Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

Ironman Imperial Stout - Free State Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Ironman Imperial StoutIronman Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
85
very good

37 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 37
Hads: 108
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 10.32%
Wants: 7
Gots: 20 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Free State Brewing Co. visit their website
Kansas, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.40% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: marc77 on 10-18-2003

Our Imperial Stout brewed to an Original gravity of 19.5 °P using 10 different types of malt, which combined, weigh 1,465 lbs. That works out to 3.4 lbs per gallon of finished beer or almost 4/10ths of a pound in every glass. The dark malts give a roasty flavor and dark color, caramel malts add sweetness and a full body. Three different hop varieties also add their own complexity (and about 78 IBUs). The bittering hop is Magnum. The early aromatic hops are Northern Brewer. The later aromatic Centennial. The final hop addition is a dry hop with a generous dose of Mt. Hood hops for a fine aroma The Ironman is named for one of our favorite regular customers, Walt Hull, who is a local blacksmith.

78 IBU
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 37 | Hads: 108
Photo of Thorpe429
2.74/5  rDev -27.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Bottle courtesy of ygtbsm94. Served in a sampler glass. Pours near black with a short receding head. The nose has pretty heavy roast along with faint notes of chocolate. Flavor is also roasty and just a touch ashy. Fairly bitter as well, though in a way that doesn’t quite work with the stout. Medium body. Not a huge fan of this one; I’d much prefer Backus if I could get it. (380 characters)

Photo of Sludgeman
2.89/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Bottle at Old chicago old town Wichita.

A - It pours black, minimal head that dissipates quickly.

S - Dark fruit dominates, maybe due to the hops, but results in a muted raisin aroma.

T - Dark malts, raisin, some roastiness, NO coffee, hides ABV (but still at only 6.1).

MF - Thin, medium bodied, slightly sweet finish.

O - Can't call this an "imperial" at only 6.1 ABV! Is it the malts or the hops? Disappointing. Unbalanced. (431 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
2.94/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Dark, near black. No head as I pour it. Some bubbles well up after I finish pour into a very brief head. Some then cling to the inside of the glass, but everything else is gone.

Smell - Aggressive roast and a grassy hop aroma. Caramel and sugars behind.

Taste - I expect it to be much more flavorful. It comes off as kinda dull at first. Just some caramel and a bit of roastiness. The intense burnt malt flavor kicks in very quickly, though. Some sweetness remains behind it. Builds into a bitter and grassy hop finish.

Mouthfeel - Thin. Very bitter. Aggressive and a little difficult to drink.

Overall - It's a strange concoction of pleasant and unpleasant flavors. Seems like it would be pretty good from the nose, but nothing seems to come together coherently in the flavor. (832 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.26/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Bottle: Poured a dark black color stout with a rather large brown foamy head with good retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of dry coffee notes with roasted malt is dominant. Taste is also quite dry with some coffee notes with roasted malt with light bitter black chocolate notes. Body is a bit thin for style with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. This is a middle of the road offering with quite dry aftertaste that is veering into astringency. (458 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.0 A: Black color. Only 1/3 of a finger of creamy light brown head formed.

3.5 S: Moderately high roastiness, molasses, caramel, and light coffee. Pronounced hoppiness featuring citrusy orange and flowery earthiness.

3.5 T: Moderately roasty. Molasses, caramel, and coffee in that order. Fairly dry overall. Higher potency bitterness coming mainly from the hops. Citrus and earthy hop flavor.

3.0 M: Medium body. Moderate, though bity, carbonation. Lacking creaminess.

3.0 D: I'm not a huge fan of hoppy stouts and this is one. The mouthfeel is also pretty mediocre. (603 characters)

Photo of mdcrouser
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sitting here on the last night of a week-long Christmas break (like high school all over again), watching Empire Strikes Back for the thousandth time, warming on this Impy Stout - that's a good way to spend an evening.

Deep, dark and nearly black - sandy head dies down from a finger to nearly nothing.

Big-time roasty - toasted char, black coffee, licorice. Nice and deep, but not a hint of hoppiness for balance.

Similar roastiness carries through to the nose, but also with some burnt matches, tobacco and hoppy vegetation, especially to close - it then lingers and even proliferates long afterwards. Nearly like noshing on dark tobacco leaves.

Was hoping for creaminess to help accentuate the depth. Instead, it's perky, carbonated, popping the vegetation on the tongue.

It's plenty tasty, but I was expecting something more well-developed, balanced. (864 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a black body topped with a skimpy layer of tan-colored bubbles.

Smell: Earthy roasted malt aroma with a thin measure of dark chocolate trying to peak through. A few sprigs of spearmint and a touch of citrus.

Taste: Heavily roasted malts come across as quite earthy, almost soil-like. Mild dark chocolatey sweetness. Hint of mint. Earthy, herbal bitterness. Finishes roast and bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Just okay, not great. (487 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
3.49/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Best by around late July, if I'm reading the label right. Tasted 21 July 2013, reviewed from notes.

Pours black, thick and viscous. Half-finger of medium-tan head, okay retention, pretty good lacing. Not bad.

Smell is the highlight. Rich and chocolatey, malty-sweet and full of roasty fruity stuff, doused in chocolate. Very nice, with both shallow and deep elements that I'm digging.

Taste is kinda mediocre. Semi-sweet, but lacking in depth, and dominated by a charred bitterness that I'm not really liking.

Feel is the low point. Slick in an oily way, and rather flat. Brings the whole thing down.

Not bad, reasonably flavorful, and with quite a nice smell, but there are much better readily-available imperial stouts out there. Taste is simple, body is relatively flat, and it's just not all that impressive. (817 characters)

Photo of JEdmund
3.58/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An attractive looking stout with it’s creamy tan head. Leaves some nice lacing. Held up to the light, not seeing much ruby highlighting... Pretty dark stuff here.

Ten malts and four hops make up Ironman. The nose is relatively tame for an RIS. That’s not to say it’s not an inviting aroma--as it is--it’s just not a blast in the face like so many others are. Still, I like what I’m smelling: coffee, cocoa, char, booze.

Taste also comes in a little on the small side, but in no way does it feel thin. It’s just not a 10% RIS. Flavors harmonize as well as they can for a style that showcases strong roast qualities. Good mingling of roasty and sweet malts, followed by a tongue-drying hop bite in the finish. Body feels pretty light and airy and has a really nice texture to it.

I’ve had this a handful of times on tap and was never left wowed, so I didn’t buy this bottle expecting too much. I’m still not wowed, but I’m left with more appreciation. Free State can make a tasty beer in about any style they want, and that’s just what they’ve done with Ironman Imperial Stout. I’m glad they bottled it. Not sure I’d buy it again, but I’d definitely order it another time at the brewery, and I’d be really excited to see them bottle another RIS (Owd Mac’s maybe?). (1,299 characters)

Photo of nomad
3.6/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Excited to see Free State bottle one of their heavier beers, as so far they've stuck to beers below 7% or so, and I've had a couple great stouts and barleywines there.

Ugh. So sad to have a smooth but thinner and demurely malty imperial that feels more like a foreign extra stout at best, and packs just as much hop punch.

I'm a lay a few of these up for a few and see what happens come mid-summer. Its got a sturdy dark malt bill and hopping, so we'll see where this goes. (2-1-12) (484 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.63/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to DrAwkward82 for sharing this one at Wowcoolman’s tasting.

Pours a clear dark brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy patches of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, slight coffee, slight cocoa, and alcohol. Taste is much the same with a mild roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is pretty tasty and drinkable. (547 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A dark brown, ruby, black pour. Dark tan head was full, but looked a bit soapy and thin.
Plum, anise, dried hops, chocolate and coffee round out the nose. Not as powerful as it's looks might portray.
Dry stout, light on the chocolate and coffee. More of a weak plum taste. Nice bite to it, but that doesn't help it's smoothness. This is a solid RIS, but not a great one. If you want to try a FreeState beer, go with Copperhead. (428 characters)

Photo of sprucetip
3.7/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Part of a "mystery case" from Goebel Liquor (Rob's world of beer) in Wichita. A good looker. It's black and has plenty of dense, tan foam, with good retention and thick lacing.

Smells of caramel and roast, with some modest boozy heat. It also emanates the essence of gooey green hops, even if I can't quite put a finger, or nostril, on anything more specifically hoppy

The same elements are present in the tastes as in the nose, which is good. But there is also some black patent, and more than there should be, for my taste buds. This detracts a bit. But the caramel and associated sweetness hold their own, and help achieve good balance and some modest complexity. The black patent leaves some bitterness on the back end.

Well carbonated, full body with somewhat creamy texture, gentle warming, but a somewhat harsh, bitter finish resulting from the black patent.

Pretty good, but certainly not elite. I'd back off the black patent, in case I had not made that clear. I learned that lesson with one of my early stouts. A little goes a long way. But I really like the use of caramel in the recipe, and it saves this beer from the black patent. (1,151 characters)

Photo of zhanson88
3.74/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Served at the brewery, served from a pint glass.

Appearance: Pours pitch black with about 1.5" of khaki head, which has awesome retention and lacing. Very nice tight bubbles on the head. Great looking stout.

Smell: Roasted malts, dark fruits, toasted coconut, baker's chocolate. Subtle, but some nice scents in there.

Taste: Roasted malts, baker's chocolate, toasted coconut. Again, subtle. Flavors don't pop out at you, but the taste is probably more flavorful than the nose.

Mouthfeel/Overall: Full bodied and extremely creamy. Almost like it was on nitro, but I'm pretty certain it wasn't. Awesome mouthfeel. Overall I liked it, but not as flavorful as many out there. Still, definitely worth a try. (706 characters)

Photo of homebrewhawk
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in a Duvel tulip. Poured a deep reddish brown with a couple of fingers of tan head. Chocolate, roasted barley and fair amount of hops in the aroma. On the lighter side of the Imperial Stout spectrum. Medium bodied with plenty of carbonation. More roasted barley in the flavor and a good amount of hop bitterness. Dry malty finish with some chocolate. Nice to see this in bottles. (399 characters)

Photo of mlockman
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Many thanks to @treebute for this beer! Slick mouthfeel that becomes creamy when agitated, this beer has some serious legs. Slight dankness to the aroma, moderately hop-forward on the palate. A mild dark-chocolate sweetness at first sip transitions to delicious roastiness and finishes clean. (292 characters)

Photo of johnnnniee
3.79/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Bottle received in trade from RobertDale, thanks for the opportunity!
Pours a solid black with a decent sized creamy tan head that displays moderate retention, and minimal lace. Aromas of earthy spicy minty hops atop a base of coffee, chocolate and caramel with a touch of ethanol to round things out. The taste is solid roasted coffee, caramel, and chocolate with a huge earthy minty herbal hop flavor. Moderate hop bitterness. Medium to thick body with a light to moderate level of carbonation, and a sweet somewhat sticky and oily mouthfeel. This is an interesting imperial stout for sure. The late hop choices are certainly unconventional, but I kind of enjoyed this beer. The body might be a tad thin for an imperial but it doesn't distract me too much. (758 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours dark black brown with a big creamy tan head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roasted chocolate malt, black licorice and a little fruit.

The flavor is roasted chocolate malts, black licorice and some dark fruit and an ashy bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, a nice imperial stout. (376 characters)

Photo of JuicesFlowing
3.8/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a balloon glass.

The beer is as black as an espresso bean with a mocha colored head that recedes at a decent pace. Chunks of film hang around before disappearing. Light lacing sticks to the glass until finally fading away.

The aroma is well-balanced between faint malt sweetness and a hop presence. Licorice is the main note with a strong smokey character.

The taste profile is extremely rich in the Bitterness Department: bitter roasted coffee beans, rich burnt malts, a bitter, hop tang in the finish. Very hoppy, this one.

The mouthfeel is actually quite silky and almost creamy considering the ABV.

Overall, for a beer brewed with 10 different kinds of malts, I get way too much hop presence in this. (725 characters)

Photo of Franziskaner
3.82/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Jet black in color and impenetrable to light with a khaki colored head with moderate lacing. Aroma is subtle,but I detect bitter roasted barley and coffee notes. In the front of the palate there is sweet plum and raisin and the back is bitter roasted barley. It's back to sweet plum and raisin in the fade. The mouth is a tad oily and chewy. (345 characters)

Photo of CowsandBeer
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

4 pack purchased from Devlin's in Topeka, KS. Best by date of 06/12. Kept this one in the cellar to see what would happen. Poured into a snifter at fridge temp.

Appearance: Pours about a half finger of sand colored head. Some bubbles. Quickly recedes to a thin ring with a "film" in the center. Decent legs. Black as my culo. With a full snifter it looks like some kind of glass ink pot. Looks good for a stout.

Smell: First off, a very nice and mellow roastyness. Like a medium roast coffee. Also a nice sticky sweetness. Almost like a honey mead. A bar of dark chocolate and some stone fruits. Just the slightest hint of booze. What an inviting nose!

Taste: Roasted chocolate malts. A dark roast of coffee with some half and half and a kind of sweet, oxidized stone fruit. Ends on a bitter note. Good overall.

Mouthfeel: A dry and sticky mouthfeel. More heft in the body would surely be a plus. Low carbonation which I think works great with the beer. Warming in the throat but not hot at all.

Overall: At about a year and a half this beer has progressed nicely. I honestly thought I would be making a mistake for holding onto it for so long. The high point here is in the nose. Very mellow and sweet. The taste itself is just fine except for that lingering bitter hop note at the end. As has been mentioned, a heavier body would only make this beer even better. Overall, a sweet, low carbonation RIS. One to sip on in the the coming winter days. (1,458 characters)

Photo of JesseHoward
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

I received this as an extra. The best by date is notched between September and October. This is my first review. My first craft beer I enjoyed was a malt heavy beer so I figured after years of reading reviews, I will review a style I love a lot: Imperial Stout.

A: Pours a very clean looking stout. Light tan head. Very dark body.

S: I keep smelling molasses cookies out of this beer. I love when a stout smells like this.

T: I like an imperial stout to be big a bold. This isn't watered down. I am getting tons of malt. As I start to finish the beer in roughly 10 minutes, I notice some oxidation possibly from the hops as it warms up. I could have an older bottle as stated and it is showing now. It is not distracting though.

M: I would call this a session Imperial stout. it has a body of a bigger/imperial stout. It coats my mouth like one. It is easily drinkable though.

O: I like this. It has a been a while where I drank an imperial stout relatively quick. It is a well balanced imperial stout. Nothing pops out though. It had a nice aroma and went down smooth. (1,077 characters)

Photo of facundoCNB
3.89/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

a black pour with 2 fingers of brown fluffy head which dissipated slowly and left some great lacing on the glass. smells of toasted grains, chocolate, oats, slight hint of grassy hops. a delicious blend of coffee, chocolate, toasted grains, dirt-like bitterness yet still a very sweet beer. creamy silky smooth medium body with moderate amount of carbonation.

a really nice heavy stout. not very comparable to other RIS due to its low alcohol content, but still a great beer! (476 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by ygtbsm94. Thanks Brad!

The beer is dark brown with a long lasting beige head that leaves random traces of lacing on the glass. The aroma offers dark roast, malt. The flavor brings hints of coffee and finishes dry, with notes of bitter chocolates. While I wasn't blown away by this, I thought this was a decent beer. Worth a try. (346 characters)

Photo of zeff80
3.97/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured out a jet-black color with a one-finger, tan head of foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - It smelled of chocolate and roasty notes. There is a touch of citrus and pine.

T - It tastes of dark chocolate, burnt molasses and strong roasted notes.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium to full bodied stout with a dry finish.

O - This is yet another great beer from Free State. They are particularly good at "big" beers. (453 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Ironman Imperial Stout from Free State Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 37 ratings.