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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
89
very good

141 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 141
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 3.95
pDev: 10.38%
Wants: 4
Gots: 34 | FT: 3
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: jegross2 on 05-23-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 141 | Reviews: 20 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, 2014 edition - nice to see another of this brewery's stronger offerings make it across the border.

This beer pours a solid, light-absorbing black, with rather spare basal cola edges, and two fingers of wanly puffy, tightly foamy, and duly creamy chocolate milk brown head, which leaves some crumbling ski hill snow mass lace around the glass as it slowly abates.

It smells of bready, meaty caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa powder, syrupy dark sugar, muddled black dried fruit, Nordic liquorice, sugary root beer, grainy caramel malt, and a stultifying whiff of aggressive alcohol. The taste is semi-sweet, gritty chocolate, bready caramel malt, a bit of dank and fleshy ash, still indistinct, but surely present black fruit, subtle dry coffee grounds, Zellers-quality black liquorice, tame earthy, weedy hops, and a well-restrained (for now) metallic booziness.

The bubbles are fairly understated in their tempered frothiness, the body an adequate medium-heavy weight for the style, and more or less smooth, a trite, kind of pithy creaminess straining to be noticed. It finishes surprisingly dry, the cocoa turning as such, while the malt maintains its disaffected stature, and the various other sundry characters play out their guest fees.

A generally engaging, but not particularly world-beating version of the style - lots going on, but a certain dissociative nature starts to become evident early on. And that clamminess just carries on and on, once it sticks to your palate. Yeah, ok but not something I care to immediately revisit, well-integrated ABV considerations aside.

Photo of IPAGeorge
4.21/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured form a bottle into a Sam Adams Perfect Pint

A. Pours a beautiful black as espresso impenetrable by light with a 2 finger cappuccino colored head with very nice lacing. Looks great.

S. Aromas of dark chocolate and dark roasted malt make up the character here. A slight aroma of a dark dried fruit like prunes or raisins.

T. At first I get a chocolate flavor suddenly followed by a fig like dark fruity sweetness then a finish with a little bitterness and a pleasant baby spinach note. A bit of complexity here hitting different notes at different times. Each flavor blending into the next with ease. I'm liking it.

M. Not motor oil but still thick. Chewy but also with a little carbonation. A tad warming going down. The carbonation is a nice counter balance to the chewiness.

O. A very drinkable stout. A little thick but it fools you with the carbonation so the finish is more like a black ipa. Beautiful to look at. Very solid complexity of flavors here and the aroma basically backs that up. Nicely done.

Photo of bulldogg915
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

Photo of SD-Alefan
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of ryancl
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Prospero
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Franziskaner
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black as night with no possibility of light getting through this behemoth. A fingernail of khaki colored head covers the majority of the beer. Light Brussels lacing. Aroma is fairly hard to detect,but there's definitely bitter dark malt and chocolate notes there. The taste is much more flavor packed than the nose would suggest. It starts sweet with toffee and chocolate and then bitter dark malt and hops subdue the sweetness. The mouth oily and chewy.

Photo of MattyG85
4.34/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a chalice. 2014 bottle.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. About one finger of tan head which settles into a thin creamy layer.

Smell: A rich, roasty, and sweet dark malt forward aroma with hints of chocolate, coffee, and biscuit. Dark roasted barley malt with upfront hints of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, biscuit, toast, caramel, smoke, and yeast. Hints of molasses and some anise licorice. Dark fruit hints of fig, raisin, and plum. Subtle earthy hops. A pretty good smell.

Taste: Like it smells, a roasty, rich, and sweet dark malt forward taste with good notes of dark chocolate, baker’s cocoa, biscuit, burnt toast, coffee, cream, caramel, smoke, and yeast. Sweet notes of molasses. Subtle notes of anise licorice. Dark fruit undertones with notes of raisin, fig, and plum. Light note of earthy hops. A very good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a moderate amount of carbonation. Creamy, rich, and somewhat slick. Alcohol heat is minimal.

Overall: A very good take on a Russian Imperial Stout. Good dark malt flavors with a good balance of roasty bitterness and sweetness.

Photo of sourdog
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 twelve ounce bottle poured into a mini-snifter.

Pours a deep black, somewhat viscous, and produces a finger thick khaki-colored head. It sits well over the oil-like liquid. Lace forms around the edges of the liquid and streaks across the top. There's much to admire here. 4.5

Dark chocolate is potent as is sweet vanilla and caramel. There's a burly sweet malt thickness apparent on the nose. I'm reminded more of a scotch ale. 4.25

Dark chocolate takes the lead on the palate as well, toffee and vanilla follow-up and then there's a spicy bite of hops. Baker's chocolate lingers on the finish. With some warmth, some dark fruit flavor and even some cherry emerges. There is an excellent number of flavors here. 4.5

Smooth and creamy, but with a rush of carbonation mid-palate and a spicy hop heat that give the beer some bite. There's no alcohol feel or burn, which is impressive for this 9.5% brew. 4.25

This beer deserves more props. It's damn good. All across the board. A 4-pack for around $10 is a steal. I look forward to aging the other three bottles and enjoying them many years from now.

Photo of danp14
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of Snow81
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of mjc3151
4.25/5  rDev +7.6%

Photo of drinkin-beeers
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of blindpiggie
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of cfrobrew
3/5  rDev -24.1%

Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Photo of n2185
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of CaptainNomihodai
2/5  rDev -49.4%

Photo of TooGood
3.36/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.99/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

RB

12oz picked up at Bier Thirty.. Have seen it around town at all the usual beer shops. Poured into my FW Reserve goblet.. Dark tan head shows nice lacing and good retention.

Nose is ashy and a bit burnt with some milk chocolate.. Pleasant and well rounded.

Flavor has a light fruity element that helps tie the chocolate malt back to the bigger roasted/black malt... light licorice that I don't really appreciate... Still very well rounded and a nice standard RIS.

Medium body with good bubble.

I didn't think I would appreciate this one as much as I did... We forget about the base beer once they are put in some random barrel.. This is a good beer without any accentuation.

4.25/4/4/3.75/4

Photo of enelson
4.24/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of Westyn
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%

Photo of jegross2
4.05/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewing the non-barrel aged base beer for Ivan The Terrible from Big Sky Brewing Company out of Montana. I had the pleasure of drinking this beer at the Map Room in Chicago for Chicago craft beer week while chatting with Big Sky's head brewer Matt Long.
Score: 91

Tap pour from the 2012 batch that is currently sitting in barrels for a late October 2012 release. Served in a chalice glass and enjoyed on 05/23/12 with a cup of Intelligensia coffee.

Appearance: Pitch black color. Seems completely opaque in the bar, though the lighting is not the best. Served with a finger of soapy tan head that slowly recedes into a thin layer atop the glass. Amazing lacing and retention. 5/5

Smell: Brown sugar, roasted chocolate, a little black "medium roast" coffee, and some dark fruit. 4/5

Taste: A decent amount of roasted chocolate throughout, but this is not a chocolate-forward beer. Rather, Ivan is a balanced medley of traditional stout flavors. Dry fig and black cherry, with more bittersweet dark fruit flavor growing on the midpalate as the beer warms. There is a little brown sugar flavor in the mix too, but not in a "sweet" way. Some cocoa and raw chocolate. There's a bit of nondescript butteriness. A bit acidic, but not overly so, as the low amount of carbonation keeps it quite drinkable. Unlike the nose, I did not detect much, if any, coffee flavor. The alcohol is completely hidden. The flavors linger a bit, particularly the bitter chocolate, and it helps some of the beer's tastier complexities layer. 4/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, minimal carbonation. Roasty, bitter and a bit acidic. Decently dry finish. 4/5

Overall: Initially I was a bit disappointed to arrive at the Map Room only to find out that the "real" Ivan, the barrel aged stuff, was not what was on tap. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the base beer. This is a real nice and roasty stout, and it is different from most Russian Imperial Stouts (which tend to be sweeter and chocolatier). Ivan's base beer is quite delicious in its own right, and I can't wait to try a bottle of the barrel aged stuff.

Recommendation: If this stuff saw regular 12 oz bottle format treatment, I would likely buy a four/six pack. I'd recommend this all around to people who do not mind roasty stouts.

Pairings: Intelligensia's house blend or diablo roast coffee.

Cost: $5 for a 12 oz pour in a chalice glass.

Photo of Faroveryonder
4/5  rDev +1.3%

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 141 ratings.