Bona Fide Imperial Stout - 4 Hands Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Bona Fide Imperial StoutBona Fide Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
87
very good

29 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 29
Hads: 267
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 11.11%
Wants: 26
Gots: 65 | FT: 9
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 29 | Hads: 267
Photo of smakawhat
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

A good looking creamy slightly taller than one finger tan like head. Espresso brown in its make up, and some good staying power as it slowly seeps down. Classic dark walnut brown, even a little bit blood red to it as well. Good looking brew.

Good solid aroma. Hints of dark chocolate, with a milky tone but with a bitterness behind it. An interesting light and almost milky char angle too which is real interesting and different, getting towards tobacco slightly also. Waffery dark biscuit like grain in a sense which is a real unique sensation.

Palate becomes much more obvious on the coffee angle. Light bodied roast with a hint of thick milk flavors in the mid palate. Roasted bean and hinted latte like milk qualities, with a bit more charing thickness to match. Interesting light bodied profile for easy drinking coming with a good mix of chocolate and coffee.

Overall a solid fun imperial flavored stout. (968 characters)

Photo of Franziskaner
3.89/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black as night with no penetration to light. A fingernail of beige is around the rim but is otherwise absent. I smell coffee, vanilla, and loads of roasted barley. The aroma is still on the sweeter side. I taste vanilla, coffee, and roasted barley. Like the aroma, the taste is more sweet than bitter. The mouth is exceptionally silky smooth. (348 characters)

Photo of PReust
3.24/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Aye, not a strong spirit taste, heavy on the coffee, It wasn't bad. It was, on the other hand, expensive....extremely so, in fact, for a bottle of beer. It just wasn't worth it. (179 characters)

Photo of 57md
3.88/5  rDev -2%
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. (157 characters)

Photo of russpowell
4.09/5  rDev +3.3%
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 (602 characters)

Photo of Bosoxfan20
3.36/5  rDev -15.2%
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 (196 characters)

Photo of gibgink
4.06/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (225 characters)

Photo of cvm4
3.82/5  rDev -3.5%
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. (643 characters)

Photo of PhillyJ
2.64/5  rDev -33.3%
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... (368 characters)

Photo of richj1970
4.08/5  rDev +3%
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. (548 characters)

Photo of larryi86
4.19/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (374 characters)

Photo of bryanbullock
3.9/5  rDev -1.5%
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 (361 characters)

Photo of Vonerichs
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
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. (485 characters)

Photo of rudzud
4.19/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (687 characters)

Photo of LambicPentameter
4.04/5  rDev +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. (1,797 characters)

Photo of chanokokoro
3.39/5  rDev -14.4%
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. (740 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours super thick dark black in color with a good one and a half finger dark tan head that retains nicely. No light makes it through this beer.

Smell is great. Rich cocoa aromas forward before more chocolate malt and a small amount of coffee come into play. Very mild vanilla aromas are present along with a slight tang that is hard to categorize.

Taste is also really good. Chocolate malt is forward ad much more dominate then in the nose. There is a slight roasted flavor before some very faint coffee flavors come in with mild cocoa also there. Mild roasted bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is great. Huge body, mild carbonation. Great creamy feel and mild bitterness, this is a really smooth sipping beer. (715 characters)

Photo of jbaker67
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer smells like coffee, roasted malts, booze, and a slight hint of vanilla, and the color of this beer is an opaque black color with a small brown head that fades to and stays at a ring. The taste is mildly bitter andmildly sweet, which is complex and well-balanced, and the palate combines as full body, thin yet creamy texture, soft carbonation, and a warming bitter finish, making for an overall great beer. (416 characters)

Photo of 44Stone
4.83/5  rDev +22%
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. (378 characters)

Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.43/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours thick and dark as night with a pretty good sized head. Head is very frothy, with tight bubbling that is a medium tan in color. Lacing and retention are both tremendous.

S- Big, bold, and dark coffee right up front. Coffee is fairly dark and bitter on the scent. Just a slight hint of vanilla mixes in with the dark coffee. Under both the coffee and vanilla are some quality burnt malt scents.

T- Dark and bold coffee is the dominant flavor throughout. Drinks like a slightly burnt cup of dark, cold coffee because of the dark malt base. Not really any of the vanilla flavor mentioned on the label comes through the coffee flavor. The bite of dark roast coffee ends the drink and lingers for a bit afterwards.

M- Low in carbonation and pretty thick and smooth across the tongue, this beer drinks just plain smooth. The alcohol is undetectable. Full, dark flavors make this one a slower drink, but it's so delicious, you want to drink it faster.

Overall, a very good imperial coffee stout. Ranks right up there near Imperial Biscotti Break. 4 Hands has done it again, making a quality beer that delivers right on point with its style. (1,145 characters)

Photo of kemoarps
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
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... (1,672 characters)

Photo of Braseltonage
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (826 characters)

Photo of Tuey13
4.66/5  rDev +17.7%
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! (941 characters)

Photo of bnes09
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
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. (855 characters)

Photo of stouts4me
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
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. (352 characters)

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Bona Fide Imperial Stout from 4 Hands Brewing Co.
87 out of 100 based on 29 ratings.