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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.

478 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 478
Reviews: 300
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 10.89%
Wants: 71
Gots: 41 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 478 | Reviews: 300 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tpd975
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
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
4/5  rDev -1%
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
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
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
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
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
3.15/5  rDev -22%
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.

Photo of ph2001
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle in pint glass

pours thick with no real head retention. very dark color, red slivers of light when held up to light.

thick and creamy. the alcohol isn't felt in the mouth, but in the throat. not particularly sweet or heavy flavored, but there is a slight lingering bitterness. mild compared to most IS.

Photo of jaxon53
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served this slightly chilled, in a pint glass, from a twenty two ounce bottle. Should be another pretty decent offering from Berkshire.

Appearance: Berkshire Imperial Stout pours out a thin lookin, oily black color that was almost penetrated by light. Beer is capped by a finger of thick, off white froth, after a semi hard pour. Each sip leaves thin, web like lace on the sides of the glass. Pretty decent head retention.

Smell: A nice roasty/toasty malt aroma out front, followed by a smooth roasted coffee note. Rich notes of semi sweet chocolate and toffee. Not a bit of noticeable alcohol in the nose.

Taste: This one needs a few minutes on the counter to bring out some richer flavors. Definitely some sweet roasted malt flavors that seem to have a faint smokiness. Just a hint of some bitter hops. Nice caramel and cocoa powder like flavors. Again, alcohol is quite subdued. Finishes smooth.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, just about full bodied mouthfeel. Plenty of prickly carbonation is felt on the tongue and throat. A bit on the thin side, but silky feeling.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for a Russian Imperial Stout thanks to the lower ABV. Not a bad R.I.S. though. Berkshire does it again.

Photo of mmmbeer
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz. with no freshness date; unfiltered and unpasteurized with some sediment on the bottom of the bottle. Almost black with some ruby edges, topped with a frothy inch of slowly-receding, brown head. Its fairly mild aroma consists of lightly-burnt coffee and a soft roastiness. Raisins and roasted malts on the palate, along with suggestions of tobacco, oats, and an earthy flavor that is difficult to pin down. This, and green, almost tropical hops that impart a medium finish and a hint of yeast ride the medium, smooth and dry body that has a roasted/mildly hoppy finish. Not the best, but definitely a drinkable brew that really comes into its own as it warms.

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

Pours a semi-transparent dark brown with a small tan head that does not cling to the glass at all.

Smells of coffee and chocolate malts, roasted. Fairly pleasant, but almost seems like a porter instead of a RIS.

One taste quickly dispels those notions. This is definitely a stout. I have had it aging for about six months (and got it in a trade before that so who knows how old it is), so it has definitely mellowed over time. The hops aren't very sharp, and the malts are nice and smooth. The taste is full of chocolate and roastiness. This is a nice beer. I love what a year in the cellar does to a great stout.

Overall: Find it. Age it. Drink it.

Photo of robbyc1
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to mrquartetman for getting this for me on his east coast trip.

A: Classic stout, black with tan head
S: Roasty malt sticks out with coffee/chocolate notes, not too spicy.
T: Very dark and creamy with coffee/choc notes like the smell, not as hoppy as I expect for a RIS. Very smooth drinker, lovely easy flavor, could do the whole 22oz no problem, no alchohol noticable.
M: Very creamy, very smooth, a nice sipper.
D: Very good for the style, easier to sip than most RIS's. Way to go Berkshire, I'lll be looking for more.

Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the sample Jamie2dope

Dark brown but entirely cherry red when held to light with noticeable and attractive carbonation, a chocolate milk skim, and eventually great lacing. Quite attractive.

Aroma: Subdued compared to all the monsters out there these days. Lots of roasted malt and bitter chocolate.

Taste: Well roasted and toasted with plenty of chocolate notes. Berry like yeast, with a hint of cherry. Coffee is minimal at best.

Mouthfeel: Easy going and light compared to most. Balanced with a moderately dry finish.

Drinkability: better than many.

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

Pours like a black fountain from the bottle showing only hints of brown from the stream just before it settles to opaque darkness in the glass. Hossts a one inch thick nouget colored head. Fades to a skim in minutes. Nose has hints of coco and smokey malt with a bit of zesty spice. Rich toasty carmalized malt covers the mouth on first sip. even and thick with a peppery hint on the end of the palate. Dark toffee and bready tones mix with coco and alchol to round out an even flavor profile. Easy drinking with nice sweetness overall. That sweet alchol feel is a little scattered but only slightly. Mouthfeel is thick and rich. Drinkability reflects that of a well made stout.

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.

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!

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

Kinda light for an imperial stout in color. White bubbles,thin head. Nose is sweet and choclately. Minimal hops on the finish. Good maltiness, but just doesn't have the weight that I look for in a great imperial stout. All in all, solid if not spectacular.

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

So how does this one size up?
Well let me start with the pour. The pour was very nice. The head was high though I will admit it is possible the glass may not have been properly rinsed out. The color was a dark almost black. I would compare the color to that of Dr. Pepper. You can see some light towards the bottom which bodes very well for this style. The taste is extremely well balanced. You do not get too much malt nor hops. I am not a fan of the stout style but this one is a one worth having again. There is a bite of an after taste but that is quickly over looked. I have a bit of a stuffy nose due to allergies so I can not really give you a smell review.

Photo of awall422
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bought this bottle from Andover Liquors.

Pours black with a 3 inch light tan head, very active carbonation. Excellent lacing, frithy head lasted a long time.

Aromas are typical for a RIS, roasty, coffee, chocolatey.

Taste was light sweet, not much bitterness. Coffee and chocolate with maybe a little butterscoth coming through?

Fairly thin for a RIS, nice clean finish, doesn't really coat the palate.

This beer almost seemed like a hybrid to me, it's got all the good characteristics of a stout and their accentuated, but at 8.5% it is a lot easier to drink than some of the over the top RIS examples. Could see having a couple of pints of this on a cold night. Definitely a good option to try.

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

This beer pours a black color with a nice tan colored head that laces down the glass very well. The aroma is of sweet dark roasted malts, some chocolate and nut aroma as well. The taste is great for an Imperial Stout. Nice sweet roasted malt backbone layered with an earthy hop bitterness so it isn't too sweet. The finish is nice with a chocolate and earthy nutty flavor. The mouthfeel is good - very smooth. The drinkability is good, especially for a beer of this gravity. It tastes like it has less alcohol in it, which makes it a beer well worth trying.

Photo of JackWeizen
4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After staring at the beer selection for 20 minutes, unable to commit to anything, I picked up a 22 of this stuff. I have really enjoyed the BBC's beers in the past.

My pour yields a very dark almost mahogany color, a thick head, and some very light lacing.

Smell and taste are fantastic with chocolaty malts, very little burnt character. There is a candy-like sweetness that lingers. Hops are present, but are mostly in the background. A slight yeastiness gives this beer a roundness that I feel is lacking from most filtered beer.

I could drink this stuff all day. Sure its an imperial stout, but it goes down like a dry stout. Well, almost anyway. I'd like to cellar one of these for a year, but i'm not sure what to think of the "Keep Refrigerated" advice on the label.

Photo of Jwale73
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a standard pint glass. Poured an opaque, dark brown; no light penetration. Three-fingered head slowly settled into a thin consistent skim of foam. Thick, sticky lacing, but adherence was somewhat spotty. Scent of malt and chocolate, as well as a subtle presence of dark fruit. Taste similar to nose with a bit of molasses detectable. Mouthfeel was good, but a little thinner than expected, which resulted in poor flavor retention between sips. Slight effervescence with a mild hops presence gives a little bit of a bite at the finish. Alcohol is very well hidden making this a fairly drinkable RIS.

Photo of Stoneman78
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle obtained in trade with Jwale73, poured into a Stone OG tulip glass

Appearance is a clear dark brown hue, thick dense brown foamy bubbles mostly sustains, fair lacing sticks to the glass

Smell is a range of sweet malts (coffee/chocolate/roast), slight molasses and bittering hops, subtle alcohol

Taste is subtle milk chocolate, followed up by roast and coffee malts, slight grassy/earthy hops in the middle, hints of dark fruits and molasses/brown sugar, finish is bittersweet

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, thick and chewy texture, mild carbonation

Drinkability is moderate, well-balanced RIS that is solid but not showy in any way, nice malt profile is consistent throughout the drink, alcohol is muted at 8.5%, another nice ale from BBC, well worth trying but nothing too stellar here

Photo of currysage1
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Best by 6/17/08

With a hard pour the head comes up one and a half fingers, great fine bubbled khaki head, almost silky. The kind you don't mind getting a brew "moustache" from. Stays the entire ride through the bomber. We were all kids once.
Dark as 1970's motor oil that never got changed. With mahogany peeking out at the corners.

Grain, alcohol, cloves, and dark figs come to mind on the smell.

Typical flavors of an Imperial, dark chocolate, but not the bitter unsweetened one, coffee but not espresso, dark fruits like the nose but not really fig, a little more bitter (currants?). Slight alcohol twinge in the beginning. It fades towards the end but never goes away.

Nice creamy mouthfeel yet it doesn't make me want to sip slowly, as I would normally do with an Imperial. Goes down smooth, and I could definately have another, but then again I like stouts more than most people.

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

Just finished this.... wow, I had heard this was good and have tried most of BBCs other beers, but this one has a nice stance between other stouts I like such as SN stout and rasputin. The head retention was silky and persistent, the roasted malt flavor comes through perfectly amid a simultaneous sweetness and bitterness. There's not a lot of complexity, but when you can mainline pure roasted barely like this, and in a very balanced way, it is just a solid beer experience.

Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
91 out of 100 based on 478 ratings.