Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...
Subscribe to our newsletter and get the latest BeerAdvocate updates delivered to your inbox.

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

63 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 63
Hads: 366
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 8.29%
Wants: 9
Gots: 76 | FT: 8
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 63 | Hads: 366
Reviews by the Alström Bros:

  None found.

More User Reviews:
Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev -7.5%
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. (1,570 characters)

Photo of IPAGeorge
4.21/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (1,033 characters)

Photo of Tiernan
4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of tbryan5
3.98/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of BubalooBrewMaster
3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of bulldogg915
4.5/5  rDev +13.1%

Photo of SD-Alefan
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Beaver13
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
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. (360 characters)

Photo of otoolman221
3.58/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of alarmclock314
4.35/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottle dated 2014. Pours black with a small tan head on a hard pour. Smells of roasted malts, oak, and cocoa. Taste follows with cocoa, roasted malts, and some oak on the end. Some pleasing dryness in the finish. No alcohol warming. Surprisingly low carbonation, even for the style. Medium body. Overall, it has a good balance of favor and the lower carbonation works well. (379 characters)

Photo of ryancl
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Prospero
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Franziskaner
4.02/5  rDev +1%
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. (460 characters)

Photo of MattyG85
4.34/5  rDev +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. (1,160 characters)

Photo of sourdog
4/5  rDev +0.5%

Photo of Cynic-ale
3.53/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of timontheroad
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
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. (573 characters)

Photo of samtrillo
4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
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! (458 characters)

Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.37/5  rDev +9.8%
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. (1,108 characters)

Photo of mackeyse
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev -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. (856 characters)

Photo of GilGarp
4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
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. (427 characters)

Photo of MuFugga
4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of dertyd
3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of danp14
4/5  rDev +0.5%

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.