Imperial Stout - Silver City Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

69 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 69
Reviews: 39
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 11.08%
Wants: 12
Gots: 7 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Silver City Brewing Co. visit their website
Washington, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.25% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 03-31-2005

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 69 | Reviews: 39
Reviews by RedDiamond:
Photo of RedDiamond
3.21/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I noted a smell of bitter chocolate and alcohol at first. Then the aroma advanced to a solvent-like measure of isopropyl. This grew increasingly troublesome over time, though it never went so far as to unreasonably trespass on the taste. The big chocolaty and roasted grain flavors concealed some - but not all - of the alcohol yielding a taste suggesting sherry.

This is a perfectly black ale with a thin sandy head and a glossy mouthfeel that rolled easily across the tongue. What's good here is good. What isn't good is distracting.

More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Well, so far skyhand is the only one to get a head from this stout. I got zilcho. No cabeza on this cervesa. The body though was (overused cliché to follow) thick as motor oil. It was so black it almost glowed like radioactive coffee.

Smell – Let’s see, coffee, coffee grounds, coffee beans, old shirt with coffee stain, and kissing a really sexy coffee-addicted co-ed that works at Starbucks.

Besides that, there’s thick, roasted malt. This malt is roasty and burnt. That’s OK, because it’s mixed with some super high-powered sugar. This is like “12 lumps or 13?” in a cup of thick Joe. The sugar is raw sugar mixed with cane, which are two of my favorites.

In addition to all that, there are hops in here. It’s hard to tell exactly which kind, sense my olfactory nose gets kind of lazy post-orgasm, but they are there for sure. It’s like porn. I might not be able to describe it, but I know it when I smell it (aack – sorry).

Taste – Well, this Stout has alcohol in it. Lots and lots of alcohol. This boozy brethren brings all the “nuances” of the nose (read, “sludgehammer”) to the taste plus a bottle of Kettle 1.

Mouthfeel – This is as full-bodied as Dolly Parton wearing Allie McBeal’s bra (hey, cross-generational gratuitous sexist jokes). The alcohol doesn’t sting but is heavy in the throat. The huge sugars and bitter roasty malts send the saliva glands on an American Double Stout roller coaster. The beer itself is a bit flat but Silver City just changed bottlers so I’m guessing that it’s a quality control issue that they will eventually work through.

Drinkability – Drink this alone and it will go fast. Drink this with chocolate and it will disappear. Drink this with skyhand and don’t take your eyes off the bottle.

Update – I wrote this review off of an ’05 vintage so thought I’d tackle a new 2006. I like the head much better. Although it almost seemed flat as a popped the cap off the carbonation was good and the dead was dark and mysterious. Otherwise it’s “as advertised” in my original review. It’s one hell of an ADS, and really embodies the characteristics that differentiate the style from, say, the RIP or Baltic Porter.

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #47 (Dec 2010):

Massive billow of cascading brown bubbles. After the pitch-black liquid settles, the head left is a beaut to look at. Iced espresso and dark chocolate make for a mouthwatering, rich nose. Slightly viscous, slightly silky, but very creamy full body. Grain character is dominant, with softer charcoal but more aggressive dark chocolate flavors. Warming alcohol lends black currant fruitiness. Hop bitterness really helps to balance and leaves a lingering of herbal piney flavor. Sweet, mildly roasty finish. It's refreshing to run into an Impy Stout that doesn't rely on excessive amounts of hops and alcohol.

Photo of masikon
3.62/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and syrupy with little carbonation, my bottle had little pop when opened and unfortunately little head, what was there was creamy and mocha in appearance. Nose was coffee and alcohol with an emphasis on crisp alcohol rather than earthy malts. Taste I thought was a bit overly peppery with a thinish mouthfeel, the expected chocolate malts and coffee notes stayed in the background rather than being in the forefront, I can't say I agree with many of the other me this is an average attempt at the style which falls short especially in mouthfeel.

Photo of IntriqKen
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2007
Many, many thanks to Skyhand for this offering.
Pours jet black with a half finger brown head that melts to a brownish tan ring of lacing.
Aromas are sweet toasted malts, dark candied fruits, dark brown sugar and a little alcohol.
Taste is dark, dark brown sugar, toasted malts, dark raisins and plums, a little touch of vanilla, and a bourbon kind of alcohol.
Aftertaste is sweet and warm with the alcohol burning slightly all the way down.
Mouthfeel finishes clean and not cloying.
This is an excellent Imperial Stout. I doubt I could ever get tired of it. There is a wonderful balance between the sweet start and drying finish.
Thanks Kim.

Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very smooth drinking stout, not overly sweet but certainly well malted and some chocolate malt there. Little bitterness, and so on a hot night we cleaned this 750 out quickly. A medium or lighter mouthfeel. Black as night. Significant and appropriate carbonation. Thanks Thebungyo.

Photo of dirtylou
3.97/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, sent by blackie in the form of interest income

appearance: pours a syrupy/slightly oily dark chocolate brown, bordering on black...a slightly foamy tan head that recedes to only minimal lacing. nice looking body, head/retention is merely average though

smell: cocoa powder, dark bittersweet chocolate, strong hop presence pokes its head out right away, strong coffee aromas, licorice, a touch of alcohol coming through, very roasty malts

taste: pretty impressive...licorice is heavy up front, bittersweet chocolate syrup, dark roast coffee, alcohol is delicately placed and not abrasive...roasted malt, tangy hop presence that does wonders for this one...smooth espresso

mouthfeel: medium body, moderately creamy, nice and bitter

drinkability: quite drinkable fo the style

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.53/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Decent khaki head. Wispy.

Smell - Caramel and chocolate. Roasty malt. Some bright dark fruit, almost acidic.

Taste - Really chocolatey. Dries out quickly with a fair amount of caramel malt. Bitter in the back.

Mouthfeel - Thick. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Pretty good. Nothing spectacular.

Photo of CRJMellor
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, ink black color with a deep, rich light brown colored head.
Aroma of coffee beans and some nuttiness come through first followed by a subtle yet powerful , resiny hop note.
Mouthfeel is very bitter floating over the top of a melted chocolate bar is my best description. Just the right amount of carbonation to make enjoyable and compliment the flavor profile. Some “hot” alcohol as it finishes but this adds to the meat of the brew and makes enjoyable.
Drinkability is top-notch. 2nd or 3rd offering from this establishment and all have been really exceptional. Thanks to Skyhand for this beautiful beer.

Photo of Docer
3.65/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (3.5)
- Super dark and somewhat clear brown brew. Very robust looking brown at the edges of the liquid. A heavy pour really didn't yield very much head, but a finger of light tan foam which quickly dissipated to a small ring, and some scattered traces in the middle.

Smell: (3.5)
- A rather sweet stout with quite the caramel scent really. Light roasted coffee flare, a bit of oatmeal chocolate, and quite the caramel flare. Little alcohol and grassy hop touch.

Taste: (4.0)
- Grainy, some oats and barley flare, perhaps a little roasted bready character.. overall some nice coffee flavors, and chocolate. Bitter coffee and grass hop flare. Little tart, perhaps a slight aceto edge to it, but overall it has a great balanced flavor and unique coffee-like touch to it.

Mouth Feel: (3.0)
- This is where I think this stout falls a bit short. It is a rather thin and watery stout. I expected a heavier body and a bit more foamy carbonation. It's well carbonated, but has the body of a bubbly pale ale.

Overall: (3.5)
- This stout has a great flavor, and shows promise. I just feel it can be refined a little more, and perhaps use a little more grain and build up some body. I wonder if some heavy adjunct usage occurred to boost the alcohol in this one. Just a little too home-brewy to me. Like the coffee/carmel flare though.

Photo of waldowin
3.61/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

FINALLY snagged some of this stuff. Found out six months ago that it existed, and had to wait until a week ago to try some. Had it on tap, and it was excellent. Hopefully the bottled won't disappoint. This is labeled as an "Imperial Stout", and is very much in line with other RIS's I've had in the past, it should possibly be moved.

Pours a roasty smooth black, no light penetrates at all. A very dense brown head forms quickly, and is extremely slow to fade. Lacing is opaque.

Smells of hazelnuts, roasted coffee, and a bit of alcohol. Some nuttiness in the finish.

The start is all roast and alcohol, with a hint of hops to break the flavor. As it fades away it fills your mouth with a mix of raisins and a heavily-roasted espresso flavor. Tasty, smooth, and not too complex.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth, and just carbonated enough to cut the body. Not as "big" as I was hoping for, and the high ABV and heavy espresso finish makes it hard to go more than one bottle on this, but a very good brew from Silver City!

If you can get it on tap, definitely try some. It seemed a bit fresher, and more complex from the tap.

(note): As this brew warmed up, it lost a lot of character, and in fact became mostly an exercise in drinking bitter coffee beer. I definitely prefer the on-tap version.

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

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours black with no tint. Nice medium tan head leaves lacing. Light malt and roasty malt aroma. Roasted and dark malt, chocolate, somewhat full flavored, but subdued. Finishes mildly with a bit of hops and roasted malt. A somewhat different RIS, but perhaps a little too reserved. No off notes, but nothing outstanding either.

Photo of blackie
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: The our from the bomber creates a very nice dark mocha colored .5" head That slowly recedes. The beer is, well, pretty much black.

smell: Up front is a sweet, almost milk-chocolatey type smell, and a smoky aroma. It even seems that there is a hint of mint in there, almost smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream. Light hop aroma that I have trouble even picking out. Not much else to it...pleasing aroma, but not exciting, and kinda tame for an imperial.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a lighter medium, and the body the same. Maybe a little thin, but okay.

taste: Good flavor for a stout, weak flavor for an RIS. Up front light roast and dark chocolate flavors. Light hop flavor and bitterness. Finishes with the aformentioned touch of bitterness and a lingering roasted astringency. A little of the smokiness, almost peat like.

drinkability: Easy drinking for the ABV, but not as bold in character as I would like an RIS to be.

Recieved in a trade with waldowin, and cellared for about two and a half months.

Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dickinsonbeer for sharing this...
Appears a dark brown, nearing black with chestnut edges when held to the light. A small, dark tan head fades into a mild film and collar. Speckles of lacing are left like holes in a target after buck-shot penetrates it from a short distance.
Smell is of roasted nuts, cocoa, brownies, vanilla, black grapes, and mild oxidation.
Taste is of the same aromas with a touch of roasted grains and mild tartness.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, chewy, roasty, and a bit thin on the finish.

Photo of Braz
3.75/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at 99 Bottles.
Appearance: Beautiful almost black color with frothy tan head.
Smell: Sweet yet herby aromatics. Sounds strange but almost picked up a little bit of dryer sheet.
Taste: Good balance of bitter and sweet. Some dark chocolate and coffee notes followed up with some milk like sweetness. Roasted quality. Ever so slight metallic aftertaste, think it's hops.
Mouthfeel: Very velvetty. Smooth and creamy. Lightly carbonated.
Overall: Very decent. Solid choice. I like the slightly hoppy aftertaste, it grew on me after a while.

Photo of hopdog
4.07/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle share courtesy of dickinsonbeer (thanks for crossing one off my want list!).

Poured a dark black color with an averaged sized brownish head. Aromas of cocoa, lightly nutty, roast, and some dark fruits. Tastes of dark fruits, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and light coffee in the finish. Thinner body. Alcohol content completely hidden.

Notes from 11/29/07

Photo of sulldaddy
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A bottle that is courtesy of that great BA Mickey! I am sampling a lightly chilled bottle in a snifter.
The beer pours dark as nite with a creamy brown head foaming up 2 cm easily and fading by large bubbles bursting under the surface. Head fades to a sturdy surface layer.
Aroma is a mixture of chocolate, espresso, molasses, and some lighter sweet fruit hits. The fruitiness consists of mostly plum and a bit of berry too. Definitely sweeter sort of fruits.
First sip reveals a smooth silky creamy body with very fine carbonation that tingles my palate long after the swallow.
The beer has some umph! to it for sure in the body department.
Flavor is mostly sweet up front and sitting in my mouth, chocolate and some brown sugar in there. The finish brings out the espresso notes with some coffee bean dry and bitey finish. A lingering roasted malt flavor persists after each swallow.
The bottle says 9.25% but I dont detect it anywhere.
This is an impressive beer from a brewery I never heard of. I would look for it if in WA!

Photo of John_M
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Collin's pub a few months back. Left my notes from my tasting there in Seattle and just recently had a friend bring them out. This beer was left over (along with just about everything else from the dinner/tasting) from a Silver City dinner/tasting.

The beer pours a jet black color with decent head retention and lacing. The nose is quite complex, with some obvious dry hoppiness, hints of licorise and some subtle sweet malt. Not what I usually encounter in an Imperial Stout. On the palate one gets more licorise, along with espresso coffee. There is some underlying sweetness from the malt, but nothing comparable to what I normally find in an imperial stout. The beer is surprisingly hoppy, and as a result the finish is quite dry with some good bitterness. The abv. is noticeable, but not overly so. Hence, I would describe this beer as pretty drinkable for its abv.

This beer is quite impressive, if not exactly what I'm looking for in an imperial stout. On the the other hand, if you like this style (as I know Knuckles does), then I can now see where you would not be as excited about the Abyss. A very good beer from Silver City.

Edit from 6/13. Just cracked open a bottle that I'd cellared for a couple years. Frnakly, it tasted pretty much the same as the stuff I had at Collins back in 2007. There was a bit more dark chocolate, and the hoppy bitterness had subsided a bit, but it was still pretty dry on the finish, and was dominated by the licorice and espresso flavor and aroma (this beer smells quite a bit better than it tastes, IMHO). Anyway, I upgraded the aroma by a quarter point and down graded the appearance by a half point. A decent beer, but I don't think I need to go out of my way to buy any more of this in the forseeable future.

Photo of nlmartin
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer was an extra from a trade with TheBungyo. Thanks for a fantastic addition to our trade. If I would have known about this beer I would have asked for it.

This beer was served in a wide mouthed wine goblet.

Appearance: As I looked at the beer in my glass. I said to myself, "here comes the darkness itself." The beer poured a near perfect black. The beer had no ruby opaqueness to light. The head was a two finger burnt cream coffee coloration. This beer looks outstanding in my glass.

Smell: The beer has a heavy duty dark roasted / burnt coffee aroma. The beer has a pleasing powdery chocolatey smell. The beer is loaded with spicy hops and alcohol smells. The beer has a pleasant smokey nuttyness. This beer in short smells like a alcohol fuelled Starbucks.

Taste: This beer is loaded with darkly roasted and chared coffee flavors. The beer has a nice semi-sweet chocolate flavor. The hops and spicy alcohol bring a bit of refreshing bitterness.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: I would have preferred a bigger chewier mouthfeel to the beer. The flavors of the beer do not really linger that long. On the plus side the beer is slightly bigger than medium body. The beer has no off flavors or smells. The beer has a good melding of flavors and smell. This is not a bad Russian Imperial Stout. I would more than likely buy this beer again.

Photo of draheim
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz (2011 I think) into a snifter. Pours a deep black w/ red edges and a thin tan head that dissipates quickly to a narrow ring.

Aroma is deep, rich & roasty. Chocolate, molasses, vanilla, dark fruit & nuts, a hint of booze.

Taste is more molasses & toffee, brown sugar, dark fruits. Falls on the sweeter, fruitier side of imperial stouts rather than bitter & roasty.

Mouthfeel is moderately chewy, coating w/ a lingering, sticky finish.

Overall a solid, traditional imperial stout. Not mind-blowing, but well-crafted and enjoyable.

Photo of DogFood11
4.6/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bomber poured into a small tulip it formed a meaty brown head. Black body that looks rich. Sticky lace.

The smell caught me off guard because I wanted to classify it right off the bat. In short, while it is definitely an Imperial stout it has some unique characteristecs that I haven't noticed in my limited experience. For instance, I pick up a light fruit profile and its rather prominent. It has a large nutty gimmick that adds a whole lot of character and depth. Finally, its very drinkable and "light" on the palate. This doesn't fill me up but it has all the other good stuff you'd expect like the charred malts, pretty good size hops about 3/4 of the way through and a good amount of warming. The one flaw in my eyes is a cola type aftertaste that was annoying. Excellent overall.

Notes: Loved it. 2 for 2 on the night from the great northwest. This has its own identity but still waves the imperial stout flag with pride. Silver City is a phenom.

Photo of FirstMan
4.23/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big and black - the way I like my ... beers.

Slick blackness on the pour out of the bomber. Cocoa-colored head of tiny bubbles takes about 3 minutes to dissipate into a fairly even trace across the top of the liquid.

Smell is of chocolate, raisin, toasty bread, molasses, and a little peaty coffee-smoke. Yes, I realize that may be a smell that's hard to envision. Very good nose, although not smacking me in the face for looking at it wrong. I've met some stouts like that before and me likes it.

Frankly the taste is a little surprising. First and foremost you get this very open, dry malty character that isn't at all harsh. Very subtle. What I love, however, is how it immediately starts to ease into a very smoky, toasty middle and back. Tapers off slowly. Very very nice. The amount of smoke was quite unexpected, but in a very good way. I love it when a beer is complicated and this one definitely is. Sort of like the way a beautiful woman can be attractive, but if she all of a sudden turns out to be a genius, she becomes a million times more attractive.

Why do I keep comparing this beer to a woman? Anyway - I'll avoid doing that for mouthfeel. That could get hairy ... oh geez...

Smooth, open, and soft with a light pinch of carbination.

This beer is tricky. Doesn't feel like it has the abv that it does. Don Spencer is tricky like that. For its style, this is very drinkable.


Photo of czechsaaz
3.48/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Smells like chocolate and dark roast malt. Some plums and a little smokey/phenoilic. Somewhat of an alcohol nose too.

Deep black with a quick fading, but initially thick tan head. Very little head remains after pouring except for a thin rim around the edge.

Very assertive in the roast malt character. Hits right away and blows away the subtle bittering hops. That's followed by a sugary sweetness from what must be a ton of base malt. Aftertaste is bittering hops and some alcohol. Seems really overly sweet as I get halfway through a pint glass. The other flavors seem to fade away to the sweetness. I liked it a lot more on the first half a glass than the second.

Very full bodied with an appropriately light carbonation level.

Overall I think it's a great big Impy stout without a lot of complexity. Lots of alcohol and not enough roast malt or hops to balance it out.

Photo of Kuaff
4.29/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Uber Tavern in Seattle.

A one finger light brown head and a black body. Nothing unexpected.

Smells like molasses, maple, and prunes. Vanilla too.

Tastes like dark chocolate, earthy coffee, and dark bread. Pretty much in that order.

It has kind of medium thickness for an imperial stout.

I ordered this because I love imperial stouts and I had never heard of this one, or the brewery behind it for that matter. No regrets.

Photo of brentk56
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: A hard pour fails to raise too much of a head so the tan foam settles down quickly into a film on top of the obsidian colored liquid; on the lacing front, however, it is a better story, with many squiggles lining the chalice

Smell: Roast, dark fruit, caramel, chocolate and a hint of coffee

Taste: Caramel and chocolate, up front, with a dark fruit element building in the middle; after the swallow, some coffee and an earthy hop element arrive to cut the sweetness; the finish has the dark fruit returning to lead the sweeter tones

Mouthfeel:: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: This beer takes many of the expected elements of an American Double Stout and flips them on their head; enjoyable, once you figure out what is going on, but not the kind of creativity that gets me really excited

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Imperial Stout from Silver City Brewing Co.
88 out of 100 based on 69 ratings.