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Imperial Stout - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,046 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,046
Reviews: 333
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 10.53%
Wants: 248
Gots: 326 | FT: 25
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
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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,046 | Reviews: 333
Photo of t0rin0
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of spycow
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.65/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to SalukiAlum for sending me this one!

Bottle number 13907. Batch 2011-2. Best by 1-2013.

Pours an opaque pitch black with a huge 3 inch dark khaki head that fades to a small cap. Decent rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells strongly of oak and whiskey up front. Lighter smells of vanilla and cookie dough. Taste is very whiskey forward. I get the oak and vanilla tastes that come along with that too. Other tastes that you would expect from a stout are either missing or masked by the barrel aging. There is a bit of roasted grain taste after each sip. There is also a slight sourness present that I have read could be a sign of infection. Beer has a low carbonation level and is very thick and creamy in the mouth. Overall, this is a whiskey bomb. Not that it's a bad thing but it takes precedence over all other tastes and smells for the most part. This would probably benefit from some aging.

Photo of djrn2
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of acurtis
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of GRG1313
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +1.7%

Photo of Thorpe429
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes. The 1000th beer I've input a review for here.

Pours a very, very dark brown bordering on black. The color of super dark chocolate. Mocha head with a bit of lacing. Nose brings a lot of different characteristics, with some dark chocolate, coffee, anise, roasted malt, a bit of smoke, and a mild earthiness. The taste is very roasty with a bit of booze. Some really nice smokey, earthy notes and heavy amount of dark chocolate. Medium body with very nice carbonation. Overall, this drinks really well and is a great example of the style.

Photo of metter98
4.09/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan colored head that died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of whiskey from the barrel aging are present in the nose. Hints of dark fruit and wood also become noticeable as the beer warms up.
T: Much like the smell, the taste has flavors of whiskey, but these aren't overpowering and you can still taste underling notes of chocolate and roasted malts.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has slight hints of warming from the whiskey barrel aging.
O: Except for the whiskey, this beer manages to hide its alcohol very well from the taste and seems to be more like a 8-9% abv beer. It is rather drinkable for the style.

Note: 2013 vintage, Batch 13310-2.

Photo of kylehay2004
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%

Photo of brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottling

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color capped by a rocky mocha head that leaves a webbing of lace behind

Smell: Chocolate and dark fruit with hints of coffee and whiskey

Taste: Chocolate and dark fruit flavors (prune, primarily), up front, with the whiskey barrel and spicy yeast flavors building, in the middle; after the swallow, the hop bill adds some bitterness but the chocolate, vanilla and whiskey tones return in the finish; there is a bit of surprising tartness in the aftertaste (shades of the 2011 Brett infection, perhaps)

Mouthfeel: Creamy and buoyantly carbonated, with a medium to full body

Overall: The yeast makes quite a difference here, and this is as much a Belgian stout as it is an Imperial Stout; a really interesting beer with a lot of complexity

Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -4.3%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A crazy big Stout will all the hallmarks of greatness. I'm surprised this one doesn't land on the 'Best of' lists.

This Smokestacks RIS is extremely aggressive with the roasted and bready malts, which are evident throughout the aroma, flavor, and body. Espresso, bittersweet cocoa, and molassas flavors are so rich, thick, and weighted that it drinks more like a milkshake up front. But the beer begins to lighten at mid palate, allowing for a nearly dry and crisp malty finish. As the beer warms, toasted fruits of black currants, raisons, plumbs, and cherries begin to reveal themselves for added complexity and variety. The balance of flavors keep the bold streaks of roast and alcohol from getting out of hand. This is one beautiful beer.

Even with the initial pour, the jet black color gives a billowing mocha head that is both intimidating and seductive at the same time. With lots of retention, lacing, and legging there are no flaws with this beer. The think that sets it apart for me is the ability for the beer to go from aggressive roast in the beginning and fade into a malted milk and shortbread taste in the end is truely remarkable.

Thanks BlueOkie!

Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.01/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a huge brown foamy head with great retention and perfect lacing. Aroma of dry roasted barley malt with some coffee notes and some sweet lingering notes with some bourbon notes as well. Taste is a complex mix between some roasted malt notes with light bitterness that is offset by lingering sweetness and some coffee notes with a slightly overwhelming bourbon finish. Body is quite full with some creamy notes and some perfect carbonation with slightly apparent alcohol notes. I am not sure what to make of this one - complex and somewhat balanced though a lot more bourbon then I would have liked.

Photo of Knapp85
3.83/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 release. Zebra stripe black with slim slivers of sepia along the edges when the glass is backlit with blazing morning sunshine. The mocha colored cap crested at three fingers after a gentle pour and looks like it will hang around for a long while. Pretty attractive lace too, especially considering the ABV and partial barrel aging.

The aroma is wonderfully deep and rich. Never mind the fact that wheat, rye, oats and spelt were used. Black-roasted malt dominates all and results in plenty of dark chocolate, black coffee and black licorice. Call me crazy, but the effect of having aged 10% of the beer in bourbon barrels is easily appreciated.

One big mouthful is all it takes to confirm the fact that Imperial Stout (along with Long Strange Tripel) is the best Boulevard Smokestack Series ale yet. The brewery did their homework in a major way because this American double stout rivals some of the best beer of the style.

In case you're cellaring a bottle, this initial release (only release?) has aged in outstanding fashion. Even though it's incredibly bold, the various flavors have knit together perfectly. Maybe they did so when fresh too. The ABV seems like a misprint because no 11.0% ale should be this easy to drink.

Specifics include dark chocolate, roasted coffee beans, blackstrap molasses, Sambuca-soaked raisins and a wee splash of bourbon whiskey. A modest amount of hop flavor and bitterness keeps things from being too sweet, even this long after the release. This is a wonderfully well-crafted ale from a Midwestern brewery that doesn't get enough love.

The mouthfeel has held up remarkably well. It isn't thick and nougat chewy, but it's plenty big enough and is crushed velvet smooth. Ideal carbonation (gentle) helps immensely and means that anything from sipping to gulping is possible. The former is the better way to go, although the latter is hard to avoid.

Boulevard Imperial Stout is a 'Special Limited Release Ale', which is a shame. If any of the Smokestack Series beers deserve a year-round release schedule, this one does. I now regret having traded away all but one bottle from my initial half-a-case haul. Highly recommended.

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

A big thanks goes out for finally getting this bottle in my hands. I cannot express how long I have waited to finally be able to try this one. Served at cellar temp and poured into a pint glass, this one was consumed on 04/08/2009.

The pour was fantastic. Rich dark brown in color, nearly totally black with no light shine through on it what so ever. A huge tan head of foam came up over the top to a height of nearly three inches before settling back down into a thin film that coasted the inside of the glass and never fell to more then an inch in height. The aroma was rich, deep and dark chocolate notes with loads of coffee mixed in. Some light fruit notes are balancing it out now as well, really very well done here. As it warms it became very much sweeter. Such a really well done big stout. Smooth, rich and very creamy feel. Full bodied and loaded with carbonation with a high ABV that was nearly undetectable. Rich chocolate notes are the first things that we find here and they are anything but subtle as they meld into a wonderful coffee infused finish that really was the icing on the cake for me.

Overall this was a damn fine big stout. Not as heavy as some of the others in the class, with more carbonation and a slight Belgian inspired feel. I would go for this one again any day of the week

Photo of womencantsail
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color with just a small brown head. Intense roasted malt aroma along with some rich dark fruits. A mild oak and vanilla note in the background with some nice dark chocolate. The flavor is heavy on the roasted malt and dark chocolate with some more mild/subtle coffee and licorice notes. Mild to moderate oak and vanilla with a nice touch of dark fruit, such as black cherry.

Photo of largadeer
4.15/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml split 5 ways. Black color, almost opaque even in the pour, with a surprisingly large dark tan head forming. Solid head retention, spot-on appearance for the style. Chocolatey, brownie-like aroma, little bit of heat, faint licorice. Pretty easy on the palate for an 11% imperial stout; great balance between roasty bitterness and rich dark chocolate flavors. Medium-bodied, not terribly thick or cloying. Dries up a little bit in the finish, allowing the roastiness to take over a bit more. Solid stuff.

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.

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Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,046 ratings.