1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

183 Ratings
THE BROS
-
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 183 | Reviews: 98 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

Photo of t0rin0
3.75/5  rDev -10.7%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

Photo of djrn2
4.5/5  rDev +7.1%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of kjkinsey
4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -16.7%

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.

Photo of Knapp85
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This poured out as a very deep brown color. The head was tan and left behind a light amount of lacing. The smell of the beer has a little bit of a spiciness to it. The nose also has a burnt chocolate aroma. The taste of the beer has a heavy roasted malt taste. There is also plenty of chocolate and some hoppy bitterness in there too. The mouthfeel of the beer has a good thickness to it. Decent oily feel to it. Overall this beer is pretty good for sure. Not my favorite RIS. But not bad, definitely worth trying.

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a black body topped by a full, bubbly, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Subtle aroma of roasty dark malts with notes of baker's chocolate, stale licorice, burnt breadcrusts, and booze.

Taste: Frothy, melted milk chocolate followed by a zip of caramel sweetness. Hints of breadcrusts, roast, and licorice. Mild, roasty, earthy bitterness. Finishes with a taste of chilled hot chocolate made with at least twice the recommended amount of cocoa powder.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Mild carbonation.

Drinkability: Very tasty RIS. Oh, I was crazy about it.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

real sturdy russian imperial. pours jet black with an awesome creamy nitro head. smells bittersweet like hops and dark chocolate. taste is chocolate malts and coffee notes, with a pronounced hop finish true to the style. alcohol is well concealed and the mouthfeel is butter. so smooth and creamy perfect on the nitro tap. my favorite beer ive had from iron hill

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.

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

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 oline73
4.53/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

Photo of drabmuh
4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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 WesWes
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm roasted malt scent with a firm black and chocolate malt aroma as well. It seems sweet with a mild roasted character. The taste is great. It has a rich and creamy black and chocolate malt flavor. It goes down smooth and sweet and finishes warm and toastey. There is a mild earthy character that blends well with chocolate element. The mouthfeel is excellent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It's full of malt character and highly drinkable. I love the chocolate presence the best. It's bold, but also adds a bit of balance to the regular black and roasted malts.

Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pt. 9.3 oz corked bottle. Brought up to me recently by some friends.

Pours almost pitch black with a thin tan head that soon becomes a lasting swirl of a patch.

The smell is of chocolate. Some mocha and dark fruits are also noticeable.

The taste is of dark fruits wrapped in sweet chocolate. The chocolate dominates throughout. A roasted character that hints at mocha is also there. There is a roasted character that peeks through, almost too much so, but acts as a balance to the chocolate sweetness.

Silky texture. Full-bodied, though the carbonation is just a slight too much. Still in all, it is smooth and leaves a pleasant chocolate/coffee aftertaste.

Not necessarily the fullest or most complex for style, but still delicious. Very easy to drink for style. Alcohol is almost completely covered. Just a touch of warming alcohol. Recommended if you have a chance to get some of this!

Photo of Rochefort10nh
4/5  rDev -4.8%

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 orangesol
4.2/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on-tap at Iron Hill - Lancaster during their recent X-Mas in July event.

A - Pours jet black; with hints of brown around the edges; with a small half finger tall tan head leaving streaky lacing down the glass.

S - Smells of coffee, bakers chocolate, dark roasted malt, licorice, light smoke, and sweet dark fruits. It is complex yet it smells like any other RIS would.

T - Starts off with plenty of rich coffee quickly giving way to a mix of sweet bakers chocolate, dark roasted malt, light smoke, and some sweet dark fruits. It has lots of smokey roast yet it remains quite drinkable. The finish has plenty of dark roast, mixing with some chocolaty sweetness, to linger on the pallet long after the finish.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Rich, roasty, feel with plenty of it lingering through the finish.

O - Very nice. I see why this has won all those GAFB medals over the years. It has lots of things going on inside it, yet it remains drinkable and easy to enjoy. I am glad they snuck this keg on at the last minute.

Photo of stakem
4.08/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I could have swore I reviewed this 2 years ago from a bottle. Oh well, here we are again but this time on draft at the Lancaster location.

The brew pours black in color with a thick brown head. When held to the light, it displays some ruby clarity faintly around the edges. The dark brown head holds strong across the top leaving frothy pathy lacing effect on the glass.

The smell is dark and roasted. The char of the grain imparts a fresh scent of coffee and chocolate through the nose. A bit of citrus inclusion from the hops as well as an earthy layering that includes some licorice. A minor dark fruity alcohol note brings up the back smelling of plums, raisons and other dark almost burnt over-ripe fruits.

The taste is roasty and bitter from a combination of the dark grains and citrus-like hops. There is a fruity alcohol inclusion that rounds things out. This brew has a lot of flavor that blends together nicely and is well balanced between roasty, bitter and fruity. The aftertaste displays a hint of raisiny sweetness coupled with a darker sort of molasses flavoring.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Well balanced and fairly easy drinking for over 9%. This one is worth seeking out. I enjoyed the mix of flavor despite usually not fully enjoying the fruity side of some RIS offerings. I wouldnt mind getting a bottle or two of this to age for a few years but the price tag on Iron Hill bottles keep me from buying them frequently.

Photo of woodychandler
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Transcribed from notes dtd Sa, 04 Dec 2010. This was IHNWales' RIS available at IHLNC.

The deep-brown head evidenced some real staying power in awaiting me to get around to it. Color was inky black with deep-brown highlights at the edges. Nose had a powerful French Roast coffee scent along with a citrusiness, like lemon zest. I began to muse as to whether I could grate some lemon or orange peel into my coffee grounds with any success. Mouthfeel was big and chewy. It had a wonderful chocolate taste, like a fresh oven-baked brownie.

Speaking of which, was anybody else diggin' the eastern-European chick on FX's Fully Baked commercials? I'd eat her brownie. Hers might be a blondie. Either way ... Damn, where is my Russian mail-order bride? She shoulda been here by now. That whole thing with Kvass has skewed my worldview. I was inculcated from Boot Camp to hate the pinko Russkies and now I can't get enough of them or their language.

Back to the beer. Finish had a definite chocolatiness to it that made me think that this would be an excellent dessert beer. I would not need a whole bunch of it on its own, however.

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.

« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Russian Imperial Stout from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
93 out of 100 based on 183 ratings.