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Russian Imperial Stout - Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

Not Rated.
Russian Imperial StoutRussian Imperial Stout

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183 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 183
Reviews: 98
rAvg: 4.2
pDev: 8.33%
Wants: 50
Gots: 32 | 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: 183 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of crusian
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of whartontallboy
3/5  rDev -28.6%

Photo of Bouleboubier
3.18/5  rDev -24.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I don't know where Iron Hill got the tall, rounded-edged, inverted cone design for that glass they serve many of their stronger brews in, but I hate it! It's like an extraterrestrial frozen cocktail vessel. Serve this beer in anything other than that glass, please!

This stout is dark. Black even. With deep ruby highlights. Had the bartender poured this "properly", could've got some more head. Just saying. It looks like a stout. Points!

Smells desserty(?), like you could reduce this slightly and pour it over my sundae, drizzle my cheeselog. Light roast and chocolate, but an edge more black licorice, cookie malt, and some piney hop. Not bad, but not refined. Something's up here. Suspicious of the next step.

Sorry, but this tasted like it was brewed from a kit or it was rushed out of the fermenter. There seemed to be an off-balance between the sweetish fruit flavors and the roasted characters, with the sugar-sweet malt really outweighing the roast much more than in most RISs I've had. I almost want to declare the malts syrupy, or at least in a light-moderately-diluted molasses type of consistency and, well, I suppose flavor, too. Even at 9.?%, the alcohol, though nicely woven in (or muted out) should've/could've cut through the borderline viscous feel to help instill(?) some order.

Just a tad too much slickness. Couple tads more too much sugar concentration. Not enough burnt or roasty/toasty flavor. Little more burn would've been nice. This can be improved.

Photo of pepsican
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

black pour with a thin tan head. Aroma has plenty of chocolate and molasses, some caramel. Heavy roasted malt flavor, more chocolate, caramel, paper bag, cream, nuts. Finishes lightly oxidized with low carbonation. Would have been great if I drank it a bit sooner I think...

Photo of PSUDREW
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

HMMMmmmm, another interseting offer from IH. Well, the nose and taste wreak of cofe. Buth the tase is a solid, roasted, coffee tase, mixed with a hoppy bitter sweetness and a solid malt base. The coffee doinance is matched by a burn undertone and a malt base. Solid ABV taste to mtach it. Overall, a nice brew to end the night one.

Photo of Rifugium
3.43/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Iron Hill, Media, PA

Pours like a typical stout: dark black color, toasty dark brown perhaps around the edges, with a small, patchy, tan head. Not overly aromatic, with scents of roasted malts and coffee coming through. Big roast in the taste, but not overly flavorful or smooth, dark malts, coffee, and grains. Decent. Alcohol is felt before it is tasted. Heavier-medium mouthfeel, dry, and moderately drinkable, but not the most memorable of stouts.

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.

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of kvgomps
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of J_Ross
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

Photo of tigernipples
3.55/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Growler, Listening to Radiohead - King Of Limbs.

My brother stopped by Iron Hill and picked up a growler. This is the first time drinking Iron Hill. poured into a snifter. Pretty Black with decent size head and carbonation. I smell roasted malts and some dark fruits.
A nice bitter finish in the taste that dries up the mouth. Roasted malts are there. I'm not picking up alot of coffee notes. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, I'd say this is medium bodied. Overall I'm liking this alot. Recently I've had a few RIS that just didn't hit the spot, this has. Going down pretty smooth. i could easily drink another glass.

Photo of Slatetank
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served cold in a pilsner glass at the Brewpub in Lancaster allowed to warm slightly.

A - Deep brown w/ medium or cola highlights w/ very thin light tan head w/ light lace. The stickage is moderate unsure of glass selection, but I guess it is to limit the quantity.

S - Deeply roasted barley odor is dominant. Nice coffee aromas but not very attractive to my sniffer, I just expected more complextity from an Imperial stout. There are notes of berry when it becomes warm.

M - Nice roasted malt, molasses and slight charred malt notes w/ light sweetness. Slightly fruity w/ minimal carbonation and a somewhat viscious thickness on the tongue.

T - Very molasses and toffee at first w/ gentle berry and hoppy pine flavors that play a submissive role to the roasted barley and french roast coffee burned flavors. he yeast is generic yet adds a lot to the flavor making it like a stout w/ a malt problem, not a full-on Imperial stout the whole way through. I like it's nutty and black malt flavor but it drops out too soon. Slight raspberry essence and subtle citrus w/ anise boozy warmth that plays possum w/ the tongue. Roasted barley and bready notes overpower the rest w/ a singular flavor as the glass nears empty. Slight chalkiness w/ char adding to the malty roasted qualities. Fine caramel sweetness underlies the roasted taste and makes this easier to drink as it get spicy late in the taste.

D - A bit better than your ordinary strong stout w/ fine malt and fruit hints, toasted w/ nutty flavors that do not succumb until late in the taste. Above average drinkability, but I would probably not revisit this. Not to be overly critical, but there are just too many great Imperial stouts made in PA - Fat Dog, Storm King etc. etc. that leave this in the dust.

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A hand bottling is poured carefully (to preserve carbonation) and summons up a thin dusting of a brownish tan colored head. The beer is quite black in appearance, but showed a chocolate brown hue as I was pouring it. Rich chocolate aromatics are quite evident and they are backed by a substantial toasted malt note, with lots of darkly toasted whole grain bread aromas, a touch of coffee notes . Thankfully this is lacking in the sharp, acrid acidity often found in this style of beer, though there is a touch of roast derived tartness here. A dark fruitiness is also evident with notes of burnt cherries, blackened prunes, roast raisins and even a bit of brandy-like notes when the alcohol is noticeable.

Soft and creamy feeling up front, but it picks up a nice level of carbonation. The carbonation provides a carbonic bite and a bit more texture to the brew and is at just about the perfect level for an Imperial Stout. Huge flavors of toasted malt are found here. It is interesting that the dark, roasted grain notes are not the main think I notice, instead the toasted malt flavors play the leading role with the roast / burnt malt notes adding some sharpness up front and in the finish. A slight roast acidity in the finish and a bitter, burnt-grain flavor at the fore provide an offset / balance to the toasted, darkly sweet, chocolate rich malt middle that is found in this brew. A slight, burnt vegetal note is found in the finish (something I have been noticing more lately in heavily roasted beers). Hops play a minimal role here, but do contribute to a substantial bitterness as does a dark-roast-coffee note.

This is a good beer and it would be great if not for that nagging, burnt-vegetal note in the finish (something a bit like burnt cabbage). The long, lingering finish of this beer tends to get quite roasted / burnt, though in a flavorful way (especially once it shakes the vegetal note).

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of johnnnniee
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of twenty5
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of andymichele
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Ryanc23
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of Gww1864
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of BMart
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of sholland119
3.8/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at North Wales.

A-Pours a deep black with a thin, creamy tan head and some good lacing.

S-Pretty much roasted malt and little else.

T-Nice blend of bourbon and vanilla with some pine hops in the finish. A bit of alcohol warmth in the finish as well.

M-Rich and creamy.

D-A little more alcohol than I would prefer so less drinkable than others of the style.


Photo of HopHead84
3.83/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at O'Brien's, a remnant from the Strong Ale Fest.

Dark brown, almost black with a one finger, light brown head and little lacing. Aroma is of roasted malt and coffee. I can't detect much else. Taste is of coffee and molasses, with a low level of hop bitterness. Alcohol is faint, definitely on the light side for a RIS. The beer is full bodied with good carbonation and a viscous mouth feel.

This is an easy drinking, relatively tame RIS.

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.

Photo of WorldWideStout
3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown, oily and thick. A small mocha-colored head dissolved after about a minute.

S: Coffee, chocolate, and a bit of sourness at the end.

T: First I get chocolate, which is followed by espresso. The two tastes meld for a chocolate-covered espresso bean flavor at the end. I taste coffee with the espresso more and more as I become acclimated to the beer.

M: Oily and slick with minimal carbonation. I would've liked it to be a bit thicker.

D: Par for most bigger stouts. I wouldn't have more than one in a sitting.

A tasty stout, but not quite as good as Old Rasputin or Ten Fidy, and for the price ($15-20 for a 750), it's not worth it. I would like to try it on tap for a more reasonable price at some point.

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Russian Imperial Stout from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
93 out of 100 based on 183 ratings.