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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ivan The Terrible Imperial StoutIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

619 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 619
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 765
Gots: 198 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
2006 - 8.75% (draft only)
2007 - 8.75% (500ml flip top bottles ~ very limited)
2008 - 9.5% (750ml - capped - 1152 bottles)
2009 - 10% (750ml cork and cage)
2010 - 10% (750ml - cork and cage)
2011 - not brewed
2012 - 12.2% (750ml cork and cage)
2013 - 13.8%

65 IBU

(Beer added by: Bitterbill on 11-10-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 619 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ehammond1
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle

Pour It Black
Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

Nearly black with a thin brown head that eventually leaves spiderwebs of sticky lace down the glass. This beer looks thick, intimidating, shiny, and aggressive. Awesome.

Wonderful aroma consisting of roasted malts, rich chocolate, and lovely vanilla/earth bourbon notes. The chocolate and bourbon battle for dominance, and it's an awesome fight to witness.

The bourbon is more subuded in the flavor compared to the aroma, letting the rich roast character and dark chocolate elements shine through. A mild vanilla and earthy bourbon note present, especially as the beer warms. That being said, the beer gets better and better as it reaches warmer and warmer temperatures.

Medium to thick bodied with low to moderate carbonation.

A truly wonderful example, and nearly perfect within style. This was the only beer I sought out multiple times during the Stone Pour It Black event. If I had known better, I would have had less Mikkeller and more Ivan the Terrible, that's for sure!

ehammond1, Nov 21, 2011
Photo of Bung
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml, 2009. MPLS with the fine send.
Nearly black pour, a good finger of tan head from a normal pour. Pretty solid looking and sticks to the glass well.

Aroma is very potent, vanilla, caramel, oak. Some cocoa and estery heat.

Excellent flavors. Taste has oaky caramel, toffee and vanilla bean. Finishes with cocoa and barrel, just a bit of roast.

There are a good amount of layers and the body was solid medium. It's a creamy mouthfeel, and thicker than many of the barrel aged attempts I've had of late. Thicker would have made this less drinkable, so I don't know if that is bad or good really. Easier to drink than the Goose Island, though not quite as flavorful. Probably the closest comparison that or BA Sexual Choc.

Only tag is that it could use more roast, but one of the best beers I have had in quite some time. Was waiting to have this for my 500th review, but it's beer so who cares when.

Bung, Jun 12, 2010
Photo of mulder1010
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Ivan 8.75% ABV 750 ML poured into a tulip

Thanks to Doodler for the trade of a big time personal want

A-- Poured dark reddish black and settled jet black. Nice looking milk chocolate colored head. Maybe got to a finger in height before settling to film. On swirling the glass got a dark brown, leather looking head that changed back to milk chocolate. Got some specs of lacing and a few lines of lacing.

S-- Off the bat first smell was toasted coconut covered in milk chocolate. Once it warmed it changed to vanilla, oak and bourbon. Can tell the age has softened the bourbon and made the other flavors stronger.

T-- Vanilla, coconut, chocolate, oak, and bourbon. Basically in that order.

M-- Medium high feel and low carbonation. Flashes of the bourbon here and there but nothing overpowering. Get a bit of the ABV feel in the middle of my mouth. Very silky and smooth after the bourbon feel goes away. Bit of a vanilla coconut feel at the end of this.

D-- Well tempered is all I can say. The aging of this has made this an excellent BA beer. Still get the tones of the bourbon but much more subdued and a lot of other flavors come out. Feel guilty opening this up! Only flashes of the ABV but otherwise well hidden. Good body and good character. Have to show a lot of patience in cellaring the 2010 version!!

mulder1010, Feb 15, 2011
Photo of sweemzander
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged bottle into a snifter. One of my contributions to the weekend. Bottle # 1290 of 3800.

(A)- Pours a fairly thick pitch black color. Produced a nice frothy tan head and decent retention with lots of lacing.

(S)- A nice oaky vanilla bourbon profile. Some roasted components. Raisin and molasses.

(T)- Lots of run raisin and oaky bourbon. Very sweet and rich with some dark fruits and subtle charred oak at the end.

(M)- A nice carbonation level and balance. Surprisingly smooth and mellow despite its bourbon barrel aging. Rich too.

(D)- A very easy drinking and enjoyable stout. Rich and sweet, but carries a nice smoothness as well. Good stuff. Will look forward to see what time will do to this.

sweemzander, Mar 22, 2011
Photo of MarcatGSB
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into John's Grocery tulip at Red's Ale House in North Liberty, IA. Paid $20 for it, and I'm not the least bit upset. Would have paid $30, or more. Bought another to take home with us. Review given from notes.

Appearance: Poured a jet black, with a good amount of head. Much more heady than other Imperial Stouts I have had recently. Nice cream/off white head.

Smell: WOW! Come on. This isn't even fair. The nose is fantastic. Hints of oak, bourbon, vanilla, figs. Great malt support. Very reminiscent of the Central Waters Peruvian Morning (which is fantastic).

Taste: Well this doesn't disappoint. The taste is just wonderful. The alcohol and bourbon are not overwhelming. They work well with the support of the malt, and dried fruits/chocolate backdrop. Just a hint of smoke, the bitter chocolate tapers off, and roasted malt finish the task.

Mouth: I feel the carbonation was just right. It has a great moutfeel, creamy lasting texture.

Drink and overall: Overall? Awesome! Drinkable? You bet. 10% ABV is not apparent, and actually suits this RIS very well. I would HIGHLY recommend this beer to anyone, but it seems as though these are hard to come by. We were lucky to find two bottles.

MarcatGSB, Mar 08, 2011
Photo of stephens101
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I believe this is a 2008 vintage, but would welcome a correction if not. 36 of 1152.

Pours black as black with a shout of flowing bourbon aroma. Nice fizzy dark tan head stays put. Initially notice a deep aroma of milk chocolate and cocoa. This baby is showing big promise. Wood, bourbon, vinegar and dark fruits (plums, raisins, grapes) are also noticed. Tastes big and malty with a profound dark fruitiness, oak, spice and weak black coffee. Big and boozy but smooth as silk. One of the best beers have had in a very long time, and now I wish I wouldn't have opened it, but hey, somehow I feel there are more great beers to be had.

stephens101, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

2010 bottle #3401 of 3800

A- Really nice looking stout, 2 finger frothy beige head, dissipates slowly, really nice dark brown lacing, pitch black opaque motor oil color.
S- Very nice aroma, vanilla upfront, oak, really nice bourbon comes out sweet caramel, really well balanced aroma.
T- Similar to the aroma, bourbon upfront, sweet vanilla, this is a rich beer, toffee, caramel, oak, roasted malt, hints of dark fruit (plums, raisins), slight alcohol burn as it goes down but nothing to overpowering. This is a very tasty beer.
M- Medium/Big mouth feel, well carbonated, sticky, smooth drinking, dry finish.
O- Very impressed, I’ve been holding onto this beer for a while and finally decided enough was enough. Really enjoyed this now I only wish I would of opened this with a friend to share the goodness.

Chriscrundwell12, Sep 04, 2011
Photo of feloniousmonk
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: blackest black, 1/2" creamy cocoa/tan head.

Aroma: Grassy/hoppy nose, bourbon & molasses below (hadn't realized it was barrel-aged when I had it), charcoal & chocolate.

Taste: big, fat malt attack, hops riding high above. Nice bitter blast, fading into a deep morass of caramel, char, toast & roast. Great balance in this, an even ride between bitterness & sweet malt (sweetness cut to nil), alcohol strength stays sly, but roars in, eventually. Not terribly full-bodied for an RIS, but over-flowing with flavor. Long, bittersweet finish.

All in all, this one deserves entry into the pantheon. Forgive me for underestimating you, Ivan. I hope to make your acquantaince again

feloniousmonk, May 28, 2013
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

reviewed from notes on 12/17/2011.

Vintage 2010. Bottle number 3385/3800.

poured into oversized snifter.

Appearance: dark black bodied beer with a huge medium brown head thats over 2 fingers high. Lacing is heavy sticking everywhere. Fantastic looking dark beer!

Smell: Great oak and bourbon notes mixing with brownies and cocoa.

Taste: This beer has huge barrel flavors just like the nose suggests. Massive oak notes with a great bourbon flavor well complimented by the oak. Really strong vanilla notes that are just the right amount of sweetness. Cocoa, gourmet chocolates, and roasty dark malts begin to become more prevalent around mid palate as the wonderful barrel notes slowely subside. This beer is both complex, but quite mellow with all the flavors complementing each other almost flawlessly. The finish is roasty malts and just a hint of vanilla and bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied stout with moderate carbonation levels. The beer is super easy drinking for a 10% stout. This barrel aged stout probably has the most carbonation of any barrel aged beer I have tried to date. I think that the carbonation makes this beer super creamy and lightens the body just a little bit; both really positive attributes. They really carbonated this beer well. Almost like a milkshake.

Overall: I really loved this beer! Great barrel aged stout that lives the hype! It is unique and memorable because of the smooth taste, nice mouthfeel from the moderate carbonation, and great complexity. This beer has aged well and is drinking fantastically right now. I was wowed by this beer!

4DAloveofSTOUT, Dec 21, 2011
Photo of pwoods
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to unclejedi for sharing.

A: Pitch black and thick. Good head on the pour with some decent retention. Some good lacing.

S: Deep molasses and dark fruits. Some good mellowed roastiness. Nice vanilla sweetness. Nice barrel and light bourbon.

T/M: Very nicebourbon and some dank, woody barrel. Very nice dark fruits and light but nice roastiness. Very good alcohol light. Body is full and very smooth.

D: Lower ABV and reasonably easy drinking.

pwoods, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oily black, constant skim of tan foam. On par for a barrel-aged RIS, even better that it has good head retention.

Huge vanilla and toasted coconut notes in the aroma. Sweet and chocolatey. Very sweet and rich, but not to a cloying degree. Light bodied yet rich with a long lingering aftertaste. Sweetish vanilla & chocolate, perfectly blended with a mellow bourbon. Never a harsh alcohol element, very smooth and integrated. Woody tobacco, mellow bourbon finish. The best part is the long aftertaste that has savory elements of bourbon and RIS. Super creamy feel, one to savor over a long time.

emerge077, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of n2185
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle

A: pours black with three fingers of dark tan head that recedes into a thin cap with decent lacing.

S: roasted malts up front with some coffe notes. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon aromas bring up the finish, but aren't overwhelming.

T: again, roasted malts up front with some light robust coffee flavors. Creamy vanilla flavors follow along with oak and sweet bourbon. It's surprsingly smooth with no real alcohol presence. The finish has some more roasted malt characters with a light bitterness.

M: thick body with a good amount of carbonation. It manages to be creamy at first with a nice bit of carbonation that goes surprisingly well with all of the flavors.

O: a very good beer. This beer was better than I expected. The bourbon is present, but not overwhelming. It still tastes like a stout after the barrel treatment. I love the body of this beer, too. It's creamy, but has a surprising amount of carbonation that somehow works very well with everything else. Definitely one of the better bbal beers out there.

n2185, Nov 12, 2011
Photo of NittanyBeerFan
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a very generous BA for crossing this big want off of my list! You know who you are.

Just the pour on its own indicates that this is one huge effin stout. Like hot pitch on a summer day, it is opaque, thick, and syrupy as it pours into my glass. A creamy head foams up on top, light brown in color and fine and frothy in consistency. Each sip yields a thin ring of lace with some leggy spidery streamers connecting them. Very pretty. A swirl wipes it all away, and leaves a film that doesn't really produce legs, but does bring a bit more foam and aroma out of the beer.

The aroma is complex and balanced, with the bourbon barrels only there to augment the base beer. dark chocolate, roasted malt, some syrupy sweetness, and hints of bitter chocolate all come to the forefront. Dark fruits (extremely dark) like raisins and dates swim the in background. Oaky vanilla and slight balancing bourbon come in, as well. The flavor track similarly, with the roast becoming a bit more present with the dark fruits that are also amplified on the palate. The raisins are especially notable. Again, the bourbon here is only around to provide a bit of extra flavor, and it definitely hits the mark. This is how a barrel aged beer should be -- base beer shining through and enhanced by the spirit.

The complexity of the flavor sort of overshadows the texture of this beer, and I find it a bit too thick for the balance. A phenomenal brew overall, as one might gather from my rambling earlier. I hope to be able to try this one again, because it is awesome.

NittanyBeerFan, Jun 24, 2011
Photo of imperialbigswig
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I know my number look high here, but I don't love this beer as much as others that may have given a lesser rating. that being said, I really did love this and found it to be an unexpected treat!
The appearance was very dark, but this beer was all about the taste and smell. the vanilla, cherry and bourbon flavors were exceptionally balanced against the the notes of coffee and chocolate, although they were the more prominent aromas and floavors.
A very delicious and drinkable beer, wish it was available more often.

imperialbigswig, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of hopdog
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Bottle # 242 of 1152.

Aromas of vanilla, bourbon, woody, roasty, and some chocolate. Tastes of vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar, dark fruits, chocolate, and ligher wood. Definitely bourbon in both aromas and tastes (for me that's not necessarily bad).

hopdog, Mar 19, 2009
Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Limited Edition: Bottle 1088 of 3000

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a frothy tan head; leaves a film with some spots

Smell: Boozy, but a lot of complexity; with dark fruit (prune and raisin), bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and molasses

Taste: Opens with dark fruit, black bread and Bourbon flavors, with a developing roasty char, chocolate and molasses aspect that arrives by mid-palate; much fruitier after the swallow, with the prune and raisin flavors dominant

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of the top Bourbon barrel aged stouts out there; great complexity and balance

brentk56, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of fiver29
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle pours pitch black with tan head. Aroma is vanilla, wood, roasty malts, and bourbon. Flavors followed the nose exactly. More wood, roasty malt, some espresso, bourbon, vanilla. Smooth roasty malts balanced nicely with vanilla and bourbon. Thick brew. I really liked this one.

fiver29, Mar 28, 2011
Photo of paco1029384756
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a short creamy tan head.

Scent of sweet bourbon, dark fruit, wet oak, molasses, and some spice. Very good, balanced very well, and not overbearing.

Taste of bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, dark fruit, molasses and the faintest hint of alcohol. One of the most balanced Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, and definitely worth the price.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied, smooth and oily with a touch of carbonation, wonderful.

paco1029384756, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of Sean9689
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Chris! 2009 vintage poured into Narke tulip.

A - Pours black, nice mocha-colored head, spotty lace, thin collar.

S - Smooth booze, chocolate brownies, toffee, light roast. Really smooth and extremely dessert-like, which is how I like my Stouts. The chocolate is excellent and with two years of age, the booze is just about perfect.

T - Similar the nose. Smooth bourbon, light oak, chocolate, burnt caramel notes, and roast. Everything is right on target for me, as the booze works perfectly with the chocolate and light roast. Hard to find anything bad to say here, in fact, there isn't.

M - Full, rich and smooth, viscous, creamy finish.

O - An excellent RIS that is drinking perfectly with two years of age on it. I'm glad I waited to review this one until now, because this one surpassed my expectations. Recommend!

Sean9689, Jan 20, 2012
Photo of tr4nc3d
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my snifter

Appearance is opaque black with a huge dense two and a half inch head. The head was mocha colored with good head rention and lacing clinging to my glass.

Smell consist of oak as a main aroma with bourbon soaked raisins and dark cherries. Underlying scent of plums and prunes. Milk chocolate with espresso, vanilla, and some roasted barley. Hop presence can be detected in the bitterness of the aroma. Overall great lavender type smell.

Upfront taste is a little bitter with barley and a dark chocolate taste. Pursuing is a taste of milk chocolate, vanilla, and a great oak presence. Midway plums, dates and a slight tart cherrie finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with average carbonation. Not as thick as other RIS, which I feel it needed.

Overall great beer and only complaint is I wish it had a thicker body.

tr4nc3d, Mar 09, 2011
Photo of gumballhead1
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from 2012, bottle 1344 of 4200
Poured into a snifter, really smooth chocolate, rich oak, and plenty of bourbon boozy taste. I love this beer from big sky its hard to find bombers of stuff in Illinois. My first review so sorry if its unorganized. Overall a good bourbon imperial stout I would definitely recommend to others. I would say its comparable to our goose island bcs.

gumballhead1, Mar 26, 2013
Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to Bitterbill for this one!

Pours an effervescent mahogany with a finger of cocoa colored head. A bit of booze & head retention

S: Bourbon & dark fruit, a bit of booze as this warms, plus pralines

T: Rich bourbon & vanilla notes up front, plus oaky dryness, leafy hops & raisins.
Sourmash & vanilla dominate as this warms, some figgyness, plus a bit of booze on the edges. Finishes dry with much bourbon, cherry, vanilla & figs

MF: Medium bodied with smooth carbonation, a bit of stickyness & some warming

Drinks very easy for the style & ABV. Ivan isn't terrible at all, but needs to grow some more depth to achieve greatness

russpowell, Jan 16, 2010
Photo of Flashsp2
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big Sky Ivan the Terrible into Stone IRS tulip

Pours with an impossibly black body covered by a dense mocha head that is creamy and soft looking. Leaves delicate lace and lingers forever.

Nose is abundant with dark roasted grains, rich oak notes, sweet grainy bourbon, booze, dark caramels, earthy hops, dark fruits, heavy malty sweetness, vanilla, breakfast blend coffee, black cherries, and toasted almonds.

Chocolate fudge brownies, iced black coffee, lots of rich dark grains and intensely thick base malts, more of the black cherry tang, earth, soft oak tannins, delicious bourbon whiskey, iced black coffee, big roastiness, some alcohol heat, burnt caramels. Mmmmm, good stuff.

Body is super dense with a low level carbonation that is finely bubbled and smoothly caresses across the palette.

This is a seriously big beer, one that you can't just chug down without caution. That being said, it's easy to drink for a beer of this magnitude, certainly better than most beers of this alcohol content. One of the best bourbon stouts I've had to date, with everything in perfect harmony. Bourbon, roast, fruits, earth, booze all integrated very, very well together.

A

Flashsp2, Jul 22, 2010
Photo of rlee1390
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got in a beertrade, bottle number 2906/3800 from 2010
Update-Had '12 and '10 side by side

A-Jet black, one finger of creamy brown head that leaves some lacing.

S-Bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts.

T-Chocolate, bourbon, coffee, roasted malts with some bitterness, great balance. In the '10 there was perfect balance and some vanilla as well

M-Smooth, medium bodied, some carbonation.

O-Another great barrel aged beer. Glad I got the chance to try this one. Fresh it was a tad hot bourbon did not dominate but was stronger, the '10 had mellowed out and thus had perfect balance.

rlee1390, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of oline73
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

We opened up this bad boy at an imperial stout tasting this past weekend. Poured into my Colossus snifter.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with a hint of red at the edges when the light hits it. There is a half finger of tan head and it has good retention.

Smell: Sweet and smooth with notes of dark fruit and cocoa. Some brown sugar in the sweetness. Really nice.

Taste: Sweet but really smooth and easy to drink. I picked up the roasted malt, vanilla, and some cocoa. There is some warm alcohol in the finish but the taste fades a bit.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a really nice beer. It held up well against several of the more hyped offerings we opened up. The sweetness and vanilla notes were just at the right level. I would definitely have another.

oline73, Dec 20, 2011
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 619 ratings.