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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Berkshire Russian Imperial StoutBerkshire Russian Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

447 Ratings
THE BROS
100
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 447
Reviews: 297
rAvg: 4.05
pDev: 10.86%


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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-30-2001)
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Ratings: 447 | Reviews: 297 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of donkeyrunner
donkeyrunner

Massachusetts

2.08/5  rDev -48.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

This one has the Berkshire boys at a renaissance fair. Those guys are everywhere!

Black from afar but if you hold it up to the light it's clear, dark purple. Hooray for purple. Cocoa powder colored head fades to a thick collar that throws up a few lacey gasps.

Vinous dark fruit...actually it smells like grape hard candy. Remember those candies called Eric the Grape (I think it was made by the same people that did Lemonheads)? That's exactly what it smells like.

Tastes like grape soda with a chalky roast character. From reading other reiviews it's like I'm not even drinking the same beer. This lil' feller is meek and artificially grapey with not a robust roast character to be found. Though it's not dated, at 8.5% my bottle has to be good.

Never thought I'd see the day I'd meet a Berkshire I didn't like.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2009 22:28:38 | More by donkeyrunner
Photo of shippos
shippos

New York

2.8/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

courtesy of ppoitras

poured black with thin tan head. molasses burnt sugar and treacle in the aroma with some alcohol amongst some sweet creamy milk sugar. fairly thick heavy molasses taste with brown sugar and treacle, smooth body and a fairly thin mouthfeel for an IS. finishing off the rest of the bottle becomes a chore as the taste just becomes one dimensional and very repititous which hurts the drinkability of this.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2004 05:21:23 | More by shippos
Photo of Urbancaver
Urbancaver

Ohio

2.93/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance- looks a bit thin for an imperial stout... Minimal white head

Smell- smells a bit fruity and roasty... Not really much smell to it

Taste- Fruity with hints of chocolate and roasted grains.

Mouthfeel- thin and not really imperially

Drinkability- not really that great for an imperial... It ok i guess :/

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2010 00:42:50 | More by Urbancaver
Photo of orcasteve
orcasteve

North Carolina

3.13/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

strong black coffiee and roast malt flavor hits your toung firstand gives way to alcolhal and carmal flavors, a bit to much carbonation for me in this one, i like flat stouts, all and all this is a ok beer that with some age might become world class, but at this stage this one just gets lost in the pack.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2008 14:52:51 | More by orcasteve
Photo of JDV
JDV

Texas

3.15/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottles courtesy of jjpm74 and rbuckstar. Thanks guys! Pours black with a medium sized, short lived head. Smell is very roasty at first, but it seemed to fade on me as it sat out for a few minutes. Flavor was bittersweet milk, roastiness, with a touch of stale cardboardiness to the malt flavor. Medium bodied. Not bad, but not my favorite, either.

Serving type: bottle

06-30-2008 20:41:55 | More by JDV
Photo of bamadog
bamadog

Kentucky

3.18/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I've been sitting on this one for about 2 and 1/2 years -- let's see how it's done. Review is from notes taken on 5/12/2012 and poured from the bottle to a snifter.

Appearance: Pour isn't as thick as I'd like to see on something that's being billed as a Russian Imperial, but I guess we'll see if it comes through any thicker in the mouth; color is, of course, darkest brown, like coffee; starts with a short 1/2 finger dark tan head that fades to a nice ring and island skim; opaque, tiny lines of thin carbonation near the surface and sides of the glass are all that are visible;

Smell: Smells off... not quite right and I'm thinking there's an infection; seems to be a bit of a saccharine and imitation grape; lots of dark roastiness and a little bit of chocolate, but again, something just isn't quite right...

Taste: Shit. Infected. Not what I was hoping for. It's not bad, in an Abyssident kind of way, but I was hoping for a straight up imperial stout kind of thing. Tart, sour cherry flavor is right up front, followed by a dark, burnt and earthy espresso grind; mild bittersweet chocolate in the back. The more I sip on it, the more I like it, but again, not what I was hoping for.

Mouthfeel: Thinner than what I would hope for, but the time in the bottle hasn't dampened the carbonation, but then again, that could be from the infection as well; a thin, sticky coating is left on the palate and the tummy is left a little warm from the acidity and infection.

Overall: Meh. I guess if I want a funky stout, I'm going to go with Obscura Madrugada, but this isn't too bad.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2012 01:16:40 | More by bamadog
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
BeerAndBourbon

Ohio

3.23/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Reviewed from notes.

A. Pours a black with brown edges with a small bubbly head.

S. Slightly fruit with caramel and a bit of chocolate.

T. A fair amount of roasted flavor, but less than the Drayman's Porter. Some of the coffee flavors are shared with the porter.

M. Thin to medium body with medium carbonation and some oil.

D. Thin and fairly light on the tongue which makes it an easy drinker, but not a terribly interesting one. I'd certainly pick up the Drayman's Porter over this.

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2010 03:38:32 | More by BeerAndBourbon
Photo of akorsak
akorsak

Pennsylvania

3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to ralflord for this 650 mL bottle.

A: The stout is dark as midnight, even when held up to light nothing gets in or out. A half a finger of head quickly reduced to a thin band.

S: The nose is swirling with chocolate, burnt grains, coffee, licorice and hops. Quite a bit for one small glass.

T: The nose is exciting but the taste failrs to deliver. Dark grains up front never really seque into anything of substance. Darker nutty flavors appear near the end of each sip, showing off some stout qualities but it is too little too late.

M: The mouthfeel is weak, stout at times but not with enough consistency.

D: The abv is a little too high and the beer a little too weak to really dig into.

Serving type: bottle

12-26-2008 01:15:34 | More by akorsak
Photo of sendsilk
sendsilk

Florida

3.25/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Received as an extra in a recent trade. 22 oz. bottle poured into my 'Crab House' pint glass.

A- Dark, not much lacing. Doesn't look like a very thick RIS. Quite a few bubbles.

S- Not too much here. Pretty weak. Subtle maltiness??

T- Not bad. More of a milk stout style to me. WHen I read RIS, I expect less carbonation, heavier mouthfeel, more chocolate, molasses flavor. GOOD taste, just not the right taste IMO.

M- pretty thin for the style.

O- If I was at the brewery I would have it again but I won;t be searching it out.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2011 04:06:10 | More by sendsilk
Photo of lordofthewiens
lordofthewiens

Maine

3.28/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle with no date stamped on the label. It was a dark brown with a medium head and a bit of lacing. It had a chocolate aroma, as well as a fruity (cherry) aroma. The taste was quite fruity and sweet, with some chocolate. Quite pleasant, but more reminiscent of a Belgian than a Russian Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2007 20:34:48 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of StrangeBrewer76
StrangeBrewer76

Massachusetts

3.28/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

poured into a mini sam smith's glass, center poured, I increased the height half way through because I doubted the head creation potential. I was right to do so. This glass is fresh from the sterilizer and I suffer for it. A wall of bubbles on the side of the glass is a clear indication to me that this glass has been corrupted.

I will finish this beer but not from the glass. The tip of my tongue burns a little from the cleanser they use so after a pause I will do my best to finish the review once I've cleared this glass of contaminants (regretably by drinking it)

OK Second pour. Still a little side bubbles but the head retention is much better; a nice crown of tan head. Very dark brown if not opaque in color.

In a crowded bar I smell mostly milk chocolate, burnt and toasted malts, nuttyness and a touch of oak.

Tastes of bitter coffee and patent malt. Subtle sweetness at best. There is a citric acidity that I can't quite identify but it's kind of a turn off. This could be just in my imagination though; that's entirely possible.

Mouthfeel with a slight swish is delightfully creamy and light. The finish is neutral; kind of medium dry that requests, not begs, for another sip.

Overall a winner for the local team. I will amend this if I get a chance to sample this limited brew again under different circumstances.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2010 01:58:27 | More by StrangeBrewer76
Photo of tigg924
tigg924

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: one inch head, dark brown in color, clear

Smell: burnt malt, cocoa, and cream

Taste: burnt malt, some cream, slight touch of syrup and nut

Mouthfeel: medium/heavy body, light carbonation, semi-sweet

Drinkability: The price is right, but this one strikes me as being average to just above average in the style. The combination of flavors almost tastes like medicine at times. This beer does get better as it warms. Not a bad beer just does not jump the way others in the style do.

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2010 16:02:05 | More by tigg924
Photo of harrymel
harrymel

Washington

3.3/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled: unk

Black beer with a latte surface of foam and no lace. Nose brings through licorice, malts, licorice, molasses, some sweetness. Not really impressed, but not surprised - this seems to be the standard differentiation from Impy Stouts with the licorice. The flavor has plenty of dark malts, hints of leather and dark stone fruit and a little bit of molasses - the licorice doesn't dominate the flavor as much as the nose. Medium bodied and moderate carb with a dry finish. This is a decent beer, above average, but nothing worth seeking too hard.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2012 07:48:56 | More by harrymel
Photo of LittleDon
LittleDon

Texas

3.35/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An 8 oz. pour at the Publick House in Brookline.

Black, good head but little lace. Aroma was very muted with some coffee notes. Nice medium body but a bit of carbonation on the finish. Lots of residual sugar. A sweet middle and finish without the complexity of better RIS. Yes, there was a bit of smokiness and burnt sugar, but not what I would have liked for the style. Reminded me more of a sweet stout.

Serving type: nitro-tap

03-25-2011 01:26:50 | More by LittleDon
Photo of MuddyFeet
MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Not what I was expecting from an Impy Stout. Poured an incredibly dark brown with a slightly off-white head that was about an inch thick. It receded to quickly that the popping of the bubbles sounded like televsion static. Still had a considerable layer of foam on top. Nose was full of toasted malts.

Flavor was honestly a bit stale and very uninteresting for the style. Made me think of an export stout actually. Lots of burnt and toasted malts with just slight hints of balck cherries and vanilla. But I really had to search for those additional flavors. This beer was really kind of lifeless in flavor (it was "in-date" too) and I will have to try it again. Mouthfeel was very full but unfortunately just a tad watery. The ABV was very well hidden and that leads to the drinkability. While not a very interesting and unique beer it is still pretty easy to drink and not really bad in any way. Just lifeless.

Serving type: bottle

02-07-2006 03:59:19 | More by MuddyFeet
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -16%
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.

Serving type: cask

09-28-2013 19:36:58 | More by smcolw
Photo of goodbyeohio
goodbyeohio

Oregon

3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

black with off-yellow eggshell head. aroma is mild, watery coffee with pronounced banana and a fair amount of smoky, beefy scents. interesting. tastes smooth, more buttery malt and tangy cola-like flavors on the tongue with the taste dropping off quick. no coffee or roasted flavors here, but a mild chocolate covered cherry thing happening. sure, its drinkable and complex in its sweetness, but its so lacking in the imperial stout character. more of a sweet stout. ill keep drinking it, but not sure that it would ever stack up to its categorical brothers (and sisters).

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2005 21:41:42 | More by goodbyeohio
Photo of schlimenhaumer
schlimenhaumer

New York

3.43/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the bottle into a Southampton snifter at low altitude. Thanks to ballmouse for bringing this one in from Connecticut.

A: Pours a deep, deep opaque brown color with a creamy light-tan head of little retention. Leaves some spotty lacing on the glass.

S: Roasty malts with some caramel. Smells relatively hoppy. Overall, smells very light for an imperial stout.

T: Some sweet caramel malts carry through from start to finish. The hops keep the sweetness in check to some extent. There's a bit of cream and a slight bit of alcohol on the finish. It's balanced, but not very complex at all for the style. Not sure why the reviews for this are so high.

M: Medium-bodied and very smooth, with some alcohol on the finish. It's much too light for the style in my opinion.

D: This is perhaps the most drinkable imperial stout I've had to date; it goes down extremely easy. At the same time, it doesn't have any of the complexity that makes imperial stouts great. Even though the price is relatively low, I'm not sure I would pick this one up again given the chance.

Serving type: bottle

02-17-2012 02:36:01 | More by schlimenhaumer
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a medium black color stout with a medium light brown color head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of light roasted malt with some black chocolate notes. Taste is also dominated by some slightly bitter roasted malt with some notes of black chocolate. Body is definitely too thin for the style with some good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Not bad overall even though body is watery and too thin for the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2008 14:04:39 | More by Phyl21ca
Photo of Floydster
Floydster

California

3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 ounce bottle recieved as an extra from tpd975, thanks again Greg, poured into my small Flying Dog nonic last night, color is nearly black, 1/2 inch light tan creamy head that lasted a few minutes, decent retention, good lacing at first, aroma consists of smoked accents, dark chocolate, roasted malts, and burnt sugar, flavor starts off with dryness from the chocolate, roasted malts with some caramel and toffee sweetness coming through in the middle, finish is also dry with same flavors from the middle carrying over, slightly sweetnes as it warms, dry, malty, and roasty mouthfeel, medium to full bodied, pretty soft carbonation, taste lingers, drank around ten ounces of this and that was more than enough, can be heavy at times, not very smooth until it fully warms, this made me want to try the bourbon barrel version because I liked the barrel aged scotch ale a lot more than the standard version, which I think will also be the case here, might drink again, worth trying

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2009 00:26:18 | More by Floydster
Photo of MoreThanWine
MoreThanWine

Massachusetts

3.45/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured a reluctant 1" head which quickly dissipated to nothing. Pitch black as dark coffee. Very little aroma. Flavors of nice chocolate and a little coffee. Body was much lighter than I'd expect for an Imperial Stout, and I wouldn't say the richness is there either. The bottle doesn't say how much alcohol content but it just doesn't strike me as imperial. Nice beer though.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2010 09:47:28 | More by MoreThanWine
Photo of PDXHops
PDXHops

South Carolina

3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Yamar18 for sending this one my way. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A fairly vigorous pour gets me a 1-finger head, but it's not too thick and disappears rather quickly. Not much lacing. The body is very dark brown, and you can see reddish highlights against a light.

A bit of fruitiness in the aroma, with some chocolate and dark malt. Not terribly complex, but inviting.

The dominant flavors are bittersweet chocolate and dark malts, with some coffee and cherry (?) in the background.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, but it's tasty and goes down smooth.

Overall impression: Solid RIS offering. Not as bold or complex in flavor as the big boys, but tasty and quite drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-30-2009 23:36:10 | More by PDXHops
Photo of rpstevens
rpstevens

New Hampshire

3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a dogfish head signature glass. The beer is on the light side for a RIS, as it's not quite black. It has foggy brown edges and a thin airy off-white head, there is some light retention and lacing if you give the beer a swirl in the glass.

The smell is faint, but if you really get your nose in the glass there is some chocolate to compliment the coffee that dominates. Aside from the coffee, chocolate and roasted malt, there isn't a lot there, very straight forward.

The taste is a bit more complex than the nose. The dark chocolate, roasted coffee and milk chocolate are still present, but there are also some hints of caramel, toffee and dark fruits (very faint).

The beer is well carbonated, but a bit thin for the style. The flavors are balanced, and the beer has a nice dry finish that hides the alcohol well.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2010 22:41:02 | More by rpstevens
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.48/5  rDev -14.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-29-2012 19:52:19 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of brdc
brdc

Wisconsin

3.5/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Thanks cookin420 for this large capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Very dark brown, not quite black, with reddish highlights, and a brown head that does not hold well and produces little lacing.
Aroma is initially acrid, burnt, but as the beer warms up, more bittersweet chocolate and coffee appear. It improves, but still lacking punch.
Quite thin for a RIS, it starts burnt in similar way to the nose, turning slightly sweet, chocolate and coffee as it warms up.
Nice beer, with a good taste, but it simply cannot be billed as a RIS; it is in the middle to high spectrum for a regular stout, but as a RIS it is a major disappointment; the chocolate I had with the beer (nothing special or particularly strong, mind you) obliterated the beer completely.

Serving type: bottle

11-28-2008 02:21:33 | More by brdc
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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 447 ratings.