John By Imperial Stout - Scotch Irish Brewing Company
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Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Bestuurder:
3.88/5 rDev +0.5%
Poured very dark, hard black colour from a stubby brown bottle. No head and very little lacing.
Aroma is pleasant with oak, chocolate and strong coffee. The chocolate malt scent and flavour are very apparent.
Taste is balanced, a bit strong of coffee, but not overpowering. Light, cask-like, carbonation. Full-bodied and robust.
Definitely a strong beer, yet does not entirely drink like one. One can easily drink another without issue. Slightly chewy and mildly thick is texture.
An excellent brew that certainly goes well with strong cheeses and spicy white and red meats or by itself.
03-09-2010 02:15:17 | More by Bestuurder
More User Reviews:
4.13/5 rDev +7%
Many thanks to BA Derek for the sample.
Appearance: Damn near black with a thick chocolate milk head that lasts and lasts. Very attractive.
Aroma: Heath bars, roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, and touches of molasses.
Taste: On the sweet side with a surprising amount of cherry like dark fruit flavors, although overall dominated by the expected coffee/dark roasted malt notes. Some chocolate breadiness with a nutty finish. Well bittered with slight fruity/boozy tartness.
Mouthfeel: Slightly acidic, balanced, a touch thin on body, chalky. Feels (and tastes when warmed) a little more boozy than the 6.7% stated on the label.
Drinkability: Outstanding. Very easy to drink.
06-15-2008 22:48:42 | More by DaPeculierDane
3.98/5 rDev +3.1%
Picked this one up upon the recommendation of a buddy. Love the bottle!
Pours an inky black, only the slightest touch of brown around the edges. Not much head to speak of, but the thin ring did stick around throughout, and there were a few flecks of lacing.
The nose is great: rich dark chocolate, roasted coffee grounds, a touch of bread. I drank this one at a fairly cold temperature, but surprisingly the nose came through right from the fridge.
A very rich and flavourful stout, with a lovely coffee and chocolate base, but with malty bitterness to the finish. Every so often I get a slight taste of dried dark fruits (plums or grapes). I detect a bit of the alcohol to the finish, but it isn't unpleasant.
A bit thin and syrupy for my liking, but the taste is robust enough to mask it. Still, not quite a imperial stout level.
Not a bad little stout actually, certainly a welcome surprise. So far only a few Ontario stouts have done the trick for me, and this one certainly will be added to the list. Great stuff, will be back for more!
12-31-2009 01:37:42 | More by JohnnyBarman
3.45/5 rDev -10.6%
Cheers to biegaman for this brew in a trade/bet. Pours with a thick head which settles quickly. Black in color. Not much smell beyond a hint of burnt malt. Tastes of chocolate malt with some tartness which is out of place. Mouthfeel is smooth & a drinakble IS at 6.7%. I have had porters with more taste & kick.
08-23-2009 18:26:34 | More by SkinnyElvis
4.2/5 rDev +8.8%
Somehow this beer gave no head at all from the pour, but it still looked really good. Similar to aged soy sauce by appearance. The smell is pleasant and the malt and coffee notes are evident. Upon initial tasting, I was caught off guard to the flavours that I was about to experience. Vaguely, the first sip was slightly sweet, malty, bitter, toffee like, all at once. After a few more sips and gulps, the hop aroma became very evident. This is a very hoppy beer, despite the chocolaty, malty, and roasted design. The roast coffee and malt served as the back bone, but the hop is highly aromatic. I admit that I cannot pinpoint the type of hop used, but I will hazard to guess that there is a high alpha acid hop variety used in the aroma development. Very nice. IMHP, this is one of the best stouts I have had.
PS, this beer is bottled conditioned. The yeast tasted nice.
01-07-2009 01:05:50 | More by wjimson
4.03/5 rDev +4.4%
Aaaah, another stubbie, quite a nice surprise upon its appearance at the table...
This beer pours an absolute black, no light seepage, no hope. It has lots of blocky, chunky dark beige head, which leaves a random smattering of lace in its wake. The aroma is warming alcohol, caramel, and chocolate. The taste is caramel malt, bitter, leafy hops, bittersweet chocolate, and more soft warming alcohol. The carbonation is light, the body thick, creamy, and full, and it finishes bittersweet, the hops persisting with the mildly treacly caramel.
A stellar mid-octane stout, like dessert in a bottle, but with enough hops to stave of the cloying factor.
01-28-2010 04:17:37 | More by biboergosum
3.78/5 rDev -2.1%
Pitch black with two fingers of mocha head. Decent retention with a little bit of lace left behind. Smells of dark roast coffee and molasses; dark chocolate and plums. Tastes of black coffee, burnt toast, blackstrap molasses, and dark fruit. Lingering char in the aftertaste. Medium-bodied with low carbonation. It feels smooth, but seems a little thin for an Imperial Stout. Even if the thin body makes it less filling and easier to drink, I still wish it was a bit chewier. Sometimes you want to drink something substantial. Body aside, this is still a tasty and enjoyable stout.
01-11-2010 05:13:19 | More by mintjellie
4.28/5 rDev +10.9%
Excellent. Thick dark chocolate with tons of brown head and lacing.Delicious chocolate aroma. Thick milkshake choking infusion of bittersweet chocolate, as it is so drinkable. coffee in the background. Bittersweet aftertaste, I could drink this all night. The real thing.
12-18-2007 21:35:15 | More by Sammy
3.58/5 rDev -7.3%
Courtesy of northyorksammy (thanks!). Poured from a 341mL stubbie into my Portsmouth tulip.
Brunneous opaque body with a beige head which recedes to a tall curling collar and a thin cloud-shaped slick. Multitudinous yet fine sandy lacing coats the sides outlined by a shimmering polish.
Quite malty and a bit grainy nose, with suggestions of ovaltine and chocolate malt balls. Light brown sugar and an undertone of roast as well. Perhaps a tiny note of fruit.
Sharp roast flavors at first along with a bit of hops - scalded coffee, white-chocolate covered grapefruit, and a mix of raw and over-toasted nuts (pecans?). Some brown sugar and black bread crusts in the finish. Oddly both rough and refreshing.
Medium-heavy bodied, creamy but not oily, with decent carbonation. Surprisingly astringent.
An OK stout, but not exactly a triumph of engineering, so to speak.
05-12-2010 02:48:24 | More by augustgarage
4.25/5 rDev +10.1%
This replaced the Tsarina from last year. I put it under Russian Imperial rather than American because it's malt heavy, moderately high in alcohol and generally I think the brewer goes for more old-world styles.
This pours deepest darkest brown, like mollasses, but in the glass it's close to black. Thinnish head, slightly soapy and brownish-white in colour.
Aroma is pretty strong. Alot of alcohol from it at first and then some fairly strong vinous fruits, almost like a port.
Taste is surprising after the aroma. Big, dark roasted malt. There is certainly dark fruit in there, but the emphasis here is on bitter roastiness, coffee beans and dark chocolate. A few sips and your tongue thinks you've been smoking a cuban, great tobacco character. Like so many scotch-Irish beers this is well-balanced, no strong alcohol taste at all.
Mouthfeel is right, good carbonation, possibly a little thin in the finish.
Drinkability... well, usually I wouldn't drink too many, but it's -30 outside.
An appropriate name for this one. John By is Ottawa's most important historical figure and I can just imagine navvies sitting in a tavern in old bytown with a few of these, it would certainly take the chill off. This is a warmer in the truest sense. Good on Scotch-Irish for referencing the Bytown Museum (Ottawa's civic museum) on the label. Another winner from Scotch-Irish.
EDIT: I think Perry wrote on one of the beer boards that he had measured the beer 3.3% higher. After letting it sit for a few minutes, I believe him. Wowza.
12-18-2007 01:34:03 | More by CanuckRover
3.85/5 rDev -0.3%
After finding the John By on cask at Volo, I had to give this one another shot since I was so disappointed by the bottle. Turns out this is a much better beer on cask. The best looking of the four cask Imperial Stouts I sampled together. Almost black body with a creamy beige cover of head, receding to a ring around the glass.
Decent smell. Lots of coffee grinds, nice roastiness. Slight dark chocolate. Could use way more presence, but nice.
Lots more flavour than the stuff in the bottle. Minerals, solid earthy hop bitterness, cocoa, roasty, quite malty. There's something odd in there as well, I can't figure it out. Some kind of spiciness. A touch of grapefruit bitterness on the finish. Moderately dry finish. This is also the most flavourful of the four stouts I sampled at Volo.
Light-medium body, low carbonation. Could definitely use more body, but not horrible.
The look and feel are significantly improved and the flavour bumped up a notch on cask. If it used to be more like this in the bottle, I can see how it was well-received in Ontario. Fairly drinkable and something I might even buy to take home if it was in bottles, but, sadly, the bottled John By is a different beer.
Review of the bottled version from 01-25-2010:
When I bought this bottle I remember thinking it looked a little watery sloshing around at the top. On the pour I could immediately see that not only was it watery, it was also producing almost no head. I up-ended the bottle to try to get something out of it but still ended up with nothing. I don't think I've ever encountered a beer with such a complete lack of head. Absolutely nothing there. The beer itself is black. It seriously looked like I was pouring cold coffee out of a beer bottle. 2.5
Nice enough smell. Molasses, chocolate, minerals, roasty malt. A little weak, but that's to be expected with no head. 3.5
The taste is pretty nice actually. It's hard not to let the beer's major defects effect my score on taste. If the head and feel were both there this would probably be a pretty great stout. Nice smoky malt, bitter hops, dark chocolate, some light coffee. A little weak, although I wouldn't be surprised if a fuller body would fix this problem in itself. I like the taste though, nice and bitter. Very smooth at 8.5%; if someone told me this was 5% ABV I'd believe them. 3.5
One of the most watery stouts I've ever had. Not only does it look like cold coffee, it has the same feel as well. Almost zero carbonation and thin as hell. Not impressed. 2.0
Didn't this used to be on the Canadian top 25? It definitely does not deserve to be in the same company as any beer currently on that list. Maybe this is a defective bottle. It definitely tastes pretty good, I'll buy another bottle sometime to see if it has a better feel. It's drinkable but the feel is such a letdown. 3.0
01-25-2010 00:13:11 | More by eat
4.1/5 rDev +6.2%
Love the stubby. Love that it comes from Ottawa where I spent 3 years at Carleton University.
This beer smacks you in the face as soon as the cap is pried. Thick complex malt aroma. It's well below freezing outside so this should do the trick.
After the pour the aroma remarkbly changes to brown apples , a bit sickly sweet, it wafts up from the head.
This stuff sure looks interesting ni the glass. It is very dark brown, close to black as described on bottle. The head is 3 or 4 fingers poured in a chalice. fluffy mocha head. lots of sticky lacing.
I'm past the rotting apples smell and again its pure malt coming through. whiskey, lots of bakers chocolate coming through. and roasty coffee smells.
The booze is present in the sip but it is mostly masked with very burnt tasting malts. tastes like coffee grounds. There is some hops spice and floweriness.
creamy mouthfeel with a long long finish. the beer stays in your mouth for awhile.
a nice imperial stout.
01-15-2011 02:38:35 | More by paxkey
3.28/5 rDev -15%
Have to qualify this review by saying that I am not experienced with the Russian Imperial Stout style and was trying this one as a follow-up to a sample I had at the brewery. Also, I'm not that big on high-ABV beers and at 8.5% this one was a bit more potent than I normally consume.
Inky black, opaque and mysterious. Very little head was evident, what little I did manage to coax out was a dark reddish brown.
No highlights here, just mainly a faint coffee smell.
A slight sweetness hits at first, followed by a strong coffee taste and a long-lasting and rather bitter finish. Also noticed a faint citrusy/grapefruit flavour in the mix. Despite high ABV, alcohol was not present in the taste.
Smooth with very little carbonation.
Compared with non-Imperial stouts this one finishes more bitter than I would prefer. With that said, the initial sweetness helps to balance things out. Not sure I would buy again but I would not refuse it if offered. WARNING: The alcohol was well masked when going down; however, I did feel it a while after I finished. For a high-ABV beer this one was easy to finish off.
02-07-2010 19:37:12 | More by tuvok
4.33/5 rDev +12.2%
Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a huge brown color head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of black chocolate is quite intense with some subtle notes of coffee. Taste consists of a well balance mix between some black chocolate, coffee notes and some light sweetness to balance the mix. Body is full with some great carbonation and no alcohol was noticeable. I thought this was a very well balance example of the style and was easily drinkable.
01-02-2008 16:47:47 | More by Phyl21ca
3.73/5 rDev -3.4%
Poured in to Duvel tulip glass.
A - Dark black, thick; small amount of medium brown coloured head.
S - Dark roasted malts, bitter roasted coffee and a slight licorice nose.
T - Bitter dark roasted coffee dominated the palate. Some hints of chocolate and a faint licorice taste round out this one. Overall, the palate is good but not very complex for a RIS and somewhat one-dimensional with the coffee taste.
M - Medium body, smooth. Very lightly carbonated.
D - Surprised that this one is not a coffee stout as the bitter coffee completely dominates the palate. As I continued to drink this one it tasted more and more like a robust coffee porter than a RIS. Still an enjoyable beer, just didn't seem to fit the style as well as I would have liked.
11-20-2010 15:45:02 | More by TheSevenDuffs
4.43/5 rDev +14.8%
Finally got to reviewing this flavourful brew. I am so happy I got a case of this. It pours with a medium light brown head, decent retention and lacing. Has a deep dark brownish color.
The nose is full of roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses and alcohol soaked fruits. The smell was not that complex at first but once the beer warmed it just started to unravel (the chocolate especially).
Tastes of thick chewy roasted malts, coffee, a good strong hop bitterness, chocolate and dark fruits. This is in my top 3 Canadian beers this year.
12-21-2007 22:20:54 | More by irishkyle21
4.15/5 rDev +7.5%
Served from that bad ass stubby into a wine glass.
A- Produces a dense mocha foam that recedes into a nice cap, and eventually ring, and then like, nothing by the end, but whatever. It's nice and dark. Held up to the light it produced mahogany edges, if only barely.
S- Nice strong notes of coffee and chocolate. Very pleasant. Didn't blow my mind, but solid. But then again, my sense of smell sucks. If you ever see me give anything a 5 for smell, you can trust it's pungent.
T- Right off the bat it's a kick in the mouth of coffee and chocolate. Really strong and nicely balanced. A hint of dark fruit kicks in mid palate, and gives way to a mildly vinous finish. The alcohol gets a little hot in the finish. But I actually like that, so it's good by me. It's not too far off Peche Mortel in terms of intensity, and more complex. Chocolate, Coffee, Dark Fruit and Wine.
M - Carbonation has a nice spritzy feel that hits and recedes wonderfully. Feels maybe a touch thin, but nothing that reduced my enjoyment of it.
D - I'm using this as a tilt. It's an 8.5% beer. How drinkable do YOU think it is? I'm tossing it a 5 here because I think this stuff will age well and reward the patient. It's also light enough I can down a couple without feeling full.
Overall, I'm really impressed. I'll flat out say for LCBO selection, I'll take this over BCS and Diabetes Brulee anyday. I hope people see how good this beer really is. I'm going to store a few bottles and see what happens.
01-29-2010 04:56:14 | More by clockwerk
3.43/5 rDev -11.1%
341 ml bottle poured into a snifter.
A: Pours black with a finger and a half of coffee coloured head which dissipates quickly but leaves some lacing.
S: Smells of roasted malt, chocolate and a metallic sourness.
T: Tastes of bitter coffee with a little sweetness. As it warms, the alcohol becomes more noticeable.
M: Seems a bit watery, suitably lightly carbonated.
D: Drinkability is only okay, the alcohol is masked fairly well but the flavour is lacking.
11-30-2010 02:33:30 | More by mrnobody
3.73/5 rDev -3.4%
Poured from a 341mL bottle into a small nosing glass for this tasting. Purchased at a Kingston LCBO, all the way from Bytown.
Not sure if this is actually an RIS. Appearance is ruby black, with a nice brownish tan head. Looks like it is going to be a lacemaker.
Strong aromas of roasted malt, oats, milk chocolate, caramel, old coffee. Notes of peanuts, cooked vegetables, corn syrup. Some whisky-like (sm)oakiness. No fruit. Interesting.
Roasted malt, dry on the palate. Good carbonation. Medium bodied. Peanuts in the finish with assorted burnt grains. Very dry. I suspect oats for the espresso-like sourness.
Very drinkable with the low sugar content, hits you pretty hard. I wonder if this is actually 6.7%?
Hopefully in the future this kicks up the alcohol and cleans up the aromas.
01-21-2008 02:14:35 | More by Antilochus
3.78/5 rDev -2.1%
Got in a trade with Bobsy, many thanks for the hook-up!
Stubby bottle (Canada!) pours jet black with a finger of coffee head, ample carbonation leaves splotches of lacing down the glass. How a stout should look.
Smells heavy on the burnt malts. Some coffee, dark bitter chocolate, a hint of dark fruits and smoke.
Taste is more of the same. Heavy burnt, bitter malt, smoke, bitter chocolate, hints of coffee, caramel, a light smokiness, dark fruits. Fairly thin body for a RIS. Solid flavor though, would go great with dessert.
Not really a RIS, more of a stout proper. More bitter than your average RIS makes this a one-a-night bottle (IMO) but lower than average ABV (for a RIS) would make this a nice beverage to add to your rotation for a nightcap with chocolate lava cake or your choice of chocolaty dessert. John By can be hit or miss and has to be fresh but when on, it's as solid a stout as Ontario can produce... which is not really saying all that much.
03-01-2009 02:57:49 | More by ritzkiss
2.65/5 rDev -31.3%
Thanks to derek for sending this my way.
Poured from a 341ml. stubby.
Appearance: Pours an opaque black but as it's poured i see some definite brown tinges. Insanely thick, frothy head that's at least 3 fingers thick with a light mocha color.
Smell: A bit discrete, even at room temp. but still able to detect coffee with slight bitterness, some roasted malt and weirdly enough, a dry fruit-like aroma.
Taste: Wow, sourness hit's me like a punch in the face! I'm getting hints of coffee but it's totally overwhelmed but a permeating tartness. It gradually subsides to a whisper but that was not pleasant at all. Though hard to get that taste out, it gets better as i detect some espresso and more fruit but that sour aspect is still in the aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: Creamy vs. watery and it's hard to tell which wins. Not entirely pleasant i must say.
Drinkability: I almost stopped drinking it but persisted and glad i did as the taste marginally improved but it's still a bit of a chore to get through this one.
Overall: At first i thought i got a bad bottle, but it got better taste-wise (a little) so i figure it can't be that. Maybe if i had tried it at a cooler temp? Regardless, it wasn't a great joy to drink but i will seek it out again and i'll be able to compare.
08-02-2009 18:33:08 | More by papat444
3.5/5 rDev -9.3%
Appearance - The beer pours a brown/black colour with an average size frothy/fizzy brown head. I can't see much carbonation due to the darkness of the beer and there is just a little bit of lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for over 5 minutes before it was gone.
Smell - malts, roasted nuts, coffee, chocolate
Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and it feels very creamy yet light on the tongue. The alcohol is extremely well hidden and the most noticeable flavours are malts, coffee, chocolate and a touch of vanilla. There is also a roasted/toasted taste. The beer finishes with a bitter coffee aftertaste.
Drink - An average stout that I'm happy I tried but would not seek out again.
12-13-2010 14:31:56 | More by spinrsx
3.5/5 rDev -9.3%
Bottle from the LCBO, into a snifter. Bottled on November 3, 2010.
Pours a very dark brown, with a finger or so of reddish mocha head. Fades quickly and tiny collar is left. Nose aint too exciting, mild coffee and vanilla. Some milk chocolate and roasted notes are here slightly. Taste is quite similar, coffee is at the forefront, yet muted overall. No real outstanding flavours here, but some bitter chocolate is balanced with a touch of vanilla sweetness. Mouthfeel could be thicker, and finishes dry and bitter. Good drinkability for the ABV.
12-10-2010 01:43:43 | More by liamt07
3.9/5 rDev +1%
My first time drinking this, apparently prior batches were better - but here goes:
A: poured into a pint glass. love the huge mocha head and sticky laceing. stubby bottle has alot of sediment left in the bottom.
S: Not huge. smells almost like a mild pub ale. ala boddingtons or somthing. quite roastly. pleasent.
T: bittneress upfront. roasted chocolte and some coffee finish. pretty smooth. nothing offensive.
M: a little low carbontation. feels sticky and full bodied.
D: Would be a nice choice to have a few at a pub or house party - just keep in mind its high alchohol - take smaller sips!
01-30-2010 01:17:58 | More by uno99
3.18/5 rDev -17.6%
2009 bottle served at cellar temperature. Last one on the shelf, so I had to grab it.
Pours a jet black that's almost opaque, with the only light being emitted through the edges of the beer which reveals some walnut brown highlights. 1 finger of quickly dissipating foamy tan head tops this beer, leaving only dots of lace.
Lightly smoked nose with notes of milk chocolate, coffee grounds, and molasses. A decent nose, but it seems to lack complexity and in need of amplification.
Milk chocolate upfront and bitter coffee notes in the back with not much in between.
Mouthfeel is suprisingly light and quite watery for the style. There's a decent balance between the few flavours going on, but nothing special.
I remember having this beer about a year ago, and as others have said, things have changed since. I'd take Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout, which is priced about the same, any day over this. It's sad because this was one of Ontario's best beers out on the market, prior to the newest batch's release, where everything seemed to have gone downhill. There's always next year's.
01-24-2010 23:25:15 | More by ludachris
John By Imperial Stout from Scotch Irish Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.