Russian Imperial Stout - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Not Rated.
Russian Imperial StoutRussian Imperial Stout

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BA SCORE
92
outstanding

106 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 106
Hads: 222
rAvg: 4.16
pDev: 7.21%
Wants: 56
Gots: 46 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant visit their website
United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: mophie on 12-13-2002

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
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 106 | Hads: 222
Photo of Tolann
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I recently obtained this bottle in a trade with fyrecrakker05. Thanks hun!

A - Pours really super dark and almost thick looking. The bottom of my glass is like a moonless midnight. Head is a roasted coffee brown.

S - Wow. Sweet, chocolates, some roast, vanilla, very beautiful. No need to wait and warm up or stick your nose in the glass. The aroma wants to come out and play.

T - Really in tune to the smell. Chocolate and sweet up front. roasted coffee is more prominent in the taste but still hangs in the back. This tastes like a guilty pleasure.

M - Smooth! Not syrupy, not too light. Carbonation is just right. Very enjoyable aftertaste. Small amount of warmth from the ABV.

D - Very nice! Awesome recommendation, fyrecrakker05! I looked at your cellar list too long cross-eyed. You're right. This one is awesome! I've been in a mood for RIS and other stouts and this one really tipped the scales! This beer makes me want to go to PA and get more. (962 characters)

Photo of jwhancher
4.81/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Provided by WC brewer last fall. No bottled on date observed. Poured into a Duvel glass for review. Doesn't absolute black, almost opaque dark brown. Nice rocky tan head. Not much lacing on the glass. Smells of light roast, chocolate, chalk, brown malt and citrus hops all harmoniously gelled together. Upfront roast and chocolate in the taste with firm bitterness and nice lucious, creamy mouthfeel. Nice vanilla presence and virtually no alcohol notes in either aroma or taste. Could mistake this beer as 5% ABV. Overall, a superbly done beer. (545 characters)

Photo of jmalex
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
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! (1,115 characters)

Photo of mikesgroove
4.65/5  rDev +11.8%
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. (2,893 characters)

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.62/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark black. My mag-lite struggles to register any color at all. The head consists of a chunky tan collar with irregular spots in the middle.

Smells of big sticky barley with lots of chocolate and a splash of coffee. Nice blend here. Rounds out with a touch of smoke and maple syrup.

The flavor is rather gentle with a dry rough barley with a slight brown sugar. A slight coffee again is followed by a thin maple syrup. There’s also a very subtle sour cherry and orange rind to balance things our.

Feels light and clean with a nice, gentle carbonation. It’s almost glassy with a nice thickening carbonation. I’ll go ahead and say this one feels ideal.

Tasty, light and clean. What more could you ask for? (729 characters)

Photo of larryi86
4.55/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle from the Newark location poured into a tulip

A- Black with a three finger tan head.

S- Dark chocolate, roasted malts, caramel malts, faint coffee, some piney hops.

T- Dark chocolate, caramel mats, roasted coffee, some hops in the finish, very well balanced.

M- Medium to full body, smooth, nice creaminess.

O- A nice RIS, 9.5% ABV is very well hidden. Not the most complex beer and I little on the pricey side, but worth trying of you get the chance! (469 characters)

Photo of mophie
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another damn fine beer from my friends at Iron Hill. 1/2 gallon growler. Ruby-brown in color, with just a trace of light poking through. First pour produced a really appetizing cafe-au-lait head, but subsequent pourings were relatively flat. Regarding the smell: my kids thought it smelled great (they're 8 and 11 years old, so my wife pretty much freaked), but they're right -- really nice fragrance of chocolate, plums, raisins, roasted malts. As for taste: when I was at the brewpub, I watched a guy at another table try his first sip. Upon tasting, he got one of those looks on his face that indicated he had just experienced something really special. A really nice malt backbone, with just a hint of hop bitterness. Burnt toast qualities, with an ever-so-slight alcohol spiciness. Oh yeah, baby. Be it food or beer, Iron Hill puts out a first-rate product. (861 characters)

Photo of oline73
4.51/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Once I decided to bring home a growler of the Chokolad, I had to get this one to compare it as well. Poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours black with a layer of tan head. The head takes a while to get to the top of the pour because the body is thick and it wants to keep the bubbles in. The head then fades to a ring around the edge of the glass and leaves some lacing.

Smell: Lots of roasted malt here. Some sweetness from the grain. Also picking up some dark chocolate and alcohol warmth.

Taste: This beer is extremely smooth and incredibly well balanced. Roast with dark chocolate, alcohol, and some hop bitterness. Everything works together so amazingly well. I'd love to have another.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with some of the smoothest carbonation I have ever had. Tingly carbonation with a slight dryness.

Overall: Everything about this beer works. Nothing is over the top, but there is so much going on. I would have this again in a heartbeat. (955 characters)

Photo of nlmartin
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I think I received this from my Secret Bunny 2007 Mac300. The beer was served in a Imperial Nonic.

Appearance: The beer pours a perfect black pitch. The head is the color of burnt creamed coffee approximately 2 fingers high. The head resolves to a ring of foam. Whisp of lacing remain behind on my glass.

Smell: The beer has the usual suspects in terms of well roasted and burnt coffee, as well as, semi-sweet coffee. Fruity figs and dates combine with anise and spicey alcohol. This is dam near everything I would want in a Imperial Stout.

Taste: The beer captures my palate with well roasted coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, figs, raisins and dates. A pleasing pine hoppyness combines with alcohol for a spicey coda.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer has a big body. The carbonation is low but not problematic. The flavors and aroma are bold enough and very enjoyable. This is easily a first rate Imperial Stout. I would have this beer again. Sadly this beer is not available in my neck of the woods. (1,012 characters)

Photo of DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one poured very dark, nearly opaque, with dark brown edges. It was capped by a tan head that appeared slowly and thinned to a solid ring, leaving wisps of bubbles on the surface of the beer. The very fine bubbles showed some stickage too. The aroma was dominated by sweet malt, mostly caramel and toffee, but with significant roast, chocolate and licorice as well. Bitterness was low to moderate in strength, but present throughout. The flavour was English in character, balanced towards a rich, malty sweetness and accented by licorice early on, cocoa in the middle, and roast towards the finish. The roasted flavour was actually a lot like chewing on the roasted barley grain. The body was heavy and palate coating, and combined with low carbonation produced a very smooth and creamy texture. Even with all the residual sugar providing body, it didn't taste underattenuated at all. There was a slight dryness from tannins and no alcohol taste, but some warmth. Highly drinkable for a big beer. Definitely an interesting take on the style and certainly more in the English camp. Very tasty. Thanks Tim! (1,108 characters)

Photo of Boto
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Draught in Phoenixville: This one poured an inky dark brown. There was a small tan head on it. The aroma is nice. I get coffee, roastiness, chocolate, and slightly smokey. It had a very full taste. Coffee, roastiness, chocolate. The sweetness is help in check by a ton of hops, and they leave a slightly citric finish. Very Nice! (329 characters)

Photo of TheFightfan1
4.46/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

poured from 750 mL corked bottle into a snifter. Pours black with a thick creamy coffee colored heading.Globs of lacing stays all throughout the tasting.

Smell is immediately chocolate with a soothing roasted malt scent,also a touch a caramel thrown in.

Taste is of rich roasted malts but a very nice punch of alcohol that warms the gullet. A nice deep choppy aftertaste with a nice touch of coffee.

Mouth is ridiculously smooth,full bodied with little carbonation.

Drink is exceptional for a stout for a higher ABV.

An awesome brew. I must say the best I've had from Iron Hill. (584 characters)

Photo of Foxman
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It pours a full-featured featureless, inky ermine. Two fingers of crema light brown head settle slowly. Dainty fingers of bubbly lacing tickle the inside of the glass.

In the aroma, earthy roasted malt is dense with dark chocolate, black coffee, and cocoa, and sweet with dates and molasses. Biscuit and vanilla latte ably foil a proud yet humble stile of alcohol.

Upon sipping, dark roasted malt is charred just so, and intimates heady espresso, unsweetened chocolate, and blackened biscuit bottom. Molasses and burnt sugar come off as neatly bitter and aptly sweet as well. Cocoa and a vague but pertinent hop note lightly spice the way in to a warm channel of alcohol. The grain grants a graceful reiteration of its presence with a tongue-caressing trio of coffee, darkened bread crust, and black molasses. The finish is crisp, dry, and grounded. Gosh, this is damned good.

Full bodied, it's creamy, thick, slick, juicy, and it fades to a gutsy, spicy glow.

Michael just may have impregnated Jan, despite her exhortations otherwise, Toby's gone away, and this is one kick-ass, blended, complex pleasure of a dark, beefy stout-beast. I don't know whether to be happy I finally picked it up, or kick myself for taking so long to do it. The ABV is steely and warm, but it's a comfy warm, and it's a pretty smooth drinker in spite of its considerable heft and aura. So Andy proposed to Angela, Jim didn't propose to Pam, and I didn't do anything but laugh, which is only right, because this RIS makes it all okay. (1,520 characters)

Photo of gford217
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

750ml bottle courtesy of hopdog poured into a snifter.

Pours deep brown out of the bottle and is really close to black in the glass with a small but very thick tan head that recedes slowly to a small swirl along the top.

The aroma is excellent, not crazy complex or extremely creative but spot-on for the style. There is deeply roasted malts, chocolate, espresso and even some sweet licorice hints. There is also a bit of green hops in the nose I think, which I wasn't expecting.

Much like the aroma, it's not exceptionally powerful or complex but it really seems to have all the necessary ingredients with sweet chocolate mixed with bitter coffee and roasted malts. The finish has a fruity sweetness and bit of fresh hop bitterness that makes it a little more than run-of-the-mill.

The mouthfeel is on the lighter side of medium bodied for an RIS, though it's not watery or thin. It's just not that heavy on the palate.

The lightish body makes it exceptionally drinkable even if it's not the most creative or massive RIS. It's still a top tier RIS in my book and a nice reminder that you don't have to throw the kitchen sink at a beer for it to be great. (1,160 characters)

Photo of SolipsismalCat
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark opaque brown with tan sticky lacing.

S: Roasted malt. Coffee but mostly chocolate.

T: Moderate sweetness and light bitterness. Rich roasted flavor. Lots of chocolate. This is really good.

M: Full bodied with soft carbonation. Thick and creamy and warm.

O: Wonderful for the cold winter months. So rich and warm. Must have this again. (345 characters)

Photo of stageseven
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler from Iron Hill Newark.

Ap - Deep dark brew, clear, with ruby highlights. Creamy 1/2 finger dense tan head.

Ar - Roasty and a little smoke. Chocolate, thick, a little meaty. Pretty intense smell.

T - Serious roast, bits of dark chocolate and coffee. Peat smoked malt in the aftertaste. A decent bitter backbone, but not overwhelming. A little bit of alcohol as it warmed up.

M - low level carbonation, as I tend to like it, but the growler was a few days old as well. Moderate body, not super thick but pleasantly substantial. A little warming.

O - Excelent RIS, but drinkable as well. Very roasty but not a thick, boozy representation. I guess how much you like this one really depends on what you want, but I found it easy to take care of the growler with the help of a few others. (795 characters)

Photo of rhinos00
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Jettanbass9 for sending this beer to me! Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a snifter. Cannot tell the vintage, but this one has been laid down for quite some time now.

A- Pours a dark, charcoal black. Produced two fingers width of tan head. Dissipated pretty quickly into a thin ring.

S- There is a sweetness of what smells like dark melted chocolates. Also picking up on some buried notes of vanilla along with what seems like an ever so subtle tropical fruit aroma. The base has a roasted character with a bit or char.

T- Incredibly cohesive! I just want to state that I am not a big fan of incredibly roasted/charred beers. While this beer had some of these qualities, it was blended perfectly with other complex flavors so as not to be too overbearing. Upfront a rich chocolate flavor is quite evident. This is paired with what tastes like espresso. Midway through to the finish, the beer takes on a charred flavor that lasts all the way to the finish. What made this beer for me was that unlike many beers that let the charred flavor take over, this one countered the aggressive charred, bitter flavors with a sweet, prune-like flavor that matched it perfectly.

M- The texture was perfect, had a nice velvety touch to it. However, it was a little on the thin side for an RIS.

D- Very drinkable for an RIS with such bold charred flavors. Alcohol was not really detectable and this 750 mL bottle went by surprisingly quick.

Overall, this was quite a surprise. Didn't have very high expectations for this one, but it was extremely mellow and demonstrated perfect cohesion with its ingredients. I actually feel privileged to be drinking this one. Recommended! (1,675 characters)

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer. And it's just dying to be aged out. Great malt tones, nice chocolate, very mild roasted tones. Extremely thick, but not obnoxiously so. Great feel. This is really a spectacular beer. Hits exactly what an ris should be. I wouldn't mind having more of this to age. (284 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Megan. Thanks!

The beer is a deep dark brown with minimal head. Big chocolate roast and char aroma. The flavor follows suit. Rich and viscous with fairly low carbonation. Alcohol content hidden gracefully. Overall, a splendid beer and terrific example of the style. I would relish the opportunity to have this again. (327 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MrVonzipper for sharing this one during his tasting!

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, slight dark fruits, and alcohol. Taste is of dark roasted malt and cocoa powder. There is a nice roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good RIS with some solid aromas and flavors. (550 characters)

Photo of rtaps
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours black with a nice tan head, decent retention leaving minimal lacing, and slightly viscous looking
very nice nose on it, nutty chocolate, some coffee and roasted malts.

taste is great kind of fallows the nose. nutty chocolate, roasted malts, with some coffee there all blended nicely

medium bodied and carbonation.

overall its a good RIS wouldn't mind getting another one (380 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.39/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Darkness tulip. Beer is black / brown at the bowl with a tan head that disappears quickly, low carbonation, no lacing.

Aroma is sweet with a strong roast to it. Mild alcohol too.

Beer is medium in body, sweet up front, malt and alcohol, strong flavor, almost a dry finish with a lot of roast at the back end of the beer. The beer feels almost still in my mouth, plain but very flavorful, sweet, almost vanilla. I like it and would have it again. (461 characters)

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

This bottle was randomly given to me by Rempo (Mark) after he had heard that my grandfather passed away. I had never met him before but he came in and gave me the bottle along with a handwritten note giving his condolences. It was one of the kindest moves of advocacy I've seen yet. Thank you, Mark, immensely for giving me this Want out of sheer kindness and advocacy.

This beer pours a full bodied dark chocolate brown, very smooth and velvety, with a two finger very creamy mocha brown head. It looks exactly like a RIS should. The aromas are smooth, soft, and creamy. You get smooth dark roasted malts, ala coffee and cream, with a moderate amount of milk chocolate. I actually get some milk too, like hot chocolate. The flavors consist of roasted malts, milk chocolate, mocha, coffee bitterness, with a slight nut character. The bitterness is a little strong than anticipated and is really the only thing holding it back. Otherwise, it features nice complexity. It drinks very, very smoothly and is near perfect in body. It's just so creamy. The alcohol isn't present at all and despite being full in body, it isn't overly filling or overly thick. It drinks ultimately well. Overall this is a fine beer and a great representation of the style. I'm very glad I could try it. (1,279 characters)

Photo of biglobo8971
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
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. (346 characters)

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

Tap (Growler from Wilmington) Pours a rich black with a thick tan head that left a solid coat of lacing on the glass. Aroma is strong of coffee and chocolate, and the taste is very strong of the same. It is sweet without being over powering, and no hint at all of hops or strong malts. Very well balances and the 9.5% is also well hidden in this very creamy drink. Definitely a beer for sipping -- take your time with this one!! (428 characters)

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Russian Imperial Stout from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
92 out of 100 based on 106 ratings.