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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.

496 Ratings

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Ratings: 496
Reviews: 302
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.89%
Wants: 77
Gots: 46 | 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.
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 496 | Reviews: 302
Photo of Bitterbill
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this bottle in a trade with Nutbrown. Thanks Alan!

It pours a very dark brown with some reddish highlights. The foam is a solid 2 fingers and the lacing is very good. Great looking brew!

The smell...well...I don't have a cold but I'm not getting much in the nose department. Light chocolate/sweet malt is all I can say for sure.

The taste is an entirely other matter. Sweet and roasted malty goodness, an oatmeal taste, licorice, and some dark fruit that I notice when I swish the beer in my mouth. Some warming from the alcohol but it's not too intrusive.

Thickish mouthfeel with a medium level of carbonation, it finishes on the lightly bitter side. Good stuff.

Bottom line: This, imo, is a big example of the style with lots of flavours going on and a nice warming from the alcohol; this is a sure bet to sip on during the cold winter nights if you have it available locally.

Photo of mkobes
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black in color with an off white fluffy head. Roasty chocolatey malty aroma. Dark fruity caramel notes. Roasty malty and dark fruity flavor. Bittersweet chocolate caramel notes. Dry finish. Sweet tasting. Full bodied. Well balanced. Nice.

Photo of miketd
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from a trade. Pour is dark brown nearly black. Creamy beige head. Lacing present in the glass. Aroma is roasy malt and chocolate. Has just a faint metallic note, but not much. Flavor is chocolate and bitter. Decent palate. Dry Finish. Pretty nice beer...worth seeking out.

Photo of jdhilt
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with just hints of mahogany - looks like an espresso coffee - with a light tan head that leaves a good lace. This a chewy, sweet imperial that is very smooth. Good carbonation. Nose is roasted coffee. Flavor is roasted coffee and chocolate with just a hint of hops. $4.19 for a 22oz bottle from Ruggeri & Sons Greenfield, MA.

Photo of RustyDiamond
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Stone IRS stem. Cola brown in the glass with a strong three fingers of beige fizzy froth. Aromas of milk chocolate. Taste...more milk chocolate, bitter hops, bittersweet chocolate. Marshmellow cream with a hint of vanilla. Faint hops noticed with a whiff of phenol. Rather light in body for a RIS...as if something is missing. Lingering flavor of vanilla, campfire roasted marshmellow. Very drinkable, though.

Photo of sethmeister
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz into pint glass served at room temperature. This review is from notes I made in 2006 of the 2006 release and only just now got around to entering here. I plan to give this beer another try if I see if this year.

Poured black but not opaque with fast dissipating brown head.

Subdued scent; slight warm bread and chocolate smell.

Milk chocolate, bread, espresso. Dry, slightly bitter finish.

Thick and fizzy mouth feel.

Good and very drinkable but not as complex as I'd like for an imperial stout.

Photo of jcdiflorio
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Recived this beer on a trade several months ago from Sudsdog. 22oz brown bottle poured into and imperial nonic glass.Opaque,black with a rich creamy generous tan head turning pillowy as it falls.Good retention leaving a couple of lace curtians down the glass

Very clean roasty chocolaty aroma with heavy sweet carmell.Very pleasing not real strong.

Has a very clean roasty start with a great chocolate taste that's dusty and dry. Excellent balance with a very nice clean sharp hop bite with woody/earthy notes. Extra smooth i'd have to guess that some oats were added to this one with the exceptional smoothness and creamyness. Can't really notice any alcohol presence for a beer with an 8.50 abv. The creamy smoothness of Berkshire beer alway amazes me. Love thier beer this is another excellent beer. Wish this beer were avalible in my area. Would always keep some on hand. Not over the top or extreme,just simply pleasing!

Has a warming effect that overcomes you the more you drink. Beware this beer is amazing. Must try beer in my book.

Photo of bort11
4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Included by Jwale73 as an extra. Awesome dude!

22 oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Rocky mocha colored head leaved a solid cap on the surface. Streamer lacing stick to the glass. Color is a pitch black. Perfect black.

Smell is dark chocolate cake, hints of coffee bitterness and an alcohol heat spiciness. Taste has dark berries, coffee, and dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel has a light syrupy texture. Very mild carbonation adds a few prickles. This is a great dessert beer. Wonderful

Photo of ericj551
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Berkshire Imperial Stout pours a thick inky black with a frothy brown head. The aroma is chocolatey with some roastiness and a damp, earthy hop quality. The flavor is rich with a nice creamy sweetness. The roasted chocolate flavor comes through nicely to balance the sweetness, followed by a rounded bitterness from the hops. There is plenty of hop flavor, hiding behind the malt. The carbonation is low but lively, coupling with the hops to give the beer a nice crisp flavor. The alcohol is hidden, making the beer very easy to drink.

Photo of Phyl21ca
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.

Photo of FishGetter
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pleasant coffee and chocolate are first noticed, slightly nutty and fruit present.

Dark coffee color with nearly no light penatration. Head was thick and foamy. Quickly disapated, however stayed present throught drink.

Flavors didn't pop untill beer warmed. However when slightly warmed sweet coffee caramel builds followed by wild fruit and slight smokey finish.

Mouthfeel was slightly heavy but by all means not viscous. Easy smooth drink.

Photo of guzzle211
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber received in a trade from Rixbeer (thanks!!)

Medium pour produces a slowly exploding ¼-inch + tan head that settles into a foamy layer of soapy big bubbles that disappears pretty quickly. This stout brew lays in the glass very dark and pitch black.
As it hits the nose, malt, mostly roasted, dominates. There is an earthiness to this beer that comes through even stronger across the tongue.
The taste is deep, dark, maltiness, with slight hints of prune. As it warms, the complexity truly emerges. Different layers of malt emerge as the temp increases, and a slight bitterness of coffee and dark chocolate slowly creep into the picture.
Creamy and full-bodied, it fills the mouth with each sip, even seeming to expand once it crosses the lips. But don't let the appearance and smell fool you, its not 'thick,' but very full.
For taste, I could drink this all night, however, due to the fullness and ABV, this is a good nightcap / slow sipper.

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Out of the bottle the beer poured a gorgeous black as sin color with a brown meniscus. A two finger head of fluffy, mocha foam capped the brew displaying moderate retention that laced well throughout the sample. The aroma was surprisingly subtle, roasted malt, toasted malt and some milk chocolate. The flavors were easy going and slightly off in my opinion, coffee, dark chocolate, ripened fruits minus the sugars (some of the 'off') and a bitter finish when the hops caught up. Well balanced and the ALC% was almost undetectable. Quite smooth with a nice mouthfeel. This would be a great beer if the flavors were bigger and bolder as a Russian Imperial Stout should be but it was still sessionable which is unheard of for the style. Impressive in this regard and worth a try.

Photo of happygnome
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a: pours a dark black color with brownish hues around the edges when held to the light
s: toasted/roasted grains, chocolate hints of alcohol warmth
t: roasted chocolate grains and alohol warmth are the intial tastes followed by a toffee sweetness
m: medium bodied beer, very light for its style, little carbonation

overall, this is a pretty decent brew i really enjoyed it

Photo of brewcrew76
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to goodbyeohio for this one.

A - Solid black with a thin tan head that leaves a thin ring of lace.

S - Semi sweet chocolate, roasty, toasty malt aroma that seems light, fresh and not as heavy as other RIS. Hints of dark fruit, vanilla and latte round it out. As it warms it devolops a rum, brown sugar with maybe even a touch of tequilla aroma. It smells better than it sounds.

T - Roasty grains with hints of burnt coffee, slightly sweet and smoky with oak and vanilla, mocha and cocoa with a bit of hop bitterness and dark fruits in the finish.

M - On the light side for a RIS with low carbonation.

D - Aroma seemed light but I really enjoyed it. The mouthfeel was a little disappointing but still a good beer I would try again.

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

Bottle courtesy of ryscott as an extra in a trade - thanks! Poured into an Allagash tulip/flute glass.

Appearance: A deep nearly black beer with a big foamy two-finger head with poor-to-average retention but nice, attractive, swiss cheese-like lacing.

Aroma: Some like, milky mocha and half-roast coffee, but also a very light, earthy fruit note - not quite tart like citrus, but not dark or malty like raisins or figs, either. May perhaps be maraschino cherries or raspberries. An interesting combination - you don't normally get a note as light as that in the aroma of an RIS because they're so "over the top." Kudos.

Taste: Very similar to the nose in many ways - those same traditional roasted notes (light, grassy coffee, milk chocolate, some buttery toast) and the light blueberry/raspberry currant notes. Gets sweeter towards the end - definite fudge brownie overtones, but only after the hop bitterness and currant notes have begun to recede. There's also a noticeable though not overbearing bitterness right there in the middle. This one grew on me as it warmed. A nice grassy finish with a few coffee notes and the faint hint of a smooth, sweet, warming alcohol.

Moutheel: Medium-bodied and even, very smooth and creamy. Minimal carbonation. Body may be a little lighter and carbonation a little too low for the way the rest of this beer works.

Drinkability: Very light and easy drinking RIS. Unique in the way the currant overtones feature so prominently, and everything else works very well together. Alcohol is entirely manageable - much lower than many examples of the style. Recommended.

Photo of orcasteve
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
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.

Photo of opwog
4.27/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Now Playing: Operation Ivy - Missionary

A - I picked up a bottle of this for a moment of zen in the woods during a trip back East, so I drank this straight from the bottle and can't comment on appearance, but gave them the benefit of the doubt in my rating.
S - smell may have been hampered by the fact that I was smeling from the narrow spout of the bottle, but I was catching burnt malt and toffee.
T - I was very happy with the full spectrum of dark yumminess that this stout had. Toasted grain bliss.
M - This seemed to be a bit over carbonated, but some of that feel could have been a result of drinking from the bottle, which tips the contents back and forth with every sip.
D - In the wood, I know that I was wishing that I had bought more than one!

Photo of tpd975
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poures a nice brownish black hue with zip zilch zero head. No lacing noted as well.

S: Nice aroma of dark malt and booze. Dark fruit comes next with hints of roasted coffee and chocolate if you really concentrate.

T: The roasted malt comes first then boom dark fruits. Tons of raisin and figs followed by hints of booze. A touch of coffee can be detected along with a hint of coffee right before the finish. It finishes sort of boozy.

M: Medium bodied pretty smooth with a boozy bite.

D: Not the best stout in the world but drinkable nonetheless.

Photo of Brad007
4.01/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Color: Pours the color of motor oil with a very thin brown head.

Aroma: Thick and roasty with the aroma of dark fruit, coffee and chocolate.

Taste: Thick and malty. Roasted coffee flavor tends to jump out the most followed by chocolate in the middle. Very hoppy and has a slight alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel: Thick and bitter/roasty.

Drinkability: A decent effort here that feels like it needs more time to mature (good thing I've got another bottle). Feels kind of thin on mouthfeel. A decent example but I've had better.

Photo of dciBA
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a bomber of this on a recent trip through Massachusetts. Pours a nice black into my DFH snifter. Very thin skimming of tan head across the top. Smells of chocolate, vanilla, roasted grains, coffee.

Taste is rich coffee, chocolate. Raisin? Plenty of flavors, but none overpowering and overly strong. Body is fairly thin for the style but still retains good mouthfeel. Possibly the most drinkable RIS I've had. My only real complaint would be that the flavor disappears from my mouth quickly.

Photo of number1bum
3.73/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black color with a billowing two plus inches of tan head Head is rich and creamy and retains very well and leaves lots of stick.

Smell is loaded with chocolate, some coffee, brown sugar, molasses, bit of caramel, as well as some roasted malt. Some fruit going on, as well.

Taste also had some nice milk chocolate and molasses sweetness and some coffee, but there was quite the fruity dimension that doesn't quite jive with my taste buds. There is roasted malt there, too.

Mouthfeel is not quite full, but it's pretty big and this has a nice chewy factor to it. Drinks quite well and alcohol is not at all noticeable.

This is pretty good but definitely not my favorite RIS. I don't love the fruitiness is all. Worth a try for sure, though.

Photo of JDV
3.18/5  rDev -21.3%
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.

Photo of blackie
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a: into my Brooklyn snifter, gives a one-finger dark khaki head that shows decent retention, the beer is nearly black in color

s: soft, creamy roast and semisweet chocolate on the nose, earthy hops with a touch of dark pine step aside for the malts, rum filled chocolates, straightforward with great balance

m: carbonation on the low side of medium, medium-full body

t: starts with smooth roasts and chocolates, just a touch of mild astringency, with a gentle evergreen bitterness slowly coming out in the finish

d: a breeze, abv well integrated...I've been pretty disappointed by Berkshire in the past, but this one is quite good

22 oz. from ppoitras in No BS 3

Photo of RixBeer
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a blackhole like black. sucking in light. Nice thin cream/almond colored head.

Nice aroma od burnt coffee and a nice smack of chocolate malt and a burnt rum odor.

Huge flavor of burnt coffee and hints of cola and chocolate/caramel mixed with a tiny bit of a syrupy rum.

A little thin for an imperial stout. Still delicious but I would just call this a Stout. Delicious but just a stout.

This beer is very drinkable. The alcohol is virtually un-noticeable. Very good.

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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 496 ratings.