John By Imperial Stout - Scotch Irish Brewing Company
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Ratings: 84 | Reviews: 82 | Display Reviews Only:
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
3.98/5 rDev +3.1%
Darkest mahogany that is actually opaque... and it isn't even close! A good looking crown of dark brown sugar colored foam sits atop the liquid and appears as if it will hang around for a spell. Fantastic looking lace decorates the glass as well. Even though the ABV is on the (make that *off the*) low end for the style, this is a big looking beer.
The aroma gets it done in fine fashion. Although it can't compete with the biggest stouts on the RIS block, JBIS is roasty, fruity, and isn't the least bit short on power. Impressive and pleasantly surprising.
I'm going to forget this whole Russian Imperial Stout nonsense and I suggest you do the same. It will only subject a pretty tasty, drinkable beer to competition that it was never meant to... uh... compete with. Better to think of it as John By English Style Stout.
There's a lactic sort of tanginess present that brings milk stout into consideration. Actually, it's more of an unripe fruity tartness that might put off some people. However, I think it nicely complements sweet and bitter. If you don't like puckery stouts, though, stay away.
The flavor profile is surprisingly deep. Let's go with chocolate-covered English toffee, java beans, tangy plums and a considerable amount of citrus peel. Hmmm... might American C-hops have been used? Nothing beats both unique *and* delicious.
I was prepared to cut the mouthfeel some slack, judging it more by ABV than stated style. That said, it's still a trifle thin and doesn't have quite enough creaminess for a beer pushing 7.0%. It still isn't a deal-breaker.
John By Imperial (cough, cough) Stout is good beer without a doubt. The ABV might be a little high to consider it sessionable, but I'd having no trouble killing a handful of stubbies now and again. Thanks biegaman.
02-26-2009 13:54:07 | More by BuckeyeNation
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
3.85/5 rDev -0.3%
Appearance: Pours a body I'm told I might as well say is black with a full, tan-colored head.
Smell: Aroma largely made up of roasted grains, but there are some notes of chocolate and coffee.
Taste: Roasted malts with flavors of unsweetened chocolate, coffee, and a pinch of spicy aniseed and a dash of post-smoke pipe tobacco. Hint of scorched grains. Roasty, earthy bitterness. Finishes with a taste of dark chocolate and a sip of water.
Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.
Drinkability: Hmm, not half bad! It's nice to see something come out of a squaty bottle that's not a weak, watery Caribbean lager.
02-18-2008 22:39:21 | More by ChainGangGuy
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
3.88/5 rDev +0.5%
2008 Vintage from a 341ml bottle into a pint glass. Purchased at the LCBO.
A - One-fingered mocha head over a dark, dark brown - looks like dark chocolate. The head dissipates slowly and the lace coats the glass. No visible carbonation.
S - Mostly burnt malt, with some chocolate and milky coffee. There's a little bit of that soy flavor that I noticed in their porter, but not nearly as much, which is a good thing. It smells good, but not great.
T - Sweet, like cream and caramel mocha, with none of the soy thankfully. Very nice, probably the best Ontario stout I've tasted.
M - Creamy, smooth, but thin - almost like a flat porter. Needs to be a little more robust here.
D - Easy to drink, especially at 6.7%, as you can't taste any of the booze. I'd have a few if there weren't any better options.
Glad to see Ontario making a little progress - wish someone would have the balls to make a 10% stout though. This seems like a competitor to Cadillac Mountain Stout, and not the Russian Imperial heavyweights.
12-27-2008 05:37:25 | More by MasterSki
3.75/5 rDev -2.8%
Rich black soil with a very earthy complexion. It's an odd thing: even a tough inspection right up against the light won't yield any sort of highlighting, however, the beer still fails to be convincingly black. Even despite its staunch opaqueness it appears coated with a brownish tinge. Its top is completely barren although a few bubbles serve to amplify its outline.
If you didn't know otherwise you might guess you were drinking a coffee, or at least you were drinking in a coffee shop. This has an aroma identical to that of fresh roasted coffee and fortunately it does smells like fresh, gourmet beans and not their spent, astringent grinds. Nevertheless, I wish they would have scaled it back a touch to allow the notes of molasses, dark fruit and nuts more room to breath.
John By offers a good depth of flavour - the problem is a lot of it remains buried under the taste of coffee; this one feature is becoming obnoxiously persistent. On the whole, however, its flavour manages to be rich and sweet. This profile actually resembles something akin to a black forest cake; it has dark dried fruit and whipped cream accompanied by chocolate mousse and chocolate fudge on either side.
Subtle notes of black licorice and blackstrap molasses that are more typical of traditional Russian Imperials still have a lot of sway in the flavour department. They're nearly outweighed, however, by more boorish notes of pipe tobacco, smoke and heavy roast coffee. Ontario brewers usually take their key from British custom but the John By seems to have had a lot of inspiration from south of the border as well.
The beer is painfully flat even for a style that doesn't demand a lot of carbonation. The flavours might benefit from this in a sense but the mouthfeel certainly doesn't. The beer becomes a little astringent after some warmth get's to it. The brewer initially calculated the alcohol percentage at closer to 10% but subsequent lab test deemed it the only 6.7% that's listed on the bottle. I'd say it drinks much closer to the latter.
John By's predecessor - the Tsarina Katerina - was one of Ontario's first (and still only) Imperial Stouts. It was a world class offering created by an exceptionally talented brewer. Heritage Brewing has since bought out the Scotch-Irish portfolio and retooled their beers, this is suppose to be lifted from Mr. Mason's original Tsarina Katerina recipe. I have to say I greatly preferred the initial offering.
I do appreciate Heritage's effort to release an Imperial (sort of) Stout, I only wish they had done a slightly better job. The fact remains, however, that Ontario micro brewers suffer badly from a painfully over-regulated government monopoly. They're also the victim of a maladroitly conservative market. Those things considered, I'm more than happy Heritage took some initiative and tried steering our micro scene in the right direction.
02-03-2009 06:09:29 | More by biegaman
3.88/5 rDev +0.5%
Black cap, newest unfiltered version. Had it on tap as well at Volo the other day but didn't feel like taking notes. Still not sure how this works out to 6.7%!
Pours a dark brown, some red in the edges, nice thick tan head forms, leaves a ton of lacing, slowly settles to a thin layer and nice thick ring around the glass, looks nice. Smell is roast, nuts, light smoke, chocolate, toffee, some dark fruit, bit of raisin, some burnt sugar, light but nice. Taste is quite sweet, toffee, dark fruit, bit of butter, light roast. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, smooth. Flavours are relatively light, seems like this beer was watered down from its original gravity, as it just seems like there could be so much there. Nice drinking stout though, at a price thats hard to beat.
01-30-2008 04:27:09 | More by Viggo
3.95/5 rDev +2.3%
Bottle courtesy of northyorksammy. Thanks!
Poured close to black with faint reddish edges and a generous cap of dense, dark brown foam. Great lacing formed on the glass as the bubbles slowly settled. Nice aroma, malty caramel and toffee, roasty and nutty with a bit of milk chocolate, molasses, and a kiss of hops. The flavour was balanced towards sweetness with a piney bitterness behind the roast, buttery, ripe fruits, and caramel. Light alcohol in the finish with lingering burnt sugar, maybe a hint of smoke and a bit of sourness. The body was a little more than medium, smooth and creamy with carbonation a little higher than I like in a RIS. Some alcohol warmth. The body seemed to thin out just a bit in the finish. A tasty, easy drinking stout.
07-17-2008 00:25:17 | More by DrJay
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
British Columbia (Canada)
4.47/5 rDev +15.8%
Brewers specs: OG=1.092 & FG=1.017.
That's roughly 10% abv and over 80% apparent attenuation! (Though it clocked in at 6.7% in LCBO lab).
This awesome stout blurs the style guidelines, leaning towards a foreign/export stout. I'd like to find a Guinness FES (7.5%) to try back-to-back.
A: Pure black with a tan head; plenty of head from the pour; some retention & lacing.
S: Dark roasted malt/coffee aroma; molasses, grain, dark chocolate.
T: Pleasant roast flavours, coffee, nut, molasses, dark chocolate, dark bread, smoke, chewy malt, piney, touch of tar, good bitterness, slight roasted acidity.
M: Really well-attenuated with a nice body. It's fairly full, smooth, slightly acidic & chalky. Moderate carbonation.
D: Dangerously drinkable.
12-20-2007 01:15:26 | More by Derek
4.5/5 rDev +16.6%
I bought this bottle in Toronto 1 month ago, something like $2-3 CAD. Odd-sized 341mL bottle with a carboy shape. The beer is really appetizing, roasted malts, sweet chocolate and maybe toffee, a little dark fruits, everything you could want in an RIS aroma. The beer tastes real sweet, rich and roasty, a meal. And at only 6.7% ABV this is extremely drinkable, an unexpectedly fine RIS.
03-16-2009 00:30:11 | More by TurdFurgison
3.8/5 rDev -1.6%
341ml stubby bottle poured into pint glass april22 2010
A near black with thick mocha head that has good retention and leaves several partial rings of lace
S some bakers chocolate and faint coffee and the booze is very well concealed
T the coffee is even more faint and the bakers chocolate is not as bitter as it smells, no booze and perhaps some very faint licorice
M quite thin and not enough carbonation to bail it out, a low point for this beer
D for 8.5% it went down like a cold glass of chocolate milk, points lost for weak a feel and one dimensional smell but still pretty good overall
thanks ritzkiss for this one, a good beer but I'm surprised this was on the Canadian top 25 for as long as it was, please don't get me wrong I enjoyed this beer and odds are you will too.
04-23-2010 03:52:35 | More by wordemupg
3.58/5 rDev -7.3%
33cl stubbie (thx northyorksammy!) poured into my large Gulden Draak tulip, John By IS is a blackish brown with a ridiculously large dark tan head that has tediously long last leaves heavy lace. The settle on this is as rocky as the best Belgian, and for that reason I have no choice but to give this a 5.
Smell is strong chocolate and caramel and light roast, nice robustness, but an interesting tang from the crystal.
Taste is also rather robust, a similar taste profile, I definitely appreciate the depth in spite of the relatively light strength for the style. Herbal hops. Reminds me a bit of Samuel Smiths. Still, like the nose, I think there's just too much crystal malt, or something else, minerals maybe, that provide excessive sharpness.
Mouthfeel is dry and malty, medium heavy body, nice carbonation though.
Drinkability isn't too bad, it's got a very robust flavor for the size, but it's really not quite my taste in the style regardless. If anything, I tend to be biased towards strongly flavored beers that aren't as strong, and while that this is, I just can't say I love it, to tangy.
03-21-2009 04:09:25 | More by ccrida
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
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
2.8/5 rDev -27.5%
It's been slightly over a year since I've purchased anything by these guys and slightly more since I tried the Johny By. I remember hating it the first time but we'll see how it goes this time.
A - Pours pitch black with very minimal carbonation that I can see streaming up the side of the glass. Originally with a one finger head that seemd mocha or brown in colour but it's faded to a few small islands now with some big bubbles. Alcohol clings to the side of the glass tightly when tilted and as I drink it.
S - A good combo of coffee and chocolate. Licorice is very present with some mild roastiness too.
T - Sort of sour. Coffee and chocolate are almost non-existent, just this sort of soury/malty/sugary sort of flavour comes through sadly. Lacks bitterness to balance.
M - Light to medium bodied. Slight carbonation works.
D - At least it smells good. Sadly this is considered one of the best beers in Canada according to BA. Maybe I got a bad bottle but this still needs work. I wouldn't be able to finish one, let alone a few because of the sheer lack of balance and flavours to match the style.
12-21-2010 00:45:53 | More by tbeckett
4.2/5 rDev +8.8%
Review from notes: Bottle drank in Ottawa.
Dark brown with a tan head of foam that rises nicely and is reviveable. Red edges as well. Aromas of toffee, caramel, sugar, cocoa powder, caramello, and roasted malts. Taste is roasted malt mixed with sweet milky cocoa and heath. Mouthfeel is kind of thin, as is the flavor for this one. Drinkability is HIGH. An exceptional daily drinker for those Canadians lucky enough to have it as a daily option.
02-13-2008 23:30:03 | More by francisweizen
3.73/5 rDev -3.4%
Another brew from Canada from Jan (biegaman)
A: Ink black with a huge 4 finger espresso colored head. Nice retention and tons of thick sheetlike lacing. Cool stubby bottle adds to the appearence.
S: Rather light aroma, by American standards at least. Some dark roasted malt giving off slight aromas of coffee, chocolate, and a bit of brown sugar sweetness.
T: Nice roasted flavors without being over the top. Charcoal, coffee, molasses, and bitter chocolate mostly. There are touches of dark fruits in piney hops in the finish.
M: Sort of thin for an RIS, yet it is able to maintain an almost creamy quality.
D: Low ABV, and mild flavors make it pretty drinkable.
Overall: Pretty mild nothing too bold. It is an RIS I could drink several of which is a testament in its own right.
04-15-2008 19:02:48 | More by tpd975
3.53/5 rDev -8.5%
2007: Wonderfully attired stubby bottle from the LCBO. Pours pitch black with a generous milk chocolate head, leaving large amounts of lacing as the drink is consumed. Strong cocoa smell, accented with coffee. The taste reveals bittersweet chocolate and espresso, revelling in a thick, creamy palate. As the drink warms, some of the fruitier more vinous qualities become evident. This really is an excellent offering!
2008: A truly excellent beer, and just as good as I remember. The coffee seems more prominent this time, and provides a bitter kick in the finish. The body does not seem as heavy, but seems to increase from light to medium as the palate acclimatises. This beer really improves the more you drink - my first sip was worryingly underwhelming, but by the end of the second bottle I was craving another. While the bottle says imperial stout I feel that its a little unfair to compare it within the style. There are obviously a lot of similarities in the flavour, but the alcohol content and viscosity is simply not high enough. I prefer to view this as a strong stout, and the best one currently made in the province.
I have downgraded the mouthfeel and upped the drinkability.
2009: Less imperial stout than ever, with a thinner mouthfeel, poorer appearance and paler flavours, in which the coffee dominates. Its a damn decent stout, and would do well in that category, but its out of its depths playing with the big boys.
12-23-2009 14:46:38 | More by bobsy
3.88/5 rDev +0.5%
12oz stubby bottle. sampled jan 7/08.
pours deep brown, not quite black but still opaque. a big dense dark brown head rises up, slowly falling and leaving a ton of chunky lace behind. this is one sexy looking stout. a shade darker and it'd clearly be a perfect 5. as it is, i wish i could give it a 4.75.
aroma is nice. bit of alcohol. light roast - actually, more toasty than roasty. dark and milk chocolate. big bread and biscuit malt. coffee. hint of caramel and molasses. bit of raw oak and smoke. bit of peanut.
taste is good. nice roasty and toasty character. bittersweet and milk chocolate. touch of peanut. hint of alcohol. overly toasted multi-grain bread, but not quite to the level of being burnt. biscuits. low bitterness level. bit of anise. touch of caramel sweetness. interesting that perry describes this as "black irish on steroids" - i can certainly see this as the BI's big brother, and it seems to show just a hint of the baltic sourness i noted there.
mouthfeel is ok. medium carbonation level works well, though i generally preferr my RIS a little ligher. body feels a touch thin, only medium level. perry said that they've got a new batch that will be out soon using a coarser filter, leaving more aroma, flavour, and mouthfeel. that should put things more where i'd expect, and i'll re-review when i can get some of this batch.
drinkability is good. drinks more like the labeled 6.7% than the 10% perry originally indicated. i think the 6.7% matches pretty well with the body (though doesn't put it in RIS territory). hopefully the next batch will be closer to 10% and a little fuller body, putting it closer to the original tsarina katarina. still, this one stands well on its own. well balanced and quite enjoyable.
01-08-2008 02:15:33 | More by grub
3.15/5 rDev -18.4%
Got this as a Christmas gift. Thanks a bundle Sis!
Poured into a snifter.
APPEARANCE: Pours pitch black with no carbonation and basically no head at all, save for a few juice-like bubbles on the top. Only a slightly present patchy wispy film on top keeps me from thinking it's juice. Poured out like black tar; thick and dark. A bit of lace halfway down comes out of nowhere. Average at best.
SMELL: Roasted smoky barley malt with a pinch of coffee and licorice in the background.
TASTE: Burnt and smoked barley malt with coffee and licorice in the background again, especially in the mild lingering aftertaste, which is a nice touch. Pretty boozy for a 6.7% Imperial stout. Nice, but perhaps a bit too boozy for the style. Needs to be hidden better.
PALATE: Medium body and low carbonation. Very smooth and finishes slightly sticky. No bite, which is surprising given the booziness in the taste profile.
OVERALL: A good brew overall, but nothing spectacular or worth seeking out. A little too boozy for the style as well, so that makes it tough to drink more than a couple. This would make a decent sipper in the evening, however.
As a final note, Scotch Irish also brews a Plain Porter. I was interested in trying it, but the three bottles I had were all off. I'll have to try again the next time I'm in town.
01-06-2009 19:54:30 | More by Jeffo
3.68/5 rDev -4.7%
Pours an opaque black with some bubbly head that quickly dissipates. Small amount of lacing. Not a huge smell, some roasted malt and faint coffee. The taste is fairly average for a RIS, with some bitterness and coffee. Not too much carbonation for a smooth mouthfeel. It is pretty thin for the style, I wish it was a bit creamier. Still a tasty enough beer though.
Edit: a month and a half later I tried this again and I love it. There may be a consistency problem. This time it is a creamy tan head and proper carbonation. The flavours are coming through a bit more. I bumped my score up to average between both times because the beer I'm having is much better than the C+ I had before.
02-28-2010 18:35:20 | More by kwjd
4.45/5 rDev +15.3%
341 ml stubby bottle, thanks bobsy for this top notch Canadian-made RIS.
Poured inky black, no light can penetrate this one. Chocolate milk colored foam, good retention and smooth lace sheets. Awesome smell of milk chocolate and cocoa beans and just a whiff of coffee. The taste has coffee and chocolate, but more on the bitter side. Full body and flavorful, finishes with a good dose of hoppy bitterness. Thick, creamy mouthfeel, but could be even more robust.
Disappeared wat too quickly, thanks again.
Note to Self: Ranked #10/25 Top Beers in Canada when I tried it.
04-05-2009 04:37:19 | More by BigBry
4.1/5 rDev +6.2%
341ml Canuck "stubbie" bottle.
Small package for such a big beer...
Pores a deep black which defies light, rich 3 finger sticky mocha colored cap that lasts and laces.
Aroma is distinctly mocha aroma with light sweetness and a soft hint of dried fruit and hops.
Rich oily mouth feel, thick malt spine and deep dark roasty character.
Flavors: roast husks, coffee, pipe tobacco, bitter cocoa, chicory root, charred toast...and a lightly salty bittering finish.
Hides the alcohol well and is very drinkable...but its strength is a charred grains from the black patent malt creating an astringent affinity with the hops used...never had a stout that did this so well in such great balance.
12-23-2007 00:30:01 | More by pootz
John By Imperial Stout from Scotch Irish Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 84 ratings.