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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

160 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 160
Reviews: 100
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 8
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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 160 | Reviews: 100 | Display Reviews Only:
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 deonreds
4.25/5  rDev +9%

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 CurtisD
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Bf_89
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of jmkoscie
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%

Photo of Cramshawbar
2.5/5  rDev -35.9%

Photo of jimctin
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of Xzfgiimtsath
4.25/5  rDev +9%

Photo of nullbort
4.25/5  rDev +9%

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 KrisDLSmith
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of DaPan
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

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 ThinkAgain
4.75/5  rDev +21.8%

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
3.82/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | 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 Dec. 18 2013]

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 impresses me less and less nearly every time I try it - and I've been trying a lot of new ones lately. There's nothing wrong with this stout; it's more drinkable than the average example of this 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: 3.83, a B+.

Photo of bigox420
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%

Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +2.6%

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 LampertLand
4/5  rDev +2.6%

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!

Imperial Russian Stout from Wellington County Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 160 ratings.