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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Big Sky Brewing Company

Ivan The Terrible Imperial StoutIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

574 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 574
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.05%


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: 574 | Reviews: 259 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of johnbjaeger
johnbjaeger

Illinois

4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2011 23:10:38 | More by johnbjaeger
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mdvatab

Indiana

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!

Serving type: bottle

09-05-2011 01:07:59 | More by mdvatab
Photo of Chriscrundwell12
Chriscrundwell12

Minnesota

4.45/5  rDev +4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

09-04-2011 03:44:27 | More by Chriscrundwell12
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ArrogantB

Colorado

3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 bottle courtesy of Harrymel, thanks man! Ink black with a super foamy head. Smells like wood and booze. The flavor at first like drinking a whiskey or bourbon, very strong but then I got roasted malts and a very odd tartness. Given the tartness and super foam I wonder if this was showing early signs of infection? Overall not bad but a bit of a let down after the olde bluehair was so surprising.

Update 2013 bottle

Aroma is a pretty awesome chocolate and bourbon mash up. Flavor is also a nicely bourbon barrel influenced stout. Much better than the last incarnation I had and for $12.99 this is kind of a deal given the way pricing has gone.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2011 19:11:31 | More by ArrogantB
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Gfunk720

Connecticut

3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle, out of my Lost Abbey stemware. Shared with a couple buddies.

A- Pitch black with a crazy foamy tannish head. There is just sooo much head. Pretty typical stout appearance though.

S- A little muted. Notes of coffee, bourbon, and booze. Also some dark fruits and chcolate malt.

T- A rich chocolatey flavor is the first thing that hits my tongue. I also get hints of coffee, bourbon, and oak. It is very nice and smooth. The bourbon isn't over the top, but a nice addition to the base beer.

M- A little fizzy, and could have use a bit more body. I knew it was going to be fizzy based on the foamy head, but it wasn't as bad as I expected.

O- A very nice sipper, that has plenty of flavor and complexity. The mouthfeel was probably the biggest let down here, but this was also a fairly fresh bottle. Would be curious to see what it would be like with some more age.

-GFunk

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2011 01:50:51 | More by Gfunk720
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zhanson88

California

4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2011 02:10:00 | More by zhanson88
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mdaschaf

Washington

3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Thanks to ShanePB for bringing this down to share with me. 2009 Vintage.

A: Poured a dark brown/black with a slight reddish tint when held up to the light. A small tan head formed on top with little retention and spotty lacing.

S: Lots of cherry and oak, the oak intensifies as the beer warms. There is a hint of cocoa and vanilla. The strongest aroma reminds me of sherry/port though, I could smell it immediately.

T: Heavy dark fruit flavors with cherry, plum, and some dates. There is a mixture of oak and vanilla, the sherry/port flavors are present. This beer, more than any other I can remember, reminds me of wine. As the beer opens up there is a slight tartness on the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with a nice level of carbonation for a bottle form 2009.

O: A bit of a let down based on the hype. Its good, but the fruit flavor and wine like qualities aren't typically what I am looking for in the style. Would love to try it again to see if there was just something a little off about this bottle.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2011 21:05:21 | More by mdaschaf
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ShanePB

Pennsylvania

3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After Matt aka mdaschaf, my girlfriend and I opened up the Menagerie No. 5, we moved onto my bottle of Ivan. 750 ml corked and caged green bottle, poured into tulip glasses.

Vintage 2009.

A: Deep brown edging to a full black body with some amber hues around the top edges in the light. Atop is a light beige head, along with sporadic lacing and a thin retention ring. Not a bad looking beer though I did expect a darker head.

S: Sherry, port wine, very sweet with obvious fruity undertones. Cherry, plum come through midway and end with cocoa powder and slightly charred oak wood. It's not infected, but the sweeter fruity notes definitely threw me off.

T: Oak dominates up front and even more so as this beer warms. Faint dark baker's chocolate, black cherry and some sweet sugary dates are mid-palate. The finish is quite tart that opens up the longer this sits. The fruity, tartness in the finish wasn't necessarily unpleasant but something unexpected.

M: Well carbonated for being a vintage 2009, maybe a bit too much for the style. Fairly smooth, not as creamy as I wanted and a touch dry in the linger.

In comparison to other Russian Imperial Stouts, this is definitely a good one but it doesn't match up to other breweries. The beer itself had a weird combination of roast, wood and fruit that I think perhaps was unintentional but it definitely came through big.

Serving type: bottle

07-20-2011 15:39:38 | More by ShanePB
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EricCioe

Montana

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at a stout night with friends. It was Ivan, Abyss, Darkness, and Dark Lord, in that order. We had pretzels and water and some Goose Island Summertime in between rounds. Everything I had was out of a 6 oz snifter.

This poured a rich black with a nice rich espresso crema head over a finger high with good retention and spotty lace. One of the prettier big stouts I've seen. On the nose, there is a decidedly non-raucous mixture of molasses and oak especially, along with some bourbon notes and good deal of roasted malt. In the mouth the molasses and oak really take over, that dry woody flavor mixing with the sweeter notes of molasses, bittersweet chocolate, and bourbon. The flavors die away leaving bourbon for a long finish. The body is medium full, sort of less full than I would have expected, but still plenty enjoyable.

Overall, this is a fine stout that makes me really happy to be moving to Missoula soon.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2011 19:18:46 | More by EricCioe
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LiquidBread219

Indiana

4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours pretty much a black color with a nice brown head. Head became a pretty nice cap and left behind a bit of spotty lacing at best.

S- Smell is of oak, bourbon, and vanilla. Roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits and chocolate are here as well. Nothing really dominates the aroma they just all work well together.

T- Taste really follows the nose well. Bourbon is here but does not take over. Vanilla, oak and chocolate. Nice little alcohol warmth.

M- Full in body and carbonation was faily low which for this beer really worked.

O- A very solid brew that I'd recommend to everyone to try, and can't wait to try it again myself.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2011 05:03:10 | More by LiquidBread219
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tripelhops

Missouri

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this at a recent store tasting, a 2011 batch into a small plastic cup. After a couple swirls the sides have a sheen on them like a coating of oil. The aroma is stong, smells of bourbon and oak dominate. The color is dark black with a small amount of tan / carmel colored head. Even a sampler is a sipper. Roasted malt, hints of chocolate and vanilla, but the bourbon and oak dominate, can't say much about the hops, and the alcohol is noticed at the end. This is one heck of an RIS, and from what I've tasted should be right up there with the best of them, and considering it's limited production, I'm surprised it's not, although maybe that's why too since it's hard to get.

Serving type: bottle

06-27-2011 03:59:13 | More by tripelhops
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Urbancaver

Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared at Jackie Os Friday before the bottle release.

Pours a dark dark brown with a tooon of tan head. Very appealing

Smells bourbony and chocolatey. There is a wonderful sweetness on the nose and the tongue. Vry wonderful dark chocolate on the tongue, a subtle bitterness with some vanilla and a nice subtle oak.

Serving type: bottle

06-25-2011 02:47:03 | More by Urbancaver
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NittanyBeerFan

Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to a very generous BA for crossing this big want off of my list! You know who you are.

Just the pour on its own indicates that this is one huge effin stout. Like hot pitch on a summer day, it is opaque, thick, and syrupy as it pours into my glass. A creamy head foams up on top, light brown in color and fine and frothy in consistency. Each sip yields a thin ring of lace with some leggy spidery streamers connecting them. Very pretty. A swirl wipes it all away, and leaves a film that doesn't really produce legs, but does bring a bit more foam and aroma out of the beer.

The aroma is complex and balanced, with the bourbon barrels only there to augment the base beer. dark chocolate, roasted malt, some syrupy sweetness, and hints of bitter chocolate all come to the forefront. Dark fruits (extremely dark) like raisins and dates swim the in background. Oaky vanilla and slight balancing bourbon come in, as well. The flavor track similarly, with the roast becoming a bit more present with the dark fruits that are also amplified on the palate. The raisins are especially notable. Again, the bourbon here is only around to provide a bit of extra flavor, and it definitely hits the mark. This is how a barrel aged beer should be -- base beer shining through and enhanced by the spirit.

The complexity of the flavor sort of overshadows the texture of this beer, and I find it a bit too thick for the balance. A phenomenal brew overall, as one might gather from my rambling earlier. I hope to be able to try this one again, because it is awesome.

Serving type: bottle

06-24-2011 02:27:09 | More by NittanyBeerFan
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Brad007

Vermont

3.78/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch-black with a thick and frothy brown head into my glass. Lots of foam, which I beleive is unusual for this style.

Lots of oak upfront followed by just a bit of roasted malt and cream. Not really a big fan of oaked beers but this isn't too strong.

Roasted malt, chocolate and cream mingle with oak flavors. Again, oak flavors are strong but not as strong as if this beer were fresher.

Lingering oak and roasted malt at the back of the throat. Not much else. Not as much of a bite here.

It's a decent example of the style. Received it in a trade and it's been sitting in my fridge for months. Not bad.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2011 01:55:49 | More by Brad007
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Spider889

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Schwaeh for this one. Almost got popped at the First Central OH tasting, then again at another get together I believe, before finally reappearing at the 2nd Central OH tasting. Glad I got to partake in some of this.

Pours with a super tall head with excellent retention and lacing. Very thick and black.

Smelled super mellow and sweet. Light bourbon notes and the tang of vanilla. Milk chocolate as well.

Very tasty, lots of complex malt flavors and bitter char.

Smooth and soft like there might be some oats in there.

Overall this is one that lived up to the hype. I'd love to try this again sometime.

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2011 18:09:05 | More by Spider889
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OakedCanuck

Washington

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

Big 750ml bottle split with friends into snifters. Bottle #1573, 2010.

A - Black as night. Sandy brown head with good retention and lacing

S - Lots of oak in this one. Good accompanying bourbon and vanilla. Some molasses, leather and chocolate

T - Dark fruits (raisins, currants) balanced well with chocolate, vanilla, oak and toffee. The bourbon is well integrated and is accentuated by nice slight char. Very good beer and not intimidating

M - Very smooth and creamy. Impossible to pick up the ABV, very nice and balanced.

O - This is a great beer, 'nuff said.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2011 18:17:37 | More by OakedCanuck
Photo of kbutler1
kbutler1

Minnesota

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

Bottle. From the latest release. Poured into a snifter glass a dark brown/black color with a thin light tan head. The aroma is made up of the usual IS characteristics of; dark chocolate, molasses, a touch of leather, and some oak earthiness. Medium/heavy mouthfeel. Sweet vanilla, dark chocolate, molasses, and dark fruit round out the flavors. Very smooth and balanced is the best that I can describe this. It didn’t necessarily stand out in a bad or good way with all the other beers we tried this night. Just a solid well done IS.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2011 12:16:26 | More by kbutler1
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rlee1390

Indiana

4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got in a beertrade, bottle number 2906/3800 from 2010
Update-Had '12 and '10 side by side

A-Jet black, one finger of creamy brown head that leaves some lacing.

S-Bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts.

T-Chocolate, bourbon, coffee, roasted malts with some bitterness, great balance. In the '10 there was perfect balance and some vanilla as well

M-Smooth, medium bodied, some carbonation.

O-Another great barrel aged beer. Glad I got the chance to try this one. Fresh it was a tad hot bourbon did not dominate but was stronger, the '10 had mellowed out and thus had perfect balance.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2011 15:07:57 | More by rlee1390
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Onenote81

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2010. Bottle# 1581/3800. 10.00% ABV. Bottle courtesy of yeahnatenelson.

This one was cracked open for the fourth installment of "A Beer Observed" with ClarkPinnock. Poured my allotment into a standard snifter.

This beer pours slowly a dark black with a stunning thick tan head. Excellent retention with this one. Light lace left behind. The nose is sweet with notes of vanilla, pancake syrup, wet oak, toasted chocolate.

The mouth is weaker than I'd have hoped for such a big beer. Thin at times, and the carbonation becomes a little spritzy in the absence of a full body. I'd love this one to be a bit heavier. The bourbon is wonderfully integrated in this beer. Sweet vanilla tannins washed out with bitter dark chocolate and heavy roasted malts. Booze character is mild here. Surprising really. Wonderfully executed. I really dig this beer. A bit thicker and this one is one of the best.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2011 01:54:09 | More by Onenote81
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rowingbrewer

Massachusetts

3.4/5  rDev -20.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this beer at a recent tasting. This beer pours a dark black color with a decent tan head. the smell is roasty with hiints of bourbon and chocolate. the taste was fairly disappointing as the bourbon was barely there, and there was an off flavor that I could not put my finger on. the mouthfeel was medium to full bodied with good carbonation. overall I was not as impressed with this beer as i was expecting.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2011 17:56:22 | More by rowingbrewer
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Luk13

Quebec (Canada)

4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2011 19:01:19 | More by Luk13
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SpeedwayJim

New York

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage. Bottle #1430/3000. Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a Darkness snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a thin barely-there layer of light mocha that dissipates quickly. Beer is an appropriate opaque black. Lacing is minimal with no stick. Nice legs though. Head and lacing lose points that the legs make up for a touch. Slightly below average. Hardly carbonated.

S: Aroma is surprisingly subtle. Some light booziness tickles the nose while layers of chocolate, molasses, honey, maple, and vanilla linger in the background, barely detectable. Not much else going on here.

T: Opens chocolate, molasses, honey, brown sugar, and caramel. More molasses and brown sugar in the middle with some sweet prunes and toffee. Barrel aging comes through with vanilla and a bit of woodiness at the end. The most subtle touch of booziness rounds this one out. Sweet, chocolate and brownie finish with a sticky maple finish. Absolutely phenomenal. Competes for the best barrel-aged imperial stout out there.

M: Medium to full bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Lighter than usual in the mouth but silky smooth and warming without being boozy. Goes down oily and slick. Finish is messy and viscous with a sticky aftertaste. Alcohol is hidden extremely well here and the feel is almost perfect.

O: Ivan has always been a well received beer on BA, but I never thought it’d be nearly as good as it was. Incredible balance, the flavors complement each other perfectly, and the barrel aging is subtle yet adds an incredible depth that I’ve never experienced with any other beer. Unbelievably good. I personally couldn’t care what this one looked and smelled like after tasting it.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 19:23:37 | More by SpeedwayJim
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misinformed

California

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle, reviewed 5/28, tulip glass.

Very secure cork. I managed to break it off halfway while pulling it out, but a corkscrew soon set that right. Huge, vigorous pop; a sign of this beer's awesome carbonation.

A- Beautiful onyx black beer poured with 4" of vigorous cocoa brown head. The head eventually dropped down to a thick cloud that left behind some mild lacing.

S- Smells amazing. The aroma was apparent right after bottle was opened. Bourbon/alcohol. Sweet dark malt with some dark fruit notes. Oak and vanilla. The bourbon really becomes dominant as it warms.

T- Even richer than the nose lets on. Smooth cocoa/dark chocolate, sweet dark fruits, dark roasted malt, bourbon and alcohol. Oak and light vanilla show up more in the long finish.

M- Velvety smooth. Awesome high amount of carbonation and the perfect amount of alcohol burn.

O- Nice deep range of flavors. Great balance as well. It's sweet, but with enough bitterness to balance it out. Very active carbonation, which I found to be a plus. The alcohol becomes more assertive as it warms up. An excellent beer all around. Easily one of my favorites.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 06:12:30 | More by misinformed
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bsuedekum

Missouri

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally landed after tracking this one for a bit and shared with 4 other friends tonight in a mini-tasting.

A - The look of this one is the best feature of this beer. This beer was poured into 5 different snifters and the head was an inch thick in all five glasses and the beer is jet black like a RIS should be. Makes a person water at the mout just looking at it.

S - I get a good bourbon touch to it without overwheliming the nose with bourbon like some other barrel aged beers tend to. Maybe that's the benefit of only spending 3 months in a barrel. The sweet sugar smell of a BCS hides in there along with a slight vanilla wift hitting the nose.

T - An overall solid RIS with a bourbon profile. It's not an amazingly complex beer to me or one that absolutely electrifies the taste buds, but it's certainly delicious. Bourbon and chocolate are the two tastes that I get out of this one most.

M - Medium bodied and an average carbonation

O - Certainly a quality beer. This review was for a 2010 vintage and this was bottle number 2250 out of just 3800 so Ivan is not abundantly available to all. I'm glad I had this and was by no means disappointed... it's just not that common of a beer and so for the difficulty in obtaining I'm not necessarily wanting to spend the effort/costs in obtaining another one. For all that "want" this beer I suggest in continuing your search for landing it as it was certainly worth having, but don't expect to be floored by it as many RISs out there are equally as good.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2011 02:45:58 | More by bsuedekum
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afksports

New York

4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage. Shared with my friends Nikolai, Sergei, and Svetlana. One more complex oak bourbon-barrel aged beer in the coffers of what I've tried. Another one knocked off the Top100. This one is from Big Sky in Montana, and took some doing to get. But after I called on my Russian friends, everyone seemed to want to help me just a bit more. Faaantastic.

The appearance... this beer is sexy as hell. Beautiful head that bubbles on the initial popping of the cork. Deep and rich and dark, vicious and viscous, Ivan has a full finger or more of head on a tiny pour into my glass and sustains thorough lacing that clings all over. The smell is oak, bourbon, booze, and hints of dark fruits, hops, and mean caramel roasty malts. It tastes primarily of bourbon up front, but has a hop forward character at the lips. As it goes through the bourbon presents itself more strongly, and despite the sweetness, booze heat finishes the taste. Minus the heat, this might be a Storm King Stout type of feel. But the heat is good for some, like my friend Nikolai who noted that in Mother Russia this beer would keep the cold Siberian winters warm.

Its thick and full bodied, with tons of carbonation. Best stored standing up, it seems like there's some goopy sediment that I mistakenly got in the brew because I had it on its side like a dumbass. Discounting for my error, this is a drinkable brew for the folks that are in to 10% alcohol by volume Bourbony beers. Sergei was giving me high fives and even called his friend Marshal Zhukov to tell him about it.

As for me, I don't plan on a St. Petersburg visit anytime soon, and I probably won't see Montana too soon either. So I'll take it as a lukewarm appreciation. I'm a little over bourbon-barrel aging, and I'd love to keep this one to cellar it and see how it develops. Until then, give me a good ol' brown anytime.

But don't let the Russians see this. I told them it was exceptional (and truthfully, it kind of is...)

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2011 03:55:29 | More by afksports
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 574 ratings.