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Imperial Stout - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

362 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 362
Hads: 1,258
Avg: 4.16
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 266
Gots: 404 | FT: 28
Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States | website

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout | 11.00% 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: 362 | Hads: 1,258
Photo of MattyG85
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
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.

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Photo of HereforBeer
3.24/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I wish the label on the bottle said it was brewed with Belgian Yeast, I wouldn't have purchased it. It has a very sour smell, and I tasted some smokiness, but not really any coffee. Others may like it, but it's not my bag.

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Photo of Jack_Malts
4.64/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll say this, a great imperial stout. Not too big, not too thin, and relatively complex. What they've done here is crafted a great sipping beer by really ramping up the brewing and blending processes. Good black color, creamy mouthfeel, slick and smooth. The scent is simple molasses/cocoa but the flavor explodes with complexity. Light vanilla, big cocoa, some faint coffee, raisins in the aftertaste, even some chocolate + brandy notes coming in at the same time on the finish. Dark chocolate with some slight berry notes as well, like dried raspberries coated in dark chocolate.

Bottom line - if you're a fan of big, complex imperial stouts than this is a must-have, especially considering the relatively high availability. Definitely recommend.

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Photo of pagriley
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage

Barrel has faded quite a bit. Bitterness from roast and a bit of hop still dominates the finish. Belgian notes coming through in the yeasts. Very nice, not sure that the barrel has held up. Drink fresh, not worth aging.

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Photo of OneEye78
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage 750 ml bottle, poured into a snifter. Poured oil black with several fingers of khaki head, and with good retention. Nose was burnt sugar, vanilla, and plum. Taste followed suit, but had a good roast coffee and dark choclate bitterness to balance the sweetness of the sugar and vanilla. Overall a solid barrel aged stout.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
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. :)

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

Just like all whiskey barrel beers, this thing tasted like booze. I was expecting it, but its just a deeper more mellow burnt taste then I'm used to. What i would call a very good representation of the whiskey barrel ages beer.

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Photo of gatornation
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle
A-pours a thick black color with dark mocha head
S- chocolate some dark fruit slight funk some wood vanilla and whiskey
T-follows the nose with nothing overpowering notes of chocolate mix with fruit wood and bourboun
M-light body medium carbonation mellow and smooth drinking
O- an impressive BA blended stout that tasty and drinkable buy a couple of these every year

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beers hits the glass very thickly and black as night, as expected from the style. A small and tan-ish color head of about one finger forms and retains a fair while and also leaves a very good lace pattern. Moving on to the scent of this beer, the first thing that is noticed is the fudgy, dark chocolate and the dark fruit scents in the smell. I expected it to move more toward some dark malts after the initial, somewhat fruity notes, but instead it ramps up the chocolate and adds some slight boozy barrel notes. Slight barrel oak and vanilla ends the smell of the beer.

The taste of this stout starts off with the extreme dark chocolate that blends into slight dark fruity notes quickly, just like in the smell. The dark fruit displays a little bit of plum and maybe even some blackberry flavor before the chocolate ramps back up in a slightly bitter flavor. Immediately after this chocolate flavor, the barrels come in and add some complexity. Spicy oak and slightly sweet vanilla mix with the chocolate and dark fruit flavors to give a very complex overall flavor to the latter half of the drink. Oak and a little booze linger on the tongue for a short while after the drink. The feel on the palate is thick with a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohoo can be felt a little in the form of slight bitterness in the flavor and a slight warm as it goes down.

Overall, this is a terrifically complex and pretty delicious imperial stout. The huge chocolate flavor that turns into dark fruits are very nice. I get very little of what I would consider straight coffee flavor, but the chocolate more than makes up for it. I really enjoy that the barrel aging in this beer is partial and allows more flavors from the base beer to shine through. I think more breweries should partial barrel age instead of full BA. In the end, a great beer.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle. Best by Nov 2015, opened Jan 2015.

A - A great looking stout. Nice cascade on a dark coffee foam head that pours 2 fingers high with nice retention and low lace.

S - Caramel, coffee, oak, vanilla, Coca-Cola, sweet chocolate liquor booze.

T - Rich molasses, charred bread, caramel, bitter 75% dark chocolate, pumpernickel, cola soda syrup, touch of oak.

M - Thick, full bodied. Soft, syrupy finish.

O - A delicious AIS. Thick and sweet for the style.

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Photo of ianwolfman
4.14/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

2013 was 40% barrel aged and I liked it a lot. 2014 is all barrel aged and it's too bourbon-y. Soft sweet vanilla oak flavours and a nice mouth feel but not really what I'm into.

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Photo of mjwellman
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark with a creamy lite brown small head. Aroma is strong of whiskey and hint of vanilla. Taste is moderately carbonated and a little acidic. Strong whiskey taste with a hint of coffee and vanilla that follows with a wonderful warm sensation. Very nice stout to enjoy slowly over some nice conversation.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Huge looking beer with a killer, creamy mouth feel. Taste and aroma decent but the plum notes overpower the chocolate and roast I love in an Imperial stout.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Another very superb offering from Boulevard's Smokestack Series. Just the right amount of barrel flavors. Taste nicely follows the smell. A much more "mellow" tasting BA stout. Well done.

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Photo of John_Beeryman
5/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I strongly recommend buying this beer and cellaring it for a year. IT WAS THE PERFECT STOUT. Black, richly chocolatey, velvet smooth thick mouthfeel. Astounding.

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Photo of watermelon
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
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.

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Photo of superspak
4.3/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle into snifter, bottled on 11/1/2013. Pours dense pitch black color with a 2 finger fairly dense dark tan head with good retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice spotty soapy lacing clings around the glass with a good amount of streaming carbonation retaining the head. Aromas of big raisin, plum, date, fig, licorice, molasses, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, toffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, clove, pepper, light char, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Damn nice aromas with good balance and complexity of fruity/spicy yeast, dark/roasted malt, and light-moderate bourbon barrel notes; with great strength. Taste of big raisin, plum, date, fig, licorice, molasses, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, toffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, clove, pepper, light char, and yeast/roasted earthiness. Fair amount of earthy yeast spice and roast bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark fruit, licorice, molasses, dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, toast, dark bread, toffee, bourbon, oak, vanilla, pepper, and yeast/roasted earthiness on the finish for a while. Incredible complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, dark/roasted malt, and light-moderate bourbon barrel flavors; with a great roasted bitterness/sweetness balance with the yeast notes and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very smooth, creamy, and lightly slick mouthfeel that is great. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming present after the finish. Overall this is an incredible Belgian imperial stout style. All around awesome complexity and balance of fruity/spicy yeast, dark/roasted malt, and light-moderate bourbon barrel flavors; and extremely smooth to sip on for the big ABV. A highly enjoyable offering.

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Photo of zac16125
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Boulevard Imperial Stout
750mL bottle into a snifter
Vintage 2013

A: Pours an opaque black with over 1 fingers width of light mocha colored head, which has good retention before dissipating down, but leaves essentially zero lacing. 4

S: Lots of roasted malt, some raw oak, tobacco, subtle whiskey aromas and chocolate. Nothing crazy, but a really nice aromatic profile that I expect in a good stout. 4.25

T: Very roast, followed by tobacco and leather notes. A long lingering taste of black coffee and roasted malt hangs around for a while at the end of each sip. I also get semi-sweet cocoa, and very subtle dark fruits. Not really much whiskey barrel notes to speak of, honestly wouldn’t have guessed it was barrel aged if the bottle wouldn’t have told me. But it does hit most everything I look for in the flavor profile of a stout. 4.25

M/D: Very smooth, full bodied, carbonation appropriately low, ABV is exceptionally well masked with great drinkability. 4.5

O: Really enjoyed this one. Barrel notes aren’t very prominent, but its still an excellent stout. Definitely recommend. 4.25

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On-tap 8/17/2014 at Battleship Brewhouse in Fall River, MA, served in a tulip glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color, with a large brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma contains chocolate, coffee, dark fruit, roasted malts and a faint touch of hops.

T: The taste starts out with mildly sweet flavors of chocolate, coffee, licorice and dark fruit. Then a hearty roasted malt character comes in along with a significant alcohol sting. The hops presence is very mild but provides a decent balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and a little smooth, medium body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

O: A little tasty, goes down ok, slightly filling, very strong kick, decent representation of style, it’s a decent beer but there are better choices in the style.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.88/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

April 27, 2014
Poured from bomber into a snifter. 2014 Edition.

A – Pitch black color, no transparency, tan/caramel head of about 1 cm, dissipates within about 60 seconds.

S – Warm, sweet booze on the first whiff, juicy raisins, hint of bittersweet chocolate.

T – Maybe figs, light toffee, very little bourbon (mostly on the nose), plums in the background, lots of dark-roasted and char notes.

M – Creamy with medium-high carbonation. Mild aftertaste, flavors wash over the entire tongue and then carried away by bubbles from carbonation.

O – For a beer with a lot going with it, this is surprisingly easy-going and totally drinkable. Not a lot to differentiate from other imperials though. Really love the carbonation and the finish.

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Photo of foobula
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Imperial Stout bottle no 1854, batch 2011-1, best by 01-2013. Appearance is dark black with a small dark brown head that dissipated quickly. Aroma when cold, pretty much just sour. Not what I expected, and not particularly appealing. Taste is a little sour up front, tangy, some oak. The finish has a lot of oak that comes through as it warms up in the throat. Speaking of warming, there is a little bit of alcohol heat in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium to thick. It's my first time having this, so I can't speak to what 3 years of aging have done. The initial sourness is off-putting, but the beer redeems itself with a very nice oaky finish that lingers quite a while. Glad I got to try it, thanks Will!

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Photo of vic21234
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2013 Vintage corked and caged, poured into a snifter.

A- Pours pitch black with a finger worth of head which quickly fades to the sides of the glass.

S- Chocolate, cocoa, and whiskey on the nose, not much more to speak of here.

T- Starts with chocolate maltiness before the whiskey comes into play. The oak and whiskey takes over the back end of each sip.

M- On the thinner side for an imperial stout, with a nice alcohol warming after each sip.

Not a bad barrel aged imperial stout, but average.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.49/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Type: 750ml (25.4 oz.) bottle
Glass: Sea Smoke oversized wine glass
From: Bine & Vine Bottle Shop in Normal Heights (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $14.99 (received as a Father’s Day gift)
Purchased: June 14, 2014
Consumed: July 2, 2014
Misc.: Champagne cork; Batch No. 1613310-2 (semi-guessing on the ‘6’); Best by Nov. 2015; 2013 edition

Poured a pitch black color with three fingers of frothy tan head. Average amount of sporadic foamy lacing along the sides of the glass. Fantastic retention, settling nicely in the beginning and only losing a little bit on the top the rest of the way.

Smelled rich chocolate, roasted dark chocolate, toffee, caramel, dates, fig, light tobacco?, wet cocoa powder, boozy liquor, rye, whiskey and faint smoky fire. Really grew on me after a few whiffs.

Tasted just as good as the smell. Got toffee, caramel, dark chocolate booziness, thick cocoa powder, light coffee beans, smooth whiskey, plum, dates, figs, hot fudge and roasted nuts.

Full body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish.

Just a fantastic beer. Loved every moment of it.

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Photo of Rifugium
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Standard appearance of a big stout, dark brown-black with a finger of tan head, which sank to a collar and laced the glass. In the nose, dark malts, roast and char, tobacco, anise, some neutral booze. Taste of roasty dark malts, coffee, dark chocolate, charred wood, tobacco, black licorice, notes of dark dried fruits and some stiff whiskey / neutral alcohol with a slight burn to it. Body was on the fuller side of medium. Nothing really memorable about this one when stacked up against all the other similar beers of the style, but it was solid overall.

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Photo of Rob23
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2013 batch at Whole Foods.
Pours nearly black but not completely.
Smell is alcohol right away with notes of chocolate and possibly some plum but the whisky is overtaking it.A sipper for sure.Typical of a Russian Imperial it does seem to get better as it warms up a bit.Taste is boozy at first then subsides to the malt and could be slightly bitter if you are not used to bitterness.Mouthfeel is moderate to heavy bodied.I would love to see this in a 4 or 6 pack to send out to the trading circuit.At 14 bucks a pop it is worth it.I most likely will enjoy this again.Another pat on the back to Boulevard Brewing for a great take on a classic.~~~~Skal.

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Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 362 ratings.