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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.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

700 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 700
Reviews: 265
rAvg: 4.27
pDev: 10.54%
Wants: 793
Gots: 245 | 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%

Imperial stout aged 4 months in freshly dumped American oak Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels.

65 IBU
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
to view all ratings, reviews and sorting options.
Ratings: 700 | Reviews: 265
Photo of chippo33
3/5  rDev -29.7%

Photo of Rhettroactive
3.71/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

From 750mL bottle to snifter on 2/4/12
*From notes

-- Thanks, Bill --

*I think we determined this was a 2008 vintage, bottle 636 of 1152

A: Not the best looking beer I've ever poured. Hearty brownish, and on a standard pour, I get a meager head that's not even .25 fingers. No lacing and the tiniest damn collar you've ever seen.

S: Chocolate chip cookies, raw cocoa and a touch of charred wood.

T: Solid. Packed from jowel to jowel with warm dark chocolate, mature bourbon, vanilla and a touch of grassiness.

M: Jesus is this thin. It's lacking carbonation in the worst way. In fact it's so thin that it negatively affects the flavor profile, therefore kncoking it down a peg. This is hands down the low point of a fine beer.

O: I don't know what happened with the feel of this beer, but it really took away from the entirety of the experience. If you can look past it's flaws, Ivan's an above average BA RIS. Here's to hoping that the later vintages have better quality control and balance.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
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.

Photo of beertunes
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of LiquidAmber
4.62/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Lucifer snifter. Pours a dark, dark black with a chocolate colored head and nice lacing. Delicious bourbon and toasted malt aroma with a hint of chocolate. Intense oak and bourbon and dark and toasted malts. Vanilla, coffee and more oak middle and finish. Kinda boozy, which which lowers the score and should improve with aging. Medium bodied with some creaminess. On second taste, the alcohol is so firey and overwhelming, I down graded this one by a point. I hope it mellows with age. The positive elements are excellent, but it's covered with a pure alcohol burn. 2012 update: I was lucky enough to stumble on a fresh bottle of the current Ivan. The aroma and taste is similar, but the booziness noted in the earlier review is well covered by the flavor in this version. A nicely balanced and well made RIS, that I will revisit whenever it's made; score for taste adjusted upward.

Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%
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.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.36/5  rDev +2.1%
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!

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.65/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle #948/3800

Poured into my Duvel Tulip glass.

A - Pours a deep dark black with a huge dark tan head. Great retention and tons of lacing left on the glass.

S - Strong chocolate and coffee, some slight booze pokes through at the end.

T - Fizzy explosion of coffee, chocolate, malts, hops, and bourbon.

O - The cork broke while opening so I had to use a wine opener, it made me nervouse, but all is good. A wonderful RIS, and I hope to score more in the future.

Photo of Duff27
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of kscaldef
4/5  rDev -6.3%

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.5/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Gobzilla
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark as night black in color with a thin dark brown bubbly head that left some good creamy frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: definitely had some a lovely chocolatey aroma with a bit of roast, tobacco blunt wrap notes, signs of bourbon barrel booze with hints of dark fruits, molasses, toffee, and brown sugar sweetness.

T: It had a nice dark chocolatey base with good roastiness, good bourbon barrel character but well balanced booze heat, a touch of dark fruitiness, tobacco blunt wrap accents alongside toffee, molasses and vanilla sweetness.

M: the brew was full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a roasty, mild dark fruity, slightly boozy, bourbon wood barrel, sweet, rich and creamy finish.

O: definitely good as I thought it was going to be, a bit surprised on the tobacco character in it but it was still very good. Finally conquered this elusive beer.

Photo of Bitterbill
4.38/5  rDev +2.6%
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!

Photo of Brad007
3.81/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch-black with a thick and frothy brown head into my glass. Lots of foam, which I beleive is unusual for this style.

Lots of oak upfront followed by just a bit of roasted malt and cream. Not really a big fan of oaked beers but this isn't too strong.

Roasted malt, chocolate and cream mingle with oak flavors. Again, oak flavors are strong but not as strong as if this beer were fresher.

Lingering oak and roasted malt at the back of the throat. Not much else. Not as much of a bite here.

It's a decent example of the style. Received it in a trade and it's been sitting in my fridge for months. Not bad.

Photo of AlexFields
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of THECPJ
4.25/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of dirtylou
4/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on-tap, brouwers

appearance: served in a 12oz nonic, rich dark chocolate body, very light mocha cream

smell: rich dark chocolate, sweet booze soaked dark fruit, bourbon, molasses

taste: Perhaps leftover from back-in-black, or maybe a new arrival - regardless, figured I would go ahead and tick this one off the list. This is a really big stout with a heavy sweetness - molasses, dark fruit, bourbon, oak, coffee, coconut, undertones of orange peel and citrus hops

mouthfeel: heavy, hot and sweet

overall: solid stuff - but not something to shell out high dollar for a 750

Photo of eawolff99
4.5/5  rDev +5.4%

Photo of jrallen34
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Tasting with AgentZero...I drank this from a 750ml bottle into my Rochefort glass...The beer is dark black with some really nice head. At least two fingers of light tan head, decent retention and lacing...The aroma is super sweet on the front, tons of caramel, vanilla and bourbon. Light alcoholic finish...The taste is super sweet, almost to sweet to be very drinkable. Tons of vanilla and bourbon, not enough coffee or body or bitterness...Sweet and easy to crush, but would you want to??

Photo of claspada
4.24/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2009 Limited edition; Bottle 780 of 3000. Courtesy of hoppymcgee, a gentleman and a scholar.

Man that cork was really in there. Pours a Coca Cola dark dark brown with no visible light what so ever. A small brown inch of head that slowly recedes leaving thick soapy lacing.

Aromas begin with dark bitter bakers cocoa and some lesser milk cocoa chocolate bar. After the initial cacao smells I get the barrel; vanilla, bourbon, light nuttiness and generic wood. Roasted, mildly charred dark malts intermingle with the barrel and some lesser sweet chocolate/dark fruit.

The tastes explode with so much flavor I am at a loss for words initially. First I get loads of dark chocolate, then vanilla and light bourbon, then some dark dark dried fruit (prunes/raisins), then some sweeter milk chocolate and the light oak rounds out the flavor profile. Barrel flavors become more predominant as it warms as expected. No boozy or alcohol flavors at all. Barrel flavors perfectly balance the viscous stout flavors. The base stout isn't too roasty or bitter as some Russian Imperial Stouts can tend to be.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with medium to low carbonation. Surprisingly drinkable with the above mouthfeel characteristics, the beer drinks rather light (for the style); I am attributing that to this being only (only...) 10%ABV compared to the higher ABV-ed monsters that exist today.

Overall, this is definitely top 5 Stouts/Barrel-aged stouts I have ever had. This beer is once again a winner for me because it fits the criteria that I love which is balance. The barrel doesn't overpower but is definitely still a strong presence. The drinkability is off the charts in that I could finish the whole 750ml if I wanted/had to. Highly recommended and worth seeking out.

Photo of xnicknj
4.33/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 and 2010 bottles poured into tulip glasses. this review is based on the 2010

Pours an inky blackness with a nice fluff of browned head. Retains nicely, leaving sticky lacing on the glass while drinking, with a dark collar around the edge.

Lovely bouquet of oaky bourbon and vanilla, riddled with brownie and chocolate cake. Roasted malts and warmth infiltrate the senses. Oh boy.

Sticky sweetness up front tempered by a thick roasty malt profile. Dark and assertive with oak and bourbon driving the barrel character. Cocoa powder and booze soaked brownie with some vanilla tones. Finishes very warm and a bit sweet, but not overwhelming.

Full body, decent carbonation, sticky and chewy on the mouth. A damn good barrel aged stout, I hope I get to try this again sometime soon.

Photo of BGsWo22
3.25/5  rDev -23.9%

Photo of enelson
4.75/5  rDev +11.2%

Photo of DefenCorps
4.2/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

podunkparte was generous enough to send me a couple of bottles of the 2009 vintage of this. I shared one, bottle #1947/3000 , with John last night.

Pouring jet black with a dense, dark brown head with excellent retention and lacing, this is an attractive imperial stout. The nose is unique in the pantheon of imperial stouts. There's plenty of dark fruit and an almost port-like character. Very fruity with plums and raisins, there's a moderate milk chocolate, some vanilla and licorice. That port character brings to mind one of my favorite stouts, Kate the Great. Bourboon is rather light, there's just a little bourbon and vanilla present. Pretty excellent.

The palate opens moderately sweet with a little caramel, a little sugar, some licorice. A little vanilla is present as well. Again, a port-like sweetness and fruitiness is present, there's raisins and a little oxidation is present. Roasted malt character is low. Mildly sweet on the finish with also a little cola, there's a rather low but perceptible bourbon and oak character. Soft and creamy carbonation is present, this feels wonderful on the palate. Excellent stuff, I do wish there were a little more roast present.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 700 ratings.