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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

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

272 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 272
Hads: 782
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 803
Gots: 262 | FT: 22
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States | website

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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 272 | Hads: 782
Photo of callmemickey
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

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Photo of AgentZero
3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

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Photo of jrallen34
3.93/5  rDev -8.2%
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??

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Photo of hawks10
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
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...

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Photo of hayesez
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought a few of these the last time I was back in Montana. Have had it several times but haven't posted a review before. Definitely an excellent Russian Imperial. I've included this beer in several beer tastings and it routinely finishes at (or near) the top. High time to give it a review.

2009 vintage poured into a Portsmouth tulip. Dark, dark brown (nearly black), with average viscosity. Very little light comes through at all, save a brick colored border when held up toward the sun. A thick dense head of dark tan quickly billows up before withdrawing to a nice one finger cap, leaving nice sticky lace behind. This continues throughout the session, although not quite as dense. This is a great looking beer.

So apparent that this beer spent time taking in some whiskey. The bourbon is the dominant smell, but a great roasted nuttiness is also very prevalent. If you like bourbon-barrel stouts, this guy is a must-try. In addition to the prevailing bourbon and roasted nuts, there is a nice sweetness as well as some dark sweet fruit that comes through. Ivan the Terrible definitely wins the aroma race most of the time.

The taste is every bit of what one might imagine given the smell. Again, the time spent in bourbon barrels shines through. It is a very nice balance, however, as the bourbon does not overpower as much as adds a very nice sweet vanilla to the mix. Dark fruits are also easily found, as well as chocolate and a slight hint of coffee. There is a lot going on with Ivan, and none of it is "too much." Throughout the session, the beer itself fills out a bit and gives a slightly more viscous mouthfeel than originally conveyed via the pour, however this still isn't a thick Russian Imperial.

Each time I drink Ivan the Terrible, I am more and more impressed. The bourbon barrel aging really is timed perfectly. At a moderate (for the style) 10% ABV, the alcohol is barely noticed. Quite easy to put away ¾ of a liter. Great job Big Sky!

Consumed: 5/23/2010

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Photo of Overlord
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oddly enough, very similar to the Parabola I had just an hour or so before.

Pours black, with dark foam edging. No real head at all.

Smells like vanilla, bourbon, dark roasted chocolate, and caramel. INteresting.

Tastes surprisingly bourbon-y, with rich vanilla, and a kind of oatmeal/roasted malt background. The aftertaste has some sort of dark fruit, but just a bit. Really more of a double stout than a RIS in its flavor profile.

Pretty darn good. Mouthfeel could use just a tad more body, but nicely viscous.

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Photo of Thorpe429
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared with bmanning, Azurelimits, amyliz4, and hhanson at a recent tasting.

A: Pours a deep chestnut brown, bordering on black. Slight hints of crimson in the light.

S: Bourbon, oak, roasted malt, vanilla, and a bit of dark fruit.

T: The bourbon and oak really explode here atop the roasted malt. Excellent taste and much more than I expected. Nice undertons of vanilla and brown sugar.

M: Pretty full body with good carbonation and not much of any alcohol heat, especially considering all the wonderful flavors that came out of the barrel aging.

D: Incredibly drinkable. I don't know when the last time was that I had a barrel-aged beer drink so smoothly. Almost reminds me of BA Speedway in that regard. Something I'd love to get my hands on more of.

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Photo of bmanning
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Thorpe429 at a recent tasting. Thanks Mike!

A: Pours close to black with a thin tan head

S: Lots of vanilla upfront with chocolate, caramel, bourbon, and nice roastiness.

T: Very rich flavors of double chocolate brownie and vanilla, dark fruit, coffee, brown sugar, and tobacco.

M: Medium bodied mouthfeel with nice carbonation and coats the mouth very well.

D: A sipper for sure, but a very well made Bourbon Barrel Stout. For a 10% beer, it went down very smooth and with very little alcohol burn. I wish I could get this beer in my area - it's very good!

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Photo of HopHead84
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

4/28/2010

I was on my way home from the gym at 8:45 PM stinking of sweat and iron and about to eat a meal of boneless skinless chicken breast and brown rice when I felt an unmistakable sensation: the call of Advocacy. I quickly checked the web browser on my phone. Sure enough, there was a keg of Ivan the Terrible in distress at Stone. "Someone may already be there Advocating it" I mused, "though...it's best not to leave these things to chance." And so it was, I found myself heeding the call of Beer Advocacy and putting aside all prior obligations.

The beer appears very Stouty, with a dark color and a billowing light brown head. The thing takes forever to recede.

The nose on the tap version is every bit as magical as the bottle I advocated a few months back. The beer reeks of bourbon and dark chocolate. It's like a dark chocolate bourbon brown sugar cookie. A light roasted malt presence is perceivable. Notes of vanilla linger in the background with caramel and a little oak. The flavor is boozy bourbon chocolate with a restrained roast and a light caramel presence. Every bit as awesome as it was from the bottle. The carbonation is at a moderate level and the mouthfeel is thick, sticky, and silky with alcohol warming. This beer is great.

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Photo of nickd717
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle shared at a BeerAdvocate gathering a few months back. Reviewing this from notes I took back then now that it's cracked the top 100.

Very dark brown in color, not quite pitch black but pretty near it, with a small tan head, leaving swirls on the beer.

Aroma is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and strong bourbon. -Bal aged, this was, and you can tell.

Flavor is roast, chocolate, caramel, and coffee - a well balanced imperial stout - with Jim Beam really evident on the finish. Some oak and vanilla from the barrel also.

Smooth palate with a medium-full body. Just a tiny bit boozy.

This is a very solid -bal aged RIS. I'm trying not to pump this style (which is my favorite) up too much these days though, and while this was a very good example, it wasn't quite an outstanding one, so an A- sounds about right.

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Photo of DmanGTR
4.8/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Big thanks to unclejedi for a generous pour at DLD. From notes on 4/24/10

A - poured extremely dark brown, pretty much black. Deep garnet hues in the edges. Light tan head that retained nicely and lent a creamy look in the light. 4.5

S - A lovely explosion of vanilla, charred oak, smoke, and roastiness. Wonderfully balanced. 4.5

T - Very similar to the aroma but less smoky flavor. The chocolate and expresso are prominent but mellowed by some vanilla in the finish. A wonderful beer, the taste is nearly flawless. I wish I could get this near me. 5.0

M - Rich, thick, and coats the palate. Subtle carbonation. Not too chewy. 4.5

D - For a 10% beer, this went down so smooth and so velvety. I could not taste any alcoholic warmth at all. 5.0

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Photo of Mora2000
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

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Photo of bonkers
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I split this with a friend and a 750 ml bottle was poured into standard pint glasses. Jet black in color with a thin tan head. The aroma is full of sweet bourbon, oak and vanilla. The flavor is sweet and full of rich malt, then the bourbon and oak flavors kick in. They are rounded out by a pleasant amount of chocolate. The bourbon lingers for a while on the finish. The beer is full bodied and has a creamy mouth feel to it. One of the better RIS I have enjoyed. Thanks to Dunt for this one.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled: 03/04/10
Sample Type: 750ml. Bottle
Vintage: 2009
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip

Shared this brew w/ a BA buddy beerloco. Poured a charcoal opaque black in color w/ a one finger tan head that dissapated gently. Nice lacing hangs on the glass. Aromas of roasted malts, oak, and subtle bourbon and vanilla. In the taste, the bourbon rears it's head in the forefront, but does not overwhelm. The finish and is of darkfruit and burnt chocolate. Medium bodied and creamy, but not too heavy. Pretty drinkable for the style, but te 10% ABV would catch up to most BAs in a hurry.

Overall, I really enjoyed this brew! If this had been a touch more viscose it would be world-class. Will be seeking out more bottles of this brew.

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Photo of alcstradamus
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with 3 fingers of head. Lots of lacing coating the glass.

Aroma is lightly toasted malts, a solid amount of floral hops, fudge, vanilla, and a hint of coffee.

The flavor is dominated up front by sweet dark fruitiness and big fudge brownie. Very rich and complex, with underlying notes of coffee, floral/citrus hops, oak, leather, tobacco, vanilla...basically all the usual suspects that you would expect a high quality imperial stout to have. The way I describe it, it should be an easy 5 for taste. However, there is something about the way the dark fruits and the hops interact that holds it back a bit. Still, very solid.

The body is full and carbonation is high. Fairly creamy. Very nice.

Drinkability is pretty damn good for 10%. This beer is of very high quality. Very close to breaking into the realm of the absolute top imperial stouts.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

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Photo of drpimento
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

HUGE. Smackdown. Poured a nice tan foamy fothy head with lots of lace. Color is an opaque brownish black. Aroma is a volatile mix of fermented malt, tar, grapes, oak, walnut, acorns, treacle. Flavor's the same but much more full. Body is luscious with perfect carbonation. Very sweet finish with a little dark malt bitterness and hop. Not a session.

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Photo of jcnd9803
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Completely dark black body with two solid fingers of coffee colored head.

S - The smell on this thing is special. Sweet malts, chocolate, and molasses. Plus, a definite pronounced bourbon and vanilla smell.

T - And the smell continues into the taste. Delicious. WOW! It is like melted chocolate with bourbon, with an aftertaste of vanilla.

M - Medium body with slight creaminess.

D - Unbelievably drinkable. I am stocking up to see how this ages. Not many beers get this kind of rating from me, but this does. This stuff is delicious!

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque darkness with an absolutely HUGE stiff tan head that fades slowly in 3D, like an ice cream sundae. The smell is AMAZING...primarily bourbon over malted chocolate and dark fruits. The mouth feel is adequately carbonated, moderately thin..meaning that there isn't a true coating texture, ULTRA-smooth sipping qualities kicking major butt!! I NEED MORE! Full flavored, the bourbon barrel aging has the leading role supported nicely by raisins and fig over a more subtle chocolate character. Calling all bourbon enthusiasts..you NEED this! The 10% ABV is showcased really well. Many thanks Pops!! Highly recommended!

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Photo of KeefD
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 - Bottle 167 of 3000. Pours a dark brown which becomes absolutely black in the glass, small tan head that was gone quickly but kept a nice cap for some time. Great aroma wafting up from the glass! Chocolate dominates the nose, followed by some dark fruits (raisins), charred grains, and just a hint of woody barrel and bourbon. Wow! This beer tastes amazing. Chocolaty deliciousness through and through, hints of coffee in the background, and wonderfully sweet, but nowhere near cloying, inviting dark caramel/burnt sugar middle, rounded out by barrel-aged vanilla goodness. Bourbon is there, but not in huge amounts. So perfectly balanced between the sweetness and the roast, and the alcohol is barely noticeable. Silky, smooth, low carbonation. I just can't get enough of this beer. I don't know how long this sat in the barrels, but Big Sky somehow found the sweet spot when aging this delectable brew for us. I'm very impressed as Big Sky typically doesn't do it for me. But this beer just blew me away. The balance is incredible, and I can't believe how easy it is to drink at 10%. Well done, Big Sky. Well done indeed.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black beer with a dense, tightly packed brown head. Hefty amounts of lace are dropped down as I drink. This smells really good. Chocolate, java, roast, coffee bean, bourbon, oak, vanilla bean.... Easy 5.0 here. Body is medium to medium-full. Beer is quite smooth and luxurious. Definite alcohol presence and the spiciness associated with it. Flavor is a lot of roast and chocolate and bourbon. Great combo. The alcohol smooths out a little as it warms, but is evident throughout the whole drink. Awesome beer overall.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep brown pour to lay inky black in the glass with a huge towering cap of dark tanned foam thats' all lathery and thick. The foam shifts down slowly to a whispy skimming as it coats the glass with a drippy sheeting of lace around the glass.

Aroma is soft but quite nice when taken in as it boasts some nice bourbonyness mixing with chocolate and vanilla. Deep maple hints and dark fruity sweetness pulls thru as it warms as does some slight warmth.

Ooohh yah...this is nice. Smooth subtle tones and a full body carry lovely creamy infused chocolate cream pie with a huge amount of deep, dark maple syrup, vanilla, bourbony warmth and some smokey cedar woodyness and tinge. A tipping of roasty coffee bits and some figgyness emerge late under the bourbon warming and chocolate. Drys off ghostly under the warmth with dusty cocoa. Nice!

Mega smooth full body, creamy, silky, warm, with a slight bourbon tinge on the back of the palate. The smoothness is incredibly palatable! It's not as girthy as Goose Island BCS or other top notch RIS's and Dbl stouts, but its pretty damn full and very smooth.

Drinkable by gallons! So damn smooth and easy going its gone before ya know it. But that 10% would meet you before half way and destroy many brain cells. But yummyness sometimes supersedes responsibiliy...

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

big thanks to tytoanderso for this beauty a few months back, been waiting to crack it for a while!! bottle #307 of 3000.

a- totally jet black with a little brown head that dissipates fast. decent lacing.

s- bourbon, chocolate, coffee, raisins, prunes, cocoa powder and butter?

t&m- surprisingly im not getting much on the bourbon taste as i expected, lots of woody and oaky notes followed by lots of bitter hersheys dark chocolate. faint hops and faint brown sugar. the swallow is easy on the throat and doesnt burn like most beers that bourbon barreled. good stuff.

d- this one is a sipper for sure, but definitely a real treat. not overpowering and not boring, very complex and interesting.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle shared by midaszero at a tasting.

Ivan pours with a Terrible pitch black body, opaque as limousine windows. A fluffy cookie dough-colored head rests comfortably atop the blackness, superbly retained and mottled with large bubbles. Viscous brown liquid cascades downward through the foam with each sip. The aroma brings a spicy hop profile balanced by milk chocolate candies, caramel toffee, and a slight hint of peppery, oaken funk.

On the first taste, the palate is coated with dark Baker's chocolate and vinous, port-like tannins. Lots of fudge and vanilla bean with a hint of heat from the barrel-aging. Incredibly smooth and subtle for a 10% Russian Imperial Stout. Mouthfeel is creamy and chewy, with a viscously thick finish. Never syrupy, and packs just the right amount of roast and bitterness from earthy hops to keep it drinkable. An overall fantastic beer. After being completely "wow-ed" by Ivan two times straight, my mission is clear: I need more!

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to dmeadows for the share on this 2008 bottle a little while ago.

A: Mostly jet black with a touch of cola around the edges of the glass. About a inger and a half of mocha colored head with some lacing.

S: Nice bourbon note. Big oak component. Vanilla and chocolate. Really quite nice. Not so much roasty but a little bit.

T: The bourbon and vanilla/oak are really done well in this beer. The chocolate is a nice touch but always stays in the background. The bourbon is so clean. Really well done. Curious as to how much time this had in the barrels because it got everything good without the heat and booziness.

M: Creamy. Little bit on the heavier side without ever becomming overbearing.

D: I really enjoyed my nip of this. Would have this again in a heartbeat. One of the best examples of a bourbon aged stout I have ever had hands down.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 272 ratings.