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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

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

634 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 634
Reviews: 260
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 769
Gots: 203 | FT: 14
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: 634 | Reviews: 260 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of stakem
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

'10 bottle #3207/3800 poured into a snifter. The brew appears dark brown to black with a solid finger and a half of dark tan froth. The cap slowly recedes leaving fingers and string-like patches of lacing on the glass. Constantly rising bubbles support the cap. A light swirl revives a finger of froth back to the surface. Very visually appearing brew with some solid head retention for a brew of 10% strength. When held to the light, some brown clarity is seen around the edges.

The initial smell of this brew is pungent with dark fruits. Raisiny alcohol is the first thing I think of with more sniffs bringing out some notes of chocolate and tobacco. Oak is present along with a whiskey accent that really plays off of the fruity alcohol notes in the nose. Towards the back are some mellow vanilla scents that really draw you back into this. This is a fine smelling brew right here.

The taste has just as much dark fruited alcohol character as you would expect based off of the aroma. Raisins, dates, plums, prunes.. it all is here initially. As more sips are taking, a bit more focus draws away from the fruity alcohol and back to the dark roast of the grain. A flavor of semi-sweet chocolate mixes with some notes of coffee, oak, whiskey tobacco, earth and roasted grain. The aftertaste is lightly nutty that draws back into the flavoring of chocolate and whiskey infused dark fruits.

This is a medium to full bodied brew that really boasts a lively level of carbonation. It flirts with having just a bit too much fizz in the mouth. If you try to swirl it around, it quickly turns to nothing but froth in the mouth. Luckily, I would rather have it over-carbed than under since some swirling can help ease the bubbles out of solution. Regardless, this was a solid brew. It is something I would certainly enjoy again. Really no complaints here other than it really focuses a lot on the dark fruity aspects which I think for my taste was a bit much. The alcohol is masterfully integrated for 10%. It is there totally in flavor but does not carry with it the expected burn. Really well done offering.

stakem, Dec 13, 2011
Photo of barleywinefiend
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured a jet black with with good carbonation and a nice fluffy brown head. Nose is bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, wood, bourbon and booze, light smell of oats as well. Taste is roasted malt, oats, vanilla, oak, bourbon, well balanced for such a complex, big beer. Taste is best of the best and defines a Barrel aged RIS. I have had some good ones and Ivan the Terrible slain them all in every way. Mouthfeel is booze, vanilla, bourbon, cocoa, tobacco. Drinkability. Hell yeah. Nothing better IMHO. Musty try and worth the price.

barleywinefiend, Mar 27, 2010
Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -12.4%

duceswild, Feb 19, 2013
Photo of akorsak
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A foil-wrapped 750 mL capped bottle. Number 332 of 1,152 from the 2008 release.

A: The stout is a dark one (seems like a broken record for JD Blackbeerd, Blackbeerd and now this) that generates a rather thick, craggy tan head that laces extensively. The lace is rather surprising for a beer of this strength.

S: The nose starts off (cold) with an average combination of bourbon and stout. As it warms though, it really takes off. Vanilla and caramel appear, accentuating the sweetness. A lactic streak runs through the middle of, adding a creamy aroma. Stout elements are bold, strong with dark chocolate and roasted malts.

T: The stout is a wonder. The bourbon barrel has imparted a solid vanilla flavor, strong but not boozy or fusel. Behind it, the body of the stout offers up caramel, cocoa powder, chocolate, coffee and burnt toast. Oak has really taken the edge off of the stout, allowing the bourbon to leave a mark without knocking me out. As in the nose, a lactic flavor, milky and smooth, runs through the body, cutting into both the barrel and the stout. This beer is the winner of the evening, with a long finish that is silky smooth.

M: The mouthfeel combines the best of a barrel and a stout without the overloaded malts or boozy heat. A well done stout.

D: I knew that I should have purchased two bottles. Deuane's reaction to seeing the bottle made it worth the while though. A great barrel aged stout.

akorsak, Nov 16, 2009
Photo of mothman
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Pours 1/4 finger of tan head. Color is near black.

Aroma: Cocoa powder, bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, dates, dried fruits. Warming and rich.

Taste: Big cocoa powder again. Light chocolate. The bourbon is warming, but somewhat subtle. Has molasses flavors. Some other dry fruits as well. It shows some vanilla and caramel.

Mouthfeel: A bit fizzy, creamy, and warming. Medium to full bodied, but a bit higher amount of carbonation is present. Ends a bit dry and boozy.

Overall, a decent beer. It is warming which I like. The barrels are a bit subtle. I dig it, but it could have used less cocoa notes.

mothman, Oct 19, 2010
Photo of ejimhof
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

ejimhof, Dec 30, 2012
Photo of Huhzubendah
4.83/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan! I've wanted to try this beer for a long time.

2009 Vintage
Bottle 2223 of 3000.

A: Ivan the Terrible has an opaque black body. When held to the light, the beer is dark brown at the apex. There is about an inch of tan head that leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: This aroma is world class. Roasted malt and bourbon, hints of chocolate and coffee. Incredibly inviting.

T: Though not as amazing as the aroma, this beer is a pleasure to drink. It's extremely well-balanced, and the flavor is outstanding. The bourbon component is very present, but doesn't overpower the roasted malt or any of the other more subtle flavors.

M: Nice, thick feel. The 10% is not entirely disguised per se, but I certainly would not describe the beer as hot.

D: A pleasure to drink. I'm thankful for the opportunity to try it for the first time. I hope to have it again.

Huhzubendah, Sep 27, 2010
Photo of afsdan
4.75/5  rDev +11%

afsdan, May 21, 2014
Photo of Mebuzzard
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, Ivan the Terrible is far from terrible, unless terrible has become the new "bad".

Dark black, glossy pour. Shines a bit. Dark brown, mellow, sticky head. A touch more density would give it a 5--although I am stubborn on giving 5s

A dark chocolate and light coffee aroma develops around soft vanilla and some caramel. Booze isn't noticed at all. Some smokiness too.

A clamoring of flavors kind of melt into one. Vanilla and caramel seem to make dark, smooth chocolate. The coffee and some hops give it a bit of earthiness. Smoked meat and some woodiness. These are all bold flavors without aggressiveness. Very easy drinking for the size and abv. Would be (is) a great winter beer.

Mebuzzard, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of BillRoth
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

BillRoth, Aug 27, 2013
Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml Bottle
Capped/Silver Foil
Bottle 63 of 1152

Poured into a chalice a very nice black color, nice carbonation, very nice one-finger plus tan head, with lots of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some slight hops, oaky, fruity, nice bourbon notes. The taste is sweet, malty, slight hop note, oaky, very nice touch of bourbon, got alittle figs/raisins/plums going on here. Medium body. Very drinkable, this is one fine tasty RIS, highly recommended.

Wasatch, Jul 01, 2009
Photo of mdaschaf
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.

mdaschaf, Jul 24, 2011
Photo of brandoman63
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

brandoman63, Nov 28, 2011
Photo of John_M
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Graciously shared by Dyan tonight.

The beer pours a blackish brown with very good head retention and lacing. The nose is pretty incredible, showcasing dark chocolate, licorise, vanilla, light coffee and malt balls. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, but with some licorise and a touch of hoppy bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is long, soft and creamy, with almost a cask condtioning softness. Drinkability is pretty good, though you can tell the abv. is up there a bit. Regardless, this is very well made RIS from Big Sky brewing. Impressive.

John_M, Dec 05, 2010
Photo of rab53
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%

rab53, May 26, 2014
Photo of billab914
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 vintage bottle #636 out of 1152. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tasting glass. It poured a dark brown, pretty close to black in color with very little signs of carbonation or head.

The aroma has a big dark chocolate presence to it. It's very rich with a chocolate brownie like quality to it. I get some lighter bourbon qualities to it with some very nice vanilla notes to it. Some sweeter dark fruits seemed to come out a little more as it warmed. Great aroma, I loved how rich chocolate and vanilla notes came together.

The taste is very smooth with with some nice notes of dark chocolate, vanilla and bourbon all coming out. I get a little more of a woody oak presence in the finish. The bourbon is a little more reserved at this point but it still adds some very good complimenting flavors to it.

The mouthfeel feels thin with very low carbonation. The low carbonation hurts it and makes it feel a little watery and thin. I'm sure this is attributed at least partially to it's age.

Overall I thought it had some really great flavors to it. The bold chocolate was complimented very well with the bourbon and vanilla. The thin mouthfeel and lower carbonation hurts it some, but overall I thought it was a very smooth and flavorful beer.

billab914, Feb 08, 2012
Photo of Kelp
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Kelp, Oct 12, 2014
Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -6.5%

Zaphog, Jan 14, 2013
Photo of Bighuge
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black beer with a dense, tightly packed brown head. Hefty amounts of lace are dropped down as I drink. This smells really good. Chocolate, java, roast, coffee bean, bourbon, oak, vanilla bean.... Easy 5.0 here. Body is medium to medium-full. Beer is quite smooth and luxurious. Definite alcohol presence and the spiciness associated with it. Flavor is a lot of roast and chocolate and bourbon. Great combo. The alcohol smooths out a little as it warms, but is evident throughout the whole drink. Awesome beer overall.

Bighuge, Mar 11, 2010
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.

JohnGalt1, Jan 22, 2009
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2010 bottle, drank at the 2012 poker game between xmas and nye. Shockingly pours out black! Ok, this looks like your standard well built imperial stout aged in a bourbon barrel, it is deep, rich, thick and black, but leaves little in the way of head, lacing or retention. Aroma was dark bittersweet chocolate up front, some mildly boozy bourbon notes lying in wait underneath it.

Taste, here's where it really excels, reminds me of a stronger Central Waters bourbon barrel beer. You get the light bourbon toasted notes, coconut coming through stronger than your average bourbon barrel beer. Plenty of vanilla in their too, tastes like it could be Jim Beam, but far from certain.

Its mouthfeel is full bodied, its never hot, and relatively silky smooth. Slightest aged or old school british hops provide some nice balance to this. The oak is there, just in the right proportion to the other flavor components. Carbonation is low, but perfectly matched to allow everything to delicately envelope your palate. Maybe a dash of brown sugar to help keep any booziness from becoming a detraction.

This is a top notch bourbon barrel beer. Big Sky, with their ipa, trout slayer, slow elk, cowboy coffee and Ivan are all underappreciated beers. Now their kriek, ugh, that's an abomination, but you gotta like those odds!

Beerandraiderfan, Feb 04, 2013
Photo of KAF
3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

KAF, Jan 25, 2012
Photo of iL0VEbeer
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

iL0VEbeer, Mar 17, 2014
Photo of ShanePB
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.

ShanePB, Jul 20, 2011
Photo of HopHead84
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

4/28/2010

I was on my way home from the gym at 8:45 PM stinking of sweat and iron and about to eat a meal of boneless skinless chicken breast and brown rice when I felt an unmistakable sensation: the call of Advocacy. I quickly checked the web browser on my phone. Sure enough, there was a keg of Ivan the Terrible in distress at Stone. "Someone may already be there Advocating it" I mused, "though...it's best not to leave these things to chance." And so it was, I found myself heeding the call of Beer Advocacy and putting aside all prior obligations.

The beer appears very Stouty, with a dark color and a billowing light brown head. The thing takes forever to recede.

The nose on the tap version is every bit as magical as the bottle I advocated a few months back. The beer reeks of bourbon and dark chocolate. It's like a dark chocolate bourbon brown sugar cookie. A light roasted malt presence is perceivable. Notes of vanilla linger in the background with caramel and a little oak. The flavor is boozy bourbon chocolate with a restrained roast and a light caramel presence. Every bit as awesome as it was from the bottle. The carbonation is at a moderate level and the mouthfeel is thick, sticky, and silky with alcohol warming. This beer is great.

HopHead84, Apr 29, 2010
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 634 ratings.