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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Big Sky Brewing Company

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

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

619 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 619
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 765
Gots: 198 | FT: 13
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: 619 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Braden
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Braden, May 26, 2014
Photo of hopburster
5/5  rDev +16.8%

hopburster, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of aandresen
5/5  rDev +16.8%

aandresen, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Phoenix2443
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Phoenix2443, Mar 09, 2013
Photo of AutumnBeerLove
5/5  rDev +16.8%

AutumnBeerLove, Dec 05, 2011
Photo of kenm2118
5/5  rDev +16.8%

kenm2118, Nov 27, 2011
Photo of lakersfan16
5/5  rDev +16.8%

lakersfan16, Nov 19, 2011
Photo of BillHilly
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Nice 1 finger head pour, stout obsidian appearance, incredible head retention.

S: Bourbon, malt, cocoa

T: mild malt front, sweet dark fruits, bourbon essence, slight vanilla finish.

M: So smooth, perfect balance

D: this is the first beer I have ever given all 5's...you have got to be kidding me! Fantastic bourbon barrel stout.

This was a 2010 bottle poured in my favorite Duvel tulip. Recommend this beer - hands down a new favorite.

BillHilly, Feb 26, 2011
Photo of lackofintellect
5/5  rDev +16.8%

lackofintellect, Jan 03, 2012
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.

barleywinefiend, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of Kristyn
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Kristyn, Dec 04, 2011
Photo of adkieffer
5/5  rDev +16.8%

adkieffer, Feb 16, 2013
Photo of Davit
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Davit, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +16.8%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 01, 2011
Photo of Tilley4
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle 678 of 1152...

I've been wanting to delve into this one for a while and in celebtation of Ivan's recent birthday, I decided to pull this one out of the cellar and enjoy it... I'm glad I did...

Absolutely completely pitch black with a thick creamy cocoa foamy head... The perfect looking RIS...

Lovely delicious aromas of dark bitter chocolate, raisins, bourbon, vanilla, oak, and loads of sweet dark roasted malts... The aromas coming off of this are unbelievable... I had hyped this brew up and its meeting my expectations thus far...

I only wish that every RIS could match this one in this dept... The complexity and depth of this brew are almost overwhelming... Chocolate covered raisins that have been soaked in bourbon is the first thing that comes to mind...and that's a wonderful thing in my book... Its delicious all the way around. Each sip seems to get better and better and more complex... A true classic..

Without a doubt, one of the best RIS that I've ever had the privilege to have... Nothing but awesome things to say

Tilley4, Sep 06, 2009
Photo of imperialking
5/5  rDev +16.8%

imperialking, Nov 17, 2011
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.98/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with light lactose and deep creamy black chocolate note is pretty much perfect. Light bourbon and vanilla notes are also perceptible. Taste is pretty much a perfect mix between some bourbon with creamy black chocolate notes, light lactose and light dry roasted malt notes. Body is full with perfect nice creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Wow, what a surprise this one was with perfect balance and not too much barrel-aging.

Phyl21ca, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of Svejk
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.

Svejk, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of bgramer
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.

bgramer, Sep 25, 2011
Photo of mdvatab
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!

mdvatab, Sep 05, 2011
Photo of KarlHungus
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle number 320 of 3000. This beer pours a thick used motor oil black color. The head is one inch of dark tan colored foam that recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of is very strong. Roasted malt, alcohol, bitter chocolate, burnt malt, graham cracker, wood, and licorice. It is a very interesting aroma. The taste is full of all the things the aroma is, but everything is magnified a bit. The mouthfeel is full bodied with appropriately low carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is one of the best RIS I have had I a long while. I will certainly go out of my way to drink this beer again.

KarlHungus, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of wagenvolks
4.93/5  rDev +15.2%
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!

wagenvolks, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of Pigwings6
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into DFH Signature Glass. 2009 Vintage 1033 out of 3000

A- Pours pitch black with a beautiful tan head, leaves beautiful lacing all around the glass. Looks like a globe haha.

S- Superb smell, a lot of bourbon barrel tones of vanilla and light booze. Very sweet, very much like a lighter BCS.

T- Follows the nose very closely. Vanilla bourbon barrel on the front with mild booze following. Then bitter dark chocolate and the end with a mild carbonation tingle. Very smooth. Again, to me it's like a much lighter, less hot version of BCS.

M- Here's the only downfall in my opinion, it's very thin for a russian imperial stout. Not to say it's like water, but more like a middle mouthfeel between water and heavy RIS. The mild carbonation seems to be perfect for the style.

D- Polished of a 750ml to myself without any hesitation. This thing is very smooth tasty brew. It's very balanced with enough bourbon to get the flavors, but not too much that it's like licking a barrel.

All in all this is my favorite Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, I have other stouts that I think are better, but this in my opinion is the epitome of balance between the aging in the barrel, and the stout itself.

Pigwings6, Jan 27, 2010
Photo of mikesgroove
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have to say this was really a tremendous RIS. I really did not think this one was really going to be as good as it was. Rich, and served chilled into an oversixed pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/06/2009. Bottle 216/1125

The pour was perfect. Rich dark black in color, no light coming through on this one at all. Lots of tan colored foam on top that just would not fade at all. Lots of side glass lacing here, really intense i have to say, this could not have looked better and I was psyched to get started.]

The aroma was loaded down with coffee, chocolate malts, hints of oak and whiskey, and a really nice touch of roasted touches. As I reach in for the first sip, ahh, this is what it is all about. Smooth, subtle, full bodied profile. Wonderful flavor of coffee and chocolate, dark prune like fruit notes and a very nicely balanced sweetness that was reminiscent of molasses really provided a very solid flavor here. I went back and forth with a score here, but ultimitaly I could not think of what i would do to improve the taste of this, so seriously this was that good ofr me.

Overall really, go find this one. One of the best RIS I have had ever, let alone lately. I would say you have to find this one.

mikesgroove, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of DmanGTR
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
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

DmanGTR, Apr 26, 2010
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 619 ratings.