Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Big Sky Brewing Company
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Ratings: 610 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Chswimmer opened this one. Thank you, Craig. 2009 vintage.
Ivan rests in the glass an impenetrable black with a light tan head that retains well for the style, and even leaves some scattered lacing behind.
The sweet whiskey aroma is huge, with a backing of caramel and chocolate, hints of black licorice. The bourbon barrel aroma is fantastic, displaying the sweet rich scents of a good whiskey without any harshness and very little noticeable alcohol.
Whiskey, caramel and chocolate hit the palate up front. It's medium-bodied, not extremely viscous but quite sweet and dessert-like. There's a lot of nuance behind the dominant flavors of caramel and chocolate; subtle anise, vanilla bean, roasted grain. Some mellow, pleasant heat lingers in the finish. Unexpectedly great, this holds its own against some of the better imperial stouts out there.
06-13-2010 19:59:44 | More by largadeer
4.4/5 rDev +2.8%
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
01-16-2010 05:07:46 | More by russpowell
4.47/5 rDev +4.4%
2009 vintage generously shared by Chris (spycow). Bottle #1661 of 3000. Served in a Surly Darkness tulip.
A - Finger of tan foam settles to some wisps, thick collar, and a few spots of lace. Body is a solid near-black color.
S - Oak, vanilla, mild bourbon, dark chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits. Nice balance of sweet and roasty flavors, with the sweet flavors growing in intensity as the beer warms up.
T - The is also quite nice, with loads of semisweet chocolate, light roasty, oaky vanilla, fudge, dark fruit, and light bourbon. Alcohol is very well-hidden, and there's appreciated balance between all the flavors.
M - Medium-full body, chewy and viscous, lightly sticky, lower carbonation, and well-hidden alcohol.
D - A very well-executed barrel-aged Imperial Stout. I'm glad I have a bottle of this specific vintage as it seems to be in peak form right now. Reminds me of the best BCS vintages a bit. Really easy to drink, and one of the few beers of this ilk that belongs in a 750ml bottle.
01-17-2012 00:04:05 | More by MasterSki
4.45/5 rDev +4%
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
05-28-2013 07:32:53 | More by feloniousmonk
4.58/5 rDev +7%
Beer shared by Lunch at a recent tasting. Thanks Paul! This was pretty high on my list of things to taste. I really appreciate it. Bottle 1209 / 3000. Beer served in a tulip. Beer is black with a brown head. Head leaves some lacing on the glass. Beer is brownish at the corners, almost a red hue to it. Looks good.
Aroma is WONDERFUL, unfortunate I find out that the taste does not live up to the hype of the aroma this time but its full of bourbon, chocolate, a little vanilla, some oakiness, sweetness and roast in the back. Complex but distinct, wonderful.
The beer is medium bodied and seems at times a little thin on the palate. There is some of the flavors that were in the aroma but its not quite as good as the smell would lead you to believe. Its a good beer and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It may have been slated for failure when we tried it next to Parabola but it still held its own.
07-12-2010 18:37:35 | More by drabmuh
4.4/5 rDev +2.8%
Thanks to tai4ji2x, by way of johngalt1, cracked at the Central NE BA Meetup.
Pours a huge creamy darker head with some nice lacing and fades at a medium pace over a pitch black colored beer.
Nose is loaded with dark malts and roast, chocolate malts, light fluffy nougat, baker's chocolate, pure dark malts, a light marshmellow, light caramel and vanilla, touch of oak and wood, bit of oats.
Taste is loaded with dark malts as well, creamy dark malts, chocolate both dark and baker's, some light smoke, toasted oak and buttered oak, chewy oats, dark roast, touch of earthy malts and light earthy hops, smooth and a bit creaminess, bit of toffee, hint of minerality. Finishes with some bitter hops, lots of dark malts still, more toffee and minerality, dark earthy malts and some hops, bourbon, vanilla, very well balanced.
Mouth is heavier bodied, fairly rich and thick, with decent carbonation.
Drink is decent, drinks well, a bit creamy and a bit sticky, and light booze.
03-03-2011 02:28:14 | More by jlindros
4.08/5 rDev -4.7%
one of the most unique Russian imperials out there, worth the hype. this one has the feel of a light and delicate porter, the most well hidden abv ive seen in years. dark and creamy pour, Hershey brown with all kinds of lacey cream head. lots of appeal and character. smoky smell a little bit, plenty of cocoa and dark malt, but a lightness to it that defies the style. semisweet taste, like the tollhouse chips, less bitter, but equally mild. complexity is not lacking, but neither is drinkability, which I think is what makes this stout special. how can a beer seem so light, so easy down, and so basic, but yet so decadent and rich and impressive. its a balancing act here between huge beer and every day drink, in a way that nobody else has really achieved. a special brew to say the least. the lightness of this will blow your mind, and when you realize its 10% abv plus, you will simply be floored. I was, and it takes a lot to do that to me these days. on tap at hops and pie for a very fair price too.
11-13-2013 05:56:08 | More by StonedTrippin
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Thanks to mar for sharing this bottle.
Bottle 1,173 of 3,000. The beer pours black with a brown head. The aroma is great and very complex. I get notes of dark fruit, alcohol, vanilla, chocolate and some light whiskey notes. The flavor is brown sugar, caramel, toffee, vanilla, chocolate and coffee. Medium mouthfeel and medium carbonation. This is an excellent beer.
04-20-2010 04:24:19 | More by Mora2000
4.4/5 rDev +2.8%
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.
12-20-2011 01:01:22 | More by oline73
4.6/5 rDev +7.5%
From 09/25/10 notes. Brought to a small tasting.
2009 Vintage, bottle 2223 of 3000.
a - Pours a dark black color with one inch of light tan head and light carbonation evident.
s - Smells of bourbon, roasted malts, vanilla, cocoa, sweet chocolate, and dark fruits. Very complex yet balanced and very enjoyable. I was glad to see the bourbon didn't dominate the nose. One of the best smelling RIS's I've smelled.
t -Tastes of roasted malts, vanilla, bourbon, light coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits. Taste is very good, though a step down from the nose.
m - Full body and low carbonation. Smooth and thick, great feel. Not hot at all.
d - I thought this was a great RIS; one of the better ones I have had. It smelt amazing and taste and felt really good as well. I'm hoping they brew more of this because I'd love to get another bottle.
09-27-2010 15:22:54 | More by mdfb79
3.35/5 rDev -21.7%
2008 bottle Vintage, #527/1152; Sampled January 2012
A steady pour produces an almost two-finger thick, light brown colored head. The beer is fairly black smelling and it is clear if you look through a thin sliver of it, but is opaque otherwise. The beer smells vaguely of toasted coconuts at first, but this gets quite a bit more pronounced in short order. Notes of Bourbon, touches of alcohol, lots of vanillin and a backdrop of toasted, brown malt, a touch of roasted malt (though not quite as much as I might have expected), lots of brown bread toasted grain character,
Light sweet malt up front, gets sweeter as it rolls across the palate, the beer dries out in the finish with a slightly bitter, burnt, roast-grain character, and some warming, not quite hot alcohol and Bourbon. The roast character is quite prominent here with notes of dark chocolate, sweet coffee liquor, chalky roasted notes, and some bitter burnt character that isn’t really overly sharp. There is a touch too much heat and spicy alcohol in the finish; spicy oak notes also accentuate this, but also provide a touch of astringency. The body, while having a certain heft and viscosity, is a touch on the light side for a rich Imperial stout.
The body of this beer is actually a touch lighter than I would have liked; more malt richness would have supported the Bourbon Barrel notes better (despite the Bourbon character really not being over the top in this beer). Not bad, but I wish it was a touch richer and maltier.
02-18-2012 02:44:53 | More by Gueuzedude
4.15/5 rDev -3%
On-tap at Beachwood I,
A: Pours an inpenetrable black with a soft finger of mocha head. Good lace left behind.
S: Heavy dark chocolate and coffee grinds. Fragrant classic RIS nose.
T: As with the nose, heavy on dark chocolate and coffee. Some sweet brown sugar as well. Hops are there, but this is really dominated by the strong malt profile.
M: Rich, full-bodied, creamy, soft carboanation.
O: This is classic American RIS to a T. Very well made, not mind-blowing, but I can see why it's highly regarded.
06-11-2012 20:14:09 | More by Halcyondays
3.24/5 rDev -24.3%
Served on-draught into a chalice at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, California in May 2012. Cost was $8.00. Reviewed from notes.
A: Pours a 1.5 finger head of khaki-tan colour, great creaminess, good thickness, and good retention for the ABV. Body colour is a solid nontransparent black. Good lacing. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.
Sm: Chocolate, vanilla, roasted barley, dark malts, cream, and chocolate malt. A mild to moderate strength aroma.
T: Dark malts provide the foundation. Some underlying cream. Chocolate, hints of vanilla, and caramel. Nicely built and balanced, though quite simple for the style. There's nothing unique or special here (especially considering the demands of the style), though I do like it.
Mf: Smooth and wet; should be coarse and dry. Thick enough. Adequately carbonated. Bad execution for the style; it feels more like a porter or oatmeal stout.
Dr: Drinkable but relatively simple - quite a crime for an imperial stout. I'd get it again at a better price, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. It's probably this brewery's best offering, but that isn't saying much. Hides its ABV well.
07-03-2013 01:02:52 | More by kojevergas
4.4/5 rDev +2.8%
Thanks to piclee for sending this in a past trade.
2009 vintage 2319/3000
Pours pitch black and completely opaque without a trace of lighter color when held to a light source. Two finger frothy mocha head with good retetion, slowly fading into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing.
Beautiful comlex aroma with an almost perfect blend of bourbon, oak, vanilla and luscious dark malt. Hints of cocoa, lacto and subtle dark fruit. The bourbon presence smells amazing without overpowering the other characteristics.
Viscou chewy body that is surprisingly hop forward that adds a very slight bitterness and depth to this already incredibly complex beer. There is a very prominent bourbon presence up front but it is slowly countered mid-palate by a viscous, silky, luscious chocolate malt presence. Hints if dark chooclate, licorice, roasted coffee bean and toffee. The barrel adds a good bit of earthy oak and a prominent vanilla flavor. There is some slight heat toward the end of the sip and warmth in the chest but overall the ABav is excellent masked makng this complex, flavorful beer very quaffable.
01-15-2011 22:21:43 | More by corby112
5/5 rDev +16.8%
Poured a jet black with with good carbonation and a nice fluffy brown head. Nose is bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, wood, bourbon and booze, light smell of oats as well. Taste is roasted malt, oats, vanilla, oak, bourbon, well balanced for such a complex, big beer. Taste is best of the best and defines a Barrel aged RIS. I have had some good ones and Ivan the Terrible slain them all in every way. Mouthfeel is booze, vanilla, bourbon, cocoa, tobacco. Drinkability. Hell yeah. Nothing better IMHO. Musty try and worth the price.
03-27-2010 04:58:00 | More by barleywinefiend
4.33/5 rDev +1.2%
Thanks to akorsak for bringing this one to Imminent Liquidation II.
A - Pours pitch black with a dense one finger tall tan head leaving light lace down parts of the glass.
S - Smells of charred oak, dark roasted malt, vanilla, caramel, chocolate and plenty of warm bourbon. The booze does grow a little bit as it sits in the glass.
T - Starts off with some chocolaty sweetness and some dark charred wood slowly giving way to hints of dark roasted malt, vanilla and warm bourbon. The booze is pretty consistent from start to finish. Finish has more roast than sweetness, combining with a little booze burn to linger on the pallet long after consumption.
M - Smooth body with plenty of dark roasted flavors and moderate carbonation. Light booze burn at the end of each sip with plenty of lingering roast.
O - All things considered this one is very good. It has plenty of flavor, good overall balance and is pretty easy to drink. One of the better stouts I have had on the day.
04-03-2012 03:34:36 | More by orangesol
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 610 ratings.