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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 reginaldo


4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Once again BBC provides a quality beer. Had this at the Dive Bar in Worcester off of the cask. Pours extremely dark, almost black with a small tan head. Smell was great with a sweet chocolate and coffee aroma with a hint of alcohol. The chocolate and coffee smells come out well in the flavor. Also features a caramel sweetness and a roasted, almost smokey taste. The sweetness is complimented by a bitterness, but it isn't overpowering. All the flavors blend well. You can definitely still taste this one a few minutes after drinking. Perfect beer to warm up to on a night where temps dipped under 30.

Serving type: cask

01-24-2008 07:03:14 | More by reginaldo
Photo of BeardedBoffin

New Mexico

4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours very dark brown or black with a nice tinge of tan in the foam. The light aroma is dominated by dark chocolate. The beer is medium bodied on the palate with a pleasant mouth feel. The roasted malt flavor comes through with bitter chocolate and coffee. The finish is long and warming. It is an enjoyable and drinkable imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2008 01:43:36 | More by BeardedBoffin
Photo of IntriqKen


4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark, almost black amber with some reddish tones to it. The head is massively tan bubbles and it lasts and lasts. A very sticky map covers the glass as you drink.

Aroma is very subdued...almost non-existent. Mostly just some sweet amber malt in the nose...just a little toasty.

Taste is fully dimensional, however. Dark roasted coffee..lots of it....bitter chocolates...some very dark fruit but nothing overpowering enough to name them. A light bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel is disappointingly thin compared to the taste. Aftertaste is espresso and very enjoyable.

One of the great ones.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 02:47:06 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of sraimondi


3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber. Opaque, even when held close to a light. Nice long-lasting tan head with substantial sheet lacing throughout the outing.

Some very light bourbon smell, but this one has very little nose--surprising.

The taste is quite nice, toasted malt initially dominates with some hints of bourbon in the finish; also a bit vinous in the end. While no hops are detected, they must be there as this RIS is very balanced. Very pleasant.

The mouthfeel excels, very soft carbonation and initial thickish viscosity. While not overly full, the bit of thinness is not a problem. Overall a very round feel, which is a bit unusual for this style.

The ABV is present, but overall one of the better East Coast versions of a RIS. Very nice job, BBC.


Serving type: bottle

01-13-2008 19:44:00 | More by sraimondi
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 orbitalr0x


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

22oz bomber pours into my glass a dark black with deep brown hues on the edges. A half inch of tan foam rises up and then falls back down upon the brew. Not too viscous on the pour. Aromas begin with roasty grain malts alongside a nice mix of coffee and chocolate. Dark fruit tones and caramel are there along with a faint anise and vanilla. Mellow hops in the background.

First sip brings a big roasted grain malt upfront along with a mixture of brewed coffee and chocolate flavors. Dark fruits move in with hints of cherry and a light vanilla as well. Mellow herbal hops on the way down along with a slight bitterness. Finishes with an afterthought of anise and a lingering roasted flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a nice steady carbonation. In the realm of Imperial Stouts I'd say this is a bit on the lighter side overall. However, that makes it all the more easier to drink. It has a nice balance of sweet and bitter and ends up being quite satisfying. Ends up in the middle of the road for Imperial Stouts I've tried.

Serving type: bottle

12-29-2007 01:16:22 | More by orbitalr0x
Photo of sn0d0g


4.3/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours almost jet black with a slight tan head slowly thins out.

Aromas of semi sweet chocolate and alcohol. Slight roasted coffee aroma.

Chocolaty with hints of sherry. Can feel the alcohol warm its way down. Finishes nicely. Can’t really tell where the hops are but they must be in there as it balances out quite nicely

Slick silky feel starts to get a bit sticky but carbonation cleans it up nicely.

Voluptuous ‘50’s pinup girl body

Laces meander thinly down the glass.

Boy do I wish I had another…

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 00:51:28 | More by sn0d0g
Photo of Jacobob10

New Jersey

3.98/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter, the color was black as night with a very small dark tan head that left little lacing on the glass. Dissipated rather quickly but easily revived with a slight swirl of the glass. Aroma was a little faint for imperial stouts, but not bad. Dark chocolate and coffee. The taste was more of the same. Not overly complex, but very tasty and drinkable. The alcohol was well-hidden which attributed to a nice, smooth mouthfeel. Not the most exciting imperial stout, but not a bad option at all. I would buy it again.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2007 23:50:54 | More by Jacobob10
Photo of MuenchenerKindl


3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle to a pint glass, the liquid is close to black with very good carbonation. The head is a big 3 fingers dark tan and leaves some nice lace.

The smell is good, dark coffee and burnt toast.

The taste is also good, I liked this quite a bit as it seemed much more to the coffee side then cocoa or chocolate. Still there were some mocha and cocoa notes in the finish. The bitterness was good and did well to balance the brew.

The mouthfeel was a bit this for a big Imp stout, but the carbonation was impressive.

The drinkability was good, and well worth a try.

Big thanks to KMWeaver for adding this brew it a totally awesome tasting. You are really something, Prosit und Zum Wohl, MK

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2007 06:21:22 | More by MuenchenerKindl
Photo of fitzy84


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

Served from their lovely 22 ounce bottles. A very nice, oily appearance with a frosty, dark brown head that thins out quickly. A smoked caramel, coffee flavoring can most be smelled with typical, gentle breath. Very bold chocolate flavor when it comes to the taste. Tastes like a mocha-flavored beverage at some cafe. Their is a medium carbonation, allowing nice, thin sips that fizz in your mouth. For those wanting a sweet stout or something deliciously heavy, this is one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

11-12-2007 03:28:25 | More by fitzy84
Photo of Wasatch


4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to goodbyeohio for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a black color, nice carbonation, nice small creamy tan head, some nice oil slicks and sticky lacing follows. The nose is malty, slight roast, toffee/coffee, and some caramel. The taste is malty, getting a slight bourbon, some roast, and plenty of toffee/coffee/caramel. Medium body. Very drinkable, another great brew from Berkshire. Really like all the brew's I've had from them so far, highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-30-2007 02:10:28 | More by Wasatch
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy

New Hampshire

3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

consumed on 10/11/07 bomber>fat snifter.

This one looks like total opaque blackness with a two-finger brown colored head that is very lively, not very dense, plenty frothy but not tight. It starts off rather impressive and then dissiptes very quickly and is totally gone within a short period of time.

Maple syrup and brown sugar malted oats is the first whiff, tootsie rolls, mocha-vanilla mudslide, oak and cedar wood smokiness on a crisp fall day, chocolate brownies and a sour red grapes scent at the end.

The flavor is very bold with black, roasty coffee hitting first and then a big single-malt scotch-like heat piles on with big-ass heat...seems much more intense than it's 8.5 % ABV . Oak-wood smoke, butternut and vanilla flavors bust out later and the aftertaste is dominated by an earthy, bitter green hop finish. The balance is a bit all-over with certain flavors really dominating and others not mature enough yet to smooth things out. Time will be good to this brew.

This is certainly full-bodied but not as smooth or hefty as I would like, the body is a bit thin and the head is totally gone so it's lacking a certain smoothness I've come to enjoy from this style. It's got serious potential though.

a slow sipper for sure, it's black-coffee and high feelinmg ABV makes this one a bit harsh but I'm sure this mature and age really well. Check back in two years.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2007 16:46:08 | More by GratefulBeerGuy
Photo of merlin48


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

22 oz bottle thanks to OldTex29. Pours dark and opaque with a two finger head that rises two fingers tall. Retention is excellent and some nice curtains of lace are left on the glass. Aroma is milk chocolate, raisins, and a hint of roast. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good zippy carbonation. Not as full as most examples of the style. Taste is well balanced. Lots of chocolate, with some nuttiness, dark fruits, and citrusy hops. Roastiness is present but a bit restrained leading to a slight brown ale character. Alcohol is hidden very well. Nice balance and subdued heaviness make this a very appealing imperial stout for summer quaffing.

Serving type: bottle

07-27-2007 12:41:50 | More by merlin48
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 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 horshack7


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

Presentation: Comes in a 1pint 6 ounce bottle with a drawing of a king and a court jester each enjoying a pint.

Appearance: Pours a down right dark as night pint of beauty with about one finger worth of head. The tan head thins out quick.

Aromas: Slight bourbon notes with stong hints of chocolate. Nice hints of burnt hops and very dark roasted malts.

Taste: The chocolate malts show up with a ton of force so wonderful. The dark roasted malts wander around the palate so very gracefully. A very nice traditionaly tasting imperial stout.

Notes: Although I did enjoy this tasty beer during the summer it was a cool summer night. But would defiantley be perfect during the cold winter months. Cheers

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2007 01:54:51 | More by horshack7
Photo of NEhophead


4.43/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pt 6 fl oz brown bottle; served in a goblet.

Opaque, deep molasses coloration. Creamy tan head with good retention as an intact sheet. Thin trails of slender lacing.

Roasted milk and dark chocolate malt with a moderate, lingering smokiness. Dark mocha aromas; lightly roasted, dry nuts. Slicing scent of warming alcohol.

Creamy caramel among rich, milk and dark chocolate; touches of sweet cream. The smokiness is swarming and near intense; working carefully among the rich and creamy flavors. Tones of hazlenut and other dried nuts throughout the sip that, along with the hops give a floral bitterness.

Full bodied; creamy and smooth for such a chewy, roasted flavor. Not syrupy though like some Imperial Stouts.

A smooth, robust-flavored stout. The alcohol presence is tame and well-masked. My favorite BBC offering thus far; mighty tasty!

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2007 13:26:19 | More by NEhophead
Photo of blitz134


3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nearly opaque, but a tiny amount of reddish-brown light makes its way through. Pours with two fingers of light brown head that reduced down to a dense 1/8" layer that just doesn't leave.

Interesting aroma, has some subtleties I'm not used to in RISs. Typical dark toasted malts. Has some dry coffee. A bit of sweetness with some caramel. And what comes across as very weak sassafrass, possibly some Coke syrup flavor.

Dark toasted malts again, a fairly solid breadiness in there too. Dark chocolate hints and weak coffee. Has that Coke syrup flavor again, weak but I pick it up. Other random spices come through as well. Alright flavor. The faintist touch of alcohol at the end.

Medium bodied, low carbonation. Coats the mouth well and has a wet feel to it, flavor doesn't hang around for too long.

Pretty easy to drink, lacks anything that really stands out to me.

Serving type: bottle

06-15-2007 02:36:53 | More by blitz134
Photo of mshallah

New Hampshire

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

22oz bomber bottle pours black with a light brown head. Vanilla, chocolate, malt, black raspberry aroma along with a winey character and a mellow roast. Sweet smells are balanced by hop aromas of orange and pine. Rich flavor mimics aroma with the addition of alcohol warmth. Thick lace. Beer is better as it warms. Perfect nightcap, dessert, or special breakfast/brunch beer. Sweet and tangy, then a dryish finish. Very high drinkability for an imperial stout. Hops combine with roast to make a wonderful flavor.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2007 14:48:03 | More by mshallah
Photo of Westsidethreat


3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Nase for this one

A: Pours with the consistency of cola, sort of the color too. A substantial head made up of creamy, dark beige bubbles comes forth quickly and falls almost as fast.

S: Milk chocolate, raisins, vanilla…nice aroma.

T: Begins with the most subtle of grape and cola twangs to the tip of the tongue. Chocolate milk smoothness comes next, not abundant or over the top but nice…a lot like cheap chocolate ice cream. There’s a streak of cascades hops in here that is overpowered by most of the other flavors. Finishes with a lingering buttery roasted coffee bitterness.

M: Full body and creamy.

D: Quite delicious with an overall good taste to it. Not super complex but quality balance.

Serving type: bottle

05-10-2007 03:32:43 | More by Westsidethreat
Photo of weeare138


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

Thanks to grassrootsVT for the trade...
Appears black with a small, tan head of foam that fades into a mild cap and hearty collar. Streaks of lacing are left around the interior of the glass.
Smell is grainy, creamy, light butterscotch, cocoa, milk chocolate, with black grapes, and mild spices.
Taste is of the mentionedaromas with white chocolate flavors standing out along with an herbal, vanilla, and doughy, spiced brownie.
Mouthfeel is medium/full bodied with black grapes, prunes, chocolate, mild oak, and ripe fruit running over the palate. It's smooth for the most part but mildly thin too.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2007 20:59:02 | More by weeare138
Photo of guinness33

New Jersey

3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown to black colour that's actually a bit thinner looking than expected. Head is smallish but fairly creamy looking. Stickiness is decent but somewhat minimal.

The aroma is sweet with hints of (dark) fruit and some chocolate as well as touch of roasted caramel and an ever so slight hint of alcohol.

The flavour is similar to the aroma, but a bit more harsh/rugged from the malt. Chocolate and even a touch of coffee squeak through here and there and the fruit sweetness is still mixed in throughout. Alcohol is bumped up a slight notch from the aroma in terms of its presence, yet it is far from intrusive. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and again a bit lighter than expected for the style.

I enjoyed this one overall. It's well balanced and flavourful, with my only complaint being that it might be a bit too "light" (not literally) for an imperial stout. Still this one is tasty and definitely worth your time.

Serving type: bottle

04-21-2007 02:50:53 | More by guinness33
Photo of MaltyGoodness


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

22oz. bottle thanks to Ira

Pours a rich black color with a dark tan head that thins. Nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is slightly sweet of dark roasted malts with some nice cocoa and robust coffee tones.

Mildly sweet roasted malt tase upfront giving way to rich chocolate and coffee flavors. Finishes slightly sweet with a lingering mocha taste.

Medium body, mild carbonation. Body seems a little light for style.

Very nice imperial stout, goes down willingly. Could stand a bit more body, but certainly not a reason to pass this one by. I only wish I had Ira pick me up a second bomber.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2007 22:41:17 | More by MaltyGoodness
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 aforbes10


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

Thanks to Brewfan for this...poured super dark/black with an impressive bouncy puffy head. Looks great. Odor has a lot of chocolate, hints of vanilla, alcohol and malt...kind of a barley-like smell. This is a boozy, boozy beer. Sweet, truffle and coffee ground flavor mixed with a soft plummy and raisin flavor, finishing with more coffee and some bourbon. Very full and thick, like its been through a capucchino maker (and then laced scotch). A really good beer, as advertised by Brewfan. thanks a ton, dude.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 18:51:34 | More by aforbes10
Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 453 ratings.