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

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
95
world-class
278 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
278
Ratings:
808
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.76%
 
 
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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

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

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

65 IBU

Added by Bitterbill on 11-10-2008

User Reviews
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Reviews: 278 | Ratings: 808
Photo of Ginagee68
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had it at JL Beers in a flight. Stood out strong and flavorful but quite high in alcohol so I'm not sure if I could do a full pint but definitely enjoyed. A must try for dark roasted flavor.

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Photo of rypkr
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2015 vintage #1986 of 3000.

A - poured into a snifter, looks a little watery. Super looking fizzy head however.

S - bourbon forward. Lots of sugar also, almost smells more like a quad or an old ale than it does a stout.

T - wow there's a lot of bourbon. It almost takes more like whisky than it does beer. Tons of oak and vanilla and an absurd amount of alcohol is present. I love beers that pick up this much barrel. However as this warms there is too much hip presence for my liking in a bb stout. I dropped my original 4.25 for taste and overall to 4's because of this.

M - tremendous mouthfeel despite its watery look. Carbonation is through the roof also.

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Photo of Lane_in_ID
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Jer Black, 1 finger tan head
Smell: Molasses, fruity
Taste: Follows the nose, nice bitterness, alcohol prevalent in the aftertaste
Feel: Medium to full mouthfeel
Overall: Very nice imperial stout, has been on my wish list for years. Was stoked to find it locally in SE Idaho, April 2016

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

look: Dark as Ivan's soul i guess. Nearly opaque. Huge tan head that mostly sticks around. Beautiful.
smell: Sweet bourbon, vanilla and brown sugar.
taste: not quite up to the nose imo but damn good. Smooth as all hell. No sign of the high abv. a slightly spicy finish.

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Photo of hardysf
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

pours black with white head that leaves some lacing. Smokey aroma mixed with some oak and vanilla. The taste has some oak characterisitcs, some chocolate, and some dark fruit and some cardboard. I think it may be a little oxidized. Some sherry and wine notes in there too. Finishes with a touch of bourbon heat. Thin mouth feel.

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Photo of tlema1
3.59/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: jet black, thin tan head
S: dark fruit, booze
T: plums, figs, booze
F: full bodied, booze
O: booze dominated this from start to finish, it that's what they were going for, they got it

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black pour, minimal lace, retention, head. But the color is impressive. Aroma was bitter chocolate, then some buffalo trace bourbon on the back end. Yummy.

Taste was decadent. Bourbon char, vanilla, coconut, chocolate. Smooth, not hot. Oak, low carbonation that fits the style and beer very well.

This is real good, hope to find it again at a decent price, its a tough find!

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Photo of sedotakj
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

A better than average stout with a somewhat light finish for an imperial stout. Smooth profile through the entire experience. Nothing stands out good nor bad. Definitely worth a try but expect a light experience for an imperial

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Photo of fredmugs
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 bottle poured into a snifter. I traded for this when it was on the old Beers of Fame list and now I don't know if I waited to long to drink it. The aroma is amazing and reminds me of a FW offering. The moth feel, however, is incredibly lacking. Very thin. Prior to this I drink a non BA version and it was better.

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

In a pint glass September 26, 2015 2277 of 3600 2014 11.5%

Look - Dark brown with a lot of tan head. Thick bubbles. Lacing with the head. Lacing doesn't dissipate quickly. A lot of sediment in last pour.

Smell - Char. Bourbon. Cherry.

Taste - Bourbon. Chocolate. Char. Wine. Grape. Cherry.

Feel - Alcohol burn. Creamy. Not as carbonated as head hints at.

Overall - The wine taste surprised me and made it unique. Otherwise average.

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Photo of pagriley
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 750ml (~8 months bottle age)

L - Dark brown pour that settles to pitch black in the glass. Lighter than I was expecting, with a thick 3 inch caramel head
S - Soft chocolate and a touch of roast on the nose. Not really any barrel but a thwack of hot booze
T - Alcohol heat masks a lot of the flavor. As it warms chocolate and bitter roast come through
F - Lighter bodied for a big stout, a touch thin. Prickly and a bit over-carbed for my preference, and it took a few minutes of swirling in the glass to knock the excess out.

Overall an interesting barrel stout. Lighter bodied, and quite hot. For the price ($14 for a 750) it is a good deal, and worth trying, but given the limited bottle count, not worth hunting down - several year round shelf beers at a similar price (barrel aged Hoppn Frog BORIS comes to mind) are just as good, and much easier to find.

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Photo of scottbham
1.35/5  rDev -68.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Bad bottle.

2013 #2655 of 3000. Purchased off dry shelf in October of 2014 within days of distribution (I work there). Kept ~60 deg after. Opened today (July 18).

No carbonation on pull. None on pour save for a dozen bubbles on the sizes of the glass. Chocolate and caramel color. Smells of alcoholic stone fruit and fruity chocolate. Flat and syrupy on the tongue. Sour like early blackberries and then sour like cheap candy. Finishes tongue curdling.
You get a bad bottle every once in a while. This is the 2nd from Big Sky iI have gotten after their Kriek. I've had some great ones from them, too: Ivan the Terrible (not aged) and Moose Drool. Just FYI to all the BAs.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
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.

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Photo of Hop_God
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage bottle 2235 of 3000

Enjoying 2-18-16for my 29th birthday

A: deep brown. Near black. Thinest khaki head. Large bubbles

S: booze. Bourbon. Chocolate. Molasses. Licorice. Roast malt.

T: smoky. Booze. Oak. Bark. Subtle bitter chocolate.

F: rather thin. Bitter aftertaste. Some raw alcohol feel on palate

O: lots of good with this but also some not so much. Overall a fine brew.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
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.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

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Photo of strohme2
3.98/5  rDev -7%
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.

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Photo of gatornation
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
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

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Photo of KYGunner
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
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.

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Photo of Neorebel
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of Ricelikesbeer
3.96/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

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Photo of MCain04
3.77/5  rDev -11.9%
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.

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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

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Photo of arizcards
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
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!

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 278 ratings.