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

268 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 268
Hads: 749
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 797
Gots: 253 | 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: 268 | Hads: 749
Photo of paco1029384756
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a short creamy tan head.

Scent of sweet bourbon, dark fruit, wet oak, molasses, and some spice. Very good, balanced very well, and not overbearing.

Taste of bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, dark fruit, molasses and the faintest hint of alcohol. One of the most balanced Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, and definitely worth the price.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied, smooth and oily with a touch of carbonation, wonderful. (438 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
4.42/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Chris! 2009 vintage poured into Narke tulip.

A - Pours black, nice mocha-colored head, spotty lace, thin collar.

S - Smooth booze, chocolate brownies, toffee, light roast. Really smooth and extremely dessert-like, which is how I like my Stouts. The chocolate is excellent and with two years of age, the booze is just about perfect.

T - Similar the nose. Smooth bourbon, light oak, chocolate, burnt caramel notes, and roast. Everything is right on target for me, as the booze works perfectly with the chocolate and light roast. Hard to find anything bad to say here, in fact, there isn't.

M - Full, rich and smooth, viscous, creamy finish.

O - An excellent RIS that is drinking perfectly with two years of age on it. I'm glad I waited to review this one until now, because this one surpassed my expectations. Recommend! (831 characters)

Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

reviewed from notes on 12/17/2011.

Vintage 2010. Bottle number 3385/3800.

poured into oversized snifter.

Appearance: dark black bodied beer with a huge medium brown head thats over 2 fingers high. Lacing is heavy sticking everywhere. Fantastic looking dark beer!

Smell: Great oak and bourbon notes mixing with brownies and cocoa.

Taste: This beer has huge barrel flavors just like the nose suggests. Massive oak notes with a great bourbon flavor well complimented by the oak. Really strong vanilla notes that are just the right amount of sweetness. Cocoa, gourmet chocolates, and roasty dark malts begin to become more prevalent around mid palate as the wonderful barrel notes slowely subside. This beer is both complex, but quite mellow with all the flavors complementing each other almost flawlessly. The finish is roasty malts and just a hint of vanilla and bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied stout with moderate carbonation levels. The beer is super easy drinking for a 10% stout. This barrel aged stout probably has the most carbonation of any barrel aged beer I have tried to date. I think that the carbonation makes this beer super creamy and lightens the body just a little bit; both really positive attributes. They really carbonated this beer well. Almost like a milkshake.

Overall: I really loved this beer! Great barrel aged stout that lives the hype! It is unique and memorable because of the smooth taste, nice mouthfeel from the moderate carbonation, and great complexity. This beer has aged well and is drinking fantastically right now. I was wowed by this beer! (1,585 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750mL corked and caged bottle into a snifter. One of my contributions to the weekend. Bottle # 1290 of 3800.

(A)- Pours a fairly thick pitch black color. Produced a nice frothy tan head and decent retention with lots of lacing.

(S)- A nice oaky vanilla bourbon profile. Some roasted components. Raisin and molasses.

(T)- Lots of run raisin and oaky bourbon. Very sweet and rich with some dark fruits and subtle charred oak at the end.

(M)- A nice carbonation level and balance. Surprisingly smooth and mellow despite its bourbon barrel aging. Rich too.

(D)- A very easy drinking and enjoyable stout. Rich and sweet, but carries a nice smoothness as well. Good stuff. Will look forward to see what time will do to this. (724 characters)

Photo of tr4nc3d
4.43/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle poured into my snifter

Appearance is opaque black with a huge dense two and a half inch head. The head was mocha colored with good head rention and lacing clinging to my glass.

Smell consist of oak as a main aroma with bourbon soaked raisins and dark cherries. Underlying scent of plums and prunes. Milk chocolate with espresso, vanilla, and some roasted barley. Hop presence can be detected in the bitterness of the aroma. Overall great lavender type smell.

Upfront taste is a little bitter with barley and a dark chocolate taste. Pursuing is a taste of milk chocolate, vanilla, and a great oak presence. Midway plums, dates and a slight tart cherrie finish.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with average carbonation. Not as thick as other RIS, which I feel it needed.

Overall great beer and only complaint is I wish it had a thicker body. (861 characters)

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.44/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: blackest black, 1/2" creamy cocoa/tan head.

Aroma: Grassy/hoppy nose, bourbon & molasses below (hadn't realized it was barrel-aged when I had it), charcoal & chocolate.

Taste: big, fat malt attack, hops riding high above. Nice bitter blast, fading into a deep morass of caramel, char, toast & roast. Great balance in this, an even ride between bitterness & sweet malt (sweetness cut to nil), alcohol strength stays sly, but roars in, eventually. Not terribly full-bodied for an RIS, but over-flowing with flavor. Long, bittersweet finish.

All in all, this one deserves entry into the pantheon. Forgive me for underestimating you, Ivan. I hope to make your acquantaince again (690 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 Bung
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml, 2009. MPLS with the fine send.
Nearly black pour, a good finger of tan head from a normal pour. Pretty solid looking and sticks to the glass well.

Aroma is very potent, vanilla, caramel, oak. Some cocoa and estery heat.

Excellent flavors. Taste has oaky caramel, toffee and vanilla bean. Finishes with cocoa and barrel, just a bit of roast.

There are a good amount of layers and the body was solid medium. It's a creamy mouthfeel, and thicker than many of the barrel aged attempts I've had of late. Thicker would have made this less drinkable, so I don't know if that is bad or good really. Easier to drink than the Goose Island, though not quite as flavorful. Probably the closest comparison that or BA Sexual Choc.

Only tag is that it could use more roast, but one of the best beers I have had in quite some time. Was waiting to have this for my 500th review, but it's beer so who cares when. (905 characters)

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

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into John's Grocery tulip at Red's Ale House in North Liberty, IA. Paid $20 for it, and I'm not the least bit upset. Would have paid $30, or more. Bought another to take home with us. Review given from notes.

Appearance: Poured a jet black, with a good amount of head. Much more heady than other Imperial Stouts I have had recently. Nice cream/off white head.

Smell: WOW! Come on. This isn't even fair. The nose is fantastic. Hints of oak, bourbon, vanilla, figs. Great malt support. Very reminiscent of the Central Waters Peruvian Morning (which is fantastic).

Taste: Well this doesn't disappoint. The taste is just wonderful. The alcohol and bourbon are not overwhelming. They work well with the support of the malt, and dried fruits/chocolate backdrop. Just a hint of smoke, the bitter chocolate tapers off, and roasted malt finish the task.

Mouth: I feel the carbonation was just right. It has a great moutfeel, creamy lasting texture.

Drink and overall: Overall? Awesome! Drinkable? You bet. 10% ABV is not apparent, and actually suits this RIS very well. I would HIGHLY recommend this beer to anyone, but it seems as though these are hard to come by. We were lucky to find two bottles. (1,227 characters)

Photo of stephens101
4.45/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I believe this is a 2008 vintage, but would welcome a correction if not. 36 of 1152.

Pours black as black with a shout of flowing bourbon aroma. Nice fizzy dark tan head stays put. Initially notice a deep aroma of milk chocolate and cocoa. This baby is showing big promise. Wood, bourbon, vinegar and dark fruits (plums, raisins, grapes) are also noticed. Tastes big and malty with a profound dark fruitiness, oak, spice and weak black coffee. Big and boozy but smooth as silk. One of the best beers have had in a very long time, and now I wish I wouldn't have opened it, but hey, somehow I feel there are more great beers to be had. (635 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)

Photo of Stigs
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

big 750ml, split - served in a tulip/flute hybrid type glass

A - pours with half an inch of creamy khaki colored foam, settling within a few minutes to a thin film and ring. the beer is dead black.

S - nice mixture of dark fruits (plums and raisins), dark chocolate, molasses, oak, vanilla, bourbon. nothing stands out much more than the others.

T - sweet at first with dark fruits taking hold, plums and figs dance playfully before cut short by some strongly roasted and slightly bitter malts. wonderfully balanced bourbon and sweet oak. notes of dark chocolate and vanilla as well with a small kick of booze.

M - thick and sticky with moderate carbonation. lively alcohol burn through the swallow. slightly chewy finish with lingering sweet booze.

D - outstanding beer here. exceptional use of bourbon barrel aging in a stout, adding another dimension without detracting from the others. sipper due to big flavors (and alcohol) yet quite the enjoyable one. (964 characters)

Photo of akorsak
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A foil-wrapped 750 mL capped bottle. Number 332 of 1,152 from the 2008 release.

A: The stout is a dark one (seems like a broken record for JD Blackbeerd, Blackbeerd and now this) that generates a rather thick, craggy tan head that laces extensively. The lace is rather surprising for a beer of this strength.

S: The nose starts off (cold) with an average combination of bourbon and stout. As it warms though, it really takes off. Vanilla and caramel appear, accentuating the sweetness. A lactic streak runs through the middle of, adding a creamy aroma. Stout elements are bold, strong with dark chocolate and roasted malts.

T: The stout is a wonder. The bourbon barrel has imparted a solid vanilla flavor, strong but not boozy or fusel. Behind it, the body of the stout offers up caramel, cocoa powder, chocolate, coffee and burnt toast. Oak has really taken the edge off of the stout, allowing the bourbon to leave a mark without knocking me out. As in the nose, a lactic flavor, milky and smooth, runs through the body, cutting into both the barrel and the stout. This beer is the winner of the evening, with a long finish that is silky smooth.

M: The mouthfeel combines the best of a barrel and a stout without the overloaded malts or boozy heat. A well done stout.

D: I knew that I should have purchased two bottles. Deuane's reaction to seeing the bottle made it worth the while though. A great barrel aged stout. (1,423 characters)

Photo of jsh420
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 #389/3000

pours dark dark brown with a 2 finger tan head that had good retention and left spotted lacing

smell is sweet bourbon vanilla dark fruits

taste much like nose sweet bourbon dark fruits vanilla then roasted malts chocolate some booze - no flavors overpower the others which make this a very enjoyable beer

mouthfeel is medium/heavy good carbonation very smooth and creamy with a very dry finish

drinkability is great this 750ml bottle went down prety fast (474 characters)

Photo of Luk13
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Small sample at Hill farmstead gathering. I really liked this stout. The usual american imperial stout (chocolate, coffee and hops) but there was an awesome malt fruity profile (blackberry, plums, figs and dark cherries). Full bodied and solid overall. (252 characters)

Photo of mulder1010
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Ivan 8.75% ABV 750 ML poured into a tulip

Thanks to Doodler for the trade of a big time personal want

A-- Poured dark reddish black and settled jet black. Nice looking milk chocolate colored head. Maybe got to a finger in height before settling to film. On swirling the glass got a dark brown, leather looking head that changed back to milk chocolate. Got some specs of lacing and a few lines of lacing.

S-- Off the bat first smell was toasted coconut covered in milk chocolate. Once it warmed it changed to vanilla, oak and bourbon. Can tell the age has softened the bourbon and made the other flavors stronger.

T-- Vanilla, coconut, chocolate, oak, and bourbon. Basically in that order.

M-- Medium high feel and low carbonation. Flashes of the bourbon here and there but nothing overpowering. Get a bit of the ABV feel in the middle of my mouth. Very silky and smooth after the bourbon feel goes away. Bit of a vanilla coconut feel at the end of this.

D-- Well tempered is all I can say. The aging of this has made this an excellent BA beer. Still get the tones of the bourbon but much more subdued and a lot of other flavors come out. Feel guilty opening this up! Only flashes of the ABV but otherwise well hidden. Good body and good character. Have to show a lot of patience in cellaring the 2010 version!! (1,325 characters)

Photo of harrymel
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2010

A: pours a dark maduro brown. Nice, two finger latte head loosely disspates and leaves a thick sheet of the same. Beer has excellent clarity around edges, otherwise SRM's prevent this. minimal lacing.

S: The bourbon is both the hilight and beautifully subdued. Never experienced appropriately blended BBA like this. Malty, anise, bourbon, sweetness, molasses. Very nice. Very pleasing.

T: This beer is fantastic fresh - I've had many BBA's that need aging, and then peak out. I'm not so sure this beer should be aged. It's great now, and struggle to see the Bourbon getting better. I think I prefer this to The Abyss.

M: Velvet, with moderate carbonation. I do, however, tend to stir my glass so frequently, that the carbonation dies out quite a bit. Leaves the the mouth slick and appreciating the bourbon barrels even longer.

D: This beer is outstanding. I can't see the beer having better presence beyond being fresh. I have about a case sitting around the house - I've already traded too much of it away. This beer is outstanding. (1,052 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 bmanning
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Thorpe429 at a recent tasting. Thanks Mike!

A: Pours close to black with a thin tan head

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

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

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

D: A sipper for sure, but a very well made Bourbon Barrel Stout. For a 10% beer, it went down very smooth and with very little alcohol burn. I wish I could get this beer in my area - it's very good! (572 characters)

Photo of Overlord
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

Pretty darn good. Mouthfeel could use just a tad more body, but nicely viscous. (520 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 MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage generously shared by Chris (spycow). Bottle #1661 of 3000. Served in a Surly Darkness tulip.

A - Finger of tan foam settles to some wisps, thick collar, and a few spots of lace. Body is a solid near-black color.

S - Oak, vanilla, mild bourbon, dark chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits. Nice balance of sweet and roasty flavors, with the sweet flavors growing in intensity as the beer warms up.

T - The is also quite nice, with loads of semisweet chocolate, light roasty, oaky vanilla, fudge, dark fruit, and light bourbon. Alcohol is very well-hidden, and there's appreciated balance between all the flavors.

M - Medium-full body, chewy and viscous, lightly sticky, lower carbonation, and well-hidden alcohol.

D - A very well-executed barrel-aged Imperial Stout. I'm glad I have a bottle of this specific vintage as it seems to be in peak form right now. Reminds me of the best BCS vintages a bit. Really easy to drink, and one of the few beers of this ilk that belongs in a 750ml bottle. (1,006 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Money is a bottomless sea, in which honor, conscience, and truth may be drowned."

--Ivan Kozlof

Bottle #342 of 1152. Chimney soot black with slivers of reddish copper along the borders. The chocolate milkshake-like crown is a reverse cascading monster that filled most of the pint glass on the pour. It looks fantastic as it melts and is beginning to lay down better than decent lace.

The nose is everything that I look for in a bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial stout. The label doesn't say, but I've read that Jim Beam barrels were used. The roasted maltiness is perfectly complemented by vanilla-soaked whiskey and even a little dark fruitiness. Hopes are now (Big) Sky high.

Ivan The Terrible may not be the biggest baddest bully on the style block, but it's definitely delicious beer if you're a fan of malty stouts and bourbon whiskey. Forget the words 'slight bourbon presence' on the label. It's much more than slight, though far from boozy.

I'm glad the brewers didn't jack the ABV up to 12.0% or so. Especially since this is a 750 ml bottle. There's no heat or rawness whatsover, just a throat and belly warming that is one of the pleasures of drinking both big beer and spirits. In the end, three months in oak was pretty much perfect as far as flavor transfer is concerned.

Specifics include melted bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, a surprising amount of black licorice, vanilla, coconut shavings and a stave (or two) of American oak. English hops provide some bitterness, but what flavor they might have added is obliterated by everything else that's going on. Fine by me.

A mouthfeel that was sufficient early on is becoming much more impressive as the ounces pass and the temperature rises. This isn't a viscous or chewy RIS, but it's so softly creamy that it deserves the above score with no questions asked.

Big Sky Brewing doesn't get enough love. Their IPA is all kinds of delicious and is the single best beer available locally. Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout is outstanding as well and is one of the best (and most drinkable) bourbon barrel stouts to have crossed my path. (2,119 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #125 (of 1152).

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a thin, off-white head.

Smell: Rich, fragrant melange of roasted maltiness and downright delectable bourbon aromas. The Yankee Candle Co. needs to knock it off with candle fragrances like Plumeria and Blue Hydrangea and release a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout series of votive and jar candles.

Taste: Sweet, roasted malt flavors of dark chocolate, caramel, Breakfast Blend coffee (with cream and sugar, natch), and licorice sticks. Oh, but here come the bourbon tastes: brown sugar, vanilla beans, wood, coconut. Mmm-mm! Round and round the flavors go, my friends. A light, earthy bitterness peeks out through the heavy layers of malt and bourbon flavors. No more than a minor hint of booze. Finishes with a pleasant mixture of bourbon barrel hints and sweet roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: There was a time, if you can scarcely believe it, that I had little faith in Big Sky's offerings. In fact, it was any day prior to 3/28/09. But I was blown away by this one, it is one very tasty, highly enjoyable barrel-aged Imperial Stout that would pair remarkably well with Sergei Eisenstein's films on the subject, provided you have those Criterion disks conveniently lying around. (1,313 characters)

Photo of rudylaw
4.48/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009, corked & caged 750cl, poured into a snifter.

Pours a soul-sucking black with a lucious head. As pretty looking an RIS as there is.

Lots of vanilla in the nose. A little heat but this is very inviting!

Vanilla, chocolate pudding, bourbon, heat, dark fruit... oh man. This is a great example of a barrel aged stout. Not trying to kill you with complexity... just giving you what you want.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy... velvety and silky. Perfect. Good on you Big Sky... you made an affordable, delicious and near perfect BA RIS! (538 characters)

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.