Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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

267 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 267
Hads: 755
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 806
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 267 | Hads: 755
Photo of stakem
4.18/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'10 bottle #3207/3800 poured into a snifter. The brew appears dark brown to black with a solid finger and a half of dark tan froth. The cap slowly recedes leaving fingers and string-like patches of lacing on the glass. Constantly rising bubbles support the cap. A light swirl revives a finger of froth back to the surface. Very visually appearing brew with some solid head retention for a brew of 10% strength. When held to the light, some brown clarity is seen around the edges.

The initial smell of this brew is pungent with dark fruits. Raisiny alcohol is the first thing I think of with more sniffs bringing out some notes of chocolate and tobacco. Oak is present along with a whiskey accent that really plays off of the fruity alcohol notes in the nose. Towards the back are some mellow vanilla scents that really draw you back into this. This is a fine smelling brew right here.

The taste has just as much dark fruited alcohol character as you would expect based off of the aroma. Raisins, dates, plums, prunes.. it all is here initially. As more sips are taking, a bit more focus draws away from the fruity alcohol and back to the dark roast of the grain. A flavor of semi-sweet chocolate mixes with some notes of coffee, oak, whiskey tobacco, earth and roasted grain. The aftertaste is lightly nutty that draws back into the flavoring of chocolate and whiskey infused dark fruits.

This is a medium to full bodied brew that really boasts a lively level of carbonation. It flirts with having just a bit too much fizz in the mouth. If you try to swirl it around, it quickly turns to nothing but froth in the mouth. Luckily, I would rather have it over-carbed than under since some swirling can help ease the bubbles out of solution. Regardless, this was a solid brew. It is something I would certainly enjoy again. Really no complaints here other than it really focuses a lot on the dark fruity aspects which I think for my taste was a bit much. The alcohol is masterfully integrated for 10%. It is there totally in flavor but does not carry with it the expected burn. Really well done offering. (2,103 characters)

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

2009 and 2010 bottles poured into tulip glasses. this review is based on the 2010

Pours an inky blackness with a nice fluff of browned head. Retains nicely, leaving sticky lacing on the glass while drinking, with a dark collar around the edge.

Lovely bouquet of oaky bourbon and vanilla, riddled with brownie and chocolate cake. Roasted malts and warmth infiltrate the senses. Oh boy.

Sticky sweetness up front tempered by a thick roasty malt profile. Dark and assertive with oak and bourbon driving the barrel character. Cocoa powder and booze soaked brownie with some vanilla tones. Finishes very warm and a bit sweet, but not overwhelming.

Full body, decent carbonation, sticky and chewy on the mouth. A damn good barrel aged stout, I hope I get to try this again sometime soon. (787 characters)

Photo of claspada
4.24/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2009 Limited edition; Bottle 780 of 3000. Courtesy of hoppymcgee, a gentleman and a scholar.

Man that cork was really in there. Pours a Coca Cola dark dark brown with no visible light what so ever. A small brown inch of head that slowly recedes leaving thick soapy lacing.

Aromas begin with dark bitter bakers cocoa and some lesser milk cocoa chocolate bar. After the initial cacao smells I get the barrel; vanilla, bourbon, light nuttiness and generic wood. Roasted, mildly charred dark malts intermingle with the barrel and some lesser sweet chocolate/dark fruit.

The tastes explode with so much flavor I am at a loss for words initially. First I get loads of dark chocolate, then vanilla and light bourbon, then some dark dark dried fruit (prunes/raisins), then some sweeter milk chocolate and the light oak rounds out the flavor profile. Barrel flavors become more predominant as it warms as expected. No boozy or alcohol flavors at all. Barrel flavors perfectly balance the viscous stout flavors. The base stout isn't too roasty or bitter as some Russian Imperial Stouts can tend to be.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with medium to low carbonation. Surprisingly drinkable with the above mouthfeel characteristics, the beer drinks rather light (for the style); I am attributing that to this being only (only...) 10%ABV compared to the higher ABV-ed monsters that exist today.

Overall, this is definitely top 5 Stouts/Barrel-aged stouts I have ever had. This beer is once again a winner for me because it fits the criteria that I love which is balance. The barrel doesn't overpower but is definitely still a strong presence. The drinkability is off the charts in that I could finish the whole 750ml if I wanted/had to. Highly recommended and worth seeking out. (1,779 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.63/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

We cracked open a 2010 vintage bottle (limited edition #3087 of 3800) poured into a tulip glass. What a special treat! Poured dark black-brown with a frothy medium creamy off-white head with sticky lacing that lasted throughout. The aroma and flavor balances well between esters of dried fruit and roasted cocoa with a slight oaky bourbon presence. There was subtle coffee notes throughout and some alcohol heat. Some vanilla was detected. Smooth and silky bodied beer with a nice finish. Excellent brew! (504 characters)

Photo of Yagman3000
4.12/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a .750 bottle (2010 vintage #1562 of 3800) into a snifter. Part of the very generous Pre-Thanksgiving Tasting Session offered by fellow BA CosmicEvan.

It appears a super dark brown. There is a noticeable film, not a head, that remains across the top of the beer.

I smell a bunch of coffee and a touch of licorice here too. The anise odor is pleasing and natural smelling.

The taste if this beer is rather woody - specifically oaky. There's a hint of coffee in the flavor profile here to.

In terms of the mouthfeel, there's a noticeable effervescence. It goes from bubbly to a thin exit. There could be more in the middle here.

Overall a good beer but it did not rock my world. I was actually expecting a little more flavor from this beer. At the same time, it does a decent job of hiding its 10% status... no easy feet! (836 characters)

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

Beer #7 of the drink down the cellar tasting. thank you to tpd975 for swapping this one my way a while ago. 2010 vintage #1562 of 3800.

a - opened the bottle and had my pour in a cbs snifter. poured a deep black (seems to be a theme for the night) with a thin off white head.

s - has somewhat sweet smell, but still roasted. milk like...

t - very nice flavor. spiciness is great. hot sauce kidk.

m - thinner and easy to drink. medium bodied.

o - overall, very solid imperial stout. this is a tough night for this beer to be a standout, but on another night with a clear palette i might have felt more highly about this one. don't get me wrong, great beer, but in an evening of kate, bt, hunah, cbs, etc this beer was towards the bottom of the list of favs. (761 characters)

Photo of ehammond1
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle

Pour It Black
Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA

Nearly black with a thin brown head that eventually leaves spiderwebs of sticky lace down the glass. This beer looks thick, intimidating, shiny, and aggressive. Awesome.

Wonderful aroma consisting of roasted malts, rich chocolate, and lovely vanilla/earth bourbon notes. The chocolate and bourbon battle for dominance, and it's an awesome fight to witness.

The bourbon is more subuded in the flavor compared to the aroma, letting the rich roast character and dark chocolate elements shine through. A mild vanilla and earthy bourbon note present, especially as the beer warms. That being said, the beer gets better and better as it reaches warmer and warmer temperatures.

Medium to thick bodied with low to moderate carbonation.

A truly wonderful example, and nearly perfect within style. This was the only beer I sought out multiple times during the Stone Pour It Black event. If I had known better, I would have had less Mikkeller and more Ivan the Terrible, that's for sure! (1,032 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jedwards for breaking this one out. 750ml bottle. 2009 vintage, bottle 2264 of 3000. Pours an inky black with a quarter inch, khaki-colored head embedded with ringlets. Head eventually settles into a creamy cap; arcs and spots of lacing are exposed during the tasting. Great nose - dark malt dominates; however, buttery bourbon notes are revealed as the brew warms. The flavor profile really opens up as the glass warmed between my hands - milk chocolate, a little wood, brown sugar and a slight roasted/charred character. Mouthfeel is medium-light, albeit a bit thin, with an easy, even carbonation. There's also a slight acidic tang as well as some residual heat. Overall, this is an exceptional RIS with a great balance. I actually think this beer might be better with a little less time on it, but age didn't really negatively impact it as whole. (864 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle

A: pours black with three fingers of dark tan head that recedes into a thin cap with decent lacing.

S: roasted malts up front with some coffe notes. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon aromas bring up the finish, but aren't overwhelming.

T: again, roasted malts up front with some light robust coffee flavors. Creamy vanilla flavors follow along with oak and sweet bourbon. It's surprsingly smooth with no real alcohol presence. The finish has some more roasted malt characters with a light bitterness.

M: thick body with a good amount of carbonation. It manages to be creamy at first with a nice bit of carbonation that goes surprisingly well with all of the flavors.

O: a very good beer. This beer was better than I expected. The bourbon is present, but not overwhelming. It still tastes like a stout after the barrel treatment. I love the body of this beer, too. It's creamy, but has a surprising amount of carbonation that somehow works very well with everything else. Definitely one of the better bbal beers out there. (1,030 characters)

Photo of robwestcott
3.92/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

cold from the bottle black as night to a plastic cup with a 1/2 finger head at the FFF XV party.

dark fruit, subtle coffee and cocoa.

dark fruit forward. cocoa and roared malts.

medium bodied, big carbonation, smooth and sweet.

overall: way above par. (255 characters)

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to MarcatGSB for this bottle!

Appearance - Not jet black. Dark, but it looks like a light stout. Huge head with lots of carbonation. Good lacing and retention. Lots of sediment, too. Chunks of nastiness floating about.

Smell - Sweet bourbon and some coffee. Really, not a lot of the stout character comes through. It's a lot of coffee and bourbon.

Taste - Bourbon up front. Again, not a lot of stout character until the finish. Some coffee and roasted malts in the background. Hefty grassy bitterness in the finish that reminds you it's an RIS.

Mouthfeel - Not heavy. Very light in body in fact. Bitterness is nice and adds to the stout's feel. The carbonation is quite high and is not really appealing for the style.

Overall - Disappointing, considering the ratings. Tastes good, but not up to the standards of the best stouts. Either other reviewers are tasting other flavors I'm missing or they're tasting the bottle count. (973 characters)

Photo of Nashvillain
3.24/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2010 bottle 350/3800 shared by TheGordianKnot.

Appearance is dark as night. Huge pillow of dark tan head sits atop the brew and leaves behind prodigious lacing.

Smells like booze made from soy sauce. This is that type of stout apparently. I get that alcoholic licorice smell that normally comes from young ultra-high alcohol stouts like WWS and Tokio.

Honestly, not so amazing. My first thought at the taste was, "Meh". I've heard that the hype comes mainly from the 2009 batch, but this one doesn't taste new by any stretch. A lot of licorice in the taste, more sharp and abrasive than normal and definitely not pleasing. Very sweet, not in a syrupy way, just in a diabetic way. Carbonation is on point for the point in this beer's life cycle.

Decent at best, I think I'd prefer a Palo Santo on all fronts. (811 characters)

Photo of Retsinis
3.92/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A friend got a bottle of this at Blue Palms once, and I didn’t get a chance to review it at that time, though I did enjoy it. This review is from notes from a bottle a fellow BA (thanks Skuter) brought to a tasting at Instant Replay.

A: The beer pours black, with a dark brown hue. A dark tan brown head forms, about a quarter inch, leaving some smooth lace.

S: Mocha espresso, cream, dark chocolate, light roasted malt, oak, vanilla, bourbon.

T: Mirrors the nose nearly exactly. Vanilla, cream, mocha coffee & cream, light oak, and roasted malt. Only slight variation from the aroma’s with some light brown sugar & caramel on the finish after it warmed a bit.

M: medium carbonation, light bitterness.

O: Good beer. I've had it at tastings, as well as by itself, and it holds up fairly well either way even against some stronger RIS. (847 characters)

Photo of jayhawk73
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
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. (541 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.65/5  rDev +8.4%
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. (473 characters)

Photo of Chaney
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
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.... (1,382 characters)

Photo of claaark13
4.27/5  rDev -0.5%
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. (2,249 characters)

Photo of Svejk
4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
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. (874 characters)

Photo of bgramer
4.97/5  rDev +15.9%
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. (910 characters)

Photo of ChadQuest
3.28/5  rDev -23.5%
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. (642 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.5/5  rDev +4.9%
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. (1,567 characters)

Photo of ne0m00re
4.32/5  rDev +0.7%
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. (698 characters)

Photo of johnbjaeger
4.03/5  rDev -6.1%
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. (912 characters)

Photo of mdvatab
4.92/5  rDev +14.7%
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! (963 characters)

Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
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. (857 characters)

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 267 ratings.