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Russian Imperial Stout - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Not Rated.
Russian Imperial StoutRussian Imperial Stout

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

175 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 175
Reviews: 97
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 8.57%
Wants: 45
Gots: 26 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
Full-bodied stout that starts with a complex, malty sweet and high-roasted character that is wonderfully balanced with the use of citrusy American hops.

75 IBU

(Beer added by: mophie on 12-13-2002)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 175 | Reviews: 97 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by biglobo8971:
Photo of biglobo8971
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured into tulip. The color is black as hell, with a great foamy 1 inch head. The nose is malty, with a slight hint of chocolate. The taste is exceptional, very well balanced between the malt, roast, chocolate sweetness, with a terrific finish. Not over anything, just solid all the way around. Will put on wants and seek out more in the future.

biglobo8971, Nov 18, 2011
More User Reviews:
Photo of csmartin6
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

csmartin6, Oct 28, 2013
Photo of ehammond1
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle

Thanks for opening this, MrVonzipper!

Deep black in color with a thin brown head. Looks thick and substantial in the glass.

Big, complex aroma of roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, a bit of dark fruit, and a bit of candy sugar sweetness as well. Complete.

This is simply a marvelous example of the style. Big, bold flavors of roasted malt, coffee, dark fruits, chocolate, and just a bit of sweetness. Big flavors, bold and assertive, yet balanced and drinkable.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.

A great example of a favorite style.

ehammond1, Feb 05, 2012
Photo of Cynic-ale
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Cynic-ale, Aug 15, 2013
Photo of rudylaw
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to FooFaa for this bottle!

Pours a black, suffocating color with a prosperous dark tan head. It eventually yields to a thin rim.

Chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, caramel, toffee and coffee and creme. Smells very sweet but almost too much. Hope it's not as jumbled in the taste.

It tastes more balanced than the nose. The same elements come together in concert. This is a pleasant surprise! I'm getting a nice roastiness as this warms. Terrific.

Extremely creamy with medium carbonation. This is what an RIS should feel like! Nailed it. Fairly drinkable for a big offering. This is my first experience with Iron Hill and I'm in no way disappointed. I look forward to trying the next batch of this!

rudylaw, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of mdaschaf
4.15/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Shane for popping this bottle open.

A: Pours a dark brown color, practically black, with a small tan head on top. The small head lasted a good while and reduced to a thin layer on top. Minimal lacing.

S: Rather sweet with some chocolate, dark roasted malt, some dark fruit, and a surprising amount of hops by the way of light citrus and pine.

T: A good bit of roasted malt, coffee, and some chocolate. On the sweet side, with some cream, and more milk chocolate.

M: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation. Drinks a little thick, but smooth.

O: Very easy drinking with a nice flavor profile. Not overly complex, but I have no problem with that at all.

mdaschaf, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of MrVonzipper
4.75/5  rDev +13.1%

MrVonzipper, Jan 29, 2012
Photo of cclark67789
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

cclark67789, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of Stigs
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle, purchased from the Media brewpub last summer

served in a large snifter

A - pours with a bit over a finger of fizzy, khaki colored foam. the the beer goes down, so too does the foam, leaving some random wet spots behind. the beer is black, black, more black...no light geting through here.

S - very mineraly at first, though cut into off the front by some rich roasted malt, toasted nuts, ash, and bits of dark chocolate. gets slightly muddled from there, with some molasses and alcohol coming to life near the end. very nice.

T - right off the bat, a vicious attack of deep roasted malts meshes with ash and a hint of rum. then opens up a bit with an ample amount of sweetness, vanilla beans, molasses, and just a faint hint of dark fruit. a small amount of piney hops are still present as well, though a very minor bit of oxidation has already occurred. finishes on the sweet side, black licorice & dark chocolate before being cut into by some booze.

M - only complaint so far, body is a touch thin which is emphasized by the robust and complex flavors. carbonation is a quarter step above moderate, tingly though words well against the slightly watery body. sweetness is a touch oily, and not dry and sticky.

D - very well done, a bit better than i was expecting. this is solid all around: complex, rich, well integrated and not too fancy. who needs barrel-aged beers with regular RIS'es like this floating around. luckily i will be in the area shortly and will surely pickup another bottle.

Stigs, Mar 12, 2011
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with only minimla head. Last year vintage purchased at the brewpub, and Expensive. Roasty malty aroma. First sip is good balance of roast and malt, but a few more gulps finds it satisfying though not complex. More medium mouthfeel, than the thickness expected. Above average carbonation.A good drink but only an average candidate in this style.

Sammy, Oct 01, 2006
Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.85/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage (not noted but I knew when I bought it and it was fresh at that time). Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a Darkness snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a .5 finger fine light mocha head with good retention. Beer is an opaque black. Lacing is stringy and sparse with little cling, small legs too. The nice head and lack of lacing cancel each other out in scoring. Average.

S: Nose is moderately aromatic. Raisins, roasted malt, rich molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, liquorice, and prunes. Solid, but nothing really sets this apart.

T: Opens with some boozy spiciness. Notes of raisin, chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, and brownie along with a subtle hop bitterness that fades quickly. Sweet and robust. Middle is more liquified dark fruit and milk chocoalte. Finish is molasses sweetness with some coffee in the back. Aftertaste is molasses and liquorice. Complex and very balanced. Nice.

M: Medium bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth. Warm and silky going down with the slightest bit of heat at the end. Finish is messy with an aftertaste that lingers. Pretty standard but the way the alcohol is hidden is nice.

O: This is solidly in the upper tier of Russian Imperial Stouts that I've tried. No overwhelming flavors are present. Instead, there's a real nice balance of dark fruit, hop bitterness, and Imperial Stout characteristics. Those GABF medals were well deserved.

SpeedwayJim, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of Mpenders
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Mpenders, Jun 29, 2014
Photo of prototypic
3.98/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to csmiley for sharing the growler!

This one pours a dark mahogany color. It's nowhere near opaque. It has burgundy highlights throughout. Unfortunately, there's not really any head. Just a few bubbles on the surface. They look to be tan in color. Lacing was very, very light. Not bad, but where's the head? C'mon now!

The nose is good. It kicks off with an excellent mix of chocolate and roasted malts. Roasted coffee is rather strong in the mix, and complements the malty notes very well. Secondary scents include molasses, caramel, and anise. Alcohol is a little more pronounced than I expected. It doesn't quite rise boozy, but it's not too far from that territory. Good smellin' stuff.

The flavor is very similar to the nose. The malt base is very flavorful and strong. Roasted and chocolate malts anchor things down very nicely. Roasted coffee is prominent and adds quite a bit to the overall flavorful. I'm a coffee fan, so that works perfectly for me. The secondary molasses and anise flavors add nice depth and complexity. Alcohol is a little better integrated here. Given its strength on the nose, I was anticipating some heat. It's not here though. Good stuff.

The body is best described as medium. Carbonation is very light, and it does feel smooth. Nonetheless, it could stand a little more body. Bottom line...big stouts need big bodies. This one isn't quite there. Drinkability is good. I like the flavor, and it's rather easy drinking for just under 10% abv.

Iron Hill did a nice job with Russian Imperial Stout. It includes all the bells and whistles of the style and doesn't make any huge missteps. It's not perfect. Its biggest needs are more body and maybe a little less alcohol. The alcohol isn't so apparent in flavor, but certainly is on the nose. Those are small gripes. It's pretty impressive overall. Easy recommendation.

prototypic, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of Kegatron
3.95/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap @ Iron Hill Phoenixville on 9/4/10. Served in an oversized mug. ABV was listed as 8.0%, which according to our bartender, came in a bit under what they were shooting for.

Pours black, with a deep brown, almost milk chocolate colored head. This retains with a smooth creaminess from the nitro-pour, leaving back a rich cascade of lacing. The aroma is very smoky smelling (and even a little acrid), with a big backing tang of sweet cocoa and toffee tones. Some floral and herbal hop character mixes in as well, as I'm also getting a little bit of a mineral feel in the back of the nostrils. Not quite off-putting but you can definitely pick it up.

The taste starts with a thick base of bitter chocolate and some sweeter toffee flavors, before a big blast of dark roast, coffee, and hop bitterness (a good bit of citric and herbal textures are present here). The smoke really kicks it into high gear in the back end, spreading a good bit of acrid bitterness out into the mouth. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a mouth filling creaminess to it. That 8% is mostly felt as some thick chewiness underneath and light warmth that aids in brining out those deep roasty flavors. It's mostly well hid though and is helped along by the smoothness of the nitro-pour.

Good depth of character here, even if that roasted nature was a bit overdone, and I thought that the 8% ABV actually felt about spot on for the flavors that were present. This was one of the better takes on the RIS style that I've had at the different Iron Hill locations.

Kegatron, Sep 09, 2010
Photo of smitty23
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

smitty23, Apr 21, 2014
Photo of GuisseppeFranco
4/5  rDev -4.8%

GuisseppeFranco, Jun 03, 2012
Photo of beerthulhu
3.48/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a flute style glass. On location 2/20/10.

A: Poured a flat black with a very thin dark khaki colored head that dissipated almost immediately after the pour. A slight ring lacing was all that remained. It is hard to judge this by style appearance wise, its black, dark, so pretty hard to go off key here. I'll be generous and give this good regards.

S: The nose was lighter then expected, a clean roasted nature that lacked intimidation. Was more in line with a Schwarz style then a Russian imperial.

T: The flavor was smooth with a freshly roasted nature of coffee that was eloquently done. Dark chocolate with a smooth earthy bitterness with a finish that was clean with a mixture of dark chocolate sweetness and creamer laced coffee. Fairly clean per style and easy to handle flavor wise. Sweet dark grains ensures on the finishing swallow.

M: The mouthful had a bit of creaminess, but otherwise was very smooth in character with very little carbonation detected. The alcohol is perhaps the only hindrance here,

D: The flavor is exceptionally smooth per style making you almost forget its 9.5 %abv nature. A very clean approach to the style and easy to consume interpretation.

beerthulhu, Feb 20, 2010
Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap as part of the Winter Warmer tasting at IH Lancaster. From the North Wales location.

A: The imperial stout is a dark black color that absorbs the rest of the spectrum. Carboonation appears to be at a minimum, adding to the still beauty of the stout.

S: The nose is roasted, dark with burnt toast, chocolate and coffee. The nose seems muted, as compared to some of the bottles that I've had.

T: Warming, the stout is rich and malty. Layers of chocolate, nuts, coffee, burnt toast and char wash over the tastebuds. No one flavor is stronger than another, rather they all work in tandem to produce a full flavor. The hops are an afterthought, allowing the British side of the stout come through. A nice beer to finally have on tap.

M: Full and thick, this RIS isn't a pounder. The malt focus is a nice reminder of the stout's origin.

D: This version tips the scales at 9%, so it is not a pounding stout. The smaller pour that I had was a perfect size to reveal the intricate strength of the stout.

akorsak, Dec 04, 2010
Photo of TLove
4.33/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle bought at the Iron Hill Restaurant in Lancaster, PA a few weeks ago. Been dying to find an occasion to drink this and last night presented such an occasion.

Black, pourous substance, with a dark brown, thin and lightly carbonated head. Smells of vanilla bean, smoked berries, and dark chocolate. Really thick and strong body with minimal carbonation, though it does not appear so thick as it drinks. Begins to develop in the mouth as it warms, with a touch of toffee, dark chocolate, cocoa nibs, espresso, and condensed, sweetened rice milk to round out the back end. The smoky flavors of the chocolate and maple-laden malt produce a powerful profile. Hop structure is not particularly strong, primarily because of the presence of smoothening factors here such as the abovementioned rice milk and a bit of oatmeal. The minimal carbonation and maple/chocolate malt really follow through to the end.

This is truly one of the best of its style. I wish it was more affordable and more accessible. Either way, I'm really looking forward to Iron Hill's other offerings!

TLove, Nov 01, 2009
Photo of mdillon86
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

mdillon86, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of buzzy
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

buzzy, Sep 26, 2013
Photo of jmalex
4.72/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Opening this during the first round of the Masters. No indication on the bottle of age or originating pub.

APPEARANCE: Pours into a Duvel tulip deep black with a large, 2-finger, dark tan head. The bubbles are tight and have incredible holding power (though perhaps aided a bit by the glass).

SMELL: The aroma is full of astringent, bitter black malt but contains a strong undercurrent of dark chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. Hop aroma is low though not nonexistent.

TASTE: Much more well-rounded and smooth, and it just explodes from there. The richest, most luxurious flavor of chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and toffee. Dark fruit is absent, but unnecessary. It finished strong with a big hit of black malt and espresso. What a beer.

MOUTHFEEL: Quite thick and full, though not at all slick. The carbonation is on the lower end and appropriate.

DRINKABILITY: Exceptional. The alcohol is fully hidden, and I'll be making quick work of this bottle.

Gosh it pains me that these Iron Hill bottles are so expensive. I can't recommend purchasing one, but you have an opportunity to win one in a contest, go for it!

jmalex, Apr 08, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.68/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I received this one in a BIF late last year and had been holding onto it for a special occasion. I have given up holding onto things like this, and I should just go ahead and drink em. Therefore, I decided to open this one, letting it warm up to about 50 degrees I proceeded to pour it into an Imperial pint glass.

Appearance - This poured a wonderful jet black, no light at all was getting through this one, and it had the look of a thick viscous pour. Rich tan colored head of about three inches in height then rose up off of it and took what seemed like forever for it to settle down into a subtle tan pillow that lay across the top to a height of around a half an inch throughout the entire session. Deep thick web like lace was dripping across the sides throughout. A very nice looking stout, and up there with the better looking ones I have seen.

Smell - The aroma was very rich and sweet. The first notes I could detect coming off of it were rich aromas of chocolate. Nice milk chocolate with hints of vanilla. Some dark fruit located in here as well, with maybe some berries, something dark, fig maybe coming through; not very strong but never the less it was there. Lots of lactose and a touch of caramel as well. As it warmed some more coffee like notes came off of it, but it maintained its sweet profile.

Taste - The flavor followed suit perfectly. First hints of rich chocolate were coming across now, very sweet milk chocolate notes mixed in with lots of coffee. Tremendously good profile here. I let it warm up with hops of really bringing the big guns out to play with respect to the flavor. What happened next floored me. The flavor really started to pop with lots of sweet chocolate, and hints of vanilla. Very good now, as it gets up near room temperature. This was one of the best flavors I have ever tasted. The finish was strong, with a deep rich coffee flavor that I honestly thought was going to last forever. Just brilliant, I cannot believe more people are not aware of this one!

Mouthfeel - Very nice creamy Mouthfeel on this one. More then adequate carbonation with a smooth silky feel, this one was very nice indeed. Velvet like at times, the carbonation was spot on. Towards the end, it trailed off a little, but still was more then excellent.

Drinkability - An outstanding big stout here. There was literally no hint of the alcohol in here at all. Everything was so well covered, with a rich and sweet profile that seemed to drag on for days. There was no issue in finishing the bottle myself; hell, I did not want to share.

Overall, I thought this was outstanding and easily one of the best RIS's I have ever had in my life. It was loaded down with coffee and sweet chocolate with all hints of the alcohol well out of reach. I would have loved to have had another of this, but alas, I do not. Either way, it was excellent and you should seek this one out.

mikesgroove, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of SixpointJMH
4.03/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice seasonal find on tap @ Iron Hill.

It pours a deep deep brown to black colour with a nice creamy tan head.

The aromas are of roasted malt, coffee, some sweet chocolate and a hint of hops.

The flavour is basically more of the same. It starts sweet and velvety and moves into a more creamy/chewy coffee flavour with roasted malt mixed in nicely as well. Hop presence isn't as noticeable as in the aroma, but is still felt.

I've come to enjoy Russian Imperial Stouts more and more and while they still aren't at the top of my list of favourite styles, this is definitely a nice, enjoyable brew that I'd be happy to revisit.

SixpointJMH, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of IdrinkGas
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

IdrinkGas, Dec 15, 2011
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Russian Imperial Stout from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
93 out of 100 based on 175 ratings.