Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout | Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse

very good
95 Reviews
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
firstprev| 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100  | next → last
Reviews: 95 | Ratings: 250
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 jrallen34
3.65/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

10.14 oz bottle into my Narke tulip...A dark black pour but only a little carbonation. A light tan head rises only about a finger fading quickly with only a little lacing...Aroma is pretty malty, sweet chocolate. Its ok, but pretty boring one note...The taste thankfully adds a little bit more than the aroma, some roasty bitter coffee comes through but so does a touch of alcohol. Still malty on the front. The taste is a decent stout but the grain alcohol on the finish knocks this down a lot.

 495 characters

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.

 1,489 characters

Photo of kwjd
4.02/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I don't know if this is the 2009 or not since the picture doesn't look like the label, but there are no other entries. Google translate says that the date on the side of the bottle is the best before date and it best before December 2010, so assuming this had to be brewed before this year.

Pours an opaque dark brown with thick tan head. Nice lacing, but minimal head retention after a couple sips. Smells almost like burnt malt, beyond roasted. Some coffee and bitter dark chocolate with burnt caramel. A little syrupy and boozy, maybe could have waited a bit longer before opening. I'm really glad the guy in the Binny's in Chicago recommended I pick this up because I wouldn't have thought to grab it.

 706 characters

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to bu11zeye for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours a dark brown to black color with red highlights and a white head. The aroma is roasted malt with some chocolate. The flavor is heavy chocolate, burnt malt and some coffee. Medium to thick mouthfeel and low to medium carbonation.

 289 characters

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.

 880 characters

Photo of glid02
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Dan - thanks!

Pours black with a half-finger tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of roasted malts, dark chocolate, and hints of vanilla. As the beer warms hints of earthy hop aromas waft out.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Smooth roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by good amounts of dark chocolate. Midway through the sip hints of vanilla make an appearance before fading out to allow earthy and slightly herbal hop flavors to carry through to a moderately bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with smooth carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and could easily have a few more.

Overall I was a pretty big fan of this beer but for the large ABV I feel as though it should be a bit more flavorful. Still, it's worth a shot.

 871 characters

Photo of metter98
4.1/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer poured jet black in color with a tan head that quickly transitioned into lacy patterns of bubbles floating on the surface.
S: There are moderate aromas of alcohol, dark roasted malts and coffee in the nose.
T: The taste is somewhat complex and is similar to the nose with notes of bittersweet chocolate, coffee and roasted malts.
M: It feels medium-bodied, somewhat smooth and creamy and dry on the palate with some warming sensations from the alcohol. Not that much carbonation is present.
D: The beer is surprisingly easy to drink given its alcohol content and the alcohol is not perceptible in the taste.

 619 characters

Photo of Beerenauslese
4.03/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am drinking the 2010 vintage. Pours jet black with a tan head that dissipates to a fine layer of bubbles, leaving some lacy clouds on the glass.

Aromas of coffee, cherries, chocolate, hops, and alcohol.

Tastes follow the nose. Mainly coffee and chocolate, a little bit of fruit, I'd say cherries. But overall the taste is kind of like a chocolate/coffee ice cream, which is good, but does not blow me away. Finishes dry, with a hoppy aftertaste.

Body is moderate and not much carbonation, gives this a creamy, melted ice cream mouthfeel.

This is a good, drinkable version of an RIS.

 591 characters

Photo of ShadesOfGray
3.96/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 10.14oz bottle with the imported by Twelve Percent LLC purple label. Pours a DARK black with just the slightest light shining through...and that's a stretch, just not the absolute darkest I've ever seen(Hunahpu). A small, half finger size creamy light brown head forms, and dissipates relatively quick...leaving a very thin ring around the outside.

Aroma is light, roasted malts, and coffee...that's about it. The more I focus, the booze is really becoming noticable.

Flavor is more than decent! Perfect temp to serve at too...around 45 degree. Nice booze warmth engulfs and slides down the throat. Medium mouthfeel, low carbonation. Malty, chocolate, booze, dark roasted coffee. A very solid RIS. What's really interesting, is a very late aftertaste comes into play, of a sweet fruit of some sort...but not strong, and about 3 seconds after the other flavors subside...very interesting!

 904 characters

Photo of oberon
3.99/5  rDev +2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured jet black with a thin mocha colored head that was gone almost instantly.Deep complexity in the nose,dark roast,vanilla,and dark fruit stand out most along with some unsweetened bitter chocolate.Big and syrupy in the mouth and quite sweet on the palate,dark fruit and char,with bitter chocolate and molasses sweetness in a lingering finish.Nice flavors but the sweetness can be a bit much,still a nice sipping RIS.

 420 characters

Photo of capra12
3/5  rDev -23.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Reviewed out of a a pint glass,

Appearance: jet black with a 1 finger head unimpressive cascade

Smell: i get some dark fruits and roasted candied malts with a undeniable alcohol pad aroma.

Taste: Opens with intense dark over roasted malts and dark fermented grapes. I get a huge boozieness here from the middle to end which subdues the malts and fruit till the finish. Leaving a stale roasted malt aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, medium carbonation, warming and not surprising from the taste.

Drinkability: This is a one and done for me. Maybe with a 6 more months on this, the over roasted malts will mellow out, I recommend this to those seeking a RIS with a roasted malt backbone and dark dark fruit profile with a bunch of heat.

 744 characters

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.

 425 characters

Photo of Bung
4.2/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pretty viscous black pour, just a ring of cream colored head.

Dark chocolate and roast aroma. Pretty standard, but good.

Taste is more roasty, burnt malt and dark chocolate. Dry cocoa as well. A nice espresso finish. Again straight forward, but solid.

Sturdy medium body, slightly oily, abv really well hidden. Drinkability is very good, nothing out there or real unique, but what it has is done with quality.

Thought this one was actually pretty solid. Waaay better than the other Dutch brewer I've had a few from (looking at you De Molen).

 545 characters

Photo of Jeffo
4.04/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Found this one at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a bottle into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: Pours out jet black and produces a ½ finger medium looking beige head that quickly fades to a splotchy wisp and a ring. Noisy one as well. Jet black body with no carbonation evident at all. A faint ring remains but leaves no lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Big bold nose on this one for sure. Lots of roasted malts, caramel and toffee sweetness, as well as notes of dark chocolate and espresso. Aromas jump out on the pour. Enticing.

TASTE: Roasted and sweet caramel malt up front, with some toffee and sweet molasses as well. Big coffee and espresso notes with some dark chocolate as well. A big, bold and long lasting aftertaste with sweet caramel notes, molasses, and bitter dark chocolate and espresso is well balanced and plenty roasted and boozy. A flavourful imperial stout.

PALATE: Medium body, medium carbonation, and creamy smooth on the palate. Goes down smooth and finishes somewhat mouth-coating, with a little heat at the back on the finish. Nice here too.

OVERALL: A bold and flavorful imperial stout, so much so that it became somewhat tough to finish the 30cl bottle. Nevertheless, this is an enjoyable offering and I would certainly track this one down again. A little under the radar perhaps, but if you can find one, give it a chance. Recommended.

 1,363 characters

Photo of peter3214
4.42/5  rDev +13%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Reverse Pressure filled growler, 22 oz.

Poured a dark, thick, black, with brown highlights on the edges. Black through the body until the edges moving to a lighter dark brown.

Sweet milk chocolate smell, with dense, undertones of coffee and alcohol. Subtle but pleasant soy sauce hint. Toasted, almost smokey smell, very pleasant. Alcohol very prevalent.

No head retention, syrupy lacing that dropped quickly. Little carbonation.

Large flavor profile, including a very clear, roasted coffee flavor that moves into a semi-sweet chocolate taste, with hints of soy sauce and smoke flavoring. A very dense, thoroughly connected flavor profile. Then, an alcoholic burn, very distinct, and not disguised. Almost separate from the rest of the flavor profile.

Heavy and slippery like bourbon, with a low level of carbonation. Perfect amount of malt for the style and carbonation for the style. A clear, consistent malt lasting through the tasting until the alcohol and carbonated finish.

Enjoyed this with a friend, and am very excited the Charleston Beer Exchange received one of these rare kegs. Delicious, the best example of a Russian Imperial Stout I've had to date. If you can get it, buy it.

 1,196 characters

Photo of John_M
3.9/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Max's tonight.

The beer pours a blackish brown color with pretty good head retention and lacing. The nose is attractive, smelling almost like a licorice, oatmeal stout. Aside from the licorice, there is the expected coffee and dark chocolate. Flavors replicate the nose in this moderately sweet RIS, though it's a bit rough around the edges and is not as smooth as I might like. Mouthfeel is light to medium bodied, though there's certainly plenty of flavor. Drinkability is pretty good, even though you can tell the abv. is up there a bit.

This is a pretty nice RIS, one that I think would benefit from a bit more time in bottle or keg. It's good now, but I suspect in a year or two might well be outstanding.

 723 characters

Photo of beavers
4.33/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On tap at Raleigh Times.

Pours pitch black with a half inch toffee brown bubbly head in a goblet. Great retention and tons of creamy brown lacing. Served a little too cold, but as it warms big roasted malt and dark chocolate dominate with notes of espresso, molasses, alcohol.

Taste is huge roasted malt in the front followed by a sourdough tanginess, molasses and licorice. Then there's a semisweet dark clocolate syrup and more roasty bitterness to finish it all off. A little warmth from the alcohol, but very well hidden for 11%. The semisweet chocolate flavors and the rich roastiness work wonderfully together. Thick, smooth and slightly oily, but with enough carbonation to cleanse the palette. Really fantastic.

This is a big beer, and exactly what I expect from a RIS. One is all I can take, but all I need.

I had never heard of this beer, had no expectations, and it was fantastic. I've had more RISs than I can count, and this is one of the better representatives of the style. Highly recommended.

 1,013 characters

Photo of Absumaster
4.35/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A thick, pitch black beer with initial off-white head, which fades while looking at the glass come to rest.

Smell is good, a roasty, molasses smell combined with an earthy hoppiness, that reminds me most of English hops, EK Goldings?

Taste is wonderful, a big roasty beer with notes of coffee, chocolate and molasses. Maybe some use of oats, I taste a grainy, oily addition. The bitterness is high and has an earthy twist. With it's 11% alcohol, I can feel the warmth of the alcohol in my throat. Mouthfeel is thick and a little syrupy, but very much according to style. The drinkability of the beer is great.

 613 characters

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.

 270 characters

firstprev| 26-50 | 51-75 | 76-100  | next → last
Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout from Bierbrouwerij Grand-Café Emelisse
3.91 out of 5 based on 250 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.