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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 BadBadger

New York

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

Berkshire Imperial Stout pours forth from the bottle a nice dark color. The head was a tan color and moderate in both size and duration. The smell was mainly of of the alcohol cutting through the malts. NO hint of hops were detected by the olfactory apparatus. The taste was malty smoothness with just a bit of alcohol and bittering. This is a descent RIS which I am happy to have come across. While not a "must have", this is certainly a rather enjoyable brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2007 22:46:06 | More by BadBadger
Photo of Brent


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

On the scale between stout and Russian Imperial Stout, this beer is more than a stout, but a notch shy of a RIS in terms of density of flavor. Having said this, it is a darn tasty brew. Pitch black with a mocha head. A bit of dark chocolate in the aroma. Deep roasted malt flavor, with a hint of chocolate and some prune. ABV is well integrated in the flavor and sneaks up on you. A bit more drinkable than average. Thanks to far333 for this winner.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2007 17:42:47 | More by Brent
Photo of lordofthewiens


3.28/5  rDev -18.8%
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 Zorro


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

Review possible only because of Brewfan and Brews 'n' Tunes BIF.

In the glass this is a clear extremely dark brown colored beer that is very near black in color. Small brown head forms and then dies.

Smell sweet and extremely fruity with a lot of fig and raisin scent to it. Coffee and chocolate show up quite strongly as a quite strong Kahlua aroma. Alcohol is quite noticeable but not objectionable and it carries some black pepper spice to the nose.

Taste begins with sweet and full of heavy roasted patent malt and mostly the flavor of the grain roast. Very heavy grain roast flavor dominates for the first 3-4 sips but it doesn't taste burned. Once you get past the char, coffee is the strongest flavor and it is pretty much the taste of Starbucks over roasted version. Fairly boozy but no more so than Founders Breakfast Stout.

Mouthfeel is good.

Not a bad RIS at all but not a great one either. Great smell and competent in all respects this isn't a bad choice of a beer. If I were at the maker’s taproom I would most certainly order this. If on a shelf and Stone RIS is about the same price I would buy the Stone though.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2007 03:33:41 | More by Zorro
Photo of BeerSox


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

22oz bomber into wine glass.

Thick dark black with a light tan thin head that settles to a thin rim. Thin spotty lacing.

Light fruit notes on top of a dark roasty base. Some warming alcohol is also present.

The dark fruit notes are repeated in the flavor, along with the alcohol. Relatively light hop bitterness is present. Some alcohol can be tasted. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation, it becomes a little slick on the tongue. The thinner body gives it a bit of an acidic feel.

A bit of an odd RIS, as the big roasted malts don't hide the fruity esters as most other do. Still, it's respectable in its own right. It's well worth your try.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2006 01:40:47 | More by BeerSox
Photo of SteveO1231


4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. brown bomber, there is a place for a freshness date to be marked but this bottle has no date marked. Pours a dark black with a dark tan head that fades rather quickly but leaves a creamy layer of lacing inside the glass. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malts and a fruity hint of raisins, smells a little like a CHUNKY candy bar. Mouth feel is full bodied, fizzy texture. Taste is very sweet upfront, caramel, chocolate covered cherries and toffee, more of a roasted dryness comes through as well as an alcohol sting about halfway and leads to the finish which is totally dry with a bitterness of espresso. Complex, yet smooth beer, a great dessert beer because of the sweetness. ABV is noticeable mid-bottle and very warming, on the warmest Dec 1st New England has ever seen. Enjoy at room temp.


Serving type: bottle

12-02-2006 06:25:36 | More by SteveO1231
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 jmz62565


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

Pours a jet black with a large tan foamy head. The head leaves a long lasting lacing along with good head retention. This doesn't pour as "oil like" as other stouts or the head isn't as chocolatey yet this still is a good looking beer. The smell is dark fruit,coffee,and chocolate. The taste is coffee,chocolate, dark fruit, and carmel. A good mixture of flavors. The m/f is heavy with the flavors and the high alcohol warmth mixing well. A very good beer that will warm your winter nights.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2006 00:12:08 | More by jmz62565
Photo of Doomcifer

Rhode Island

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

Pours an inky black with a robust, frothy, caramel head that doesn't go anywhere. Beautiful lacing and a beaut of a beer.

Smells of sweet malts, chocolate, espresso, berries.

Taste is of more sweet malts, very roasty, overripe dark fruits ala dates/prunes?, bittersweet chocolate covered espresso beans, slight alcohol warm with an otherwise very well hidden abv content. Ends very roasty, slightly bitter, and semi-dry.

Mouthfeel is decently heavy with just the right amount of carbonation.

One of the most drinkable Imperial Stouts out there.

Serving type: bottle

11-25-2006 00:38:30 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of mountdew1

New Hampshire

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

Poured into a pint glass. Very dark color, no light passed through. Head initially poured as a dark red, but lightened to a tan. About 1 inch at start, dropped as drinking progressed, but remained entire time. Smelt initially with a hint of alcohol. Tasted of coffee with a slight dark fruit undertone. Slightly sweet, almost like a blackberry, but with no tartness. Felt good in mouth. Lingered just enough to make an impression, but didn't stick forever. Easy to drink. The whole bottle went down way to quickly. Overall a solid beer. Slight bitterness that hung around was noticable for the first glass worth, but not enough to detract from the flavor of the beer.

Serving type: bottle

11-02-2006 01:08:26 | More by mountdew1
Photo of bjohnson


4.65/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours a jet black oil like sludge color with a cloud like one and a half finger caramel colored head. Excellent retention and frost like lacing starting to form already. Thick film on top with bunches of bubbles here and there. Yup, just as I though, tons of lacing.
S: Nice deep roasted and burnt coffee notes with background hints of dark fruit, sweet caramel, and toasted grain.
T/M: Extra smooth and silky across the pallate with a good sweet milkyness to it. The sweetness of the milkyness possibly comes from caramel as there are bits that peak in and out. Or could that caramel really be chocolate? Tough to tell as both flavors seem to be aruging back and forth---ok, ok, upon further review, both are present. Chocolate is more noticeable in the aftertaste. Roasted coffee isn't as exciting to the taste buds as it was to the nostrils, but still it's noticeable. Bitterness from the hops gets a bit lost and mixed together with the bitterness from the coffee malt flavors, but not matter. The balance of this beer is excellent. Frothy head gets slightly sticky on the lips. Big, thick, and full body.
D: If I were you, I'd grab a ton of these--at that price ($4.99) you get more than your moneys worth. Fantastic tasting RIS with a smooth, but rich and full body. Abv is almost masked by the exceptional flavors and only caught out by the warming of the chest. Drinkable warm or at the appropriate 45-50 degree temp.

Serving type: bottle

10-20-2006 23:11:38 | More by bjohnson
Photo of bigone4

Rhode Island

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

This is an extremely wonderful stout offering. Well crafted and very enjoyable. Poured from a 22oz bottle a bit more in price that the average 22oz but it is a great beer. It is very dark black in color with a nice tanish off white head. No light penetrated thru this pint. Mild ruby color around the edges. There was a mild lacing around the glass not as much as I would have expected. There is a great chocolate roasted malt smell. Has some floral hints mixed with some caramel and coffee flavoring. Tastes delectable nice strong roasted malt flavor with a subtle finish of a distant floral hop taste. Definitely has the nice robust flavor you expect from an Imperial Stout. There are also strong coffee and chocolate flavors throughout the beer. Smooth and refreshing mix of flavor. There was a mild hint of sweetness. Not a lot of alcohol aftertaste but has a definite presence at 8.7% ABV. Great roasted malt flavorings followed by the mild hop finish. Very well crafted like all the Berkshire brews. I also had the pleasure of having a few samples with Chris at our apartment complex last night. Good times and a great finish to the night this Imperial Stout I had in the fridge at home. I hope to reinvest in a few more 22oz come this weekend.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2006 17:43:22 | More by bigone4
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 mcarroll10177


4.75/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle poured into my BBC pint glass

A- black as night with a coffee color off white head, tons of lacing left on the glass

S- some roasted malts with hints of licorish and bittersweet coffee

T- the roasted malts come through first, followed by some licorish and a nice warming alcohol. The alcohol is balanced bny the other favors and is not overpowering as in other RIS. Brilliant taste

M- smooth as velvet, just the right combination of carbination as well. Wonderful.

D- for a big stout this beer is dangerously drinkable. After a bomber of this you are all done. The alcohol is present but well masked by the other flavors.

The best stout I have had from my favorite american brewery. Makes me glad to live in Western MA.

Note- The beer was aged a bit to let the flavors develop. It was a winter release enjoyed 8/25. Let the flavors age for a few months and enjpy.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2006 22:42:11 | More by mcarroll10177
Photo of bwyker

New York

4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep brownish-black, not quite opaque. Thick smoky head, maybe half an inch, sticks around for a long time and leaves a trail of tanned lacing along the glass. Smells of rich coffee and sweet malts. Taste begins with cherries, followed by a woody, roasted malt with more cherries and hints of chocolate in the finish. Rather light and smooth start in the mouthfeel, with a thicker, heavy body in the finish. A bit of a “meal,” which takes some time to drink.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2006 06:27:26 | More by bwyker
Photo of gentlebubbles


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

On cask at Redbone's 6/5/06

Listed as Berkshire Imperial Porter. (or maybe my notes are wrong)

Dark chocolate brown with very light tan head built of tight and creamy bubbles.

Sweet malty scent.

Lovely silky body carrying winey flavors and dark, sweet malt with a
bit of smoke.

Serving type: cask

06-22-2006 00:49:43 | More by gentlebubbles
Photo of warriorsoul


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

A heavy, pitch black pour with a half finger of tan head...sticks around for a bit and leaves behind some thin lacing.
Nice aromas of toffee, milk chocolate, roasted malt and a hint of vanilla.
The taste is real enjoyable...roasty and nutty with a sprinkle of coffee for good measure. Pleasantly sweet, but not overly so...alcohol is very well hidden. Fairly thick mouthfeel and low in the carbonation which helps this one go down very easy.
A great offering in the style from the folks over at Berkshire.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2006 00:31:12 | More by warriorsoul
Photo of akahn


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

Pours a prune juice brown with a lasting foamy tan-brown head. Cola-red at the corners. This head lasts and lasts, until finally sinking to a smoothly rolling skim. Leaves an impressively thick lace all over the glass.

Juicy, fruity aroma. Slightly vinous, plus plum/prune notes. Sharp.

Very smooth, full body; creamy. Surprisingly mellow for the style, but flavorful. Milk chocolatey, slightly roasty, with a lot of espresso flavor. Just a hint of alcohol warmth. A lot less bitter than the handful of other big stouts I've had. Quite sweet, in fact, but despite a good deal of residual sugar, the roastiness makes it finish with a dry exhale.

The smoothness and mildness of this brew make it quite drinkable, but my roommate couldn't handle it. Check this one out.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2006 20:31:44 | More by akahn
Photo of alexgash


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

Thanks to chaduvel for escorting this bomber out to the Wasatch from Beantown. Pours a velvety black with a thick, finger and a half of glass-crawling, light brown (dark sand) head. Black licorice aromas mix with burnt caramel, tart vinous grapes, plum sauce, and an herbal hop ring. Good, but a touch understated. Taste starts off with roasted, charred malts. Approaches dark coffee bitterness, before sweet fruit and liquers come in. Herbal sweetness gives way to substantial hop bitterness and renewed roasted coffee. Warming and spicy. Medium/full bodied, with a rather dry finish. A nice version, but not my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2006 02:44:03 | More by alexgash
Photo of neonbrown82


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

This is a decent Imperial Stout. Thanks to ppoitras for sending it.

The beer pours fairly light for an Imperial Stout. The head is fairly thick and chocolatey but recedes to a film in a few minutes.

The smell is sweet and chocolatey, only lightly roasty. Has a bit of a black anise smell, like black liquorice. I don't particularly like that smell, but it's just enough to be pleasant in this instance.

The taste is good. Nice and chocolatey malt, fairly sweet. Decent hops. The anise is there as well, but very subtle. Very light coffee roastiness. Pretty good.

Decent mouthfeel, though still fairly light for the style. At 8.5% ABV it is also on the low end of the spectrum in that case. A little sweet for my tastes, perhaps, but still good.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2006 02:27:32 | More by neonbrown82
Photo of far333


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

Deep mahogany color with violet highlights. A shiny and grainy light brown head rises up thickly and slowly sinks. Aroma of smoke and powdery cocoa, roasted malt and molasses. Flavor is initially cocoa and sweet dark malt, a little charred bark and talc. Some ripe plum and the faintest of hops riding beneath. A bit of tangy brandy in the finish. Not as complex as the aroma had me believe. Smooth and full mouthfeel. Pretty drinkable, but moreso than I expected.

Serving type: bottle

03-16-2006 02:39:25 | More by far333
Photo of Matthew


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

Poors opaque black, thin sandy colored head. Has nice sticky lacing.
Some burnt malt aromas, very sweet in the nose, some alcohol, something like coffee ice cream.
Lots of sweetness up front but seperate from the light coffee and chocolate flavors that most certainly show up. There is a good amount of bitterness from the hops that are most tastable around the end of the sips journey down my throat along with the the alcohol.
Heavy thick viscous mouthfeel with alot of carbonation.
Although this imperial stout has some very nice flavors within it they dont seem to flow and blend together and make this a smooth imperial stout. Not a bad beer by any means though.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2006 16:33:35 | More by Matthew
Photo of francisweizen


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

22oz bomber: Sampled in Boston. Dark cola brown with a nice head of coffe and cream foam. Adequate lacing as well. Aromas of coffee, chocolate, cookies, and roasty malts as well as some nice herbal green hops. Taste is more of the same, but not so edgy though as the hops back off and the roastiness is subdued, this is melded into an easily drinkable yet rich, dessert-treat brew. A superbly drinkable low-kew, low abv version. Crafted with care, no doubt. It's nice to see a brewery go the other direction from that "high abv beers to push the envelope all the time regardless of sessionabiity or character" trends that the industry is embracing currrently. My congrats.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2006 15:59:15 | More by francisweizen
Photo of Hautacam


4.5/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Very black with an espresso head, which reduces to a collar.
Smells faintly of coffee, toffee , malt ..maybe a little chocolate, and alcohol.
Tastes very good...great balance of malt, caramel...a bit hoppy and slightly sweet. Gets better and better as it warms..more complex.
Good heavy mouthfeel. Medium micro-carbonation...very smooth...velvety.
It's high ABV might make me limit it to one....but with a designated driver ....I'd have a few more for sure.
This is very good.

Serving type: on-tap

02-13-2006 22:41:34 | More by Hautacam
Photo of MuddyFeet

North Carolina

3.4/5  rDev -15.8%
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
Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 453 ratings.