Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged - Big Sky Brewing Company

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged

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BA SCORE
95
world-class

268 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 268
Hads: 752
rAvg: 4.29
pDev: 8.86%
Wants: 799
Gots: 254 | FT: 20
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: 268 | Hads: 752
Photo of Overlord
4.47/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oddly enough, very similar to the Parabola I had just an hour or so before.

Pours black, with dark foam edging. No real head at all.

Smells like vanilla, bourbon, dark roasted chocolate, and caramel. INteresting.

Tastes surprisingly bourbon-y, with rich vanilla, and a kind of oatmeal/roasted malt background. The aftertaste has some sort of dark fruit, but just a bit. Really more of a double stout than a RIS in its flavor profile.

Pretty darn good. Mouthfeel could use just a tad more body, but nicely viscous. (520 characters)

Photo of mcallister
4.07/5  rDev -5.1%
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. (517 characters)

Photo of wagenvolks
4.92/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle shared by midaszero at a tasting.

Ivan pours with a Terrible pitch black body, opaque as limousine windows. A fluffy cookie dough-colored head rests comfortably atop the blackness, superbly retained and mottled with large bubbles. Viscous brown liquid cascades downward through the foam with each sip. The aroma brings a spicy hop profile balanced by milk chocolate candies, caramel toffee, and a slight hint of peppery, oaken funk.

On the first taste, the palate is coated with dark Baker's chocolate and vinous, port-like tannins. Lots of fudge and vanilla bean with a hint of heat from the barrel-aging. Incredibly smooth and subtle for a 10% Russian Imperial Stout. Mouthfeel is creamy and chewy, with a viscously thick finish. Never syrupy, and packs just the right amount of roast and bitterness from earthy hops to keep it drinkable. An overall fantastic beer. After being completely "wow-ed" by Ivan two times straight, my mission is clear: I need more! (977 characters)

Photo of nrbw23
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | 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.

O- A very solid brew that I'd recommend to everyone to try. (564 characters)

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is a very solid -bal aged RIS. I'm trying not to pump this style (which is my favorite) up too much these days though, and while this was a very good example, it wasn't quite an outstanding one, so an A- sounds about right. (829 characters)

Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev -7.2%
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. (357 characters)

Photo of n2185
4.4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle

A: pours black with three fingers of dark tan head that recedes into a thin cap with decent lacing.

S: roasted malts up front with some coffe notes. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon aromas bring up the finish, but aren't overwhelming.

T: again, roasted malts up front with some light robust coffee flavors. Creamy vanilla flavors follow along with oak and sweet bourbon. It's surprsingly smooth with no real alcohol presence. The finish has some more roasted malt characters with a light bitterness.

M: thick body with a good amount of carbonation. It manages to be creamy at first with a nice bit of carbonation that goes surprisingly well with all of the flavors.

O: a very good beer. This beer was better than I expected. The bourbon is present, but not overwhelming. It still tastes like a stout after the barrel treatment. I love the body of this beer, too. It's creamy, but has a surprising amount of carbonation that somehow works very well with everything else. Definitely one of the better bbal beers out there. (1,030 characters)

Photo of seeswo
3.7/5  rDev -13.8%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Bruery snifter. I'll comment on the appearance at the end. Smell is dark fruit, roasted malts, vanilla, oak, and a touch of coffee/chocolate. The flavor is the big combination of the dark fruit, bourbon and the roasted flavor of the malts and coffee. Lesser so is the specific vanilla and oak. The nose and the flavor come together pretty well to make a quite nice -bal imperial stout. The mouthfeel and appearance will be bundled together in failure. Slurping its way out of the bottle was something that could be best described as a beer oyster, plopping its way into the glass. The shape and texture were of an oyster, with a brownish color. After snagging and poking this thing, I decided to give it a taste - sugarless chocolate and bland cocoa, basically. It was really gross to see this thing plop into a glass and it was relieving to find out that it was an ingredient in the beer and not something else. Either way, it is impossible to positively rank the mouthfeel and appearance given the cocoa oyster we received. (1,039 characters)

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.63/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

We cracked open a 2010 vintage bottle (limited edition #3087 of 3800) poured into a tulip glass. What a special treat! Poured dark black-brown with a frothy medium creamy off-white head with sticky lacing that lasted throughout. The aroma and flavor balances well between esters of dried fruit and roasted cocoa with a slight oaky bourbon presence. There was subtle coffee notes throughout and some alcohol heat. Some vanilla was detected. Smooth and silky bodied beer with a nice finish. Excellent brew! (504 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
4.01/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

D: In both the nose and taste, this beer reminded me of the 50/50 Eclipse (Elijah Craig) and even BA Blackout. I prefer both to this beer, but it's in the same conversation. As far as barrel-aged imperial stouts go, this one is solid but not top-tier. (1,620 characters)

Photo of thekevlarkid
4.63/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Out of hand-numbered bottle # 356 of 1152 this RIS was an opaque black color. The head was a full three-fingers of dark tan foam that retained excellently as a cap and left lacing in sticky curtains. Impressive looking! The aroma was dry and complex, wood, nuts, roasted malt, chocolate malt. The flavors were equally complex and on-point, a notable sweetness of molasses, lots of chocolate, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit esters, hints of smoke and a pleasant bitterness on the finish. As it warmed the dark fruit esters became better pronounced and really paired nicely with all the chocolate it presented. I was actually blown away by how enjoyable the palate was; if I'd known what a gem it was I would have mined more out of Santa Fe where I found it! The mouthfeel was rich and silky, the body full and the carbonation delicate. One of the best RISs I've had and a joy to drink one of the first bottles of this ever produced. (932 characters)

Photo of rye726
4/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Bill for the chance to try this one. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a oint glass at room temp. Pours dark brown, near black with atan head. Nose is roasty with some very faint barrel notes. Needs more barrels. Medium body. Not quite what I was expecting, but a decent stout. (282 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
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. (1,700 characters)

Photo of gatornation
4.35/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-pours a dark thick black color with a large mocha head with nice streaking lacing
S-bourbon,chocolate,vanilla,wood and chocolate
T-nice BA of bourbon and wood that compliments the base beer notes of vanilla and wood mix in with caramel chocolate
M-smooth a touch thin with above average carbonation
O-tasty BA stout was impressed with how tasty this was would buy this again for sure (388 characters)

Photo of Onenote81
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
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. (903 characters)

Photo of Bierguy5
3.95/5  rDev -7.9%
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. (467 characters)

Photo of aerozeppl
4.6/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to dmeadows for the share on this 2008 bottle a little while ago.

A: Mostly jet black with a touch of cola around the edges of the glass. About a inger and a half of mocha colored head with some lacing.

S: Nice bourbon note. Big oak component. Vanilla and chocolate. Really quite nice. Not so much roasty but a little bit.

T: The bourbon and vanilla/oak are really done well in this beer. The chocolate is a nice touch but always stays in the background. The bourbon is so clean. Really well done. Curious as to how much time this had in the barrels because it got everything good without the heat and booziness.

M: Creamy. Little bit on the heavier side without ever becomming overbearing.

D: I really enjoyed my nip of this. Would have this again in a heartbeat. One of the best examples of a bourbon aged stout I have ever had hands down. (853 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
4.21/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage. Corked and caged 750ml green glass bottle. #2263 of 3800.

Served slightly cooler than cellar temperature in a tulip glass.

Ivan the terrible is a deep brown color, black in the glass, with thick off white head. It has good retention for an aged strong ale.

Aroma is evident from a distance. It is a combination of dark malts, bourbon, vanilla, and red wine.

Flavor is bold too with a balanced combination of the elements mentioned above. The stout is actually the most forward flavor which is unusal for a barrel aged beer. Many times the bourbon overwhelms.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and nicely carbonated.

It may be slightly oxidized but is still enjoyable. A well made barrel aged stout from a small Montana brewery. An unexpected surprise. (762 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.15/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL corked and caged bottle - hand-numbered 517 of 3000, 2009 edition - courtesy of a very generous trader up in Idaho. Many thanks! Poured in to a snifter for review #1100.

Appearance: This one was split between two snifters to accommodate the volume (and the other glass was given to a fellow BA). My snifter - the larger of the two, naturally - initially showcased a brilliant finger-tall crown, perfectly cocoa-hued, and with perfectly poor retention. On the other hand, my fellow merrymaker's snifter showcased a similarly constituted head that remained so constituted on in to the evening. A magnificent tall, dark, and creamy mass, the cap was consistently and quickly replenished by bullets of effervescence zipping upwards en masse up the sides of the snifter. My snifter showcased similar carbonation, but I suppose the quality of my pour (or the aperture of my vessel) was different enough to alter the retention pretty profoundly. Regardless, my snifter still showcased a thick, sudsy collar and a nearly uniform surface dusting. Lacing on the sides of the glass is what one would expect from a barrel aged beer of this style and abv%. We'll split the baby and call it a 4.5. Very nice.

Aroma: Waves of dark malts are absolutely decadent, but nonetheless heavily toasted. The malts are deep, showcasing flame-kissed toffee, toast, full roast coffee, bittersweet cocoa, and hints and kisses of char and smoke. The fruity notes are quintessential English RIS - cherries (both sweet and slightly tart), dates, and raisins, as well as a few spicy hop notes that mingle well with the slight but earthy bourbon notes here. The aroma reminds me of a slightly less fudgy (and less intense - duh) Black Tuesday. Splendid.

Taste: Intense and varied, but not without its drawbacks. Toast, caramel, bittersweet cocoa, and blackstrap molasses intermingle with a slew of dark fruits, as well as a few lighter and tarter notes, ranging from raisins on the heavy end to nectarines on the light end, and everything (cherries, peaches, grapes, a faint figgy tartness, and even a soupcon of berry). Hints of vanilla and leather emerge to meld with an ever-increasingly pungent bourbon presence. The bourbon is surprisingly mellow at the outset, and this beer isn't really about the bourbon - it merely adds a few spicy, rye-like, earthy, and lighter caramelized sugar notes.

Mouthfeel: Slight disagreement between my fellow imbiber and I here. Her snifter contained a rather flat, creamy beer, and mind a zippy, thinned-out beer. I can't split the baby here, unfortunately, as neither is the ideal, though - having tasted both - I liked mine a little more, even if it is lacking somewhat. A barrel aged beer will already be thinned out somewhat by aging and spirit additions, and an overcarbonated mouth can make it feel even lighter and less creamy - not what you want in a beer that's supposed to be showcasing flavor notes that are traditionally associated with adjectives like "creamy," "velvety," and "sleek." I'll revisit it as the carbonation dies down. And it does get a little better, but not terribly much. This beer's weakest component.

Drinkability: A pretty excellent beer, though not without its flaws. This tastes like a small craft brewery beer, though, and you gotta love that - an authentic RIS, made with American toasty malts and English hops, with a not-too-overpowering barrel presence ... what's not to like? This one's definitely a treat though (not that you could, Big Sky, but don't put it in 6-packs!) - it made a good #1100, and I'd be happy to have it again from time to time ... maybe paired with some robust, creamy cheese or some dark Belgian chocolate ... but not too often. I think this would be a true world class beer if it were tweaked ever so slightly, particularly the carbonation. (3,821 characters)

Photo of inlimbo77
3.36/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

750ml, 2012 2536 of 4200
Lost Abbey TEKU

A: Dark brown. Seems like a lot of carbonation. Tight bubbled light tan head. Sticky lacing.

S: Tartness is there. Smells fishy. Don't know if it's full on infected, but not getting the normal vanilla and bourbon hints that I was expecting. Dark fruit. Some minimal roast character.

T: This is possibility infected.

M: Full bodied. (376 characters)

Photo of hardy008
4.73/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Limited Edition 338 of 3000.

Dark black with a 3 finger head which looks like a chocolate milk shake. Very nice retention and lacing. The aroma has bourbon, vanilla, cocoa, dark fruit, and roasted coffee, Very nice.

The flavor is just like the aroma. Bourbon, vanilla, cocoa, dark fruit, roasted coffee blend together beautifully, and make for an outstanding beer. A very nice sweet beer.

The mouth feel on this is very nice. Proper carbonation, smooth, almost like velvet. Sweet, medium bodied, and a pleasure to drink. The alcohol is detectable, but not overbearing. A very nice beer. (594 characters)

Photo of alleykatking
4.2/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 750ml bottle. Thanks to VinnieVanGogh for splitting this bottle with me. I cant't believe you just found this in some random store.

A- Pours a pretty much black color. Hints of darker brown when held to the light. Two finger dark mocha colored head shows medium retention. Head caps the beer and leaving some light streaks of lace on the sides of the glass.

S- Chocolate notes in the front of the aroma blend with a straight-forward vanilla scent. Hints of oak barrel come through next with some charred coffee notes. Bourbon only really sneaks up in the ending aroma. Licorice and light darker fruits come up in the ending with a light alcohol heat to tingle the nose.

T- Darker fruits start off this wonder beer. Plum, fig and light darker cherry come through and mix with a hint of vanilla. The vanilla gets bigger toward the middle of the beer. Barrel notes in the middle with a light caramel sweetness. The middle also shows a light coffee roast as well. The ending shows chocolate with a light vanilla hint to it. Roasted malt does show in the ending along with a warming bourbon alcohol flavor.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little on the light side I thought for the beer. Darker fruits, chocolate, oak, and hints of coffee are left on the palate. Aftertaste is bourbon like alcohol heat, oak, roasted malts and light chocolate. Flavors were blended very well with the style in mind. No off flavors were present while drinking this one. Medium alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This beer was a beast. By the end of the my part of the beer it seemed like my palate was hurting. A little more lively carbonation would have done wonders for this beer. The ABV does show a little in the front of the beer and by the ending it was crushing. The alcohol heat warmed the belly making this beer a nice wintertime drink. I will be looking for this beer in the future but want to make sure I let this one sit a bit before cracking open. (1,961 characters)

Photo of Phelps
4.3/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of 890 of 3000. 2009 edition.

Looks pitch black and inky, topped by a one-finger head of creamy foam the color of wet sand. Later recedes to a bubbly ring, some film. Jagged forks of lace.

Well, this is definitely sweet and boozy. There's lots of bourbon, ripe melon, honey, oak and vanilla extract.

The flavor is full of roasted marshmallows, prunes, cocoa, red wine, raisins and molasses. The bourbon is smooth, subdued and nicely integrated. It's sweet coming in, but everything balances out upon the swallow. The only detractor is that I don't feel the alcohol as much as I taste it. There's a lot of ethanol in here.

My tongue is tickled by a light carbonation while my nose is warmed by some alcohol heat. The feel is smooth and velvety, and fizzes up only slightly as it moves about.

Too easy to drink. It's definitely boozy, but the sweetness makes it go down easy. I could probably finish an entire bottle myself. That said, I have a second bottle for aging, but I can't imagine this beer improving much. I'll drink the second bottle soon, this time paired with some vanilla ice cream. Yum. (1,116 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.28/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into nonic pint glass. This beer followed a 2012 Bourbon County Stout which made for a tough act to follow, but it held its own, despite not being quite as good.

The pour produces a cream-colored head that quickly dissipates into a thin lace atop the liquid. Below is an opaque, pitch black liquid that looks like a winter walk in a deep forest. It's almost intimidating.

I was expecting more from the smell, especially after the BCBS, so I had to ding some points here. The bourbon notes aren't nearly as potent, nor is the oak, although I detect both.

I was pleasantly surprised by the taste on this brew, as I found a lot of the good notes that I had enjoyed in the BCBS. The bourbon and oak remained, but the beer's sweet malts showed up, as did vanilla, toffee and coffee. I enjoyed it.

The drinkability was there too, as this was really smooth and creamy. The body was much lighter than BCBS, but like that beer, there was no booze presence.

I would certainly drink this again, although we followed this beer with the Oak-Aged Yeti which costs about six bucks less and is a bit better, so for the price, this beer may not make the cut despite being damn good. (1,195 characters)

Photo of spoony
4.25/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the West End in Boulder during the November Big Sky tap takeover into a pint glass.

A-My glass arrived with a half-finger of dense mocha-colored foam. Retention was good as the foam lasted for quite a while. The head left some good lacing, too, which is surprising given the ABV. The brew was nearly black and opaque in the glass.

S-The aroma was rich with lots of heavily roasted malts, light char, some dark chocolate flavor, and a good bit of milk chocolate-y sweetness. It is not mind-blowing or terribly complex, but the balance is impressive here with all of the right stout flavors in the right amounts.

T-The taste follows the smell pretty closely with lots of heavily roasted malt flavors (some caramel peeks through), and a balancing dose of sweetness. Again, the balance is nice.

M-The feel is moderate for the style with bit of chewiness and average to below average carbonation.

O-This is a well-balanced and drinkable RIS. The alcohol is integrated nicely and the balance of flavors is pretty impressive. In a world of barrel-aged this and coffee-infused that, it is nice to drink a beer like this every now and again to remind you that an RIS that is put together correctly can be a pleasure to drink. (1,232 characters)

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 268 ratings.