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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

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

655 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 655
Reviews: 260
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 10.77%
Wants: 778
Gots: 207 | FT: 15
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: 655 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours thick dark chocolate. Bittersweet chocolate aroma mostly. Above average mouthfeel of course and its chocolate and coffee. On the sweet side, drinkable to a point. Bourbon in the secondary, not slight rather significant.Good though not th best RIS I have had.

Sammy, Oct 18, 2009
Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

t0rin0, Aug 23, 2012
Photo of spycow
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

spycow, Jan 13, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.1/5  rDev -4%
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.

UCLABrewN84, Apr 09, 2012
Photo of djrn2
4/5  rDev -6.3%

djrn2, Feb 03, 2013
Photo of zestar
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

zestar, Aug 10, 2014
Photo of acurtis
4/5  rDev -6.3%

acurtis, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
4.58/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared with bmanning, Azurelimits, amyliz4, and hhanson at a recent tasting.

A: Pours a deep chestnut brown, bordering on black. Slight hints of crimson in the light.

S: Bourbon, oak, roasted malt, vanilla, and a bit of dark fruit.

T: The bourbon and oak really explode here atop the roasted malt. Excellent taste and much more than I expected. Nice undertons of vanilla and brown sugar.

M: Pretty full body with good carbonation and not much of any alcohol heat, especially considering all the wonderful flavors that came out of the barrel aging.

D: Incredibly drinkable. I don't know when the last time was that I had a barrel-aged beer drink so smoothly. Almost reminds me of BA Speedway in that regard. Something I'd love to get my hands on more of.

Thorpe429, May 03, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

nmann08, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Texasfan549
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Texasfan549, Jul 03, 2012
Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

GRG1313, Feb 11, 2013
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev -6.3%

kjkinsey, Jun 30, 2012
Photo of brentk56
4.43/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Limited Edition: Bottle 1088 of 3000

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a frothy tan head; leaves a film with some spots

Smell: Boozy, but a lot of complexity; with dark fruit (prune and raisin), bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and molasses

Taste: Opens with dark fruit, black bread and Bourbon flavors, with a developing roasty char, chocolate and molasses aspect that arrives by mid-palate; much fruitier after the swallow, with the prune and raisin flavors dominant

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of the top Bourbon barrel aged stouts out there; great complexity and balance

brentk56, Dec 25, 2010
Photo of BEERchitect
4.55/5  rDev +6.6%
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.

BEERchitect, Apr 05, 2012
Photo of Phyl21ca
4.98/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of roasted malt with light lactose and deep creamy black chocolate note is pretty much perfect. Light bourbon and vanilla notes are also perceptible. Taste is pretty much a perfect mix between some bourbon with creamy black chocolate notes, light lactose and light dry roasted malt notes. Body is full with perfect nice creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Wow, what a surprise this one was with perfect balance and not too much barrel-aging.

Phyl21ca, Dec 29, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

--Ivan Kozlof

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BuckeyeNation, Nov 22, 2009
Photo of jaydoc
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

jaydoc, Aug 20, 2013
Photo of mikesgroove
4.85/5  rDev +13.6%
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.

mikesgroove, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of womencantsail
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Popped the cork on this one to celebrate the successful presentation of my Senior Project this morning.

A: The pour is a very dark brown with a finger or two worth of khaki head that settles down to a thin layer.

S: The nose starts off with plenty of sweet chocolate and vanilla. The bourbon and oak definitely come through quite strongly as well, and as it warms, the alcohol becomes more noticeable.

T: Semi-sweet chocolate on the palate with some definite oak character, especially as the beer warms. Detectable bourbon and vanilla, but the beer itself really comes through. A mild roasted character, especially on the finish, but fairly sweet overall.

M: The body is medium with a smooth, low carbonation and a nice creamy mouthfeel overall.

D: For a -bal aged imperial stout, this is about as easy drinking as it gets. A nice beer to sip while enjoying today's earlier successes.

womencantsail, Nov 20, 2010
Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Knapp85, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

westcoastbeerlvr, Jan 09, 2013
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Apr 01, 2009
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%

SocalKicks, Oct 12, 2013
Photo of oberon
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 edition,bottle #945 of 3800
10%ABvV.

Poured into an imperial nonic near jet black,you had to hold it up to bright light to get a little ruddy hue at the bottom of the glass to get thru the pitch blackness.Toasted bourbon barrel hits upfront in the nose than some vanilla and alcohol dipped dark fruit,the roast is a bit subdued but its rich in the nose.Toasty with big bourbon notes on the palate but it doesnt overpower,lingering dark fruit and dark roast coffee does show thru.A little sharp in the mouthfeel,this beer would be off the charts with a fuller feel.A really good if not great imperial stout,so close...so close.

oberon, May 16, 2011
Photo of largadeer
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chswimmer opened this one. Thank you, Craig. 2009 vintage.

Ivan rests in the glass an impenetrable black with a light tan head that retains well for the style, and even leaves some scattered lacing behind.

The sweet whiskey aroma is huge, with a backing of caramel and chocolate, hints of black licorice. The bourbon barrel aroma is fantastic, displaying the sweet rich scents of a good whiskey without any harshness and very little noticeable alcohol.

Whiskey, caramel and chocolate hit the palate up front. It's medium-bodied, not extremely viscous but quite sweet and dessert-like. There's a lot of nuance behind the dominant flavors of caramel and chocolate; subtle anise, vanilla bean, roasted grain. Some mellow, pleasant heat lingers in the finish. Unexpectedly great, this holds its own against some of the better imperial stouts out there.

largadeer, Jun 13, 2010
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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 655 ratings.