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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.
BA SCORE
88
very good

156 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 156
Reviews: 100
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 8
Gots: 6 | 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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Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 156 | Reviews: 100 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of divineaudio
3.98/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

Photo of DaveHS
3.53/5  rDev -9.5%
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.

Photo of Stocean1
3.9/5  rDev 0%
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.

Photo of dgilks
4.03/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

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

Haven't had this in a while. Thanks to Helen at Wellington for sending me a few cans.

Near jet black, minimal soapy tan head, no lace to speak of really. Smell is of roasted malt, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, light alcohol followed by more chocolate. Taste is of bitter chocolate, coffee comes through, good balance, roast malt, light hops, dry bitter finish. Light to medium body, lightish carbonation, smooth and silky feel. Solid all the way, ABV hidden and drinks quickly and well.

Photo of jrenihan
3.5/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black, with a very thin layer of dark tan head.

Maybe it was a function of the glass, maybe not, but I could smell almost nothing from the beer. Just a hint of fairly typical stout smell. Not bad, but not distinctive at all.

Taste was decent. Burnt caramel and a fair does of bitterness. Enjoyable, but not a particularly complex taste. Alcohol was more hidden than expected.

The beer was much lighter than expected. Particularly for an imperial stout, it was quite thin. However, carbonation was wonderful, perhaps partly as a function of the fact that it is from a cask.

Drinkability is good. Despite the strength, it goes down very smoothly, and is an enjoyable but not exciting beer.

Overall, I would be happy to have another of these, but would not go out of my way for it.

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

On cask at Burger Bar.

A - Poured darr black with one finger of very bubbly light brown head that slowly disappeared.

S - A robust nose with chocolate, maple syrup and coffee. A nice overall sweetness to this one but it also had a complimenting bitterness to balance it out. Agreat nose!

T - Chocolate, coffee, and hints of maple syrup. A slight bitterness in the finish at first but as I continued to drink this one, the bitterness became more and more evident. The taste wasn't quite as over the top as the nose suggested, but this was still a good RIS.

M - Creamy & smooth. Lightly carbonated.

D - This was very good - better on cask than it was on regular draft as I remember from about a year ago.
4 to 4.5.

Photo of biegaman
3.58/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Off cask at C'est What?, in Toronto.

At only 8%, this 'imperial' may be on the lighter end of the style's scale but it's certainly not on the light end of the colour spectrum. Dark as a winter night, opaque as coal, giving off not a single highlight and, as if the beer didn't look intimidating enough already, even it's head is stained a deep ebony tone. Frankly, it's a little daunting...

This roasty, malty aroma offers hints of black licorice and coffee. Well, coffee beans. Or coffee grinds. And the character is smoky, a wee thin and a tad harsh - more robusta than Arabica. This certainly doesn't have the bells or whistles that most imperial stouts come decked out in, but it's no worse off: simplicity and reserve have their virtues too.

Although it never saw the inside of a barrel, Wellington RIS soaked up lots of dry, woody characteristics somewhere along the way. Along with the heavy, sooty taste of pure, undiluted cocoa, the beer can sometimes hit the palate rather harshly and travel down the throat with a woolly texture. There's also a distant sour note of dark berries.

I won't complain, however, about the beer's bitterness, which is ample. It comes from a generous addition of hops which have also contributed by way of a vine-y, leafy flavour that proves very compatible with the sooty, roasted malts. The overall impression though, it must be said, is far from the most stimulating, dynamic or distinctive the RIS style offers.

Wellington RIS is a pleasant drink and strikes a good middle ground between those options that are too plain and those that are too strong. On the whole, however, it makes for an underwhelming example of the style. Like an aging veteran athlete whose body can no longer keep up physically, a beer with this kind of subtle and collected temperament simply doesn't compete with the new generation of bigger, more exciting stouts.

Photo of mrnobody
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

473 ml can poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours pitch black with 3 fingers of pocked coffee coloured head. Retention is not great but leaves nice sticky lacing.

S: Smells of roasted coffee, chocolate. The usual inviting RIS aromas.

T: Lots of coffee flavour with a little sweetness, black licorice. Finishes with some bitterness.

M: Mouthfeel seems a little thin, about medium body with prickly carbonation.

D: The alcohol is nowhere to be found. I'd rate the drinkability of this high.

Photo of Long813
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From: West 50

A: Dark black body with two fingers of dark chocolaty head. Retention is decent and leaves some lacing.

S: Full of rich milk chocolate and coffee. Roasted malts, not much else

T: Following the aroma, nice flavours of chocolate and coffee.

M: Medium bodied with medium carbonation. Not to think, no alcohol notes and leaves a bitter coffee aftertaste.

D: Pretty good, I'd buy this again if I could get my hand on it.

Photo of TurdFurgison
3.9/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had a pint of this on cask at C'est What, one of 5 casks available while I was there (!). This was dark brown colored with a thin tan foam made up of finely grained bubbles (in other words it looked like a RIS on cask). It smelled really good, roasted and toasted malts with more coffee than I expected, this isn't listed as a coffee stout. The coffee isn't really there in the flavor, more sweet and roasted malts, a little chocolate, and an earthy quality not unlike peat (at least it gives me the impression of wet soil, in a good way). The body is great, light carbonation (cask) which makes this extremely easy to drink quickly. Delicious.

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

473ml can with paper label.

Pours into my glass a deep, dark opaque black with a solid inch of creamy tan foam. Gotta love a good stout from a can for sure! Aromas of big dark roasted malt upfront along with a subtle creaminess. Coffee, molasses and dark fruity accents abound with a touch of cocoa.

First sip brings rich, creamy dark roasted malts upfront with a bold mix of molasses, coffee and dark fruits. A touch of cocoa as it flows down along with a mellow bitterness. Hops are mellow but balance out the sweetness well.

Mouthfeel is creamy and medium bodied with good mellow carbonation. Good viscosity without being overly heavy. A solid imperial stout that I'm happy to have been able to try. Nice to drink one of these that isn't an overly amped up crazy American version :-) Thanks Dave!

Photo of kwjd
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at the brewery yesterday. Pours an opaque extremely dark brown with thin mocha head and lots of lacing. Smell is tons of roasted malt and some chocolate. Taste has lots of roasted flavour, burnt chocolate, sweet molasses and a mild hop bite. Very good carbonation. My favourite beer from the Wellington line up.

Photo of irishkyle21
4.1/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

Photo of liamt07
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

Photo of TheHammer
4.33/5  rDev +11%
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.

Photo of ludachris
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
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.

Photo of biboergosum
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
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.

Photo of eat
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
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.

Photo of uno99
4.08/5  rDev +4.6%
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.

Photo of Clubchat
3.78/5  rDev -3.1%
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

Photo of MasterSki
3.8/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

Photo of bobsy
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of ZorPrime
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Photo of JohnnyBarman
4.22/5  rDev +8.2%
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!

Imperial Russian Stout from Wellington County Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 156 ratings.