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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
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Reviews: 269 | Hads: 769
Photo of Floydster
4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle purchased from Liquid Solutions for around twelve dollars, bottle #245 of 1152, split with my dad tonight, poured into my Oerbier tulip glass

A-Black, could not find any light going through, one inch creamy light tan head that lasts around ten minutes, some lacing
S-Bourbon, sweetness, milk chocolate, light vanilla, oak, roasted maltiness, hint of coffee beans, and also mild booze
T-Begins with sweet milk chocolate, light vanilla and roasted malts in the middle, finish has more chocolate and also some sweetness mixed with whiskey in the aftertaste, not much oak in this beer like you expect from these big barrel aged stouts, mellows out and becomes more rounded with sweetness as it warms, not as roasty as the aroma leans toward either, nicely balanced with malt character but maybe a little too much sweetness at times, would have gotten a perfect score in this category from me if it was not for that, still enjoyable flavor with a nice cocoa presence
M-Warming, roasty, and slightly sweet mouthfeel, medium to full bodied, on the lighter side for carbonation, taste lingered for a few minutes
D-Could have drank this whole bottle but glad I shared it, it is deceivingly heavy at times because it is so smooth, alcohol is hidden well, only thing really hurting its drinkability is the mild sweet component

This was a great imperial stout, my bottle said 8.75% ABV but that could have been a typo, it took me a while to track this down and after being unsuccessful in trading for it, I found for sale online happily, now I just wish I would have bought more than one bottle, would like to drink again, especially with some age, curious to see how the bottle conditioning alters things, recommended

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Photo of scottoale
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml. green champagne bottle #728 of 1152 that has silver foil over the cap and neck. Foil underside is gold. A big pop from the cap and out pours a black as pitch brown liquid with a foam three-finger light brown head. Great carbonation eventually lets the head down to 1/8" and some coating of sticky lace.

Sweet and roasty nose with a good backing of bourbony alcohol. Caramel, chocolate, dark fruit, oak, vanilla and booze really come through as it warms.

Big flavor starts out sweet and fruity with plum, pear, fig, raisen and currants. In steps some roasted malt and oak with some notes of chocolate, toffee, vanilla and charcoal. All of these flavors melding with a bourbon infused oakness. Sweet and earthy, balanced completely with a nice warming finish. The taste dept. scores a big "5". Super tasty stuff.

Full bodied with complimenting carbonation, the alcohol stand right out but never dominates the overall expirience. I truly feel a few years age on this brew will make it incredible and put it up high in the top ten for it's class and style. A big bold barrel-aged monster to be reckoned with. Super job Big Sky! And another big thanks to travisd13 for making this trade one to remember...cheers!

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Photo of Bierguy5
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750 ml, 8.75% ABV, bottle # 328. Pours a pitch black color with just a bit of sediment. Mocha head trickles down to a thin collar rather quickly.

Roasty notes, with some oak and bourbon mixed in. A whiff of dark chocolate along with some alcohol.

A bit of milk chocolate up front, fading into some very nice oak and bourbon notes. Nice flavors here, but not very complex.

A bit thin, with a lower amount of carbonation. A little warming from alcohol. Pretty nice.

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Photo of ATLbeerDog
4.08/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

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Photo of Buebie
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle # 924 of 1152.

Poured from my thick wrapped tin knecked 750ml green bottle, into an oversized snifter. The lable on this is old fashioned, I like it, its simple with an old school font.

The beer itself pours a glug glug slow glug with its long thin kneck. Black in color, zero light penetration. The head is a fizzy cola like 1'' brown. It quickly dissipates to a very thin film of retention and some thin greasy drapeage.

The aroma itself is not somthing I'd call a traditiona RIS. The aroma here is sort of a turnoff. A root beer like port wine oaky aroma. A swirl brings around alcahol at the knose, also some roasty chocolate grain aroma. This was not detectable to me without swirling. But still, that cheap port wine aroma will not leave.

Mouthfeel is quite heavy and creamy, with little carbonation. The only carbonation that is present is upfront, then creamyness kicks in and dominates. A bit of a slickness on this coating my mouth aswell. Terrific feel to this beer.

Upfront this is sweet with protein like oaty flavors, and plenty of chocolate grain roastyness. Some carmelised brown sugar with hints at vanilla beans, maple syrup, mollasses. At the swallow things heat up and coat my mouth and throat with a modest amount of warmth. Dark roasted oaky wood come blasting down the door at the swallow kicking my tounges ass. Just a touch of bourbon here, with plenty of roasty chocolate character, as well as a cocoa powder like flavor. Reminding me of a dark chocolate truffle with that cocoa poder dusting over the top, and an infusion of booze inside the creamy chocolate center.
Lingering is a bitter roasty flavor of wood, and plenty of hop backing. Bitter and grapefruit like, these hops linger bitterly for plenty of time after the swallow.

I think when Marry Poppins was talking about "a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down" she was referring to ivan the terrible.
IMHO, the mouthfeel on this was up there with Darklord, and too me, Darklord has the best mouthfeel of any RIS I've ever had.
This beer is superb, the aroma is lacking, as is any head retention and lace. But overall, this is a fantastic ris!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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Photo of mcallister
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
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.

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Photo of hopdog
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Bottle # 242 of 1152.

Aromas of vanilla, bourbon, woody, roasty, and some chocolate. Tastes of vanilla, bourbon, brown sugar, dark fruits, chocolate, and ligher wood. Definitely bourbon in both aromas and tastes (for me that's not necessarily bad).

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Photo of Oxymoron
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

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Photo of midaszero
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle 707/1125

My bottles says 8.75% on it for the ABV

A - Completely opaque black body with two solid fingers of coffee colored head

S - Sweet malts, chocolate, and molasses. A definite pronounced bourbon smell

T - WOW it is like melted chocolate with bourbon. Some coffee notes as well and a tad boozy but overall amazing.

M - Medium thick body with medium high carbonation

D - Pretty damn easy to drink and extremely enjoyable. I can't wait to put some time on this and let it mellow some.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 picked up locally for a very reasonable $10.... poured into my New Belgium snifter.. bottle 108 of 1152.

beautiful 3 finger head that has been sticking around for about 5 minutes ... dark tan.. looks like a really thick espresso cap... great lacing and a huge cap..

The nose is thick and very complex... not boozy at all.. big milk chocolate with dark cherry essence and vanilla.. bourbon isn't as pronounced as expected... yet the smell is fantastic.

wow.. this is like a liquid brownie.. big roasty chocolate.. some sweetened coffee notes.. more vanilla.. and the bourbon is more of a component that is throughout and never becoming too large.. complex with a great semi-dry finish that lingers forever.. dried fruit esters lend another layer of complexity.

I had high hopes for this one, but sorta was expecting to be let down... but I am very happy to report, I was wrong.. not as viscous most of it's more famous brothers .. the carbonation may be a touch on the high side.. but it is small bubble carbonation that helps lend a very lush mouthfeel.. This is a great beer... I wish we would have gotten more of it... I have a very good feeling that this is going to age like a real champion.

Huge thanks to Matt and the people at Big Sky who listened to me bitch about not getting this in... and a huge props to jjanega08 for appeasing an over aggressive trader :-) gracias Jozef.

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Photo of imperialbigswig
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I know my number look high here, but I don't love this beer as much as others that may have given a lesser rating. that being said, I really did love this and found it to be an unexpected treat!
The appearance was very dark, but this beer was all about the taste and smell. the vanilla, cherry and bourbon flavors were exceptionally balanced against the the notes of coffee and chocolate, although they were the more prominent aromas and floavors.
A very delicious and drinkable beer, wish it was available more often.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.85/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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Photo of jjanega08
3.07/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A= thick black color with a small tan head that leaves some sticky lacing behind
S= whew! Alcohol up front hard! There's the obvious burbon smell following with chocolate and coffee... mostly the burbon alcohol
T= deep coffee taste with a lot of chocolate. The alcohol burned my throat before the sip hit my mouth as I inhaled. Very little but some hop bitterness is detected
M= heavy and sticky
D= maybe the style isn't for me but it's a sipper for sure. Good representation of a barrel aged beer though. Unique
Bottle number 929

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Silver wrapped and capped 750ML bottle(number 280 of 1152) purchased from LiquorMax in Loveland Colorado.

This pours a near pitch black with just the lightest reddish hues shining through. The head of tannish foam is about 1 finger in size and there's some nice lacing here.

The smell has big notes of the bourbon with lots of dark chocolate and some dark fruit. The alcohol is there as well.

The taste...there's the chocolate, more of a cocoa taste actually, lots of sweet malty tones, a nice dose of dark fruitness most noticeable when I swish the beer in my mouth, a light but right amount of hop bitterness and, a light presence of bourbon; much less so than I figured there would be judging from the smell but it works nicely. Oh, except it *does* dominate in the finish. Perfect place for it, me thinks. Ok, the barrel aging becomes more of a factor as the brew warms up but it still isn't overpowering. The alcohol is there with some warming after the swallow but otherwise, I think it's hidden pretty well.

The mouthfeel is full, the carbonation is on the low side of medium, and it finishes, like I said, with a nice burst of bourbon and dark fruity goodness.

Drinkability? I put this one on the "dangerously drinkable" department. I can't believe how easy this one goes down and all I'm doing is taking small sips but they're very frequent sips. Delicious! Awesome job here Big Sky Brewing!

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Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a solid black body in the glass. Natural carbonation adds to the appearance of the ale, producing a long lasting foamy tan head. Snickers bar aroma with notes of chocolate, caramel, nougat, nuts, bourbon, vanilla, coconut and wood. Flavor is well balanced, sweet, richly flavored. Finish is a touch short though. A nice ale all around.

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Photo of hellbilly
3.68/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle # 495/1152...

fairly black pour... walnut stained brown black color with a large spongy orange tinted light brown head. moderate trails of lace.

the aroma is surprisingly quite floral... mixed in are notes of sour fruit possibly cherries?, roast, brown sugar, chocolate and mellow bourbon spiciness and woody vanilla.

i pick up a lot of tartness on the palate (weird? maybe from the grain?). it also has a dusty oatmeal quality which combines with the aroma characteristics... there's a bit of ash, nuttiness and smokiness before a spicy vaporous finish. it's pretty well balanced and nothing really wants to jump out. the aftertaste is of mediocre bourbon. light to medium body with a strange gritty texture. it is however, not sticky and is creamy/ smooth enough to make enjoyable.

it's good and certainly much better when warm. but, there isn't anything about it to make it memorable or stand out.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Stub & Herbs in beer haven Minneapolis this past weekend. Served in a nifty half pint, beer was a smoky ebony with minimal head, light mocha lacing. Nose was not overpowering, anise, dark chocolate. Taste- not all that thick, medium bodied, relatively dry and well attenuated. Moderate roastiness and overally just easy drinking for a RIS.

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

Limited release barrel aged beer. Hand numbered bottles, only 1152 bottles were released. Very big Russian Imperial Stout, lots of vanilla aroma and flavor from the barrel. Very drinkable, one that would be great with a big cigar. Nice head. Goes down smooth. If you can find it get it. About $10 a bottle and well worth every penny.

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