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Imperial Russian Stout - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
87
very good

102 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 102
Hads: 167
rAvg: 3.89
pDev: 9.77%
Wants: 9
Gots: 8 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-28-2001

Imperial Stout is patterned after the highly fortified Russian Stouts that were exported from the U.K. to Russia in the 1800s.
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Reviews: 102 | Hads: 167
Photo of Mebuzzard
1.75/5  rDev -55%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1

Trade from grub. Thanks, I like trying new brews! Even if I don't like them.
Previous high marks for this one made my mouth water. But the sink had the rest of this beer.
Poured a weak looking, thin Cola liquid, absolutely no head whatsoever, none, not after a hard pour, a good swirl, nothing. Horrible looking, but at least it is dark.
Smelled like wet coffee and bad chocolate. Coffee hints can't hide the astringent aroma that dominated.
Tasted like the malts were roasted over a dung-fire, not good at all. Hops had bite, but no flavor. Drinkability? Ask the drain. (575 characters)

Photo of Talisker
2.82/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bottle received from BA Goldorak via an extremely generous (on his side!) in-person trade.

Pours dark but thin. Almost no head despite trying to force one up. Aroma is heavily dominated by chocolate - not sweet, but not overly bitter or burnt. Not much malt or hops to balance the smell.

That slightly bitter chocolate also dominates the taste. Not at all unpleasant, but not particularly balanced. The thin texture avoids the syrupy viscosity of many American RIS expressions, but a lingering roasted bitterness takes its place, outstaying its welcome, wanting a little sweetness.

Were this beer a work in progress, I would say it's extremely promising, just needing a little tuning before bringing out to the world. But as a finished beer it's not one I'll return to or recommend others seek out. (808 characters)

Photo of Rastacouere
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Blind Tasting, thanks CapFlu Deep dark brown with a beige film. Very restrained aroma for an imperial, light alcohol notes, dry altogether with dark chocolate and caramel tones and a weird steamy, milky touch. Taste is also unexpected, chalky, woddy (branches) with not too pronounced green hops that seem out of place. Milky overall with a lightly astringent finish and a thin-medium body that is actually a bit overcarbonated. Worst of show in the blind tasting, weird and off imo. It lacks some basic characteristics like intensity. (535 characters)

Photo of TerryW
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark with a substantial caramel coloured head. Settles to a short layer, but doesn't give up any real lace.

Not too fussy on this one I'm afraid. I found that the alcohol was too dominant in both the smell and taste of the beer and the whole thing just came across as too harsh to properly enjoy. I've had other Wellington brews and quite enjoyed them, but this one is not for me. (383 characters)

Photo of Haydn-Juby
3.25/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

L: Fairly black. Beige head bubbled out quickly, leaving a mere ring. A bit of lacing. Not super dark, I get some ruby red highlights.

S: Dark fruits, raisins, sweet milk chocolate.

T: This is some sweet stuff. Dark comes of as pretty strong: raisins, a bit of plum, and maybe some date. Dark caramel is strong too. I'm guessing the fruitiness is coming from the dark caramel malts. A bit of restrained roasted barley comes through on the back end, but it's pretty laid back. Very sweet- to sweet for me. Caramel should be dialed back; roasted malt should go up. No booze what so ever, I could easily believe this was a 5% beer, if not for the body.

F: Almost oily. A thick body, and pretty creamy feeling. Carbonation is perhaps just a tad dialed back.

O: It's passable, okay, but passable. Sweet, too sticky, not really my thing. I prefer roastier, lower ABV stouts. (873 characters)

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.29/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark coffee black color with a dense and large head of brown foam. Lots of lace. Medium to medium low levels of carbonation.

S: Mild and reserved notes of roasted malts, sweet chocolate and cocoa, with some bready notes. Not bad, but kind of on the weak side.

T: Rich and dense flavors of java, roasted malts, grain, charcoal and wood with mild notes of hops. Not overly complex, but appropriate for the style.

M: Dense. Heavy. Rich. Very nice, with some mild carbonation hanging around. Similar to syrup, with high viscosity.

D: Fair. A mildly entertaining RIS, but lacks depth and complexity. Perhaps a good starter for the style.

Notes: Speical thanks to biegaman for the sample. (701 characters)

Photo of beerluvr
3.3/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Pours a deep brownish head over opaque brown in the glass. Light (too light for a R.I.S.) roasted malt nose offering some coffee tones. First impression on tasting was too light bodied for what the label claims it to be, that aside I get roastiness and light malt and not too much hop to speak of. Finished on a bitter chocolate note...no alcohol tasted. Thought this could be much better though it's a nice Imp Stout for those just testing the waters. (452 characters)

Photo of BrewSomerville
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Aroma: very muted. Chocolate.

Looks: Black. Small, tan head. Poor head retention.

Taste: Chocolate, coffee, a touch of black licorice (but not bad). Some pine-like hoppy flavours that build up on your tongue.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied. Smooth, velvety, silky, and chewy. Light carbonation with very fine, small bubbles. Good cask conditioned mouthfeel.

Overall, I like this Beer much, much better in it's cask conditioned version. I don't care much for the black licorice flavour, but this RIS didn't have much of it. This Beer certainly hides it's 8% ABV well. (562 characters)

Photo of trevorwideman
3.37/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

341ml Canadian industry standard bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to grub for this one. I was born in Wellington County and Wellington beers always make me think of where I came from....

When I opened the bottle it made nary a noise, and when poured there was not so much a head as some scant bubbles floating about. Black as sin though, no light pierces this baby. Carbonation must be awfully low, because even a vigorous swirl dosen't make a head erupt. Smell is subdued but there's typical plum, fig, and raisin aromas mixed with a bit of roasted malt and chocolate. Uh oh, there's a bit of soy sauce in there too. Was this bottle not sealed properly? I guess a tasting will tell.

Taste is quite good for the most part. Lots of bitter cocoa roasted malt character with a touch of chocolate sweetness. The dark fruit notes are there, but subdued, and there's also a lactic sourness in the background that I can't quite put my finger on. Bad news is I'm quite sure this bottle's gone bad, the cardboard and soy sauce flavours are in the background, but they're there nonetheless. Add to that the fact that the carbonation is next to dead and it's bad news. Mouthfeel is medium, a bit lighter than the style norm, and the alcohol bites a bit on the way down. All that said, I will review this again sometime with a fresh bottle to compare my notes, but I couldn't have more than one of these since it's already giving me a headache. Very unfortunate. (1,460 characters)

Photo of seand
3.44/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Pours an opaque black with a small amount of tan head. Just a ring around the edge of the glass retains, leaving minor lacing.

S: Sweet roasted malt.

T: Sweet roasted malt with a roasty top end; not bad, if a little bit single-noted.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall, OK. Not nearly the best imperial stout I've had, but still decent. (352 characters)

Photo of jrenihan
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black, with a very thin layer of dark tan head.

Maybe it was a function of the glass, maybe not, but I could smell almost nothing from the beer. Just a hint of fairly typical stout smell. Not bad, but not distinctive at all.

Taste was decent. Burnt caramel and a fair does of bitterness. Enjoyable, but not a particularly complex taste. Alcohol was more hidden than expected.

The beer was much lighter than expected. Particularly for an imperial stout, it was quite thin. However, carbonation was wonderful, perhaps partly as a function of the fact that it is from a cask.

Drinkability is good. Despite the strength, it goes down very smoothly, and is an enjoyable but not exciting beer.

Overall, I would be happy to have another of these, but would not go out of my way for it. (798 characters)

Photo of DaveHS
3.53/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz can courtesy of Jeffo.

A-Pours dark, stained wood brown with about in inch of rocky mocha head. Leaves chunky lacing.

S-Cocoa powder, vanilla, burnt white sugar, moth balls, roasted chocolate malts.

T/M-Medium to full bodied and soft, with low carbonation. Lightly roasted dark malts, a little bitterness on the back end, which is slightly overdone considering the lack of body. Would like this to be a little thicker. Finish falls off abruptly, warming the back of the throat.

O-An average RIS. Glad I got to try it. (526 characters)

Photo of mintjellie
3.55/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

Very dark brown (almost black) body. Thick tan head, poor retention, no lace. Mild roasted aroma with notes of coffee, burnt sugar, dried fruit, and a hint of chocolate. Bittersweet with black coffee, raw sugar, char, and light chocolate. Moderately bitter finish. Medium-bodied with low carbonation. Feels smooth, but slightly thin. Warming alcohol, while not completely off-putting, could be slightly better hidden. A decent Imperial stout that would benefit from a chewier mouthfeel. (486 characters)

Photo of papat444
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to grub for this one.

Poured from a 473ml. can (code A2012 on it so i presume this was canned Jan. 2012).

Appearance: Brown-black body, thick and oily, with about 2 fingers of creamy foam. Not much legs on it but does coat the glass when swirled.

Smell: Cocoa powder, chunks of chocolate. milky chocolate, mild coffee but aroma dominated by various chocolates.

Taste: Decadent chocolate chunks mixed with good bitter coffee and roasted overtones.

Mouthfeel: Weak point. Carbonation a bit higher than expected and the body is fairly average, barely reaching medium strength.

Overall: A decent stout but not one that i would drive out to the brewery for. There are better stouts that are more easily attainable. (723 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got a few of these in trades last summer. Thanks for the cans guys!

From a 16oz can into a snifter.
Canned in 2011

Note: Pitted this one against Grand River's Russian Gun Imperial Stout in an All-Ontario stout showdown!

APPEARANCE: Clear black pour yields a one finger, looser looking, tan head with decent retention. Black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a good, full wisp, though only splotches remain leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Didn't start out that well, but finishes strong.

SMELL: Mild nose with some roasted malts, licorice and cocoa powder. Touches of caramel too. A little too mild to be memorable.

TASTE: Roasted malts and some caramel sweetness up front, then some licorice notes and dark chocolate at the swallow. Decent lingering aftertaste of roasted malts, dark chocolate and sweet molasses. Pretty nice after the swallow, and more impressive than the nose had led on.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. A touch watery perhaps, but still creamy enough. Goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating.

OVERALL: This was pretty good, as the flavor after the swallow saved it from being mediocre. Though it is nothing to write home about, I would gladly drink it again, and especially fresh on-tap. This one actually kicked the Grand River brew around the playground. Give this one a go if you find it. Cheers! (1,396 characters)

Photo of biegaman
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Off cask at C'est What?, in Toronto.

At only 8%, this 'imperial' may be on the lighter end of the style's scale but it's certainly not on the light end of the colour spectrum. Dark as a winter night, opaque as coal, giving off not a single highlight and, as if the beer didn't look intimidating enough already, even it's head is stained a deep ebony tone. Frankly, it's a little daunting...

This roasty, malty aroma offers hints of black licorice and coffee. Well, coffee beans. Or coffee grinds. And the character is smoky, a wee thin and a tad harsh - more robusta than Arabica. This certainly doesn't have the bells or whistles that most imperial stouts come decked out in, but it's no worse off: simplicity and reserve have their virtues too.

Although it never saw the inside of a barrel, Wellington RIS soaked up lots of dry, woody characteristics somewhere along the way. Along with the heavy, sooty taste of pure, undiluted cocoa, the beer can sometimes hit the palate rather harshly and travel down the throat with a woolly texture. There's also a distant sour note of dark berries.

I won't complain, however, about the beer's bitterness, which is ample. It comes from a generous addition of hops which have also contributed by way of a vine-y, leafy flavour that proves very compatible with the sooty, roasted malts. The overall impression though, it must be said, is far from the most stimulating, dynamic or distinctive the RIS style offers.

Wellington RIS is a pleasant drink and strikes a good middle ground between those options that are too plain and those that are too strong. On the whole, however, it makes for an underwhelming example of the style. Like an aging veteran athlete whose body can no longer keep up physically, a beer with this kind of subtle and collected temperament simply doesn't compete with the new generation of bigger, more exciting stouts. (1,888 characters)

Photo of akorsak
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 12 oz bottle courtesy of biegaman in my first (and only) international trade.

A: The stout is big and bold, dark as night in the center and cola brown at the edges. The ale has little carbonation, only a small pool of foam on pour and no outward signs of bubbles.

S: Some roasted notes poke through but there is a lot of biscuity grain here, more than I'd expect. As the ale warms, more stout aromas emerge, supplementing the roasted grains with toast and chocolate.

T: The flavor is quite nice, dark and toasted up front with a touch of black cherry and chocolate. Coffee and licorice add darker, deeper dimensions without making the stout too strong. The stout is big but the flavor never betrays the booziness.

M: The mouthfeel starts out slow but improves as the stout warms. The taste is full and coating without being too strong.

D: At 8% one needs to be careful. This would not be my first pick for a RIS but it works well enough. (945 characters)

Photo of spinrsx
3.65/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

473ml can from the Ottawa LCBO for 3$ - been wanting to try this for a while

Appearance - Black/Brown colour with an average size fizzy brown head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there isn't much lacing. The head lasted for only 2 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, light smoke, nuts

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and some roasted/toasted nuts. There is also a bit of a smokiness and a bitter coffee flavour and a hint of vanila. It ends with a chocolatey sweet aftertaste with a bit of lingering bitterness.

Overall - I expected a bit more based on reviews, but it's still an above average brew. It needs a bit more sweetness and it comes across as a tad watery for a RIS. There is also something odd with the smell that I can't put my finger on.. something plasticy/chalky. (884 characters)

Photo of eat
3.67/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled at Volo's Ontario Cask Imperial Stout event. This brew arrives as the least attractive of the four Imperial Stouts I sampled. Black body, no head at all. Also, there were some large chunks of sediment at the bottom of the glass, which I only noticed on the last sip. Like sizable chunks of cork or something, I'm not really sure what they were. Strange.

Very fruity smelling for a stout. Dates, blackberries, pear, light molasses and roasted malt. The only stout I've experienced along the lines of this is Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout, which I love. This doesn't quite match that, though. Not as complex and too light smelling.

The usual suspects of dark chocolate and (light) espresso are joined by some interesting fruitiness (mostly pear and berries). Nice roastiness, a little smoky even. Warming alcohol. The finish is lightly bitter. Nice, but the flavour could be beefed up a bit.

Slightly viscous medium body and light carbonation. Decent feel.

Yeah, this is drinkable. The flavour could definitely be intensified, though it is nice. Not a bad stout. Cool to see an Ontario brewery taking a style in a different direction than usual. (1,155 characters)

Photo of ZinFanDave
3.71/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

$8 for 473ml can in Toronto's Pearson Airport. Very dark. Nice creamy texture and pleasant chocolate and coffee and dried raisin flavor profile with a noticeable roasted grain on the finish. Rather lower viscosity than all other RIP's I've had. A little heavier than a porter. 8% abc helps. Definitely enjoyable (315 characters)

Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Cask at Volo.

This beer appears black, black, black, with very slight tan edges, and zero head or lace. It smells of mild roasted malt, and dry coffee. The taste is a bit stronger, with roasted malt being joined by some more coffee and a spot of dry chocolate; the extra ABV is well hidden. The carbonation is low, the body medium weight and smooth, and it finishes dry and clean.

A decent, if a bit plain, RIS. (413 characters)

Photo of Clubchat
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On cask at C'est What? in Toronto

A- Black color with some brown reflects, not a big head retention, a bit syrupy down the glass

S- Smell is ok, not really the habitual smell for an imperial stout but it's good, maple syrup, dark malts, cold coffee notes and peat

T- Maple syrup is the first word's coming, probably from the malt sweetness, roasted and chocolate in final

M- Ok mouthfeel, not so thick, extra-light carbonation (cask), no alcohol sharpness going along with the ABV

D- Flavors are well balanced, easy to drink for the style, not a really complex brew but I appreciated it (591 characters)

Photo of drinkininthewood
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

473ml can purchased at the LCBO ( $3.15 ). Huge fan of Wellington brewery, i attribute them as being one of the breweries that got me into craft beer years back but have yet to try this brew.

A- Oily black pour, color is dark as night with a tan head of thick foam.

S- roasty with a aromas of breakfast blend coffee and a touch of caramel and brown sugar.

T- Much of the same with some coffee flavors, touch of dark chocolate, roasted nuts, molasses, dark fruit sweetness ( raisins, plums etc. ), hint of toffee, bitterness in the end is decent and balances the beer nicely.

M- very slick almost light but not in a watery way. Smooth in almost a milky kind of way. Finish is slightly bitter but not dry at all. ( some stouts obviously are quite dry in the end depending on the style )

D- A nice warming beer perfect for the freezing cold Canadian winter. very drinkable.

Overall i really enjoyed this brew. Not the best example but a very solid offering. i will be drinking alot of this if its readily available this winter which appears to be the case this year. Fair price too. Thanks Welly! (1,113 characters)

Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not the Iron Duke, rather an experimental template on cask at Volo Cafe Cask Day 2006. A good head, medium mouthfeel, and dry and roasty. Between a stout and a real thick Russian one. Worked on cask for stout fans. Had it on cask again 16 months later and it worked very well.
Four years later at C'est What and still very solid, upgraded mouthfeel. (349 characters)

Photo of grub
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

sampled on cask as part of the volo cask days 2006. thanks to ralph and all involved for putting together an awesome fest.

pours an opaque black colour with a nice dark moderate head.

the aroma is nice. great roastyness balanced with a nice slightly sweet malt background.

taste is good. fairly bitter start. nice malty body. notes of bittersweet chocolate.

mouthfeel is good. a little thinner than expected. slightly astringent.

drinkability is ok. it's nice, but does feel a little off its usual self. (518 characters)

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Imperial Russian Stout from Wellington County Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 102 ratings.