Russian Imperial Stout | Goose Island Beer Co.

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21 Ratings

Brewed by:
Goose Island Beer Co.
Illinois, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by rhoadsrage on 03-01-2005

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 21 |  Reviews: 15
Reviews by Stoneman78:
Photo of Stoneman78
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Goose Island Clybourn. . .

Appearance is a dark brown hue, thin layer of sustaining brown head, thick layer of lacing

Smell is chocolate and coffee malts, brown sugar and molasses, subtle pine hops in the back

Taste is big malt presence, bitter coffee, some toffee and chocolate, dark fruits (raisins) and molasses, green and earthy hops peek through, finishes prickly and sweet

Mouthfeel is full-bodied, syrupy and thick viscous texture, moderate carbonation

Drinkability is good, low alcohol presence for the style, good flavor and texture, solid overall IRS

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.11/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is one thoroughly enjoyable brew but within such a highly competitive style it hardly stands out. Served on cask in a snifter, this RIS is the typical jet black with a thin, short lived brown head. Flavors of molasses and big roasted coffee/chocolate malts are dominate as expected. Alcohol is extremely warming and rather noticeable. Not too complex though and didn’t sit well in my belly. As I said, one was enjoyable but two would have been too many.

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Photo of Twifiter
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.21/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a large Brandy Snifter

A- Jet black body with no visible carbonation and a thin dark tan head that fades quickly but a small ring remains around the glass edge.

S- It was smoky in the bar so it was a bit challenging to find aromas but I could detect a roasted maltyness with a bit of an alcohol nose. No hops despite the written description of tons of hops being added.

T- It has a big burnt malt taste with a strong molasses flavor. There were also some prune notes and a little chocolate aswell with a hint of hops lurking at the finish. This beer had a lot of alcohol warmth at the finish aswell.

M- very little carbonation but only a medium body with a alcohol warmth that was very present.

D-This beer had a big taste with nice warmth but I really didn't get many complex flavors out of it. Perhaps I will try it again when there are less of the bar aromas competing with the beer but it was a pleasant Imperial stout.

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Photo of RockyTopHeel
4.32/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served from a cask in a snifter at the Clybourn location. Reviewed from notes.

Opaque, black in color with very little head to speak of. Aroma of molasses, coffee, chocolate, vanilla-oak, raisins, caramel, figs, and any other dark, brooding, sweet flavor you can think of. The flavor is similar, but more complex, with a solid backbone of roasted malts and some hops. The cask conditioning mellowed some flavors, enhanced others, and made every sip a small adventure in my mouth.

Needless to say, I thoroughly enjoyed this brew.

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Photo of DOCRW
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of Gunslinger711
4.26/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

On tap at the pub, served in a sample glass.

Tasting notes from 2-15-11

This beer is dark like a cup of coffee, almost no light comes through when held up directly to the light.

A whiff of this is gives me the archetypal burnt/roasted coffee smell, and that's it. From beginning to end.

For a big beer, this had a light mouthfeel, not much bite, a little coating. Decent amount of head, about a finger, and some lacing to boot.

The taste, shockingly enough, is the same as the smell. Malt, roasted coffee. Pleasantly enough, no alcohol burn on the back end.

Overall, this is what I think of when I think of a base RIS. GI perfected the formal and I'll be interested to see what they add to improve upon it. To use a popular term, this would be my "session" RIS. I would definitely drink again.

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Photo of HungarianCount
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%

Photo of pvllbum
3.88/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Got this at the GI cybourne in a growler. Poured a near jet back with some red highlights. No head at all really just a little tan foaming in the middle of the glass. Smelled sweet and chocolaty as well as malty. Some coffee and little vanilla and caramel. Tasted sweet up front with the alcohol coming in and then a nice chocolaty coffee finish. Mouth feel was nice and full with no carbonation and very smooth. As the beer warmed the alcohol was more present. When I tried it at goose island it was really cold and was like drinking water. That would be a good thing but they have the ABV listed at about 11% so not a chugging beer but a good RIS but like someone else said not the best but I still enjoyed it and will definately enjoy the rest of my growler.

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

Served in a snifter at Goose Island Clybourn 2/15/07. Listed on the menu as 7.4% abv.

A: Jet black with a tiny, espresso brown head.

S: Big nose full of roasted malt with a chaser of alcohol.

T: Flavors of roasted malt dominate with raisins, tart cherries, espresso, vanilla, ripe plums, dark chocolate, brown sugar, bitter hops, and a very slight hint of bourbon.

M: Rich and creamy up front with a finish that alternates between bitter and sweet.

D: A very smooth easy drinker. Not ragged as in years past, perhaps due to the lower abv. A fine RIS.

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Photo of AgentZero
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Black beer with a little bit of brown in the light that rubys on the edges. Brown head that left some decent stickage on the glass.

S - Nice roast, good bit of chocolate, some dark fruit, molasses.

T - I like this one quite a bit, as it has a lot of different things to pick out. Chocolate is present, with some fruit. Toward the end you pick up more of the nice roast and a slight bit of hops. Nice.

M - Medium bodied, decent bit of carbonation.

O - Really liked this beer a lot. As Alex said, put it in a barrel, would love to see where this one goes as it's already got a nice, big flavor profile.

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Photo of brandoman63
3.5/5  rDev -11.6%

Photo of BEERchitect
4.1/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Enjoyed at FoBAB in Chicago. The description reads, "An Imperial Stout aged in Jim Beam barrels." As if the beer wasn't already rich, strong, and flavorful before. The barrels added the complexity, alcohol, and rounded off the roasted edges. The hop character was really subdued. Richer and more flavorful with caramel, vanilla, and a bit of a coconut flavor. Thined by the alcohol and reduced the head retention a bit. The alcohols became a bit fusal and overly hot. I am a better person for have trying this one.

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Photo of Viggo
4.28/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one clocks in at 10%. Wasn't up on the board so I casually inquired what they had on cask, and when the guy said RIS I nearly shit my pants.

Served in a big snifter, pours an opaque black, some nice red highlights, small tan head, with rings of lace around the glass, looks fantastic. Smell is sweet and malty, with lots of licorice and chocolate, coffee, some vanilla, little bit of caramel, alcohol is very well hidden. Taste is cherry/vanilla up front, the chocolate, coffee and licorice in the finish, little bit of dark fruits. Mouthfeel is full bodied, with low carbonation and super smooth from the casking. Nice warmth from the alcohol going down, fucking fantastic imperial stout, and the cask conditioning made it oh so better.

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Photo of JDV
3.68/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Goose Island Clybourn. Pours basically black with no head. Smell is rich roasted dark malt and some sweetness. Taste is dark roasty malt, almost bordering burnt roastiness and noticeable light balancing bittering hops. Medium bodied and carbonation. Flavor falls off a bit toward the finish, but still a solid beer.

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Photo of shade13
3/5  rDev -24.2%

Photo of biegaman
4.15/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Mad huge thanks to Eric and Alexa for putting up with me, oh , and feeding me exceptional beer - like this growler of Goose Island RIS. Very appreciated!
A thin grey head that sat in very thin sheets along the perimeter of the glass. Utterly opaque black, like middle of the night pitch darkness. Interesting aroma with faint and subdued hops, anise/licorice, softly roasted malts. Most appealing were unique notes of dark berries, blueberries and blackberries, leading me to smell the beer more than drink it.
Lightly bitter body with plenty of anise. Very earthy tones. Highlight of the flavour is this really nice dark chocolate note.
It's actually easier to describe this beer by saying what it's not: It posses no taste of coffee, very little roast, little bitterness, short of character and slim on dimension. Despite all this it's a pretty damn fair RIS. My only complaint really is that because of all this it drinks a little TOO well for the style. Which wasn't a bad thing...
Thanks again Viggo!

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Photo of MasterSki
4.12/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap at Goose Island. Thanks Mike! Served in a taster glass. This batch was listed at 8.0%.

A - Served with a finger of tan foam that settles to a thick ring and a partial hazy cap. Black body with a transparent ruby glint when held to the light.

S - Big baker's chocolate, dark fruits, roasted barley, grain husks, cola and molasses.

T - Taste has more licorice and nut character mixed with the chocolate and roasted malts. The finish is fruity and suggestive of English ale yeast. As it warms more of the roast character and hop bitterness emerges.

M - Medium-full body, well-hidden alcohol. Carbonation is surprisingly zesty for the style, and the body had some light grain and tannic character to it. Surprisingly clean finish.

D - A nice textbook RIS. I'd certainly have this again. Put it in a barrel and it will be a smash hit!

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Photo of Jips
5/5  rDev +26.3%

Photo of jrallen34
3.62/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the pub... Pours with a midnight black body, an equally impressive head. A big medium tan head, no bubbles just thick foam, great retention and fully and totally coating lacing... The aroma is too dead for a full stout, some roasted grain, molasses, and some dry hop notes, lighter version of Nighter Stalker. As it warms get a lot more roasty... The taste is a little better, the hops are mostly gone and some roasted chocolate and nut notes come through, more brown ale tasting than a stout though. On the sweeter side for a ris, too sweet for me.

Average ris, I'd pass on this in the future.

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Photo of hoppymeal
4.25/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a good sized coffee and cream colored head that slowly recedes to a ring. Aroma is big with a lot going on, definitely on the sweet side with some strong cola notes, black licorice, and some chocolate when swirled in the glass. Also some lighter roasty notes in the smell as well as a bit of its booziness. Taste follows the aroma quite well, a good mingling of the sweet and sugary maltiness with the drier roasty and smoky flavors. more cola and black licorice, finishes with a dry nutty and smokey roasted malt flavor. Medium to heavy feel in body, a touch of hops tingles the tongue throughout, drying finish. A very good beer, big malt content wins out in most aspects but is very well balanced by the roast notes and some hoppy mouthfeel qualities. Thanks to Joe for the opportunity to have another great IL beer!

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Russian Imperial Stout from Goose Island Beer Co.
Beer rating: 3.96 out of 5 with 21 ratings