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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout | Big Sky Brewing Company

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial StoutIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jegross2 on 05-23-2012

User Reviews
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Reviews: 92 | Ratings: 475
Photo of The-Adjunct-Hippie
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2015 on the bottle. Has this aged already?

Ivan The Terrible pours a dark motor oil black into my chalice leaving a muddy beige head (which no stout does in this chalice). 100% opacity, naturally, and lace is left as well. Great!

Aromas of coffee bean, smoke, bourbon soaked prunes, firewood, dark malts, a bit of molasses/black licorice.

A bit thin on the flavor, but mostly made up of roast malts, fusel alcohol, and charred wood. Light chocolate on the finish with some coffee acidity.

Feel is large, mouth-filling, and silky smooth. A dry bitter acid roast on the finish wraps things up.

Overall, there are many better stouts than Ivan The Terrible. However, it's not a total wash. I'd take more pronounced chocolate and roast malt flavors and less smoke. It is a huge beer - it just lacks in the flavor department.

Pro tip : if you drink this with some peanut butter on a spoon it actually pairs well I've found after writing this up.

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Photo of nawpnawp
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a nice creamy head. The nose is a nice malty backbone with hints of chocolate and molasses. I wasn't expecting much from this, but it exceeded expectations. The malty backbone and hops in this shine. It's not super hoppy or anything, but compared to other stouts, you can taste it since it isn't exorbitantly sweet. I'm really digging the malt character on this one. The mouthfeel on it is solid as well.

Overall, it has great characteristics and I think it is a fantastic example of a classic RIS. I am looking forward to getting a barrel aged version of it someday.

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Photo of ivehadthatbrew
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look (4.25): Barely jet black, slight brown/red hue around the edges. Nicely carbonated, tan head. Likes to cling to the edges.

Smell (4.25) Dark dried fruits, raisons, cherries and plum. Soy sauce, chocolate and coffee. Very earthy soil like tones. Not sure how I can tell from this point, but I think it's going to be more tannic. I need to look into how I'm relating this smell to a dry and bitter mouthfeel.

Taste (4.5): Fuck I love this. Raisons and cherries way up front. My palate is singing. Going more in depth, chocolate, bitter endings like coffee and earthy tones, like the ones I got in the aroma! Reminds me of coffee with sweet vanilla creamer.

Mouthfeel (4): An astringent tea like feeling and at the same time a creamy texture. Dry, medium plus bodied overall. Very light bodied for a Russian Imperial Stout, or at least for ones I'm use too. The finish goes on forever.

Overall (4.25): I'm very impressed. I'll be buying more of these guys. Same price as Narwhal by Sierra Nevada and just as good quality in my opinion, just a bit more approachable.

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Photo of Czequershuus
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours an inky black with a small but sustaining head with excellent lacing. The arom offers up plums, currants, raisins, dark chocolate, dark coffee, and figs. The flavor offers a bittersweet mix that focuses on dark chocolate and coffee, with hints of plum, fig, and cinnamon. The mouthfeel is full and rich without being overbearing. Overall this is a solid RIS. Maybe lighter than I have come to be used to, but it does not suffer in this regard.Better than the other major offerings from this brewery.

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Photo of Myotus
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured at 51°F from a 12oz bottle (2015) into a snifter. Consumed on 11Mar16.
LOOK: A fingers worth of cinnamon colored foam forms after being poured. At 20 seconds, the foam head changes color to khaki. The head dissipates into a quarter fingers worth within 1 minute. Black in color with an orange tint. No rising bubbles can be seen. Lacing is moderate in quantity and mostly thin with a few areas of thickness.
SMELL: Mild aromas of coffee, molasses, figs, plums, and sweet, dark cherries are backed by subtle vanilla, alcohol, campfire, bitter roasted malts, and bittersweet chocolate aromas.
TASTE: Mild campfire, molasses, figs, plums, and dark cherry flavors first enter onto the palate. Subtle bitter roasted malt, coffee, and vanilla flavors immediately follow as all initial flavors flavors grow slightly stronger. Subtle alcohol and bittersweet chocolate flavors lastly make their debut as all previous flavors persist, except for campfire, which grow even more slightly stronger.
FEEL: Full-bodied with hints of carbonation. Goes down incredibly smooth and creamy. Finishes with a mild dryness. A mild alcoholic warmth can be felt as it goes down the throat.
NOTE: A very mild Russian that I'm tempted to label as an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.83/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Dark brown/black pour with a slight mocha khaki colored head. Roast, char, tar, and a little coffee on the nose. Flavors of tobacco, roasted malt, licorice, and coffee abound in the taste. Medium feel but coats well and the abv is hidden well. Quite enjoyed this offering and I was pleasantly surprised. Cheers!

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Photo of dikebrewery
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very much enjoyed this stout. Smells of roasty almost burnt(in a good way) malt. A hint of coffee but not overpowering that I would call it a coffee stout. A little on the boozy side to me but I was able to handle it nicely so I won't knock it to much for that. This stout goes right up there with BBB, Founders and Zonkers As far as stouts that I've had. Cheers

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Photo of angrybabboon
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Consumed 2/27/16

Note: 2014 bottle (actually purchased late 2015)

A: Pours jet black with some dark brown around the edges - pours with a medium size, light tan head, fades to a wispy cap, retains a small collar, leaves some spots and streaks of lacing

S: Burly, as an RIS should be - roasty and lightly burnt - roasted malts, chocolate malts - range of chocolate aromas, dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, semisweet chocolate, touch of sweetness and milk chocolate - caramelized malts, molasses, toffee, dark fruits, black licorice, touches of vanilla - moderately sweet overall

T: Burnt, chocolaty, and lightly boozy - roasted malt, touch of burnt coffee, burnt malt, touch of char - dark chocolate, baker's chocolate, semisweet chocolate - dark caramel, caramelized malts, molasses, toffee - medium amount of burnt bitterness - black licorice - dark fruits, figs, plums - moderately sweet, with some lingering sweetness - medium bitterness - some alcohol heat

M: On the full side of medium, medium carbonation, burly with more than a touch of sticky sweetness and booze (even a touch too much for the style)

O: Ivan make you good gymnast

Ivan the Terrible is a very good IRS. There are some really nice chocolaty, roasty, and dark fruity notes. It could have more depth, particularly considering this has been unintentionally aged for over a year, but it's worth a try at the very least.

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Photo of vladdswrath
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep, dark chocolate, almost black. The head is the color of coffee foam, not huge but dense and laces like a champ. Aroma is coffee, brown sugar, dark cherry, black licorice and a bit of smokiness. All of the components in the smell are there in the flavor, but it isn't nearly as sweet as I expected, nor as burnt or boozy. It's rather smooth actually, and is an easy drink for having such a high ABV.

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Photo of vette2006c5r
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ivan the Terrible pours a black color with a small lacing head. Nice black licorice aromas. Taste is very full, black licorice with a hint of bitterness. Good body and feel, and easy to drink. Overall, easy to drink full and smooth.

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Photo of BucannonXC5
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Type: 12-oz. bottle
Glass: AleSmith Barrel-Aged Reserve snifter glass
From: Botlecraft North Park in North Park (San Diego), Calif.
Price: $3.50
Purchased: Feb. 10, 2016
Consumed: Feb. 11, 2016
Misc.: 2015 vintage; Bottle read 280152, going with a bottled on date of Oct. 7, 2015 (FreshBeerOnly.com was not helping me out with this one); Underneath the bottle cap read “Beaverslide”

Kind of an impulse buy, probably because of just trying a Black Albert, but it recently piqued my interest after coming across it on Beer Advocate. First time I’ve seen it in San Diego as well, so I went with it.

Poured a black color with 1-to-2 fingers of fizzy, tan head, which thinned out rather quickly. Bad watery lacing on the sides of the glass. Bad retention all the way down. (Sight - 3.50)

Smelled dark roasted notes of caramel and toffee, chocolate, dark cocoa powder, dark chocolate milk, faint metallic notes, semi-burnt toast, toasted brown sugar, dates, raisins, hints of smoky licorice and some warming, booze late. (Smell - 4.50)

Taste was good, but not as good as the nose. Got sugary, thick chocolate, dark wet cocoa, roasted caramel, toasted brown sugar, sugary dark toffee, some smoky char wood, roasty coffee malts, molasses (wishful?), metallic notes, but not as much as the nose, and burnt licorice. (Taste - 4.25)

Full body. Sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, smooth finish. (Feel - 4.50)

A very good Russian Imperial Stout. Had a great one the night before and this one was almost as good. (Overall - 4.25)

4.29 | 95 | A

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Photo of BeerWithMike
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled this evening on 2/8/16. Comes in a 12-ounce bottle. Bottle chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured in to a "MOOSE DROOL" handled-glass stein.

Brew pours a pitch-black in color with close to a 3-finger foamy/creamy beige head. LOTS of ring-like lacing is seen with each sip that stuck to the sides of the glass. Aroma is of dark fruits, roasted malts and black coffee. More going on with the taste with some bitter-sweet chocolate and a hint of smoke also in the mix. Minor bitterness for the finish which is common for this style of brew but doesn't last long. Medium+ to full-bodied with perfect carbonation. More of a sipping type brew then a chugging one for sure. Slow down and and enjoy it. Overall a great brew!

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Photo of THSdrummer
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Pours a solid black, with a medium sized, creme head. Minor lacing left behind. Smoked malts and espresso form a delightful aroma. The espresso doesn't stand out, but plays along subtly. The taste a mix of roasted malts, espresso, and a slight bit of booze. It has a biscuit malt finish. Mouth feel is really good, although it feels a bit harsh in the carbonation. Still a pleasure to drink. Overall, this is a great stout. Fairly easy to drink with a good display of flavors.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

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Photo of arizcards
3.99/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from the Craft Beer Hop Stop on Veteran's Day for $2.99. Bottled on 10-13-15.

Beer poured black with a nice head initially but dissipated quickly.

Nose has hints of espresso, dark fruits, and smoked malts.

Taste is similar to the nose but the smoked malts lend an off flavor for me as opposed to complimenting the flavor. The beer is a tad sweet for smoke to enhance it.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied and smooth.

Overall a nice beer that represents the style nicely!

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Photo of draheim
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz into a tulip. Pours a deep rich brownish black w/ a 1-finger head.

Aroma is bitter dark roasted malt, coffee, chocolate. Similar to Yeti.

Taste likewise is a blend of dark roasted malt, bitter dark chocolate, and espresso. Just a hint of sweetness.

Mouthfeel is balanced, medium to full body. Drinkable.

Overall a solid imperial stout, highly drinkable.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

$3.39 single. Poured into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint.

Appearance: Pretty much a downside-up poor hard into the glass. Almost the whole beer got in. Awesome three finger head that slowly went down to about one and lingered. Lots of lacing. Pretty much pitch black with some ruby tinges to it. Freakin' beautiful.

Smell: Roasted malt, a little coffee, some caramel malt. Not much else to speak of here. No alcohol. Smells like a quality RIS.

Taste/feel: The feel feels... tap-like. Great silkiness to it -- almost like a nitro'd beer. A little on the thin side despite that, but I dig it for the most part. A slow-coming, light-to-moderate prickling carbonation. Maybe a touch on the thin side, but I'm liking it right now ... dat silky feel tho. For taste, a lot like the nose -- nothing extraordinary going on. Mostly a lot of roasted malt. Some dark fruit creeps in as it warms up, and the roast flavor plays games on the tongue... becomes a little coffee-like. Bittersweet finish. It comes off as very slightly metallic when the beer is really cold, but that fades as it warms.

Really nice beer at a pretty inoffensive price, I think. $3.39 for a bottle iis a pretty decent deal, I think. No, it's not as mouth watering as many of the more critically acclaimed RISs out there, and it's not as deep in terms of flavor, either. Still, it's a nice beer from Big Sky and I can see this definitely being a great candidate for bourbon barrel aging -- I'll be looking out for that beer when it's released. Until then, I'll enjoy this "Terrible" beer.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thoroughly enjoyed form the 12 oz bottle in a snifter via a friend from work----Thanks Randy!

This roasted monster pours a a deep blackish brown with an excellent head of brown foam that dissipates to a thick ring, thin pool, and excellent lacing. Nose of roasted grains, deep coffee notes, subtle cream, dark chocolate, and a touch char. Flavors exceed the nose with coffee and dark chocolate blending together on the front and sides with a touch of cream and toffee. Dark berries and raisins blend into the middle to back of the taste featuring black berry and a hint of blueberry that settle on the back with deeply roasted malts and subtle grain notes. Great mouth feel; lightly warming that belies the alcohol in this one. Mild to medium carbonation with a moderately bitter malt aftertaste that lingers and a lightly chewy background.
Excellence that is easy drinking----smooth yet beefy. This brewery deserves more recognition for making this deeply roasted beast so approachable.


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Photo of stevoj
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice and smooth RIS, does not come off as heavy and boozy as others in this category. Lots of cocoa, roast grains, mild sweetness, masks the ABV completely.

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Photo of jaredsmith83
3.89/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Black beer, light tan head on it that dissipated quickly. I picked up a good roast and hint of chocolate scent. Not overly boozy. It was a lighter Imperial stout and a very easy drinking beer. There was a decent boozy hit up front but it wasn't overwhelming with a bitter roast aftertaste mixed with espresso and coffee. Not the best I've ever had but far from the worst and one that I would drink again.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle poured into a tulip

A: Pours pitch black with a mocha colored, head retention was minimal, got a decent amount of lacing, not seeing much carbonation, looks a little thin.

A: Roasted malts, charred oakiness, dark fruits, espresso, alcohol is well hidden, smells pretty good.

T: Like the nose but subtle, roasted malts, charred oakiness, dark fruits, moderate amount of bitterness like espresso, alcohol is not noticeable on the taste making this a very drinkable beer. Aftertaste is of espresso and dark fruits.

M: A little lighter than I expected, could use some body, dry finish.

O: A solid imperial stout, has a nice touch of charred/smoky oakiness I’ve never tasted in an imperial stout. Lacks some body, but overall very drinkable. I probably will not seek out again, however, I would not refuse if offered.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3.5/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black pour with a one-finger dark brown head. Aroma of light bourbon and roasted malt. Taste has a bit of bourbon and cocoa upfront backed by slightly bitter roasted malt.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.59/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark black pour, dark brown head. Aroma of entirely roast.

Taste, leaned a little dark fruit bitter bdsa/ris for me. This is definitely an example of me wondering how they made the base beer so good when it went into barrels. Its better than average, but it really takes off when barreled. Too bitter, too much like an export stout for me.

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Photo of Ri0
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into chalice. Dark coffee brown with a cocoa colored 1.5 finger head. Retention is decent and the lacing is very fine webs and coats the glass. Rich, dark, intense maltiness with both bitter and sweet aromas of bakers chocolate and hints of coffee. Not quite as good as the nose, but enjoyable. Bitter malts and coffee flavor up front. I pick up some bakers chocolate in the middle. Finish is bitter with a big roasted malt flavor. It is medium bodied, smooth, somewhat creamy with a dry finish. A good RIS for the price.

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Photo of Zorro
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Black colored beer with a momentary brown head that promptly goes poof!

Smells fruity and strongly of grapes from a distance. Fairly boozy scent and t5he smell of brandy. Scents of chocolate and coconut, but not super strongly. Faint scent of licorice.

Starts out tasting of grapes and patent malt. Taste of brandy and a little chocolate. Slight berry flavor.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall an OK RIS.

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Photo of tzieser
4.46/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass (no tulip on hand, sorry proper glassware nerds!)

L: pitch black in color (completely opaque) with a thick eggshell colored head. The head on this beer never seems to quit. One of the best looking stouts I've seen in a while

S: rich, sweet malt aroma. suggestions of hot chocolate, roasted malt. Coffee. Alcohol is barley noticible in the nose. Quite nice

T: incredibly smooth. One of the smoothest Imperial Stouts I have ever had. Sweeter than I was expecting, lots of chocolate malt, dark chocolate, coffee, mocha, a bit of dried dark fruit in there as well. Finishes a little bitter, with roasted malts lingering. Excellent

M: mouthfeel is dry, inviting you to drink more

O: an outstanding imperial stout. Not too boozy or bitter. Well balanced for a beer of such high gravity. Well done!

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 92 ratings.