Island Reserve: Russian Imperial Stout - Cisco Brewers Inc.

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

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BA SCORE
78
okay

40 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 40
Hads: 123
rAvg: 3.33
pDev: 10.21%
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: 40 | Hads: 123
Photo of metter98
3.83/5  rDev +15%
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 jlindros
3.4/5  rDev +2.1%
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 dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev +13.5%
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. (1,192 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev +13.8%
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. (569 characters)

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.08/5  rDev +22.5%
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 jdhilt
3.86/5  rDev +15.9%
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 tobelerone
3.57/5  rDev +7.2%
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 puboflyons
4.05/5  rDev +21.6%
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 scruffwhor
3.05/5  rDev -8.4%
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. (942 characters)

Photo of VelvetExtract
3.7/5  rDev +11.1%
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. (796 characters)

Photo of lordofthewiens
3.18/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (416 characters)

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +20.1%
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 jaasen64
3.33/5  rDev 0%
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 socon67
3.69/5  rDev +10.8%
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. (696 characters)

Photo of NEhophead
3.15/5  rDev -5.4%
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. (990 characters)

Photo of ryan1788a5
1.69/5  rDev -49.2%
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. (970 characters)

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.72/5  rDev +11.7%
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 ms11781
2.62/5  rDev -21.3%
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. (1,752 characters)

Photo of Proteus93
3.18/5  rDev -4.5%
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. (968 characters)

Photo of SLeffler27
3.97/5  rDev +19.2%
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. (779 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
2.17/5  rDev -34.8%
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. (1,170 characters)

Photo of ONUMello
3.54/5  rDev +6.3%
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 SawDog505
2.74/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 20 oz Duvel tulip. Pours a slick black with a huge 4 inch head, with thick lacing left behind. Smell is huge pungent hops, some roasted nuts, roasted garlic, and some mocha. Taste is all of that, not what I expect from a stout the horror. The body is big, plenty of life, not overly dry, and so over the top drinkability is kind of low. The biggest problem with this brew is the nose and flavors are so uninviting. I love HUGE STOUTS, but the flavors here are so wrong. (483 characters)

Photo of Bendurgin
2.12/5  rDev -36.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a tulip. This one pours black with a finger of short lived dark mocha head.

The aroma is kind of a mess on this one. Pretty hoppy with a little bit of a vinous with salty black olives lingering in the background. Has a bit of a leathery and roasted malt aroma but there's something off here. Boozy as all hell with small notes of chocolate. Not really to bad but certainly not especially good. A bit of a rubber flavor here.

Hot and full on the feel with soft carbonation. Overall this is just bad. No real redeeming qualities. (541 characters)

Photo of silentjay
3.54/5  rDev +6.3%
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)

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Island Reserve: Russian Imperial Stout from Cisco Brewers Inc.
78 out of 100 based on 40 ratings.