Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

John By Imperial Stout - Scotch Irish Brewing Company

Not Rated.
John By Imperial StoutJohn By Imperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

82 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 82
Hads: 84
Avg: 3.84
pDev: 10.42%
Wants: 8
Gots: 0 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Scotch Irish Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: CanuckRover on 12-18-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
View: Beers (0) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 82 | Hads: 84
Photo of matt7215
4.36/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle from the LCBO

the 2008 vintage has held its own agaist the 2007.

black with a lovely tan head. what more can you ask for.

lovely coffee and chocolate aromas with fresh hops also present

flavour of heavy roasted barley with hops in the finish. heavy on chocolate and coffee notes.

age this one for added complexity. the 2007 aged like a champ in proper cellars.

drinks like a top 5 impy stout. enjoy while you can.

 428 characters

Photo of MasterSki
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

 1,017 characters

Photo of shamus
3.23/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Ah the Scotch-Irish brewery from the land of my fathers and mothers (Ottawa Valley!). These are always a surprise to me. Either excellent or a big, "WAH?". For example the Sgt. major's Indian pale was once my favourite of that genre but in the last year it has been hard to swallow. I wrote to the brewery and inquired as to what had changed. The response was that due to the world-wide hop shortage they had tried a different variety of hops than usual and admitted it did not result in a great product. They promised a switchback soon.

This Imperial Stout is suffering from the fact that I just drank a Peche Mortel before. one of the best bar none. So this is a review in comparison.

Pours smoothly with an attractive head, not a strong smell, a bit smokey; pleasant but nothing note-worthy. Tastes very tinny and watery. No complexity to the after-taste. Disappointing. Not a disaster but nothing special. Sigh.

perhaps I'll try it again without the influence of Peche Mortel preceding it.

 998 characters

Photo of abedenbaugh
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A:Very dark and with a very thick appearance when it was poured into my glass. There was a light brown head that stayed even after I was finished drinking it.
S: There was lots of malt character in this beer. Also from the roasted malts there was some chocolate and roasted aroma. Also underneath the chocolate and roast there was a little bit of sweetness coming through.
T: There was some bitterness/sourness coming from the roasted malts. The taste is very smooth and there isn't as much roast flavor as there is in the aroma. There is a little bit of hop bitterness coming through, but overall is very balanced with the sweetness.
MF: It had medium carbonation and medium body
D: Overall this was a very easy drinking beer. A little odd for an imperial stout at 6.7% ABV, but it doesn't bother me. I really enjoyed how I got more aroma from the roasted malts than flavor. This left the beer having a smooth flavor but had a complex aroma.

 942 characters

Photo of DrJay
3.95/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

 753 characters

Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.13/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

 685 characters

Photo of TerryW
3.94/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Rather plain looking after the head settles down, but after that a quite good beer.

Smoky, choclately, coffee-ish nose with a bit of bite. Hint of alcohol. Nice.

Heavy mouthfeel, slightly syrupy, but not cloying. Chocolate and coffee, some sweetness, nice and malty. A solid stout, but not heavyhanded. Interesting, enjoyable and easy to drink despite its richness.

Worth a go.

 380 characters

Photo of cyrenaica
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

341ml bottle
6.7% ABV

I tried this beer on Decenber 24, 2007 after purchasing from my local LCBO outlet. The beer poured a coca-cola black with a huge chocolate milk coloured frothy head. The aroma consisted of roasted malts and some chocolate tinges. The mouthfeel was medium-bodied with little carbonation. The flavour was very similar to the 95% Cocoa Lindt chocolate.

 372 characters

Photo of tpd975
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

 786 characters

Photo of dnichols
3.82/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for northyorksammy for a great trade.

A: It poured a thick dark black with hints of brown in the body and a sticky tan head that settled into a light cover and ring around the collar. There was modest lacing that did not linger.

S: It's aroma was dominated bitter chocolates and sweet malts. There were hints of dark yeasty dough and smoky almonds.

T: It was packed with creamy sweet chocolates and dry bitter hops. It finished dry with a lingering sour aftertaste. The alcohol was well hidden.

M: It was full-bodied and creamy with a dry finish and lingering sour aftertaste. Very little carbonation.

D: I expected a higher ABV from an RIS. It had the flavor and body of a RIS but lacked the punch found in many that help make the finish warm and clean and result in no sour or bitter aftertaste.

 811 characters

Photo of MMansfield
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

200th review had to be something special... Acquired through trade with Viggo. Thanks Eric! Stubby bottle with red cap poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a sticky dark dark brown, might as well call it black. Creamy dark tan cap settes to a thick ring with an island floating in the centre. Leaves some scant lacing.

Aroma: Bittersweet & milk chocolate waffs out of the glass as it's being poured. Very lovely earthy aromas, roasted malt, fresh baked molasses bread. Dark ripened fruit with a small amount of roasted nuts in there as well.

Taste: A lot of the sweet chocolate from the nose is missing in the taste, which is very much appreciated. Heavy roasted flavours with a dry, lingering and bitter finish. Peanut flavour in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, creamy & sticky. High drinkability.

Final Statement: Beautiful beer. Reminds me why imperial stouts are my favourite style. One of the best Imp. Stouts I've had.

 937 characters

Photo of slitherySOB
4.04/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another stubby bottle, and my second beer from this brewery. The beer doesn't pour as black as I expected. I expect imperial stouts to be black as motor oil. This was a very dark brown, almost black colour. Decent, thick, cloud white head sits atop. Very nice, but not what I was expecting. Strong smell of bitter coffee and espresso. Some malts as well, almost like burnt toast, but pleasing. Heavy, bittersweet taste. Lots of chocolates, black coffee, and dark bread, with a fig and plum aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a little heavy and slick. A good imperial stout, and perhaps a good crossover beer as it's not extremely bitter.

 627 characters

Photo of bassmantin
4.35/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to iconoklaztor for letting me sample this one.

Pours a very dark brown with good thick light brown head that escapes quickly.

Smells very roasty, thick and rich. A strong coffee flavor persists throughout, with thick roasted malts striking at the end. This is an incredible experience. Could stand to be a little more intense, but the flavors are amazing. Extremely well-balanced and infused with all the coffee and roastiness that I love in a stout.

Highly recommended if you can find it.

 500 characters

Photo of iconoklaztor
4.1/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice black liquid with a rich tan head. The smell is phenomenal! Hops, chocolate, and coffee are the root of this evil. The taste is....

The taste is hoppy and coffee ridden. I really enjoy this. This brew is mighty tasty.

The mouth is creamy and complex. A little dry on the finish but a lovely imperial.

Overall, this is a nice beer. I like the taste and smell. I would certainly try this again!! Thanks to Phyl21ca for this brew!! Cheers!

 454 characters

Photo of sstackho
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle purchased from Front St. LCBO in Toronto. Pours black with a thick brown head. Strong aroma - mainly of chocolate. First taste is thick and strong. Tastes of coffee, chocolate, malts rounded out with some fruitiness. Finished with some nice hop bitterness. Great lacing - although the head is so heavy that I'm not sure how long it will stick to the glass. Great stuff.

 381 characters

Photo of crwills
3.98/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got 12 of these for my birthday in January.

Pours near-black into a pint glass with a big chocolate-milk coloured head. Rich, malty chocolate aroma with hints of alcohol and some overripe fall fruits.

Upfront flavour is a bit surprising -- very smoky, almost burnt. Mouthfeel seems a little weak, but strengthens as it warms up (probably started too cold). Woodsy, dry chocolate flavours dominate, and the alcohol isn't really present in the flavour. Strong black coffee notes throughout, including in the bitter, dry aftertaste.

A second bottle is a much better (perhaps the first one was bad?), so I've adjusted my ratings accordingly. A very drinkable, if low-alcohol, Imperial Stout.

 691 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.83/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

 620 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

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.


 455 characters

Photo of bennetj17
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Dark black, medium tan foam cap that holds on well for an Imperial. Roasty and chocolatey aroma with a light sweetness. Very well-rounded nose.

Intense, dry roasted malts dominate the flavor. There is a hint of dark fruit carrying through, although the taste is rather unsweetened which is nice. The alcohol is not strong. The finish leaves a moderate bitterness, but lingering much later is a sharp astringence that hangs atop the tongue and is not very pleasant, thereby hurting the drinkablility some. Only lightly thick, there is a decent smoothness in the mouthfeel and the carbonation is certainly strong enough.

A very tasty stout, and not overpowering. The astringent finish was a bit rough though, and I am still tasting it now as I type this. Worth a try for sure... thanks to northyorksammy for a bottle...

 819 characters

Photo of allergictomacros
3.88/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Piitch black with a nice tan head. Decent stickiness but longevity could be better. Very stout-like roasty aroma with some fruitiness, but overall aromas were muted. Flavour is very toasty and somewhat sweet, with a surprisingly solid hoppiness. A bit of a grapefruit undertone beneath a cocoa and fruit up front flavour. Nice smooth carbonation on a medium body and very drinkable.

 382 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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.

 789 characters

Photo of Antilochus
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

 792 characters

Photo of grub
3.86/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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.

 1,746 characters

Photo of BrewSomerville
4.23/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Dark chocolate & espresso. Roastiness, and a little smoke.

Looks: Black. Cream/biege coloured head, slightly larger than average. Good head retention. Good lace.

Taste: Delicious. Roasty coffee. Molasses. Dark chocolate. I thought that I had tasted something smokey, but then it was gone. It has NONE of that black liqorice taste that you sometimes find in an R.I.S., for me that is a great thing because I hate black liqorice! It has a long coffee-like and chocolaty finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, chewy, sticky. Carbonation is just right for this Beer. Creamy, smooth, and silky mouthfeel.

Overall, this is a great Beer, if at all possible, you must try it... or John By will get you!

 698 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.32/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

 460 characters

John By Imperial Stout from Scotch Irish Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.