Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout | Thornbridge Brewery

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very good
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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:
7
Gots:
15
For Trade:
1
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Reviews: 100 | Ratings: 191
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.

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Photo of kylehay2004
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Single finger head on a deep brown body with excellent lacing. Aroma is very weak with mostly earthy hops and some burnt ambers but disappointingly light. Roasted malts, coffee grounds, earthy hops and pine. Medium body and light to moderate carbonation. I was disappointed in this one after reading reviews. It's too light and under flavored for me.

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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.

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Photo of Knapp85
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured out as a dark black but in the direct light you can almost see through it. The head was very thin and didn't have much in way of lacing. The smell of the beer had a roasted aroma coming off of it. The taste was average really, it wasn't strong enough in flavor to be a RIS. The mouthfeel was like drink a flat coke. Overall not really the best when it comes to RIS's.

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Photo of metter98
4.23/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high light tan head that has good retention properties and never completely faded away.
S: There are moderate aromas of roasted and burnt malts as well as peat and smoke in the nose.
T: The taste is very similar to the smell, except that the peaty flavors are a bit stronger, and particularly stand out in the finish.
M: It feels medium-bodied, creamy and smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation. There is some dryness, which particularly stands out in the finish. Some hints of bitterness are also present.
O: The beer is rather easy to drink for the style because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste, although the peaty and smoky flavors make this a bit more of a sipping beer.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.13/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Velvety rich, smooth, and creamy, this sturdy stout favors chocolate and soft coffees over the bolsterous roast character that is so popular in Imperial Stouts.

Dark, perhaps black in color with a volumptuous pour, the beer carries an opaque and onyx appearance. A froathy head forms a dense a liquidy creme that caps the beer beautifuly with lacing that rivals the best. An ideal look for any Stout.

Moderate in intensity, the aromas of true malt, mild roast, and grain give an organic scent to the caramel and coffee counterparts. Light grassy hops give a near-herbal note that never interferes with the aroma. Though the aromas are fine, they don't give the same stern impression as does the appearance.

Deep roast coffee, bittersweet chocolates, malted milk candies, and walnuts are the obvious flavors while mild cream/vanilla, tobacco, and leather reveal themselves as the beer warms.

Avoiding the acrid roast that most big stouts strive for, this beer has a soft and velvety feel that makes it much more drinkable than it should be. Creamy early and creamy late, the beer makes a slight transition to textures of warmth and moderate bitterness in the long lasting finish and aftertaste.

Although the beer is effortless to drink, I doubt that it's as easy to make. A lot of work goes into making a Stout this smooth and flavorful. Reminds me of Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout- just a bit more of it.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma of dry roasted malt notes with light coffee notes. Taste is a mix between some very dry notes with some roasted malt and some dry coffee bean notes with some dry chocolate notes. Body is about average with a high-level of carbonation for style with no alcohol apparent. Interesting beer thought a bit too dry for my personal taste.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle. The label now seems to be in line with the rest of their current offerings, Greek statue and all.

This beer pours slightly off-black, with reddish highlights, and two fingers of dense foamy beige head, which settles relatively slowly, leaving a thorough bonsai tree ring of lace around the glass. It smells of powdery chocolate milk mix, lightly roasted caramel malt, a bit of oily nuttiness, and a slight, thin alcohol edge. The taste is bitter chocolate malt, some mild dark fruit, subtle old coffee grinds, and somewhat zingy leafy hops. The carbonation is present, but on the down low, the body medium weight, with aspirations to fullness. It finishes off-dry, the chocolate sweetness well tempered by lingering hops and swelling metallic booze.

I like that this is an RIS from the original-ish source, but now shipped to that other northern expanse of a nation. I'm no tsarina, but I appreciate this big beer all the same. Not big in the New World Americana sense - I just wish it had a bit more weight, as the alcohol seems a little too successful in thinning this little beast out.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.1/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Cask at The Ginger Man in NYC 12 January 2008:
Typical appearance. Good head retention. Good lacing. Aroma offers a berry-like fruitiness, soft roastiness, and hints of dark chocolate and toffee followed by a coffee-like roastiness. The flavor follows suit, and the yeasty fruitiness permeates the dark maltiness. It's quite soft and lush, being a cask offering, but it's more than just mouthfeel here - this is a very well-balanced and rounded ale! It's not as aggressive as many examples of the style, and yet it certainly fits within the perception of the style. Perhaps that has something to do with its somewhat limited strength (given the style it is a touch lower than might be expected); or perhaps it has to do with the fact that they haven't over-done the dark malts to the point of sharp acidity; and perhaps it also has to do with the way that they've limited the bitterness and hop flavor to just a few streaks here and there in the background. Yet it retains all of the characteristics that an Imperial stout should have! Superbly done with a delicate touch given to an assertive style! Very enjoyable! Highly drinkable!

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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.

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Photo of russpowell
4.04/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this from Bitterbill, thanks man!

Pours an effervescent mahogany with 2+ fingers of cocoa colored head. Superior lacing & similar head retention

S: Dark fruit & leafy hops, that's about it..

T: Follows the nose a touch of dryness & some dark chocolate up front. A bit of port characteristics once warm, along with dark cherries covered with milk chocolate, molasses, along with some herbal & leafy hops & a touch of boozeyness. Finishes dry, fruitty, with a touch of cocoa

MF: Smooth, slick, medium bodied & great balance

Great drinkability, complexity may suffer a tad from the low ABV for the style, but only by a slight margin, nice to see a great RIS from the country of origin (Brewed FOR the Russian Imperial Court originally)

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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.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

No intro for tonight, just on to the beer:

The 500 ml bottle fits perfectly in the imperial pint glass. It looks nearly picture perfect at first; moderately tanned head that an inch thick, and an ink black body. The retention is solid and it leaves some bubbly lace around the glass. There some smokiness from the aroma, and even some licorice, roast, and dark chocolate.

Tastes like a good imperial stout, but with a extra kick of smokiness, which I find to be pleasant. Licorice, anise, and semi-sweet chocolate work their way into the profile of this quality stout. The 7.7% alcohol is hidden, yet it holds the body of a beer that is larger. It's nearly full bodied, has some richness, with a gentle snap of bubbles.

Quite the pleasant imperial stout. Not lacking in flavor, yet goes down quite easy.

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Photo of plaid75
3.51/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On cask at the Chip Shop, Brooklyn, New York.

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger creamy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a leathery malt with a noticeable smokiness.

The taste consisted of a light roasted malt, dark chocolate and subtle caramel.

The mouthfeel was thin for the style with a strong astringency.

Overall a decent stout. Hardly a RIS however.

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Photo of John_M
3.96/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Max's in Baltimore the other night.

The beer pours a rich dark black color with a tan creamy head. There is very good head retention and decent lacing. This beer looks pretty impressive. On the nose I don't get a whole lot, maybe some licorise and mild malt. On the palate this beer comes across more as an Oatmeal stout then an Imperial stout. It has a very soft creamy mouthfeel, with flavors of vanilla, chocolate and chicory/coffee. The flavors all meld together and nothing comes across as very distinct. There is sort of dry, slightly bitter finish, with the abv. pretty well disguised. The abv. is fairly high for an English stout, which I assume is one of the reasons it's considered an RIS.

A very nice beer, but not so distinct, impressive or unusual that I would seek it out.

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Photo of Georgiabeer
4.2/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on cask, gravity poured, at the Brick Store Pub. Poured black with a slight head and some spotty lacing. Smells roasty and fruity and with some oak and ash notes as well as some vinous coffee notes. The taste is yeasty and fruity, mostly apples, with a soft roastiness and more barrel oak as well as a touch of ashiness. A touch of toffee throughout and a bit more yeasty apple notes on the finish. This is a soft and gentle, but flavorful example of the style. The mouthfeel is a bit tannic from the wood, and a bit yeasty, but smooth and not muddy tasting at all. Very nice.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.86/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a two-fingered light tan head that fades to a thin layer leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and light-medium bodied. Light coffee nose and flavor is malty coffee with a burnt coffee finish. Good RIS but not enough body and ABV is too low. $8.99 for a 500ml bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.83/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Purchased at New Beer Distributors in New York. I feel I should drink US brews exclusively when I'm in the US, but Thornbridge is difficult to get in Australia, and too good to pass up.

Pours a deep brown colour, surprisingly fluid, with a filmy and pocked head of dusty milk chocolate. Lacing is fine and patchy. Looks a little light for a stout, especially any sort of Imperial one, but still decent.

Nose is roasty, but rather light and astringent. Dark, sharp cocoa-chocolate characters come through, but so does an organic banana skin note late. Mostly sweetness, although the dark chocolate characters give it a slight edge. Only average for a RIS though.

Taste is better, largely because of the big bitter roastiness, which I feel is a must in a RIS. Smoky, dark, crisped characters sit nicely through the centre of the palate, and although it doesn't have a lot of sweetness, it has just enough body to carry the roasted astringency. Feel is a touch too thin, I feel, but at 7.7%, this isn't a big RIS by any standards.

A decent enough brew, but rather disappointing for the style, and for the brewery. A RIS should be a keystone of any brewery's lineup, and I feel this one missed a step.

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Photo of Derek
4.15/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bb 28.10.13

A: Black with a tan head, some retention, great lace.

S: Smoky (peaty whiskey aroma), salted licorice, coffee, roasted nut.

T: Ahhh the peat... it compliments the roasted malt, but it's bordering on brash. Burnt caramel, roasted nut, dark-roasted coffee, good bitterness.

M: Moderate to full body has a light chalky acidity.

O: Very enticing, but the peat and roasted acidity weighs on the palate.

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Photo of wl0307
4.27/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was pleasantly surprised to find this bottle-conditioned version at a fantastic beer shop in Sheffield, The Dram. The 500ml brown bottle comes with a chic and simple beer label. BB date unknown, served cool in a straight imperial pint glass.

A: a tight and creamy tan head sits on top of a deeply dark brownish hue, with very good retention.
S: roasted malts, charred wood, soy sauce, licorice, and aromatic cocoa abound, enriched with a touch of flowery hops which comes slightly sweet to match the powdery chocolatey and nutty note very well. Firmly behind the maltiness lingers a touch of dried red dates as well, but not as assertive as in a premium bitter or porter. Rich and dense, as well as refreshing, with but a touch of alcohol.
T: a refreshing flow of semi-syrupy and bitter-sweet chocolates prevails upfront, before a roast nuttiness takes over; yeastiness, dryish bitter and earthy hops to follow, bringing lots of dried leafiness and herbal bitterness on board. Vertical bitterness and a very subtle aroma and flavour of walnuts quietly linger. All elements are integrated perfectly.
M&D: the mouthfeel is superb, with the flow of refreshing but soft fizziness as live witness to successful bottle-conditioning. The body is almost full but every element on the palate is mixed harmoniously, rendering a balanced profile and great quaffability. I wish I had the luck to try this beer on cask some day.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.66/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Cola with cranberry highlights glisten in the light when poured. The deepest of black sits menacingly with a generous 2 finger bronze-tan head that was dense and bready. Tiny effervesce bubbles rise and collect like oil ball bearings, building a head of substantial size and retention. Thick foamy lace builds on the glass with an almost full coverage.

S: Roasted barley, sweetened coffee with a bit of sweet dark fruit of plums come on the nose. The strength was light, a bit timid per style and not as intimidating as its visual or flavor aspect.

T: Nice earthy bitterness with a sweetness of burnt currant. Bready and thick with dark roasted coffee grounds, dark licorice and smoked burnt wood and humus. Acrid, yet displayed flashes of fruitiness with a nice alcohol and earthy moist bitterness greeting the tongue upon the swallow.

M: Tingly carbonation, creamy feel with a full body and a fade of burnt bitterness, moist coffee grounds and campfire minerality.

D: Overall decent level of drinkability. Dark burnt bitterness but countered with a fruity nature makws this slide down rather easily per style. A bomber sits well here.

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Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout from Thornbridge Brewery
88 out of 100 based on 100 ratings.
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