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Imperial Stout - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

352 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 352
Hads: 1,213
Avg: 4.15
pDev: 10.36%
Wants: 259
Gots: 396 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 352 | Hads: 1,213
Photo of gonzo000
4.04/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep dark black color with no head to speak of. The small was nice, roasted notes and coconut. The taste was more mellow than a bourbon stout, some of the cocoanut taste, sweet, very smooth and nice. the 11.8 was hidden well.

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Photo of PsilohsaiBiN
4.3/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This reminds me of Black Note very much...in that it is full of chocolate with a nice balance of bourbon to counter without being overly assertive. Mouthfeel is on the heavier side of medium and a bit creamy, just like BN also. You definitely get the rye and a subtle amount of Belgian yeast. Again, this is a beautifully balanced beer and definitely solid, really glad I got to try it. There is an amazing red hue to the beer when you have it near a stronger than average light source...very cool.

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Photo of PhillyJ
4.87/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Boulevard got it right with this one. This is a greatly balanced complex barrel aged stout. The pour is beautiful with decent head and retention. The smell is boozy with rich chocolate and roast. The taste follows suite with a bold bourbon quickly trumped by chocolate roast into a balanced bitter that's quenched by a returning subtle bourbon wetness. This is my favorite boulevard brew and hope it's stays a regular in the lineup..

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Photo of WeedWolf
4.69/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Deep black with significant light mocha head. Good retention with lacing. Classic imperial stout in the sexiest way.
Smell: Boozy and rich. Hints of chocolate and coffee bean as well as dark cherry. Almost more whiskey then stout.
Flavor: Incorporates all elements of the aroma but with more potency. Whiskey throughout!
Feel: Juicy but not very thick. A bit of burn at first but as it warms becomes very smooth.

Overall: This bottle is from 2013 and I have had it multiple times since its first bottling. It might be at its peak delishisnous as of now... Very nice. Almost perfect for its style.

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Photo of mcrawford
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 bottle, pours black with a half inch dark tan head. Aroma of sweet malt, vanilla, and bourbon. Subtle bourbon presence on the palate, lively, and fresh even a year after bottling which must be from the regular imperial stout that's blended in with the barrel aged. Dark fruits, vanilla, light roastyness. Not as in your face as other barrel aged stouts which is a nice change of pace but it's still interesting and it's extremely well balanced. Overall I really liked Boulevard's take on the barrel aged stout.

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Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.48/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle purchased at Stateline Liquors in Elkton, MD.

This one pours a dark deep black, with a solid mocha head, about one inch, and a small amount of lacing.

Smells like bourbon, vanilla, heavy roast, oak, and chocolate syrup.

This is a really underrated and excellent BA stout. There's a pretty big amount of barrel character for this one only being partially barrel-aged. There's some sweet and earthy bourbon, rich dark Belgian-style chocolate, some good vanilla, and some spicy oak. This has everything you want in a barrel-aged stout, and is honestly way easier to find than a lot of the similarly good examples. It's not the most upper echelon, but it's still awesome.

This is fairly thick bodied and creamy, with a moderate level of carbonation, and a really high level of drinkability.

This is a really awesome imperial stout.

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4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes dated 7/30/15.

A monstrous head is caramel brown in color and easily reaches four fingers and still almost comes over the top of my glass. It turns rocky as it fades very slowly and leaves a drapery of thick lace. Body of the beer is sludgy pure thick blackness that is a dark as it gets. The nose is incredibly zesty and full of spicy tones that really penetrate the senses. There is a hint of coco that comes through as the smell warms and develops. Now the taste is a very creamy one with layers of very dark fruits and dark chocolates. The chocolate feel comes more forward and becomes thick and sweet all over the mouth. The flavor really is big cloying thickness. Mouthfeel is coating and sludgy thick. Drinkability is slightly hurt by the common theme of thickness.

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Photo of wordemupg
4.22/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

750ml corked and caged bottle poured into tulip 2/9/15

A black liquid with a deep cola edge, a short lived noisy dark foam falls in seconds leaving zero lace

S a fair bit of barrel considering only a portions aged, I'm guessing rye, some vanilla, licorice, dried, dark fruit, some spice, cinnamon perhaps? bakers chocolate, a little booze but its mellow

T spice of all sorts, again a fair amount of barrel, I'm not sure if It's Belgian yeast I'm getting but there's something in the background I can't place, comes off charred compared to the nose

M has some weight and the bubbles cream it up, well concealed heat, a little grit might be tannins, just a little sticky on the lips, spicy chocolate finish

O solid big ass stout with some interesting aspects, spice plays a big part and barrels working well, booze is well hidden and all around its worth trying

I'm not having any problems taking down the big bottle solo, another great brew from the smokestack, a little pricey but I'm not upset dropping the cash

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Photo of stortore
4.19/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750 ml bottle into a snifter. 2014 edition.

Pours dark and opaque, with a two finger head of medium tan foam. Lots of foamy cling. Smells of lightly roasted malts, bourbon, caramel, vanilla, molasses, some chocolate and coffee. Taste follows the nose with the malts, bourbon and vanilla. Quite a bit more chocolate than nose, more coffee, too. Some raisins and oak, some bitterness on the back end. Smooth and creamy, full bodied.

Really nice beer, flavorful and easy drinking for the ABV. Less malt intensity than most big Imperial Stouts. Softer bourbon presence, too.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml caged and corked bottle, 2014 version, another in a line of awesome second wave Boulevard products to make their way into Alberta of late - good on ya, Horizon.

This beer pours a rather solid black abyss, with the barest of red cola basal edges when pressed against the late-August sunshine drifting into my basement, with four aggressive fingers of puffy, tightly foamy, and mildly creamy tan head, which leaves some stellar pockmarked concrete wall lace around the glass as it slowly sinks away.

It smells of lightly toasted, and somewhat meaty caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa, black licorice, cafe-au-lait, subtle barrel notes - astringent and soused wood staves, and maybe some dry vanilla - ethereal black fruit, and a hovering alcohol warming. The taste is semi-sweet, grainy caramel malt, a bit of biscuity, chocolate-ensconced toffee, more black licorice nibs, subtle and thus genial coffee beans, a surprising (until you actually read the damned label) low-key barrel-bred character - wood and spice-tinted vanilla, mostly - an evolving dark orchard fruitiness (plums and overripe cherries), and a sidling, sort of indecisive booze acridity.

The bubbles are fairly understated in their timid and hard to come by frothiness, the body a heady medium-heavy weight, and generally smooth, with a decent creaminess being generated as things warm. It finishes sweet, the caramel, cocoa, licorice, vanilla, and yes, boozy-booze all contributing to my imminent downfall.

Overall, a rather agreeable, and haltingly approachable big-ass stout, the barrel treatment a forgettable sideshow at best. What one should really concern themselves with here is the sexy, unadorned stout metrics thus described, and all working so well together, in the face of a threatening, but not quite yet engaging 22-proof alcohol measure - which shall resolve itself soon enough.

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Photo of JayWhitson
4.73/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 bottle from craftbeerkings.com

phenomenal bourbon aged imperial stout with the only real aspect in which to criticize is it's slightly over carbonated ... other wise it's something to be shared and I did try but no one showed up so put down the bottle myself and had a wonderful time doing so

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Photo of BullDoza
4.46/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark. Black, for the most part. Medium to dark brown on the edges if you really look. Mocha, foamy, 2 finger head with good retention. Same mocha foam briefly sticks to glass on swirl.

N: Roast. Chocolate. Faint oak and some sweetness. Some alcohol/whiskey heat on the nose. Peat smokiness as it warms. Really opens up and, as I'm typing this, bumped the smell from 4.25 to 4.5 because of the peat character. Very nice.

T: Follows the nose for the most part, and that's a positive. Mild chocolate. Lighter roast than expected, but it works. Earthy character from the barrel, oak. A little raisin. The oat in the malt bill is present and noticeable. Very well balanced with a well received bitterness as it finishes. Less heat than the nose would suggest.

M: Soft and coating. Actually pretty darn good MF. The oats are apparent and they carry this beer's MF, for the most part. A little thin - could use a tad bit more body. Not bad though.

O: Surprised I like it this much. I wasn't expecting for it to be this good - not sure why (??). Boulevard consistently does a very good job, and this one doesn't disappoint. Glad I bought 2.

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Photo of LloydDobler
4.54/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

An even pour left a large, milk chocolate head. The nose had almost a sweet raisin scent with coffee. The taste was was a lot of sweet malt with a smooth boozieness that tied all the flavors together nicely. Thin and delicate feel for the style(I like it) and perfect carbonation. This is a winner in my book.

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Photo of chicagobeerguy
3.74/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Friend picked one 750 ml 2014 bottle for me from KC.

A- Rich creamy black color, dark amber red head with bubbles, medium lacing

S- toffee, dark fruits, coffee, slight smell of the whiskey barrels, toasted malts, sweet malts, a smidge of chocolate.

T- Starts off slightly bitter and unsmooth, grows in body and taste and ends on a sweeter note, goes from slight bourbon taste with coffee to sweet malts and toffee, ends with the taste of dark fruits, can savor long after the sip.

M- Soft and slightly sticky, medium carbonation, not harsh, flavor of bourbon but not the burn

O- Very complex flavors and texture, slightly off taste at first but finishes well.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.94/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 Version. Pours black with tan hue along the rim with a wisp of khaki tan head and tiny bubbles that don't quit dancing on top. Aroma is heavy of bourbon and wood. Flavor is phenomenal with the chocolate and coffee layered with molasses and sweet dark fruits. Alcohol burn on the finish from the whiskey barrel aging with a pretty well rounded body and great texture. Took a gamble on this one and it was pretty amazing!

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Photo of Reedbrew
3.18/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I really wanted to like this one but it had a unpleasant sourness upfront with a bit too much burn and seemed not very well blended. We threw away half the bottle. My least favorite so far of Boulevards Smokestack Series.

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Photo of danh53
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark brown with a huge tan head. This is the 2013 vintage so I'm pleasantly surprised to see the carbonation so active. Layers of flavor just keep coming and everything is so well integrated. I get lots of chocolate, malt, and coffee. The dark fruit adds depth of flavor and the whiskey barrel adds some oak and slight alcohol bite. This exceeded expectations. Would definitely get this again.

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Photo of bonesTdog
5/5  rDev +20.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It's difficult to give this beer all 5s but I just can't find any reason to give it any less anywhere. Calling this an imperial stout sells it way short. There are so many fantastic layers of flavors from coffee and chocolate to fruit, aged wood and alcohol building to an amazing complexity. A beautiful dark coffee color and heavy body just complete the picture. Not a beer to drink with food in my opinion. You need to sip and savor to truly appreciate it.

Edited 11/6/2015
Drinking the 2014 vintage tonight. It went something like this... Sip, roll you eyes, comment "oh my gosh", repeat over and over. This beer is amazing.

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Photo of chefbigjon
4.23/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle. Lots of anise, molasses, dark malts and bourbon. Tastes really nice with lots of depth. If it was thicker it could be up there with the big bad bourbon barrel stouts.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.69/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I have been eyeing this bottle for several weeks and I finally decided to pull the trigger on this Boulevard offering. (2014 bottling)

A - Deep dark black. It pours thick with light brown head and good lacing. Very fine bubbles that don't quit.

S - Initially the big bourbon barrel aroma hits you in the face. Full bourbon with vanilla, oak, toasted coconut, and caramel. Underneath are the dark fruits and then roast, some chocolate, and some sweet malt. More bourbon than beer from the smell but I like it.

T - The first sip there is an explosion of flavors. The bourbon is there but less impact-full than in the smell; again the bourbon, vanilla, oak, and caramel are all on the front of the palate but the sweet malt of the imperial stout is on the tip of the tongue. In the middle there is a slight tart hit from the amount of dark fruit, like prune, and then plenty more stout flavors with roast, cocoa, caramel, and malt. The finish has the roasted bitter you would expect along with some alcohol warming from the bourbon; however, there is so much flavor that there is still plenty to savor after you have swallowed the beer.

M - Very high mouth-feel with Moderate carbonation. I really like how the bourbon, carbonation, and roasted malt attempt balanced the sweet imperial stout flavors. It is soft and somewhat sticky on the finish.

Overall, this is a very delicious beer. I haven't been too impressed with Boulevard in the past so that is why I was initially apprehensive about getting this one but I was not disappointed. This beer is not the best BA beer I've had but it reminds me of a barrel-aged Bell's Expedition stout with tons of dark fruit character in the base beer in addition to all of the other big stout flavors to go along with the bourbon barrel flavors. I think that even more age would benefit by making it a little smoother and blending the flavors more but don't hesitate to get the previous years bottling if you get a chance.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of OGShotzy
4.14/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

25oz bomber from Craft Beer Outlet, NE Philly, into a 10oz snifter.

A: really dark. hard to see anything but dark brown/black, even when a full glass is held to light. Decent 2cm tan head that's bubbly.

S: getting lots of caramel, toffee, maybe a little licorice.

T: sweet — toffee and caramel. boozy/hot aftertaste at first, but that subsided once it warmed up.

F: more bubbly than most imperial stouts. I didn't mind it, though. makes me think about this beer's complexity.

O: very good beer, but not my kind of imperial stout. better options (1) in this style, and (2) at a better price point.

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Photo of spoony
3.89/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

From a 750 ml bottle (2014 vintage, best by October 2016) into a tulip.

A-My first pour is a little hard and produces a significant head that is more than three fingers tall. Even my second pour, which is more gentle, results in a healthy finger's worth of brown foam. The beer is dark, almost black. Head retention is pretty good.

S-The aroma provides large doses of milk and dark chocolate and lots of dark, sweet fruit flavors. I get raisin, prune, and cherry to go with a slightly sweet honey note, and a little bit of alcohol heat. The barrel flavor is mild with just a hint of oak and caramel. Low bitterness.

T-The taste is also fruit forward versus bitter or roasty. There is a lot of milky chocolate here, as well as the aforementioned fruits. The finish dries out only slightly to reveal a bit of bitterness and coffee. The whiskey flavors increase as the temperature rises with some raspy oak, caramel, and heat, but this beer never gets fully barrel forward.

M-The beer is light to medium in heft with a milder level of carbonation.

O-This beer is on the fruity side of the BA stout spectrum. It looks nice in the glass and drinks well enough, but I can't say that it blew my mind. The barrel character here is mild, so if you like dark, dried fruit in your stouts with a hint of barrel, this is a good option. If you want a chewy monster with lots of whiskey character, look elsewhere.

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Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
4.29/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2014 Vintage. Pretty happy to have found a few bottles of this at Schmick's Market in McCook, NE! The beer oasis of far southwest Nebraska. I've had this in years past and it always seems slightly different each time, which I like. I like a little surprise and slight differences.

Anyway. 2014 Vintage, here I go!

Poured into a snifter, it is not entirely opaque at first. A nice milk chocolate see through. But becomes near black when the snifter is full. Can't really see through it. Gradually lowering crackly dark tan head. Reduces down to a thin ring around the edges. Looks fantastic. I like the black shade.

Smells very nice. The intermingling tones of roasty malts and whisky combine for a sort of almost maple like character which is intriguing. Smells sweet and a tad boozy. Slightly of dried currants and of raisins. I get a hint of coffee and milk chocolate.

The taste is pretty even throughout. The whisky is not overbearing, the sweetness is not cloying at all. The milk chocolate and iced coffee notes are just where they need to be. Nothing really outshines one or the other too much. The alcohol is noticeable but not at all bad for how high it is… some 11%. The whisky and milk chocolate gradually increase in potency toward the end at the pinnacle of the alcohol bite but it is a nice rush. A tad bit of bitterness that lands right where I feel it should for this beer.

The mouthfeel is surprisingly light. I would place this in an easy medium body beer. It is not huge and thick whatsoever. It is kind of nice in a way and with the flavor profile it fits in an odd way. I kind of expected a bit more thickness. Felt as though there was a bit more in years past. Maybe some more oiliness. Not this year I guess.

Overall, for the price point, for how good it tastes when it warms up and for the quality, there is no mistake. It is a great beer to pick up time and time again when you see it. Just a no brainer. It's not going to blow you to pieces or take you hostage with intensity. But it is smooth and rounded and just pretty damn nice.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.34/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2008 vintage 750 ml bottle poured at cellar temp into a snifter. the beer pours a dark cola brown and gives a creamy tan head of 4 cm that foams up and fades slowly to a sturdy surface layer and some clingy tightly packed lattice.
Aroma is roasted malt and molasses with some dark fruit and raisins. A little bit of boozy scents remind me that this is a pretty big beer at 11%.
First sip reveals a fairly thick body with a bit of chewy character and some fine yet tingly carbonation.
Flavor is all malt with brown sugar and molasses, some coffee grounds and dark fruit. Definitely some peppery booze on the finish and some warmth on the swallow. I have a 2011 bottle of this goody too, It will be interesting to compare the two years.
This is a solid Imp Stout and is robust and probably better to share with someone. But I do enjoy the beer and am glad to have had the opportunity to drink it.

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Photo of champ103
4.39/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark black, nearly but not opaque. A massive, dense tan head rises to two fingers. Excellent retention and lace.
S: Not a lot of roast in the nose, more toasted malts and baked bread. Milk chocolate, vanilla, and vary light oak tannins in the finish. A bit of chocolate bitterness in the finish as well. Very nice.
T: More roasted malts than in the nose, with a bit of coffee up front. Slightly bitter chocolate, vanilla, and wood/oak comes through in the finish. As this warms, dark fruits and more wood comes out. I love the balance here.
M/O: A big, full body without being overly viscous or resiny. Good carbonation, even a bit effervescent. Which still happens to have a great smoothness. Really enjoyable to drink. Just a touch of alcohol warmth, which just adds to the likeablity here. I can sip this all night.

Nothing is overpowering here, which is why I love it. With plenty of other tannin bombs, it is obvious this is a blend but still the oak and vanilla are there. Which makes everything really well balanced. What else would you expect from the Smokestack Series? As always, well done.

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Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 352 ratings.