1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Imperial Russian Stout - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
88
very good

147 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 147
Reviews: 96
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.74%
Wants: 8
Gots: 5 | 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:
Imperial Stout is patterned after the highly fortified Russian Stouts that were exported from the U.K. to Russia in the 1800s.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-28-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 147 | Reviews: 96 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of KrisDLSmith
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

KrisDLSmith, Feb 18, 2013
Photo of DaPan
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

DaPan, Feb 14, 2013
Photo of Kremlock
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

Kremlock, Jan 18, 2013
Photo of ThinkAgain
4.75/5  rDev +21.5%

ThinkAgain, Nov 14, 2012
Photo of spinrsx
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

spinrsx, Oct 27, 2012
Photo of thehyperduck
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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+.

thehyperduck, Oct 11, 2012
Photo of bigox420
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%

bigox420, Oct 07, 2012
Photo of RedAleMan
4/5  rDev +2.3%

RedAleMan, Oct 07, 2012
Photo of EgadBananas
4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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!

EgadBananas, Sep 22, 2012
Photo of LampertLand
4/5  rDev +2.3%

LampertLand, Sep 12, 2012
Photo of tbeckett
4/5  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.

tbeckett, Sep 11, 2012
Photo of Jeffo
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
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!

Jeffo, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of Digimaika2
3.83/5  rDev -2%
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.

Digimaika2, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of papat444
3.55/5  rDev -9.2%
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.

papat444, May 29, 2012
Photo of mulder1010
4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

mulder1010, May 09, 2012
Photo of MattPS
4.25/5  rDev +8.7%

MattPS, Mar 03, 2012
Photo of 80b
4.5/5  rDev +15.1%

80b, Dec 31, 2011
Photo of jsnoek
4/5  rDev +2.3%

jsnoek, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of jrutigs
3/5  rDev -23.3%

jrutigs, Nov 22, 2011
Photo of
4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

, Sep 12, 2011
Photo of hopsolutely
4.13/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very enjoyable imperial stout.

Dark, dark brown pour is almost black in its opacity. At least a finger of coffee coloured head which leaves lacing. Slick and oily mouthfeel typical of such a high ABV. There is also a creaminess which I would have expected from a nitro pour more than from this refrigerated can.

Very complex yet well balanced taste profile is getting more interesting as it warms, as one would expect, but I like both the cold and the warm versions. Predominantly mocha and roasted coffee notes with a dry finish, very bitter. There was a definite "tin" scent after the pour which is also dissipating and making this glass progressively more pleasant. I have always thoroughly enjoyed this beer on tap, so was surprised at the aroma of the can.

Definitely recommend.

hopsolutely, Aug 29, 2011
Photo of divineaudio
3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

from notes. on cask at c'est what in toronto, served in a pint glass.

a - came to the table an opaque dark brown with a finger of fluffy tan head. leaves a fair bit of sticky lace in the glass and head retention is excellent.

s - roasted malt with herbal hop character and notes of coffee.

t - more roasted malt with dark chocolate and coffee notes, balanced nicely by a mild hop bitterness.

m - medium body, adequate carbonation, incredibly smooth.

o - thoroughly enjoyable and recommended if you come across it. wish i had a cask of this to take home.

divineaudio, Aug 18, 2011
Photo of DaveHS
3.53/5  rDev -9.7%
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.

DaveHS, Jul 30, 2011
Photo of Stocean1
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - can brewed this week purchased from the brewery - poured agressively to a two finger head - deep reddish brown nearly black - light carbonation - fine sticky lacing

S - sweet burnt malt - dark bread - chocolate

T - sweet malt and choclate and coffee notes up front - some vanilla - well balanced bitterness in the after taste

M - medium bodied with little carbonation - bitter tingle but silky feel going down - the ABV is masked well but produces a wonderful tranquilizing effect as you slowly sip this one

O - a terrific RIS from a local brewery that will be my go to beer for the style (especially given the availability and price) - although I enjoyed this one, I think with a little more complexity this could turn into a top shelf RIS.

Stocean1, Jun 10, 2011
Photo of dgilks
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to JohnnyBarman for carrying this from Guelph to Canberra for me. It is much appreciated.

Very dark black colour with a small, short lasted brown head. The head is really short lasting.

Robust, strong roasted malt aroma. Lots of fruity character and some earthy hops. Good, traditional RIS.

Rich, malt and roast flavour with plenty of fruit, strong bitterness and earthy hops. Classic.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Good.

This is a really solid RIS with classic English flavours. No over the top American hop or malt character, just good, strong stout.

dgilks, Apr 26, 2011
Imperial Russian Stout from Wellington County Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 147 ratings.