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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 Arbitrator
4.01/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2009 vintage, 2398 out of 3000.

An uber-generous extra from inflatablechair. Thanks, Sam.

A: Pours a pitch black body. I'm wearing a white shirt (this is relevant), so I pour it gently to avoid splashing. Even so, the pour produces a finger of mocha colored head that neatly caps the brew for half a minute. As it dissolves, it leaves swirls of bubbles on top of the beer, with a nice, medium collar around the edge.

S: Caramelly bourbon and vanilla. A touch of smoked oak and dark fruit. The base beer's chocolate is most evident in the nose; roasted grain and coffee are less evident. Great aroma; really a strong point of this beer.

T: The flavor isn't quite as great as the nose. It has a nice interplay of bourbon, caramel, and chocolate without being too dominant in any one flavor. I pick up touches of anise and dark fruits. Vanilla, tannins, and char on the finish, with an undercurrent of earth. While the variety is there, the flavors aren't quite in balance and I find myself wishing that caramel and vanilla were played up more.

M: Low carbonation; it's just a little light to be velvety, especially by the end of my first glass. There's a mild heat in the finish. My major complaint is that the beer is a little thin (as in, with a watery finish), and with the low carbonation that makes it feel like a flat cola.

D: In both the nose and taste, this beer reminded me of the 50/50 Eclipse (Elijah Craig) and even BA Blackout. I prefer both to this beer, but it's in the same conversation. As far as barrel-aged imperial stouts go, this one is solid but not top-tier.

Photo of doopiedoopiedoo
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jeffo brought this over for Tuesday night beer and sports! Very cool...

From a 750ml bottle into a snifter.

Good looking black stout. Two fingers fluffy foam.

Slight smell of bourbon. lots of wood, aok, a hint of smoke and some dark fruits.

Taste follows the nose but with some added coffee and hop bitterness.

A lighter body than with most beers of this style it's a bit airy and a good amount of carbonation.

A highly recomended stout. Actually very easy to drink. Thanks a bunch Jeff for sharing this beer with me.

Photo of DavoleBomb
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Big thanks to piclee for this one. 2009 edition, bottled 2237 of 3000.

4.5 A: Pitch black color. One and a half fingers of creamy light brown head. Pretty good retention and plenty of lacing.

4.0 S: Bourbon is the strongest aroma, but it isn't all out dominating, rather more along the lines of overtime tiebreaking. Leather, oak, vanilla, and a touch of hay and melon from the bourbon. Underneath there is a chocolate, molasses, and roasty maltiness. As it warms, a raisin fruitiness emerges.

4.0 T: Unlike the nose, the bourbon dominates the taste. Fortunately, whatever this bourbon is, it is pretty good. Vanilla, leather, oak, melon, citrus, and perhaps even some banana coming from the bourbon and barrel. The stout itself gives some chocolate, caramel, and molasses, but it needs to be more aggressive to give the bourbon a run. A bit boozy.

4.0 M: Heavier medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Reasonably creamy and smooth. Warming throughout and especially on finish and lasts well into aftertaste.

4.0 D: Definitely a decent brew for stout fans and an excellent brew if you really like bourbon. This is, indeed, the best tasting bourbon has ever been in a beer for me. However, I prefer a big powerful stout that the bourbon just can't keep up with (GI BCS comes to mind). If I ever want a good bourbon fix though, I'll seek out this beer.

Photo of johnbjaeger
4.03/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

Photo of evenflow1980
4.04/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of xxxxxx
4.04/5  rDev -5.4%

Photo of PassMeAZima
4.04/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Etan
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage on tap at Binny's South Loop.

A: Rich black with a small light tan head. Nice lacing.

S: Dry, roasty black malt, chocolate, a bit of booze.

T: Roasted grain, dark chocolate, small dose of hop bitterness, sweet alcohol, oak. Rich and somewhat dry.

M: Thick, small tingly carbonation.

O: Really nice, but I wish the barrel character gave a little more bourbon/vanilla rather than just solid oak.

Photo of kawilliams81
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2012 vintage. Poured from a 750 ml cork n cage bottle into a Pipeworks snifter.

A- pours black with a 2 finger cola head. Big blotches and trails of lacing remain on the glass.

S- dark fruits, chocolate, light bourbon and vanilla.

T- chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla, bourbon, and some roast.

M- full body and medium carbonation. Drinks very well fresh for a 12% beer.

O- good RIS. Not a ton of barrel characteristics which is why I didn't rate it higher, but nice dark fruit notes that add some complexity to this beer.

Photo of Oxymoron
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

What did he do that was so terrible? Oh. Pours a milky midnight black color with a light tan colored head. Thick head and good retention and lacing through the full tasting. Some good legs on this one with a good viscosity.

The nose is rich and malty. To start there is a sweet caramel note that mixes with a coffee and toffee mixture. Some noticeable oak and whiskey notes that blend in well. Limited to no astringency, there is more of a milk stout thing going on. A light lactic note that emphasizes this. Some molasses notes with a minerally note that I usually associate with black strap. Also some darker fruit esters, specifically prunes and some stone fruit notes. The yeast is very clean with some light alcohol notes.

The taste is similar but the whiskey note really come out and hinder the beer. The malt is there with a more super sweet caramel taste coming through. This is really emphasized by the body and milkiness of the beer. The oak notes really come out as well, with stronger vanilla notes (almost like Mexican vanilla). Very strong caramel notes. Again the astringency is really lacking and would like some bite. Some fruit notes, mostly plums but some raisins and figs as well. The molasses isn't as noticeable as the nose and no real off ie mineral. Very clean yeast as well but some booze notes on the back end and as it warms.

The body is very creamy. This really makes the caramel notes really come out. Carbonation is light but almost like a nitro feel in the body. Overall I think the whiskey notes are a bit over the top and would have liked to see more astringency. But this should age very very nicely.

Photo of BurdockBoy
4.06/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of daveytheformer
4.06/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle poured into a snifter.
brewed in 2010 bottle number 2777 of 3800

Pours a beautiful pitch black with a thin tan head.

Smells like sweet malt, chocolate, vanilla, and I can pick up the oak and bourbon a little at the end.

Taste is of a light silky sweetness with the alcohol dancing around a little in there. The bourbon is there but seems real subdued compared to some other barrel aged stouts.

Mouthfeel is pretty smooth and carbonated with a mild alcohol burn that fades as the beer goes down.

Overall is a really good beer that only gets better as it warms up. Would do well with some aging or trying on older vintage of this for sure. Not the best in the world but still damn good!

Photo of mcallister
4.07/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nearly black in color not completely opaque. Large mocha head fades quickly leaving little lace.

Great nose with thick toasty oak and vanilla riddle with light traces of bourbon. Black fuits and roasted malts with hints of milk chocolate and cocoa powder.

Nice bourbon and oak flavors. Vanilla woodiness really comes through. Wood tannins linger on the finish. Cocoa, slightly roasty quality, hints of leather and blackberry. Mouth is a little thin for my liking which actually helps drinkability. A very nice beer.

Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 281/1152

Pours a beautiful brownish red with simply gorgeous one finger quickly receding tan head. Smells of licorice and rum cake dominate the roasted malts. First sip is yeasty and bitter, very fruity with pears and raisins leading the way. The bottle conditioning leads to a wonderful creamy mouthfeel.

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

one of the most unique Russian imperials out there, worth the hype. this one has the feel of a light and delicate porter, the most well hidden abv ive seen in years. dark and creamy pour, Hershey brown with all kinds of lacey cream head. lots of appeal and character. smoky smell a little bit, plenty of cocoa and dark malt, but a lightness to it that defies the style. semisweet taste, like the tollhouse chips, less bitter, but equally mild. complexity is not lacking, but neither is drinkability, which I think is what makes this stout special. how can a beer seem so light, so easy down, and so basic, but yet so decadent and rich and impressive. its a balancing act here between huge beer and every day drink, in a way that nobody else has really achieved. a special brew to say the least. the lightness of this will blow your mind, and when you realize its 10% abv plus, you will simply be floored. I was, and it takes a lot to do that to me these days. on tap at hops and pie for a very fair price too.

Photo of zhanson88
4.08/5  rDev -4.4%
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.

Photo of airohead2001
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Huge thanks to glazeman for landing this monster - what a great beer!

A - Dark brown drink with a nice one finger head that resembles foamy, fluffy cappuccino topping. Looks very appetizing.

S - Just great. Vanilla, bourbon, melted butter, roasted almonds, booze, plums, and more booze. Mmmm.

T - Bourbon and dark chocolate covered oranges and lemons up front, with a nice, sugary malty finish.

M - Very smooth, especially considering the high ABV. Nice and thick as well.

D - This was a very fun beer to drink. I distinctly remember just having a good time with it, more than focusing on good descriptors and writing notes. The time of the evening, as well as my EtOH consumption, both truly shine through in any review when I start talking about dark chocolate covered lemons (wtf)...

Photo of pisano
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of kels
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not sure who brought this to the Holiday Inn, but thanks:) Cheers, unclejedi, Joan, ftownthrowdown, RoyMunson and pwoods. Next time remind me to write this stuff down.

Pours a nice, super-dark brown, totally opaque. There's a little skim of brown bubbles with a bit of swirly brown skim on the top of the beer. There's really no lace to speak of.

The smell is full of nice, cracked coffee beans with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. A bit of the alcohol creeps through in the nose.

Taste is full of sweet chocolatiness and a little dry coffee grounds. The alcohol has a huge presence, but isn't overwhelming in a distracting or disappointing kind of way. The sweetness is added to by flavors of vanilla and sweet cream. The feel is moderately full and creamy, and the aftertaste is exceptionally dry for the style. The alcohol is present in the taste, and it adds a nicely warming dimension.

Drinkability is moderate at best. It is quite tasty, but the alcohol is also quite notable.

Photo of johnnyboy76
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of abuliarose
4.11/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter, revealing a syrupy black body under four fingers of thick tanned head. Some lacing. Can't imagine a beer looking any better than this. Smells like chocolaty, molasses-y dried and poached fig with roasted malt. Pretty good smells.

Tastes sweet and warm with lots of milk chocolate and a slight roastiness. Possibly some dried fig in the flavor as well. Flavors are surprisingly light and more reminiscent of a high end milkshake than a heavy syrupy stout. Mouthfeel is heavy bodied but the carbonation starts small and expands so drastically that it flows smooth as a cream soda on the tongue. Very drinkable for the heaviness. Alcohol not at all noticeable in this brew.

I wish I had more of this. So much more.

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.11/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer I remember being awesome at GABF! Finally crack a bottle from a tasting.

A: Black with bubbly tan head and good lacing! Nice.

S: Nice Bourbon and malt base, roasty stout, and then theres a butterscotch smell at the end! Infection I'd say, not sure what it is, Diacytl? Some soy sauce. Uh oh...

T: Thank goodness the taste is still very good. Refined vanilla oak pairs nicely with the sweet bourbon tinged chocolate and roast stout. A little licorice and soy sauce as well. Very nice.

M: A little overcarbonated for me but still pretty thick and good.

D: Hmm, wasnt all I hoped for but not terrible. Did anyone else seem to get a infected bottle? Everyone at the small tasting I had agreed that it was infected in the nose especially, though it didnt seem to affect the taste.

Photo of hopfacebrew
4.11/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note: This review was a re-post from my former account, jmkratt, which was hacked and I lost all my reviews...sorry for the redundancy.

Poured from 2010 bottle 2266 of 3800 that my man kiddwhiz hooked up to a globe glass. Thanks again.

A - The beer pours a pitch black color with huge 3 finger brown head! No matter how I poured the beer I got huge head which had unreal retention and nice lacing. At the bottom of each glass I still have a 1/2 finger head, unreal.

S - A fair bourbon aroma mixed with hints of roasted cocoa, chocolate, and a hint of dried fruit.

T - The beer starts with a bit of oak flavor on the front with a woody sweetness. Pale and Crystal malt character becomes prevalent in the middle with mild bitterness and a nice bourbon flavor. The beer finishes smooth with a druid fruit taste mixed with a little bourbon and roasted grains.

M - Full bodied with good carbonation. Very thick and tasty.

D - It goes down real easy for a stronger beer with such complex character.

Overall, I found the beer to be a bit much at the beginning but towards the middle that changed and the final glass I was really yearning for more. It was a pleasure to try and I wish I had another to cellar!

Serving type: bottle

Reviewed on: 02-10-2011 14:03:38

Photo of nickd717
4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle shared at a BeerAdvocate gathering a few months back. Reviewing this from notes I took back then now that it's cracked the top 100.

Very dark brown in color, not quite pitch black but pretty near it, with a small tan head, leaving swirls on the beer.

Aroma is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and strong bourbon. -Bal aged, this was, and you can tell.

Flavor is roast, chocolate, caramel, and coffee - a well balanced imperial stout - with Jim Beam really evident on the finish. Some oak and vanilla from the barrel also.

Smooth palate with a medium-full body. Just a tiny bit boozy.

This is a very solid -bal aged RIS. I'm trying not to pump this style (which is my favorite) up too much these days though, and while this was a very good example, it wasn't quite an outstanding one, so an A- sounds about right.

Photo of thagr81us
4.12/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had during a recent Goose Island Bourbon County Tasting in Charlotte with marine1975, boodingo, CarolinaKevin, HopDiggityDawg, and GehenHerzog at Mike Brawley's house with Budweiser sign blazing! Big thanks to GehenHerzog for sharing this one with the group as a supplement to the Bourbon County series! Served from bottle into a Southern Tier tulip. Poured pitch black with a half finger tan head that subsided to a minimal amount. There was no lacing evident throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, roasted malt, wood, dark chocolate, and sweet alcohol. The flavor was of sweet malt, caramel, wood, and sweet alcohol. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty nice RIS. Seemed to fit right in with the Bourbon Counties we were sampling that night. Big alcohol up-front but mellowed out upon warming slightly. I wouldn't call this one easy drinking due to this but still quite enjoyable. This one had a bottle number and I didn't write it down!?!? Ahhh!!! Maybe that's why I couldn't tasty any rarity in this one. Oh well, maybe next time... This one is a definite must try if you haven't had it and worth seeking out. Glad I got to tick this one.

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