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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Big Sky Brewing Company

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
89
very good

302 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 302
Reviews: 63
rAvg: 3.96
pDev: 9.6%
Wants: 7
Gots: 63 | FT: 7
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:
Beer added by: jegross2 on 05-23-2012

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 302 | Reviews: 63
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
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, 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 posture, and the 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 +6.3%
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 Beaver13
3.91/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle. Pours dark brown with a medium creamy brown head that retains well and laces the glass.

The aroma is roast chocolate malts and anise.

The flavor is sweet chocolate malts, some dark fruit, anise and a lot of roast in the finish. The mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with smooth carbonation.

Overall, a solid roasty chocolate imperial stout.

Photo of Franziskaner
4.02/5  rDev +1.5%
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 +9.6%
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 timontheroad
3.92/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance: Very dark brown, nearly black, opaque. Half inch dark brown head that quickly faded to a thin film. Minimal lacing, but that's not surprising when you consider it's 9.5% ABV.
Smell: Dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, dark roasted malts and just a hint of alcohol.
Taste: Espresso, dark chocolate, and some nice malty sweetness. The alcohol really stands out on the back end as well.
Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, somewhat astringent from the alcohol, good carbonation.
Overall: This was a pretty nice Imp stout, now I want to find the barrel aged version of this one.

Photo of samtrillo
4.11/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The nose features roasted malts and toasted nuts with some burnt coffee and cocoa.

The taste and feel comes off as a smoked porter. Lots of burnt coffee bean and roasted dark dark chocolate. The after taste is great with the lingering smokiness. They could have called this a smoked stout and gotten away with it, IMO. Some roasted almond and hazelnut in there, but overall a charred mocha thing. Mouthfeel is very smooth and drinkable for nearly . Try it!

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.37/5  rDev +10.4%
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 TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours black with cola brown edging and a dark tan half finger's worth of head. displays fair retention before breaking down to a thin, silky layer of surface suds. Small, sporadic spots of lace can be found around the glass.

Smell - Chocolatey aroma with hints of earth and lesser raisin notes.

Taste - Follows the nose. Cocoa-like earthy chocolate flavor with distant notes of malt roast and dark fruit character. Finishes is much the same as the start, with earthy chocolate flavors.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with moderate carbonation and a slightly chalky, dry texture in the finish. Smooth drinker though, especially considering the ABV.

Overall - Not a bad Impy Stout by any means, but the list of better ones is significant and so by default it's not great. Think Old Raspy that's a bit more simple and mellow, and you've got Ivan.

Photo of GilGarp
4.24/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage. 12 oz bottle.

Served slightly chilled into a goblet. Ivan the Terrible is a deep dark brown with good clarity. The head is thin and leaves no lacing.

Aroma is rich and roasty with a hint of sweetness.

Flavor is bold and full of dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, and nuts.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, nicely carbonated, and well balanced.

Overall a very good imperial stout. Nice to see it in 4 packs this year.

Photo of Roguer
4.17/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark black, topped with a one finger dark brown head. Decent retention and nice lacing.

Huge roasty aroma. Notes of coffee, char, chocolate, and overripe dark fruit. Waves and waves of roasted barley. This is a beautiful traditional imperial stout aroma.

Flavor matches the nose across the board. It's a smoother, roastier Old Raspy. A touch of overripe fruit and red grapes up front, quickly washed away by extremely dark cacao, burnt coffee, and charred toast. Slightly creamy sweetness lingers throughout. Huge roasty finish that washes over your palate.

Big feel; not quite chewy or even all that thick, but full-bodied and potent. Very lively. ABV only really makes an appearance on the back-end.

This is a really good traditional RIS. It hits all the notes you want from the style.

Photo of WoodBrew
4.21/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Ivan the Terrible.....is terribly awesome. Great stout....would love to try the barrel aged version. Pours opaque black with then ecru head that is leaving a spotty lace. The carries a deep roast with waifs of alcohol. The taste is like peat and espresso mix. Themouthfeel is close to oil....nice an thick....luv it. Overall...if your a Russian stout fan.....you should like this.

Photo of Chrysti71
4.75/5  rDev +19.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Great smooth flavor especially for a higher alcohol content. Highly recommend.

Photo of larryarms847
3.85/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours pitch black and oily, not very thick, but clings to the sides of the glass.

Licorice, booze, coffee, and tons of roastiness.

Nutty, tons of coffee, some chocolate, and a nice alcohol burn.

Heavy bodied, light-medium carbonation, oily, bitter.

Overall, I think toning down the abv may actually do this one some good, but tasty nonetheless.

Photo of drone
3.11/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Very indicative of the style, but not much else. Subtle notes all around.

Photo of goochpunch
2.54/5  rDev -35.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Pitch black body with a moderately sized frothy khaki head. Smells of loads of ethanol with fruity cherry coming from the yeast (?). Light roasted grain. Tastes of chocolate, fruity esters, lots of booze, and sugar sweetness. Body is thin, considering the size. Mild carbonation. The name is right: this is terrible.

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.42/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a tan head.
Nose shows dry roast, sweet bready malt, toasty notes, soft coffee and liquorice.
Aggressive flavours, loads of roast, liquorice and booze. Almost abrasive.

Photo of JohnGalt1
3.99/5  rDev +0.8%
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 jegross2
4.06/5  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 deford
3/5  rDev -24.2%

Simple review....Poured into a DFH snifter from a 12 oz bottle. Pretty nice 1/2 in cream colored head. Maybe a little berry on the nose...strange. Not really much nose at all. Taste is roast coffee and slightly tart?? Not bad, jut odd. It feels fine on the tongue...nothing stands out. Overall its blah...

Photo of mfnmbvp
3.78/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present, vintage 2014 printed on the label. Surprisingly, my first review of a beer from Big Sky Brewing Co., acquired a single bottle of this stuff from the local beer store.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - It pours a dark inky black, with a good fat fingers worth of creamy mocha head. Leaves lots of good sticky lacing behind. Looks good for what it is.

S - The aroma is pleasant enough: chocolate, cream, burnt, roast, a hint of smoke, and a touch of alcohol.

T - Taste follows the nose: chocolate, cream, burnt malt, roast, and a slightly pervasive liquid smoke flavor.

M - The feel is smooth & creamy. Very easy drinking for the high 9.50% abv.

Overall, a nice example of the style from Big Sky. A little rough around the edges, but a good sipper nonetheless.

Big Sky Brewing Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout -----3.5/5

Photo of martianMan
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

i would buy this again. was pleasantly surprised.

Photo of StoutHunter
3.79/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Short Review. This is a pretty solid RIS, it had just about everything that I look for in the style, i wish it was a little more robust, but I thought the alcohol was hidden well. I wouldn't mind finding a bottle to review and maybe one to cellar.

Photo of Pegasus
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: A nearly three-inch, dense and fine-beaded tan head, with excellent retention crowns an obsidian body. Thick, utterly glass-coating lacing adorns the glass walls abundantly.

Aroma: Profound aroma of vinous alcohol, burnt caramel, cocoa, vanilla, and dark fruit

Taste: The taste begins with burnt sugar, then bitter cocoa, then baker's chocolate. Midway through the taste there is cold coffee, black licorice and charred barley. There are hints, but only hints, of the high ABV of 9,5%, mainly slight vinous alcohol flavors. If anything, the alcohol is more notable in the aroma than in the taste. Hints of vanilla and wood appear as well. Finishes with a lingering burnt and moderately earthy note.

Mouth feel: Rich, smooth, velvety, and full.

Drinkability/notes: An absolutely wonderful Russian Imperial Stout, worthy of the style. I am surprised that this was offered in a four-pack of twelve-ounce bottles for $11.99, rather than a twenty-two ounce bomber at the same price.

Presentation: Packaged in a standard twelve-ounce frosted brown glass long neck bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium chalice.

Photo of lefty418
3.58/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Just An average imperial stout...expected more.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 302 ratings.