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Imperial Russian Stout - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

104 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 104
Hads: 171
Avg: 3.89
pDev: 13.37%
Wants: 10
Gots: 9 | 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.
View: Beers (28) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 104 | Hads: 171
Photo of bobsy
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the closest local imperial stout, and isn't too shabby either. I've had it in can, on tap and on cask, and while I prefer the cask format slightly, there's not a huge variation between the different serving types.

Wellington's RIS pours a very dark brown with a reddish tinge, and a medium mocha head. On cask thge head retention and lacing is excellent, whereas the canned version leaves something to be desired. The aroma is has vanilla notes complimenting a deep roastiness, with hints of oatmeal in the background. In fact its very reminiscent of a rich oatmeal stout, especially considering the alcohol is nowhere to be seen.

The flavour exhibits the superb balance that's sometimes lacking in bigger beers, and there are pleasant notes of rich chocolate, caramel and molasses, with a hit of coffee in the finish. As noticed in the nose, some oatmeal stout flavours come through, and this brings a light touch of tobacco. Hopping is kept to a minimum, and the alcohol is skillfully concealed. A medium body and carbonation suit this beer fairly well, though I do feel that something slightly thicker would have helped it out more, and made it feel more like an RIS rather than an export stout.

This is certainly a well-made beer, but there are moments when I wonder if its really an imperial stout. The alcohol presence seems to fall a bit short, and the roast profile suggests something closer to an oatmeal or export stout than anything. Its almost like a lighter version of Stone's RIS. Nonetheless, a decent beer, and very drinkable for its weight.

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Photo of ZorPrime
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another beer from Bobsy. Thanks!

The beer is black, very dark. The head is cloudy looking and brown color. It goes away quite fast. The aroma is dark chocolate with some espresso coffee notes. The taste is roasted malts, slightly metallic at first. The after-taste is more coffee grain... the second sips gives more like a malt + coffee taste. I don't get any chocolate in the taste. Medium body. The alcohol is hiding and this beer could be dangerous. A nice beer from Wellington.

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Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.2/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On draught at the Grad House at UW. A rare find on tap!

A - Near black, with a touch of chestnut. Leaves a light brown head that lingers about halfway through the pint.

S - Nutty, chocolate and espresso. You get a little bit of the alcohol, but not much.

T - One of the best Ontario stouts (shame there aren't more examples of the Russian style out here!) A sumptuous blend of coffee, chocolate, nuts and raisins. Highly quaffable.

M - Fairly thin for a stout, average carbonation. Very smooth.

D - At 8%, it's easy to let this one get ahead of you. But for a sipper, this one is tough to beat. A great effort from Wellington - glad to see it in can form as well!

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Photo of ritzkiss
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

473ml can traded from Bobsy. Pours a dark dark brown, just the faintest hints of light coming in around the edges. Finger of tan head that recedes to a collar.

Light cocoa, dark fruits, brewed coffee, roasted and caramel malts.

Not many in Ontario are brewing a RIS and it's good to see this one out there, in a can nonetheless. It has a nice smooth roasty character, just a hint of bitterness in the finish. Weak brewed coffee, roasted malts more in line perhaps with a brown ale (similat taste to their dark ale, just a bit more prominent), dark fruits, hefty sweet brown sugar body. Smooth, medium-light body, slightly bubbly for a RIS.

This is not a bad attempt. It's certainly on the light side for a RIS but it masks the 8% well, it's drinkable. Could have some bigger, more complex notes but I would grab this one again. Thanks Rob and kudos to Wellington for making a RIS.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml can poured into 400ml dab glass oct13 2009

A black with a dark tan head that has average retention and leaves no lace

S coffee mostly not too strong but not bad by any means, and dark malts

T more flavor then smell, I get a lot more chocolate, the booze is well concealed and there is a little sweetness. well put together this beer has a nice balance too it

M not overly thick but creamy enough and pretty smooth

D very good for the strength and well worth trying

I've tried a few other beers from these guys and don't remember them being as good as this, perhaps I should give them another chance

thanks wittaker for this one

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Photo of MeisterBurger
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours an inky black with a dark tan head. It dies down quickly. The head retention and lacing clock in at round about zero. What a shame. It certainly tastes better than it looks.

The aroma is dry oak and burnt roast. Some fruity, raisiny esters and just a hint of chocolate and malt.

The taste follows, with a rich roastiness, some raisin sweetness and molasses in the middle, with a nice, woodsy drying finish. Just a hint of coffee. Overall the flavors are very rounded and balanced. It strikes me as bang on for the style.

The mouthfeel is a tad watery and thin. Borderline medium. Could be fuller.

Overall a solid Russian Imperial stout, but it's not without its faults.

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Photo of mrmanning
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black body with a light brown head. Aromas are coffee and a sweet malt. Tastes like coffee and slightly like alcohol. Nothing offensive though. Sweet at first and finishes with a slightly bitter note in the throat. A tasty and heady brew for sure.

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Photo of Derek
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with a tan head, ring of retention, slight lacing.

S: Roasty with a light spicing & fruit, slightly woody.

T: Slightly roasty (smooth), coffee, nut, nice fruitiness, light spicing with a hint of molasses. Good bitterness, warming alcohol.

M: Moderate body has a slightly drying alcohol finish.

D: Great stuff. It's a shame it isn't bottled anymore.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into an Imperial pint glass, the stout appears nearly black with barely a finger of ecru foam. Nose and flavor are of dark roasted grains, brown toast, chocolate, coffee, molasses, and a hint of licorice. Alcohol is rather muted here. A notch or two better than medium in body and amply carbonated. Certainly worth a try if you are a fan of the style.

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Photo of cratez
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the Alex P. Keaton.

Appearance: jet black body, fluffy tan head. Top of the beer adopts a nice, black/beige marbled look once the head subsides. Lacing resembles sticky brown sugar.

Smell: toasted nuts and dried fruit aromas.

Taste: roasted malts, almonds, brown sugar sweetness, coffee, and dark chocolate. Charred, bitter aftertaste is pleasant and well-balanced.

Mouthfeel: by far the cleanest, smoothest stout I've tried so far. Thick, rich, and satisfying palate. This goes down like water even though it's 8% ABV.

Drinkability: I love this stout. The nutty smells perfectly compliment the ridiculously smooth and dark malty taste. This is the third outstanding beer I've tried from Wellington and I'll be seeking out more from them.

EDIT: tried this out of the can and it is not the same beer. Much thinner, less roast and bitterness, more fruit. The rating now reflects a combination of my tap and can scores.

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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.

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Photo of Antilochus
3.92/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Volo. Pint glass, on a cool late spring night. Perfect.

Opaque black. Good lace, but poor retention. Rubyish.

Aromas of roasted malt, licorice, dark fruit, chocolate, coffee. Very 'clean' RIS.

Palate has good balance, nice bitterness, lots of licorice, chocolate here. Body is a bit light. Would like to see more complexity, perhaps more fruit. I would have reached for another but I had to catch a train...

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Photo of AaronHomoya
3.98/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask at C'est What? in Toronto. Delicious with my lamb burger.

Black color with dark-tan head. Not too oily. Pretty good head retention.

Smell is nice, with dark roasted malts and coffee notes. Very good, but not as complex as some RIS's.

Taste was very pleasant with some malt sweetness followed by chocolate and coffee flavors and finished with a nice bitterness and lingering, smooth roastiness.

Medium-thick mouthfeel. Light carbonation, as to be expected from a cask. Very smooth.

Very drinkable for a RIS. The mouthfeel and balanced flavor profile made it relatively easy-drinking for the style and enjoyable throughout.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark as hell with an ok coffeeish nose this is a well made RIS that works on the subtle approach. The finish is long lasting and the roasty stout flavours show up as part of the blended whole.( My thought might be that this beer shouldn't be cellared longer than a year as it doesn't have a lot of jagged edges to come off through aging.) I did enjoy the drinakbility of the beer as it warmed up. Not a huge RIS but very nice and well made

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Photo of francisweizen
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint at C'est What?

Dark ruby brown/black with red edges and a small off-white/beige/tan cappa foam. Aromas are a bit weak/watery, but the roasetd malts are there along with slight burnt toast and mission fig. Taste is all sweet cocoa and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, but thin, but awesome as this is on cask. Drinkability=killer.

solid effort

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Photo of headlessparrot
4.17/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I was so taken with Wellington RIS that last time I reviewed this beer, I set one aside, to be aged (for as long as I could resist the temptation). The result is this particular sample, aged in the crisper of my family's basement fridge for approximately one year and three months. Do note that whatever my impressions are, they are likely not what you'll find with a brand-new bottling (which, there's no need to re-iterate, is delicious).

The pour from this beauty is quite muted. If I didn't know better, I'd have thought that the seal was broken - almost pure coffee black, with little-to-no-head. Perhaps one finger, dissipating before I was even able to measure it. It does leave a bit of lacing. Not too dissimilar from the brand-new bottle. Looks delicious in spite of the lacklustre look, but perhaps only because I love this beer so.

Smell has strengthened a bit, but not really enough to make that extra year worth it. The licorice comes out a bit more, but it's still mostly roasted malt - heavy on the chocolate (equal parts milk and bitter). Cappuccino, coffee, molasses. Stronger hints of alcohol than the new bottle. Brown sugar. Maybe a bit vinegar-y/vinous. Quite interesting. Still utterly delicious, but again, I don't think this guy has benefited too much from that year in the cellar.

Taste, like with a new bottle, is just a little disappointing after how heavenly the smell is. Yet it's still quite good. Roasted malt, obviously. Mild but noticeable hopping, this one sells itself on the chocolate, molasses, and brown sugar. The woodiness that I once detected in the new bottling is gone, replaced by a bit more of a vinous twang. Coffee, cappucino - more of the nose, in other words. A bit more alcohol kick than the new bottling. None of the 'graininess' that I noticed, either. A bit sweet initially, but generally quite dry and bitter. This beer is still quite spectacular, though a year doesn't add anything special. I do wish more of the chocolate came through, but beggars can't be choosers.

Mouthfeel remains quite good. Smooth, and the year in the bottle has tamed some of the carbonation (maybe?). Substantial but not thick body. Drinkability has deteriorated as the alcohol kick has increased, but not by much. This one is still a treat that I'd sell my left arm for.

Still not the best stout I've had, and a year doesn't do too much to help it, but Wellington Russian Imperial Stout is a simply remarkable, delicious beer. I would kill to find this stuff on tap somewhere, and I'd pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of a few pints.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of blitz134
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Super dark beer, with 3/4" of light chocolate head on top. Reduced to a thin layer. A little lacing as it goes down.

This has an interesting aroma. Very RIS like for sure with its roasted malts. A good helping of milk and semi-sweet chocolate are found. Has a sweeter side hiding in there as well. I think there is some hopping goin' on in there that makes this one just a little different. Good though.

Again, the taste is just a little different than what I normally would expect. Dark toasted malts again, some coffee grounds. More bittersweet chocolate now. I think its the hops again that offer up that little bit of unusualness. Solid flavor though.

Good medium to full mouthfeel. A touch of carbonation to add a bite of crispness, but not overly done so it still rolls down smoothly.

A good beer throughout. Solid flavor, aroma and mouthfeel. Easy to drink.

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Photo of allergictomacros
4.13/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Dark/Opaque with a dark creamy head. Not very tall, but certainly thick.

S - Fruity with notes of coffee.

T - Again some coffee, dark roasted malt and a hint of tartness up front. Finish is a solid roasted bitterness with a mild hop.

M - Very low carbonation level, with a thick, rich mouthfeel. Quite dry as well.

D - Very nice, rich beverage. A one-or-two a night beer for me - something to relax with.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of MMansfield
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a 341mL from Pootz, thanks.

Appearance: Pours very thick and opaque. Colour of cola, with a small brown head dissolving to a lace ring.

Aroma: Big roasted malt smells. Also, notes of chocolate, molasses & bread.

Taste: Superb! Heavy burnt malt taste with hints of unsweetened chocolate and wood. Very little hop presence, but tastes fantastic with its strong malt backbone.

Mouthfeel: Higher level of carbonation reminds me of a porter, and not as creamy as I expected, but this was my first russian imperial stout.

Final Statement: This was wonderful! I haven't seen a russian imperial stout in Nova Scotia, but I am now about to look for one. I enjoy the style, and I loved this one by Wellington. I have another in a cellar to age.

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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.

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Imperial Russian Stout from Wellington County Brewery
87 out of 100 based on 104 ratings.