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.
BA SCORE
78
okay

124 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 124
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.41
pDev: 18.18%
Wants: 5
Gots: 28 | 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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 124 | Reviews: 41
Reviews by scruffwhor:
Photo of scruffwhor
3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

More User Reviews:
Photo of lordofthewiens
3.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In a tulip this beer was a very dark brown, nearly black, color. It had a tan head that left a little bit of lace.

Roasted malt aroma, chocolate and coffee. It wasn't very sweet. Alcohol was noticeable.

Bittersweet chocolate taste. Espresso. I thought there was a bit of charcoal in the taste. And don't forget the alcohol.

This beer was a big mouthful. Nice enough, but not something I would want to drink often.

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +17.3%
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.

Photo of zaphodchak
2.83/5  rDev -17%
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.

Photo of socon67
3.69/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

Photo of puboflyons
4.05/5  rDev +18.8%
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%).

Photo of Proteus93
3.18/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one of those beers that I just pick up on a whim and take home. It's also the last beer before a one month sabbatical. Hopefully it is worthy!

A: Pours black as stouts will, topped with a pretty intense brown head that takes a while to recede. Sparkling, rich, with big bubble bursts to release the aromas.

S + T: A surprising note of hops on the nose... some sweet and semi-burnt malt notes, but the big, piney scent is taking it. If I were to close my eyes and blind sniff this beer, I might suspect that it is a Black IPA. The flavour has a similarly unusual quality of citrus, some modest chocolate, and earthy, herbal spiciness. It's not really what I would think of an imperial stout as being.

M + D: Quite thin, as far as stouts go. It's not a terrible beer--not a drain pour--but it's definitely NOT what I would think of a Russian Imperial Stout as being. So... while it might not be a terrible tasting beer, I don't really see myself going back.

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +12.3%
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.

Photo of montrealbcr89
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
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!

Photo of ThickNStout
2.17/5  rDev -36.4%
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.

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.72/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color, very large head, in fact, be careful since it very well could overflow like it did with mine, fades at a slow rate and leaves some good lacing on the glass.

Smell is a bit of a surprise, huge aroma of piney hops, based on aroma alone I'd say it would have been an Black IPA, roasted malt and cocoa does make an appearance behind the strong pine forefront.

Taste starts out with the piney hop flavor which is quickly balanced by the roasted malt, a burnt coffee-like presence makes itself known in the aftertaste, body is thin for a stout with high carbonation, the strength is very well hidden though and I would not have thought this to be anywhere near 13.5%.

A bit torn, drinks more like a Black IPA than a RIS. As a RIS it fails, as something else it's quite good.

Photo of abraxel
3.84/5  rDev +12.6%
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.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev +10.9%
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.

Photo of jlindros
3.4/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

After the top pops out slowly rises up in the bottle and starts to bubble over, then pours a huge fluffy 2+ finger darker mocha colored head that fades at a med pace with messy lacing, pitch black beer.

Nose is loaded with hops, pine, earthy, spicy, and a bit resinous fresh hops, smells like a big ban of hop pellets. Some dark malts behind that, hints of mocha, caramel, roast, hint of coffee, and a touch of toasted malt.

Taste starts with more malts, chocolate, powdered dry cocoa, carafa and dark malts, a bit of roast and almost acrid burnt roast, coffee, plenty of caramel. Then hops kick in big time, earthy spicy hops, pine, slight resin, starts to hey slightly astringent, a big pine kick. A creamy chocolate milk like taste cuts through the middle, with a hint of vanilla. I can feel some of the tingling booze leaching into my tongue and into my blood stream before I even drink it. Finish is, some stout flavors and dark malts, plenty more lingering hops and bitterness, and a bit more burnt acrid roast.

Mouth is a bit bigger bodied, decent carb, some warning and tingly tongue spicing booze.

Overall not bad, way too much on the hops, this is a russian imperial stout, not a black ipa but drinks much more like black ale. Malts are to light in comparison. Not very drinkable either with the heavy crazy hops and booze.

Photo of jdhilt
3.86/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a four finger tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and heavy bodied. Light piney nose and flavor is baked chocolate, some molasses and piney hops. Very high (13%) ABV is hidden. Lingering piney hop aftertaste. Not enough malts for a RIS. Pricey at $11.70 for a 750ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME.

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +19.6%
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.

Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev +11.1%
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.

Photo of tobelerone
3.57/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of ms11781
2.62/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, opaque brown color with a thick, dense tannish brown head. Great, thick rings of foam are left on the glass with each sip, especially if some time elapses between sips. Really excellent head retention with great lacing.

The nose is pretty subdued when chilled and definitely doesn't get better as it warms. Some nice roast is present when chilled with light chocolate and perhaps a touch of coffee. There is some dark fruit here but it's a bit off, something I can't quite put my finger on. When the beer warms the roast lightens up a bit, the chocolate and coffee become almost non-existent and the fruity notes get stronger. A substantial amount of alcohol is present when the beer warms.

The taste is muddled when the beer is chilled and even more so when it warms. There is a touch of roast with some light chocolate and the odd fruit notes up when chilled but a good amount of alcohol is present and it takes over as it warms. It's a bit odd because the alcohol isn't really harsh nor does it have the warming affect that some higher ABV beers have.

The mouthfeel is thin and the carbonation, while low, is a bit prickly on the tongue. The carbonation probably helps the beer feel as thin as it does.

Overall this was an odd beer for me. It looks fantastic but things head downhill from there. The body is thin, the nose is a bit weak and the fruit and alcohol tastes are off. The fruit almost wants to be tart but it never quite gets there. It's not the normal dark fruit expected from an imperial stout. The alcohol is odd as well. It's not harsh and doesn't have the burn, it just seems to be "there". It really just seems like a beer with no definition, nothing that makes it stand out.

Photo of ONUMello
3.54/5  rDev +3.8%
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

Photo of Juuroumaru
3.05/5  rDev -10.6%
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+

Photo of NEhophead
3.15/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

25.4 fl oz brown bottle served in a tulip.

Syrupy oak with shades of dark maple. Light coffee colored head that recedes to pools of bubbles and thin intact sheet.

Rich, sweet milk chocolate aroma with a cutting bourbon-like alcohol character. The alcohol component is aided by a tart cherry.

It's a bit strange for the style, but the initial flavors of this Imperial Stout are more fruity than rich. Tart cherry, orange peel, and other lighter citrus qualities. Once the sharpness of the tart fruit subside, a bulky alcohol component, reminiscent of straight vodka, takes over and runs wild. Very mild coffee and milk chocolate tones don't stand a chance against the acidic, slick alcohol character.

Medium bodied. Incredibly slick from start to finish. The texture is just not on target for the style.

In all honesty, it's just tough to get past the acidic, intense alcohol character. Maybe this one would benefit by laying it down for a few years or maybe this is what this beer is.

Photo of ryan1788a5
1.69/5  rDev -50.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

750ml bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours black with a creamy tan head. Decent retention, broken webs of lacing.

S: Chocolate cookies, sugar cookies, vanilla bean, creamed coffee, nutty and woody scents, and cherry and plum darkfruit. Citric and herbal hop scents. Plastic and band-aid. This doesn't smell right.

T: Roasted tastes get acrid and smokey, a hit of citrus from the hops, powdery chocolate and some darkfruit, but there's also that horrible plasticy taste that overshadows it all. Very hot and boozy too. Rubbing alcohol, even. Something is very off with this beer.

M: Full and creamy mouthfeel. Smooth enough. Low carbonation. Mouthfeel is good.

O: I don't know what went wrong, but there is something very off with this beer. Tastes like lots of phenols. I'd be inclined to guess too high a fermentation temperature, or maybe sanitizer in the beer. Not sure what happened here, but this should not have been allowed out of the brewery.

Photo of korguy123
2.39/5  rDev -29.9%
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.

Photo of PeterIngemi
3.85/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml into a duvel tulip.

A- pouts jet black with a two finger mocha head, looks creamy and delicious. Nice lacing

S- hops, right up front in the nose, kinda caught me off gaurd, alcohol, vanilla, hints of mocha chocolate, pine, toastyness beneath the hops, smells nice

T- chocolate, mocha, a light toastyness, piney hops, cirtusy hops on the finish, strange on the finish, with hints of tropical fruit, I seem to be getting grapefruit/pineapple, and even bannana on the aftertaste. which must be from
All the hops, deffinatly different for an ris. But pleasant none the less, wonder how this will age.

M- a bit light for the style, I'd call it medium bodies with medium carbonation, a dry finish, and a strange aftertaste. I prefer a bit more heft to my ris.

O- a strange brew, but different and interesting, the hop profile adds unique qualitys that are different for an ris, but pleasant none the less, the tropical fruit intermingles strangely with the other flavors, again I am interested to see how this would age, maybe I am drinking it a bit too fresh.

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Island Reserve: Russian Imperial Stout from Cisco Brewers Inc.
78 out of 100 based on 124 ratings.