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

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

725 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 725
Reviews: 270
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 10.3%
Wants: 786
Gots: 254 | FT: 20
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:
Beer added by: Bitterbill on 11-10-2008

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%
2014 - 11.5% (750ml cork and cage)

Imperial stout aged 4 months in freshly dumped American oak Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels.

65 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 725 | Reviews: 270
Photo of MarvinSnyder
4.23/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2009 edition. Cellared for a time !

Photo of StoneTSR
3.76/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: A large, inch-thick, rocky, off-white head swells up as about six ounces of beer is poured into a tulip glass. Almost zero light gets through the beer itself. Some very subtle shades of reddish brown escape from the edges of the glass when held up to light. With a much larger and longer lasting head than I expected, there was, surprisingly, no lacing to speak of.

SMELL: Sweet, dark fruits dominate the aroma at first, but after a few sniffs big chocolate and vanilla flavors waft in.

TASTE: Cherry, raisins and dates are very strong in this beer while the vanilla, chocolate and oak notes serve to round out the flavor. A little balance comes in the form of some increasingly intense roasty notes as the beer warms along with a touch of hops.

MOUTHFEEL: Sweet start with a pretty dry finish. A subtle sparkle tickle the tongue, just enough to gives this otherwise silky beer a little bite.

OVERALL: The oak does not come through as strongly as I would like, and the fruit on
the nose was a bit of a turn off at first, but as I began taking in the subtleties of this beer it became much more enjoyable.

Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.17/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Appearance – The beer was jet black with only a few bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell – The booze made the biggest impression in the aroma with hints of chocolate.

Taste – The booze is quite smooth and balanced with the base beer. The bourbon notes were a little lighter than I would have like. A modest chocolate impression also exists with dry malts. The aftertaste is modestly warming.

Mouthfeel – For the style, the beer seemed a little thin. Carbonation was virtually nonexistent.

Overall – I am glad I was finally able to have this one. It is a solid barrel aged stout, but not a great one.

Photo of snarygare
4.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

this was 2013. also had 2014. 13 was smoother. 2014 more burbony

Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a great head and let it warm up, gets better and better as it comes closer to room temp. I would have liked more time spent in the barrel, however. Bourbon influence is minimal.

Photo of strohme2
3.98/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2010. I don't know why I was saving this, maybe the champagne bottle size was a bit intimidating for me. The beer was properly cellared for just over 4 years then placed in the fridge for the last 6 months or so of it's life. Ever since then, it's been staring at me with every opening of the fridge.

The beer pours a dark chestnut with some dull red highlights. A cappuccino colored head is fairly thick. At first taste, the beer is thin for a imperial stout. I've never had this beer fresh so I can't compare but after almost 5 years it's pretty impressive. Large smell of dark fruits, heavy on the oak, light on bourbon. Some cocoa at first that melts away the more I drink it. There is no heat, everything has blended so well together. Again, I don't know how it was when fresh, but the bourbon is almost nonexistent.

A great beer but I prefer my imperial stouts, especially aged in bourbon barrels, to have a better body and a bit more bourbon. Still very good.

Photo of freshflesh
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had it on tap at Slater's 50/50 .

Photo of gatornation
4.35/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-pours a dark thick black color with a large mocha head with nice streaking lacing
S-bourbon,chocolate,vanilla,wood and chocolate
T-nice BA of bourbon and wood that compliments the base beer notes of vanilla and wood mix in with caramel chocolate
M-smooth a touch thin with above average carbonation
O-tasty BA stout was impressed with how tasty this was would buy this again for sure

Photo of olradetbalder
4.42/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle of the 2009 vintage.
No bourbon feel at all but still a great beer

Photo of EuellGophar
4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Does everything well except hold a head.

Photo of KYGunner
4.49/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Everything about this calls out as a classic barrel aged stout. The pour is thick and viscous and the nose is full of barrel, vanilla, coconut, chocolate and bourbon.

The barrel properties are prominent at first with woodsy oak and bourbon. The middle palate serves that barrel sweetness of coconut and vanilla while it ends with chocolate, caramel and toffee. This is truly decadent and absolutely delicious.

Photo of Neorebel
4.62/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I received a bottle of Ivan the Terrible 2013 as a gift, and finally finding a worthy night to open it, I found it had a near perfect appearance... It's color, the deepest brown, and a thin layer of froth over top of it as if it were espresso, it's a Russian Imperial Stout through and through.

The aroma is rich with the scents of baker's chocolate, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, and cinnamon. A truly enticing bouquet indeed! After a healthy taste, I found the beverage to feel smooth, yet it was a little spicy as well. The bourbon barrel aspect was appropriately present in the foreground and meshing well with the finely crafted stout. The most remarkable thing about this beer I found in the finish. It had a very pleasing 'mineral water' hint, accompanied by a very slight anise element.

Ultimately, I would place this in the upper echelon of barrel aged stouts, and that is really saying something, considering the fine examples of such I have already experienced and reviewed.

Photo of Ricelikesbeer
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I've heard great things and was excited to try this one.

A: Pours somewhat thin, with close to no head whatsoever... a few oily bubbles quickly dissipated. I don't think this beer is supposed to be flat. The beer looks somewhat thin and oily. It is black as night and hard to see through.

S: Lots of alcohol up front, and some bourbon and barrel character. There is some malt sweetness, a slight estery fruitiness, and no apparent hops whatsoever. Some char and burnt character is there as well.

T: Bourbon, chocolate, oak, and some sweet maltiness are all there. This has the complexity of a very strong, big stout with bourbon and barrel flavors. The more the beer warms, the more I enjoy it and the complexity really stands out. The roastiness of the stout is really mellowed by the bourbon and vanilla flavors from the oak.

M: Despite being over 13% abv, this beer, the lack of any carbonation makes this beer feel much thinner and watery than it probably should be. I think this was an off batch. However, it still has a slick and sugary mouthfeel, and coats your tongue for a while.

O: I would certainly try this one again, and it is priced very well for being a huge bourbon barrel stout. I would hope the beer is carbonated next time which could really improve my scores on this one.

Photo of MCain04
3.77/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

750ml bottle from 2013 vintage, bottle 653/3000 poured into a Half Acre snifter at around 50F. Price $16/bottle.

Pours a dark brown body, almost no head to speak of, large beige bubbles quickly dissipate into mild rimming.

Smells of bourbon, sweet molasses, dark fruits, figs, vanilla, and light grape sweetness.

Taste is bourbon-forward with strong notes of molasses and vanilla. Drying alcohol esters. Subdued roast character. Taste is thin. Drying finish.

Feel is thin for as big as the beer is. Low carbonation. Easy drinking.

Overall, for as much as I anticipated this, I'm disappointed. This needs improvement in several areas. My other bottle will be happily donated to a friend who didn't get a bottle from the latest release, and here's hoping that future releases improve.

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.95/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 bottle
The beer pours a rich (but relatively thin looking) black with a thin tan head that laces. The nose is fruity and boozy, some bourbon vanilla, and relatively little sweetness or chocolate. The same fruitiness is present in the taste, but with a bit more grain, caramel sweetness and tobacco-y bitterness to help round things out. The mouthfeel is fruity, medium bodied, slightly dry, has adequate carbonation and caramelized sugars competing against the potent, burning booziness. This is an interesting beer, great flavors without a thick body, and it really highlights the bourbon stout without making it tough to drink.

Photo of Powderhornphil
4.13/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 vintage.

Pours black. Several fingers head with great retention.

Bourbon booze and vanilla. Barrel notes.

Taste is great. Bourbon, dark fruit, chocolates. Taste is more dynamic than the nose.

Full mouthfeel but a bit stickier on the finish than I would prefer but nice.

Photo of arizcards
4.39/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up the 2013 edition bottle # 2313 of 3000 from Total Wine in early December for $13.99.

Beer poured black with very little head.

Nose is booze, vanilla, roasted malts.

Taste is light bourbon, vanilla, dark fruits, some cocoa.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall for a brew that is nearly 14% this is one of the easiest drinking high octane BBS that i have experienced. This is my first time trying it as i was never able to find it in the past. Glad i picked up two of them!

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into nonic pint glass. This beer followed a 2012 Bourbon County Stout which made for a tough act to follow, but it held its own, despite not being quite as good.

The pour produces a cream-colored head that quickly dissipates into a thin lace atop the liquid. Below is an opaque, pitch black liquid that looks like a winter walk in a deep forest. It's almost intimidating.

I was expecting more from the smell, especially after the BCBS, so I had to ding some points here. The bourbon notes aren't nearly as potent, nor is the oak, although I detect both.

I was pleasantly surprised by the taste on this brew, as I found a lot of the good notes that I had enjoyed in the BCBS. The bourbon and oak remained, but the beer's sweet malts showed up, as did vanilla, toffee and coffee. I enjoyed it.

The drinkability was there too, as this was really smooth and creamy. The body was much lighter than BCBS, but like that beer, there was no booze presence.

I would certainly drink this again, although we followed this beer with the Oak-Aged Yeti which costs about six bucks less and is a bit better, so for the price, this beer may not make the cut despite being damn good.

Photo of Damian
4.19/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 1 pint 9.3 fl. oz. (750ml) corked and caged bottle
2010
Limited edition 1916 of 3800
Served in a snifter

Big thanks to Fclfcs for sharing this bottle.

The beer poured dark brown and slightly thin for the style. An inch-tall crown of tan colored foam topped the liquid and faded to a lasting collar. Odd shaped patches of lacing trickled down the glass.

The nose was solid. Strong roasted malt and powdered cocoa notes were apparent. Noticeable boozy, bourbon-like presence. Semi-sweet with indications of brown sugar and raisins. Overall, not super complex but smooth and well balanced.

Boozy, bourbon notes came through strong in the flavor profile. Initially, the beer seemed a bit hot, but it settled down with time. Roasted malts appeared on the front end. Dark fruit notes came through in the center. Raisins were most noticeable. Moderately sweet. Lots of brown sugar and dark chocolate as well. Good amount of whiskey/bourbon. Hint of vanilla. The finish was boozy, woody and slightly tannic with a noticeable ashy flavor.

For the style, the beer was surprisingly effervescent and felt quite thin on the palate. Almost champagne-like. Once the liquid settled, it turned creamy and smooth.

With its balanced flavor profile and lighter bodied mouthfeel, this 2010 vintage of Ivan the Terrible may not have been one of the more extreme imperial stouts I have ever sampled, but it was tasty, drinkable and quite enjoyable nonetheless. I would love to see how the more recent vintages with higher ABVs compare to this.

Photo of GilGarp
4.21/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage. Corked and caged 750ml green glass bottle. #2263 of 3800.

Served slightly cooler than cellar temperature in a tulip glass.

Ivan the terrible is a deep brown color, black in the glass, with thick off white head. It has good retention for an aged strong ale.

Aroma is evident from a distance. It is a combination of dark malts, bourbon, vanilla, and red wine.

Flavor is bold too with a balanced combination of the elements mentioned above. The stout is actually the most forward flavor which is unusal for a barrel aged beer. Many times the bourbon overwhelms.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and nicely carbonated.

It may be slightly oxidized but is still enjoyable. A well made barrel aged stout from a small Montana brewery. An unexpected surprise.

Photo of scottfrie
4.18/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage poured into snifter.

A: Pours black with an unexpected huge foamy light brown head that really frothed up despite an easy pour.
S: Very smooth and integrated notes of bourbon, rich dark chocolate, light vanilla and light oak. I get mild caramel and brown sugar in there as well.
T: Richer than the nose. Definitely a potent sipper. Rich chocolate and fudge dominate with smooth flavors of bourbon, caramel, and slight vanilla and oak tannins in the finish.
M: Mellow flavors but the mouth still has a rough edge to it. Sharp kick of bourbon. Fluffy carbonation, tingly alcohol (but not hot). Thick body.
O: Very very solid. One of the richest and most potent out there. Very good.

Photo of beerdrifter
4.62/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A friend picked this up from the brewery for me! An aggressive pour yields a pitch black body with a nice one finger caramel-colored head with decent retention and lacing. The nose is really nice with loads of cocoa and dark chocolate initially, and big bourbon notes as it warms. Also getting some wood, leather, and dark fruit. The taste follows the nose with tons of mocha and chocolate, perfectly complemented by some really nice roasty malt and oaky bourbon notes. As it warms the dark fruit emerges along with hints of brown bread, vanilla, espresso, leather, and tobacco. The mouthfeel is absolutely smooth as silk with minimal carbonation and a velvet finish. The 13.8% ABV is nowhere to be found. It's not boozey at all and there's almost no heat for such a big beer. The bourbon character is as close to perfect as I can remember in an Imperial Stout. Overall, this is a huge and pleasant surprise. This beer is every bit as good as any of the big names in this category. My first beer from Big Sky, but not my last! A really impressive offering!!!

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 spoony
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the West End in Boulder during the November Big Sky tap takeover into a pint glass.

A-My glass arrived with a half-finger of dense mocha-colored foam. Retention was good as the foam lasted for quite a while. The head left some good lacing, too, which is surprising given the ABV. The brew was nearly black and opaque in the glass.

S-The aroma was rich with lots of heavily roasted malts, light char, some dark chocolate flavor, and a good bit of milk chocolate-y sweetness. It is not mind-blowing or terribly complex, but the balance is impressive here with all of the right stout flavors in the right amounts.

T-The taste follows the smell pretty closely with lots of heavily roasted malt flavors (some caramel peeks through), and a balancing dose of sweetness. Again, the balance is nice.

M-The feel is moderate for the style with bit of chewiness and average to below average carbonation.

O-This is a well-balanced and drinkable RIS. The alcohol is integrated nicely and the balance of flavors is pretty impressive. In a world of barrel-aged this and coffee-infused that, it is nice to drink a beer like this every now and again to remind you that an RIS that is put together correctly can be a pleasure to drink.

Photo of inlimbo77
3.36/5  rDev -21.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml, 2012 2536 of 4200
Lost Abbey TEKU

A: Dark brown. Seems like a lot of carbonation. Tight bubbled light tan head. Sticky lacing.

S: Tartness is there. Smells fishy. Don't know if it's full on infected, but not getting the normal vanilla and bourbon hints that I was expecting. Dark fruit. Some minimal roast character.

T: This is possibility infected.

M: Full bodied.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 725 ratings.