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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.
BA SCORE
78
okay

41 Reviews
THE BROS
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(Send Samples)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 125
rAvg: 3.35
pDev: 18.21%
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: 125
Photo of brother_rebus
4.13/5  rDev +23.3%
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. (266 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +21.8%
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. (523 characters)

Photo of puboflyons
4.05/5  rDev +20.9%
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%). (686 characters)

Photo of codsmith
4.03/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cisco Brewers Island Reserve - 22oz Botttle From Armanetti's (Lincoln) in Chicago - Poured in Snifter

A: Pours jet black with a very nice rich and creamy tan head that lingers just above the beer and laces the glass perfectly

S: At first pour it comes off as a thin light fruity hop, vanilla, and slight alcohol aroma. However, after breaking the initial barrier it becomes little more complex with some dark grains coming through, but not overtly done. Not a traditional RIS aroma at all.

T: It has a very heavy mid-to-late finish on the bitter end adding not the most desirable taste. Taste characteristic is not close the RIS standard and should be reclassifeid as something else.

M: Heavy body, slightly chewy, and carbonation is slightly heavy for style and ABV

O: First brew I've had from CB and I'm very impressed by the uniques aromas and taste characteristics. Maybe not a traditional Russian, but a very good beer. I look very forward to trying more of their great creations (1,001 characters)

Photo of Pawlie
4.03/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cisco Brewers Island Reserve - 22oz Botttle Purchased from Cork's in Mansfield, Ma

A: Pours black with a bit of a creamy swirl before settling to form a creamy tan head. Quite nice actually.

S: Coffee and vanilla are quite dominant at the outset before settling and recognizing the aroma of alcohol with a bit of fruitiness.

T: Coffee and vanilla are very apparent with first taste, but settles nicely as the fruity aroma kicks in and adds nicely to the overall tasting experience.

M: Quite heavy.

O: Extremely delicious in my opinion. My first review here on Beer Advocate and given the average and occasional negative reviews this beer has gotten, I have to say I'm a little intimidated to embrace this brew as wholeheartedly as I just have. It's very filling, perhaps to a fault, but stands up quite well to many Russian Imperials I have had. In one sitting, I probably could not finish off a full bottle of this brew. It's better shared and strikes me as a great dessert beer, but I am generally impressed overall. (1,027 characters)

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +19.4%
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. (392 characters)

Photo of SLeffler27
3.97/5  rDev +18.5%
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. (779 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
3.86/5  rDev +15.2%
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. (373 characters)

Photo of PeterIngemi
3.85/5  rDev +14.9%
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. (1,080 characters)

Photo of abraxel
3.84/5  rDev +14.6%
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. (778 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +14.3%
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. (628 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev +13.1%
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. (569 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev +12.8%
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. (1,192 characters)

Photo of MatthewWilde
3.73/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample: 1 bottle 2012

A: Pitch black, moderate sized dark brown head, moderate internal carbonation

S: Interesting for a RIS, heavy citrus and hops, moderately fragrant, elements of cocoa and espresso as well

T: Again, unique for a stout, heavy IPA notes to start, hops, citrus, even tropical fruits, finishing with a more espresso/chocolate flavor, moderate alcohol as well, balanced, but bitter

M: Smooth and refreshing, but definitely bitter and heavy in terms of alcohol, moderate citrus aftertaste, a bit lingering and drying on the palate

O: Flavorful and fragrant, but very strange tastes for a stout, more like a black IPA, delicious, but not representative of its style whatsoever (694 characters)

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.72/5  rDev +11%
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. (797 characters)

Photo of Kooz
3.72/5  rDev +11%
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. (381 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.7/5  rDev +10.4%
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. (796 characters)

Photo of socon67
3.69/5  rDev +10.1%
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. (696 characters)

Photo of tobelerone
3.57/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (1,060 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.54/5  rDev +5.7%
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 (363 characters)

Photo of silentjay
3.54/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bought this a couple weeks ago. properly cellared it. chilled it for a few minutes in the fridge before I opened it so it was just below cellar temp. before I got to pour it, a couple minutes or so, I look over to see it bubbled over and beer all over the table. Not an extreme gusher, but a slow, steady one.

It pours an opaque dark brown/black with a huge mocha head made of huge bubbles that quickly pop to leave a spattering of foam and some decent lacing after I finish cleaning the table.

aroma is better, cocoa, molasses, brown sugar, roasted malts with a huge amount of piney, woody, herbal and floral hops.

flavor falls back from that, providing chewing tobacco, chocolate, cacao, molasses, woody/earthy/piney hops. thats about it.

very thin for the style with a carbonation that is harsh at first and then nonexistent on the swallow. kind of odd.

well, its drinkable, and I'll probably finish the bottle, but I wouldn't but it again, and I'm glad I only bought the one and didn't send this out to anyone in trades. It has potential, just needs some (lots) of refining. so far the Island Reserve series has failed to impress me. (1,143 characters)

Photo of deg
3.46/5  rDev +3.3%
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. (330 characters)

Photo of jlindros
3.4/5  rDev +1.5%
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. (1,337 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
3.33/5  rDev -0.6%
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. (1,459 characters)

Photo of CHADMC3
3.25/5  rDev -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. (681 characters)

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