Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout | Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse

very good
95 Reviews
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Emelisse Imperial Russian StoutEmelisse Imperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Sammy on 01-03-2010

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Reviews: 95 | Ratings: 250
Photo of oglmcdgl
3.88/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at capones on black friday.

A- small fizz on top with a few spots of lace and a solid ring. Dark brown black in color with some red in the glow.

S- bakers chocolate and dark roasted coffee. Burnt malts and a bit of molasses.

T- cocoa powder and super dark bakers chocolate. Dark roasted malts that bounce off the other layers of roasty goodness and round things out. Long roasty finish.

M- medium body with a mellow light carb. Semi dry finish.

D- nice stuff and rather easy to drink, just in a field of killer brew this one doesn't stand out for me.

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Photo of BranfordBound
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

First review in a while. Bottle into snifter, not too cold to start. Best before date is in Dutch: "tenmiste houdbaar tot einde" and is March 2013. (Thanks Google Translate!)

Pours dark, dark brown. At first it appears flat, dead flat, then from the abyss a thick, one finger head of tan bubbles rise. Leaves mild lacing.

Smells of espresso first, then a strong whiff of fruits soaked in brandy.

Wow, this stuff is pretty thick. Starts with a pronounced blend of chocolate and malt, which then transitions into a gentle dark fruit note. Finishes with a light gracing of char that lingers with some earthiness. Sometimes a quick burn of alcohol.

Thick and wet mouthfeel, very smooth.

I'm not sure how I feel about this beer. The head is a little weak, but for a Dutch Brewery this is pretty darn good.

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Photo of soccerman7
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into my De Ranke glass.

A - Midnight. Thin tan head. Fine and consistent carbonation.

S - Dark fruits and coffee. Really nice. Reminds me of sherry in the nose. Very faint dose of hops in the nose. Interesting and complex.

T - Coffee, chocolate, and red wine. This is a really deep and big flavor. Really loving it. Hops come up at the end and really herbal and spicy. Dates come forward after a few sips.

M - A little rough around the edges but this is not a small beer. Pleasantly lingers and drier than many American RIS.

O - I love this. It is available fairly often and will need to be in my fridge more for the winter. A really great example of a classic take on the style. Strongly recommend.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.87/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at Plumpjack Wine Store in San Francisco. I'm unsure of the date, and the label looks different than the one pictured, but I can't imagine this being a different beer. The name (other than 2009), ABV, and style all line up.

Poured into a 7oz. snifter.

Appearance: Standard pour netted a half inch of brown foam that, unfortunately, quickly dissipated to a creamy ring. It held that form for the rest of the session. Body is pitch black and looks thick. Light, splotchy lacing.

Smell: Molasses, roasted barley, figs, black cherries, and alcoholic esters (especially when I take big, close whiffs). I like the fruity components, but the overall composition is a bit sweeter than I'd like. Still enjoyable.

Taste: Dark chocolate mousse and molasses greet the palate, but alcohol and roast barley dominate the finish. Figs are there once again, but they play a lesser role in the taste than smell. I'm also picking out floral esters, cherry pie filling, and a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel: Rich and syrupy, but not too heavy. The alcohol really makes itself known in the finish, leaving the palate hot and dry. A bit gritty and prickly, but I don't mind either of those characteristics. This actually softened up quite a bit as the session went on, but maybe it was just me accumulating a buzz.

Drinkability: Nothing too special, but I'm happy I bought it. I always like trying new Russian imperial stouts and this one didn't disappoint. Good all around, but sort of forgettable.

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Photo of moose1980
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Review from a bottle that has been in the cellar for almost two years.

Opaque with a cappuccino-colored, one-finger head that dissipates quickly. Good lacing. Aroma is mainly of cocoa, but not unlike a milk chocolate drink as well. Malty, almost shake-like. Some additional mild coffee notes with caramel, lending to more of a sweet nose than bitter. Very inviting. Taste has more bitterness than the aroma led to believe. Dark, bitter chocolate and coffee grinds dominate, with some supporting liquorice notes. Very low carbonation and thin body, though this could be from the age. Overall, not a bad stout. I just prefer them a little sweeter.

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Photo of Halcyondays
3.86/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black with a creamy off-white tan head, solid head retention and lace.

S: Good notes of chocolate and orange oil, but I also notice a hint of acetone and hairspray in the background, a fault, but doesn't ruin it especially as it warms up.

T: Sweet milk chocolate to dark chocolate with a mild hopping but it makes it from being overly sweet. None of the solvent character from the nose carries through. Good overall flavours, enjoyable, never really roasted.

M: Smooth, creamy, frothy, easy drinking with a medium to full body.

O: This is quite a good beer, a very Americanized style out of the Netherlands which was surprising. Price is a problem, when Yeti or Ten Fidy is half the price and you're not getting as much, why would I buy it again? That being said, I liked this beer quite a bit, it's well made, if you've got a wad of cash burning a hole in your pocket, go for it.

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Photo of weeare138
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appears a midnight black with dark tan edges when held to the light. The dark tan head slowly fades into a mild cap and tiny collar. Scattered bits of lacing are left around the glass.
Smell is of roasted nuts, cocoa, black grapes, herbal hops, pine, Soy sauce, sherry, and cream.
Taste is of the aromas with a yeasty, chalky flavor that yells roasted malt and chocolate.
Mouthfeel is full bodied, astringent, hot, and spicy.

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Photo of aleigator
3.85/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours an oily mahogany color with a small head, leaving back only a thin lacing at the edges.

Nose is full of bitter chocolate with coffee and burned caramel, along with a sweet, well integrated alcohol note.

The taste is centered around dark chocolate, which is earthy at first, and then turns sweeter immediately, due to a slick coffee bitterness with strong mousse-au-chocolate and molasse impact. This brew is incredibly creamy and smooth, which comes along with a warm alcoholic peak, wrapped up in sweeter cocoa. Has an intriguing complexity, between sweet and bitter flavors, between creamy chocolate and earthy, bitter coffee. Finishes bitter, while cream still remains noteable.

 691 characters

Photo of LestatSabastian
3.83/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

The appearance was black with no head on the pour
smell was nice but could smell the alcohol
Taste was better than expected coffee, prune, and chocolate notes.
alcohol hidden better than I expected too.
mouthfeel was to thin for a stout for me
overall liked the beer. may buy again for a friend.

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Photo of stcules
3.81/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Almost pitch black. Dark cappuccino colore foam, quite compact.
In the smell cocoa, hazelnut, toaste and lightly burnt, Not too intense, but complex. Some vanilla notes, too.
Full and round in the mouth, complex, smooth. Cappuccino. Important beer, but not too overwhelming.
And a good hop bitterness, too.
Intense, well hidden alcohol, good bitter and toasted aftertaste.

 378 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of dry roasted malt with light black chocolate notes. Taste is also a well balanced mix between some black chocolate with dry roasted malt notes. Body is about average for style with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Another one of this brewery beer which I find to be brewed exactly per style guideline with no flaws though lacking a little bit of soul or something to distinguish itself.

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Photo of farrago
3.79/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Manages a half finger of ultra-dark brown, mix of smaller bubble sizes, okay retention given where it started from, not a great deal of lacing. Black throughout, nary a trace of color. Thick dark chocolate, caramel, toffee and chocolate cake icing grace the nose, boozy rum notes, walnuts, raisin, plum and blackberry fruit scents, spiced oranges, moderate amount of oats and wheat flakes, the roast is not over the top allowing the sweetness to carry the load. Full-bodied, dense and close to immobile, the carbonation soft and works hard to little effect. Much toastier and roastier here, brings coffee, bittersweet dark chocolate, carob and elevated white grapefruit citrus. The mouth texture is dry given its weight and the sort of flavors it offers. More rum to bourbon flavors, you know this is 11.0% alcohol from the first sip. Coconut, walnuts to pecans, more caramel as it warms. The hops add an unusually high herbaceousness to the proceedings, Given its density and relative lack of fluidity its length seems natural and unforced and it doesn't seem insufferably heavy. The booziness the biggest distraction.

 1,119 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.76/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up at Hunger Mountain Co-Op. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a deep, dark almost oily black with a nice quarter inch mocha head that has great retention but not much lacing.

S - Lots of dark, deep roast aromas but also a fair amount of sweet malts. not really jiving for me.

T - Taste is alright. Not getting much chocolate. Lots of slightly salty sweet malts, faint roast. Hmm...Theres no alcohol atleast, just not getting alot of good flavors here.

M - Mouthfeel is nice and creamy with the alcohol hidden wonderfully. Good and silky.

O - Overall this was a nicely executed stout. The flavors/aroma arent anything special but that mouthfeel is great.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout coming out of a bottle into a Sierra goblet.

Appearance: Thick oily pour with the nice "plop" sound of a cumfart as it fills the glass. Perfect one-finger head, of a brownish white color, that dies quickly and lingers as a 1/4-finger-deep rim around the glass. Color is deep auburn, almost black and incredibly opaque.

Smell: Coffee bitterness upfront, followed by wood (from the oak barrel this beer was aged in). Vanilla at the end. Old wine scent and swamp odor. Smells like a well-stocked damp cellar.

Taste: A nice subtle coffee taste coats the mouth all around, followed by dark malty bitterness and some hops. Chocolate powder. A bit thin and underwhelming for an aged Imperial Stout, though.

Mouthfeel: Moderate carbonation, medium body and flavor. Decent but not great for a beer this big (and expensive).

Drinkability: Good, but I wish it weren't so drinkable. Small bottle, good taste, alcohol is well played. However, an 11% barrel-aged stout should be more spectacular, boozy and burning. Solid, but far from impressive.

 1,071 characters

Photo of CHADMC3
3.75/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an oil slick black body with a creamy, dark brown head that sits generously atop the beer before patiently dissipating to leave a thin, yet sticky lacing.

Robust aromas of sweet chocolate and roasted malt float from the glass and are pretty much all I am detecting.

Similar to the aroma, roasted malt and sweet milk chocolate hints make up the palate, and they seem to be muted by the carbonation until the beer warms a bit.

Thick and full in body with abundant carbonation and a syrupy like coating on the mouth.

This is a decent RIS, not as complex as some of its counterparts with more muted flavors and a bit too much carbonation in my opinion. Certainly worth a try still.

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Photo of SolomonGrundy
3.74/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Taking the backlash at Beeradvocate for my thoughts on beer trading...Sheesh!!!

Very close...so close I can, and will, taste it!!!

Pours a dense and syrupy black. Not quite completely opaque, as it hints at mahogany around the edges in the light. Very small to no head and lacking lacing. Par for the course, I'm 'fraid.

Very big, sweet, chocolately and roasted malt aromas. Wonderfully melded, too. Not too much of one or the other...A touch boozy, but other than that quite nice and to style.

Flavor is a touch thinner than expected. The kicker on this is the super long, roasty and bitter finish. It lasts forever!!! Not nearly as thick and chewy of a beer as the pour suggested. This is actually a wonderfully complex RIS. Think of the upfrontly powerful Old Rasputin and reverse it...This is that beer. Not as complex or powerful as Raspy, and it drops a touch for that reason. Nice beer, though except for....

The basics: $5.49/12 oz. bottle (ouch!) and 11% ABV (YEAH!!)...

This is really good, but won't be anything super special for those accustomed to big RISs...

What I like most: The nice and complex flavor profile.

What I like least: The price and thinner than expected mouthfeel.

Verdict: Big and complex, but too expensive when there are other cheaper alternatives. Try it if you see it.

 1,311 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

First had: on tap at TJ's, Paoli, PA

A good finisher for International Stout Day, which exists apparently.

Solid obsidian liquid, oily, a few stray, straggling bubbles on top, but no real head to speak of; syrupy streaks left on the surface of the glass. Dark malts in the nose, a bit phenolic, dark dried fruits, dark chocolate, and something almost citrusy in there as well. The taste reflected the nose, though I really got a big hit of raisins from this up front, and it lingered pretty much through the entire session. Dark malt sweetness, roasty, but not excessively so, slightly and tolerably phenolic, notes of coffee and dark chocolate. Body was just about full, fairly chewy mouthfeel, and a bit warm with alcohol...it's hard to hide 11% in a beer like this. Very nice overall.

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Photo of BeerForMuscle
3.73/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Thick viscous black body. Hardly any light coming through.

S - This beer has a strong nose of chocolate and burnt malts. Robust roasty smokey nose. Some toasty wood wafting through.

T - Strong syrupy chocolate flavor is foremost. Roasty toasted and burnt malts are present. The taste is thick and intense with plenty of coffee/chocolate and smoked flavors.

M - Very thick body. The mouthfeel was smooth but viscous and chewy. I felt like i was eating this beer.

D - Pretty intense. Wouldn't be able to take down to much of this beer. As the glass became empty, the liquid became thicker. TONS of sediment ion the bottom of the bottle.

Notes - There was literally a half inch of sediment in the bottom of the bottle. I poured some of the beer back into the bottle and swirled it around, kicking up ALL of the yeasty mud. This gave my beer a chocolate milk like consistency and also added a yeasty tang to it. If you like imperial stouts id try this one. Lots of flavor and plenty of kick.

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Photo of BeerAdvocate
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #44 (Sep 2010):

Pours viscous black with a creamy, tiny-bubbled tan head on top. Big charred grain note in the nose with some chalky yeast in the back. Body is like it pours: thick. Right off the bat, there are some in-your-face chocolate and espresso flavors happening. Mild hopping is not noticed for the most part, aside from a faint leafy flavor. Black currant fruitiness with a slow, back-ended warmth. Hint of charred wood. Bitter chocolate in the finish. A very good run at the style--worth seeking out.

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Photo of brentk56
3.7/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: A hard pour produces half an inch of beige foam that squats atop the black liquid; somewhat leggy, with dots of foam tracking the legs

Smell: Roasty and charred, with chocolate and espresso dominant

Taste: Very roasty, almost burnt, up front, with the chocolate and espresso developing in the middle; fruit tones add a subtle balance, but the burnt flavors dominate the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: This has the makings of a good RIS, but it needs more fruity complexity (including better hop balance) and less char

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Photo of Beejay
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep black in color with a beautiful dark tan head. Looks very nice.

S: Lovely dark chocolate aroma. Caramel and Molasses with a nice touch of licorice.

T: Very sweet. Almost cloyingly so at first sip. After the sweetness calms down a bit a bitter roasty flavor takes over. It is almost a touch astringent. There is a bit of coffee grounds and dark chocolate in the finish. It is good, but the balance seems a little out of whack for me.

M: Fairly thick on the mouth, carbonation is a touch much for me.

O: Good, but with so many stellar stouts out there I could easily overlook this one for another that is a bit more put together and rounded off.

 659 characters

Photo of Urbancaver
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours like a typical thick imperial stout. Vry nice appearance. Smells roasty and coffee heavy. Lots of sweetness on the nose. The malts are overwhelming and strong. Too much going on in this one. The mouthfeeel suffers from the bitterness from the roast overpowering but interesting

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Photo of Flounder57
3.68/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle was poured into a tulip glass.

Appearance: The beer poured a one finger mocha head that has reduced and left some nice lacing. Pitch black with sights of tiny bubbles at the top of the glass.

Smell: mocha, vanilla, oak, and earthiness. Other aromas are too difficult too tell.

Taste: mocha, chocolate, roasted flavors, oak, vanilla, oats, earthy tones, smokiness, and bitterness towards the end too.

Mouthfeel: very dry, smooth, medium to high carbonation, full bodied, and some bitterness too.

Overall: Not a bad RIS, but I have had better ones over the years. It was a good experience to have enjoyed this beer after a hard nights work. 11% is hidden very well too.

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.67/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(served in a snifter)
A- Jet black body with a thin film of bubbly tan head that soon fades. There are a few microbubbles at the base but that is all that can be seen.
S- The aroma of prunes and black roasted malt is mellow with a cola aroma that takes on more of a berry aroma when the beer opens up. There is a slight cologne quality to the aroma also.
T- The mellow roasted black malt doesn't have any astringency or bitterness to it and there is a slight watery taste to follow . The berry flavor close, to blueberry, lingers after each sip.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel that is a bit dry and no alcohol heat at all.
D- The strongest flavor in this beer is the fruity berry flavor. The malt is very mellow with not much depth and no sweetness or alcohol to add character. Just not very exciting or big, I don't know where they hid the alcohol but it is gone.

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Photo of Sammy
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

RIS that hits the spot. Above average mouthfeel, no head but black body. Understated carbonation, a tad above average mouthfeel overall. Lumps of sediment, more noticeable towards the end, in the glass. Boozy and roasty aroma. Nothing too complex. Bittersweet chocolate.

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Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout from Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse
3.91 out of 5 based on 250 ratings.
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