1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Dark Sky Imperial Stout - Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom

Not Rated.
Dark Sky Imperial StoutDark Sky Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

95 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 95
Reviews: 71
rAvg: 3.77
pDev: 11.94%
Wants: 6
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom visit their website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 03-01-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 95 | Reviews: 71 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BEERchitect


4.3/5  rDev +14.1%

And so the brewery at the foot of Mount Juji borrows Russian influence when adapting the roasty, alcoholic, and robustly flavors found in stout that shows that there's no limit to the flavors or techniques that influence their beers.

With a certain stouty appearance, the Dark Sky carries a nearly black coloration, if ever so tilted toward brownish hues because of the stain of roasted barley. A turbulent pour from the large format bottle yields a much lighter than expected carbonation that struggles to find a cask-like loosely knit head that's equally stained with tan. After relaxing a bit, the head settles like coffee creme and skirts the surface of the beer intermittently yet consistently.

The aromas of coffee and chocolate swirl about the nose with impressions of coffeehouse mocha lattes. Diving a bit deeper, the underpinnings of scorched toffee, rum-ish alcohol, and esters that belong to cherries, raspberries, vinous red grapes, and tawny port come to mind in the most savory and succulent aromas possible.

With a first draw off the rim, the flavors of the beer seem scattered with the taste of roasted coffeeish grain, cocoa powder, and ash. But as the subtle carbonation evens out, the beer reasonably light zest of carbon dioxide allows the beer to sit heavy on the tongue with an evenly and velvety coat of malt afterwards. Brownie batter, decedent espresso, and heavily caramelized molasses cling to the surface of the mouth with smothering charm.

Where the label boasts the integration of hop flavor and bitterness, I find those elements to be moderate if not understated. The bitterness of the beer are easily rendered from the coffee roast as much as it is from woodish hops. While pleasantly bitter and slightly astringent with the texture of grape skin and grain tannin, the finish is indefinite and powers through the warm alcohol thinning for a linger of robustly sweet malts that meld seamlessly with the next sip.

The pop of the cap provided the assurance of carbonation, but the pour caused caution to the eye. However, the beer's understated carbonation actually accents beer flavor in all its glory and all its flaws. In other words, the seduction of carbonation eludes the beer and leaves it wonderfully naked.

08-07-2012 06:24:03 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of kaips1


2.75/5  rDev -27.1%

07-17-2012 05:58:07 | More by kaips1
Photo of bluejacket74


3.55/5  rDev -5.8%

633 ml bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with a half inch tan head that stays around for a little while. Not much lacing. The aroma is nice, the brew smells like roasted malt, chocolate, toffee, and some coffee. The flavor is more bitter than I expected it to be since the aroma was sweeter. It tastes like dark chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, and some licorice. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit coating but it also seems thin for an imperial stout. The carbonation is low. I think it's a solid brew, but I was disappointed in this one since the other Baird beers I've tried in the past I liked a lot. I'd like to try this again in the future, but I think I'll wait a while before I do. $10.98 a bottle.

07-14-2012 21:33:36 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of Jsenay


4.03/5  rDev +6.9%

Served from bottle into Russian River tulip

A - Pours a dark brown nearing black with tons of carbonation and a great head retention that lingers for some time. Very thick lacing.

S - Roasted malts, coffee, toffee, caramel, bakers chocolate

T - Huge flavor explosion of chocolate, dates, coffee and cream. Heavy roasted malt aftertaste.

M - Very smooth and creamy up front. Slightly bitter with a creamy and moderately dry/chalky finish.

O - Very delicious. It can be almost too bitter and dry on the finish but, it fits this beer style very well. It also seems that this beer is rather inconsistent due to some reviewers opening bottles that are basically flat/sour/oxidized. Suppose I lucked out with this one. Either way, this is my first beer from Baird and I am definitely looking forward to trying more of what they have to offer.

07-13-2012 07:43:25 | More by Jsenay
Photo of kaelingirl


4/5  rDev +6.1%

06-01-2012 03:56:34 | More by kaelingirl
Photo of champ103


3.48/5  rDev -7.7%

A: Pours a dark brown, nearly black color. A one finger tan head forms, good retention. Light lace.
S: Roasted malt, plenty of sweetness. Caramel, vanilla, chocolate, coffee.
T: Follows the nose, and pretty standard for a stout. Roasted malt, caramel sweetness, coffee, lots of chocolate.
M/D: A medium-full body. Low carbonation and on the thin side. Not hard to sip on, but one is enough.

Not bad at all, but just average. Enjoyable to try once, but a one and done for me.

05-19-2012 00:22:08 | More by champ103
Photo of RblWthACoz


3.4/5  rDev -9.8%

Eh. This beer lack balance. Too malty tangy with a sweet edge that just doesn't work. There are some mild smoked tones that don't mesh well at all. It's lacking and poorly constructed. Doesn't work at all for me. A shame too, considering the price.

05-09-2012 05:27:45 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of shigg85


4.75/5  rDev +26%

05-07-2012 08:16:25 | More by shigg85
Photo of SawDog505

New Hampshire

2.65/5  rDev -29.7%

Poured into a 20 oz Duvel tulip. Pours a very dark brown with a half inch of tan head with a very aggressive pour, little nervous something isn't right with this brew, but there is some spotty lacing. Smell is chocolate, coffee, molasses, and tobacco. Taste is dark chocolate, coffee, tobacco, and dark fruit. Body is thin, very little carbonation, dry even for the style, and not overly drinkable because of lack of life and body. Very big let down and I really don't think it was a spoiled bottle, because there was some carbonation and some lacing. First time ever saying this, but this my last bottle of this ever.

04-28-2012 23:38:06 | More by SawDog505
Photo of jdhilt

New Hampshire

4.23/5  rDev +12.2%

Pours with a two finger khaki head that fades quickly to ring layer, leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Chocolate nose and flavor is roasted malty chocolate. High ABV is hidden. Not labeled a RIS but tastes like one. $9.99 for a 633ml bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, Vt.

04-27-2012 22:09:27 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Jhatwig

4/5  rDev +6.1%

04-04-2012 03:26:06 | More by Jhatwig
Photo of kojevergas


2.08/5  rDev -44.8%

633ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired at Wally's Wine in Westwood, California. Expectations are average. Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over time. Not paired with food.

A: Pours no head whatsoever - excepting traces of floating tan foam on the edges. Colour is a solid off-black. Not real appealing, especially for the style. 9.00% doesn't excuse how bad/nonexistant this head is. The colour is suspect; it isn't quite black.

Sm: Roast and hops. Some light chocolate. Caramelized malt. A light to mild strength aroma overall.

T: Some roast and caramel alongside some hops. Imbalanced and badly built for the style. The lack of sufficient carbonation lends it a watery character, and it might even be a bit astringent. Some alcohol does come through. The hops are nice. I don't like it.

Mf: Horribly undercarbonated/flat. Smooth and wet. Too thick; a bit syrupy.

Dr: Difficult to drink because of its bad flavour and lack of carbonation. Not in any way refreshing. The ABV is poorly concealed. I'd never get this again, and I'll be regarding any future beers from this brewer with heavy skepticism. Inexcusable. This beer never should have made it to market.


02-15-2012 01:21:20 | More by kojevergas
Photo of jondeelee


3.88/5  rDev +2.9%

Dark Sky opens with a malty, yeasty nose that also bears a slight sourness, as of rising sourdough bread or marble rye dough. Black and chocolate malts are dominant, as are dark and sour fruit esters such as black cherry, fig, raisin, and prune. Some of the sour aromas may stem from a large hop addition, which does bring lemon/lime notes, as well as some grapefruit. As a whole, the nose is potent and nicely geared towards darker aromas, with just enough ash and tobacco to bring a smoky quality to what promises to be a sugary, chewy mouthful.

On the tongue, the beer opens with the same strangely sour notes detected in the nose, as in sourdough breads, lemon/lime sodas, and dandelion stems, these backed by a massive black and chocolate malt base that adds huge black coffee, tobacco, ash, and burnt offerings to the mix. The sourness lasts throughout the mouthful, not irritating or offputting, but definitely strange, as in when bright garlic-lemon collard greens are paired with the blackened ends of a well-done roast. These plant-stem notes become somehow more potent in subsequent mouthfuls, overpowering even the darker malts. The aftertaste is a continuation of the same, though the sour notes do die off faster than do the tobacco and ash flavors, leaving a more pleasant and familiar Imperial Stout memory. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium-light.

Overall, this is certainly one of the more strange Imperial Stouts I've tasted, and knowing the beer is from Japan, I couldn't help but make soy sauce associations with the sour notes present in the mouthful. My bottle lacks a born-on date, so I have no idea what aging has happened since this was bottled. The beer does seem out-of-balance, however, as the plant stem/soy sauce/sour notes actually distract from the far more sugary and dark base--a base that would be enjoyable, were it more apparent. The beer also suffers from a slight alcoholic bite, the 9% ABV not quite hidden.

01-27-2012 21:02:57 | More by jondeelee
Photo of silentjay


3.65/5  rDev -3.2%

dark brown to black with a big-bubbled mocha head that quickly dissipates while leaving behind some good lacing.

lots of dark fruits and molasses as well as some tropical fruit hoppiness that makes for an odd aroma that isn't bad by any means.

flavor is a lot more roasted and a bit chalky with just a bit of dark fruits and some woody hops. cacao and a touch of coffee come in to play, though were not evident in the aroma.

medium bodied and syrupy with just a touch of carbonation and a drying chalky finish.

not bad. But it doesn't compare at all to the best of the style. Would drink it again, but not buy it.

01-03-2012 06:17:06 | More by silentjay
Photo of IronDjinn

Alberta (Canada)

3.6/5  rDev -4.5%

From a 633 ml brown bottle. Pours out a dense opaque black hue, with a tall spongy mocha coloured head that slowly settles to a thick cap.

Aroma reveals some coffee, molasses, dry roasty grains, black currants, some dark dried fruit.

Sharp roasty notes up front in the flavour, along with a burnt and sour character from the roasted malt, espresso, char, and a touch of smoke. Some molasses sweetness peaks on the finish along with chocolate. Charred roastiness lingers on in the aftertaste.

Medium-full bodied mouthfeel, creamy, velvety smooth texture, moderate carbonation.

My first impression is that this sits as an RIS more due to the abv% than its character. It an enjoyable strong stout in its own right, but lacks a few typical characteristics of a typical RIS. Quite dry, and nothing wrong with that, and also rather mild in flavour although it does deliver a bit of complexity. On a personal level it's missing some oomph, although a degree of refinement is a skill of craft on its own as well. I'm not inspired to grab another one of these, yet am happy I tried it, Baird makes pretty solid beers regardless.

01-02-2012 01:41:20 | More by IronDjinn
Photo of DoctorB2B


4/5  rDev +6.1%

11-20-2011 18:59:49 | More by DoctorB2B
Photo of phichifiji00


3.5/5  rDev -7.2%

Appearance: black with tan head. No lacing.

Smell: roasted malt, chocolate, some hop presence.

Taste: roasted malt, chocolate, a bit hoppy.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, moderate carbonation, smooth.

Overall: A good imperial stout. Not very complex. Good drinkability.

11-16-2011 16:45:04 | More by phichifiji00
Photo of richbrew

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +6.1%

11-15-2011 13:50:02 | More by richbrew
Photo of oline73


3/5  rDev -20.4%

11-15-2011 02:24:40 | More by oline73
Photo of dgilks


3.93/5  rDev +4.2%

Pitch black with a big, creamy, tan head. Good head retention.

Malty and slightly sweet. Some chocolate and roast. Very lightly fruity. Nice.

Rounded malt and chocolate with plenty of fruitiness. A wonderful combination. If anything, I seek a bit more roast and a more robust chocolate or coffee note.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Just a touch astringent. Good.

A very nice RIS with good flavour but lacking a bit or robustness. I think it is a good beer and another quality product from Baird.

11-04-2011 08:28:58 | More by dgilks
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

4.03/5  rDev +6.9%

Pours solid black in color with a huge fluffy khaki head that shows great retention and lace. Smells predominately of dark fruits, cherries and berries mixed with a little chocolate and roast. Earthy hops cut through some of the malt to balance things out a bit. Taste is a bit vinous. Roasted grains have been used sparingly but are present enough to provide some chocolate and coffee flavors. Caramel, fruit, and burnt sugar round out the flavors quite nicely. Medium to thick body, creamy smooth mouthfeel, Light level of carbonation. Wow this is a really good stout. Reminds me of Expedition a bit, well what I remember it to be. I didn't really get the torrential hop downpour that was promised me from the side of the label, but with no bottle dating I have no idea how fresh this is. Honestly its drinking great right now.

10-02-2011 01:01:21 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of EgadBananas


3.73/5  rDev -1.1%

Black body, with a creamy dark tanned head. leaves a nice lacing.

Aroma is mostly roasted malts, with a more herbal, minty hop note.

Chocolate, roasted malts, and a bit of coffee dance around with a fairly bitter hop bite and finish.

Creamy, medium to full body.

This might be a slightly aged bottle with the more muted hop notes, so I'd love to try a fresh bottle. It's still a pretty good stout.

10-01-2011 04:30:39 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

3.63/5  rDev -3.7%

Bottle shared by Steve and Zach, 633ml into some tulips.

Poured black with a tan coloured head, some sticky lace and a creamy cap of retention. Nose has alot of hops, big black licorice notes and molasses. Soy and some dark fruits come through as well - some currant and stone fruits. Taste has more sweet licorice notes and hops which battle on the front end of the sip, before giving way to strong coffee and espresso like notes. Finish is sweet and roasty, with some alcohol. Medium full feel, with medium carbonation. Roasty coffee notes extend wayyy into the finish. A bit too hoppy for my liking within the style however.

09-16-2011 15:34:45 | More by liamt07
Photo of PorterLambic


4.6/5  rDev +22%

Pours a deep, extremely dark, brown. A dark tan head (think of a mug of hot chocolate) rises big and creamy looking. Dissipation is even and not too quick but a thick film is all that remains after three minutes. Decent lace, though.
Smell is rich with notes of roasted malt, soy, whiskey-soaked raisins and whole wheat bread. Very fruitcake-y.
Taste is notes of malt and soy, whiskey, wheat, dark fruit, light smoke, coffee and faint hops.
Rich and smooth, creamy and full-bodied with a very light effervescence. Slightly dry finish with a coating of the palate. Aftertaste is a nice slow fade, warming in the back of the throat. An extremely good beer. Drink one.

08-28-2011 00:51:26 | More by PorterLambic
Photo of YouSkeete


4.33/5  rDev +14.9%

A: Thick, dark, and cloudy black with a one finger dark tan head. Weak retention on the head, fades into bubbles and turns quickly into moderate lacing.

S: Big molasses and caramel upfront. Notes of sweet dark chocolate, bitter coffee and dark fruits with some hints of black malts and smooth barley. Roasted nuttiness and wood in the aroma as well.

T/M: Smooth bittersweet chocolate, dark black malts and molasses on the taste upfront. Nutty flavors and aged wood give a full flavor to the body, while chocolate, vanilla and coffee flavors allow a balance of sweetness. The taste of heavy cream and cloves also gives a smooth sweetness to the body. The fruits that were in the nose are scarce in the body. The 9% ABV is perfect for this brew. Nice moderate carbonation, medium body. Sweet, flavorful and moderately complex.

D: Highly impressed with this Imperial. Amazing drinbkability, maybe a bit strong on the level of sweetness, but nothing i can hate on. Very well done, Japan.

07-19-2011 03:20:14 | More by YouSkeete
Dark Sky Imperial Stout from Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom
85 out of 100 based on 95 ratings.