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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.

269 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 269
Hads: 769
Avg: 4.28
pDev: 17.76%
Wants: 800
Gots: 253 | FT: 21
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: 269 | Hads: 769
Photo of bamadog
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this one back in 2009 in one of my earliest trades that I can remember. Pretty pumped and I'm celebrating tonight -- my first night off this month with a full weekend to come. Review is from notes taken on 8/24/2012 and poured from the bottle (176/3000) into a snifter.

Appearance: Pour looks pretty decent, comes out a dark and deep brown like fresh coffee and settles into the glass with a near black hue to it; starts with a decent 1 and 1/2 finger tan head with solid retention -- eventually dwindles down to a full, slightly uneven, cap; I'm kind of surprised that the carbonation looks this strong still after spending a few years in the bottle, as well as being a big RIS; decent swaths and splotches of lacing are left behind -- looks like a good stout should, but it doesn't quite "glug" out

Smell: Smell is really good -- nice, rich and bittersweet chocolates with a strong vanilla/oaky/bourbon presence that seems creamy and smooth; bit of an earthy, burnt coffee/espresso roastiness to it as well; the only thing it's lacking is potency -- it could be a bit more robust like a lot of big stouts are, and now I kind of have to compare everything to Hunahpu as it's really set the bar high.

Taste: Wow, tastes like a mudslide with some bourbon splashed into it -- creamy, almost milky smooth chocolate with a bit of a bittersweet, dark aspect; earthy bitterness, like chocolate covered espresso beans; definitely alcohol presence; in all that sweetness is also a chocolate covered cherry, complete with sweet syrup; very nice stout.

Mouthfeel: Body is medium/heavy in terms of weight, and in all honesty, I wish it were just a touch thicker, but I've gotta be honest, I don't know if I've had a creamier, smoother stout, so the body despite being a touch thin (and I'm being very picky here), is fantastic; a semi-dry, sticky coating is left on the roof of the mouth and a grittiness is left on the teeth; gums and belly are left quite tingly from the ABV.

Overall: I wish I could get a hold of this, as I would love to start a vertical. Great smell, better tastes, solid, super solid, body makes for a great drinking experience; would be an excellent dessert accompaniment or as a dessert on its own; the ABV and weight make it a sipper, but with as much as it has going for it, I'll sip it all night long and into the morning.

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

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Photo of birchstick
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, bottle 37 of 3800

A - pours a deep, dark black color with a minimal head that forms a light taupe color around the glass

S - nose is lots of nice vanilla, some molasses, cola, milk to dark chocolates

T - taste starts off with milk chocolates that moves to a nice vanilla flavor imparted from the barrel aging. Moves on to a nice spicy bourbon flavor with some more vanilla in the mix. Ends spicy and a little hot.

M - mouth is medium to light bodied with a nice amount of carbonation - goes down really nicely

D - overall, this is a pretty nice barrel aged RIS. Personally, I think this is a nice example of barrel aged beer, however due to the bottle count being low I think this demands a little more than its worth. That being sad, I am glad I landed a bottle and would try to get again off the shelf if the opportunity presents itself in the future.

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Photo of homebrew311
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip, served at Binnys south loop. Apperance is inky black with dark brown head. Opaque. The nose is full of rich chocolate and delicate vanilla. The bourbon is much tamer than the bottled version, mellow vanilla with sturdy oak coming through. Taste is full of rich dark chocolate and mellow vanilla. The mouthfeel is hefty with mild carbonation. Overall, the tap version is a step down from the bottled version, the barrel character is tough to pick up. Great stout nonetheless.

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Photo of Etan
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap, brouwers

appearance: served in a 12oz nonic, rich dark chocolate body, very light mocha cream

smell: rich dark chocolate, sweet booze soaked dark fruit, bourbon, molasses

taste: Perhaps leftover from back-in-black, or maybe a new arrival - regardless, figured I would go ahead and tick this one off the list. This is a really big stout with a heavy sweetness - molasses, dark fruit, bourbon, oak, coffee, coconut, undertones of orange peel and citrus hops

mouthfeel: heavy, hot and sweet

overall: solid stuff - but not something to shell out high dollar for a 750

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Photo of draheim
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750mL (2010, #0871 of 3800) into a tulip. Pours a deep chocolate brown/black w/ a thick 3-finger mocha had that leaves a web of lace on the inside of the glass.

Aroma is strong bourbon, oak, chocolate, dark fruit, and booze. Pretty classic bourbon barrel stout aroma.

Taste is rich and chocolatey. Bourbon, molasses, oak, licorice, nuts & prunes, boozy heat. A roasty bitterness on the finish.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied, slick, slightly sticky. Neither thick nor chewy. Bourbon and roasted malt leave a lingering aftertaste.

Overall a good bourbon barrel stout, perfect for a rainy Seattle evening. Maybe a little uneven, unbalanced. The strong bourbon taste could have used the counterbalance of an even darker, roastier malt. Still, very tasty, definitely a sipper. Think I'll age my other bottle for a while, see what develops.

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.72/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had again, drank the 09.

pour has very little head, a few bubble tan in color, jet black beer. The nose is rich, dark chocolate, light olive, notes of roast, and light sweetness in back. The taste is a bit sweeter, similar to Adam but sweeter, light roast and vanilla note, nice rich chocolate, smooth body, a bit thin, decent carbonation especially for 3 years old.
Shared at our recent tasting, either an 06 or 07, 8.75% ABV with an 1152 bottle count.

A-pours a jet black liquid with a nice dense tan head with good retention.

S-strong notes of oak and vanilla up front, anise comes in behind, lightly roasted malts, dark rich chocolate in the back.

T-the oak and vanilla are right up front, notes of bourbon behind. light anise, lots of roasted malts and rich decatant dark chocolate. the back has a hint of sweetness, dark fruits of plums and cherries. there is some heat throughout and in the back but very light and just let you know its a big beer.

M-good full body with lots of carbonation still and a good crisp finish. smooth and velvety on the palate with a good creamy feel.

D-this is a delicious RIS with a good complexity. the oak is done well, present but not dominant. tons of roasted malty goodness with a nice light sweetness in the back. great feel and good carb, not too heavy but definitely big.

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Photo of warnerry
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours black with one finger of light brown head. Head has nice retention and leaves sheets of lacing.

S - Chocolate and coffee are prominent initially, along with roasted malts. Vanilla and bourbon are present but pretty subtle.

T - The biggest difference between the aroma and taste is a nice hop bitterness. While it is a big component of the taste, the bitterness is nicely balanced by the coffee and roasted malt. Also some anise in the taste. Vanilla and bourbon are well integrated. Lots of oak on the finish. Almost no heat. Very nice.

M - Medium mouthfeel with a dry oak finish. Definitely on the lighter side for the style but I think it works well here.

O - Very enjoyable. This doesn't hit you over the head with anything, but is a well integrated bourbon barrel aged stout. Glad I got to try this.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours an inpenetrable black with a soft finger of mocha head. Good lace left behind.

S: Heavy dark chocolate and coffee grinds. Fragrant classic RIS nose.

T: As with the nose, heavy on dark chocolate and coffee. Some sweet brown sugar as well. Hops are there, but this is really dominated by the strong malt profile.

M: Rich, full-bodied, creamy, soft carboanation.

O: This is classic American RIS to a T. Very well made, not mind-blowing, but I can see why it's highly regarded.

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Photo of dlello2
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ivan The Terrible
A – Creamy, cloudy black with maybe even a hint of grey? Interesting. Few fingers of creamy, micro-bubble head fade slowly. 5.0

S – Bittersweet chocolate dominates. A suggestion of hops follows. As it warms the smell develops into a rich chocolate roastiness. 4.5

T – Immediately reminds me of Surly Darkness (which I haven’t had or thought about in a while… interesting). I’ll start by saying this is very good. Not super complicated (much like darkness) but what it’s got is freaking spot on. Perfect amount of roasty bitterness. 10% alcohol, but super drinkable. 5.0

M – Great full bodied mouthfeel. Good carbonation. Not as thick as a Ten Fidy or FIS. Goes down easy. Again, if it weren’t for feeling the alcohol I wouldn’t know it was there. 4.5

O – This was a great beer. As it warmed up it got even better. I can’t believe it but I can confidently say my first 10oz pour of this beer catapulted it into my top 10. Will definitely be seeking it out to try in the future. 4.5

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Photo of chugalug06
4.72/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2010 - Bottle 0986 of 3800

Awesome two layered Coffee cream colored head. Brew is pitch black. Decent lacing too. Snap and crackle. No lacing, no legs. Kinda thin appearance.

Lots of cherries and bananas. Smooth dark chocolate. Very light, but well put together. Slight alcohol burn on the nose.

Awesome dark chocolate flavors, but it drinks like a milk stout, nicely sweet. Nice light flavor, not a heavy overwhelming stout flavor. Great (light) carbonation, zero bitterness, drinks wonderful!!! Thin body, but it's a great beer that drinks heavy and hearty. Amazing meld of toasty caramel and milky toffee.

Highly recommended brew! One of the most underrated stouts I've had. Awesome! It could be thicker, but it would lose some of it's appeal, it's a great afternoon drinker.

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Photo of stephens101
4.45/5  rDev +4%
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.

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Photo of tjkinate
4.52/5  rDev +5.6%
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.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting courtesy of mrbubbler himself.

2009 vintage. Bottle # 336/3000.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, wood, vanilla, and bourbon. Taste with the same with a woody finish and a slight alcohol kick with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good barrel aged stout but I like the way it smells more than the taste.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.57/5  rDev +6.8%
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.

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Photo of orangesol
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to akorsak for bringing this one to Imminent Liquidation II.

A - Pours pitch black with a dense one finger tall tan head leaving light lace down parts of the glass.

S - Smells of charred oak, dark roasted malt, vanilla, caramel, chocolate and plenty of warm bourbon. The booze does grow a little bit as it sits in the glass.

T - Starts off with some chocolaty sweetness and some dark charred wood slowly giving way to hints of dark roasted malt, vanilla and warm bourbon. The booze is pretty consistent from start to finish. Finish has more roast than sweetness, combining with a little booze burn to linger on the pallet long after consumption.

M - Smooth body with plenty of dark roasted flavors and moderate carbonation. Light booze burn at the end of each sip with plenty of lingering roast.

O - All things considered this one is very good. It has plenty of flavor, good overall balance and is pretty easy to drink. One of the better stouts I have had on the day.

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Photo of chilly460
4.61/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark black, impenetrable black. Puffy, milk chocolate brown head towers, a full inch high. Sticky lacing lines the glass, amazing looking beer.

S: Quite nice, get the immediate bourbon aroma, warm smelling, not overpowering. Other note I get is just pure chocolate brownie or cake, very sweet and rich. Not much on the roast.

T: Unbelievably good. Immediate flavor is that bourbon tone, warming, soothing. Get plenty of the big vanilla flavor expected to accompany the bourbon, tastes like vanilla creamer. Here's where the huge chocolate comes in, tastes like a thick fudge brownie, very sweet. Think of Godiva truffles. Beer finishes out with more roastiness then picked up in the nose, nice deep roast that lets it finish clean.

M: Right on target for this type beer, big bodied brew with a creamy, small bubbled carbonation. Reminds me of a good chocolate milk.

O: I've had a couple very good BA stouts lately, and this may be the best. Just incredible flavor profile kept hitting with different aspects of it's complex profile. Flavors are well integrated and balanced, wish I could get more.

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Photo of Rhettroactive
3.71/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

From 750mL bottle to snifter on 2/4/12
*From notes

-- Thanks, Bill --

*I think we determined this was a 2008 vintage, bottle 636 of 1152

A: Not the best looking beer I've ever poured. Hearty brownish, and on a standard pour, I get a meager head that's not even .25 fingers. No lacing and the tiniest damn collar you've ever seen.

S: Chocolate chip cookies, raw cocoa and a touch of charred wood.

T: Solid. Packed from jowel to jowel with warm dark chocolate, mature bourbon, vanilla and a touch of grassiness.

M: Jesus is this thin. It's lacking carbonation in the worst way. In fact it's so thin that it negatively affects the flavor profile, therefore kncoking it down a peg. This is hands down the low point of a fine beer.

O: I don't know what happened with the feel of this beer, but it really took away from the entirety of the experience. If you can look past it's flaws, Ivan's an above average BA RIS. Here's to hoping that the later vintages have better quality control and balance.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.35/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

2008 bottle Vintage, #527/1152; Sampled January 2012
A steady pour produces an almost two-finger thick, light brown colored head. The beer is fairly black smelling and it is clear if you look through a thin sliver of it, but is opaque otherwise. The beer smells vaguely of toasted coconuts at first, but this gets quite a bit more pronounced in short order. Notes of Bourbon, touches of alcohol, lots of vanillin and a backdrop of toasted, brown malt, a touch of roasted malt (though not quite as much as I might have expected), lots of brown bread toasted grain character,

Light sweet malt up front, gets sweeter as it rolls across the palate, the beer dries out in the finish with a slightly bitter, burnt, roast-grain character, and some warming, not quite hot alcohol and Bourbon. The roast character is quite prominent here with notes of dark chocolate, sweet coffee liquor, chalky roasted notes, and some bitter burnt character that isn’t really overly sharp. There is a touch too much heat and spicy alcohol in the finish; spicy oak notes also accentuate this, but also provide a touch of astringency. The body, while having a certain heft and viscosity, is a touch on the light side for a rich Imperial stout.

The body of this beer is actually a touch lighter than I would have liked; more malt richness would have supported the Bourbon Barrel notes better (despite the Bourbon character really not being over the top in this beer). Not bad, but I wish it was a touch richer and maltier.

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Photo of billab914
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 vintage bottle #636 out of 1152. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tasting glass. It poured a dark brown, pretty close to black in color with very little signs of carbonation or head.

The aroma has a big dark chocolate presence to it. It's very rich with a chocolate brownie like quality to it. I get some lighter bourbon qualities to it with some very nice vanilla notes to it. Some sweeter dark fruits seemed to come out a little more as it warmed. Great aroma, I loved how rich chocolate and vanilla notes came together.

The taste is very smooth with with some nice notes of dark chocolate, vanilla and bourbon all coming out. I get a little more of a woody oak presence in the finish. The bourbon is a little more reserved at this point but it still adds some very good complimenting flavors to it.

The mouthfeel feels thin with very low carbonation. The low carbonation hurts it and makes it feel a little watery and thin. I'm sure this is attributed at least partially to it's age.

Overall I thought it had some really great flavors to it. The bold chocolate was complimented very well with the bourbon and vanilla. The thin mouthfeel and lower carbonation hurts it some, but overall I thought it was a very smooth and flavorful beer.

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Photo of hopfacebrew
4.11/5  rDev -4%
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

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Photo of Sean9689
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
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!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of GatorBeer
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage, poured into Bruery tulip.

A: Pours a deep, dark black that is so inviting of the style. Not the most opaque beer that I've ever poured and there seems to be a slight amount of light dancing around in the beer. A small head forms with a vigorous pour and quickly fades, leaving behind little lacing.

A: Sweet, wonderful bourbon upfront, but not overpowering of off-putting, it's quite a pleasant experience and my nose keeps returning to the glass. There are some nice roasty malts backing the bourbon and a hint of chocolate. The nose is very sweet, but not sickly or overwhelming at all.

T: Bourbon hits up-front, letting you know it's in the beer, but it's not an alcoholic taste. Something that seems unique is that the bourbon hits hard first, then fades away where as other BBA stouts seem to have the opposite effect. The finish is smooth and has little hints of alcohol, which is impressive for this 10% beer.

M: Mouthfeel is a little thin, not in a bad way. It's not a chewy or creamy stout, but the carbonation seems to really work welll with this one.

O: I'm really enjoying how well the bourbon plays off the sweetness of the beer. I would dare to call this a good introductory bourbon aged stout because it doesn't punch you in the face like some do (which isn't a bad thing either). I was very pleased with this offering from Big Sky and look forward to it in the future.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 269 ratings.