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Imperial Stout - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

1,012 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,012
Reviews: 322
rAvg: 4.17
pDev: 10.55%
Wants: 245
Gots: 302 | FT: 24
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: 1,012 | Reviews: 322 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CycleHops
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of the dark beers Ive ever tasted. Would recommend to anyone.

Photo of Tuckerster
4.45/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of paresis
4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Prost76
4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of SteveD082791
4.56/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of MaltLickyWithTheCandy
4.76/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of rbmjr1
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of duceswild
3.99/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of amvrana
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of poopfaced
3.97/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kojevergas
3.23/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: Batch number I14295-1. Best by: 10-2016. 2014 vintage. Brown glass. 750ml. Classic understated label design. Hood-and-wire cap over a cork.

11% ABV. Expectations are high. Served cold into a snifter and allowed to warm.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1.5 fingers wide. Khaki colour head. Should be richer and darker, but it's decent, with nice creaminess and fullness. A thicker more even consistency would be ideal. It's supple and soft enough. Retention is excellent (esp. for the ABV) - ~10+ minutes.

BODY: Opaque solid black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated. It's far from unique or special for an imperial stout, but is above average. Certainly appealing.

AROMA: The whiskey barrel character eclipses the base aromatics, with pungent whiskey-soaked wood, whiskey's signature spiciness, and hints of mesquite. The whiskey hides the base for the most part, but I do find cream, dark malts, oats, subtly spicy rye malt, and oats. Additionally, the barrel wood dips into sourness a bit, indicative perhaps of infection.

I find no roasted barley - to its detriment, and the rich dark malt backbone that should be prominent is absent. I find no smoke, chocolate, coffee, etc. This aroma suggests a neutral simplistic base beer with an eclipsing whiskey character, neither of which is interesting.

Aromatic intensity is quite low; this is a timid reticent aroma.

No yeast character, alcohol, hops, or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: A light hint of sourness mixed with dampened cardboard is present, which throws off the balance and build substantially - but doesn't make this undrinkable. Just...different. I imagine if they'd stop mucking about with blending they wouldn't run into that problem.

The whiskey barrel isn't anywhere near as rich or evocative as one would hope, but it's present. Some subtle spice, a kiss of mesquite, whiskey soaked wood. There's no vanilla or rich toasted oak.

Mild as the whiskey barrel is, the base is even less interesting. I don't know that I've run into an imperial stout with such a neutral or even insipid malt backbone in a long time. I can tell dark malts were used, but there's just not an accompanying sweetness; it comes off depleted. Cream is the most notable note in the flavour profile, though the oats are nice as well, and bring a hint of starchiness to the taste in addition to their usual smoothening effect on the texture. I search for rye, but have trouble finding it; perhaps rye's subtle spiciness is overshadowed by whiskey's. Odd, since you'd think they'd work together.

Roasted barley is sorely missed, but frankly I'm desperate just for anything of interest from the base. This beer is crippled by its lack of a robust malt backbone, and it doesn't offer anything else in its place; there's no chocolate here (not even chocolate malt), no coffee, no smoke, no vanilla, no dark fruit, no charred or burnt sugars, no marshmallow, no caramel, no hazelnut, no nothing. It's oddly simple and lacks depth of flavour. There's not much subtlety or nuance to it. Flavour duration is average. Flavour intensity is below average. The beer doesn't have an American feel to it, and I suspect American yeast was not used - to its detriment.

I don't dislike it. As it warms, I find it flirts with a lactose sugar sweetness in the second act. And some faint raisin fades in.

TEXTURE: Way too thin, lending it a weak presence on the palate - an issue not helped by its surprisingly moderate body. I wonder why they used wheat in the grain bill of an imperial stout? This is oddly light, but of course unrefreshing, and there is some faint alcohol warmth. Smooth and wet. Slightly sticky, a biteen chewy, slightly syrupy. Its best attribute is its creaminess, and the smoothness lent by the oats works well here, bringing it closer to a porter without overstepping bounds. It's well-carbonated to boot, and has a slight powdery feel (which would be fantastic if this had any cacao presence at all).

Overall presence on the palate is above average, I guess - if only because of the creaminess and silkiness. Still, this texture fails to elevate the beer or to accentuate any specific notes from the flavour profile.

OVERALL: I expected far better given this is a Boulevard beer, but it's by no means a bad brew. Nor is it anywhere near world-class. In spite of its alcohol presence, it's drinkable enough, and I'll enjoy finishing the bottle. But with the wealth of widely available superior imperial stouts out there, I won't be buying this again. Even non barrel aged examples of the style like Victory Storm King, North Coast Old Rasputin, and Great Divide Yeti bring far more complexity to the table. This seems more like an attempt to cater to the market than an inspired brew; certainly Boulevard knows craft beer fans go apeshit for imperial stouts. I just hoped their offering would be consistent with the quality of the majority of their lineup.

High C+

Photo of Halfbrother83
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

Photo of BrentLepping
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kmoen
4.44/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of scratch69
4.22/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Jhfinn
4.21/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Pearlstreetbrewingco
3.87/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Theniz
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of CTbrew32
4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a two finger dark mocha head. Aroma is very sweet with lots of roasted malt, milk chocolate, and a little bit of bourbon booze. Taste is very similar but the milk chocolate outweighs the roasted malts and the bourbon qualities are subtle, but complimentary to the chocolate sweetness. A little bit of dark fruit in the finish as well. Mouthfeel is full bodied, low carbonation, and loaded with sticky/chewy malts that coat the tongue and linger for a while. Overall, this is a great imperial stout that I'll definitely be getting again.

Photo of Jcarter1221
4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of ljdrinksbeer
4.52/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2014 surprisingly lighter body than i expected but carbonation gives it a nice smooth finish, whiskey flavor comes out as it warms. delicious.

Photo of DeepBrew
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 version. Poured from 750ml corked and caged bottle into snifter. Label shows an ABV of 11% and Best By date o 10/16

A: Black with surprisingly great tan head and good retention retention. Medium lacing.

S: Malt, caramel and booze with some barrel. Smell improves and becomes more inviting as it warms

T: Booze and malt forward, actually tastes better than the initial smell. Rich dark fruit with some chocolate bitter in the background and hints of rye. Aftertaste of dark fruit and chocolate.

M: Creamy mouthfeel, with strong, at first overwhelming booze

O: Very pleasurable drink, this bottle may have benefited from some aging to temper the strong alcohol character.

Photo of BH712
4.75/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 1,012 ratings.