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Imperial Stout - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

837 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 837
Reviews: 292
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 236
Gots: 222 | FT: 16
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 837 | Reviews: 292 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tpd975
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to kiefdog for bringing it to the tasting.

A: Opaque black with a huge frothy tan head and clinging lace.

S: Smells of dark malts, sweet roasted malt, with hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

T: Nice flavors. Roasty malt, coffee, chocolate, anise, molasses with light vanilla bourbon booze feel.

M: Medium to full in body. Rich and smooth.

D: Not the most drinkable, but pretty damn tasty.

Glad my boy Scot brought me my own bottle from Oklahoma.

tpd975, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of sonicdescent
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to BrewCzar. All beers I have never tried from him that we classified as "Under the Radar," and all have been fantastic so far.

I don't give a 5 in the looks department very often, but this one has some insane head, even with a mild pour, and crazy fluffy retention and lacing. The liquid itself does not appear to have any highlights.

Smell is of earthy chocolate, a bit of wood maybe? No hint of the bourbon aged blend in here. Tobacco, mild alcohol. Good.

Taste, aah there's the bourbon. Surprisingly strong for the small amount blended in. This beer is fantastic, where do i start. Mouth is pretty thick and low to medium in carbonation, which is where I want a stout. The chocolate, oak, booze, heat, tobacco, earth, love, it's all there. This reminds me of a better version of the Abyss.

BrewCzar, could you and I possibly set up the exact same trade?

sonicdescent, Apr 21, 2009
Photo of CharlieC
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

3 oz. pour form a bottle as part of a tasting. Wish I had more.

Appearance: The requisite opaque black color with dark tan head.

Aroma: Complex, you get something different at every sniff. Like a huge version of a sweet stout in the nose, with molasses, smooth chocolate, wine-like higher alcohols - this to me is an English style Imperial Stout because all the elements blend seemlessly but it's not aggressive.

Taste: Licorice and dark chocolate. Firm but not over-the-top hop bitterness with some heat from the alcohol. Very smooth.

Mouthfeel: Somewhat full.

Drinkability: I'd drink as much as I could of this.

Overall: Superb.

CharlieC, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of srandycarter
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Black, mocha head. Stays for long time. Sticky, clinging lace. Chunky.

S - Mocha - under tow of straight up cocoa.

T - Taste follows smell. No surprises, just nice mocha/cocoa experience.

M - Medium body, maybe just a little over carbonated.

D - Big ass beer, but do-able for the style!

srandycarter, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of mikesgroove
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
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

mikesgroove, Apr 11, 2009
Photo of tedpeer
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

750 ml poured into a tulip. 6296 of 11960.

A - Pours black with a huge tan head.

S - Sweet, Fruity with some alcohol.

T - Fruity. Sweet. Roasted. Alcohol warmth in the finish.

M - Medium to full bodied. Medium carbonation.

D - Couldn't put more than one of these down in a night.

tedpeer, Apr 05, 2009
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle #5753 of 11960.

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a tall, foamy, tan-colored head.

Smell: Huge, rich roasted malt aroma jam-packed with acute notes of chocolate, mocha, blackstrap molasses, and aniseed side by side with a scent of fresh-baked nine-grain bread.

Taste: Tempting tastes of dark, roasted malts, full of dark chocolate sauce, molasses, Java 'Dutch Estate' Coffee, anise, and caramel with a moderate amount of sweetness to attend to. Slight smoky, charred grain character and hint of wood-fired oats. Thin vein of dark fruitiness lurking within. Bold mix of roasty, resiny bitterness, though it falls a tad short of balancing the sweetness. Touch of warming alcohol (though comparatively light considering the ABV percentage) on the sweetish, highly roasty finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Fairly smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: A top-notch, surprisingly drinkable Imperial Stout and my favorite of the Smokestake Series thus far. Nice work, Boulevard.

ChainGangGuy, Mar 31, 2009
Photo of Vixie
4.47/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel glass. This is a numbered limited edition, I have bottle #4700 out of 11,960 bottles.

Pours very thick and dark, then forms a thick 2 finger brown head. This beer is very dark, nearly black, and has the darkest head of any beer I have yet tried. The head lingered a long time, surprising considering the alcohol content.

Smell at first was sweet, and if I had a more sophisticated sense of smell, I'm sure I could pick out a lot of different aromas. There is a lot going on here, dried fruit, raisins, molasses, coffee and chocolate are present.

Quite a bit going on in the taste. At first it came across as smokey, they the fruit flavors kicked it. Tastes a lot like it smells, coffee and chocolate notes, as well as dried fruit. Had a bitterness in the aftertaste that reminded me more of the bitterness you get from coffee rather than from hops. Really no alcohol warming, in spite of it being an 11% content. Overall a really nice beer, the word that comes to mind for me is sophisticated. Not one you'd drink casually, but one you'd savor and enjoy slowly.

Mouthfeel was very good, it's thick, but not overpowering. There's no doubt sipping this one that this is a beer to take seriously.

Drinkability was very good in spite of how potent this one is. I think it will appeal most to hop lovers, as there is a good amount of hops flavor in this. Definitely a top notch beer, I'm glad I took a chance on this one.

Vixie, Mar 28, 2009
Photo of largadeer
4.13/5  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.

largadeer, Mar 27, 2009
Photo of MPLS
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared this 750ml bottle with a friends as a after dinner desert. Poured into a tulip glass that is shaped more like a snifter. Beer was cold, so we let the bottle sit for a minute.

A: Great looking beer, dark and deadly, with an cloudy 2 cm brown leather head. Lacing was pretty awesome on this stout as it clung on for it's carbonated life.

S: Roasted malts, bitterness, alcohol, hint of coffee/anise. A very sweet smelling offering.

T: Sounds so cliche, but better as it warmed. Profound coffee like flavor/bitterness up front, some roasted alcohol, followed by a pleasant smokiness. The sweetness went away with the more alcohol that touched my palate.

M:Smooth, but not outright creamy, would have wanted it a little more vicious

D: I have a few bottles left of these and worth holding onto one, probably trade the other. Worthy stout, with my biggest gripe being the sweetness of this beer.

MPLS, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of McStagger
3.58/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a ridiculously opaque black with mild brown edges when held to the light. The head is three and a half fingers of dark chocolate cappucino head. Head retention is incredible. In fact, it's as good as I've ever seen.

S: Rich bittersweet chocolate notes jump from the glass. Very mild nutiness detected as well.

T: Big, bold and powerful. So powerful, in fact, that I couldn't get any real tasting notes at first. It tasted like somebody lit some barley on fire, threw it in some water, and bottled it. As I become accustomed to the flavor, and as the beer warmed slightly, I began tasting the nuances. A toasted sweetness was noted in the very beginning, before the big hops and burnt grain enveloped my palate. In the mashup were chocolate notes along with espresso as well. There were also subtle notes of citric and herbal hops. A very bitter smoke finished this beer.

M: The mouthfeel is a tad thin at first. The amazing head of this beer was undercut by the slightly seltzer feel it had in the mouth. That, combined with how big the malt backbone feels, combines for a slightly off balance mouthfeel.

D: I've had precious few beers that are less drinkable, but I understand the style of Russian Imperial Stout. However, this is still definitely considered a sipper. Replace your favorite brandy with this, light up a cigar and sit next to your bear skin rug while being warmed by the fire.

McStagger, Mar 26, 2009
Photo of CHSLBrew
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle shared with a friend, poured into stemless wine glasses.

A-Black, dark and opaque beer. BIG dense brown head, retention is strong. Actually, the head, off a gentle pour, rose too large and sustained too well. However, in spite of the oversized head, carbonation was not out of line (as I'll say below).

S-Chocolate, some floral hoppiness under the roastiness and chocolate. A bit of alcohol and a slight fruitiness.

T-Oh boy, chocolate, beautiful chocolate with a big, dense roasted-malty spine. A slight alcohol flavor peeks its way in near the finish, embraced by the huge roastiness, and coupled with a fruity nuance.

M-Full body, medium-low carbonation. A comfortable, subtle belly warmth.

D-Tasty and easy to drink (relatively speaking), this one is very drinkable.

CHSLBrew, Mar 25, 2009
Photo of CMW
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost black. Very large dark tan head forms and sticks around for at least half the glass.

S - Definate notes of coffee and dark chocolate. The alcohol is also very present in the nose.

T - Much like the nose. Roasted malt flavor is strong up front mixed with an almost bitter chocolate taste. It almost tastes like baker's chocolate. There is some warming from the alcohol and the beer finishes dry.

M - Carbonation was quite high and the body was somewhat watery.

D - It wasn't hard to put down one large bottle, but I couldn't imagine trying to drink more than one in a night.

CMW, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of maximum12
3.93/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this recently & had a hankering for a big stout tonight. Cooled down, popped open, warmed up, split with the wife.

Weirdly carbonated. The head starts small on a gentle pour, then swells, eating away into the beer. Cool. Smells neat, but with a milk stout-y undertone that dampened my enthusiasm a touch.

This is an above-solid stout. Nothing leaps out of the palate of flavors doing the macarena over my tongue. There's some coffee, a roasty toasty edge, with a layer of chocolate spattered over it all. It's plent thick for a stout & the Carbonatioin Gone Wild is very evident if one holds the brew in one's mouth for a moment or two (as I often do to let the smell waft up my somewhat damaged nose).

I don't actually believe there's any alcohol in this. I'm tempted to have seven to prove that the 11% is a misprint & should be 1%. Nah. Maybe tomorrow.

Very good beer.

maximum12, Mar 24, 2009
Photo of Blaketj80
3.13/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours with monstrous tan head and has less aroma than one would think. Tastes of sweet roastiness with a bitter black patent kick. Alcohol notes are subtle in the aftertaste and has legitimate body. Would recommend for the average stout drinker, but nothing exceptional for the money.

Blaketj80, Mar 20, 2009
Photo of jdklks
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours lighter than expected. a see-through dark brown color that comes together to create a black body that cant be seen through. light brown, almost milk chocolate color head. looks like it may be over-carbonated, but we'll see. looks a little thin for an imperial stout (i like them to be the consistency of motor oil).

S- smell is of dark fruits and very malty. a sweet, smoky scent, almost like that of a smoked porter (think alaskan and stone) dominates. the smell doesn't have the strength of an imperial stout's, but rather of a porter (i.e. a little bland)

T- good beer, but less complex than expected, perhaps even a little bland. this is probably due to the sweet smoky flavor that dominates the more subtle flavors that are begging to fully realize their potential, namely, bitter chocolate and a hint of dark fruits. the aftertaste is of coffee, strong bold coffee, and is surprisingly bitter considering the sweet taste up front.

M- as i thought after pouring and smelling it, it is over-carbonated. i love almost all imperial stouts, but over-carbonation is one thing that damages the score in the mouthfeel, and even taste, department (im thinking old rasputins, which is also over-carbonated). other than that, it turned out that the thickness is acceptable (though not that of the thicker class of imperial stouts, i.e., Abyss, ten fidy, bourbon county stout).

D- For an imperial stout it is actually fairly drinkable. not much else to say except that i wouldn't drink more than one in a night because a) they are $12 and b) they are in 750ML bottles.

jdklks, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of yeastsipper
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer received in trade with sry23. Scott rules. Part of a blind stout tasting in which the Boulevard finished 3/11, behind Rasputin XI and Darklord. Fantastic beer.

Beer pours a huge, frothy head over a pure black body. How does Boulevard get this kind of carbonation? The saison-brett was the same way. Fantastic!

Smell is super interesting. This was confirmed with others, but there are notes of celery and bell pepper (noticed the smell immediately as I use celery often to make juice). It wasn't bad, just odd, and very different. It gave the beer a very earthlike quality. Taste is much the same. Very earthy with a hint of vegetable and big chocolate tones. Nice carbonation and goes down easy. 11% hidden very well.

Superb, superb beer.

yeastsipper, Mar 18, 2009
Photo of Crosling
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This ale pours with a dark brown color. The large head appears a dark tan in color. The potent nose reveals dark chocolate, espresso and burned fruit. Sweet, well extracted and very complex, but doesn't quite have the mouth coating, non stop flavor, but rather spurts of deliciousness. A beauty and a beer to put away. Rich, very sweet and vinous, chocolaty.

Crosling, Mar 17, 2009
Photo of BZero007
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After having some Espresso and Coffee style Stouts this brew made me a happy man. Honestly this stouts appearance was great, very dark and the head retention was great and featured a nice medium brown color to it. Smell was not strong but was there and contained malts, alcohol and chocolate. Taste was exactly what i needed, warming bit of alcohol followed with a roasty malt and bitter chocolate taste. In the background smokey flavors highlighted the beer. Mouth feel and drink ability were fine for me and I have to honestly saw this is one of my favorite stouts.

BZero007, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of russpowell
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours ebony with 3+ fingers of rocky mocha head with caramel streaks in it. Insane lacing & head retention

S: Roasted malt, a touch of smokeyness & some booze

T: Roasted malt, booze, black currant, baker's chocolate & some smokeyness up front. Rich dark chocolate, wet roasty grains & a touch of dryness as this warms, plus nice dark fruits. Finishes dryish with a bit of booze warmth in the finish, plus some charred grain & cocoa

MF: Oily, fairly chewy with fairly lively carbonation that smoothes out a bit

Drinks great for the abv, there is much to love here. Will stockpile this when possible, great IMP stout!

russpowell, Mar 13, 2009
Photo of wnh
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle number 07800 of 11960. Poured into a snifter.

Pours black and thick, with a four fingers' worth of thick, foamy, dark tan head that sticks around for a while and leaves great lacing. I poured less than half of the (750 mL) bottle into the snifer, with the liquid itself taking up about three fingers and the head rising to the rim. Really phenomenal, even if I've got to wait a few minutes before drinking.

The nose is roasty up front, with a warm alcohol smell coming in, followed by molasses and finally dark chocolate. Inviting, for sure, but somehow not as complex and deep as I had anticipated. It's not bad at all, but seems a little flat and almost two-dimensional.

Taste is considerably oaky, with a good roasty backbone. The alcohol is prominent, but that's expected and welcomed. Dark chocolate toward the end, with a hoppy bitterness in the finish. No particular hop flavor that I can detect, just some bitterness. Toward the end of the glass I began to notice what I can best describe as a 'sharp' flavor in the middle that knocked the overall score down a notch or two. I'm not certain what it was, and while it isn't horrible it certainly doesn't help.

Thick and mouth-coating, with a smooth finish. The thickness is cut by the carbonation so that while thick, it's not heavy and cumbersome.

This was certainly a drinkable beer, but it didn't leave me wanting to finish the bottle (or even the glass) as much as I wish it would. This wasn't a case of not wanting to finish the glass, just that there wasn't much compelling me to take another sip. The alcohol content, while high and noticeably so, was held in check enough to make it drinkable without being boozy.

A good beer overall, and one I certainly wouldn't mind having again. I'll be a happy camper if Boulevard decides to make this more than a one-time-release beer.

wnh, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of Wasatch
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill and bort11 for this brew.

750ml Bottle
Batch 2008-1
Bottle: 6038

Poured into a chalice a very nice black color, very nice carbonation, huge three-finger creamy tan head, with tons of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, lots of chocolate/toffee. The taste is sweet, malty, nice vanilla notes, very nice chocolate/toffee notes as well. Medium/Full body, the ABV is hidden very well for a 11% brew. Very drinkable, this one is a joy to drink, thanks guy's.

Wasatch, Mar 11, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber into goblet on 3/7/09. Thanks to sholland119 for sharing.

A - Poured as close to black as can be with about a finger of creamy, burnt mocha-colored head that diminished to a quarter inch of patchy retention and deposited spotty lace around the glass.

S - Smokey and astringent with plenty of dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate notes, earthy hop bitterness and a bit of a nutty character.

T - Smokey flavor with a mild sourness and nutty astringency. However, there is a good bit of dark roasted malt and coffee flavor, as well as some semi-sweet chocolate notes. Finish is quite bitter and earthy with a bit of the aforementioned astringent and smokey characteristics riding through all the way to the end.

M - Medium body with a creamy texture and bristly carbonation, but not overly done. Finish is dry with an earthy bitter quality. Quite astringent on the palate overall.

D - Nice smokey imperial stout that drank much easier than an 11% brew would imply. Perhaps this was just a tad too astringent for my personal tastes, but it was still quite good nonetheless.

ffejherb, Mar 10, 2009
Photo of Monkeyknife
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulled the cork from the bottle and heard a resounding "pop". Wow, I thought this was an impy stout, not champagne.

Poured from the bottle a deep dark burgundy brown with a massive mocha-colored head.

Malty aroma with caramel, brown sugar, and toffee.

The taste is big roasted malts, coffee, caramel, and dark ripe fruits.The 11% alcohol is definitely there.

Medium-to-full bodied, smooth and creamy, and lightly carbonated.

This is a very drinkable and very enjoyable impy stout from Boulevard. If you can find it...try it.

Monkeyknife, Mar 08, 2009
Photo of magictrokini
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from South Bay. Let this one warm up. Poured jet black with an impressive thick, creamy tan head. Sticky lacing. Heavy chocolate and roasted malt nose. Smoke, leather, oak, some bourbon, and oats as well. Velvety smooth mouthfeel with light carbonation. Love how it coats your mouth. Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt hits you first. More sweet than bitter, but held in check. Rich coffee flavor (without the acidity), anise, caramel, and creamy milk-chocolate flavors come through. Hints of bourbon and an earthy smokiness pop occasionally. No soy sauce or wooden flavors, just a thick, lovely stout. The alcohol is well masked, but gives a pleasant warmth. Please brew more of this.

magictrokini, Mar 04, 2009
Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 837 ratings.