Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout | Thornbridge Brewery

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
88
very good
100 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Saint Petersburg Imperial StoutSaint Petersburg Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Thornbridge Brewery
United Kingdom (England) | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-22-2006

BEER STATS
Reviews:
100
Ratings:
191
Avg:
3.95
pDev:
16.71%
 
 
Wants:
8
Gots:
14
For Trade:
1
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 191
Photo of Malt_Man
3.57/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Served at cellar temperature from 500ml bottle into straight pint glass.

L) Very dark reddish brown - noticeably not black. Opaque. Dense tan head.

S) Alcohol and yeast, to say this isn't too cold, I was expecting more here.

T) Quite a harsh alcohol taste hits first. Then a strongish roasted malt flavour, then roast malt bitterness. Right at the back of the mouth is a slight sweet balance, but you really have to look for it.

F) Thick mouthfeel, low carbonation and a lot of bitterness in the aftertaste. Definite alcohol warming of the throat and stomach.

O) Harsh alcohol flavour and bitterness put this one out of balance in my book. I'm a stout / imperial stout fan but not too impressed by this one.

 718 characters

Photo of Beginner2
4.16/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thornbridge reminds me of an American brewery, with a British twist of course.
Like the Americans, Thornbridge enjoy experiments... but they also keep the stiff upper lip and don't get extreme. Whereas their American counterparts, well, often more than they should.

With Saint Petersburg Stout, they imagined the Imperial variation as it used to be exported two centuries ago, made their recipe work and, then, improved on it. All the imperial characteristics are there: the brownish head and the roasted malt giving the chocolatey-mocha in the nose, on the palate, and after swallowed.

Reviewed in Roger Protz' "300 More Beers To Try Before You Die", a sequel to his CAMRA classic.

Saint Petersburg is one of 5 Thornbridge beers listed on the "1001". Also with that rarified count of 5 beers, is Anchor, the American brewery that innovates British styles with small experiments.

 883 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
3.75/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Thornbridge seems to be the king of okay bottled beers...the perennial 3.75...and this beer is no different. Looks like a stout, smells like a stout, and tastes like a stout...and as they say with the duck...so it is a stout. Where this beer really stands out, however, is nowhere. Okay to good in all categories, but special nowhere. Damn it!!! Yeah, yeah, it's got a bit of those roasty malts, coffee shop etc...but not much. However, there are zero off notes. Seriously, after drinking 500ml, I was like...now what the hell am I supposed to write? Mostly stouty?

 574 characters

Photo of Spike
3.59/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark, as you would expect of a stout. Tan head recedes immediately to a thin cap. Spotty lacing.

Chocolate, malt, sweet nose. A little thin.

Alcohol is evident. As is chocolate, roasted, smokey malts.

Slightly thin mouthfeel. Alcohol is there in the very back of the throat. Dry.

The 7.4% ABV is a problem. It's a nice enough beer, nothing special. The high ABV means it's not worth the effort however.

 412 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Clear, dark brown/black beer with a two finger high, fluffy mocca head.

Nose: Vanilla, roasted malt, whipped cream, licorice, raisin and brown sugar.
Taste: Ash, licorice, sweet caramel malt, ash, dark chocolate and coffee.
Body: Medium body. Smooth. A bitter taste at the end.

A great "all year around" stout!

 315 characters

Photo of Mike_Aguirre
4.11/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours deep black, with a mild tan foam head. Aroma has chocolate notes, some coffee and dark fruits. Taste is of roasted malts and some bitterness, no hops. Medium body with low carbonation. Overall it´s a nice Imperial Stout but I expected more from the flavor.

 263 characters

Photo of tlema1
3.69/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: blackish brown with a very thin head even with a vigorous pour
S: roasty, some chocolate
T: very well balanced, nice roasted malt taste with chocolate overtones
F: not boozy, low ABV, rich, good body
O: I'm glad I got to try this

 233 characters

Photo of Monkeyknife
3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle a deep opaque black with one finger of creamy beige head.

Aroma of ash, licorice, raisin, and light coffee notes.

Taste opened with notes of raisin and butterscotch. This was followed by coffee, licorice, roasted malts, and ash.

Thinner bodied and a bit dry with a lighter carbonation.

 311 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.77/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

a very interesting take on the style. i think we as americans have come to expect big sludgy syrupy beers in this style that coat the palate like tar and boast alcohol contents will into double digits. this is not the case here, its decidedly english, and i admire that about it. the pour is really interesting. while the beer is almost black, the contrast of the head being almost pure white is profound, like a yin yang or something, really opposite ends of the spectrum, its beautiful, and not thick at all. it smells a little oxidized, and like bready old world english ale yeast. these beers are not known for yeast flavors, but there is a lot of it here and it makes this unique. its all about the malts, roasted barley cruises along effortlessly, and without all the weight, i taste elements of it i havent often tasted. light drip coffee, bakers cocoa, and char. the yeast really is pretty pungent in this, and i like that a lot. the alcohol being so low lets it be a more delicate experience. it has forced me to consider and reconsider the russian imperial stout as a style. this is just wholly different than what we have come to expect, and rather than call it thin and yeasty, i appreciate it taking a more classic path. chalky texture on it and very dry, i was impressed with this and need to try some more beer from these guys.

 1,342 characters

Photo of interzen
4.36/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

500ml bottle poured into a pint glass

Look: Pours a dark, dark brown topped off with a couple of fingers of fluffy, light-tan head. Good head retention - or at least it took a good couple of minutes for it to dissipate leaving behind some nice lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell: Surprisingly flat in the smell department, even after being left at room temperature for a little while. There are faint hints of chocolate, coffee and (maybe) smoke, but not at lot else.

Taste: Taste-wise, it comes alive - there's an initial ashy, smoky flavour followed by the more usual 'stout' flavours of dark chocolate, roasted malts and dark roasted coffee. Granted, it's not as intense as you'd find in a 'dedicated' chocolate or coffee stout, but it's definitely there. The smoky flavours are, however, relegated to a background role. Overall, though, wonderfully complex.

Feel: Quite a dry feel, with an ashy, chalky finish. The merest hint of alcohol in the aftertaste, but otherwise the ABV is well hidden.

Overall: I've had good luck with quite a few of Thornbridge's offerings and this one is no exception. Whilst the Imperial stout market isn't as crowded as that of, say, American-style IPAs, it still takes something to stand out from the crowd and this manages it in spades. Well worth a try, and another stout that might benefit from some aging.

 1,354 characters

Photo of clayrock81
3.9/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a black body with one finger head and an aroma that borders on smoke and chocolate and for some reason I pick up hints of licorice/anise and/or molasses (something sweet and sugar - maybe burnt sugars...I don't know). Tastes of sweet flavors like chocolate malts, possible toffee/caramel, and a smokiness for a dry, roasted taste and heavy bodied stout. Despite the smokiness being there, the roasted/smoked aspect is actually subdued and lets sweetness shine through thanks to wonderful balancing act.

 511 characters

Photo of FLima
4.18/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep black color with no trespassing of light whatsoever. Barely one finger of light caramel head with medium retention.
Delicious initial aroma of licorice, plums, blueberries, some smoke and mild tobacco leaves.
Bold flavor of red and black fruits, licorice, roasted coffee grains, cocoa powder, English tangy and earthy hops, tobacco leaves, burnt chocolate, pistachio and molasses. Very dry and bitter aftertaste.
Smooth medium to full body with appropriate mild carbonation. Alcohol of 7.7% abv is completely absent.
Excellent Russian imperial Stout with no sharp edges and superbly balanced, but still hoppy and with its own and bold character. Not extreme as American RIS, but it does get more and more intense as temperature rises. High drinkability for a RIS.

 768 characters

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%

A: Black body with a beige head. Superb lacing. Definitely bottle fermented.

S: Very peppy. American orange marmalade hops and fudge.

T: Trans-atlantic in character like most of this brewery's beers. A very snappy bright flavour of rindy orange marmalade. The bottle talks about chocolately goodness but really it's a very hop forward impy stout with loads of mango and orange rind. It's delicious. Some lovely woodiness in the aftertaste. Fairly bitter but it's only 7.4%.

M: Velvety and smooth, but not in the least lacklustre.

O: Another great offering from a great brewery.

 581 characters

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle purchased at Chocolate and Vines in Rochester, NY. 2012 vintage has aged well.

Pours out a deep dark black, with a one inch mocha-colored foamy head that recedes quickly. A little bit of lacing.

Smells heavenly, lots of chocolate and a little bit of coffee. A small amount of roasted malt as well.

The taste is similar, but more complex. There is a slight peat-like smokiness, some tobacco, and leather, with lots of creamy milk chocolate flavors. Slight bit of espresso-like bitterness, other than that, this beer is very smooth with minimal roasted malt flavor.

Thick body, not quite as viscous as some other stouts of its type, but still quite full. Creamy, smooth mouthfeel, very drinkable.

A classic that has taken to aging well, I'm glad I picked this one.

 774 characters

Photo of thecheapies
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Chocolate black with an inch of sudsy light tan head. Retention is awesome.

There's a little more than mild oxidation in the nose, but there are stout notes offered. Dark chocolate, berries, chewy toffee, cardboard, and English ale maltiness.

Richer flavors of roast, dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, anisette, cereal grains, leather, red apple skins, cardboard, and winey fruits. Hints of bitter tobacco smoke. Carries age. Not bad.

A lot of crumpled carbonation with only a medium body. Light for the style, typical of the real-deal English version.

 556 characters

Photo of bishopdc0
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on tap at Novare for my uprising.

I subbed this for a RIS they were out of.

Served in a goblet the beer presents a nice lace and tan head.

The nose is roasted and smoky like a camp fire, not smoked meats. There is a definite sweetness but it is balanced with the smoke

The tastes is great, very english, creamy malt and a lingering roastyness. The roast reveal a nice smoke, almost peaty.

This beer reminds me of a local RIS that was aged in peat smoked scotch barrels very nice

 490 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
3.53/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Pours black with a large, light tan head.
Nose shows roasted malt, nutty and toasty characters, soft spicy and grassy hops. Also some oats and soft booze.
Flavours mainly concentrate of roasted malt and booze. Some of the spicy hops transfer through, leading to a very aggressive bitterness in the finish.
Carbonation seems a little aggressive too.

 348 characters

Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500 ml bottle into snifter, no bottle dating. Pours fairly pitch black color with a small dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin lace that lingers. Slight spotty lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, molasses, dark bread, light peat smoke, and roasted earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt notes; with decent strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, dark bread, caramel, toffee, molasses, light peat smoke, toast, and roasted earthiness. Light roasted bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, caramel, toffee, molasses, toast, light peat smoke, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of dark/roasted malt flavors; with good robustness and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied; with a moderately creamy, lightly slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with only a slight warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a very good imperial stout. Good balance and complexity of roasted/dark malt flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering.

 1,279 characters

Photo of jrenihan
3.85/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer is black with a moderately-sized tan head. Decent retention, fair lace.

Nose contains a generous amount of dark fruit (grape, plum). There is also some anise and wood, some peat and smoke. Not much in the way of roasted malt, which is unusual. Still, a nice smell.

The peat is amplified in the flavour. The dark fruits are there as well (still grape and plum), but begins to take a bit of a back seat. Moderately bitter. Alcohol heat is noticeable, more than expected for the ABV.

Full bodied, but thinner than expected. A bit sticky and oily. Some alcohol burn. Low carbonation level.

Overall, an interesting RIS. A bit unusual, fairly tasty.

 653 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, vanilla, cocoa, and slight smoke aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa powder, campfire, and band-aid flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but the aromas and flavors on this one are a bit subdued in my opinion.

 572 characters

Photo of Mebuzzard
2.68/5  rDev -32.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.5

Well, high hopes for this one shattered. From the start this beer disappointed, but in all honesty it's not a good beer.

Pours an oily dark brown/cola with no head whatsoever. A vigorous swirl brings about a little bit, then it dies

Aroma of faded prune, wet leather and some cheap coffee. Thin

Thin feel, too, which does not help the flavors. It has a bit of staleness to it. The sharp prune is quick before it fades. Filling the void is some roasted caramel and instant coffee. A bit cloying with the prune skin.

not a fan. drain pour half the bottle.

 558 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark black with a hint of brown and a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. Fades normal.

S - Sweet roasted chocolate and dark caramel malts, dark fruits, roasted coffee, molasses, black licorice, vanilla.

T - Sweet roasted chocolate and dark caramel malts, raisins and other dark fruits, roasted coffee, earthy hops, mild bitterness, black licorice, molasses, vanilla.

M - Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth and a bit chewy with a sweet and warming finish.

D - Good RIS. Nice complexity, mouthfeel, and balance.

 541 characters

Photo of BigBry
4/5  rDev +1.3%

Bottle sampled at Beerfest 2012. Took some notes, then put it away til I could have a full bottle again.
Pours opaque black, tan head rises up then falls down to thin cap. Lace rings coat the glass, foam never fully disappears.
Smell is roasted malt, cocoa and dark chocolate, even some char or smoke present.
Taste is much the same, typical Imperial Stout character. Cocoa, bitterness from roasted or charred malt, coffee.
Lower level of carbonation keep it smooth, dry mouth feel.
Overall, this is a pretty good beer, but there are just as good local examples, with out the higher import price tag.

 605 characters

Photo of heygeebee
4.47/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

BB Mar 14

Appearance - the usual black with two finger head. Lines of lace.

Aroma - roast malts, choc, espresso, some cigar box.

Taste - super smooth and rounded. Dark chocolate, hint of licorice. Pistachio. Some smoke.

Mouthfeel light carbonation, medium weight. Silky smooth, no booze.

Overall, this has the weight of a 10% beer. Well made indeed, hugely integrated and complex. Great drinking. Say no more.

 414 characters

Photo of DrDemento456
3.92/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Snagged a 500ml bottle of this for 5 bucks at the house of 1,000 beers.

A - Pours an expected deep pitch black with a 1/2 inch of deep mocha head. Some ruby hues at the base.
S - Faint roast coffee, aged licorice, chocolate malt and some more roast.
T - Not sure how old this is but damn is this balanced. Cold coffee, licorice sticks, some chocolate malts not too chocolaty since its not really really sweet. Mostly a tad bit of cloying roast and bitterness of the hops. It's a pretty tasty RIS overall.
M - Medium to thick in body, slick with a nice ABV to boot.

Overall this was a pretty interesting find along the same quality as Samuel Smith's RIS. Not sure if I would get it again since it was kind of expensive.

 720 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout from Thornbridge Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 100 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.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe