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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout - Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

Not Rated.
Berkshire Russian Imperial StoutBerkshire Russian Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

453 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 453
Reviews: 298
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.89%
Wants: 63
Gots: 35 | FT: 3
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: 453 | Reviews: 298 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a foamy head, particularly how I tend to pour. Mild aroma of licorice and coffee and malt. Very smooth drinking and fresh, demonstrating that we just took it recently from the shelf. All Berkshires I have had bottled have gone done easily. Mildly roasted, not acidic or bold coffee at all.

Serving type: bottle

07-22-2007 04:08:45 | More by Sammy
Photo of t0rin0


4/5  rDev -1%

08-22-2012 01:14:58 | More by t0rin0
Photo of UCLABrewN84


3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
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 djrn2

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

04-09-2013 00:05:56 | More by djrn2
Photo of Thorpe429


3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.

Pours a very dark brown color with a small mocha head that quickly fades into a collar without really leaving anything behind. The nose carries a good amount of coffee, chocolate, and roast. Pretty good balance between each component. The flavor has a roast backbone which is then built upon by some dark chocolate and espresso. Fairly full body with a bit of booze. Slightly creamy. A nice brew.

Serving type: on-tap

05-31-2011 11:20:28 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of BuckeyeNation


3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darkest mahogany with generous dark cherry highlights. I almost said opaque, but I get the sense that bright sunlight just does reach my eyes from the opposite side of the glass. That's rarely a good thing in an Imperial stout. The head is chocolate milk brown and looks a mite too soft to deposit much lace (and doesn't). Easily above average, but it leaves me wanting.

The aroma is roasted malty and bittersweet chocolatey. A very good stout nose and a merely good RIS nose. I like my Russian Imperials to be bigger and badder and bolder than this. I guess I'll just have to resign myself to the fact that this isn't one of the monsterous versions of the style.

The flavor follows the footprints in the snow laid down by the appearance and the nose. Berkshire Imperial Stout drinks like RIS-lite, although it's still tasty beer and is nicely drinkable. Roasted barley is the dominant member of the flavor profile with black coffee following closely behind. Dark chocolate and sour dark fruit play supporting roles.

The more I drink, the more I feel that the flavor doesn't quite measure up. If the brewery insists on calling this an Imperial stout, then I'm forced to review it as such. The simple truth is that there isn't enough malt on hand to provide a seriousness of purpose, to provide a sturdy enough body to allow the flavor to sink in and be appreciated.

As noted, a relative lack of malt is the weak link in the chain. RISs, no matter what else they bring to the table, need to have huge, meaty malt backbones in order to be taken seriously. Smoothness isn't an issue. A complete lack of viscosity (chewiness if you prefer) is. A few too many bubbles don't detract too awful much because they're so fine that they're easily ignored.

I expected big things from Berkshire Imperial Stout after having enjoyed the hell out of Coffeehouse Porter and Lost Sailor IPA. I hate to classify it as a letdown since it's clearly well-crafted beer, but when judged against even second tier RISs, it falls short. I don't mind 'lighter than average' with most styles, but I can't abide it when it comes to this one.

Serving type: bottle

09-15-2006 22:00:24 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of metter98

New York

3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2013 20:15:18 | More by metter98
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate brown color with ruby highlights; the tan head fizzes away just a bit too quickly but leaves behind a few shards of lace

Smell: Chocolate, roasted malt and hints of both coffee and dark berry fruit

Taste: Plenty of dark chocolate up front, with the dark berry fruit appearing just behind; roasty bitterness arrives at mid-palate, but the flavor tends to fade after the swallow, although it is well-balanced throughout

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, somewhat creamy; moderate carbonation, but a bit thin after the swallow

Drinkability: All in all, a respectable stout; very drinkable but not in the top tier of the Impy class

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2009 01:20:02 | More by brentk56
Photo of mikesgroove

South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Ahh now this was definatly a treat. Poured a thick, black as night, opaque, oil looking liquid with a big brownish, billowing two inch thick head, that had huge staying power. The very slow fade left behind a significant amount of lace down the glass, alomst obscuring the contents for a while. Very nice looking! Smell was very intresting, strong smell, you could easily pick this up across the room! Very sweet, candy like tones were the first to hit, this warmed to reveal a nice acohol warming, tingling smell. Once you get past that, you are left with a nice roasted, dark chocolate flavor coming out. This carried over very nicely into the overall taste flavor. Deep chocolate flavors were the first to hit, followed by nice tomes of roasted coffee. Alcohol made its presence known from the start, but did not overpower at all, just wanted to let you know it was there. As it warmed the flavors got even stronger and even more complex, adding hints of caramel and hazelnut making it very robust. Very rich and creamy and a great bittering, dry hop aftertaste lingered long after your sip. My only complaint, and not really a complaint, but it could have been a little thicker, but this did not distract from the overall enjoyment at all. Great smooth dessert quality brew here. Very drinkable, and extremely enjoyable. Easily one of the better Imperial Stouts I have had lately and a very nice nightcap to the weekend. Would love to have it again someday!

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2007 00:38:40 | More by mikesgroove
Photo of nmann08

District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev +5.2%

12-09-2011 23:28:08 | More by nmann08
Photo of Phyl21ca

Quebec (Canada)

3.45/5  rDev -14.6%
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 womencantsail


3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On nitro at Publick House

A: The beer pours essentially black in color with a finger of khaki colored head.

S: Strong aromas of licorice, molasses, coffee, and dark chocolate. Plenty of roasted malt as well as a mild booziness. There is also a touch of burnt sugar, maybe a slight caramel sweetness.

T: The flavor is fairly sweet with lots of molasses, burnt sugar, and licorice flavors. Heavy on the coffee and roasted malt, too. Some bitter dark chocolate is also present. A light booziness.

M: Medium bodied with low, smooth carbonation.

O: Usually I find nitrogen leaves beers relatively flavorless, but this was still quite bold. Impressive.

Serving type: nitro-tap

10-07-2011 14:09:27 | More by womencantsail
Photo of acurtis

New Jersey

3.75/5  rDev -7.2%

04-09-2013 00:09:43 | More by acurtis
Photo of ChainGangGuy


3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a thinning, off-white head.

Smell: Aroma smelling of roasted barley and semi-sweet chocolate morsels with notes of coffee beans and aged nuts.

Taste: Roasty blend of creamy barley and chocolate with an overall medium sweetness and, lookee here, a garnish of mini-marshmallows. Hints of licorice and coarse ground walnuts. Earthy, roasty bitterness. Drying, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Could benefit from a slight heft in body. Though it may not be a legendary member of the noble Imperial Stout style, it's still a quality brew and certainly worth seeking out a bottle.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2008 20:57:09 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of TMoney2591


3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Thanks to connecticutpoet for this bottle!

So far, these Berkshire beers have been pretty tasty. Why have you New Englanders been hiding them from us? Dastardly. Anyway, this one pours a solid obsidian topped by a relatively short-lived finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises roasted malts, leather, molasses, burnt biscuits, and a minor touch of mint. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, molasses, brown sugar, figs, milk chocolate, and cinnamon. The body is a firm, somewhat hefty medium, with a light moderate carbonation and a rather smooth feel. Overall, a more-than-decent impy stout, but just missing the ride to Greatness. Keep 'em comin', Berkshire!

Serving type: bottle

08-16-2010 08:58:44 | More by TMoney2591
Photo of largadeer


4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Dark brown, slight opacity around the edges, with a light tan head that recedes a bit quicker than I'd like.

Smell: Chocolate chip cookie dough, earthy hops, vanilla, molasses. Subdued but pleasant; on the sweeter side.

Taste & mouthfeel: Flavors of chocolate cake, vanilla and dark fruits. Creamy and rich without an extreme ABV; I like it. The sweetness subsides a bit in the finish, revealing a slightly drying coffee and cream aftertaste.

Serving type: bottle

04-02-2008 03:32:14 | More by largadeer
Photo of NeroFiddled


4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This delightfully drinkable Imperial Stout delivers a very dark mahogany body beneath a short but creamy head of dark tan foam that holds quite well and leaves some nice lace at the outset of the glass.

The nose expresses a combination of berry-like yeasty fruitiness and dark chocolate with an underlying note of creamy mocha java.

In the mouth it's slick and smooth with an oily, medium body and restrained, fine-bubbled carbonation.

The flavor expresses the berry-like fruitiness found in the nose, infused with some sprinkled brown sugar, rich caramel, and soft milk chocolate notes. It's more sweetish and fruity than coffee-like or roasty, although a touch of sweet, creamy coffee does appear in the finish. The bitterness is kept well in-check; and the alcohol barely shows itself.

It's superbly balanced and well-rounded with a charming fruitiness, mild roastiness, and low-key chocolate/fudge character that lingers on the palate. It's not quite what I expect of an Imperial Stout, but it's very well done and quite enjoyable!

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2005 20:36:28 | More by NeroFiddled
Photo of TheManiacalOne

Rhode Island

4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a good-sized foamy tan head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is fruitier than most beers in this style. The typical RIS chocolate and roasted malt smells are there, but it’s the dark fruit that dominates.

T: The taste is creamy with flavors of dark chocolate, roasted malt and dark fruits, which stick around for the after-taste. There’s some alcohol burn, but not much. It’s well-balanced and consistent.

M: Very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, light carbonation, has a bit of a slick finish but not sticky.

D: Tasty, easy-to-drink, a little filling, good representation of style with a slight twist (the twist being the higher fruitiness), this beer is an excellent sipper.

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2006 06:15:21 | More by TheManiacalOne
Photo of nickfl


3.6/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours with a small head of medium tan foam on top of a very dark brown body with just a touch of amber showing through. The foam settles quickly and leaves only light lace.

S - Dark caramel, molasses, and a hint of smoky licorice.

T - Sweet, dark malt up front with lots of molasses and licorice character. Some dark bread character in the middle with a hint of herbal hops. Finishes with more dark sugar and a lingering note of smoky licorice.

M - A medium-thick, oily body, moderate carbonation, and a fairly sweet finish.

D - Not bad, but a bit too sweet for my taste. The licorice blends well with the dark, sugary notes but things get kind of cloying in the finish and it could really use some more bitterness to balance out the malt.

Serving type: bottle

12-10-2011 04:14:03 | More by nickfl
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black with a dark tan head. Nose is not very exciting. Mild malt tones. Flavor has no great show-y quality to it, but it has well defined mature deep malts. The reason I give it a high score is that the flavor pattern stays consistent through the entire bottle and never waivers. Now that is brewing prowess. Typical feel. Very worth trying I say.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2007 04:16:33 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of Jason


4.47/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber style bottle with “purchase before month notched” marked properly. The two brewers are on the label as renascence king and jest with frothy mugs in hand.

Appearance: Opaque black with a thin yet unwavering light brown lace, very tiny bubbled even with a sturdy pouring.

Smell: Dark chocolate and light dark roasted coffee overtones and an underlying mixed berry fruitiness are the forefront with a trace estery alcohol in the end.

Taste: Smooth and a little slick, light carbonation with a creamy mouth feel. Big broad malty body, Black Forest German Cake comes to mind, deep berry fruitiness is found by the tongue. Heavy malt flavour takes the show over for a while with sweet dark chocolate, brownie like to a point. Alcohol is mellow though still makes a point of warming the mouth and body right away to show that it still holds its strength. Bitterness from the hops is muted a bit from age but that does not take away from the balance it give along with the bitterness from the roasted malts. In the finish the mouth is full and flush with warming spicy alcohol, roasted remnants of a big stout and a lingering flavour of a fudge brownie that was devoured.

Notes: American brewers take a style and mold it into their own whether that beer style has been dead for decades / centuries or not. Berkshire Brewing has taken in the Imperial Stout Style into its home to befriend it and make it a charmer for beer geeks and stout lovers to gawk over. A brew that I will make a point of visiting again.

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2002 03:20:53 | More by Jason
Photo of feloniousmonk


3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: a color that reaches for opacity, yet cannot escape the floodlights of red that shine through on occasion, topped with a perfunctory tannish brown head.
Aroma, burnt toast, rusted root, molasses, coffee grounds, Meyer's and cola, minus carbonation, the very murk of an IS, done appropriately.
Taste: sweetness, though thick and dark, burst through foremost, and mellows, hops are negligible, malt is rich and luscious, thick and almost syrupy. Could go deeper, though, for the mouthfeel is a trifle vapid for an Imperial Stout. Has some of the true character, but doesn't go all the way.
Nice enough, in it's fashion, though!

Cheers to BeerResearcher for the bottle!

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2004 06:06:46 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of russpowell


4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one from ppotrias, cheers!

Pours jet black with 2 fingers of mocha head. Above average lacing & head retention

S: Muted cocoa & boozeyness, nose improved as the beer warmed up to room temperature

T: Chocolate & iron, plus a bit of alcohol up front. Dryness, coffee, raisins, rich chocolate, vanilla, herbal hops & booze as this warms. Finishes with toasted grain, nice coffee notes & more chocolate; almost pulled a 5.0!

MF: Medium bodied, warming sticky, with some creamyness as well

Drinks very nice for the complexity, a well finessed IMP Stout!

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2008 00:55:57 | More by russpowell
Photo of WesWes

New York

4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy brown head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich and powerful black malt scent that reveals the elevated abv. as well as a dark roasted aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a roasted, black malt flavor that is thick and rich with a warming feel on the way down. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a good drinking IS. I like the taste a lot, but I'm really not a big fan of the alcohol smell. I prefer a beer that hides it better. All in all, a quality beer. I'd buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2007 01:29:56 | More by WesWes
Photo of jlindros


4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been a big fan of BBC for a while, and each new beer I try I like even more. I think they're a very underrated brewery and don't get enough respect. I have to start reviewing more of them. Anyways, here's the Imp Stout.

A: Nice creamy 2 finger head with a slight chocolate dark tinge to it. It seems to stick around for a while to enjoy the party with me, and leaves a slight lacing on the glass as it slowly fades. Very dark color with slight hints of light escaping through in the thin parts.

N: Mmmm, a nice nose, lots of roasted malts, some light black patent and touches of chocolate. It has a slight luscious milk chocolate creamy aroma. Some very light dark fruits touch teh nose and other nice malty aromas. The slightly spicy roasted aromas add nicely, but all of it is rounded off to a nice blend and nothing is too heavy.

T: Mmmm, creamy and delicious. It's very creamy with lots of milk chocolate, and I mean real milk chocolate, the kind you would get at a farm with rich heavy milk fresh from a Belgian chocolate fed cow, not the kind you got in grade school from those small cartons that were impossible to open. Also a nice almost spicy roasted flavor adds a really nice addition, but not the coffee roasted flavors, just the spicy roasted barley flavors. Very slight rich fruit touches the tongue on the sides. A very slight warming alcohol comes through. It also adds a slight bitter sweet chocolate flavor nicely and some light black patent malt and other malts. Slightly chewy as well. All the flavors mingle well.

M: Very creamy, pretty rich and thick, lower carbonation for how much head it had but that is perfect for a rich creamy thick stout. Some warming alcohol feel but pretty light in that department.

F: Finishes semi sweet, bitter sweet that is, like good 50% dark chocolate. A slight milky flavor also seem to stay after the swallow, with slightly spicy roasted flavor also lingering. A slight bitter flavor also comes through lately on the finish, a combination of some light spicy hops and some earthy char from roasted and scorched malts. Very drinkable and thirst quenching, a nice beverage.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2009 02:56:42 | More by jlindros
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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 453 ratings.