Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout | Thornbridge Brewery

very good
101 Reviews
no score
Send samples
Saint Petersburg Imperial StoutSaint Petersburg Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Thornbridge Brewery
England, United Kingdom

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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 101 | Ratings: 194
Photo of paxton1978
4.92/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Had on keg at the Euston Tap. Would've preferred cask, but at the price of under £1.50 a half-pint, I'm not going to complain! Dark as night and with an off-white head that laces all the way down. Great burned chocolate and coffee smell that matches the taste. Mouthfeel is silky and perfect for the style and considering the ABV, thsi has amazing drinkability.

 362 characters

Photo of eric5bellies
4.68/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Drank from my Duvel pokal

A - Pours a thick black colour with a tanned head that stays the course and laces

S - Beautiful roasted malts, coffe and chocolate

T - Oh this is good. Really smooth malts, with nice expresso coffe and dark chocolate untertones. The finish is very creamy and smooth with no hint of booze.

M - Full body and low carbonation makes for a silky stout.

O - This is one of those RIS's that leaves you wanting more. Its very smooth and displays masterful balance. Proves that you don't need super high ABV's to acheive greatness.

 553 characters

Photo of Harrister101
4.62/5  rDev +17%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Very Dark Brown, with a small head similar to what you'd find on an IPA (which is strange looking at others comments) Getting Slim to No lacing for me here...

Smell - Chocolatey, Sweet, Only very mildly smoky with a friuity twist, particularly picking up Cherries

Taste - Very mild smooth smokiness, contrasting with a number of chocolately tastes; ranging from light to dark chocolates. Suprisingly subtle for the strengh of stout. The earthy and herbal flavours also come through, this seems to mix lightly with the taste of cherries.

M- Lightly carbonated, smooth

D- As far as strong stouts go, this is very drinkable.

One of the best stouts ever, especially taking into account it was bottled. Very hard to believe the %ABV when drinking.
Imagine it would go well with deserts and rich mains, but way too good to use in cooking ;)

 853 characters

Photo of BDTyre
4.58/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I've only ever had Thornbridge once before, and I hardly remember it. I was happy to pick this up, and its quite nice. Black with a light, light brown head that is thick, porous and creamy. Creamy, roasted scent. Smoky peat, light wine, coffee and dark chocolate.

Very creamy, smooth flavour. Malty, chocolate-y and coffee and cream. Light fruitiness, very little alcohol - something I find typical in English RIS. Nice mix of flavours. The black coffee and alcohol characters really kick off in the finish and tingle the nose.

Smooth, almost soapy mouthfeel - light but slick. Carbonation is present, but light. A very nice RIS with a low alcohol character, and even at 7.7%, I could probably have another!

 710 characters

Photo of oberon
4.54/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had the Jaipur IPA a few weeks back from this hard to find brewer and enjoyed it,this beer was just fantastic.Poured into a snifter a near jet black except for just a tinge of ruby when held up to the light,a half finger mocha colored head head atop.Big complexities in the nose,dark fruit,dark roast,smokey peat,and bitter chocolate,as it warmed even a passing leafy note came thru,I say perfection.Quite dry from the start with heavy roast and a light woodiness,a faint smokey peat note as well,after awhile the dark fruit,and vanilla begins to cut thru the roast.A great impy stout,maybe the most drinkable "QUALITY" imperial stout I have had.A joy to drink.

 663 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.5/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours a dense opaque black body with a tan lumpy film and some microbubbles race to the surface up the side of the glass.

S- The dark fruity esters have a rick but mellow black roasted malt aroma that grows and has a nice leathery finish.

T- The rich leather and dark dried fruit esters have some dark vinous character and a note of pipe tobacco before finishing with a black roasted malt flavor. There is some nice gentle roasted bitterness in the after taste and a dark cola note aswell.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and no real alcohol heat noticed.

O- This is a classic RIS. Big and complex flavors but still very mellow and blended easy to drink and each sip has more character that the last. Delicious.

 763 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 TheBungyo
4.48/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A subtle but wonderfully delicious Imperial Stout? Yes it is possible.

I must admit I was worried as this poured from bottle into my Gulden Draak tulip. It was very light for an Imperial Stout ... but once it settled into the bottle it took on the dark hue I was hoping for. The head was a nice half inch of thick cream colored carpet.

Smell is not surprisingly subdued. There's faint hints of chocolate, coffee grinds and smoke. Lurking far in the shadows is a pleasant fruitiness that is certainly absent from most of our stateside interpretations. Nice but not amazing.

Wow, love at first sip. This could easily be my go-to Imperial Stout. Low in ABV (by American standards anyway) big on flavor but still subtle in the English fashion. I seriously love this brew! Chocolate up front that is married with a hint of smoke, very mild bitterness in what seems to be the finish but what closes the deal is beautiful fruit and milky chocolate that says goodbye like a kiss goodnight you don't want to end. What a joy to drink.

The liquid does a nice job gliding over the tongue and down the throat. It isn't as full as what we drink stateside but it feels unfair to harp on that, because well, this is an English RIS. This more mellow mouthfeel lends itself to being more session-able due to it's subtleties. Very nice.

This is a beer that if in stock at my beer store I'll be buying often. This is my first Thornbridge beer and if the others are this good then they've just made quite a fan out of me.

 1,507 characters

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

I thoroughly enjoyed this beer and am very glad to have had the opportunity to try it. The nose was very complex and hard to describe. There was more toffee type flavor along with nice, but restrained, chocolate. The overall effect was one of great balance and fullness with just a faint alcohol nip. The finish was very nice and lingering. A great, luscious beer.

 364 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 CwrwAmByth
4.46/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a dark, dark black colour, with a frothy off-white head. Lovely!

Smells faintly dark and roasty. This cold definitely isn't helping things... I like what I can smell though is the main point.

Tastes at first dark, roasty and malty, until the hops kick in with a fairly hefty bitterness. Slight taste of alcohol but not too strong which I like.

Overall a great example of the style, one from England as well!

 465 characters

Photo of Bitterbill
4.43/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased online from The Wine & Cheese Place. Best before May 2010.

This pours from the 500ml bottle close to black but really a very very dark brown with 2 fingers of tannish foam. It looks great in my New Belgium goblet and I see some very nice lacing.

The smell is of roasted malt and dark chocolate bitterness and a tad of some hoppiness. It doesn't have the most assertive nose of the style but what's there is nice.

The taste starts off with some nice dark chocolate bitterness and then the roasted malt moves in with a touch of some milk chocolate like sweetness and some smokiness that I notice the more sips I take. Wow. This is striking my taste buds on all the right notes. Not much of an alcohol presence here so, nah, I'm still, as always, going to take my sweet time. This is a brew to sip and savour.

The mouthfeel is on the high end of medium with lowish carbonation but the real story here is how silky smooth it is. I haven't had a brew with that degree of smoothness in a long time...
Bottle conditioned? You have me convinced.

Drinkability? There's pretty much nothing to dislike here. Great looking, good nose, super tasty, little sign of the abv, awesome mouthfeel. This, in my book, is a superb drinker. I'm so glad I checked out the W&C Place's website as this is a winner of a RIS. I can't wait to see more folks get their hands on some.

 1,368 characters

Photo of jazzyjeff13
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 500ml bottle with a BB of June 2013. Picked up from my local beer specialist. Bottle conditioned.

Poured into a Duvel tulip. An exceptionally dark brown that appears pitch black. Produces a large head of creamy tan foam that lasts for a while before reducing to a surface layer. A rich aroma of roasted malt with notes of coffee, liquorice, burnt grain, molasses, dried fruit, cocoa, yeast and stewed hops. A warming hint of booze in the background.

Tastes of roasted malt with a sweet yet spicy flavour. Notes of burnt grain, liquorice, coffee, molasses, cocoa, dried fruit and yeast. Hints of aromatic citrus in the background, and stewed hop bitterness. A warming, astringent note of alcohol upon swallowing. Dry, spicy and mildly vinous. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety smooth, with tingly carbonation. Highly astringent - dries the palate. Aftertaste of bitter roasted malt and coffee.

Very nice, and surprisingly drinkable. A complex, balanced flavour with a malty character. Notes of yeast and hops are also discernible, but take a back seat. A solid imperial stout that comes across as traditional for the style. Well worth trying if you come across it.

 1,165 characters

Photo of Zimbo
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

With a chocolate and Christmas cake nose this little number lovingly gives a frothy rich glowing yellow tan head.

Rich dry dry beautiful bitter chocolate and peat. The dark bitterness is there from the inception of taste and takes you through the whole journey. Morish and rich but restrained and not at all sticky. Such outstanding balance.Biggish but never heavy, full and silky smooth but not at all fat or flabby. A truly fabulous and unique example of the style. A real finesse player.

Holy fecken smoke.

 512 characters

Photo of TheBrother
4.38/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 500ml bottle, imperial red lettering, gold rim. Freshness date on back label above bar-code.

Poured, true to its style, a jet black, half-finger of tan head which lingers-- not so much sticks, but floats atop til bottomed.

Smell: Complex. Fruit and chocolate Appetizing. Enticing.

Taste: Dry, creamy, bittersweet chocolate; quite nice.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, full, creamy.

Drinkability: A sipper, but I could drink it all night.

 446 characters

Photo of rtepiak
4.37/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

an english russian imperial that is concise and flavorful for the abv. a nose of a malty coffee, chocolate and mild fruit tang. i have coin it in my palate as a stale grape... the palate expands into something like a collection of dark fruit... and smokiness... this does separate from the maltiness of the beer. and doesn't leave you feeling something too thin. even though it is a bit lean. its has very mild smokey astringency that is equally back with the malt that gives is a mesquite backing. a bit grainy toasted and almost a dopplebock done well. great feel and absolutely accessible.

 592 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 JohnQVegas
4.36/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle into Tulip Imperial Pint.

Pours black, showing a bit of deep brown at the edges, with an impressive, dense, meringue-like tan cap on top. Very nice retention and great lacing. Settles into a thinner cap eventually, but it takes awhile.

Nose is reserved, restrained even. Light floral hop and light roast presence, bit of dark caramelized sugar, wee bit of dark fruit. Could be bigger, I suppose.

Taste is, in a word, superb. Toffee and bakers chocolate and a bit of caramel, melding with a light, earthy, nutty roast. Sugar-coated dark fruit and espresso beans wrapped in chocolate balance beautifully, and a snappy herbal hop bite towards the end adds a nice bit of balancing closure. Faint bit of alcohol in there sticks its head out there and again. The finish on this one is the star, though - just fantastic, with a beautiful chocolaty, nutty, slightly earthy exhale that carries just a bit of a floral hop character. Hint of licorice also.

Mouthfeel is excellent - creamy and full-bodied, but not at all heavy or sticky. Alcohol is felt, but not through any degree of heat really.

Beautifully drinkable - alcohol only comes through enough to add character, never gets hot, flavor is beautiful, subtle but full, balanced, unique. Beautiful surprise, was more impressed with this version than with it on cask even.

 1,332 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.35/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma is strong and smoky with an overtone of molasses that is not too sweet. It pours a nice opaque oily sable with a fairly thick light and fine-bubbled light tan head. Rich flavor is smoky and malty with tones of quality roast coffee, molasses and licorice. Thick, oily texture is quite fizzy and leaves behind a nice tingle, along with a sweet and slightly hoppy/woody finish. Recommended!

 393 characters

Photo of jampics2
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On cask @ the Beer Engine. I debated before ordering this as I'm normally not a huge cask guy. But this seemed special enough and I'm glad I had a go at this.

Looks great when the snifter is brought to my table. Almsot perfect, just a touch less opaque than my ideal. But a dark black with a perfect two finger creamy head.

Smells of light hops and roasted malt. A little sweetness is aparent. Just a tad subdued.

Taste is awesome. I was afraid after having a bad example of cask RIS that the cask made the hops combine with the roast to complete a sickening "garbage bag in the sun" flavor. This is far from that, thank GAWD! A nice deep roast gives hints of coffee and tons of chocolate. The hops are earthy and in the background. The finishing flavors are bittersweet with chocolate again emerging. Oatmeal smoothness dominates.

Mouthfeel is a touch thin, but velvety and creamy.

Overall, I give this my endorsement even for those who aren't huge cask drinkers. This is a beer I wouldn't want to have any other way. Plus, it's an English RIS. That's like an American Muscle Car. Get on it people!!

 1,105 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

4 oz. poured into a snifter at Churchkey. From notes.

A: Pours a nearly pitch black color, with a one finger mocha color head with great retention and superb lacing.

S: Char, leather, dark fruits, hints of chocolate and coffee, and a decent peat smoke note. Slightly barleywine-esque.

T: Roast and char dominate, but never ruin the balance, typical of most European imperial stouts. Opening flavors are more char dominated, giving way to a fruity middle and a bitter roasted coffee aftertaste. Lesser notes of chocolate, peat smoke, and caramel are found when I concentrate finding them. I'm impressed, this is showing solid complexity for a dinky 4 oz. pour.

M: Creamy, at first - before the roast notes unleash a strong drying sensation on the finish. Despite the heavy dryness, it's quite delicate on the tongue, giving it excellent drinkability.

O: Oh, I really enjoyed this one. This has a lot of flavor for only 7.7% ABV. Dare I say this was the best beer of the night (even over Parabola?) Worth hunting down.

 1,021 characters

Photo of nickfl
4.33/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours with two fingers of medium brown head on an opaque, black body. The thick head fades away slowly and leaves nice, thick lace on the glass.

S - Lots of dark malt, chocolate, smoke, licorice, and caramel.

T - Dark malty notes of caramel and dark chocolate up front with some lightly smoky character. More dark sugar appears in the middle as notes of molasses, caramel, and licorice come out. The finish is full of smoky chocolate, licorice, dark caramel, and a bit of medium roast coffee.

M - A fairly thick body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - Very nice, after running across a string of mediocre dark ales recently this is a pleasant change of pace. Plenty of dark complexity with a smoky chocolate note running throughout that makes the beer a pleasure to slowly savor. The licorice and caramel notes work nicely together as well. I had previously tried two other beers from Thornbridge, both of which were excellent, and based on those experiences I had high hopes for this. It lived up fully to my expectations and I will definitely go out of my way to try anything else from them that I can get my hands on in the future.

 1,163 characters

Photo of farrago
4.3/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Close to three fingers of dark brown head, the foundation is dense foam but the surface is a web of delicate medium-sized bubbles perpetually popping, decent cling to the wispy lacing. If you peer at it intently and for some time you'll see that the liquid is the darkest brown achievable before becoming black, thin aura of orange around the edges. Goes very heavy on the chocolate in the nose, mix of dark and light, with coconut and caramel notes evokes German chocolate cake, scone and oatmeal with raisin, plum and green apple fruit, the hops most evident in helping stiffen the nostril feel more than provide aromas. Full-bodied, dense foaminess starts off through the soft attack before subsiding into a smoother, deeper progression forward. Cocoa, coffee candy, baking dark chocolate nibs rule as expected, the grilled nuts, warm pie crust, croissant flakes. Here you get some mixed orange to lemon citrus, perhaps even a sprig of pine, that's it for hops. The thing it does best is give you a concentrated burst of all the chocolate paraphernalia without ever seeming to go overboard, balanced and lowkey to the final sip. Even accounting for the ABV, dangerously sessionable.

 1,185 characters

Photo of mrkc
4.28/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stately, clean bottle, with a handsome lable. The Dark brown, opaque. Light tan ring, light carbonation. Smells of bitter chocolates and lightly of hops. Tastes strongly of the aforementioned bitter chocolate, as well as roasted oats, and something vaguely nutty. Crisp finish, without too much taste from the alcohol - the coffee shines through here. Well done all around, best as a digestive.

 394 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

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout from Thornbridge Brewery
3.95 out of 5 based on 194 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

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.