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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

268 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 268
Hads: 751
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 799
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 268 | Hads: 751
Photo of Stigs
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

big 750ml, split - served in a tulip/flute hybrid type glass

A - pours with half an inch of creamy khaki colored foam, settling within a few minutes to a thin film and ring. the beer is dead black.

S - nice mixture of dark fruits (plums and raisins), dark chocolate, molasses, oak, vanilla, bourbon. nothing stands out much more than the others.

T - sweet at first with dark fruits taking hold, plums and figs dance playfully before cut short by some strongly roasted and slightly bitter malts. wonderfully balanced bourbon and sweet oak. notes of dark chocolate and vanilla as well with a small kick of booze.

M - thick and sticky with moderate carbonation. lively alcohol burn through the swallow. slightly chewy finish with lingering sweet booze.

D - outstanding beer here. exceptional use of bourbon barrel aging in a stout, adding another dimension without detracting from the others. sipper due to big flavors (and alcohol) yet quite the enjoyable one. (964 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.9/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Pours 1/4 finger of tan head. Color is near black.

Aroma: Cocoa powder, bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, dates, dried fruits. Warming and rich.

Taste: Big cocoa powder again. Light chocolate. The bourbon is warming, but somewhat subtle. Has molasses flavors. Some other dry fruits as well. It shows some vanilla and caramel.

Mouthfeel: A bit fizzy, creamy, and warming. Medium to full bodied, but a bit higher amount of carbonation is present. Ends a bit dry and boozy.

Overall, a decent beer. It is warming which I like. The barrels are a bit subtle. I dig it, but it could have used less cocoa notes. (633 characters)

Photo of Mebuzzard
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, Ivan the Terrible is far from terrible, unless terrible has become the new "bad".

Dark black, glossy pour. Shines a bit. Dark brown, mellow, sticky head. A touch more density would give it a 5--although I am stubborn on giving 5s

A dark chocolate and light coffee aroma develops around soft vanilla and some caramel. Booze isn't noticed at all. Some smokiness too.

A clamoring of flavors kind of melt into one. Vanilla and caramel seem to make dark, smooth chocolate. The coffee and some hops give it a bit of earthiness. Smoked meat and some woodiness. These are all bold flavors without aggressiveness. Very easy drinking for the size and abv. Would be (is) a great winter beer. (689 characters)

Photo of mataelbata
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

But this one on the morning before my wedding. bottle number 145 out of 3000. Been waiting for a good time to drink it and I can't think of a better moment than monday night pakcers vs. bears. So here goes!! Great head retention and pours jet black. Aroma hints of the bourbon casking. Alcohol apparent on the tail end of the swig. All in all a beautifully balanced oak aged ris. (379 characters)

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.82/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan! I've wanted to try this beer for a long time.

2009 Vintage
Bottle 2223 of 3000.

A: Ivan the Terrible has an opaque black body. When held to the light, the beer is dark brown at the apex. There is about an inch of tan head that leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: This aroma is world class. Roasted malt and bourbon, hints of chocolate and coffee. Incredibly inviting.

T: Though not as amazing as the aroma, this beer is a pleasure to drink. It's extremely well-balanced, and the flavor is outstanding. The bourbon component is very present, but doesn't overpower the roasted malt or any of the other more subtle flavors.

M: Nice, thick feel. The 10% is not entirely disguised per se, but I certainly would not describe the beer as hot.

D: A pleasure to drink. I'm thankful for the opportunity to try it for the first time. I hope to have it again. (902 characters)

Photo of mdfb79
4.62/5  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. (840 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL corked and caged bottle - hand-numbered 517 of 3000, 2009 edition - courtesy of a very generous trader up in Idaho. Many thanks! Poured in to a snifter for review #1100.

Appearance: This one was split between two snifters to accommodate the volume (and the other glass was given to a fellow BA). My snifter - the larger of the two, naturally - initially showcased a brilliant finger-tall crown, perfectly cocoa-hued, and with perfectly poor retention. On the other hand, my fellow merrymaker's snifter showcased a similarly constituted head that remained so constituted on in to the evening. A magnificent tall, dark, and creamy mass, the cap was consistently and quickly replenished by bullets of effervescence zipping upwards en masse up the sides of the snifter. My snifter showcased similar carbonation, but I suppose the quality of my pour (or the aperture of my vessel) was different enough to alter the retention pretty profoundly. Regardless, my snifter still showcased a thick, sudsy collar and a nearly uniform surface dusting. Lacing on the sides of the glass is what one would expect from a barrel aged beer of this style and abv%. We'll split the baby and call it a 4.5. Very nice.

Aroma: Waves of dark malts are absolutely decadent, but nonetheless heavily toasted. The malts are deep, showcasing flame-kissed toffee, toast, full roast coffee, bittersweet cocoa, and hints and kisses of char and smoke. The fruity notes are quintessential English RIS - cherries (both sweet and slightly tart), dates, and raisins, as well as a few spicy hop notes that mingle well with the slight but earthy bourbon notes here. The aroma reminds me of a slightly less fudgy (and less intense - duh) Black Tuesday. Splendid.

Taste: Intense and varied, but not without its drawbacks. Toast, caramel, bittersweet cocoa, and blackstrap molasses intermingle with a slew of dark fruits, as well as a few lighter and tarter notes, ranging from raisins on the heavy end to nectarines on the light end, and everything (cherries, peaches, grapes, a faint figgy tartness, and even a soupcon of berry). Hints of vanilla and leather emerge to meld with an ever-increasingly pungent bourbon presence. The bourbon is surprisingly mellow at the outset, and this beer isn't really about the bourbon - it merely adds a few spicy, rye-like, earthy, and lighter caramelized sugar notes.

Mouthfeel: Slight disagreement between my fellow imbiber and I here. Her snifter contained a rather flat, creamy beer, and mind a zippy, thinned-out beer. I can't split the baby here, unfortunately, as neither is the ideal, though - having tasted both - I liked mine a little more, even if it is lacking somewhat. A barrel aged beer will already be thinned out somewhat by aging and spirit additions, and an overcarbonated mouth can make it feel even lighter and less creamy - not what you want in a beer that's supposed to be showcasing flavor notes that are traditionally associated with adjectives like "creamy," "velvety," and "sleek." I'll revisit it as the carbonation dies down. And it does get a little better, but not terribly much. This beer's weakest component.

Drinkability: A pretty excellent beer, though not without its flaws. This tastes like a small craft brewery beer, though, and you gotta love that - an authentic RIS, made with American toasty malts and English hops, with a not-too-overpowering barrel presence ... what's not to like? This one's definitely a treat though (not that you could, Big Sky, but don't put it in 6-packs!) - it made a good #1100, and I'd be happy to have it again from time to time ... maybe paired with some robust, creamy cheese or some dark Belgian chocolate ... but not too often. I think this would be a true world class beer if it were tweaked ever so slightly, particularly the carbonation. (3,821 characters)

Photo of afausser
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours (into a snifter) a dark, rapidly moving chocolate brown with two fingers of head. Carbonation appears to be tiny and voluminous at once; tiny bubbles move in a wave to the top of the glass creating a head that almost appears to be on nitro-tap. The head itself is fluffy and a color slightly darker than a mocha-latte--a touch of caramel added in. Drank this one on a particularly hot day (who says it's the end of summer?) so the glass quickly has a large amount of condensation on the outside, creating a somewhat glittering effect/illusion. The head glistens like soap bubbles on its own. An extremely consistent and good looking beer with a lot of movement. Very nice (and fairly long-lasting) lacing as well.

Smell: Very earthy, with berry, dark fruit, and a slight hint of chocolate. Some vanilla notes as well, blending with the slightest hint of bourbon notes, though both of these are an undercurrent to the bright berry notes. Very well-balanced.

Taste: More dark fruits than in the nose, with a nice caramel twist added in. Slightly milky as well, and very smooth. Slightly tangy, with a bit of charcoal bitterness thrown in as well which carries through into the aftertaste. The bitterness provides an interesting element to the taste--when you first take a drink, (or at least when I do) you notice first the sour cherry notes, but almost instantly are hit by a blast of syrupy--something--which comes across at times also as cherry cough syrup, though if it were exactly that I wouldn't be drinking it. Then, shortly thereafter, the bitterness hits. It's probably better than I'm making it sound...but it's definitely strange.

Mouthfeel is sub-par for what otherwise is an excellent beer. Very little heat, but the carbonation doesn't hold up the way I would have hoped (or expected from the appearance). There is very little carbonation, in fact, the beer seems rather flat save for an unpleasant foaminess at the end of the sip indicating, as the appearance did, that indeed there was once carbonation somehow present in this beer. Looking back a few minutes later, the carbonation is in fact there but sort of just _sits_ on your tongue.

Drinkability: Very smooth and low heat--wouldn't expect it to be this good at this ABV--though at the same time it is also very obvious that it is a 10%. The fact that I can drink this on such an oppressively hot day speaks volumes. (2,409 characters)

Photo of glazeman
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks goes out jcnd9803 for hooking me up with this in a recent trade. Split with airohead2001. Poured into a snifter. Hmmm...a stout that is corked and caged...interesting

A: Pours black in color with a 1.5 finger mocha head that has excellent retention and lacing.

S: Nice notes of chocolate and bourbon that are blended well, interesting and balanced. Deeper down there is some espresso and vanilla.

T: Lots of vanilla in the taste. A little sweeter than I had expected. Nice amount of bourbon at the finish. I didn't taste as much chocolate as I thought I would based on the smell.

M: Pretty good, though not quite as viscous as I would like in a big stout.

D: I would defiantly have this beer again. It was a very soothing drink on a cooler night outdoors at the start of fall. With that being said, I feel the drinkability is somewhat limited by the sweetness. (877 characters)

Photo of emmasdad
4.17/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at a tasting a while back at schmittymack's and never got around to entering it. Poured this one with a few other imperial stouts, including Darkness, Dark Lord and Black Tuesday. Even still, it more than held its own. Poured a deep, dark black color, with a bit of mocha colored foam. Big aromas of roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, toffee and vanilla. On the the palate, more roast, along with more of the bourbon character, vanilla and oak. A very good stout. (481 characters)

Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into two pint glasses. Thanks to pops for the assist!

2009 Limited Edition
1221 of 3000

A: Pours a pure, evil black. Sitting on top is a about four fingers of dark mocha foam that features a lovely cascading effect. Those four fingers slowly settled down to about a fingers' worth of head that left a little bit of lace lingering on the glass.

S: Excellent balance in the nose. Equal parts bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, charred barrel, booze, and tangy chocolate covered cherries.

T: Bourbon, dark fruit, and dark chocolate are the main players with ample supporting assistance from charred barrel, espresso, chocolate covered tangy orchard fruit, and dark rum.

M: I was expecting this to be really hot and messy, but instead I was rewarded with a smooth, full, and fully realized barrel aged beer. Sweet, sticky, and thick but in no way syrupy. Fantastic.

D: I'm accustomed to nose hair curling booziness that seems to go hand in hand with this style. This, however, was an exercise in restraint and layers. I can't wait to try this again... (1,092 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to piclee for this one. 2009 edition, bottled 2237 of 3000.

4.5 A: Pitch black color. One and a half fingers of creamy light brown head. Pretty good retention and plenty of lacing.

4.0 S: Bourbon is the strongest aroma, but it isn't all out dominating, rather more along the lines of overtime tiebreaking. Leather, oak, vanilla, and a touch of hay and melon from the bourbon. Underneath there is a chocolate, molasses, and roasty maltiness. As it warms, a raisin fruitiness emerges.

4.0 T: Unlike the nose, the bourbon dominates the taste. Fortunately, whatever this bourbon is, it is pretty good. Vanilla, leather, oak, melon, citrus, and perhaps even some banana coming from the bourbon and barrel. The stout itself gives some chocolate, caramel, and molasses, but it needs to be more aggressive to give the bourbon a run. A bit boozy.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy and smooth. Warming throughout and especially on finish and lasts well into aftertaste.

4.0 D: Definitely a decent brew for stout fans and an excellent brew if you really like bourbon. This is, indeed, the best tasting bourbon has ever been in a beer for me. However, I prefer a big powerful stout that the bourbon just can't keep up with (GI BCS comes to mind). If I ever want a good bourbon fix though, I'll seek out this beer. (1,379 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
4.01/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2009 vintage, 2398 out of 3000.

An uber-generous extra from inflatablechair. Thanks, Sam.

A: Pours a pitch black body. I'm wearing a white shirt (this is relevant), so I pour it gently to avoid splashing. Even so, the pour produces a finger of mocha colored head that neatly caps the brew for half a minute. As it dissolves, it leaves swirls of bubbles on top of the beer, with a nice, medium collar around the edge.

S: Caramelly bourbon and vanilla. A touch of smoked oak and dark fruit. The base beer's chocolate is most evident in the nose; roasted grain and coffee are less evident. Great aroma; really a strong point of this beer.

T: The flavor isn't quite as great as the nose. It has a nice interplay of bourbon, caramel, and chocolate without being too dominant in any one flavor. I pick up touches of anise and dark fruits. Vanilla, tannins, and char on the finish, with an undercurrent of earth. While the variety is there, the flavors aren't quite in balance and I find myself wishing that caramel and vanilla were played up more.

M: Low carbonation; it's just a little light to be velvety, especially by the end of my first glass. There's a mild heat in the finish. My major complaint is that the beer is a little thin (as in, with a watery finish), and with the low carbonation that makes it feel like a flat cola.

D: In both the nose and taste, this beer reminded me of the 50/50 Eclipse (Elijah Craig) and even BA Blackout. I prefer both to this beer, but it's in the same conversation. As far as barrel-aged imperial stouts go, this one is solid but not top-tier. (1,620 characters)

Photo of Flashsp2
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

(1,178 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.73/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Limited Edition 338 of 3000.

Dark black with a 3 finger head which looks like a chocolate milk shake. Very nice retention and lacing. The aroma has bourbon, vanilla, cocoa, dark fruit, and roasted coffee, Very nice.

The flavor is just like the aroma. Bourbon, vanilla, cocoa, dark fruit, roasted coffee blend together beautifully, and make for an outstanding beer. A very nice sweet beer.

The mouth feel on this is very nice. Proper carbonation, smooth, almost like velvet. Sweet, medium bodied, and a pleasure to drink. The alcohol is detectable, but not overbearing. A very nice beer. (594 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.59/5  rDev +7%
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. (895 characters)

Photo of Lakes
4.62/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

bourbon aged Ivan:

This is an excellent example of a barrel aged Imperial stout. Poured thick and dark. Head struggled but left nice lacing. Color was black. Aroma was mild bourbon with rich roasted malts, chocolate, toasted caramel. Nutty, tawny, sweet. Flavor matched the nose with just the right amount of bourbon mixed in with a strong roasted barley. Hops were well balanced and marched lock step with the malt.

This is an excellent beer. (446 characters)

Photo of PittBeerGirl
3.96/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

bottle 426/1152. Thanks Chris for sharing!

A- Body is a dark brown, nearly black. Pours with a 2 finger creme brulee colored head. Some lacing is left behind in the glass-retention is good at 1/2 finger.

S-Classic RIS nose. Plum, anise, raisin, ripened dark fruit, licorice. Balance leans toward sweet and fruity-but there is a slight alcohol presence as well as mild cocoa and very mild dark chocolate.

T- Taste is completely different than nose. Lots of dark chocolate, raisin, complex-but slightly over ripe. A touch of bourbon and oak come through for the finish as the fruit flavors intensify and the chocolate fades. Dark fruit and a slight alcohol warmth linger.

M-Very well done-thick, creamy, and full body. Soft carbonation but slightly chalky.

D- This is a good RIS overall. Doesn't compare to my favorites of the style thought. Was very happy to have the opportunity to try this! (896 characters)

Photo of largadeer
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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. (851 characters)

Photo of Bung
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (905 characters)

Photo of ChrisPro
4.58/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 bottle tasted on 6/5/10 thanks to callmemickey!

Pours jet black with huge bubbly dark mocha head.

Aroma was beautiful oak and coconut, with some great chocolate and vanilla and hints of molasses.

Flavor was nice sweet chocolate and bourbon, with a slightly bitter, balanced finish.

This was easily one of the smoothest imperial stouts I have every head and the mouthfeel was like silk sliding across my tongue.

Incredibly drinkable and I feel like I could put away a whole 750 mL if given the chance. I now understand why I like the Bottleworks XI so much. (567 characters)

Photo of callmemickey
4.38/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 release

A: Pitch black body. Large, frothy dark khaki colored head. Good retention and nice lacing left behind after each sip. A damn good looking beer.

S: A light, smooth, refined bourbon highlights the malty base. Light vanilla, molasses, chocolate, and warmed caramel.

T: Delicious. Bourbon, oak and vanilla are present from the barrels. Not hot, abrasive or overwhelming. Well integrated with the roasty sweet malt backbone. Caramel, molasses, chocolate, and a general roasted vibe.

M: Medium-full bodied. Good even carbonation throughout. No excessive heat. Lingering roasted sweetness in the finish.

D: A very nice beer that epitomizes subtlety in bourbon barrel treatment. A real find that people should try to seek out. (738 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
3.78/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - Nice looking, big two finger tan head that dissipated nicely with a little cap on the top. Some sheet/chunk lacing left on the sides throughout the drink.

S - Very sweet, maybe more caramel in a beer than I've ever smelled before. Some roasted malts, pretty big bourbon smell. Pretty nice, one of the sweeter things I've smelled.

T - Caramel and malt comes through, but this is a big bourbon tasting beer. Quite sweet, with a hot bourbon taste, some slight bitterness. Little bit of coffee, but this is really just a huge bourbon. Hot in the stomach.

M - Medium carbonation, medium bodied. Not great feel.

D - Too hot, had Parabola at 13% earlier and it was much easier to drink than this. (697 characters)

Photo of jrallen34
3.93/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasting with AgentZero...I drank this from a 750ml bottle into my Rochefort glass...The beer is dark black with some really nice head. At least two fingers of light tan head, decent retention and lacing...The aroma is super sweet on the front, tons of caramel, vanilla and bourbon. Light alcoholic finish...The taste is super sweet, almost to sweet to be very drinkable. Tons of vanilla and bourbon, not enough coffee or body or bitterness...Sweet and easy to crush, but would you want to?? (490 characters)

Photo of hawks10
4.33/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Vintage - #381/3000 - 750ml bottle poured into a snifter...

Pours dark, black as expected. Three fingers of light brown, THICK, head forms and sticks around for a while. But the more I drink and the lower the beer gets in the snifter this beer really starts to look good. Not black like I thought at first, the edges are amber, further in a nice mahogany before the beer becomes black again...very nice...

Delicious nose, sweet, vanilla and bourbon, molasses and maple syrup and a little bit of chocolate. Some ripe dark fruits briefly give this beer a Belgian Strong Dark characteristic...Very strong aromas and beautiful complexity...

Roasted dark malts nicely mixed with some sweet bourbon, think Goose Island Bourbon County Stout but toned down a bit...beer becomes less roasted and much more sweet as it warms, vanilla bourbon sweetness shines here, the barrels have done this beer well...after my palette gets used to the bourbon and alcohol heat, I start to pick up some dark fruit flavors that I thought I smelled...complex, with not a single aspect/flavor of the beer being overpowering, very balanced...

Mouthfeel is a bit thinner than expected given how "dense" the smell was...full bodied and decently carbed. A nice lingering alcohol burn warms you up and lasts long past the finish...more of a regular (yet heavy) stout feel than an RIS feel...

Overall a very good beer, an easier to drink version of Goose Island BCS, mouthfeel was a little too thin for my tastes and that is pretty much the only knock against this beer... (1,548 characters)

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.