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Imperial Stout - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
92
outstanding

343 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 343
Hads: 1,158
rAvg: 4.12
pDev: 6.55%
Wants: 258
Gots: 386 | 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: 343 | Hads: 1,158
Photo of biboergosum
4.03/5  rDev -2.2%
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 soon to be 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 we shall resolve soon enough. (1,867 characters)

Photo of JayWhitson
4.73/5  rDev +14.8%
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 (298 characters)

Photo of BullDoza
4.46/5  rDev +8.3%
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. (1,144 characters)

Photo of LloydDobler
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
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. (309 characters)

Photo of chicagobeerguy
3.74/5  rDev -9.2%
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. (667 characters)

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.94/5  rDev +19.9%
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! (429 characters)

Photo of Reedbrew
3.18/5  rDev -22.8%
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. (223 characters)

Photo of danh53
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (399 characters)

Photo of bonesTdog
5/5  rDev +21.4%
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. (460 characters)

Photo of chefbigjon
4.23/5  rDev +2.7%
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. (179 characters)

Photo of dmgeng
4.69/5  rDev +13.8%
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 (1,980 characters)

Photo of OGShotzy
4.14/5  rDev +0.5%
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. (604 characters)

Photo of spoony
3.89/5  rDev -5.6%
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. (1,403 characters)

Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
4.29/5  rDev +4.1%
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. (2,098 characters)

Photo of sulldaddy
4.34/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (900 characters)

Photo of champ103
4.39/5  rDev +6.6%
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. (1,132 characters)

Photo of Fcolle2
3.38/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2013

Black in color somewhat thin looking with a big 2 finger tan fluffy head. Chocolate & dried berries in the nose. Caramel and bakers chocolate with moderate sweetness and a big metallic finish. Medium bodied, moderately csrbonated and a little thin (254 characters)

Photo of MysticRuler
2.91/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Another typically overwrought stout. Overly boozy, no finesse. Kind of like a lot of stuff the Bruery puts out to the punters. A pretty weak effort. (150 characters)

Photo of barczar
4.15/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Roasty, fairly sweet malt aroma, with cocoa notes abounding. Touch of booze.

Flavor is sweet, with dark chocolate and char contrasting. Chocolate dominates. (157 characters)

Photo of john0721
4.17/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, 2013 Vintage

Pours black with a light brown head.

Nose and Taste: Dark fruit (prune,plum, grape), some chocolate, grain, cast wood and mild whiskey.

Lots of dark fruit in this one. With all the coffee and chocolate forward imperial stouts, this dark fruit forward one was a nice change.

The dark fruit forwardness is probably due to aging. 2013 is drinking well now. (384 characters)

Photo of SteveB24
4.21/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look-motor oil black in color, very opaque, not shiny. pours an impressive finer and a half of off white head that retains very well and leaves beautiful lacing on the glass. About as good looking as an imperial stout gets.
Smell-some nice molasses, coffee and chocolate in the aroma, but the booze is pretty strong
Taste-Has the sweet, smokey flavor of molasses, without the unpleasant soy sauce taste that often comes with that profile, also some nice chocolate and coffee, with hints of vanilla and honey from the bourbon barrels. slightest bit of alcoholic warmth. very pleasant.
Feel-Medium/full body, very creamy, foamy in the finish.
Overall-Not the most deep, complex Barrel aged stout but it is smooth and sweet and really enjoyable, and a great value. if given the opportunity i would buy this several more times, at least. (834 characters)

Photo of dar482
4.54/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours out in dark brown, but black in the glass.

The beer offers rich roasted coffee up front, caramel sweetness, some chocolate flavor and lots of carbonation. The beer however is slightly thin for its ABV. A great amount of coffee for an imperial stout, despite it drinking below its ABV. (300 characters)

Photo of BWood
4.68/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a great stout. I like everything about it. Very smooth on the tongue and a nice heavy feel. High alcohol but drinks like a beer with much less power. (157 characters)

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.97/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brief write-up. This is 11%? Seriously, Boulevard? It has a flavor profile that might suggest that, but it generally drinks like it's 6% or so. It starts off intensely fruity, with a gentle oak barrel finish. This is much better than I remembered Dark Truth being, too. A great dessert beer...yet it's never overbearing.

3.97/5: Deliciously dangerous (351 characters)

Photo of uvachief
4.28/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle during a bottle share. Extremely good imperial stout. Dark chocolate brown with a full 2 fingers of tan head that dissipated slowly. Nice lacing. Loads of grain. Very bready or creamy. Very traditional stout with malts, grains and hints of chocolate and mild coffee. Big abv beer but very smooth. Liked it a lot. (346 characters)

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Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
92 out of 100 based on 343 ratings.