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Arcadia Imperial Stout - Arcadia Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Arcadia Imperial StoutArcadia Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

274 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 274
Hads: 449
Avg: 3.83
pDev: 11.75%
Wants: 23
Gots: 30 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-09-2003

OG 1090; 59 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Arcadia Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 274 | Hads: 449
Photo of srv33
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review is for a 2007 bottle reviewed in 2012.

Near black pour, strong herbal scent, with a hint of chocolate and soy. Little to no head. Quite strong and bitter kick on the palate, though it fades quickly. Almost no carbonation, as expected for a bottle of this vintage. Tastes much the same as the smell, rich herbal taste with a bit of licorice and soy.

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Photo of gustogasmic
3.36/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage from the cooler at a wine bar/ bottle shop.

Black with red-caramel edges and a 1/2" caramel-latte head that disappears quickly. Great sticky lacing.

Smells... hoppy. What in the heck? Big sweet malt backbone with roast in the background.

The taste is wild; not at all following the nose. An intriguing oily hop/ licorice nose that pulls into a big malty, milk-chocolatey body. Unfortunately, the bitterness of the initial drink sticks on the roof of the mouth as an almost acidic awkward and distracting after-taste. I wonder if that element is there in fresh bottles.

The mouthfeel is relatively thin for the style, but the sharp roastiness has a complex linger.

Gotta try a fresh one- or maybe this one was messed up in storage.

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Photo of n2185
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2009 vintage I found at a store in Toledo--no idea how it was stored.

A: Pours black with two fingers of dark tan head that recedes into a thin layer with little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with molasses, sweet floral notes, and dark chocolate dominating. There are some slight oxidized notes in the nose.

T: Similar to the aroma, molasses and dark chocolate dominate with some bitter char notes as well. There are slight oxidization notes here as well, but not too much.

M: Thick body with lowish carbonation, this beer is pretty smooth and creamy.

O: A pretty decent stout, overall. I've not had it fresh, but this bottle seems to have held up pretty well.

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Photo of ksimons
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A-pours an oily black with almost no head to speak of, just a tiny ring around the top of the glass

S-roasted malt, coffee, molasses, some bittersweet chocolate, and a touch of smoke.

T-similar to the smell. Roasted malt, light burnt coffee, molasses, and a bit of sourness that makes it seem a bit thin.

M-medium body, light to medium carbonation, wish the carbonation level was a bit higher. Slight dry finish.

Overall not the best RIS I have had. Seems to be lacking in body and roastedness.

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Photo of rterry13
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought to sample as part of a pick 6. Pours a dark motor oily look with little to no head. What there was had a caramelly mocha color. Strong roasted cherry aromas and I picked up a bit of a boozy/whisky like smells as well. A lot going on in this Imperial. I got some bitterness on the sides of the tongue that paired up with the heavy duty roasted coffee like flavors. Feel is thinner than it would appear however, but still a pretty big beer overall. Better than a lot of Imperials I have had, but not the best. I would get this one again as it would go well with some good cheese on a cold night.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I picked up a bottle of Arcadia's Imperial Stout last week for $3.69 at The Lager Mill. I missed out on this beer for the last two years, so I made sure to get a bottle of this years release and not make the same mistake, so lets see what I have been missing out on. 2010 Vintage. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a snifter.

A- The label is like some of their other seasonal's and is pretty plain, I like the old label much more. It poured a pretty black motor oil color that didn't let any light come through and it had a finger and a half worth of mocha colored head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and it left some nice rings of lacing. This is a proper looking RIS.

S- This RIS has a unique aroma. It starts off with those typical dark roasted malts that impart a nice roasty, chocolate aroma with a pretty fruity aroma mixed in that smells like some sweet cherries. That gives this beer an aroma similar to a chocolate covered cherry but the cherry's smell a little artificial. The aroma isn't true to style but it isn't bad, just much different from what I was expecting.

T- The taste seems to be somewhat similar to the aroma. it starts off with a mixture of roasty malts that impart some nice roasty chocolate flavors that are mixed in with some tart cherry juice, the cherry juice doesn't stick out as much as it did in the aroma but it is still pretty noticeable, the roast is the most prominent. After that I pick up a little more chocolate and a slight amount of coffee with a low amount of bitterness and those same flavors showing up in the aftertaste along with a weird anise flavor. I could hardly pick up any alcohol. The taste wasn't true to style but I still enjoyed it.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, medium bodied, with a good amount of medium carbonation. The body could be a little thicker since it felt slightly watery, but everything else was spot on.

Overall I thought that this was good beer, it was just an Ok RIS since the fruit aspect made it not true to style, but nonetheless I still enjoyed drinking it and it was a nice change of pace of from the traditional RIS's. This beer had pretty good drinkability, the alcohol barley showed up and the flavors held my interest, I could see drinking another one of these. What I liked most about this beer was the appearance and the drinkability they were both pretty nice. What I liked least about this was lighter body, it would have had a pretty perfect mouthfeel if it was a little thicker. I would buy this beer again when it is released next year, it's a nice change of pace from the typical RIS, and if that is what you are looking for then I recommend trying this beer. I am glad I finally got a chance to give this beer a try, it wasn't an awesome RIS like I hoping so it won't be in my top RIS's but it was still good and pretty unique. Arcadia is a pretty solid brewery and this beer was also pretty solid and now there is only one or two bottled beers from them that I have yet to try, keep making solid beers and I will keep drinking them.
Edit, I just finished my review when I noticed that this was made in 2010 and not 2012, so it has some age on it, reviewing this I thought it was fresh but appearntly that is not that case, I guess I found out that this beer can hold some age, I just don't get how this new arrival at the store is two years old already, I need to track down a fresh bottle and compare, maybe the cherry juice aspect came with age, who knows?

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Photo of AngryNucleus
3.09/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage poured into a pint glass. States 9% ABV.

A - Brownish red hue, kind of surprised by the color of this beer. I was expecting darker. Produces a thin layer of light brown head that dissipates rapidly. This definitely appears to be different from normal imperial stouts.

S - Faint and almost sour chocolate smell. Strong malty aromas. Maybe a faint hint of alcohol.

T - Initial taste is pretty aggressive. Carbonated pretty highly given the style. A caramel and almost reddish malt aftertaste. It has a roasty aftertaste that hangs around for a while and fades out with a bitter-sweetness. This beer tastes very light for an imperial stout. Flavors are not as bold as I would like. Alcohol somewhat present in the back end.

M - Carbonated a little to much for the style in my opinion. Thin and coarse mouthfeel. Leaves a lot to be desired.

O - I was expecting a lot more for this beer. Looking at the last inch that remains in the glass it would be difficult to call this a stout (much less imperial) without seeing the bottle it came from. On the whole I feel that this beer is not a good representation of the style. Can't recommend this one.

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Photo of azdback
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Great Divide pint glass. Black color with dark brown highlights. Head is a small one finger. Dark coco color and creamy in appearance. Lace is minimal and doesn't seem to want to stick around.

Smell is dark roasted malts and cherries. The tart, red fruit smell is very prominent. Not getting much more from the nose but maybe just a hint of alcohol.

Taste is pretty much like the smell. The dark roast and cherries are there but the roastiness is much more prevalent and the cherries take a much needed back seat. After the tart fruit passes there is just a bit of coffee beans and some cocoa. Rounds out nice.

Mouth is velvety and the carbonation is light and creamy. Body is balanced and full with a long wet finish.

Overall this is a pretty good example of a RIS. Not the best but not a bad one. The ABV is low enough to not limit yourself to just one but high enough to achieve great character and depth. Thanks to McNuts for this extra.

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Photo of CA2670
4.36/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For starters this is an imperial Stout of 9% not the listed 8.4%.
When poured into glass (traditional pint), poured slow and even. Jet black and a nice caramel-tan head about .5 inches.
The nose when opened was mellow roasty with malty back. few slight hints of licorice but very subtle.
Taste of this stout is sinfully delicious. malty roasty and strong. The 9%abv is however very well covered up.
mouth feel is smooth and silky with a nice light carbonation.
Overall this is a very enjoyable beer and a solid example of RIS. Would buy more and enjoy.

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage at Sycamore in Columbia, MO.

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, tan head of foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - Very nice roasty aroma with notes of dark chocolate, toffee and malt.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate and burnt molasses with some toffee flavors. Very tasty.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is a really nice beer. Curious to try a fresher one.

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Photo of VncentLIFE
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

09 Vintage poured into a tulip.

Pours pitch black with a nice quarter inch head.

Smells of dry grains and bourbon. Hints of booze come in intermittently.

Maybe age has made it more boozy, but I was given this vintage as a gift from dakkon 54. I cannot speak of the changes with age. The dry grains are there, with smooth vanilla and bourbon notes (with an emphasis on the woody oak flavors). In my uneducated guess, the age has added accentuated the bourbon here.

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Photo of tobelerone
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2007 vintage, found at Whole Foods for 4 bucks. Gotta try a 4 year old RIS for 4 bucks!

Pours jet black and totally opaque. Visibly syrupy. A very small brown head dissipates rapidly; smallish lace; looks almost like a glass of cola.

Big rich nose, with roasted malt, booze, chocolate, molasses, raisins.

Taste is big, sweet, and syrupy. Molasses and chocolate out front, raisins and prunes present, pleasant booziness underneath; heavy malt character. Slight smokiness.

Thick, viscous body with just a little carbonation to cut the stickiness. Definitely nice for fans of the chewier stouts. Big and impressive and tasty, sweet and sticky, great bang for the buck.

This is a good one, might not be the most complex as it fails to develop significantly in the glass. Worth a shot for sure.

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Photo of Bonis
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from notes: 10/15/2011

2009 Vintage

A - Black with a thin mocha head. It sticks around the whole time, but with only a little lacing.

S - Roasted barley, caramel and other sweet malts, some bitter chocolate, a hefty amount of booze.

T - A fairly complex mixture of chocolate, roasted barley, and sweet alcohol. This seems too boozy to be aged two years. Wonder if it's better fresh? Some of the hops have stuck around, which is nice enough to slightly balance the sweet roastiness and booze with a little bitter finish. Pretty nice overall, but still a bit of alcohol harshness for being a 2009.

M - Full body with lower carbonation. A slight alcohol burn.

O - A decent imperial stout, but not one I plan on going out of my way to purchase. I would recommend this to fans of big and boozy imperial stouts.

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Photo of dgugliuzza
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage...poured from 12 oz bottle into a snifter

Black in appearance with a bubbly layer of brown head. Large soapy like bubbles are much more prominent than the head.

Smells of a roasted malt and dark fruit concoction with a sweet vanilla rum cake finish. Great balance between roasty and sweet. Hints of leather and molasses. Alcohol makes itself known.

Roasty and sweet up front followed by dark fruits and leather. Fantastic bittersweet finish. Age has treated this beer with grace. The leathery dark fruit flavor nicely compliments the roasted and bittersweet malts.

Soft medium mouthfeel. Not too much creaminess, but that's a tough bone to pick with a four year old beer. Surprisingly easy to drink. The alcohol is felt, but is well subdued.

This was a treat to drink. Aged to perfection with added leather and dark fruit flavors. I look forward to comparing this one with more recent vintages. Well worth seeking out fresh or aged.

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Photo of Duff27
3.37/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2008 Vintage

A- Short lived thin dark mocha head. Dark brown/black stout. Not a very "lively" looking beer. Little chunky sediment towards the bottom of the bottle/glass.

S- Roastiness, coffee notes.

T- Slightly oxidized but not so much that it takes away from the beer. More roasted malts but not a lot of coffee notes as present in the nose. Perhaps some dark fruits in there. No hop presence. Tastes bigger than 8.4%abv.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Medium to medium-low carbonation.

D/O- Middle of the road impy stout here. Although it was cool that it had a few years on it, this one is probably past it's "peak". May or may not be interested in this one if the opportunity presented itself again.

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Photo of SDDanC
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage poured into tulip from bottle. Aggressive pour propagated a very thin, chocolate head which dissipated quickly. During this excursion I was left without any lacing. Elixir poured very dark brown mahogany, near black. Nose is full of booze (bourbon), bitter dark chocolate, very subtle hints of candied cherries, coffee and malt. On the tongue it is chocolate, a decent amount of the bourbon (though not over-bearing), and roasted coffee beans. Mouthfeel comes a little thin, would expect more body with the strength of the aroma. Overall, quite pleased with this brew, would like to drink again.

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Photo of wvsabbath
4.3/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Serving Type - Bottle

Appearance - Dark oil black, nice creamy 2 nich head, decnt lacing.

Smell - Roasted malts, coffee, hops, vanilla, brown sugars.

Taste - Fairly smooth malt and vanilla kick at first. Hops come in and add some bitterness. Molasses and brown sugar add some sweetness. There is a sort of oaked rum, citrus fruit flavor in the end. Chocolate and maybe a little dark fruit kick in the finish.

Mouthfeel - For a thick, big beer, pretty easy to drink. The malts are strong and coat whole mouth. Tounge gets sweetness, bitterness, and chocolate. Palette is worked out big time. Finish is fairly bitter and malty.

Overall - Really nice for a imperial stout. Easy to drink and has a nice hop kick to it. Really dont get much alcohol out of it. Stout fans should check this one out.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

jet black, completely opaque, and black as night, thick looking liquid into my glass, exactly the way it should have. A nice two inch high head of chocolate colored foam rose up out of the depths to come over the top of it.

burnt malt smells. Hints of some light smokiness came over me first and were not at all unwelcome. I let it sit to let the flavor come out and some nice dark fruits then began to emerge. Lots of sweet aromas in here too, with hints of molasses and sugar all over it, Rich molasses soaked burnt coffee coming into the picture, offering just the slightest touch of bitterness to it as it starts to finish up. Nice sweet creamy finish to it now with a good touches of smokiness to it as well.

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Photo of FickleBeast
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2007 vintage. E2 notched on label.

Is this beer really 4 years old? I just picked it up last week.

Poured into a pint glass. A vigorous pour yields no head whatsoever. Pitch black. Aroma is boozy, some vanilla, maybe some rum aromas as well.

I feel this beer has a strong licorice / anise flavor to it. Feels thin bodied at first but finishes pretty chewy... just not sweet. The booziness come through, as well as some schwartzbier-like maltiness... dark, but not particularly roasty.

There is actually a pretty decent hop bitterness in the aftertaste. Honestly, I'd prefer it a little sweeter. Boozy bitter aftertaste.

I'm not a huge fan of this beer. I'd take a Storm King any day over this.

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Photo of AlexFields
3.19/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours dark black but with no head at all. I like the color but it looks flat.

Smells strongly of vanilla. Some booze. Overall a very light smell, not getting any dark roasty notes, maybe some chocolate or coffee though.

Taste is similar. Lots of vanilla, a little booze, some dark sweet candy (orange maybe) that gives it a bit of tanginess. This actually reminds me a bit of Vanilla Bean Rum Barrel Dark Apparition, although not as extreme in flavor and not as good.

Mouthfeel is weak, it's almost flat.

Overall a decent beer, unfortunately the carbonation is too screwed up to fully enjoy the nice flavor.


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Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.04/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a light-bodied, but dark coloured brown-black, with a coarse-bubbled fudgey head of mocha foam, that settles like a crema ring around the edge of the glass. Minimal retention or lacing. Body is too fluid, in particular.

Smell is really quite lovely. Big smooth roasted chocolate flavours, with lighter notes of tea and raspberries. Slight smokiness to it, with a tingle of barbeque. All of this is based on a pleasant vanilla biscuit sweetness. Really lovely.

Taste is also good, but a little milder than the best examples. Here, there's a smooth, roasted grain character, with a pleasant backing of dark chocolate and a slightly astringent bitter finish of over-pressed coffee. Not a huge amount of depth to it, but it's still very pleasant.

Feel is definitely lighter than it should be, but it doesn't go badly with the smooth, but not particularly boisterous characters in the flavour.

Not a bad drop, all up. Lighter than the average Imperial Stout, but still bigger and fuller than a standard example. Not bad at all.

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Photo of sidetracked
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Bottle dated vintage 2007. Pours black with a thin light brown head that dissipates quickly.

Smells strongly of sweet raisins, prunes, and dates. Some bitter roastiness and sweet molasses. Little cherry fruitiness too.

Upfront taste is a lot of sweet dark fruit, molasses, brown sugar. Slightly sweet roasted malts mix with molasses in the middle. Sweetness continues through the finish where there is a little coffee bitterness as well. Lingering roastyness.

Full bodied with a light chewiness. Creamy. Little to moderate carbonation. Slightly sticky.

Out of four bottles, this one was by far the best. Others were thin and watery with a less robust flavor. Nice sweetness that is more fruity than chocolate. Easy to drink and well balanced. Wouldn't purchase again knowing that three out of four bottles would be less than average imperial stouts.


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Photo of nhindian
4.08/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a Surly Darkness snifter.

2009 vintage.

A - Pours pitch black, much like the black emptiness that the label shows as well. There's a nice 2.5-fingered head, tan in color, with decent retention for the style and alcohol. Lacing consists of long vertical strands of foam with patches of clarity here and there.

S - The smell on this is pretty rich, even for a Russian imperial stout, full of roasted malts, some slight soy, and high amounts of dark fruits, and a surprising burst of hops at the end. As it warms, the booze definitely comes through a lot more, and I find myself liking it less as it goes on. Fresh out of the bottle it's great, but slowly degrades over time.

T - The taste follows closely behind the nose, but is a bit more consistent overall. Throughout, there's a two-fold bittering effect; some from the roast, and some from the hops in the finish. Again, I find myself surprised by how much hop influence is here, both because it's nearly two years old, and because it's a RIS. The soy doesn't come through as much as the nose. The dark fruits are very prominent as well, something I enjoy about this a lot, especially as it mixes with the coffee and decadent chocolate. Quite complex and pleasantly surprising overall.

M - Mouthfeel is moderately heavy with good carbonation. Relatively chewy, yet also viscous and somewhat syrupy. Overall incredibly smooth, and goes down smoothly and easily.

D/O - Drinkability is moderately high. At the start, I was completely blown away by this beer and it instantly ranked high up in the RIS charts for me, but the degradation in the nose as it warms is a killer. The taste is still solid throughout though, so despite that I am still incredibly happy at this beer. I bought this blind a few months ago and didn't even realize it was a vintage bottle.

The description on the label puts this at 90 IBUs, while the newest description on Arcadia's site lists this beer at 59 IBUs, so there definitely was a recipe change between this bottle and the newest, which could account for the big hop notes in this one.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Another random single from Binny's. It pours a straight obsidian, with minor ruby highlights when held in just the right way against some light, topped by a half-finger of tan foam. The nose comprises oats, very light roasted malts, biscuits, and light toffee. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, dark chocolate, molasses, light charcoal, light maple syrup, and oak. The body is a hefty-yearning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a thinly syrupy feel. Overall, a bit on the thin side for its power and a tad too oily for my liking. These, combined with a slightly weak smell, make for a decent, but not great, stout.

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Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin mocha head that died down quickly but left some delicate lacing and a narrow ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of licorice, roasted malts and raisins in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but slightly more complex with additional hints of coffee beans and molasses. The finish has a slight amount of bitterness along with some hints of alcohol.
M: It feels medium-bodied and relatively smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is easy to drink for the style, but would be more interesting if it had a fuller bodied.

Note: 2008 Vintage

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Arcadia Imperial Stout from Arcadia Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 274 ratings.