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Imperial Russian Stout - Wellington County Brewery

Not Rated.
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout

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

138 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 138
Reviews: 96
rAvg: 3.91
pDev: 10.49%
Wants: 8
Gots: 4 | 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)
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Ratings: 138 | Reviews: 96 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of irishkyle21

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice to see this one making it's way up north. Looks like a RIS should dark almost black. Tanned head leaves some good lacing as it drop.

Smells of sweet licorice, chocolate, molases and some roastiness. Hops are hard to notice.

Tastes of roasted malts, sweetness and some hop bitterness. Very drinkable brew. I could easily forget aboutthe abv and have my fair share of these.

Serving type: can

05-16-2010 02:02:02 | More by irishkyle21
Photo of liamt07

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Half pint at C'est What on cask, would've liked to have had it in a snifter, but I guess I'll deal with the pint glass. Pours jet black, almost opaque when held up to the light. A trace of head when I received it, no head retention and no lacing whatsoever. Got some molasses, some cocoa/coffee in the smell. Tasting this I got a bit of the same cocoa/coffee, some mild sweetness and roasty malt. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, lacking body as others have indicated but still pretty good, low carbonation. Not as 'imperial' of a stout as I was expecting. Drinkability is dangerous, half pint was gone in less than 5 mins, as scary as that would be for an 8% ABV.

Serving type: cask

05-01-2010 03:12:00 | More by liamt07
Photo of TheHammer

Ontario (Canada)

4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got six cans of this stuff from my buddy Ludachris. Looking forward to it, as Wellington seldom disappoints.

Appearance: A body as black has night with a finger and a half of dark brown head that retains and laces decently. There is a potential for more lacing and retention but all in all solid.

Smell: A good dose of heavily roasted malts, rich coffee and a hint of tobacco smokiness can be detected. Took a little bit of warming to come out and could be a bit stronger but pretty much everything I'd expect from an RIS.

Taste: Oh wow, just rich enough to make me love it. Starts with a strong well roasted malt presence that turns beautifully into a dark berry and plum fruitiness with subtle coffee and ending with a smooth coffee/chocolate bitterness. A little bit more fruitiness and it would be a 5 in my book.

Mouthfeel: Well, my only real complaint is that once the head disappears, it seems to take on a bit more of a watery texture. The carbonation needs a bit of work in that regard but apart from that, exceptional aftertaste that echos the entire beer and sticks around for just the right amount of time.

Drinkability: This is not a sipping stout that is for sure. I had no problems getting this down as the smoothness of the whole experience and somewhat refreshing aspects of the beer really add to it. Only qualm is that it seems to have given me a little bit of gas.

Final Thoughts: If I didn't know this stuff was 8% I would be on my ass so fast with this stuff it's not even funny. I did not detect even a hint of alcohol. I can see why many feel this is Wellington's strongest brew and I would tend to agree. I'm not a huge stout drinker, but this stuff might change that as I'm glad to still have another five. If you are in Guelph, pick yourself up a six pack at the very least.

Serving type: can

04-12-2010 06:02:19 | More by TheHammer
Photo of ludachris

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a completely opaque oil black with one finger of frothy tan head that displays decent retention and leaves a good amount of spider leg lacing.

Heavy roasted malts, light cocoa, molasses, espresso, hints of tobacco, and a pleasant dose of dark fruits in the nose. Alcohol is virtually indetectable.

Dark chocolate and dry roasted malts are the most prominent notes in the taste. Dry and bitter notes of espresso come towards the end with a touch of dark fruits in the middle. The alcohol is very well disguised.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a strong amount of carbonation for the style. Good balance and the easiest drinking RIS I've had thus far.

I ordered a case of this directly from the brewery and I'm happy to say this left me quite satisfied. Not overly complex but it has almost everything I look for in an RIS. The mouthfeel is the weakest point of this beer, but it doesn't drastically affect the overall experience. This seems like an excellent introductory/sessionable RIS. Another great offering from Ontario.

Serving type: can

04-04-2010 01:45:16 | More by ludachris
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
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.

Serving type: cask

03-22-2010 22:29:35 | More by biboergosum
Photo of eat

Quebec (Canada)

3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Serving type: cask

03-13-2010 07:04:16 | More by eat
Photo of uno99

Ontario (Canada)

4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Cask at Ces't What?

A: looks thick and chewey. nice head and retention.

S: not much going on in the scent catagory. chocolate and sweet. slight sour tinge.

T: chocolate and dark fuits. malty and satisfying. pretty one dimensional and basic. not as complex as I was hoping but very tasty none the less. slighty sour and bitter finish.

M: perfect thickness. almost feels like a nitro. quite oily and low carb.

D: a strog beer for sure but alchol is well hidden. its not so over the top flavour wise so you could drink 2 or 3 pints and not get bloated and ill feeling.

Serving type: cask

03-06-2010 22:53:32 | More by uno99
Photo of Clubchat

Quebec (Canada)

3.78/5  rDev -3.3%
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

Serving type: cask

02-23-2010 19:03:28 | More by Clubchat
Photo of MasterSki


3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to biegaman for this can. Finally working through a backlog of stout. Served in my Surly pint glass.

A - Pours with a finger of dark mocha foam that dissolves fairly rapidly to a ring and some light haziness. Not much in the way of lacing. Body is black, with a hint of transparent brown at the bottom of the glass. Looks like stout!

S - Dark roasted malts, espresso, cocoa, dark fruits, a hint of molasses. For a non-infused stout this is quite nice, but also a little generic. Not on the level of Southampton or Kate, but still very enjoyable.

T - The taste is quite bitter dark chocolate and charred malt, with a bit of dark fruits at the back end There isn't quite enough sweetness to balance things out, rendering this a tad one-dimensional. Alcohol is very well hidden. Aftertaste is also roasted coffee bitterness (unsurprisingly).

M - Too carbonated and thin. Reminds me of some porters I've had recently. There's a little bit of stickiness, but otherwise it's somewhat watery. Not off-putting, but not particularly good either.

D - I dig cans, and I dig stouts in cans. However, I'd rather reach for a Ten FIDY, as it's the superior beer in all areas. I'd be interested to try this on cask, as I think it would help the feel out quite a bit.

Serving type: can

02-03-2010 20:25:28 | More by MasterSki
Photo of bobsy

Ontario (Canada)

3.95/5  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.

Serving type: cask

11-24-2009 03:18:14 | More by bobsy
Photo of ZorPrime

Quebec (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +1%
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.

Serving type: can

11-19-2009 02:47:55 | More by ZorPrime
Photo of JohnnyBarman

Ontario (Canada)

4.22/5  rDev +7.9%
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!

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2009 22:31:11 | More by JohnnyBarman
Photo of ritzkiss

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  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.

Serving type: can

10-18-2009 00:00:39 | More by ritzkiss
Photo of wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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

Serving type: can

10-14-2009 00:15:32 | More by wordemupg
Photo of MeisterBurger

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +1.8%
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.

Serving type: can

10-01-2009 02:02:36 | More by MeisterBurger
Photo of mrmanning

Ontario (Canada)

3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-03-2009 14:20:27 | More by mrmanning
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

05-24-2009 23:27:32 | More by Derek
Photo of ClockworkOrange


3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2009 13:04:32 | More by ClockworkOrange
Photo of cratez

Ontario (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +3.6%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-28-2008 03:24:37 | More by cratez
Photo of akorsak


3.63/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 20:45:15 | More by akorsak
Photo of Antilochus

Ontario (Canada)

3.93/5  rDev +0.5%
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...

Serving type: on-tap

05-26-2008 19:42:51 | More by Antilochus
Photo of AaronHomoya


4/5  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.

Serving type: cask

05-17-2008 00:42:57 | More by AaronHomoya
Photo of canucklehead

British Columbia (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev -2%
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

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2008 17:10:05 | More by canucklehead
Photo of francisweizen


4.08/5  rDev +4.3%
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

Serving type: cask

02-13-2008 23:37:04 | More by francisweizen
Photo of headlessparrot

Ontario (Canada)

4.15/5  rDev +6.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2007 23:16:59 | More by headlessparrot
Imperial Russian Stout from Wellington County Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 138 ratings.