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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ivan The Terrible Imperial StoutIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout

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

605 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 605
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 769
Gots: 196 | FT: 11
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.00% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
2006 - 8.75% (draft only)
2007 - 8.75% (500ml flip top bottles ~ very limited)
2008 - 9.5% (750ml - capped - 1152 bottles)
2009 - 10% (750ml cork and cage)
2010 - 10% (750ml - cork and cage)
2011 - not brewed
2012 - 12.2% (750ml cork and cage)
2013 - 13.8%

65 IBU

(Beer added by: Bitterbill on 11-10-2008)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 605 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TheGordianKnot
TheGordianKnot

Tennessee

2.98/5  rDev -30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Big thanks goes out to johngalt1 for this as part of his very generous box! Bottle 350/3800 from 2010 batch, poured into globe...

A- Pours black as night with a very large, foamy, khaki colored head. About half of the glass filled with foam! As it settled it left incredible and delicate lacing.

S- The initial aroma is a very young oak. Has an oxidative feature also- cardboard. The roast is barely there; much more booze and chalkiness and wood. Has a hint of soy as well.

T/M- Boozy and full of molasses. Damn this is sweet; full of raisins, plums, and brown sugar. Again the woody component is very young and much like fresh sawdust. Finishes with some alcohol hear which just perpetuates the sweetness. Carbonation is smooth, at a moderate level within a medium/full body.

O- Myself and person I shared with thought this was an overhyped disappointment. Not disgusting, but not something I will actively seek out again...

Serving type: bottle

10-27-2011 19:40:49 | More by TheGordianKnot
Photo of jayhawk73
jayhawk73

Maryland

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

Bottle shared by Chaney- Thanks Brandon!

Review from notes:

Pour black into my tulip glass. Good carbonation, and excellent lacing on this beer. Very dark and impossible to see through. Very good looking RIS. Nose is that of bourbon, vanilla, oak, roasted malt, coffee, some hops in the background. Taste is the same profile as the nose, with the bourbon really coming out as the beer warms. Fantastic tasting brew! Feel is on the smooth/creamy side for the style, but still amazing. Overall, this is an amazing beer- glad I got to try it.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2011 19:27:38 | More by jayhawk73
Photo of HuskyinPDX
HuskyinPDX

Washington

4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle #948/3800

Poured into my Duvel Tulip glass.

A - Pours a deep dark black with a huge dark tan head. Great retention and tons of lacing left on the glass.

S - Strong chocolate and coffee, some slight booze pokes through at the end.

T - Fizzy explosion of coffee, chocolate, malts, hops, and bourbon.

O - The cork broke while opening so I had to use a wine opener, it made me nervouse, but all is good. A wonderful RIS, and I hope to score more in the future.

Serving type: bottle

10-05-2011 03:02:15 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of Chaney
Chaney

District of Columbia

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

I've had this one twice now, and when harrymel came out to visit, he layed one of these on me. Thanks Harry!

Vintage 2010; bottle # 2580 of 3800.

A: Almost pitch, abysmally black, with a beige, sawdust-like head that retained itself throughout the session. Nice looking, and looks bubbly and delectable!

S: Nice woody, bourbon character, with a delectable milk chocolate and coconut flair that frankly smelled like a liquified "Almond Joy" candy bar.

T: I think I was the only one at my tasting group to get this quality, but I got a HUGE coconut wallop out of this.... jeez. Seriously, there wasn't any sort of soy sauce-esque or intense bourbon-bomb character on this at all. Very oaky, classical, faint dark fruit notes, vanilla, Nestle's Quick, and once again.... raw, organic coconut. This goes down very easily... dangerous!

M: Very highly carbonated... the highest I've ever tried in this style even. Despite this fact, the excess bubble count worked wonders in cutting through the alcohol (which was undetectable), and the "Imperial" elements of this beer. I got kind of a semi-sweet, oaky, chocolate lingering on the palate that was fantastic!

O: I don't say this too much about a brew of this style and octane, but given the rather light and fluffy nature of this one, I could honestly drink an entire bottle of this stuff. I will most certainly have Ivan again....

Serving type: bottle

10-04-2011 01:07:37 | More by Chaney
Photo of claaark13
claaark13

Indiana

4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle, 2503/3800 from black13. Right on man, Big Sky was the first non-Indiana craft beer I tried and it is nice to finally try their big man on campus. Poured into a Founders snifter.

A - Fairly dark, just less than pitch black, not all that thick looking. Nice looking tan head with good retention. Actually, it is a very nice looking head. Looks nice, but nothing special.

S - Dark fruits mixed with some vanilla and oak. Bourbon really starts to come through after a few whiffs. This actually smells quite nice. The bourbon is delicately laid above the dark fruits and is just fantastic. As it warms, it just gets better.

T - The dark fruits come out and then comes the bourbon. It isn't too overpowering, but I do get some esters towards the end. After the sip, some oak and then a nice vanilla/toffee flavor remains. This is a very interesting beer for me. I really enjoy this after flavor, and as I sip on it more I want to drink more. The slightly hot flavor goes away after a small number of sips. Whatever hotness in there really just dissipates into the vanilla/toffee after flavors.

M - It is just a little too carbonated and light for me at first. The body carries the flavor well though and allows for the flavor to stick on the tongue for a bit.

O - This is a great beer. The biggest thing holding it back is the bubbly mouthfeel at the beginning of each sip. That aside, I'm liking this beer a lot and will give it a shot in the future.

"A-" despite what the weighted score gives.

6/23/12 Update on 2010 bottle:

Appearance is great. Still a nice, thick, creamy head. Good legs, issue is that the color could pour a bit more black. The aroma difference is that the malts seem to be a bit more aggressive than the last review. Based on my previous description of the taste, it should have been a 4.0. The current taste shows some bready malts mixed with the dark fruit, vanilla, light oak on the finish. I taste a little cork, which may be my fault for laying it down. There is no booze. It is incredibly smooth and pleasant. It is a 4.5 at this point. Mouthfeel has improved as well. Thicker feel on the palate. Upgrade to 4.0 going on 4.5. Overall, it is just shy of a 4.5. Updated review would be 4.5/4.0/4.5/4.0/4.0.

Serving type: bottle

10-01-2011 02:54:47 | More by claaark13
Photo of Svejk
Svejk

Washington

4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I have had this beer several times over the last few years, and each time it has amazed me. My most recent experience was a 2009 bottle at a tasting.

A: Just what you'd expect - super dark with a tannish head.

S: The right roasty stout smell accented by vanilla and bourbon from the barrel, along with toffee and caramel. Among the most delicious beers I've ever smelled.

T: The taste is right in line with the smell, the right balance of all of the vanilla, roast, caramel, toffee and bourbon. Simply amazing.

M: Silky smooth, and surprisingly drinkable for such a big beer. Sometimes these big barrel aged stouts go overboard with a beer that seems like it needs to be chewed, but I think Big Sky hit just the right balance with this one. Most likely the carbonation level is the reason this beer seems just perfect.

O: This is really a top-tier example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 18:57:07 | More by Svejk
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bgramer

Washington

4.97/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Opened a 2009 Ivan. Aroma was fantastic smelling like vanilla, chocolate, fruits and coconut. Pouring the Ivan into glass, there was a frothy brown head that slowly bubbles away but leaves a nice thick lacing on the sides of my glass.

The aroma really sets you up for what's to come which is a huge flavorful mouthfeel of creamy chocolate (almost like malted balls) toasty oak, roasty malts, caramels and toffee notes and some dark fruit. It comes across as woody and boozy but in a very well balanced way.

This is a hell of a stout, comparable to Black Tuesday and other highly regarded stouts. Why isn't this more well known or as heralded beats the hell out of me but I'd have to guess that Big Sky's kinda out in the middle of nowhere and their brewing capacity isn't very large.

2 years seems to be the sweet spot for aging Ivans - at least for me. I plan to continue to stock this beer in my cellar.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2011 15:28:14 | More by bgramer
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ChadQuest

Illinois

3.25/5  rDev -24.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Starts off like you would expect a stout to, very dark in hue and with a large tan head standing well above the body.
The aroma has a lot of roasts present, dry chocolates too, and some oak and vanilla mixed in there somewhere.
The flavors seem a bit harsh, this does have a prominant alcohol note and barrel note, but this harshness was differant and really coarse in a differant way, slightly astringent. Maybe it is the roasted malts and the alcohol, do not know. The oak and vanilla comes in and gives some depth and does end up with a good mix of flavors overall but the coarseness hurts it.
The mouthfeel is slightly creamy and coating.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2011 02:32:28 | More by ChadQuest
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

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

823rd Review on BA
Bottle to Tulip
750ml C/C

2010 Bottle
#703/3800

Served a touch above cellar temp.

This was a mini gusher, A very loud pop when the cork was popped and a slow rolling foam came out the top.

App- Ivan had a lot of head behind it when first poured. It took a while to recede and when it did it settled to a two finger, very open and aerated head. A lot of bubbles. The color was a touch above inky black. Very dark, very dense. A lot of scattered cling and lacing. Very nice looking beer.

Smell- Opens very rich and full on the nose. Big bourbon notes followed by a medium level of vanilla and oak. A little bit but not much of say a chocolate covered cherries. Well blended with all aromatics not being overly dominant just complimentary to each other.

Taste- A very good stout. I traded for this one early this year and had been sitting on it. I had very high expectations for this one and this stout didn’t disappoint. This beer had a very mellow bourbon note with more of a vanilla character and roast stouts then most. GuruDel and I both commented on how this was smooth like BCBVS but more drinkable as its smoother with the vanilla. A touch of roast and fruit round out the flavor profile.

Mouth- Medium-full bodied beer with a paired carbonation level. Very vanilla on the palate with a touch of chocolate and roast.

Drink- Overall, Ivan crushed it. This was a very good beer with well rounded flavors and a great bourbon/oak touch. I waited a while to have this one and it didn't disappoint at all. Would love to get another bottle.

Serving type: bottle

09-23-2011 16:09:05 | More by FosterJM
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ne0m00re

Ohio

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

Live review of 2010 bottle number 303/3800.
A: Opaque black with a tan head and some lacing.
S: Sticky sweet chocolate espresso, kind of like a subdued Bourbon County, nice maple bacon and raspberry puree, black licorice and brown sugar. Good.
T: Well-rounded vanilla, fruity berries, smokey pig, and chocolate. Kind of like a good chutney, where everything blends nicely. It starts off creamy and thick and moves slowly to a clean resolution with the lingering alcohol and smoke.
M: Creamy smooth to a nice clean feeling.
O: Damn good. Drinkable and balanced while also being full-flavored. Not as much of a bite as I'd like, but that's a matter of preference. I'd highly recommend this to anyone.

Serving type: bottle

09-21-2011 02:19:43 | More by ne0m00re
Photo of johnbjaeger
johnbjaeger

Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been sitting on a couple of these for a while since they come in generous 750ml bottles and that's a tall order for me. The wife prefers things hoppy or sour so...

Anyway, I figured I could start drinking this around noon on a Saturday and get through it by bedtime. Corked and caged, this sucker opens with a mighty pop for an RIS. Pours nice and dark with a quickly dissipating head. Leaves just a hint around the edges to remind you ir...

So I forgot to finish this review and now the bottle is just about empty. Good lord. Gonna go ahead and finish this by saying it develops nicely as it warms, with the bourbon notes really asserting themselves. I am a lot more fond of this than I was when I opened the bottle (which, frankly, was pretty fond), so let it sit for a bit. I am going to, having fortified, get into a fight with some local ruffians now.

Ivan the Terrible? Ivan the Awesome more like.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 23:10:38 | More by johnbjaeger
Photo of mdvatab
mdvatab

Indiana

4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 Vintage
Acquired in trade from nlabruyere.
Poured from 750ml bottle into snifter. Shared w/ Barfwin on homebrew bottling day.

Aroma: Cherry tartness, a touch of sashimi soy sauce, toasted vanilla, coconut, dried fruit, and milk chocolate. Out of this world aroma!

Appearance: Light tan two finger head with great retention. Espresso black body, and foamy lacing.

Flavor: Oaken barrel flavor (vanilla & toasted coconut), smooth, sweet and fruity maltiness. Very light, and masterfully-integrated bourbon. A grape juice note, followed by more coconut and vanilla on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low carbonation, medium-full body, and a warming feeling in mouth and throat after swallowing. (warming, but not hot or peppery)

Overall: One heck of a barrel-aged imperial stout! The coconut notes are wonderful. The beer is smooth with fruity sweetness, and overall complexity from the both the beer itself, and from the oak barrels. Very highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2011 01:07:59 | More by mdvatab
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Chriscrundwell12

Minnesota

4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 ml bottle poured into a Darkness snifter.

2010 bottle #3401 of 3800

A- Really nice looking stout, 2 finger frothy beige head, dissipates slowly, really nice dark brown lacing, pitch black opaque motor oil color.
S- Very nice aroma, vanilla upfront, oak, really nice bourbon comes out sweet caramel, really well balanced aroma.
T- Similar to the aroma, bourbon upfront, sweet vanilla, this is a rich beer, toffee, caramel, oak, roasted malt, hints of dark fruit (plums, raisins), slight alcohol burn as it goes down but nothing to overpowering. This is a very tasty beer.
M- Medium/Big mouth feel, well carbonated, sticky, smooth drinking, dry finish.
O- Very impressed, I’ve been holding onto this beer for a while and finally decided enough was enough. Really enjoyed this now I only wish I would of opened this with a friend to share the goodness.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 03:44:27 | More by Chriscrundwell12
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ArrogantB

Colorado

3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 bottle courtesy of Harrymel, thanks man! Ink black with a super foamy head. Smells like wood and booze. The flavor at first like drinking a whiskey or bourbon, very strong but then I got roasted malts and a very odd tartness. Given the tartness and super foam I wonder if this was showing early signs of infection? Overall not bad but a bit of a let down after the olde bluehair was so surprising.

Update 2013 bottle

Aroma is a pretty awesome chocolate and bourbon mash up. Flavor is also a nicely bourbon barrel influenced stout. Much better than the last incarnation I had and for $12.99 this is kind of a deal given the way pricing has gone.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 19:11:31 | More by ArrogantB
Photo of Gfunk720
Gfunk720

Connecticut

3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle, out of my Lost Abbey stemware. Shared with a couple buddies.

A- Pitch black with a crazy foamy tannish head. There is just sooo much head. Pretty typical stout appearance though.

S- A little muted. Notes of coffee, bourbon, and booze. Also some dark fruits and chcolate malt.

T- A rich chocolatey flavor is the first thing that hits my tongue. I also get hints of coffee, bourbon, and oak. It is very nice and smooth. The bourbon isn't over the top, but a nice addition to the base beer.

M- A little fizzy, and could have use a bit more body. I knew it was going to be fizzy based on the foamy head, but it wasn't as bad as I expected.

O- A very nice sipper, that has plenty of flavor and complexity. The mouthfeel was probably the biggest let down here, but this was also a fairly fresh bottle. Would be curious to see what it would be like with some more age.

-GFunk

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 01:50:51 | More by Gfunk720
Photo of zhanson88
zhanson88

California

4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Finally getting around to drinking and reviewing this bad boy. 2010 version, bottle 1404/3800.

Appearance: Ivan pours a dark brown color that appears pitch black once in the glass. About 2" of tan head forms, which has great retention and decent lacing. Legs are okay. Almost a perfect looking RIS, but it does look a bit thin on the pour. That's my only beef with it.

Smell: Interesting. Very dark fruit heavy.... lots of fig, raisin and date. Lighter amounts of chocolate and coffee. The barrel treatment shows very nicely as well. Nice amounts of woodiness and vanilla, with lighter bourbon scents.

Taste: Once again, lots of dark fruits. Figs and dates especially have a strong showing. Coffee and bitter dark chocolate are present, but very lightly. There is a shitload of vanilla presence in this beer, which is awesome. Also some woody notes as well as bourbon. The finish is woody with a lot of dark fruits, and even some cherry-like notes. The cherry seems off-key which is disappointing....slight knock on that.

Mouthfeel/Overall: The body really disappoints me. Pretty light....high carbonation. A far cry from creamy and full. It does improve somewhat as it warms, but it's still below average. Overall this beer is on the cusp of something great, but not quite there. I really liked the barrel treatment, and the dark fruit notes were quite different and refreshing. Definitely a must try, but not quite world class. I wish I had access to previous versions, but I guess I'll have another shot at it next year.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2011 02:10:00 | More by zhanson88
Photo of mdaschaf
mdaschaf

Washington

3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Thanks to ShanePB for bringing this down to share with me. 2009 Vintage.

A: Poured a dark brown/black with a slight reddish tint when held up to the light. A small tan head formed on top with little retention and spotty lacing.

S: Lots of cherry and oak, the oak intensifies as the beer warms. There is a hint of cocoa and vanilla. The strongest aroma reminds me of sherry/port though, I could smell it immediately.

T: Heavy dark fruit flavors with cherry, plum, and some dates. There is a mixture of oak and vanilla, the sherry/port flavors are present. This beer, more than any other I can remember, reminds me of wine. As the beer opens up there is a slight tartness on the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with a nice level of carbonation for a bottle form 2009.

O: A bit of a let down based on the hype. Its good, but the fruit flavor and wine like qualities aren't typically what I am looking for in the style. Would love to try it again to see if there was just something a little off about this bottle.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 21:05:21 | More by mdaschaf
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ShanePB

Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After Matt aka mdaschaf, my girlfriend and I opened up the Menagerie No. 5, we moved onto my bottle of Ivan. 750 ml corked and caged green bottle, poured into tulip glasses.

Vintage 2009.

A: Deep brown edging to a full black body with some amber hues around the top edges in the light. Atop is a light beige head, along with sporadic lacing and a thin retention ring. Not a bad looking beer though I did expect a darker head.

S: Sherry, port wine, very sweet with obvious fruity undertones. Cherry, plum come through midway and end with cocoa powder and slightly charred oak wood. It's not infected, but the sweeter fruity notes definitely threw me off.

T: Oak dominates up front and even more so as this beer warms. Faint dark baker's chocolate, black cherry and some sweet sugary dates are mid-palate. The finish is quite tart that opens up the longer this sits. The fruity, tartness in the finish wasn't necessarily unpleasant but something unexpected.

M: Well carbonated for being a vintage 2009, maybe a bit too much for the style. Fairly smooth, not as creamy as I wanted and a touch dry in the linger.

In comparison to other Russian Imperial Stouts, this is definitely a good one but it doesn't match up to other breweries. The beer itself had a weird combination of roast, wood and fruit that I think perhaps was unintentional but it definitely came through big.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2011 15:39:38 | More by ShanePB
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EricCioe

Montana

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a stout night with friends. It was Ivan, Abyss, Darkness, and Dark Lord, in that order. We had pretzels and water and some Goose Island Summertime in between rounds. Everything I had was out of a 6 oz snifter.

This poured a rich black with a nice rich espresso crema head over a finger high with good retention and spotty lace. One of the prettier big stouts I've seen. On the nose, there is a decidedly non-raucous mixture of molasses and oak especially, along with some bourbon notes and good deal of roasted malt. In the mouth the molasses and oak really take over, that dry woody flavor mixing with the sweeter notes of molasses, bittersweet chocolate, and bourbon. The flavors die away leaving bourbon for a long finish. The body is medium full, sort of less full than I would have expected, but still plenty enjoyable.

Overall, this is a fine stout that makes me really happy to be moving to Missoula soon.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2011 19:18:46 | More by EricCioe
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LiquidBread219

Indiana

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours pretty much a black color with a nice brown head. Head became a pretty nice cap and left behind a bit of spotty lacing at best.

S- Smell is of oak, bourbon, and vanilla. Roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits and chocolate are here as well. Nothing really dominates the aroma they just all work well together.

T- Taste really follows the nose well. Bourbon is here but does not take over. Vanilla, oak and chocolate. Nice little alcohol warmth.

M- Full in body and carbonation was faily low which for this beer really worked.

O- A very solid brew that I'd recommend to everyone to try, and can't wait to try it again myself.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 05:03:10 | More by LiquidBread219
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tripelhops

Missouri

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

I had this at a recent store tasting, a 2011 batch into a small plastic cup. After a couple swirls the sides have a sheen on them like a coating of oil. The aroma is stong, smells of bourbon and oak dominate. The color is dark black with a small amount of tan / carmel colored head. Even a sampler is a sipper. Roasted malt, hints of chocolate and vanilla, but the bourbon and oak dominate, can't say much about the hops, and the alcohol is noticed at the end. This is one heck of an RIS, and from what I've tasted should be right up there with the best of them, and considering it's limited production, I'm surprised it's not, although maybe that's why too since it's hard to get.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2011 03:59:13 | More by tripelhops
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Urbancaver

Ohio

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

Shared at Jackie Os Friday before the bottle release.

Pours a dark dark brown with a tooon of tan head. Very appealing

Smells bourbony and chocolatey. There is a wonderful sweetness on the nose and the tongue. Vry wonderful dark chocolate on the tongue, a subtle bitterness with some vanilla and a nice subtle oak.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 02:47:03 | More by Urbancaver
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NittanyBeerFan

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a very generous BA for crossing this big want off of my list! You know who you are.

Just the pour on its own indicates that this is one huge effin stout. Like hot pitch on a summer day, it is opaque, thick, and syrupy as it pours into my glass. A creamy head foams up on top, light brown in color and fine and frothy in consistency. Each sip yields a thin ring of lace with some leggy spidery streamers connecting them. Very pretty. A swirl wipes it all away, and leaves a film that doesn't really produce legs, but does bring a bit more foam and aroma out of the beer.

The aroma is complex and balanced, with the bourbon barrels only there to augment the base beer. dark chocolate, roasted malt, some syrupy sweetness, and hints of bitter chocolate all come to the forefront. Dark fruits (extremely dark) like raisins and dates swim the in background. Oaky vanilla and slight balancing bourbon come in, as well. The flavor track similarly, with the roast becoming a bit more present with the dark fruits that are also amplified on the palate. The raisins are especially notable. Again, the bourbon here is only around to provide a bit of extra flavor, and it definitely hits the mark. This is how a barrel aged beer should be -- base beer shining through and enhanced by the spirit.

The complexity of the flavor sort of overshadows the texture of this beer, and I find it a bit too thick for the balance. A phenomenal brew overall, as one might gather from my rambling earlier. I hope to be able to try this one again, because it is awesome.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2011 02:27:09 | More by NittanyBeerFan
Photo of Brad007
Brad007

Vermont

3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch-black with a thick and frothy brown head into my glass. Lots of foam, which I beleive is unusual for this style.

Lots of oak upfront followed by just a bit of roasted malt and cream. Not really a big fan of oaked beers but this isn't too strong.

Roasted malt, chocolate and cream mingle with oak flavors. Again, oak flavors are strong but not as strong as if this beer were fresher.

Lingering oak and roasted malt at the back of the throat. Not much else. Not as much of a bite here.

It's a decent example of the style. Received it in a trade and it's been sitting in my fridge for months. Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2011 01:55:49 | More by Brad007
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Spider889

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Schwaeh for this one. Almost got popped at the First Central OH tasting, then again at another get together I believe, before finally reappearing at the 2nd Central OH tasting. Glad I got to partake in some of this.

Pours with a super tall head with excellent retention and lacing. Very thick and black.

Smelled super mellow and sweet. Light bourbon notes and the tang of vanilla. Milk chocolate as well.

Very tasty, lots of complex malt flavors and bitter char.

Smooth and soft like there might be some oats in there.

Overall this is one that lived up to the hype. I'd love to try this again sometime.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 18:09:05 | More by Spider889
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 605 ratings.