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Imperial Stout - Boulevard Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

814 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 814
Reviews: 291
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 11.3%
Wants: 236
Gots: 221 | 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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 814 | Reviews: 291 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of Bung
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml. Corked bottle was a bit of a bear to get open. Sturdy black pour with a large dark tan that darkens to brown head. Roasted malt, mocha, booze and some light hop aromas. Very nice amount of lacing. Mouthfeel borders on creamy, just a bit of liveliness. Roasty malt, coffee, chocolate, anise, molasses with light vanilla/bourbon/booze flavors. There are traces of some dark fruits, not sure if they will increase or fade with age. A nice lingering coffee finish. Could have been just a little bit heavier bodied, but it is plenty adequate. Worthy, pushes up to the top big names of the style. Will be curious to see how this ages.

Bung, Mar 01, 2009
Photo of longbongsilver
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

During a routine grocery trip, found the concept of beer bottled like champagne amusing. After a brief giggle, figured what the hell, let's find out what the fuss is about...

Pours pitch black. Head is thick & brown like off of a float, nearly triple the initial volume of beer and sticks around awhile. Pouring a decent amount takes some time as a result.

Smells kinda like almonds, plus more of the hops than I expected. The hops & the nutty malt balance out, and I don't taste the alcohol at all, just feel it. Goes down clean, but not watery.

Buy it again? Heck, if not for the price I'd fill an entire 2nd fridge with it...

longbongsilver, Feb 24, 2009
Photo of Bighuge
4.58/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black bodied beer with a tight cap of brown foam. Great retention and lacing comes abundantly. Aroma consists of chocolate, black licorice, cherrywood, char and tobacco. Nice aromas, but fairly subtle. The flavor is a real treat. Anise oil mixes with charred wood. Black currants mix with burnt malts. Chocolate and coffee and caramel all accent nicely. Nice depth and complexity. Mouthfeel is smooth and about medium-full bodied. For 11%, this beer doesn't show much alcohol in the flavor. Quite a feat. Damn solid Imperial Stout.

Bighuge, Feb 19, 2009
Photo of scottoale
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #05840 of 11960. 750ml. brown champagne style with cork finish. Poured into a Chimay chalice a black-brown with a thick two-finger smokey brown head. The head eventually settles to 1/4" and leaves a blanket of lace clinging to the glass. Good carbonation and head retention.

Sweet, roasty malt nose with complexity to unfold as it warms. Dark chocolate, dark fruits, some smokey bitteness and oak are what this brew is made of, aroma wise.

Sweet dark roasty malt is how this beer comes across from the start to the middle. From that the oak and hops come into play with a good bittering aspect and wind down with some warmth and a bittery bite to the tongue. A bit of oak and aged ale linger in the aftertaste. Very satisfying flavor.

Full bodied with the alcohol lying low in profile, the carbonation keeping the brew lively and the whole of the brew, reeling you in for more...I think this is my favorite of the four smokestack series that I've encounered.

A very tasty and interesting RIS that I hope to enjoy again in the future...me likes!

scottoale, Feb 17, 2009
Photo of homebrewhawk
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked bottle served in a Smokestack Chalice. This cork was a mother to pull out. Lots of carbonation. Poured a dark brown/black with some hints of red. Two fingers of dark tan head. Fruity aroma with some chocolate. Rich and creamy mouthfeel. Not over the top with the roasted barley, more towards the chocolate side. Some hop bitterness. Long dry finish with chocolate malt. More fruitiness in the flavor. A bit of a different take on an Imperial Stout. Probably my least favorite of the Smokestack Series so far.

homebrewhawk, Feb 15, 2009
Photo of naterock
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Smokestack Chalice. Pours a Deep opaque black, Thick rocky two finger head that settles like sand. As close to a nitro-tap settling as I've ever seen in a bottle. head leaves a nice patchy lacing.

Smell is rich malt, some rye and oat malt. a brown sugary nose is relenquished by a alcohol twinge in the nose. A very distinct yeast profile is so incredibly enticing. Absolutely amazingly complex.

Suprisingly I taste hops first, but is quickly overpowerd by rich but subtle malts. I sense some fig and vine fruit in the aftertaste. Incredibly complex with a bitter-sweet overall complexity. Approach is bitter but finishes sweet and smooth. Not as creamy as some other RISs but I don't think RIS is in a league all it's own.

Mouth is rich and viscous, this one really sticks with you while you attempt to finish off the bottle. For future reference I might want to split one, but this bottle is all mine. MuaHA HA HA!

naterock, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of katan
3.65/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mil, bottle 5385 of 11960.

A - Dark black in color - like a heavy burnt syrup. Head formation is very strong and mocha in color. Very well retained head as well. Little hazing.

S - Chococolatey and sweet. There is something similar to a bourbon edge in there. Amazing amount of lacing on the edge showing its thickness. A small amount of phenolic background hiding behind the assertive malted flavors.

T - Starts off with a hair of roasted malt and sweetness. Some lighter chocolate flavors. Moves to show just a bit of the Belgian yeast. Minor phenolic flavors - very well hidden. Finishes with a very sweet and much more assertive bittersweet chocolate flavor that carries over into the aftertaste.

M - Odd combination of thick creaminess at the beginning, which turns to a more balanced moderate mouthfeel after all the carbonation kicks in. More carbonated than I would have preferred.

D - Potent as can be. Higher ABV is harder to manage. Carbonation creates a heavier feeling on the palette. I would find these all in line with the style.

Overall a great beer. My only knock on this beer is that I find it higher in carbonation than I would prefer for a double stout. I imagine that is a symptom of their use of the belgian yeast strain vs. something more traditional. I would go to the GI BCS first - but I will do anything to support these great offerings from BLVD.

katan, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of jcompton
3.1/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

appearance: opaque black into a snifter. bubbly head rescinds to a slight foam. nice lacing around the glass

smell: a slight roastiness on the nose with a slight alcohol burn

taste: slight mocha followed sharply by a heavy alcohol burn. the alcohol over powers the flavors in this one

feel: high level of carbonation. fairly creamy, but still a bit thin for others i've had of this style

drinkability: sharing this 750ml, and i'm not really wanting anymore than that. even if this was always produced i wouldn't go out of my way to grab one. maybe i was looking forward to this a bit too much, but i am disappointed

jcompton, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of brewintheLou
3/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a tan head that leaves some lacing down the snifter.

Smell doesn't have much there. Getting mostly a boozey smell.

Taste has a slight roastiness. There is a strong alcohol warmth to this beer. Ever so slight espresso, but not much. I don't think this one of the top RIS I've had. Not a lot of flavor that jump out with this beer. That being said, it is not bad, just not something worth seeking out.

brewintheLou, Feb 14, 2009
Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 was gifted to me ..Big Thanks... I had a couple of samples at the BA/RB tasting a week or so ago.. Very impressive out of the gates... tonight poured into my Chimay goblet... I maybe should have waited to cork this one... Oh Well.

2" lite tan head... good lacing.. with a big POP as soon as the cork is freed... the brew is thick and dark... obviously a thick brew is in the goblet.

The aroma is a great mix of chocolate and dark dried fruits.. cherries and cocoa come to mind.. prunes and dark chocolate..

Flavor is everything that a RIS should attempt.. dark fruits and a ton of bittersweet.. French Roast.. dark malts have a thick presence.. The body is pretty much perfect.. Carbonation lends perfectly on every pour..

This RIS is an Upperclassman for sure.. deep on every angle.. and surprising ... I've been pretty impressed with every one of the Smokestack series brews.

JohnGalt1, Feb 11, 2009
Photo of tavernjef
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle 06339 of 11960 - Pours a omnivorous brown to establish its ever so opaquely inked blackness in the glass. A tall sponge of dark khaki tan foam swells up swiftly. It resides down to a dense compaction of foam that firmly sits for the duration of each pour from the bottle and growing again at each addition. Lacing covers the glass with a solid base of moth holed sheeting.

At first wiff this was impressively complex, but somehow it lost its capacity and mellowed out as it sat. However, the nose is mostly an all overness of dryish chocolate covering an even higher amount of pruney port-like tangerine peel sweetened tangyness. Nice notes of pie crust, black cherry, and an ever changing demeanor of vinous alcohol. Its a great nose, but just not as boomingly wafty as it could be.

Taste of solid satisfaction here with a big, bold, and beefy character thats soaks right into every corpuscle of your taste buds. Tangy black cherry, prune, plum, and even some citrusy things(tangerine, orange, lime)are placed well in the forefront and coated with a soothingly taming chocolate tone. Mellowing out nicely, staying tangy but mild and chocolate laced in the mid ranges into one finely developing finish of charred, burntish roasty grains. Leaves a heavy bittering tang of chocolate, cherry, and fig with heavenly notes of port-like warmth.

Body of this Boulevard beaut is quite substantial and grand. Starts tangy and large, bold and grabbing, fulls up and then softens up as it soothes its way to silken creamy sense of chocolate mildness. Holds its tang inbetween and along the way into the finish where it gets all lofty and impressive as noted in the taste. One solid beast of a brew!

A true and purely dark sipper of an Imperial Stout. The balance of darkly set tang is superbly set amounst its milding, mellowing chocolate and warming vinous tones. Boulevard can smile big and drink even bigger with this one under their belt in the Smokestack series!
Solid fuckin yum!

tavernjef, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of tr4nc3d
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I dont need to stress enough how much I hate corked bottles. This one was a bitch to get open(or maybe I just need to get a better cork screw)and it took me some time to finally get this motherfucker open. I was holding on to the neck with dear life and pulling the shit out of the cork until I finnaly managed to do it with a little scare.

So off goes the cork and obvioiusly heres comes all the pressure from pulling of the cork so I pour this immediately into my glass. This poured a dark brown/black ruby looking color with the biggest light caramel brown head I ever saw. I mean it was GIGANTIC I tell you. It seemed to last for years before it slowly went down but always leaving a rocky head with sticky lacing on the sides of my glass.

The smell was of roasted malts, molasses, leather, dark chocolate, barley.

It taste of roasted malts upfront with dark chocoalate, dark coffe taste in the middle, with a decently smooth finish that leaves just enough bitterness and a slightly alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is medium body with lightly carbonation, and once again you get that small alcohol burn.

Being 11% I could not manage to drink more then one of these.

tr4nc3d, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of zeff80
4.85/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a huge (4 finger) brown, foamy head with big bubbles. It left sticky patches of Brussels lace all over the glass.

S - It smelled of dark chocolate, sweet caramel, floral notes and hints of fruits.

T - It tasted of chocolate, caramel and fruity sweetness. It had a bitter/citrusy hop presence and slight hints of raisin.

M - It was crisp, sharp and velvety smooth. A medium-bodied beer that is surprisingly easy to drink despite its alcohol content.

D - This is outstanding. The finest of the Smokestack series.

zeff80, Feb 07, 2009
Photo of coldmeat23
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Oversized Wine Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
BOTTLE NUMBER 00889 of 11960
THANKS to TheHand for helping me get this one!

Pours black with the slightest ruby tint. Two-finger head of dense, milk chocolate colored, foam. Retention is totally amazing! Excellent super-sticky lacing.

Big, dark fruit notes hit me first. Folowed by a hint of leather and a touch of booziness. Nice roasted grain notes. I'm getting the Rye, most of all. Just a touch spicey. Very light hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

Big, dark coffee notes blast my tastebuds. Very nice smokey presence, also. Big dark fruit sweetness. Nice hint of caramel malts. Roasted grains make a nice showing for themselves. Once again, I'm getting the spiciness of the Rye, coming through, loud and proud. Hints of vanilla and bourbon-like notes.
A very nicely complex brew.

Mouthfeel is full, as it should be with an Imperial Stout. Very nice and creamy. Super smooth going down.

This one is very easy to drink. An enjoyable process, also. Nice one to sip and bask in all of the flavors that are going on in there.
Yet another excellent offering in the Smokestack Series from Boulevard.

coldmeat23, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of Fweezle
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First review and this beer is whole heartedly worthy.

A : Inky black that foamed up something fierce in the glass. 3 1/2 finger cocoa color head with minimal lacing.

S : Just outstanding. One of my favorite parts of tasting a beer. Hints of Chocolate, charcoal, roasted grains, coffee, and a bit of rye spiciness.

T : Simply delicious. The roasted grains take the forefront with darkness coating your mouth. The roasted chocolate really comes through, coffee is superbly subdued but present and a touch of the grainy rye spiciness. Moderate hop bitterness on the finish.

M : Silky and lightly carbonated. Maybe just a touch too thin, but adds to the drinkability. No overly "coatiness" to your tongue.

D : At 11.00% its a bit hard to finish one on your own, but definitly one to share the experience.

Fweezle, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of SpecialK088
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into the Smokestack Chalice

A-Deep dark black with a great head and nice sticky lace down the glass

S-Rich coffee/expresso and dark rich chocolate sweet malt all of the equally noticeable

T-Dark rich coffee and chocolate with a nice smooth bitter finish and just the right alcohol burn on the finish

M-body is thick rich and exteremly complex very smooth and creamy

D-I could not drink this all the time but dammit i wish i could!

SpecialK088, Feb 03, 2009
Photo of Kahlerbock
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark in color (opaque) with a respectable brown head.
Some imperial stouts I've drank had a noticeable taste of alcohol,
but this one, even at 11%, hid it pretty well. Sweet smell. Rich taste with hints of coffee and chocolate with a very nice finish. I've got an extra bottle of this in my beer cellar which I'm sure will taste wonderful in a year or two, but here and now, this one is quite enjoyable right off the shelf. Another winning big beer from Boulevard.

Kahlerbock, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of jdubjacket
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle split last night between me and my dad. Pours an almost pitch black color with a milk-chocolate head on top. Lots of head on this one despite pouring along the side. Smell has traces of coffee, chocolate, and sweet, sweet alcohol. Taste is very well-balanced between the bitter hops and the malts. Coffee and chocolate eventually dominate the tastebuds with the roasted malts countering the initial bitterness of the hops. Silky mouthfeel and moderate carbonation make this beer very drinkable. A little high on the ABV might lower the drinkability for some, but I could probably have 2 or 3 of these in one night. Overall, I think this is the best of Boulevard.

jdubjacket, Jan 31, 2009
Photo of Mazdajoe
3.53/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark Coffee in color w large cappuccino colored head.

Smell of sweet alcohol and hops with subtle hints of roasted coffee and dark chocolate.

Quite a bit of carbonation up front. This beer likes to be sipped for the best mouth-feel. When sipped the beer is quite smooth and creamy. A bit of cloying on the finish.

Taste pretty much mimics the aroma, as expected. Sweet alcohol and hops dominate the taste. Only on the exhale does the coffee and chocolate come through. A little bit too hoppy for what I look for in this style.

Alcohol takes center stage with this beer. If you can handle the 11% abv it is very drinkable.

Overall the decent alcohol content and acceptable taste make this a must try. I am a huge Boulevard fan, they could sell fermented urine and I'd purchase a bottle. I just wish this beer had less hop character and more chocolate and roasted coffee notes.

Mazdajoe, Jan 30, 2009
Photo of Pusa
4/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought the bottle at Cosintinso's Downtown Market, 26 January 2009. It is a 750 ml corked bottle. I opened it and poured slowly into a pint glass, 28 January 2009.

It forms a head fast. Despite my angled and slow pour, at least an inch and a half of head forms fast.

It has a dark bitter burnt malt smell with coffee and cocoa undertones.

The initial taste is like the smell. After a couple of seconds a strong alcohol taste comes through and competes with the dark bitter malt coffee taste.

The mouthfeel is smooth and soft, and expands nicely in the mouth.

I had to come back to my initial review because as the imperial stout came to room temperature, the taste softened. The strong alcohol taste that competed too harshly initially blends into the coffee and cocoa nicely.

The overall drinkability is good because of the feel of the beer and the eventual blend of flavors. The major drawback is the strong alcohol taste that comes through at first. I have not had many imperial stouts but none had that strong of an alcohol taste that competed with the initial taste.

Pusa, Jan 29, 2009
Photo of Bitterbill
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from The Wine & Cheese Place for $11.99

This pours from caged and corked 750ML bottle(no. 6037 of 11960) a pitch black with a 3 finger head of tan foam. The cork was very stubborn so I used my BA bottle opener's bigger end to wedge the cork out. It saved a lot of irritation on my hand. Just kep wedging and rotating and it's simple as pie. ;^)

The smell has a lot of roasted malt and dark fruits with side orders of chocolate and a wee bit of coffee. Very nice nose.

The taste comes out with a ton of roasted malt and grain followed by some chocolate, light coffee, and a good but not overpowering flavour of wood...bourbon, in fact. I started off this session with a very cold bottle that I just got so some warming is in order to get the full effects of what this beer has to offer.

I waited for about 30 minutes after my first sips and, man, was I rewarded. All of the flavours come out to the forefront and are tickling my palate like few Imperial Stouts can. Yum!

The mouthfeel is in fullish territory, the carbonation is on the light side of medium, and it finishes lightly bitter with a last mad dash of bourbon. This one is definitely made to savour and... the alcohol? At 11%abv, it appears to be on the very timid side. Very well hidden to my tastes. Wow.

Drinkability? Super drinkable given how strong it is. A very well made Imperial Stout indeed and I take my hat off to Boulevard for pushing the "envelope" for what an example of the style can be. Don't hesitate for a moment if you see this one on the shelf of your local liquor store. It is, imho, a must try.

Oh, and head retention and lacing are superb. This beer can do *no* wrong!

Bitterbill, Jan 28, 2009
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.8/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice presentation, numbered bottle. Cork took a wine opener to pop. Once it popped off the brew poured forth a solid black river. Deep black, even the edges didn't lighten up. Dense, tan head that foamed at a slow rate, it built up over 12 seconds after pour.
Good coffee and toffee smell. Not overpowering, but constant and thorough. A hint of cocoa is present as it warms. I can smell the dryness.

Taste seems to come out big, but settle down to a nice balance of coffee, cocoa, and molasses. A sharp bite grips the middle of the tongue, yet finishes smooth. Flavor tends to start to sour towards the end, but then calm down with subtle complexity.

Overall, this beer is very nice. Rivals the Abyss, and like the Abyss a big bottle is too much for one person. Not a bad thing, but just know this ahead of time.

Mebuzzard, Jan 27, 2009
Photo of hckyfn9999
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thick and creamy tan colored head. Great retention of the head and loads of lace left on my Smokestack goblet. Aroma is of cocoa, roasted malt, a bit of dark fruit, some grain, and a touch of booze.

Taste is very roasted, with some dark chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and some rye. Very complex flavors here and very delicious. Mouthfeel is full but not syrupy, and silky smooth. Best beer in the Smokestack Series so far.

hckyfn9999, Jan 26, 2009
Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 814 ratings.