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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.

174 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 174
Reviews: 97
rAvg: 4.19
pDev: 8.35%
Wants: 46
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: 174 | Reviews: 97 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of dtivp


4.18/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured a very dark brown with a small mocha head that quickly dissipated into a ring with nice lacing.
Aroma of roasted malt, and chocolate.
Taste of roasted coffee, molassas, vanilla with a nice roasted malt finish.
Medium body with moderated carbonation , very smooth.
This is a very nice enjoyable RIS, at first I thought it might be a little on the sweet side, however, it finished with more roasted malt and coffee.

09-04-2010 00:08:07 | More by dtivp
Photo of jmalex


4.72/5  rDev +12.6%

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!

04-08-2010 21:44:04 | More by jmalex
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

3.48/5  rDev -16.9%

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.

02-20-2010 19:23:56 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of WorldWideStout


3.88/5  rDev -7.4%

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.

02-10-2010 00:40:23 | More by WorldWideStout
Photo of gford217


4.45/5  rDev +6.2%

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.

02-06-2010 03:40:59 | More by gford217
Photo of fishtownhxc


4/5  rDev -4.5%

not really my favorite beer style, but this version surprised me.

the nose has a whole lot going on, not to mention the obvious smell of alcohol, but unlike other versions of this beer that i've had this beer doesn't smell or taste nearly as hot, especially for a 10% abv. lots of good esters and malt in the nose, maybe a slight hop nose as well.

dark brown in color with ample head retention and carbonation for the style.

huge malty flavor backed by a subtle hop bitterness that's matched by a slight astringency, yet finishes on the sweet side, not dry. roasted barley with hints of bitter sweet chocolate dominate.

not a session beer by any stretch (duh), but one of the few i've had in this style that i could drink more than one in a sitting. well deserving of the high praise it has received.

01-19-2010 17:40:50 | More by fishtownhxc
Photo of rhinos00


4.43/5  rDev +5.7%

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!

01-12-2010 01:01:45 | More by rhinos00
Photo of TLove

District of Columbia

4.33/5  rDev +3.3%

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!

11-01-2009 18:52:02 | More by TLove
Photo of ClockworkOrange


4.1/5  rDev -2.1%

A corked 750ml bottle poured into my basic snifter glass. The RIS appears just about black with an inch of dense dark tan foam. Aromas and flavors consist of rich, dark roasted grains, bitter baking chocolate, espresso, molasses, vanilla, cocoa powder, some milk chocolate as it warms as well as some alcohol heat, caramelized malt, prunes, mocha. Approaching full bodied with ample carbonation and a rather bitter, roasty aftertaste.

10-07-2009 15:25:36 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of garymuchow


4.22/5  rDev +0.7%

Brought to me a couple of years ago by a buddy. Thanks JB. Cellared a couple of years.
Nicely done beer. Solid black color with slight tints of reddish. Late growing head that was fairly persistent.
Modest smell for style of roast and mild richness. Flavors matched aroma's well. Again, somewhat rich, but not cloy. Decently complex.
Moderate to slightly more on feel. Carbonated nicely and smooth.
Drinks well and makes for a well rounded beer overall.

08-22-2009 01:14:00 | More by garymuchow
Photo of pepsican


3.33/5  rDev -20.5%

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...

07-17-2009 03:31:03 | More by pepsican
Photo of TheFightfan1


4.47/5  rDev +6.7%

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.

04-14-2009 01:21:06 | More by TheFightfan1
Photo of rayjay


4.33/5  rDev +3.3%

I am at a loss because i don't remember who sent me this beer. i am in your debt!

Typical char black beer, with a creamy and thin off-white head and only a bit of lace. Frothy like an espresso.

Wood, roasted aroma. Evidence of a high gravity beer with rich plum-like esters, but minimal actual alcohol aroma. Sweet dark and milk chocolate and noble hops round out the whole enticing picture. Let's have a drink!

Deep bitterness hits first, followed by an awesome sweet woody bourbon malt flavor that washes over your mouth like a wave. Then they give way to roasted malt heaven, accompanied by malty sweetness. Fallout lingers for a solid minute or two. I can really smell the roasted and carmel malts when I exhale, and the bitterness pops out for a brief moment here and there. Complexity is huge, everything melts together perfectly, and it's just into heavy body territory so it's even a bit refreshing. A joy to drink.

There is some coffee, toffee, definately roasted barley, maybe special B or black patent, definately lots of carmel malt, British noble hops, and American yeast which probably was taxed to it's limits, providing lots of esters.

Quite frankly, based on reviews, this is what I though Darkness would be like. I think this beer deserved a lot of that glory.

Excellent mouthfeel. Malty richness is accented by a light bottle-conditioned carbonation that works well to carry the aromas but doesn't distract from the beer.

Very good drinkability. Great balance of complexity and deliciousness. One of the better imperial stouts and defiantely worthy of a try. Cheers.

01-10-2009 07:36:22 | More by rayjay
Photo of hellbilly


4/5  rDev -4.5%

bottle stated it was brewed in wilmington contributed by the illustrious superdave70...

pours a rather opaque thick looking black (reddish at the edges) with a small tan head. it lingers the duration and leaves some spots of lace on the glass.

smells very rich and almost like it has some bourbon in it?... spicy, vanilla, smokey wood, brown sugar, molasses, roasty malt, chocolate and cream with some dark elusive fruits.

lots of fruity sweetness on the palate is fought well by ashiness and a dry finish. ashiness lingers long into the aftertaste... flavors of chocolate cream, tons of roast, coffee nuttiness, vanilla and charred wood. medium bodied yet quite a bit sweet. ashiness makes it much smoother and easier to drink as well as keeps it incredibly well balanced.

01-08-2009 05:30:22 | More by hellbilly
Photo of Tolann


4.9/5  rDev +16.9%

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.

01-03-2009 03:00:16 | More by Tolann
Photo of Boto


4.5/5  rDev +7.4%

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!

01-02-2009 22:21:19 | More by Boto
Photo of Floydster


3.93/5  rDev -6.2%

750 ml corked and caged bottle acquired in a trade over a year ago, sorry I do not remember who it is from but thanks if you see this, split with my dad a few nights ago, poured into my Dogfish Head snifter, color was black, very impressive appearance, small 1/2 inch creamy light brown head that lasted about five minutes, good retention, minimal lacing, aroma was made up of dark chocolate, light vanilla, espresso, molasses, and burned sugar, taste was similar but the roasted malt component was the thing that stood out the most, starts off slightly sweet with chocolate, malts in the middle, and finishes somewhat boozy and dry with coffee and roastiness, mouthfeel was full, rosty, dry, slightly sweet, and chewy at time as well, full bodied, carbonation was probably a little low, taste lingered, could not drink this whole big bottle by myself but probably get close, pretty filling stuff, alcohol is hidden fairly well, not overpowering or anything, first beer I have tried from this brewery, really look forward to the four lambics I have coming from them though, would drink this again too, recommended

12-25-2008 04:26:39 | More by Floydster
Photo of sholland119


3.8/5  rDev -9.3%

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.


12-15-2008 02:45:05 | More by sholland119
Photo of HopHead84


3.83/5  rDev -8.6%

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.

12-14-2008 03:39:04 | More by HopHead84
Photo of bonkers

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev -2.1%

I poured from a 25.2 ounce bottle into a standard pint glass. The beer pours jet black with an impresive head for an RIS. The smell is of chocolate and coffee. The taste follows the nose. The chocolate seems to be pretty strong, no real hop flavors. This is a full bodied, smooth sipper. I enjoyed this beer, but at 20 bucks a bottle I will be enjoying other RIS in the future.

11-13-2008 01:19:51 | More by bonkers
Photo of FtownThrowDown


4.2/5  rDev +0.2%

750 bottle that RoyMunson popped and let me have some.
Pours a very dark brown almost black in color. Smell is heavily roasted malt and some cocoa. Taste is even better. More of the roasted flavors, but enough chocolate to round it out. Very nice, huge mouthfeel to stand up against it all. This is a good RIS, would love to try a BA version of this. Think that would set up and be very nice.

08-06-2008 00:40:12 | More by FtownThrowDown
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev +0.7%

another from the reserve cellar list from Iron Hill:
A - nice dark black brew with a solid dark tan head. Touch of ruby red on the sides of the glass when held to the light.
S - Roasted malts, bakers chocolate, some sweet malts.
T - similar to the aroma but with a touch of bitter hops that blends nicely with the grainy roasty aspect of this brew.
M - medium full / full bodied beer, nicely carbonated, rich roasty residual notes.
D - this was a very nice drinkable RIS. Not sure the age on this one but it's drinking well.

Nice to have tried but at $18.50 it's expensive for a $750.

05-23-2008 15:10:28 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of Foxman

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev +5.7%

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.

05-16-2008 15:54:36 | More by Foxman
Photo of ChainGangGuy


4.35/5  rDev +3.8%

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.

05-12-2008 01:35:43 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of ATLbeerDog


4.2/5  rDev +0.2%

From the Wilmington location. Pours a deep brown/black color with above average head, and above average lacing and carbonation. Smells of coffee, chocolate and deep roasted malts...like a RIS should. Tastes of chocolate, coffee, tobacco, caramel, roasted malts. Ha complexity but not as complex as a Dark Lord or a Abyss. Still a great beer...close to World Class. Finishes well. Very NICE!

05-10-2008 21:43:00 | More by ATLbeerDog
Russian Imperial Stout from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
93 out of 100 based on 174 ratings.