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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.

466 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 466
Reviews: 299
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.14%
Wants: 67
Gots: 40 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 466 | Reviews: 299 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

merlin48, Jul 27, 2007
Photo of WesWes
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.

WesWes, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of Sammy
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.

Sammy, Jul 22, 2007
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

horshack7, Jul 16, 2007
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!

NEhophead, Jul 12, 2007
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.

blitz134, Jun 15, 2007
Photo of mshallah
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.

mshallah, Jun 01, 2007
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.

Westsidethreat, May 10, 2007
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.

weeare138, Apr 24, 2007
Photo of SixpointJMH
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.

SixpointJMH, Apr 21, 2007
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.

MaltyGoodness, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of mikesgroove
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!

mikesgroove, Feb 27, 2007
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.

aforbes10, Feb 24, 2007
Photo of BadBadger
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.

BadBadger, Jan 31, 2007
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.

Brent, Jan 15, 2007
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.

lordofthewiens, Jan 10, 2007
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.

Zorro, Jan 06, 2007
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.

BeerSox, Dec 21, 2006
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.


SteveO1231, Dec 02, 2006
Photo of TheManiacalOne
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.

TheManiacalOne, Dec 02, 2006
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.

jmz62565, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of Doomcifer
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.

Doomcifer, Nov 25, 2006
Photo of mountdew1
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.

mountdew1, Nov 02, 2006
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.

bjohnson, Oct 21, 2006
Photo of bigone4
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.

bigone4, Oct 13, 2006
Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
90 out of 100 based on 466 ratings.