Imperial Stout - Boulevard Brewing Co.

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout

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1,128 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,128
Reviews: 350
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.29%
Wants: 253
Gots: 370 | FT: 30
Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co. visit their website
Missouri, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  11.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-23-2008

Like India Pale Ale, the classic Imperial Stouts were originally brewed with high levels of alcohol and hops to withstand the rigors of a long sea journey, not to India but to Imperial Russia and the Baltic States. Our version is an over-the-top riff on the style, with a huge grain bill featuring several kinds of malted barley, wheat, rye, oats, and spelt. Robust grain and coffee flavors are counterbalanced by date and plum notes from the Belgian yeast. To add extra complexity and depth, this Imperial Stout is made up of a blend of freshly brewed beer and several barrel-aged beers, carefully balanced. Za Vas!

63 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,128 | Reviews: 350
Reviews by doughanson78:
More User Reviews:
Photo of watermelon
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2013 vintage.
A: Pours a thick inky black with a foamy mocha head. The head diminishes slowly although a cap still lingers.

S: not super complex at first mostly chocolate and booze with some dark fruit sweetness.

T: Whiskey dominates.

F: Very viscous sweetness sticks to the teeth long after a sip. There is a burn, but its not that bad for a 12% beer.

O: Fairly decent beer. Although not one I would want to drink regularly.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #5753 of 11960.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a tall, foamy, tan-colored head.

Smell: Huge, rich roasted malt aroma jam-packed with acute notes of chocolate, mocha, blackstrap molasses, and aniseed side by side with a scent of fresh-baked nine-grain bread.

Taste: Tempting tastes of dark, roasted malts, full of dark chocolate sauce, molasses, Java 'Dutch Estate' Coffee, anise, and caramel with a moderate amount of sweetness to attend to. Slight smoky, charred grain character and hint of wood-fired oats. Thin vein of dark fruitiness lurking within. Bold mix of roasty, resiny bitterness, though it falls a tad short of balancing the sweetness. Touch of warming alcohol (though comparatively light considering the ABV percentage) on the sweetish, highly roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A top-notch, surprisingly drinkable Imperial Stout and my favorite of the Smokestake Series thus far. Nice work, Boulevard.

Photo of oberon
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle.Pours jet black with no light getting thru,a full two finger deep beige head atop that settles very slowly into a frothy mass.Aromas of dark fruti stand out most with lighter whiskey barrel notes,not in your face.A smooth creamy fuller feel makes for a good sipping brew.Alot of dark fruit on the palate along with dark molasses and chocolate,there is a detectable earthiness in the finish wich was nice.Not a big roasty/coffee influnced imperial stout here it's more of a dark fruit and sweeter brew.I like it alot,the barrel aging doesn't overpower the beer.

Photo of brownbeer
4.53/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Starts out with a loud pop and pours black with a lofty, rocky brown head.

Aroma consists of oats, rye, dark chocolate, vanilla, nutty oak, hops, and coffee.

Taste starts soft with oaky and roasty chocolate flavors turning into a big finish of hops and alcohol warmth in my belly.

Quite drinkable considering the alcohol. A rich and complex brew to contemplate.

Great beer and a perfect winter warmer. Get it and hold on to it.

Photo of Beaver13
3.99/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, dated 2011 - # 13032; batch 2011-2, best by 01/2013. Pours a dark black-brown with a large nitro like creamy brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is dark fruits and some black licorice, vinous alcohol and wood and some brett.

The flavor is sweet molasses, chocolate, dark fruit and vinous alcohol with some black licorice and roasted bitterness at the finish. The mouthfeel is is pretty full bodied and creamy.

Overall, it's a little young with the sweetness, vinous alcohol and bitter roast not blending really well yet. It could be very nice with a bit of age.

Photo of Jared14
2.11/5  rDev -49.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 1 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Originally had this on tap in Dec and it was outstanding (4.15) but revisited it on tap 2 weeks ago, and it tasted off. Opened a bottle on Tuesday and was much more noticeably off. This year's batch seems to have been infected, specifically with some lacto. The beer poured well but smelled like nail polish remover and tasted sour. The bar's manager, a certified Cicerone agreed and emailed the distributor and brewery the next day.

Photo of cschepers
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Boulevard Imperial Stout from a tightly corked bomber (had to use pliers) --> big wine glass.

A - Pours used motor oil black, no light getting through this one. Surprising amount of cappuccino-colored head, a little bit seems to stick around. Easily passes the "pencil test." Very nice lacing.

S - Fireplace smoke, a zillion different dark roasted malts, pencil lead. Just a tiny bit of sweetness.

T - No way this thing is this smooth... Mountains of malts.. oats, barley, rye. Baker's chocolate, coffee, espresso. Bits of burnt wood. Just enough metallic hops and the tiniest bit of sweetness just to bundle all the malt together. A little bit of boozy alcohol warming in the back. Aftertaste is of roasted malts and burnt coffee.

M - Thick and fairly slick. Just a little bit of carbonation, but don't expect much.

D - Not sure how to really rate this. Really good for an impy stout, but that's all pretty relative. Drink it fast and you'll get sick, drink it slow and you'll enjoy it nicely. The high ABV will also get you. Hard to believe there's 11% alcohol in this, it is very well hidden.

Pretty darn good imperial stout. Nicely balanced (if there is such a thing), it isn't hop-tarded like some (Old Rasputin).. very good stuff.

Photo of Jason
4.24/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml brown bottle with a vintage date of 2011. Bottle No. 8061.

Brewery states they did pick up some brett recently, popped the cork off ... corked talked about brett to me, more fruit than funk. Pours with a sudsy light brown head, lacing is impressive ... black as black can be. Aromatics are titans, mellow barrel juice and char, roasted grain of dark chocolate and espresso and a delicate kiss of over ripened fruit ... a whisper of brett as well. Creaminess is set on high, full body floats in the mouth. The maltiness is big on dark chocolate and a sweetened Cubano coffee. Fruity and alcoholic with a growing dryness that wields a hammer of cocoa powder and wood. Molasses. Hops stay modest. Mild tartness, infancy of the brett? It does have a ghost-like funk within. Sweet roasted finish, pretty much burnt sugar.

Not a hair short of being great, the brewery admits to some funk ... wish I had another bottle to see where it goes.

Photo of tigg924
4.17/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: low carbonation, 1/2 head, opaque, dark brown in color

Smell: deep oak, vanilla, char, and roasted malt. This smells amazing.

Taste: nice oaking, sweet vanilla, char, roasted malt, and espresso

Mouthfeel: sweet with slight roasty bitterness, medium-heavy body, moderate carbonation

Overall: One of the better of the Smokestack series. I really like the oak and coffee taste. Glad I was finally able to obtain a bottle. I will purchase this again in 2015 if I can find it.

Photo of Mora2000
4.37/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to thirdeye11 for sharing this bottle. 2011 vintage.

The beer pours a very dark brown to black color with a tan head.

The aroma is great. I get some licorice and dark fruit notes, as well as a lot of oak, roasted malt and some chocolate. You can get all of the notes that you expect in a bourbon barrel aged stout,

The flavor is more of the same. I get a lot of milk chocolate as well as some woodiness from the oak, some bourbon whiskey notes, maple and vanilla. There is also some nice alcohol warming in the flavor.

Medium to thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation. Outstanding.

Photo of 1Adam12
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 2011 batch 1 bottle. No head. Very dark jet black color. I couldn't see through the glass at all when I held it up. Heavy whiskey smell on the nose with some roasts and chocolate. Big whiskey flavors, followed by roasted malt with coffee and chocolate on the tail end. I feel like my throat is coated in whiskey. Nicely balanced however I wonder if the whiskey will mellow after sitting in my closet for a few years. I liked this beer.

Photo of bsp77
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Near black with moderate tan head and decent lacing.

Smell: Oak, molasses and chocolate mostly, with some dark fruit and bourbon notes.

Taste: Molasses and chocolate core, along with some dark fruits and a hint of coffee. Strong whiskey notes as well, with definite oak and a slight sourness. I would be interested in knowing what whiskey was used as I am getting a mix of fuller Bourbon notes and spicier Rye notes.

Feel: Not quite as full bodied as expected or desired, but the smooth, creamy texture more than makes up for that. Carbonation is mostly in check.

Overall: Nice barrel-aged Imperial Stout that is somewhat unique.

Photo of magictrokini
4.33/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from South Bay. Let this one warm up. Poured jet black with an impressive thick, creamy tan head. Sticky lacing. Heavy chocolate and roasted malt nose. Smoke, leather, oak, some bourbon, and oats as well. Velvety smooth mouthfeel with light carbonation. Love how it coats your mouth. Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt hits you first. More sweet than bitter, but held in check. Rich coffee flavor (without the acidity), anise, caramel, and creamy milk-chocolate flavors come through. Hints of bourbon and an earthy smokiness pop occasionally. No soy sauce or wooden flavors, just a thick, lovely stout. The alcohol is well masked, but gives a pleasant warmth. Please brew more of this.

Photo of Justin8mypants
4.19/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage. Opened on June 7 2015. Really nice.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the 2010 Stout tasting in a Orval Chalice.

750ml corked & caged bottle.

Pours a super black with a very dark brown color on the head. Nose is sharp and yeasty. Very similar to the Yeti nose.

Taste is sharp and agressive. Taste is really sweet and strong. Very good and surprisingly drinkable for being so boozy.

Photo of MattyG85
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a chalice. 2014 vintage bottle.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Huge three finger tan head with decent retention.

Smell: A rich and roasty dark malt forward aroma with hints of chocolate, whiskey, and dark fruit. Dark roasted barley malt with hints of dark chocolate, coffee, toast, biscuit, caramel, oats, rye, smoke, and yeast. Sweet hints of molasses and brown sugar. Solid whiskey barrel hints come through with some oak and vanilla. Dark fruit hints of raisin, plum, cherry, and prune. Subtle earthy hops. A very nice aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a very rich and roasty dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate, dark fruit, and whiskey. Dark roasted barley malt with good notes of dark chocolate, coffee, toasted bread, caramel, smoke, rye, oats, and yeast. Some barrel notes come through with some whiskey, oak, and vanilla. Sweet taste of molasses and brown sugar. Big presence of dark fruit with notes of cherry, raisin, plum, and prune. Light hop bitterness towards the finish. A really good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and somewhat sticky. Alcohol heat is masked well.

Overall: A very good take on a barrel aged stout. Good blend of dark malt, barrel, and fruit flavors. On the sweeter side but it’s not overly syrupy.

Photo of mondegreen
4.12/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into a Boulevard Tulip. Purchased at Beertopia in Omaha. Bottle #7978.

Pours a thick jet black. Looks flat at first, but throws a nice head after the pour. Good lacing.

Nose is huge on the whiskey notes. Big roasty imperial stout with smoke and chocolate in large quantities. Smells decadent.

Hot on the tongue, but not overly so for a barrel aged imperial stout. If not for the brett worries, I'd try to secure one of these for the cellar. This bottle is good to go, however, with loads of sweet chocolate and touches of bitter roast. A hint of soy sauce on the finish.

Mouth is rich! Reminds me of a young CCB Zhukov, but not quite that thick.

Overall, I'm digging this bad boy. Sitting in a hotel in Omaha, sipping on this on a Friday afternoon... Life is good.

Photo of rudylaw
4.08/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jtrockchalk for this one! Sampled second in a ten stout tasting and placing fifth.

Pours a dark black with an off white head.

There's nothing out-of-the-ordinary in the nose. There is chocolate, toffee and hints of bourbon.

Tasting, we get the same but there is a huge nutty presence here as well. I like this much better than the smell!

This is on the verge of being overcarbonated. Has a fizzy cola characteristic to it... but having this on and off through the night, that didn't bother me as much as I thought it would.

Photo of daveytheformer
4.21/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch 1 into a snifter

Pours a thick oily black with a huge frothy tan head that fades to some spotty lacing.

Smells like chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and a little sweet malt.

Taste follows the aroma with sweet caramel and dark fruit.

Mouthfeel is medium with decent carbonation.

Overall is great and the best Boulevard beer I think I've had.

Photo of turamarth
4.51/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served from a 750ml bottle into a first gen smokestack goblet.

Appearance: This beer looks amazing. The body is a very very dark opaque brown near black. Very tiny amount of red tinge in the edges of the glass when held to a light. But, the most amazing part about the look of this beer is the head. A thick, creamy, crema (the foam you see on a good shot of espresso) colored head. This looks so creamy, the surface is shiny and looks more like a baked good than the head of a beer. Not to mention it lasts the entire glass and laces nicely.

Smell: At first out of the bottle there is a little metallic hop smell, but goes away quickly with some room heat. You can defiantly smell the different grains used. Dark barley malts make them selves present in some chocolate notes, the creaminess of the oats is there, and a hint of the rye. There is a tiny hoppiness to balance.

Taste: Much like the nose, but much more complex. Malts, malts, malts! The barley I think gives it the chocolate notes that are common in this style. The oats give a definite creamy sweetness. And, one of the most intriguing parts is the bitter rye that appears on the back of the tongue. Very complex. Superb.

Mouth: A very creamy body, but it maintains a light feel. Not too thick, and doesn't leave the mouth feeling overly thick.

Drink: Though this beer IS a sipper, it's pretty drinkable. The alcohol is VERY well hidden. I don't think you could tell this is 11% abv.

Photo of TheSixthRing
4.06/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 Version

Appearance - Poured into a stout glass to reveal a blackened brew with cola brown edging where light can penetrate. The head looks silky and is cocoa powder in color and peaks at a finger's thick. Great retention is exhibited, but eventually gives way to a fine layer of ever-present surface suds. The lacing clings to the glass in sheets, then breaks up and runs down the sides, leaving a spotty, streaky pattern.

Smell - A variety of aromatic characteristics; chocolate, molasses, charred smokiness, plum and raisin fruitiness and light backing notes of whiskey influence can all be found here.

Taste - Follows the nose for the most part. Dark fruit, jam and molasses sweetness are the predominant flavors here, with lesser notes of chocolate and smoked malt coming through mid-taste. Light notes of coffee roast hit toward the finish before fading, giving way to a fruit-driven jammy flavor with faint hints of chocolate and vanilla in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with moderate carbonation and a silky smooth texture before a drying finish.

Overall - A bit more jammy than I prefer when it comes to my favorite impy stouts, but this is a damn good brew. Perhaps the aging has mellowed this too much for my liking? Says the best before date is still 10 months away, but I get the feeling that I may have liked it better about 6-7 months ago. If it sounds like I'm nitpicking it's because I am; again this is a damn fine brew. Think I'll shoot for a 2014 if I can find it soon and give that one a go. :)

Photo of GilGarp
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 2-2011, Bottle 14892.

Served around at around 50 degrees into a goblet glass.

Boulevard's Imperial Stout is a very dark brown with good clarity seen as it's poured. The head that develops is thick and long-lasting. No lace is left as it settles.

Aroma is full of roasty malts, whisky barrel, and maybe a bit of sour.

The taste confirms it - something wild got in that wasn't supposed to be there. I'm surprised at how dominant the flavor is that the yeast imparts. I can still pick up nuances of the whisky and oak barrel that it was aged it. I also get the rich roasty stout that forms the foundation. Unfortunately, the wild yeast is overpowering.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and nicely carbonated. Alcohol is strong but not hot.

Overall it's a good double stout but it's too bad about the yeast. Hopefully they can keep the bugs out of the next batch.

Photo of augustgarage
4.55/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to monsterfat for this very generous extra, been saving it for a while. Bottle 2290 of 11960; batch 2008-1. Poured from a 750mL caged/corked bottle into my Portsmouth tulip (thanks to ShogoKawada for the glassware!).

Absolutely opaque charcoal-tinged bistre topped by a heaping fawn crescendo of dense yet rocky foam. Heavy ropy lacing sticks like molten marshmallow to the sides of the glass and viscous tears coat the empty spaces.

The label brags about the complex and over-the-top grain bill utilized in the making of this monster, and this is evident in the nose - spelt, rye, wheat, oats, malt (I wouldn't be surprised if you said titricale or even teff made their way in here as well) and all contribute a slightly different aroma, though the roast levels seem relatively uniform. In addition to the malty layers, you get a big dose of fresh black coffee, faint vanilla (probably due to the portion of barrel aged beer), low-level tobacco, molasses, and perhaps clove and licorice.

Incredibly malty palate entry, a lumbering freight which delivers chocolate, roast coffee, chicory, oat-cake, black bread, and burnt sugar. Alcohol adds a bit of fruit and a sort-of chocolate liqueur element while the hops contribute a touch of bitterness which goes well with the mild astringency and helps dry out the finish. Lovely, and very well integrated at this vintage.

Full, refined, slightly chewy mouthfeel, with a touch of oil but not enough to make it slick. Moderate carbonation keeps it moving. ABV contributes a little heat, but is still somewhat hidden beneath the flavors.

Perfect for dessert, though not especially sweet - I sipped away most of a bottle without noticing. Definitely worth tracking down if you get a chance.

Photo of Snow81
4.38/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black as night no light penetrates my beer

Head: Dark thick tan head

Smell: Roosted burnt malts with a big whiskey and a small amount on the back of the palate

Taste: Caramel, toffee, roosted malts, whiskey hints just a bit, subtle heat

Weight: Medium to heavy body with low carbonation
Finish: Whiskey, vanilla and roosted burnt malts

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.45/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to hoppymcgee for this one. 2008 vintage. Bottle 935 of 11960. Poured from a corked and caged bottle into a Darkness snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a 1 finger fine, toffee colored head with good retention. Beer is a viscous, thick, opaque black. Lacing is stringy and sparse with little cling but decent legs. Head retention puts it a bit above average.

S: Nose is suprisingly muted but very appropriate. Notes of chocolate, roasted malt, subtle hop creaminess, sweet soy sauce, liquorice, raisins, and cocoa powder. Alcohol is sufficiently present but subtle. Nice.

T: Opens sweet liquified dark fruit, roasted malt, and some creamy hop bitterness. Chocolate and sweet sauce towards the middle. Cocoa, molasses, and more chocolate and brownie at the finish. Some alcohol in the aftertaste with more sweet, slightly tangy dark fruit. Super rich. Par for the style.

M: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Oily and sticky in the mouth and smooth and viscous going down. Heat in the back. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste. Pretty standard.

O: A solid beer all around but for a 3 year old highly regarded imperial stout, I would've expected a bit more. Nothing is off about this one but nothing really stands out either. Worth trying but don't expect anything extraordinary.

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Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,128 ratings.