Imperial Russian Stout - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout

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

163 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 163
Reviews: 102
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.51%
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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Ratings: 163 | Reviews: 102
Photo of ZinFanDave
3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
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

Photo of Haydn-Juby
3.25/5  rDev -16.7%
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.

Photo of drinkininthewood
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

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!

Photo of mick303
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

From can into a tulip glass, poured black with a good head of creamy tan foam showing good retention and lacing.
S- black coffee and roasty chocolate malts, earthy bitter notes, dark chocolate, some vanilla also. Some licorice character and full spice character, rossty with a smattering of cinnamon. Quite aromatic.
T- has a chocolatey roasty start with a good hit of bitterness earthy notes, shows more coffee and residual lactic creaminess on the middle, some chocolatey sweetness. A fairly mellow imperial stout in that there is a good balance of milk chocolate, roasty malt notes and some mild earthy bitterness, nothing really sticks out apart from the above average holiday spices. It's quite a drinkable Imperial stout.
M - full bodied with a creamy feel, moderate carbonation, and quite a creamy dextrinous feel. Very drinkable, with a satisfying balanced body.
Nothing very especial about this stout,the aroma is quite nice and interesting, but the flavour. Profile is subtle and balanced, nothing too offensive about it and it's a decent sipper, but the hint of metallic character and general mediocre aspect make it some.thing I wouldn't get regularly. Good stout and it gets the job done decently.

Photo of Franck
4/5  rDev +2.6%

Nose of black chocolate, roasted malt and coffee.
In mouth, strong presence of sugar (chocolate) and expresso beans. Great roundness, mineral taste. Anise appears in final with hops. Not boozy at all.
Bitterness is tastefull, hoppy and bitter, almost dry, short.

Photo of neenerzig
3.81/5  rDev -2.3%

Picked up a single 473 ml can of this from a beverage store in Niagra On The Lake, Canada when my wife and I went there on a vacation about 4 months ago. This beer say in my cellar and then in my fridge for awhile before I cracked it open. Poured out the 473 ml can into my snifter, this beer pours a dark brown, almost black color with a tan/light head about 1/2 inch thick when first poured. Eventually it settles to a medium ring lining the inside of the glass. No film layer of foam on the beer's surface or much lacing here though. Aromas of some roasted malts along with coffee and hints of chocolate. Not much else smell wise here. The taste is pretty much the same, with some toasted caramel malt sweetness that gives way to some chocolate and coffee bitterness that is rounded out with a touch of hops. Has a good mix of flavors, especially as the beer warms up a bit and things balance out. Has a mildly crisp, somewhat prickly, very smooth, slightly oily, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Pretty easy to drink in the way good beer ought to be. Worth a try.

Eric

Photo of DaveBar
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Purchased at the LCBO $2.95 for a 473ml can. Served chilled in a draught glass.

A- Very good. Not much head but what was there was thick and dark

S- Very good. Toasted malt

T- Pretty good. Roasted malt and barley. Sweet and bitter with lots of coffee notes. Excellent attempt

M- A bit lacking in the creamy department but other than that very good

O- Very good. Will buy again as it is a local brew

Food Pairing

This very good stout paired well with... Goat cheese pizza.

Enjoy

Photo of kevinlater
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

473ml can into snifter

a: pitch black. the most aggressive pour in the world gives almost three fingers of light brown, khaki-esque head

s: chocolatey coffee, roasted malts. bits of raisins, cherries, prunes. hints of sweet syrup?

t: chocolate up front, then coffee, some raisins and cherries, and then a lasting roasted/charred/burnt malt presence. a strong and lingering earthy bitterness to finish it all off. zero alcohol presence

m: medium-to-full bodied, maybe closer to the medium side of things. a chewier mouthfeel could improve this a lot. medium carbonation, which is slightly too high

o: a very simple and standard stout, which isn't really a bad thing because stout flavours are delicious. some may just find it boring. a very tasty local brew at an unbeatable price -- just under $3 for the pint can

Photo of seand
3.44/5  rDev -11.8%
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.

Photo of dar482
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I had this in can at Toronto Airport.

The beer comes in a black color with a light brown head.

The aroma has tons of coffee aroma, some earthy notes, and roasted malt. A very stout smelling beer.

The flavor follows with coffee, like black coffee, roasted malt, and a drying finish of earthy bitterness. There's not much sweetness from the malt, but a bit of toffee flavor in there. There's a medium body.

Nothing groundbreaking, but a well made beer. Could use more flavor at 8%, but also hides the alcohol is a very basic stout.

Photo of beerluvr
3.3/5  rDev -15.4%
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.

Photo of decimator
3.89/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

473ml can poured into a mug. ABV 8%.

A - Poured an opaque near black with a 2cm light brown head, head reduced to surface bubbles, some lacing is produced.

S - Dark chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, earthy. Certainly smells like stout.

T - Rosted, toasted, chocolate, coffee, brown sugar, a slight sour tang in the middle, medium to low bitterness, herbal and slightly medicinal, and a hint of alcohol. Aftertaste is mostly sweet with some moderate bitterness. Despite the complexity I found the overall flavour rather restrained.

M - Medium-low carbonation, medium-high body, syrupy, some creaminess, a dash of heat, very dry finish.

O - Not a stand out for the style but certainly still a drinkable and enjoyable RIS.

Photo of DenisKolkin
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

473 ml can from LCBO into a pint glass.

Appearance - Black as night in color, nice 1.5 finger head with good retention. Head looks creamy and thick in its tan colored glory and almost seems to sparkle given the lighting conditions. Some lacing is left in the glass.

Smell - Coffee hints as well as some vague chocolaty-ness. Earthy scents also are prevalent.

Taste - Coffee and Earthiness are strongest here, strong bitter aftertaste from the coffee but does not linger too much.

Mouthfeel - Definitely stout, there's nothing thin about this brew, taste is rich and filling with a superior creaminess to it as well. Definitely a fine fall or winter brew, but is not so heavy that you wouldn't consider a second (or a third for that matter).

Overall - This was my introduction to Russian imperial Stouts and as such I will always have a special place for it. It's not the best one out out there but is certainly delicious and worth drinking again.

Photo of FondueVoodoo
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tip of the hat to cattersley for the trade, much appreciated.

A: A solid black brown brew capped with a pale oak microfilm that only sticks around long enough to suggest it's a beer briefly, some minimal foam holds onto the glass.

S: Scents of chocolate and espresso, some earthiness, suggestive of wet moss and woods. Finishing with some toasty molasses. Overall the scent is subtle and smooth emphasizing the rich base notes of chocolate, espresso & earthiness.

T: Sweet molasses and smoooth coffee followed with deeply toasted malts. A herbal note in the mid palette of licorice root and mild coffee-esque bitters. Mild alcohol at the end that reminds you of the 8% without overwhelming the brew.

M: Medium bodied, a tiny bit on the light side for a RIS, but doesn't take away from the overall enjoyment. Just a bare minimum of carbonation followed with a warming alcohol heat at the end that compliments the chocolate & coffee notes.

O: A good choice in a RIS to pair with rich food, red meats, stews and roasted chicken. The flavour and notes are not overly sweet, but rich and earthy matching well with rich foods. Like a great wine at the dinner table it compliments the food while still being enjoyable on it's own.

Photo of mintjellie
3.55/5  rDev -9%
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.

Photo of Kremlock
4.11/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A: Deep dark black colour with hues of dark ruby red in the bottom of the glass. Brownish head that pours 1 inch thick then falls to about 1/16 inch. Lacing is medium.

S: Coffee and chocolate dominate the aroma. Plum in the background with some noticeable sweetness. Hop aroma is med-low.

T: Raisins and plum come threw right at the beginning. Roastiness is well balanced with some fruity esters present. A nice dark coffee flavour comes threw. Alcohol is present but is not harsh or distracting.

M: Carbonation is low-medium. Full body and smooth.

O: A very good RIS. IMO I would enjoy a bit more hop bitterness but overall this is a great bee.

Photo of spinrsx
3.65/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Photo of thehyperduck
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

473 mL can from the LCBO; best before May 28 2013. I've heard from various sources over the years that this RIS is one of Wellington's best brews, and have always wanted to try it - so I was particularly pleased to see these cans appear on shelves in Sarnia. Served in a pint glass, only slightly chilled.

Pours an opaque black colour, with some deep chestnut tinges under a light. Seated atop is a modest, single finger of foamy, tan-coloured head that is mostly gone before a minute's time has passed. The aroma is pleasant, comprised of a blend of roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses and herbal hops. Starts off with a good blend of sweetness and earthiness, but leans a little too heavy on the sweet as it warms.

I've been a little nitpicky so far, but I feel no need to keep it up when it comes to analyzing the flavour - this is a tasty stout, with lots of big, roasted malt flavours. Chocolate sweetness, weak coffee and some herbal, licorice-like notes are the main features, with an earthy, herbal finish. The abv/heat is mildly apparent, and works perfectly with the flavour profile. Medium-bodied - too thin for my tastes, although this does contribute to its high drinkability for the style. The carbonation gives a good bite, but in general the beer seems to improve as this facet weakens in intensity (while the beer settles and warms).

Wellington's Russian Imperial Stout is easily one of their top beers, right up there with Iron Duke and maybe a few others. This is a style I am rarely able to sample from due to a dearth of locally available examples. While I still think this particular stout is very good as far as big, drinkable dark beers go... when I think of an 'RIS' I just think of something with more body. This is definitely worth a try as a particularly quaffable, fairly tasty, stout with some heft, not to mention increasingly wide distribution.

[Updated Apr. 5 2015]

I picked up another tallboy can, the latest of several I've cracked open since my last review. I'm sorry to say it, but this RIS just doesn't impress me like it used to. It's still pretty good, though - it's more drinkable than the average example of the style, but that fact owes mostly to the low-ish abv and lack of any intense flavours to intrigue or tire the palate. It's nice to see beers like this finally becoming commonplace, though! Give it a shot; it's a good beer and at 3 bucks a can you won't find a more affordable imperial stout in this province.

Final Grade: 3.85, a B+.

Photo of EgadBananas
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cattersley for the can!

Pours black, with a medium tan finger of head. Low retention and no lacing. The aroma is roasted malts, chocolate sweetness and a touch of coffee. Not a bold aroma, but good. The taste is quite nice! Chocolate, big roasted notes, some coffee and a hint of bitterness. The feel is definitely creamy, though a bit thinner than most RIS's. Solid medium/upper medium body with moderate carbonation.

A good, well made RIS. Not too filling and not the most robust, but very well drinkable!

Photo of tbeckett
3.99/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Cask pint at Brothers Beer Bistro. From notes.

A - Poured black with really loose brown head that was gone fast. Seemed typical of a cask pour. No lace, no retention.

S - Really balanced between coffee and chocolate. Some tobacco and really roasty. Very pleasant.

T - Roast, coffee, chocolate, milk chocolate, iced coffee. Complex and tasty.

M - No carbonation, medium to full body, gentle bitterness. Way too smooth.

O/D - A nice RIS. I'd like to try it canned to see what the carbonation levels would be like and how the flavours would change. This was nice and complex while being smooth as well. A nice one.

Photo of Jeffo
3.6/5  rDev -7.7%
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!

Photo of Digimaika2
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

(3.5) A: Black with a tall mocha coloured bubbly head that recedes to a glass ring with minimal lacing down the glass.

(3.5) S: Molasses, caramel, anise, dark chocolate, and mellow citrus qualities in the background. Quite smooth and rich, and appealing, albeit somewhat subdued.

(4.0) T: Flashes of smoke and tart probing citrus gives way to a caramel malt backbone. Fairly light and refreshing for an imperial stout with an emphasis on the hoppy side of things. Hints of dark fruits (cherries and dates) coupled with hints of dark chocolate compliment the initial rush of flavour. The finish reminds me of a chocolate covered blueberry of sorts. Pretty tasty.

(3.5) M: Medium bodied with a moderate carbonation. Prickly citrus on the tongue with a lingering bitter and dry mouthfeel.

(3.5) D: Really enjoyed the lighter bodied take on this style and find it quite refreshing, especially with the hoppier elements highlighted. Very easy drinking and worthy of any recommendations.

Photo of papat444
3.57/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

Photo of mulder1010
4.15/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

473 ML poured into a tulip
Thanks to Dgilks for the can? Yes, a can.

A-- Poured a dark cola color and settled jet black. No light penetrating this at all. One finger dark brown leather head that slowly faded to a nice, thick collar and a thin layer of film. Some large bubbles here and there. Nice head retention on swirling. Half finger of head. Spotty lacing.

S-- Roast and quite earthy. Dark chocolate, dark roast, some coffee and a bit of tobacco. Quite nice.

T-- Smooth, quite smooth. Chocolate, coffee, tobacco, roast, and a bit of earthy hop bite. I like.

M-- Smooth body. Bits of coffee bite here and there. Roast and chocolate dominate the body with bits of prickly carbonation. Otherwise medium body and lighter medium feel. Dry chocolate, coffee, and bitter finish. Bitterness picks up a lot once warm.

O-- Nothing crazy about this. Very simple and straightforward but done very well. Roast carries the beer very well and the ABV is well hidden. Feels and tastes like 6%, not 8%. Very old school RIS but that is a very good thing when done this well.

Photo of
4.2/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance - Very dark black with a large tan head that dissipates fairly quickly to a lingering ring.

Smell - lots of chocolate and coffee roasted malt flavours with some toffee, dried fruit, sweet tobacco, and earthy hops.

Mouthfeel - medium bodies, smooth and creamy texture, with moderate carbonation.

Taste - Echo of the chocolate and coffee, dark bread, nice strong bitterness, and a dry bitter finish.

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Imperial Russian Stout from Wellington County Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 163 ratings.