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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged

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

667 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 667
Reviews: 260
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 781
Gots: 208 | FT: 14
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: 667 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of emerge077
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

Photo of TMoney2591
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at Binny's South Loop.

Finally getting to try some Ivan the Terrible, and, surprise to me, it's at South Loop's little in-house bar. Gotta love having days off during the week, right? This stuff pours a deep black-brown topped by a small finger of khaki foam. The nose comprises chocolate powder, roasted malts, a hint of molasses, and a kiss of coffee. Straight impy stout fumes here, people. The taste brings in more of the same, with the chocolate taking more of a syrup character and some very mild bourbon peeking in at times. The body is a straight medium, with a rather light moderate carbonation and a smooth feel. Overall, though a touch thin (we're not talking Eclipse-style thinness, but it definitely ain't chewy), this is a solid impy stout. It's not quite as great as it's been advertised over the years, but I'd glady have more if given the opportunity.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

Photo of JAHMUR
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of jlindros
4.4/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +3%
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

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of oline73
4.4/5  rDev +3%
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.

Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of drabmuh
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.45/5  rDev +4.2%
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

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of beernads
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of mdfb79
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of Mora2000
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of kojevergas
3.24/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.25

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.

High C+

Photo of Gueuzedude
3.35/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

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.

Photo of Halcyondays
4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +17.1%

Photo of orangesol
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

Photo of yourefragile
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'10 bottle #3207/3800 poured into a snifter. The brew appears dark brown to black with a solid finger and a half of dark tan froth. The cap slowly recedes leaving fingers and string-like patches of lacing on the glass. Constantly rising bubbles support the cap. A light swirl revives a finger of froth back to the surface. Very visually appearing brew with some solid head retention for a brew of 10% strength. When held to the light, some brown clarity is seen around the edges.

The initial smell of this brew is pungent with dark fruits. Raisiny alcohol is the first thing I think of with more sniffs bringing out some notes of chocolate and tobacco. Oak is present along with a whiskey accent that really plays off of the fruity alcohol notes in the nose. Towards the back are some mellow vanilla scents that really draw you back into this. This is a fine smelling brew right here.

The taste has just as much dark fruited alcohol character as you would expect based off of the aroma. Raisins, dates, plums, prunes.. it all is here initially. As more sips are taking, a bit more focus draws away from the fruity alcohol and back to the dark roast of the grain. A flavor of semi-sweet chocolate mixes with some notes of coffee, oak, whiskey tobacco, earth and roasted grain. The aftertaste is lightly nutty that draws back into the flavoring of chocolate and whiskey infused dark fruits.

This is a medium to full bodied brew that really boasts a lively level of carbonation. It flirts with having just a bit too much fizz in the mouth. If you try to swirl it around, it quickly turns to nothing but froth in the mouth. Luckily, I would rather have it over-carbed than under since some swirling can help ease the bubbles out of solution. Regardless, this was a solid brew. It is something I would certainly enjoy again. Really no complaints here other than it really focuses a lot on the dark fruity aspects which I think for my taste was a bit much. The alcohol is masterfully integrated for 10%. It is there totally in flavor but does not carry with it the expected burn. Really well done offering.

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 667 ratings.