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.
very good

62 Reviews
no score

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Reviews: 62
Hads: 352
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 8.54%
Wants: 7
Gots: 74 | 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
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Reviews: 62 | Hads: 352
Photo of goochpunch
2.54/5  rDev -36.2%
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. (323 characters)

Photo of deford
3/5  rDev -24.6%

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... (305 characters)

Photo of colingaiser
3.28/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle at cellar temperature into a shaker glass.

L: The beer was a beautiful deep black and produced a lovely hazelnut-brown, two-finger head with a slow pour.

S: Robust scents of alcohol, espresso, and licorice, with a light underlying smokiness, were all present. It's an inviting aroma and it's quite amazing how it fills up a room.

T: The alcohol is especially prominent here, threatening to mask the beer's more nuanced flavors. However, I still detected a nuttiness from the malts, subtle coffee notes (though not as apparent as expected), and black licorice. There's a residual smokiness that leaves this beer with a bitter finish, while the alcohol gives it a slight warming burn, especially in the throat. This is a real winter warmer.

F: It has the mouthfeel of a dessert beer, with a thick body that becomes surprisingly creamy as you swish it around in your mouth -- almost the viscosity of milk. With the low amount of carbonation, it makes it Ivan the beer as hefty and daunting as Ivan the mascot.

O: Unfortunately, the presence of the alcohol distracts from the complex, malt-forward flavors of the beer, though not enough to completely sabotage the drinking experience. There's a lot to like about this beer if you make the effort. However, it's probably too expensive for me to consider buying again. (1,348 characters)

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.42/5  rDev -14.1%
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. (185 characters)

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 10Crumra
3.69/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Dark black in color with a thin layer of foam. Some lacing.

Strong smells of coffee and chocolate with some slight licorice and toffee scents.

Nice toffe and caramel flavors. Slightly metallic tasting. Chocolate undertones.

Light to medium bodied. Surprisingly oily.

Overall an OK beer. Nothing stood out to me as interesting with this beer. (400 characters)

Photo of zeledonia
3.71/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours very dark, brown, nearly black, with a little light making it through only at the edges. Half a finger of medium tan head, good retention and lacing.

Smell is full of chocolate. Quite sweet, with an almost milky character, though it hollows out after that into a nutty emptiness.

Taste also has lots of chocolate, then it tilts to a very soft charred-grain bitter. On occasions, it comes through very flavorful, when that chocolatey character dominates. At other times, I get very little flavor. On the whole it's pretty good.

Feel is just okay. It's strangely slick, like a milk stout, but more oily. That combines with the low carbonation into something that's not awful, but definitely brings the beer down.

This is a pretty good stout. Chocolatey, and quite tasty when the flavors actually come through. But the feel is weird, and there are much better ones out there, so I'm unlikely to buy this again. (917 characters)

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

Pours pitch black with a little head. Smells big dark roast and slightly boozy. Tastes of big dark roast. It's good and made well but, nothing to write home about. (166 characters)

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

Pours a very dark brown almost black with tan head. Coffee, roasted malt, and a little raw cocoa on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with alcohol and roasted malt. (174 characters)

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 mfnmbvp
3.78/5  rDev -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 (891 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, 2014 release, 9.5% ABV
A - dark brown colored ale, nice creamy light brown head holds great retention
S - sweeter aroma with cocoa, molasses, brown sugar, and some mild roasted barley
T - roasted barley, bittersweet chocolate, a bit herbal and earthy, molasses, brown sugar
M - full body, ample carbonation, finishes bitter and semi-dry with roast and a bit of pine lingering
O - not my favorite RIS, but it's pretty good. I doubt I'd get it again with so many good ones out there. (495 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3.79/5  rDev -4.8%
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. (249 characters)

Photo of zoober911
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L - Pours a deep dark brown, almost black. A small tan head forms...half a finger. Minimal lacing and head dissipates back into the glass leaving a small outer ring behind.

S - Roasted notes. Chocolate. Some burnt notes, malt. A small amount of alcohol on the nose peaks through the roasted chocolate character.

T - Roasted malt. Malt backbone prominent. Drier finish than expected. Alcohol on the end.

F - Thinner than most. Noticed this was the case with the pour. A bit high for carb. Not a heavy or thicker mouthfeel.

O - This beer is okay. I'd be interested to see how the BA version holds up against this one. Middle of the road for me compared to some of the others I have had. (688 characters)

Photo of mothman
3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 Vintage

Tan head. Color is black.

Flavor profile: Cocoa, chocolate, caramel, molasses, raisins, figs, plums, brown sugar. Has a burnt roasted malt flavor to it. Coffee roast. Some vanilla.

Overall, a solid beer for the price. $3 a bottle. I thought this was going to be the same recipe as the 750s (i.e. barrel aged), but it isn't which is kind of a let down. (367 characters)

Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.83/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Very dark brown, near black. Deep mocha head. OK retention, bubbles remain on edges.

S: Coffee and chocolate; slightly burnt. Hint of dark plums and figs. Pleasantly straightforward.

M: Med-full;not chewy nor overly viscous. Low carbonation. Notable lack of alcohol appeals to some.

T: Sweet fruit notes of raisin and fig. Followed by wood char notes; hints of chocolate cherry. Slight bourbon notes-vanilla mostly-offer some really nice balance if you let it warm enough. (478 characters)

Photo of MartzMimic
3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at McNellie's OKC. Pours deep brown with a finger or foamy mocha head. The aroma is minimal, but typical: chocolate, vanilla and a touch of coffee. The taste is bigger. Slightly dark chocolate, roasted coffee and dark cherries. The alcohol isn't hidden, but blends well and adds warmth. Medium mouth with decent carbonation. This is a solid stout that I've enjoyed drinking. (381 characters)

Photo of larryarms847
3.85/5  rDev -3.3%
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. (348 characters)

Photo of Harvest06
3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown. Very roasty with some burnt character. ABV comes strong at the end and is not well integrated. A big one dimensional but not a bad example of a RIS. (160 characters)

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 jellikit
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2014 bottle.
Appearance: dark black with a thick foamy tan head. Nice, sticky lacing.
Smell: molasses, slight roasted barley. Chocolate malt.
Taste: Chocolate, leather, fig, prune.
Mouthfeel: medium carbonation. Big body. Dry
Overall: I like it. Don't love it. I think it needs to age a bit longer to mellow a bit. May need to review again in the future. (368 characters)

Photo of KillerJigger
3.91/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I liked it surprisingly for a couple reasons. Was very stable from start to finish no matter what temperature i drank the beer. Could easily have drank two in a sitting without being overwhelmed. Not like a crazy gimicky beer. Just solid. I think they are doing a good job and going in the right direction. Would take much to tweak it and become a great beer. (365 characters)

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 ANiklaus
3.92/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a regular pint glass. The look was incredible and the smell was almost overwhelming when poured. Very strong fruit smells which overpowered everything else. The taste was good but wasn't impressive. I feel like other similar beers are much more unique and flavorful than this one. Good but, just not outstanding. (338 characters)

Photo of Falcon91Wolvrn03
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – A brownish black that is somewhat traslucent. A good head that doesn't last long. Mininal lacing.

Smell – Matlty with dark chocolate, coffee, and burnt toast.

Taste – Taste is very malty with some coffee and dark chocolate notes.

Mouthfeel – Lightly carbonated, and a bit watery for my taste.

Drinkability – A good imperial stout, but not great. (373 characters)

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
88 out of 100 based on 62 ratings.