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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

677 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 677
Reviews: 262
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 781
Gots: 215 | FT: 16
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%

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

65 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 677 | Reviews: 262 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of HopHead84
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
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.

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Out of hand-numbered bottle # 356 of 1152 this RIS was an opaque black color. The head was a full three-fingers of dark tan foam that retained excellently as a cap and left lacing in sticky curtains. Impressive looking! The aroma was dry and complex, wood, nuts, roasted malt, chocolate malt. The flavors were equally complex and on-point, a notable sweetness of molasses, lots of chocolate, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit esters, hints of smoke and a pleasant bitterness on the finish. As it warmed the dark fruit esters became better pronounced and really paired nicely with all the chocolate it presented. I was actually blown away by how enjoyable the palate was; if I'd known what a gem it was I would have mined more out of Santa Fe where I found it! The mouthfeel was rich and silky, the body full and the carbonation delicate. One of the best RISs I've had and a joy to drink one of the first bottles of this ever produced.

Photo of beerdrifter
4.64/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A friend picked this up from the brewery for me! An aggressive pour yields a pitch black body with a nice one finger caramel-colored head with decent retention and lacing. The nose is really nice with loads of cocoa and dark chocolate initially, and big bourbon notes as it warms. Also getting some wood, leather, and dark fruit. The taste follows the nose with tons of mocha and chocolate, perfectly complemented by some really nice roasty malt and oaky bourbon notes. As it warms the dark fruit emerges along with hints of brown bread, vanilla, espresso, leather, and tobacco. The mouthfeel is absolutely smooth as silk with minimal carbonation and a velvet finish. The 13.8% ABV is nowhere to be found. It's not boozey at all and there's almost no heat for such a big beer. The bourbon character is as close to perfect as I can remember in an Imperial Stout. Overall, this is a huge and pleasant surprise. This beer is every bit as good as any of the big names in this category. My first beer from Big Sky, but not my last! A really impressive offering!!!

Photo of Neorebel
4.63/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I received a bottle of Ivan the Terrible 2013 as a gift, and finally finding a worthy night to open it, I found it had a near perfect appearance... It's color, the deepest brown, and a thin layer of froth over top of it as if it were espresso, it's a Russian Imperial Stout through and through.

The aroma is rich with the scents of baker's chocolate, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, and cinnamon. A truly enticing bouquet indeed! After a healthy taste, I found the beverage to feel smooth, yet it was a little spicy as well. The bourbon barrel aspect was appropriately present in the foreground and meshing well with the finely crafted stout. The most remarkable thing about this beer I found in the finish. It had a very pleasing 'mineral water' hint, accompanied by a very slight anise element.

Ultimately, I would place this in the upper echelon of barrel aged stouts, and that is really saying something, considering the fine examples of such I have already experienced and reviewed.

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Lucifer snifter. Pours a dark, dark black with a chocolate colored head and nice lacing. Delicious bourbon and toasted malt aroma with a hint of chocolate. Intense oak and bourbon and dark and toasted malts. Vanilla, coffee and more oak middle and finish. Kinda boozy, which which lowers the score and should improve with aging. Medium bodied with some creaminess. On second taste, the alcohol is so firey and overwhelming, I down graded this one by a point. I hope it mellows with age. The positive elements are excellent, but it's covered with a pure alcohol burn. 2012 update: I was lucky enough to stumble on a fresh bottle of the current Ivan. The aroma and taste is similar, but the booziness noted in the earlier review is well covered by the flavor in this version. A nicely balanced and well made RIS, that I will revisit whenever it's made; score for taste adjusted upward.

Photo of Lakes
4.6/5  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.

Photo of mdfb79
4.6/5  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.

Photo of aerozeppl
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

Photo of jera1350
4.6/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2009, bottle 41 of 3000.

Solid black color with a brown head of creamy suds. Some nice lacing to match.

The nose is a mouthwatering array of oaky bourbon, toasty malt and rich sweetness. The bourbon is amazing and the overall nose outstanding.

Reminds me of a less bourbony, but sweeter GI Bourbon County Stout. Oaked bourbon is moderately strong and adds a good dose of warmth. Sweet, sweet toasted malt goodness. Notes of vanilla bean, coffee, lightly smoked malt and molasses. Just wonderful.

Full bodied with a lightly syrupy slick feel. Soft and creamy smooth carbonation.

Drinks really well for a beer this big. Has to go into my list of favorite beers. If you like GIBCS, this will be right up your alley. I am only now regretting buying one last year. I highly recommend this one and will have no problem drinking this whole bottle with my wife. Awesome beer.

Photo of ChrisPro
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Photo of Thorpe429
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Photo of drabmuh
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
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.

Photo of tjkinate
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage

A: 1+ fingered head formed atop this deep brown brew from a hard pour into a snifter. Head had decent retention settling to a thick foam that left some lacing in its wake.

S: Dark fruits, vanilla, hefty amount of bourbon with a pungent sweet caramel backbone.

T: The beer tastes nothing like it smelled, trust me, that is not a bad thing this time. Big difference is that the beer smelled so sweet, but doesn't taste sweet. I detected hints of light coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, pecans and chestnuts followed by bourbon undertones. Perfect beer for a cold winter night, or a warm spring night like the one during my tasting!

M: Medium bodied for the style, mild carbonation, creamy and smooth.

O: Fantastic brew that I will definitely be seeking again in the future.

Photo of dgilks
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle opened for as part of a birthday celebration.

Inky black. Light sucking. Small, creamy, dark tan head. Good head retention.

Very rich aroma. Lots of nuts and alcohol. Caramel and toffee. Vanilla. Oak. Bourbon. A little earthy in the background. Sweet chocolate. Very nice.

Medium-sweet malt with some very light fruitiness. Lots of toffee. Bourbon oak and chocolate. Excellent.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Nice and very creamy.

An excellent stout. Wonderfully creamy and complex. Nice chocolate and malt flavours. Well integrated oak. It has been a while since I've had a nice Bourbon Barrelled Stout and I'm loving it.

Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

When talking with folks from Montana about the local craft beer scene, the conversation moves to Moose Drool, Moose Drool, and then Moose Drool some more. Little do they know that one of the more delectable Imperial American Stouts is brewed underneath their nose.

Ivan the Terrible pours with a voluminous and froathy pour that takes several seconds for the liquid to separate from the bubbles. Jet black in color, or dark enough brown to make me think black, the beer shows complete opaqueness. The absolute froathy sandy brown head forms a thick cap on the beer and reduces ever so slowly until it forms a thick blanket on the surface. Moderate lace shows intermittent patterns of foam on the glass.

Incredibly malty and rich aromas awaken the nose with the savory scent of heavy whipping cream, whoppers candies, brown sugar, vanilla, candied almonds, sweet booze, and all of the rich notes of french toast from the kitchen that would wake me as a child. Chocolate, dark roast coffee, and fruity plumbs and cherries all start to define the complex aromas as the beer warms.

Flavors start out much the same- with the succulent and savory taste of vanilla, chocolate, almonds, molasses, and whipped cream sweetness, just before the hops and alcohol remind me that this is indeed a fortified Stout. Grape, plumb, and blackberry fruits come across similarly as port wines and brandies. Grassy flavors, oaken woods, maple, coconut, and bourbon (almost rum-like) alcohols rise midway through and morph into a semi-sharp hop bitterness and intensifying bourbon aggression nearing the finish.

Vast, creamy, and robust in body as the beer opens with strong and expansive carbonation which accents the cream and velvet textures. The mouthfeel actually improves after the distraction of excessive carbonation subsides and leaves the tongue with a silky and smooth texture that recedes at mid palate to usher in the hop bitterness and alcohol warmth that allow the beer to dry toward a malty-dry semi-sweet finish. But the aftertaste of starchy malt and chocolate linger with the taste of whoppers candies and french toast.

The American Stout signatures of dryness and hops are well displayed, but the smooth chocolate and milky taste and textures work wonderfully in this beer. The 65 ibus are kept in check by the wonderfully varying malt flavors for ultimate complexity and roundness.

Photo of MbpBugeye
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I wasnt planning on getting into Blind Beers Round 4, but AleWatcher had different plans. Bottle #1 from an unsolicited box of blinds.

Reviewed completely blind.

The first one I pulled out was a C&C green glass 750ml. I had to know what this big green bottle was. I initially thought it would be Belgian since not many US brewers use green glass. Jeff told me nothing in this box is Belgian so now I'm really curious. Either way I knew it was going to be something Ive never had.

A- There was quite a bit of sediment that worked its way up to the top of the neck so I had to let this one settle for a couple days. I still got a few chunks of it in our glasses but nothing too messy. The pour is cola brown that forms a dark black beer with purple and root beer edges. A fluffy, off white head rises up with a little bit of crackling. There is copious lace. Is this some huge porter? 4.5

S- The aroma is very fruity. Fig puree, plums, sweet black cherries,dates etc, etc, etc. These rich fruits only become deeper, richer and sweeter as it warms. There is plenty of smooth vanilla or oak and maybe some light bourbon. At this juncture I cant decide if this is barrel aged or has vanilla. I'm leaning towards some sort of crazy blend. At any rate, this aroma is phenomenal. 5

T- This beer is very, very rich on the dark fruits. Bourbon oak brings lots of vanilla after adequate warming. There is a little bit of spice, maybe cinnamon. There is a clear cut chocolate malt base that really boosts the sweet decadence of this stuff. More sweet cherries and figs. Belgian yeast? Blend? Is this some sort of barrel aged quad or BSDA? 4.5

M- The body is on the high side of medium. Clean finish despite the dense sweetness. Carbonation is soft but prickly. 4

D- This stuff is very tasty. Its so rich on the fruitness Im thinking its some sort of Belgian style, perhaps blended and aged in bourbon. 4.5

The reveal: Big Sky Ivan the Terrible!! Sick! I wasnt really thinking stout, its so sweet and fruity. This is bottle 3554/3800.

Photo of GregSVT
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750ml corked and caged bottle into a snifter - 2009 Vintage

A: Pours a dark black with a real nice brown head that fades to a layer leaving a good amount lacing on the glass.

S: The nose immediately hits you with whiskey and then settles into nice cocoa and vanilla aromas. Really smells like milk chocolate.

T: The taste starts with a lot of dark fruit and chocolate leading to a really nice molasses and vanilla flavor and ending with a nice sweetness on the finish. Barely any booze detectable...just big rich flavors.

M: The feel is big and chewy with a beautiful creamy texture. Great stuff.

D: Wow I found my new favorite barrel aged RIS. This is way too drinkable for 10%.

Side note: toughest cage to get off ever...it was wound so damn tight I hurt my fingers getting it off.

Photo of spicelab
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 2010. Props to Mr Kennedy for sharing. Reviewed from notes.

Dark molasses with a beige head of mostly fine bubbles. Leaves decent lacing as it gradually falls in on itself.

Lifted and refined aromas of raspberry, dark fruits, cocoa, vinuous oak and molasses.

Taste articulates the same blend of mildness and satisfying complexity. The dry woody character from the barrel continues to cut through the sweeter, richer cherry-ripe and coconut flavours.

Amazingly clean and uncannily light for a RIS. Buzzy carbonation dusts the palate and transitions into a dry finish.

Excellent RIS. Impressively approachable, in contrast with the more hulking RISs (not that I'm at all averse to them). Feels a little ironic to rate this highly for being unlike what I expect from a RIS, but whatever. A great beer, only lacks the high-end wow-factor.

Photo of TheSaboteur
4.53/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beast of a BAIS wants to be poured! The rich, billowing, caramel, meringue, head rises quickly despite the most gentle of pours.

Deep obsidian...pitch black charcoal. Motor oil that is 2,000 miles past its date. It can only get worse from here.

Oak at the forefront...sweet and woody. Sweet Caramel with loads of vanilla. Oooooh...the bourbon, there it is. Very nice, but I wouldn't mind a bit more of you Mr. Beam. Hints of plum and or apricot round this bad boy out...excuse me while I wipe away the saliva on my chin.

Very sweet, but not over-done. Hint of cocoa at the forefront,loads of oak, fruity, caramel, perfect bourbon finish.

This is where it's at. Coats the mouth with a resinous, silky smooth, luscious bourbon lining. Chewy and thick...few compare.

I had two bottles. I shared this one with my brother (who also has 1). I am so tempted to crack the other open, but my self control has won out. I could have easily polished this beast off by my lonesome and would have enjoyed every last drop. Seek this out....I mean right now. One of the most well balance Bourbon Age Imperial Stouts I've had the pleasure of enjoying.

Cheers!

Photo of supa0525
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of Callmecoon
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of Prospero
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of jaminjohnson
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of dc55110
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of kevwcamp
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 677 ratings.