mocha head that quickly dissolves yet leaves a sticky lacing to coat the glass throughout the beer.

The aroma is roasted and boozy with hints of sweet chocolate and I believe some light woodnotes, perhaps some hop presence. As it warms the chocolate steps forward as well as some dark fruit.

The flavor is also heavily roasted with just hints of chocolate, a boozy bite and perhaps just a touch of woody notes similar to the aroma.

A fairly robust body with medium carbonation and a potent, yet warming boozy finish.

A decent example of the style with some pleasant characteristics but perhaps a bit much on the alcohol.

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Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is essentially jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin layer of bubbles covering the surface.
S: There are moderately strong aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of chocolate.
T: There are strong flavors of dark roasted malts in the taste along with notes of burnt malts. There are some hints of citrus from the hops in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit dry on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: For a beer that is 13.5% abv, the alcohol is very well hidden from the taste.

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Photo of dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a quarter finger tall dark tan head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a small thick patch and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts, possibly a little burnt. Lighter aromas of dark fruits and chocolate. Maybe just the slightest hints of licorice.

T: Very similar to the smell but possibly even a little more intense. There is a strong flavor of the dark roasted/slightly burnt malts along with dark fruits, chocolate, and licorice. Additionally there is the slightest (barely present) hint of citrus hops at the very end of the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and slightly sticky with a light amount of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: Alcohol is very well hidden in both the smell and the taste making this beer pretty easy to drink - though at 13.5% it is most definitely a sipping beer. Nice amount of complexity, possibly a little sweeter than I expected for the style, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.33/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. On their website it says it's one of their styles currently being "toyed" with, not exactly sure what that means. Poured into CCB snifter.

A- Pours a dark black with about a quarter finger of creamy mocha brown head with good retention. Definitely a little bit above average carbonation for a stout. Not too much lacing.

S- Dark fruits- figs, a little bit of plum; cocoa, definitely a bit hoppy for a RIS, a little bit of espresso, roasted malts, almonds, vanilla, some booze.

T- Cocoa, lightly roasted almonds, some citrus hops, some faint figs + plum (not as strong as in the aroma), some light booze. Different tastes balance fairly well, however not one of my favorite tastes for a RIS. A bit bitter on the finish, lightly sweet + boozey aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied, a little bit creamy, slightly syupy, a little bit above average carbonation. A little bit of an alcoholic burn, but not bad at all considering it's abv.

O- This imperial wasn't bad, however it was far from being my favorite. Like the quote on their website, I think they are still trying to improve this one. They should definitely try bringing down the booze a little bit, 13.5% is a little bit too high for this one. They could make it a little bit sweeter, tone down the hops, and make it a little bit less bitter. Overall not a terrible start, but definitely room for improvement. I suggest waiting for later batches on this one, although at $10 it's not terrible.

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Island Reserve: Russian Imperial Stout from Cisco Brewers Inc.
78 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.