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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
Berkshire Russian Imperial StoutBerkshire Russian Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

304 Reviews
THE BROS
99
world-class

(Read More)
Reviews: 304
Hads: 505
rAvg: 4
pDev: 7.5%
Wants: 74
Gots: 49 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc. visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-30-2001

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (50) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout Alström Bros
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Reviews: 304 | Hads: 505
Photo of JebBeerFish
3.12/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Molasses and light teriyaki sauce, some unpeasant bitterness at the back end. Not a bad beer and probably better fresh on draught, but very unremarkable. Not likely to purchase again. (184 characters)

Photo of Carolvs
4.16/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Well, for a change everyone here gets it right: this is a great beer that lives up to the "imperial" title. Powerful yet suave, leaving an impression without offending. Bravo, BBC! (183 characters)

Photo of badgustav
4.44/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma - malty, chocolate, with notes of coffee and a faint alcohol.

Appearance - very dark, clear, with a ruby hint. head is brown tinted which dissipates in short order

Flavour - rich, creamy, chocolate, with faint notes of coffee. Medium mouthfeel which fades to a sweet aftertaste.

I really enjoyed this representation and look forward to trying more, possibly aged. (372 characters)

Photo of ervc
4.59/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A drinkable Russian Imperial? That's a dangerous notion BBC decided to run with. In comparison to other Baltic style imperials this one is far beyond the competition. The only problem with this beer is you can only have a couple...because too many will find you on the floor. (275 characters)

Photo of HamdenHector
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: very deep brown - no ruby at all at the edges; 1 finger light brown head that receded to a thin cap; nice, thick lacing;

S: coffee, mocha, molasses, vanilla - almost smells bourbon barrel aged;

T: follows the nose; alcohol is warming, but not harsh; low to moderate bitterness at the finish;

M: full bodied; coats the mouth; moderate carbonation;

O: this is a big beer; (377 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
2.7/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pour is dark brown with a light tan head. Nose is sweet, magic marker, chocolate, uneaten sugar, stale grain. Taste is overly sweet and lacks malt complexity. Some chocolate, lots of sugar, brown sugar, caramel, thinner body and moderate carbonation. (250 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
2.68/5  rDev -33%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got a bomber of this from totoropanda in a recent box. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a 2+ finger, medium looking, fluffy, light brown head with very good retention. Transparent dark brown body with no real carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a creamy cap and sticks to the sides of the glass. A ring and splotchy wisp remain leaving some good lacing the whole way down. Body is a little light, but the head is good.

SMELL: Mild nose of roasted malts, some cocoa powder and light coffee notes. A good dose of dark fruits with licorice as well. Okay.

TASTE: Lightly roasted up front with some dark fruit sweetness through the middle into the swallow, much like the nose. Milder but lingering finish of dark fruit sweetness, grapes, dates, some lightly roasted flavors, licorice and some light bitter coffee notes. Too mild up front, but much more flavorful after the swallow.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Slightly creamy on the palate, goes down okay and finishes somewhat sticky on the palate. Okay here.

OVERALL: This is an okay beer, but it's a bit mild overall and slightly underwhelming in the imperial stout category. Lighter color and too much dark fruit character for the style perhaps. A bit lighter on the palate as well. Decent beer, but not an imperial stout worth seeking out. Thanks again panda! (1,385 characters)

Photo of Sensaray
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with red hues and a frothy light brown head

Smells of dark malts, dark fruits, raisins,

Taste is dark malty with some roastiness, light coffee, occasionally chocolate and red fruits . Finishes with a dark bready finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth kina creamy with a dry finish

Overall a solid option especially local and at a good price (353 characters)

Photo of KelsoSaaz
4.29/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter

A: Pours a motor oil – like pitch black with a thin, quickly dissipating, khaki head.

S: Dark fruit, medicinal and herbal aromas with hints of baking chocolate.

T: Dark roasted, but not bitter malts. Flavors of black coffee and bittersweet choc late mixed with medicinal, woody and earthy tones. Alcohol warms the palate nicely

M: Moderately thick and chewy body with very little carbonation.

O: A top tier RIS is what we have here. Loaded with flavor but accessible to even a novice beer enthusiast. Seek this out if you are in New England. (568 characters)

Photo of SABERG
3.96/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Just released bottle poured into a modified tulip glass.

A - Dark as night, with fine carbonation. A little movement brings a fine pale multi finger head.
S - Cocoa, a hint of licorace, a slight rasberry and warm molasses. Complex enough and not overbearing.
T - Dark fruity biscuit, lingers on the palate and finishes with dry chocolate. The taste wanders slightly as it warms. Toward the slighest of roast and brown sugar, in the best possible way.
M - Some could consider this a bit thin, I do not. The feel coats completely and has a great linger. Like the guest that stays just long enough!
O - Berkshire has this particular offering just right, approachable, affordable and delicious!

Strongly recommend (711 characters)

Photo of tbeckett
4.1/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Winooski Beverage Warehouse. From notes.

A - Black with two fingers of tight beige head. Good carbonation, good spotty lace and half a finger of retention.

S - Chocolater, leather. Kinda mild.

T - Woah! Pretty chocolatey and tamer on the roast profile than other examples of the style. Plenty of tasty dark malts. Sweet but not overly so. No alcohol evident. Seemed simple but very solid and well adapted to style.

M - Mild carbonation, medium to full body and nice finish with dryness.

O/D - Really nice stout. Punches above it's belt and hides the alcohol well. Great subtle, but very solid flavours. Could drink a few of these. (648 characters)

Photo of DrinkNewport
3.78/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black pour. Black. Black. Black. Not Onyx. Not Jet. Black...with a teeny-tiny head.

It smells...like a mild stout. Nothing too crazy going on here.

This Russian Imperial Stout has a flavor very typical of the genre, but just a tad weaker than you would expect and an aftertaste which is a tad off-kilter.

Despite having next to no head, this stout is probably carbonated more than most.

Overall, not a bad beer for the price, but nothing to write home about...unless your mother is on Twitter...then you can tweet her. (522 characters)

Photo of Kooz
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.75

Dark, almost black. Pours with a nice tan head, tightly packed. There's a subtle lacing on the glass, and a rim of suds stays around through the end.

Smells warm and sweet with a hint of molasses.

Tastes amazing. Sweet aftertaste, not too carbonated, very strong flavors. There's a slight booziness initially, but the chocalatey ending covers it perfectly. I get a little coffee flavor too. It's really sweeter than other Russian imperials I've had--it's almost like a milk stout.

The weakest part of this beer. It needs a little more body and a little more creaminess. It's not bad at all--maybe slightly above-average.

Despite the mouthfeel being a little less than I hoped, the other elements make up for it. In fact, this is the rare beer that gets a higher overall score than the individual scores--it's more than the sum of its parts. (845 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.41/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Near black in color; no light shines through. Beige head (small). No lace.

Smells of chocolate and plastic--a little bit like Creepy Crawlers, if you're old enough to remember that smell.

Served warm, I'm guessing 55 degrees. That plastic presence remains...distracting. Creamy chocolate flavor. Semisweet. Rich, rich, rich body. Chewy. Low carbonation (naturally). There's a strong element of vanilla. Very mellow for the style, no extreme flavors at all. (460 characters)

Photo of Dylan101
4.45/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a home town favorite of mine. Find myself grabbing this bottle more often then most. The rich dark brown/black that fills the glass is something you can't find every day. When the flavors ranging from chocolate to raisins enter your senses you find yourself quickly taking that first sip. Great beer and a must have. (324 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.09/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Best by 05/24/11. Guess I'm a little late to the party. Judging by the date I'm assuming this to be around 3 years old.

A: Pours a very dark brown but not quite black. Big fluffy medium brown head. Head fades slowly, leaving fluffy, almost soap sud-like rings behind. Good retention too.

S: Definitely has some age on it. Mellow roasted malt with some chocolate and a little bit of char. Maybe a hint of coffee? Pretty mild.

T: Nice sweet chocolate up front. Hints of dark fruits. Mild coffee in the middle with the sweet chocolate still mingling. Sweet all the way to the end, lasts a long time. Almost a vanilla-like sweetness. Just a hint of umami in the finish but only the very lightest bit. Those dark fruits pop up in the aftertaste again, very faint and integrated with all the chocolate but they're there. Figs, mainly, I think. Well integrated flavors betray the age.

M: Medium bodied, smooth and silky.

O: A nice mellow RIS that has aged quite well. Surprisingly low ABV for an RIS, one of the lowest I can think of, although Weyerbacher has a couple of low ABV RISes too around 8%. Tasty, drinkable and smooth. Can't complain, I enjoyed it a lot. (1,165 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short light tan head that died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface and a collar of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark malts and licorice are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has notes of roasted malts along with a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a fairly solid Russian Imperial Stout but isn't as full-bodied compared to other beers in the style and also lacks a lot of roastiness. (637 characters)

Photo of Gatch
4.28/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Super dark brown, almost deep blood red, and nearly black with sediment floating around. Big, frothy, fizzy, light brown head that really sizzles near the edges of the glass. Never really seen that before. Just a bit of lace and retention.

S: Big aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, molasses, some booze, and some spice. Very rich.

T: Wow...spectacular. So smooth and so much flavor. I can already tell this beer kills you with consistency. Nothing too crazy...just big RIS character. Huge dark chocolate, heavily roasted malt, and a bit of lactose sugar to sweeten it up just enough. I loved every sip.

M: Velvet. Great balance of roasted malt, booze, and sweetness. Roasty finish is superb.

O: I'm very, very impressed by this beer. With all the hyped RIS out there, this is a safe alternative when you don't want to worry about off-flavors or a huge price tag. Relatively inexpensive but not short on flavor. A new favorite for the style. I never buy cases and rarely consider it but I may consider buying a case of this stuff next winter. I also like that the ABV isn't going to knock you on your ass. Huge fan. (1,126 characters)

Photo of BoardwalkBock
4.24/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 oz bomber into a Stone pint glass.

A: Black. Get some hints of dark red when held up to the light, but really only around the top.

S: Boozy, Caramel, Coffee.

T: Chocolate and Caramel upfront. Coffee and roasted malts afterward and alcohol on the aftertaste. Alcohol comes in and mixes well. Overall, solid taste.

M: Heavy and smooth. Right up my alley.

O: Very solid beer. One of my top RIS and definitely a mainstay in my fridge. Haven't tried to age it yet, because I can't hold on a bottle long enough. It's just that good. Very comparable to Old Rasputin and Siberian Night, but doesn't take the rain of top RIS. Just moved to RI recently and can get it locally and on a constant basis. Relatively cheap too. Roughly $5.50 per bomber. Highly recommended. (780 characters)

Photo of brureview
4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a dark chocolate color with a 1 finger head into a snifter.

Excellent aroma initially: chocolate and cocoa. The strong aroma fades quickly with warming.

Mouth feel is quite carbonated and enjoyable in the style.

The taste is initially a strong chocolate-cocoa which also fades quickly with warming. Some hints of licorice.

Overall a good Russian imperial. The aroma and taste elements don't linger. The stout is also a bit thin for the style. Worthwhile drinking, but I was disappointed by the fading of important taste and aroma characteristics of the beer. (569 characters)

Photo of KalH
3.89/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Standard RIS black body with a quickly dissipating tan head.

A - Dark fruit, chocolate, roast - Subtle aroma coming from the nose.

T - Dark fruit plays a prominent role along with milk chocolate in the flavor profile. Rich and coating on the tongue with a nice black licorice and roast aspect in the finish.

M - A lot thinner than I like my RIS. Felt this could have been a little more full, though it does have a great silky smoothness and even carbonation.

O - Felt this could have been more forward in the aroma and been more viscous, but other than that this was a good RIS. Be aware, the alcohol definitely creeps up on you! The dark fruit really plays nicely in this and I felt this was surprisingly easy drinking for the style. Recommended. (755 characters)

Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.5/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer received accolades from the BA tasters.
I think as a Russian Imperial, this beer seemed to me more like average, ho-hum perhaps a bit below average. It was a yawn.

Poured a nice color.
Short lived head.
Presented a hopps laden, roasted malt even perhaps a flowery nose.

The flavor was thin-- this beer needed that over-used "gravitas"-- it need much more wieght.
If it was labeled a "porter" then I'd give it much higher marks.

The ABV is high enough to be a RIS, but the flavor got left behind somewhere.

Who knows, maybe I was the one with the "bum-bottle"--

Mouthfeel was average--

And overall hard as I might try-- I call it "average".

I'll seek another bottle-- maybe this present one is not the "real thing". (732 characters)

Photo of ToasterChef
4.67/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'm celebrating National Stout Day with a slightly chilled bottle of a new (to me) Russian Imperial Stout. It is poured into my Smuttynose Big Beer Series snifter.

The beer is an opaque black liquid with a thick tan foam head. Fairly good lacing is left behind.

The nose has some big roasted malt smells coming off of it, but it doesn't come across as overly sweet or alcoholic, a fault some other beers in this style have. I also smell some hints of oak and black licorice.

The beer has a very nice flavor. Like the aroma, the flavor isn't too sweet or alcoholic, but it does have subtle amounts of both. I taste brown sugar, raisins, plums and a touch of smoke. It provides a delayed warming sensation that is quite nice.

The beer is full bodied with average carbonation. It is a little sticky on much so on my lips. Within my mouth there is a long-lasting coat, but it doesn't feel to thick. It contains some of the dark fruit flavors I mentioned above.

This is a really good RIS. It also is fairly inexpensive (I paid 5.99 + tax & deposit for this 22oz bottle). I'm glad Berkshire is now distributed to Maine. I'll have to get more of this! (1,149 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.47/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to queens1130 for sharing this one at AndrewK’s tasting.

Pours an opaque super dark brown with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace slowly drip into the remaining beer on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and dark fruits. Taste is much the same with a slight tartness on the finish. There is a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the fruity aromas and flavors I am getting aren’t my favorite. (612 characters)

Photo of DefenCorps
3.53/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, Winter 2007 release that I received in a trade long, long ago. I think it was Cedromar who sent it to me. Thanks, man!

Almost black, this beer has reddish brown highlights and a thin, light brown head that falls off to a ring. The nose is decent. Moderately roasty, moderately licorice-like, with some coffee and cocoa, this isn't a particularly rich RIS. There's even a little bit of burnt sugar. The palate is similar. It seems to have thinned out with age, but hasn't picked up any off-flavors from oxidation. A blend of roast, licorice, coffee grounds and unsweetened cocoa, this is decent. Dry, modestly roasty on the finish, this beer is medium-light in body, moderately carbonated, and all-told, decent. Recommended, especially if you can get this locally. (772 characters)

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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
89 out of 100 based on 304 ratings.