Bona Fide Imperial Stout - 4 Hands Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bona Fide Imperial StoutBona Fide Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

260 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 260
Reviews: 33
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 9.93%
Wants: 26
Gots: 64 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
4 Hands Brewing Co. visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: JoEBoBpr on 02-15-2012

Bona Fide Imperial Stout is a collaborative effort with Goshen Coffee, a local fair trade coffee roaster. This beer is big, bold, and in your face. Bona Fide pours black as night with a smooth mouth feel. Aromas of espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, with nuances of vanilla. Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years.

65 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 260 | Reviews: 33
Reviews by StlHopHead77:
More User Reviews:
Photo of cbozInTheMitten
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Not exceedingly complex, but a great combination with the vanilla

Photo of gibgink
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initially, I was able to pick out the vanilla notes amongst the coffee in the smell and the taste. Over time however, the vanilla faded or was overpowered by the coffee flavor. Pleasant beer, and the alcohol is well hidden.

Photo of russpowell
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12-02-14

Pours ebony with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Great head retention & lacing

S: Cocoa & dark fruit, some figs & cherry

T: Follows the nose, dryness as well, roastyness as well up front. Chocolate & some caramel, plus more dryness as this warms, faint coffee notes lingering on the edges, plus just a bit of charred grain, slight lactic sourness as well. Finishes dry, slightly roasty, with cocoa

MF: Lively carbonation, medium bodied, carbonation pushes the flavor profile up

Drinks too easy, well put together & very approachable, maybe a little too sweet for the style

Photo of Vonerichs
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark brown, far from the "black as night sky" claim. Little head and looks viscous.

Tons of vanilla in the front of the nose, also a hefty dose of coffee. It has a strong aroma, but basically is comprised of those two.

The taste is majority coffee, then that vanilla. Dark roast malt, light Hershey syrup.

Soft but thick body. Smooth. Low carbonation.

It's a two trick pony, but both tricks are done well. It drinks easy for an impy. If coffee's your thing, give it a ride.

Photo of richj1970
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with one finger mocha colored head that settled fairly quickly to a thin ring around the edge.

S: Espresso and roasted malts with subtle chocolate and vanilla notes.

T: Rich roasted malts embedded with strong black coffee. Bitter sweet dark chocolate and a touch of vanilla.

M: Full bodied with a creamy texture but a slightly dry finish.

O: Very enjoyable coffee stout. I would love to get ahold of a barrel aged version of this one. I think a bourbon influence would fit in nicely.

Photo of MunsonRoyE
3.07/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This one had an off flavor. Might've been a bad bottle. Drain pour.

Photo of stouts4me
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours jet black, coffee aroma is very distinct.Medium mouthfeel, taste is better than most but not over the top. Very good representation of the style from a newer brewery, would like to see this barrel-aged in a quality brand barrel. Was served on tap at the 4 Hands tasting room on a May 4, nobody here cares about horses. This place is very popular.

Photo of 57md
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown with ruby edges. Nice roast on the nose. Chocolate is the most dominant flavor as the roasted malt profile takes a backseat. Smooth and creamy.

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.36/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Near black. Aroma is fairly subdued with some roasted malt and Touch of coffee. Flavor is more coffee forward. Heavy malt and dark chocolate. Body is nice and creamy. Not overly complex, but solid

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed out of a 22 oz brown bomber with no dating to be found on the label or glass. That said, I'm pretty certain this is the 2013 release, which puts it at about 3-4 months old. Poured into a large snifter glass.

Appearance - Pours a rubber tire black body with no light able to penetrate. Most stouts have a brownish twinge to them, but this one has no such component. Atop the pitch-colored body sits a half-finger head the color of toasted marshmallow, mostly fine, smaller bubbles, but with a few larger bubbles from my pour. Retention is slight, quickly fading to a rim of foam around the edge and an uneven filming across the top of the beer. Lacing is nowhere to be found.

Smell - The roasted coffee beans are front and center, dominating much more bashful notes of charred malt and some faint vanilla sweetness. Some fainter hop elements, but more on the earthy side of things, which is good. The malt and coffee are definitely the frontrunners here. Just a tad simplistic, but that can happen with a coffee-infused beer, I've found.

Taste - There is more complexity now than hinted at by the smell. Yes, the roasted coffee bordering on that great espresso pungent bitterness is still present, but now I get more of the sweet profiles as well, with vanilla bean, lactose, sweet roasted malts and even some notes of black strap molasses.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with moderate carbonation and a surprisingly smooth mouthfeel for an RIS, which I occasionally find to be a little overly prickly. Bittersweet finish rounds the experience out.

Overall, a quality beer that has me curious to sample the barrel-aged variants. There are other, similar beers that I'd choose first, but the fact that this one is pretty easy to get is a huge plus in my book. One of 4 Hands better offerings.

Photo of chanokokoro
3.39/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a unbranded nonic half pint glass

Pours very dark brown to black capped by a one and half finger dark tan head. Above average retention and splotchy lacing. Bakers chocolate, espresso notes, and hints of vanilla on the nose. Opens with dark chocolate transitioning to pleasant vanilla. A note of dark fruit pokes through slightly and is quickly covered up with acidic coffee. Finishes with bitter roasted coffee notes and further slight accents of vanilla. Heavier side of medium bodied, light for an imperial stout, slick with a fleeting hint of silkiness. Moderate carbonation. Solid, but unspectacular. The coffee in this brew does little to add to it, and in fact, seems to detract from the complexity.

Photo of Tone
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/2 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, hint of oatmeal, slight alcohol, hint of coffee, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, hint of hop, hint of coffee, and slight alcohol. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

Photo of Tuey13
4.66/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, dark as night black with a one finger dark mocha colored head... no light is coming through this beer.

The smell is very roasty with espresso coffee and dark chocolate...then i get some sweeter toffee, milk chocolate, and vanilla with a bit of coconut and figs on the back end. There is a bit of a piny hoppiness in there as well... smells very complex and unified.

The taste is all roasted malt with espresso and bitter chocolate with a sweet vanilla before the hop bitterness comes in. Very velvety and rich in this full bodied Russian imperial stout... a treat for a very cold fall night.

I have held on to this for quite a few months to enjoy on a cold night and i am happy i did... very smooth and very flavorful... a very balanced and easy drinking Russian Imperial stout that i am anxiously awaiting for to be released again. I have never had the barrel aged versions but i am salivating at the thought. ;-)

Cheers!

Photo of Braseltonage
3.99/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. Bottle, Teku glass. No bottle date, but I've had this for about a year in the cellar.

A: Moderate pour leaves very clean black beer with a latte level of frothy head. Pretty nice lacing elegant looking beer.

S: Rich coffe aroma, dark chocolate. Toasted marshmallow, somethig almost resembling coconut.

T: Espresso with cream & brown sugar upfront. Some vanilla sneaks in, dark choclate. Some toasted nuts, again with the toasted marshmallow. Seriously, there's a little s'more like quality to the middle of this BUT... The coffee kicks in late. Dries it out, nice finish. Surprised this amount of coffee remains in something with a bit of age on it.

M: Smooth carbonation. Medium/full body.

O: Best I've had from 4 Hands. In a crowded category of great beers, it might not be at the top but it's a really good one.

Photo of cvm4
3.82/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled Dec. 2, 2014

L - Pours a black body, doesn't seem super thick or very thin, and a dark khaki one finger head. Not much retention or lacing.

S - Nice vanilla notes on the nose as well as semi-sweet chocolate and light roasted malts. I'm not picking up much in the way of coffee.

T - Now I get the coffee! Semi-sweet chocolate, coffee and vanilla all intertwined together with the roast malt base.

F - Medium to full bodied with medium carbonation. Smooth and velvety body.

O - Not a bad offering here. As an American or double stout, this would be on the money. But, it's great and easy to drink, just not on the RIS level, IMHO.

Photo of PhillyJ
2.64/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Was expecting so much more.. the smell was almost of sour coffee the taste wasn't to far from the smell but was more like burnt coffee tried hard to find the vanilla but couldn't... it was way better slightly chilled it came to life as it warmed in my hand.. I will try it again and edit where necessary... 4 hands has some great brews but this one left me thirsty...

Photo of kemoarps
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bona Fide pours out thick and sticky and I can already tell I'm probably going to like it. Obsidian black with just a patchy brown ring to assure me that yes there is some carbonation here... This is what I want to see when I look at my glass.

The nose is rich and dark. I get a decent amount of molasses and coffee grounds, maybe a hint of a rich round sweetness (ostensibly the vanilla bean, though less pronouncedly vanilla-ized than I expected). There's something there that I can't quite put my finger on that's a bit unexpected. Definitely roasty.

The flavour shies further away from the vanilla and instead pours its heart into the coffee and bakers chocolate. This is ok by me, as I enjoy vanilla, but love the velvety chocolate and coffee that so many large stouts embody. Roasty chocolate/coffee is balanced in the back end by a bitterness that flits between the coffee/dark chocolate and a definite hop presence that offers a juicy roundness that helps fill out the body.
At the pour I was expecting something thick and syrupy that oozes down the back of the throat. This is not as big bodied as I had anticipated, and is carbonated higher than I prefer. It's not a BAD thing by any means, but I was just expecting (hoping?) for more of that motor oil consistency.
This is a very good beer, from a company that I've decided can be hit or miss for me. I've had better RISs, but I would reach for this one again in a heartbeat. Would love to try one of the BA varieties, but alas, I think they were both one-offs.
Curious about what it would do with time, though the big coffee presence inclines me to shy away from stashing one for a year or two. We'll see...

Photo of 44Stone
4.83/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at 44 Stone, poured into a Nonic Pint.

I don't need to say too much here. An absolute must-try for big, roasty stout lovers. The Coffee is a dominant flavor that doesn't dominate, perfect balance with the bittersweet cocoa and molasses notes. Dangerously delicious; another hit from 4 Hands.

It seems as if there isn't a style that those guys can't nail. Buy this beer.

Photo of ColForbinBC
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap served in a tulip

Pours an ink black with a one finger mocha colored cap. Some spider web lacing as the head recedes to a thin layer. Viscous liquid.

Huge hop aroma up front, pine needles and fresh cut grass, maybe even a little mint. Behind the hops is a bold nose of dark roast, espresso and milk chocolate. What gets me most about this nose, is how compact it feels. All of these aromas aren't layered, but rather greet you all together.

Up front, a wave of deep roast, fresh espresso, milk chocolate, and vanilla before the hops begin their assault. Fresh cut grass and pine resin, lend an earthy bitterness that comes in mid-palate, and extends out into the finish.

Full bodied, bold, assertive, and hoppy all while being smooth and lush. Velvety, creamy smooth.

I am impressed with how they managed this level of complexity while being so well blended together. The flavors are in one big bundle and unravel nicely on the palate. I like this better than some of the other hoppy stouts out there.

Photo of bnes09
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jet black and completely opaque. Pours a thick, tan colored head which retreats to a thin film and coats the glass in foamy lace.

Rich, complex aroma of toffee, brown sugar, prunes, coffee and vanilla. Sweet overall.

Flavor begins with assertive roasted malt bringing coffee and dark chocolate nuances to the brew. Dark fruit sweetness mixed with toffee and molasses balances out the roasted bitterness. Hops are subtle with an herbal, leafy tone. Exceptional balance.

Full bodied without the syrupy texture. Has a well rounded malty feel on the tongue. Smooth, creamy finish with lingering coffee flavor.

Wow, there's a lot going on with this one. Tons of complexity with the roasted and sweet flavors battling for dominance. Despite all the levels to this beer, the roasted finish reminds you you're drinking a stout and that's what I love about it.

Photo of Sean9689
3.11/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into tulip.

A - Pours black, mocha head, spotty lace, thin collar.

S - Super-hoppy, light coffee, light dark chocolate. Lots of pine/grassy hops, very astringent and harsh.

T - Similar to the nose, overly hopped, and light RIS notes of chocolate, oak, and toffee. Just too much hops for me to really enjoy much else. Finish is bitter hoppy pine...harsh bite.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, oily finish.

O - This thing is hopped to the moon and back. Way too much pine and bitterness to really appreciate this RIS. Perhaps some age will tone this down, but for now, I won't be seeking this one out again.

Photo of rudzud
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Received as an extra in a trade and poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a dark dark brown nearly black hue with a good one finger mocha head that fades down to about a quarter inch and that's it. Light side lacing too.

S - Aromas of dark dark chocolate, coffee/espresso beans, roasted malts, nice vanilla notes as well.

T - Taste is roasted malts, faint caramel, bitter dark chocolate, hard roasted coffee beans, super super faint vanilla. Pretty straightforward. Tasty, but straightforward.

M - Mouthfeel is awesome. Alcohol hidden wonderfully, smooth and creamy. Very nice.

O - Overall this was a tasty RIS. Wish the vanilla came out more in the taste but all around very nice.

Photo of larryi86
4.19/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thannks bstyle for this!
22 oz bottle, dated 3/18/14, poured into a teku

A- Black with a two finger mocha head.

S- Rich dark chocolate, coffee, some milk chocolate, some vanilla.

T- Roasted coffee, some chocolate, vanilla, hints of dark friuts

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A really nice coffee stout, nose made me think this would be bigger. Very happy I got to try this.

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from an awesome looking 22oz bottle.

Poured a very nice dark black with some caramel edges. A nice latte colored head forms with some awesome dense bubbles. The head is pretty retentive and it recedes down to a nice thin film.

Notes of vanilla starts off with some nice slight sweet chocolate. Nice dark roasty malt notes. Very strong coffee notes come up quick and stay for a bit. Definitely some nice grassy hop notes.

Flavor starts off with some strong coffee and dark malt notes. VEry roasty. The grassy hop notes are very nice and give the beer an interesting earthy and grassy finish. All to an awesome intense espresso background. The vanilla notes are slightly felt on the back end and behind the scenes. SOme nice strong coffee notes and nice dark bitter chocolate. Very nice. Very nice and velvety.

Overall this is a good stout by the 4 Hands guys. Cant wait till the Barrel Age this one. The coffee flavors are intense and the nice dark chocolate notes are also very nice.

Photo of bryanbullock
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Best Midwest beer I have had since I got to KC a month ago

A dark hue but clearly lower viscosity caramel lacing

S my biggest critique is the smell is lacking only detect hints of chocolate and malt

T super complex taste getting liquor ice caramel light chocolate and small undertones of bitter roast.

M smooth and lower viscosity, slightly bitter on finish

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Bona Fide Imperial Stout from 4 Hands Brewing Co.
90 out of 100 based on 260 ratings.