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Imperial Stout - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

858 Ratings
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 858
Reviews: 292
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.06%
Wants: 241
Gots: 232 | FT: 17
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:
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 added by: BeerAdvocate on 10-23-2008)
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Ratings: 858 | Reviews: 292 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of calebroberts811
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this just a day after trying Old Rasputin for the first time and this is definitely a different beer.

A - Just plain black; no light passing through this one. Espresso colored, three fingered head that dissipated pretty quickly.

S - Straight up chocolate and coffee, but oddly enough, it was more like that cheap milk chocolate you find around random holidays than a fine dark chocolate. Strong toffee notes with dark cherry as well. Interesting.

T - The chocolate notes were definitely in accordance with that sweeter milk chocolate described in the aroma. Warmly roasted malts but I didn't think it was as "charred" as I expected; the warmth also reminded me of Jack Daniels, which makes since given that it is partly aged in whiskey barrels. It was much smoother and less bitter than an Old Rasputin, almost creamy. Again in comparison to the OR, it had a lighter body as it lacked that charred vegetal savory-ness you get with the Old Rasputin.

M - Smooth, creamy, perhaps a bit under-carbonated, but with the ABV level, I could live with it and it didn't detract from the beer too much.

O - Sweeter and creamier than what I consider to be "standard" for an Imp. Stout as it wasn't extremely burnt in its flavor. But overall, it was certainly enjoyable and it further solidifies my increasingly positive opinion of Boulevard.

Photo of GilGarp
3.8/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Batch 2-2011, Bottle 14892.

Served around at around 50 degrees into a goblet glass.

Boulevard's Imperial Stout is a very dark brown with good clarity seen as it's poured. The head that develops is thick and long-lasting. No lace is left as it settles.

Aroma is full of roasty malts, whisky barrel, and maybe a bit of sour.

The taste confirms it - something wild got in that wasn't supposed to be there. I'm surprised at how dominant the flavor is that the yeast imparts. I can still pick up nuances of the whisky and oak barrel that it was aged it. I also get the rich roasty stout that forms the foundation. Unfortunately, the wild yeast is overpowering.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and nicely carbonated. Alcohol is strong but not hot.

Overall it's a good double stout but it's too bad about the yeast. Hopefully they can keep the bugs out of the next batch.

Photo of daveytheformer
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 batch 1 into a snifter

Pours a thick oily black with a huge frothy tan head that fades to some spotty lacing.

Smells like chocolate, vanilla, bourbon, and a little sweet malt.

Taste follows the aroma with sweet caramel and dark fruit.

Mouthfeel is medium with decent carbonation.

Overall is great and the best Boulevard beer I think I've had.

Photo of bbeane
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ok... gonna do two here. Got myself one from each batch, the actual ratings will be from the un-infected bottle.

Batch 1 (no brett)
A- Poured into an DFH laser etched chalice... starts with a nice brown head that leaves behind decent lacing. Beer is black in color with no light shining through when held up to the ceiling

S- Don't get much from the actual beer, but some hints of whiskey, with lots of earthy wood aroma

T- Smooth, starting with more chocolatey notes coming through then anything. Wood and whiskey takes over in the finish accompanied by a tiny bit of booziness

M- Light carbonation with full creamy body

O- A great whiskey barrel aged imperial stout. Anxious to see if the infected bottle is truly that different

Alright, just ate some perogi's and on to the next one...
Batch 2 (brett infected)
A- Definitely a larger head and nicer sticky lacing... color is obviously unaffected

S- The brett is evident... still some faint hints of whiskey, but mostly yeasty funk

T- Still starts with lots of chocolate malts, but seems that the whiskey notes are dulled by the brett

M- Same

O- I do think I enjoyed the non-infected batch more... but I think with time the brett could make this one a really interesting brew. I've got a second infected bottle sitting in the cellar to try in the next yr?

CHEERS!!

Photo of Kegatron
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle into a couple of tulip glasses. This is the 2008 edition.

Pours a pure black in the glass, topped with several rigid fingers of dark mocha head. This retains with a thick finger that stays put, leaving back a huge sticky latticework of robust lacing down the sides of the glass. The aroma is thick in the nose, with notes of chocolate fudge, burnt coffee, smoky roast, and a deep and pithy smelling dark fruit character. Maybe just a tinge of herbal hops and spicy alcohol warmth sits on the edges. This smells delicious.

Luckily the taste follows the nose, with a dense and rich mix of chocolate, roasted coffee, dark fruit, and a bit more bitter citric flavors than what was in the aroma. Bold alcohol sweetness trails warm dryness and spice into the finish. The mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy, with a creamy sharpness that fills the mouth up with flavors. The alcohol is EXTREMELY well hid here and besides the added flavors here from it, I would never guess that this is nearly 11%. OK, in actuality, maybe the slow fog that is creeping over my brain as I work through my glass is giving that away.

Wow, this was nice! Flavorful, complex, and powerful, a couple of years have done well to help smooth this RIS out. If you have any in the cellar, I’d definitely recommend breaking one out. This is drinking great right now!

Photo of 1Adam12
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was a 2011 batch 1 bottle. No head. Very dark jet black color. I couldn't see through the glass at all when I held it up. Heavy whiskey smell on the nose with some roasts and chocolate. Big whiskey flavors, followed by roasted malt with coffee and chocolate on the tail end. I feel like my throat is coated in whiskey. Nicely balanced however I wonder if the whiskey will mellow after sitting in my closet for a few years. I liked this beer.

Photo of OakedCanuck
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle into cervoise. Batch-1, 2011.

A - Pours a nice black to dark brown. Medium viscosity. Very nice 2 fingers mocha brown head. Some retention and slick lacing.

S - Wow, quite woody and alcohol grainy. Sounds bad? NO! This thing smells awesome. Lots of whiskey, chocolate, coffee, molasses and vanilla. Great!

T - Much like the smell. Very strong whiskey, chocolate and molasses. Vanilla cola, oak, some smoke. This thing is delicious.

M - Slight alcohol burn due to the strong whiskey. Full mouthfeel but not too heavy to be 'sludgy'.

O - Fantastic beer. Could use a touch of age to mellow the whiskey burn but overall very good. People shouldn't review a batch with a known infection, it is just a one time thing and isn't fair to the beer or the brewery.

Photo of MooreHopps
3.55/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This is Batch #1, which is the uninfected batch according to Boulevard.

A- Poured into a Duvel tulip, dark with some caramel and chocolate colored head about half an inch thich, decent lacing as I drank.

S- Dark chocolate, wood, hints of bourbon. The bourbon smell was very subdued, but as it warmed, bourbon and roasty worked its way in very nicely.

T- At first a very average tasting stout, but as it warmed, like the bourbon with the smell, the boozy barrel flavor I love came into its own. Chocolate and raisin, a hint of rye, all balanced well with the bourbon. Wasn't expecting the flavor to develop so nicely, but I was glad I poured a large glass and let it sit.

M- Mildly oily, but decent carbonation, almost a tingling butter feel.

Glad I got the uninfected version, as this turned out to be a very nice stout. My other two bottles are batch 1 also, and it will be interesting to see how these develop with some aging. I am interested to see how they taste in the future.

Photo of FreshHawk
3.18/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pitch black color with a large, thick, cakebatter-like, creamy, full, frothy, cafe colored head. Really good retention with a nice, thick, creamy lace.

S - Definitely can tell that this has the infection problem with Brett strong on the nose. Tart cherry and a slight funk. In the background there is a fair amount of roasted malt along with some hints of milk chocolate and vanilla. Not bad after it warms a little, but the Brett is just too strong.

T - Tart Brett aspects and bourbon flavors dominate the taste. This makes the taste very strong and there is a hot taste to it. There was some chocolate and vanilla flavors in the background that I think I would be great if not overshadowed by the tart Brett flavors. Some licorice/anise as well.

M - Medium to full body with a decent carbonation. Very smooth, pretty thick, and fairly creamy. Slight alcohol burn at the finish.

D - There are some nice features in the background, but way too much tart, Brett and a little too much heat to be really enjoyable or drinkable. Really nice body and Batch 1 (non-infected) is intriguing but the Batch 2 just doesn't really inspire me.

Notes: Bottle 12842, Batch 2 of 2011. So just as I feared, there were notes of infection. Not horrible, but the infection is just too strong. There are definite positives in the background but they just get taken over by the Brett and slightly by the alcohol (Catch-22 as aging would mellow the heat but bring out the Brett). Excited that I got a Batch 1 and look forward to trying it after aging a little to mellow the heat. Will re-rate after trying a non-infected batch.

Photo of Sicknot
1.2/5  rDev -71.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

750 ml Batch 2-2011

A: Black with a nice amount of head. Looks beautiful

S: Over the top Brett...nothing short of stinging the nostrils awful

T: Bitter, Tart, Sour, and awkward with slight licorice notes. Painful to swallow

M: Painful to swallow due to being overly carbonated (most likely the brett)

O: Took only three sips, after the third I threw in the towel. I cannot believe BLVD. though people who like wine will like this. I like sours, just not in RIS let alone any stouts. This is one of the most disturbing beers Ive ever tasted. This shouldn't have been released. Looking forward to a refund.

Photo of sweemzander
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750mL corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter. 2011 Vintage Batch 2 (supposedly the infected batch). Thanks to beerwolf77 for sharing!

(A)- Pours a pitch black color. Produced a great 3+ finger tan colored frothy head with superb retention. Tons of lace left behind as it finally dissipated.

(S)- A smooth yet rich roasted profile. Some brown sugar and cocoa with raisin too. Very subtle beginnings of a brett character, but barely even noticeable really.

(T)- A smooth yet rich cocoa, raisin, and roasted characters. Like the smell, only a very subtle infection detection, but its so barely there that it doesnt really even bother me at all; the heavy roasted and malty aspects are still the main profile of this beer by far.

(M)- A smooth and mellow carbonation level. A nice balance too of cocoa and sweet roasted characters. A very mellow boozy heat on the finish; great ABV integration.

(D)- We were concerned with the infection issue of this vintage/batch, but it actually was so subtle and not even there that I thoroughly enjoyed this. If given time and some age the Brett would most definitely develop further and present a bigger infection presence, so I would say drink it if you got it!

Photo of FosterJM
3.08/5  rDev -26%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

448th review on BA
Bottle to snifter
750 ML C/C
Batch 2
2011-2 Best by: 1/2013
Bottle #9711

App- A gorgeous garnet red with a huge two finger head. No real cling at all. Puddles sit on top of this brew. Highlighted browns come threw into the light.

Smell- HUGE Brett as soon as I pop the cork (shit). This was a shot to get a clean bottle in trade and it didn't work everything is just over powered by the funk on this. Got none of the malt, coffee, chocolate flavors I was hoping/expecting.

Taste- It's a stout with some tinged of regular flavors but again the Brett is just too strong on the nose and the taste. All I got were slight malts and some booze.

Mouth- Medium bodied and highly carbonated. Like a black ops and a jester king the bubbles on this are quite nice. 2nd best part of this beer.

Drink- Well I gambled and lost with seeing if this batch 2 was indeed infected and I lost. I did get an 08 to drink as well. I really hope that one knocks my socks off. I won't come back to a batch 2 because to expensive to trade and keep searching for right bottle.

Photo of jokelahoma
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a New Belgium globe on my deck.

NOTE: This is 2011 Batch 1, so no brett here. Bottle # 1348

Pours a gorgeous pitch black with a minimal deep khaki head, which fades relatively quickly.

What an aroma! Dark chocolate, cocoa, hints of raisins and plums, and a surprisingly small amount of whiskey, seeing as how it's 46% from whiskey barrels. In fact, the barrel isn't really up front in the nose at all. There are only the slightest hints of whiskey, wood and vanilla to hint that there's something here. Compared to other barrel aged brews that slap you upside the head and scream "WOOD! DO YOU HEAR ME? WOOD! OH, AND WHISKEY! AND WOOD! DID WE MENTION WOOD?", this is a great, albeit unexpected, change of pace. Very enticing!

That aroma carries over into the taste. In fact, I could almost cut the aroma paragraph and paste it here. The same chocolate, cocoa, dark fruits, and only a hint of whiskey, wood and vanilla. Doesn't seem terribly boozy to me. Substantial, but not boozy. A sugary sweetness pops up in the aftertaste, and lingers long after you've finished the drink, just making you want that much more to take another drink. One of the best imperial stouts I believe I've ever had. After the bad press, I have to say I am stunned, and happily so.

The mouthfeel is just about right as well. It's a bit oily, yet there's just enough carbonation to scrub that clean in your mouth. So, you know you're drinking something, but it cleans up after itself nicely. Again, quite well done.

Again, with the whole controversy of the brettanomyces "infected" Batch 2, and Boulevard releasing it anyway because they happened to like the way it tasted, I really wasn't certain at all what to expect with this brew. What I got didn't just impress me, it knocked my socks off! All I can say is if you can find one that is a Batch 1 (look on the back label above the best by date), by all means grab it. This was fantastic. As for me I'm going to look for a Batch 2 just to compare them.

Photo of boyda
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle# 4024 Batch #1 served in a snifter. Luckily no evidence of a Brett infection in my bottle.

A- Black, with a thin tan head. Minimal lacing.

S- Roasty, with strong vanilla overtones. The whiskey aroma is quite evident. Not much in the way of hop aroma.

T- In a word, delicious. Upon sipping this, the vanilla and whiskey flavors are there to greet you. After the initial taste malt is definitely a dominating factor, with just enough bitterness to keep the sweetness under control. Definitely not a hop bomb. I can also taste a hint of coconut towards the finish.

M- Creamy and smooth. Low carbonation.

O- This is a wonderful stout. If you like smooth malty stouts with a lot of personality, this is for you. I am glad I came across a bottle which was free of Brett. My only regret is that I didn't purchase a few more bottles for cellaring.

Photo of pokesbeerdude
2.45/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Bottle 14276 from 2011 Batch 2, best by 01-2013. Potential for bret contamination. Purchased from Supermarket Liquors in Ft. Collins, CO for $13. Into a Stone IRS glass. This definitely has bret in it, tons of funk immediately after opening the bottle.

A: Opaque black in color with an incredibly dense tan colored head that rises up to a good 2 inches and slowly recedes leaving enormous rings of lacing as it continues to fade. Really a nice looking beer.

S: Funk, without a doubt the first thing that hits the nose, sour cherries, burnt malts, and a decent amount whiskey as well, especially for a blended beer. Surprisingly not much booze in the nose. The funk is the dominant feature of the nose though and I'm not sold on that.

T: Again, funk and sour cherries dominate the initial taste, the middle is roasted barley, a bit of caramel, charred oak, toffee and vanilla, and the finish again is classic bretanomyces funky, sour cherries, and just a touch of sour. Whiskey shines a little bit on the finish as well which is nice, and works with the bit of bret in here. Noticeably there isn't much of a chocolate flavor. Slight little bit of booze in there as well. Definitely along the lines of a wild ale at this point as the bret is slowly taking over every aspect of this beer. I don't know how I feel about this, I love funk, but not necessarily in a stout, it doesn't impress me but I don't hate it.

M: Completely overcarbonated, mouthfeel is about right with a decent amount of viscosity, fairly sticky on the lips, and finishes with some heat that warms the whole way down. I'd say that the carbonation is probably from the bret tackling all the residuals that the sach didn't eat.

O: The beer isn't a total loss from the infection, there are some nice things about it, the slight sour cherry/fruit works well with the whiskey flavors, but I guess I'm just not sold on an infected stout. I'm not sure what to think about the overall beer, Boulevard knew that this batch had issues, and released it anyway. This shows some courage on their part, and me calling them out for releasing it would be hypocritical as I've bottled many homebrews that didn't taste exactly right before bottling and turned out okay, but I'm just not digging this. It will be interesting to see how this matures, as it could turn into a very interesting wild ale. Hmmm.

Photo of jamespub
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Batch #1, poured into a snifter.

Dark and thick in color. Looks as an imperial should. Thin head, mild carbonation. Looks beautiful in the glass and sticks to the sides with a swirl.

Smells fantastic. No brett in this bottle. Smells of malty-stout and bourbon.

The taste on this stout is great. The bourbon can seem a little harsh, which should mellow with age. Really opens up as it warms. The alcohol blends incredibly well.

The mouthfeel is top notch. Just smooth and delicious.

Overall, I would put this up there with some of the best barrel aged imperial stouts. I can see myself preferring this over KBS on occasion, and since I have a good supply of each in the cellar, I won't be disappointed. I have purchased 5 bottles of this stout, 2 of which I have drank, 2 more will be cellared for a while, and the other is saved for my father-in-laws visit. I'm not concerned at all that Brett will break through. They were/are all batch #1, and they drink great. Buy this up, drink it, and enjoy it.

Photo of mondegreen
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml into a Boulevard Tulip. Purchased at Beertopia in Omaha. Bottle #7978.

Pours a thick jet black. Looks flat at first, but throws a nice head after the pour. Good lacing.

Nose is huge on the whiskey notes. Big roasty imperial stout with smoke and chocolate in large quantities. Smells decadent.

Hot on the tongue, but not overly so for a barrel aged imperial stout. If not for the brett worries, I'd try to secure one of these for the cellar. This bottle is good to go, however, with loads of sweet chocolate and touches of bitter roast. A hint of soy sauce on the finish.

Mouth is rich! Reminds me of a young CCB Zhukov, but not quite that thick.

Overall, I'm digging this bad boy. Sitting in a hotel in Omaha, sipping on this on a Friday afternoon... Life is good.

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

Bottle 7662 from 2011. Batch #1, NON-Brett version. Hooray!
I wish I knew it was the non-Brett version before I put it in the fridge because I would have let it age longer before opening.
Aromas of dark roasted coffee with some underlying cocoa powder and toffee maltiness. Immediately soon after you get the booze and the barrel. As you let it warm, any ethanol harshness subsides and the thick fudgey brownie sweetness.
The taste begins with a light bourbon and a delicious dark roasted coffee maltiness. The roasted qualities add a nice pleasant dryness to the finish which is necessary because of the extremely high ABV here. I opened this still too young so the bourbon booze flavors are too dominant here. The stupid Brett reviews made me rush this one; 1 day before the brewery revealed which batches had the infection. Anyway it's still delicious.
Mouthfeel is full and luxurious. Carbonation is medium-low. Overall, great great beer. If you have Batch #1, save it for at least 9 months to a year because it's not infected at all. If anyone is interested in buying non-infected bottles of this, visit France44.com; they still has some listed on their website; great shipping $ also, anyway, seriously good beer. Glad I have one more I can hide in the cellar until 2012. Go Beer!

Updated with additional Brett Sampling.
Batch 2001-2, bottle 15964.
Aromas are still dark and roasted as described above but there is the obvious sour Brett aromas; musty, vinous and sourness are prevalent. There is zero bourbon or oak detectable; Brett must have stomped it out.
The taste begins nice and dark with dark roasted coffee and chocolate malts but quickly the Brett vinegar sourness and tart vinous flavors overpower unfortunately. Once again no detectable barrel flavors; which is crazy because I sampled this a few weeks back and it was so Bourbon and barrel forward where as this is so subtle because the Brett stripped all the alcohol flavors out. As it warms the dark roasted espresso malts are predominant but with a slight tang at the end. It's almost like an espresso with a hint of citrus rind integrated in.
The mouthfeel is extremely dry despite the ABV once again thanks to the Brett. Carbonation is great and helps to counter the ABV. I honestly enjoy this more and more as I consume it. Overall despite the "infection" I enjoyed this FREE offering [because Boulevard is offering a refund for the entire infected Batch #2]. A serious beer that I recommend sampling ASAP (compared to the normal version which should be aged at least 1-2 years) because the Brett will destroy the flavor profile in months and years to come.
In conclusion, do not buy batch #2 if your don't want the infected Brett version. If you have Batch #1, shame on you if you drink it now; wait at least a year for it to peak.

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.63/5  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 StaveHooks
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle # 5834

A - Pours completely opaque. On top is a dense and creamy 1 finger nitro-bubbled head that's a light mocha color.

S - A strong waft of sweet milk chocolate up front. The whiskey barrel is very apparent and provides nice charred/roasty aromas. Lots of roasted malts, rum cake, toasted rye bread, molasses. One of the best smelling stouts I've come across.

T - Roasted malt enveloped in dark cocoa and sugary espresso. Some roasted marshmallow sweetness as well as some dark fruit-mostly raisins. The wood is not shy and contributes strong bourbon and vanilla flavor. Some smoke and caramelized sugar. Quite a bit of hops add bittering overtones.

M - Soft carbonation, full bodied, thick, sticky, tenaciously velvety, rich, viscous, incredible! A robust smokey sweet finish leads to a roasty wood aftertaste.

I noticed no infection. I thought I smelled a tiny hint of brett right when I poured it but it could have been in my head.

This beer is BIGTIME! The aroma alone is worth the buy. It's unexplainable. The incredible texture is the 2nd best thing, and the flavors are bold and robust.
I'm going to pick up another bottle and age it because as awesome as this beer is now, it will be even better with some age on it.

Photo of Beaver13
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle, dated 2011 - # 13032; batch 2011-2, best by 01/2013. Pours a dark black-brown with a large nitro like creamy brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is dark fruits and some black licorice, vinous alcohol and wood and some brett.

The flavor is sweet molasses, chocolate, dark fruit and vinous alcohol with some black licorice and roasted bitterness at the finish. The mouthfeel is is pretty full bodied and creamy.

Overall, it's a little young with the sweetness, vinous alcohol and bitter roast not blending really well yet. It could be very nice with a bit of age.

Photo of cpmichael
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Supposed Infection

A: Pours a nice browish-black, with a 1.5 finger tan foam. good retention.

S: I thought the smell seemed weak, touches of bourbon and malts and chocolate, but was not very aromatic.

T: Roasted malts, baker's chocolate, a nice bourbon touch, not hot at all. Almost feels like a big bourbon stout with a few months on it to let mellow out, but this guy is pretty fresh. Vanilla and oak round this beer out.

M/D: Good carbonation, full-bodied. Very complex. Currently this beer is highly drinkable, I might have noticed a little tartness to this beer, or it could have been that I imagined it because I was expecting it to be there. To be cautious I would recommend drinking them now if you have them, because I think it's really good right now, and has the potential to get worse.

Photo of emmasdad
3.85/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle No. 13583.
Poured a beautiful opaque jet black with a huge rapidly falling mocha head; evidence of the reported infection. It is evident on the nose as well, funky and tart, with char and black licorice. On the palate, this one is a little thin, with flavors of funk, brett, dark chocolate and a little oak. I like the bretty flavors here, but after a while the large bottle becomes a little too much. Might pick up another while they are on sale to see where the brett goes.

Photo of harrymel
1.63/5  rDev -60.8%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

Batch 2 from 2011 (supposed brett infection)

A: Pours a dark brown, near black ale with insane head. Three+ fingers of mocha head loosely packed falls in five minutes or so to leave a thick quilt of the same. Near sheeting lace.

S: Yep, Brett. No mistake. Therefore, fail. Don't care if Blvd says stuff like, subtle, or wine drinkers will like. Look, if my beer says imperial stout, I want imperial stout. Not infected (unintentionally) imperial stout. This is bullshit.

T: Plenty malty, but the brett is already starting to take over on the mouth as well. Tart, farm funk is evident and it takes my attention away. There's plenty of malt, and licorice. This, I'm sure, is a great beer, when not flawed severely.

M: Thick, slicking mouthfeel with medium to high carbonation. Guessing carb was gonna be lower if brett hadn't infected.

O: This years batch should not have been released if they new there was a problem. Huge fail. I'm less and less impressed by Blvd with every beer.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.18/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to KeefD for this. Poured into a snifter. 2011 vintage - which apparently has "hints of brett" in there.

4.5 A: Black color. Two and a half fingers of creamy light brown head with above average retention and a thick ring of lacing.

4.0 S: Big rich milk chocolate hit right off the bat. Then the barrel aging kicks in. Boozy, leathery bourbon, a good hit of oak, and vanilla to a much lesser extent. Sweet caramel, a light roastiness, raisin and tobacco fruitiness, and absolutely no hints of infection.

4.0 T: Taste is even better than the nose. Again just tons of sweet milk chocolate. There's a bit more of a roastiness in the taste than in the nose and it leaves a charred aftertaste. Boozy bourbon adds a leather and peat component. Oak is a subtle and there isn't a lot of vanilla. Raisin, tobacco, caramel, fig and more than a touch of coffee. I can't say for sure if there is any brett in the taste. I taste a minute amount of funk, but there's a good chance my mind is tasting it and not my tongue.

4.5 M: Rich, heavier body. Good moderate carbonation. Silky smooth creaminess with a charred aftertaste. Goes down easy.

4.5 D: Pretty damn solid beer. The taste was a borderline 4.5, so I'm making up for it here. Awesome chocolate flavor that meshes well with the whiskey. A bit boozy, but that is easily overlooked. Complex and well integrated flavors.

It seems like I've been pretty lucky with infected imperials. I had no problem with my bottle of 09 Abyss, no problem with my Odell BB Stout, and no problem with this.

Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 858 ratings.