1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Ivan The Terrible Imperial StoutIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout

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

613 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 613
Reviews: 259
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.51%
Wants: 770
Gots: 196 | FT: 13
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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 613 | Reviews: 259 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of CuriousMonk
CuriousMonk

Virginia

4.68/5  rDev +9.3%

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!

12-01-2011 22:14:57 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of oglmcdgl
oglmcdgl

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -6.5%

01-28-2013 02:24:17 | More by oglmcdgl
Photo of jegross2
jegross2

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

05-02-2013 04:26:31 | More by jegross2
Photo of hoppymcgee
hoppymcgee

Connecticut

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

01-22-2012 05:33:01 | More by hoppymcgee
Photo of Bierguy5
Bierguy5

Ohio

3.95/5  rDev -7.7%

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.

04-14-2009 11:19:42 | More by Bierguy5
Photo of jampics2
jampics2

Ohio

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

01-21-2013 15:09:05 | More by jampics2
Photo of aerozeppl
aerozeppl

New York

4.6/5  rDev +7.5%

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.

02-18-2010 14:44:31 | More by aerozeppl
Photo of Adamostella
Adamostella

Washington

4/5  rDev -6.5%

05-13-2012 18:16:47 | More by Adamostella
Photo of 2beerdogs
2beerdogs

California

4/5  rDev -6.5%

11-10-2013 16:49:24 | More by 2beerdogs
Photo of CrellMoset
CrellMoset

Virginia

4.13/5  rDev -3.5%

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.

09-22-2010 21:30:06 | More by CrellMoset
Photo of inlimbo77
inlimbo77

Delaware

3.33/5  rDev -22.2%

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.

10-15-2013 17:47:10 | More by inlimbo77
Photo of Phelps
Phelps

Arizona

4.33/5  rDev +1.2%

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.

12-06-2010 05:00:24 | More by Phelps
Photo of MinorThreat
MinorThreat

Nebraska

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

01-07-2013 03:40:39 | More by MinorThreat
Photo of jzeilinger
jzeilinger

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev -6.5%

03-09-2014 01:39:06 | More by jzeilinger
Photo of HopStoopid120
HopStoopid120

Connecticut

5/5  rDev +16.8%

11-16-2011 05:17:34 | More by HopStoopid120
Photo of SpdKilz
SpdKilz

Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

05-22-2013 13:28:52 | More by SpdKilz
Photo of baybum
baybum

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

04-29-2013 16:55:10 | More by baybum
Photo of alleykatking
alleykatking

Indiana

4.22/5  rDev -1.4%

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.

05-06-2011 04:44:06 | More by alleykatking
Photo of Onenote81
Onenote81

North Carolina

4.18/5  rDev -2.3%

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.

06-07-2011 01:54:09 | More by Onenote81
Photo of Herky21
Herky21

Iowa

4/5  rDev -6.5%

06-30-2014 23:37:49 | More by Herky21
Photo of trxxpaxxs
trxxpaxxs

New York

4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

A: Pours a pitch black with one full finger of khaki colored head. The foam fades fairly quickly Nice puffy top on the beer, really nice lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is raisin, dark chocolate, caramel, bread, and yeast. I get a touch of soy, but the other scents dominate. Mostly raisin and chocolate.

T: It starts of sweet with raisin, bred, and mild caramel. The middle is dark chocolate, yeast, and malt. This beer is legit solid. Milky sweet, chocolaty, nice flavors.

M: Full bodied beer. It's velvety smooth from start to finish. The flavor transitions are nice, and it's a bit chewy in the finish.

O: Really nice beer. I'd drink this again if given the opportunity.

08-08-2013 20:52:58 | More by trxxpaxxs
Photo of schnarr84
schnarr84

Alberta (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

04-07-2014 06:24:23 | More by schnarr84
Photo of GilGarp
GilGarp

Colorado

4.21/5  rDev -1.6%

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.

01-05-2014 02:24:57 | More by GilGarp
Photo of n2185
n2185

North Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +3.5%

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.

11-12-2011 23:25:06 | More by n2185
Photo of bum732
bum732

Lesotho

4/5  rDev -6.5%

02-16-2013 20:53:20 | More by bum732
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 613 ratings.