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Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout | Thornbridge Brewery

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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

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Reviews: 101 | Ratings: 192
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.

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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.

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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 seand
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a dark near-opaque brown, with a fair amount of tan head. The head dissipates to a thin spotty film with a thicker ring around the edge of the glass, which leaves pretty good lacing.

S: Thin compared to a big American style RIS; a bit milky, with a pleasantly sweet roasted malt background.

T: Relatively light sweetness, with a background of more complex roasted malt. Nice throughout, not too big, and very drinkable.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

Overall, good, and very different than a big American RIS. Worth trying.

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Photo of Bouleboubier
3.79/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A bit of a letdown, considering how notable and how much I've enjoyed the other Thornbridge ales I've been introduced to in the past few months.

At no point in this sampling did I get the impression that this was in the style, as advertized. This strikes me as nothing more than a robust, English porter. And merely a serviceable, if not dynamically flavorful, one at that.

It presents itself as a dark brown liquid topped by a fleeting, pale-tan/ashy head. Some smears of lace. Mellow, dark-roast coffee and some cereal-like malt is about the extent of its aromas and flavors. Not much malt sweetness or rich complexity, nor supple roastiness warranting attention. Drinks real clean, light and smooth for what it's supposed to be. Perhaps some powdery wash in the finish. Weakly silky/oily, if you must.

I don't dislike this beer. Throughout the tasting, I was just trying to find memorable things to share about it - something to say, "You need to try this because ___". Just didn't happen. I still highly recommend their others I've had.

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Photo of MrKennedy
3.98/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle, into a Great Divide Cervoise glass.

Nice two finger pour of creamy looking tan foam on top of a black base that only shows the slightest hint of ruby when held up to the light. Good spotty lacing and nice foam retention.

Smell is chocolate. Mostly light milk chocolate and just a little bit of aniseed late on. Interesting mix of something enticing and something less enticing.

Taste comes through with plenty of chocolate and just a little bit of roast. Some smokiness later on and a little bit of licorice at the end. Good interesting mix. Nothing insane but everything does its job well and it works.

Really nice mix of smooth early and some bitterness late. Not the biggest body at all. But you shouldn't expect it from a 7.7% ABV Imperial Stout. Has an almost Oatmeal Stout feel to it and later some bitterness and spice from the aniseed kicks in. Does make this very drinkable, the fact that you know the first bit will be so smooth.

Overall it really works for me. You shouldn't expect some super sludgy RIS from this. It suits its specs really well and the 500ml bottle format and ABV mix really makes it a hard beer to turn down. Very enjoyable!

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Photo of flyingpig
3.91/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

500ml bottle for £3.49 from Peckhams (Glasgow,):
Mahogany brown colour with a few red tinges in there and a huge, three fingers tall head that is a thick looking, foamy, light brown with great retention.

Roasted malts and a sweet, burnt sugar aroma along with some coffee and chocolate. It also seems to have some darker fruits lingering in the background and overall it is a pleasant aroma that could have used being a little stronger.

A strong roasted malt presence initially but what follows is a lot sweeter than I was expecting, there is a touch of coffee along with some chocolate and sugar. The dark fruits from the nose are in the taste as well and there is some licorice complimented by some caramel; a very sweet and hoppy tasting imperial stout.

Lighter than usual for the style, falling somewhere around medium bodied with mild to medium carbonation levels. There is also more sweetness to it than your usual imperial stout.

Lighter in many ways than what I was expecting, the aroma was quite subdued but not exactly weak and the body was a lot lighter too but it was an excellent beer and one that I'd probably have again. The 7.4% alcohol content was very well hidden and goes by pretty much unnoticed.

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Photo of crnipeter
2.35/5  rDev -40.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Cascades dark reddish-brown to form two finger thick persistent tan head with good stickage atop of opaque black body with ruby highlights.

I'm struck by the hoppy character of this beer: nose is dominated by pronounced herbal-leafy hops while malt, ester and alcohol aromatics remain completely subdued. Only minor unrefined sugar and roast show up as the beer warms.

Aroma transfers to the flavor that exhibits solid roastiness allied to aggressively-high hop-bitterness to yield dry finish. Hops are leafy-herbal in nature and overpowering to my liking. Aftertaste features virtually endless bitterness. Surprising is the absence of chocolaty, coffee-like flavors of roasted malt/grain nor there are any specialty malt qualities such as caramel,bread or toast.

Malt is well attenuated and light body (for imperial stout standards) mouth-filling due to high carbonation yet not too airy.

Overall, a bitter stout with emphasis on herbal-leafy hops and roast.

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Photo of TheRealBigC
3.34/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a lucious tan head with excellent lacing. Smell is average at best. Taste lacks complexity for a RIS, but is nonetheless pleasant. It's a bit hoppier than most in the style, and you can definitely tell when you're burbing. Feel is a little lighter than I like too. When it comes to Imperial Stouts, I like them big, rich, etc. It's worth a shot, but I'm probably going to pass on it next time. $8 for an 11oz. pour of this is kind of a rip off.

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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 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 joemcgrath27
3.7/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - almost impenetrable almost black, short head held it own and left random lacing
S - brown sugar, dark chocolate, a milky sweet aroma, all very mild
T - nice mix of cocoa, coffee, and toffee maltiness, finishes with a mix of sweet and charcoal flavours
M - super easy drinking and no hint of the 7.7%, just a little too thinned out by the alcohol to be a strong stout
O - definitely tasty and easy to drink, its somewhere between and RIS and a regular stout in my opinion, none the less worth a try

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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.

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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 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 Jeffo
3.67/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Got this one at Geers in Gent a while back.

From a 500ml bottle into a pint glass.

APPEARANCE: Poured very carefully, the clear brown liquid yields a 1+ finger, medium looking, light mocha colored head with great retention. Black body and higher levels of carbonation evident. Head slowly recedes to a good, thick foam cap. A solid foam cap remains until the end and leaves lots of nice lacing down the glass. Great lacing, but a little light in color for the style.

SMELL: Decent dose of roasted malts, leather, licorice and tobacco in there. Some light smoky and peaty notes as well. Interesting, though it could be a touch more forthcoming.

TASTE: Roasted notes and generous amounts of peat smokiness and licorice up front. Peat through the middle again into a bitter tobacco and smoky finish. Medium and lingering aftertaste of bitter chocolate, peat smokiness and tobacco as well. Follows the nose well and shows a little more balls.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Creamy smooth on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly dry. Could use a touch more weight for the style, but plenty creamy and smooth on the palate.

OVERALL: This is definitely an English style RIS, no doubt. A much more licorice and tobacco dominated stout than many of its American and Belgian counterparts. If that’s your style, then you will enjoy this one, as the nose and flavor doesn’t shy away from anyone. It’s bold, complex, and well put together. A solid brew, but given my personal tastes, this one came in last out of the three Thornbridge sampled.

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Photo of schopenhauerale
3.93/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Jet black pour - opaque. Maybe 2 fingers of tan head.

S: Burnt coffee and a bit of booze were expected, but there was a strange celery note that was unappetizing. A bit of smoke and licorice.

T: Nicely balanced but not particularly interesting - just traditional stout malt flavours on the sweeter side offset by herbal hop bitterness.

M: Smooth, on the thin side, but very pleasant. Finishes with a nice bite.

O: This seems to be a classic English interpretation of the RIS; not as exciting as the American ones these days, but still a solid beer in its own right. Worth trying.

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

500ml. In New Belgium snifter. Very dark cola pour, thin later of off white.

Aroma, toasted malt, chocolates, some nutty caramel. Herbal hops.

Taste, Roast malt, dark chocolate. Smoked leat, anise. Piney hops in the middle. Finish bitter, ashy roast. A lot going on but a little harsh.

Lighter mid, a little thin. Good carbonation. If this were a little creamier it would reduce the harshness. Lower abv, drinks all right, just a little rough. A good English style imperial.

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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.

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Photo of beerdrifter
4.08/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this up at my favorite beer store in Belgium, Dranken Geers. Dark brown, almost black pour with two finger tan head with good retention and lacing. Somewhat subdued nose dominated by the chocolate malts with hints of toffee, espresso, caramel, and just a touch of licorice and smoke. It opens up a bit as it warms with the hops finally emerging. Chocolate and mocha dominate the taste, with a great balance of sweetness from the malts, and a subtle, but welcomed bitter herbal hop bite. Hints of coffee, caramel and earthy peat round it out. The mouthfeel is smooth as silk with no heaviness whatsoever. If you're looking for the typical big, bold, sipper RIS, go elsewhere as this is totally drinkable. Another great beer from Thornbridge!

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Photo of wordemupg
3.95/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

500ml bottle poured into tulip 7/2/12

A shes pretty dark with just a little cola at the edges, a short lived mocha head leaves lots of polka dot lacing

S coco powder and charred wood, faint booze and the smokey peat mentioned on the bottle is there and gives a mellow aspect to the nose

T much like the nose with just a little licorice and some dark fruit, lots of smokey notes but nothing like drinking a cigar

M its a little thin but decent bubbles give it a little body, char on the finish

O solid stout but lacking the intense flavors and dark complexity of the truly world class, its a good beer and well worth trying

drinks like a session stout with a light body but the 7.7% would catch up pretty fast. I'm not sure of the RIS status but I doubt I would've classified it any different myself.

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Photo of Pencible
4.17/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: This poured an opaque dark mahogany with a bit of tan head.
S: It smelled like rich dark chocolate and some smoky peat and roasted coffee, with some smoke and wet oak.
T: It tasted like dark chocolate and lots of smoke and peat, with some coffee and licorice. It had a smoky and bitter aftertaste, with some heat.
M: It was fairly thick with moderate carbonation. Nice full body.
D: This was a very nice smoky stout with unique scotch-like character. I didn't realize the brewer's intent with the first few sips, but once I read the bottle and understood what they're going for, I really began to appreciate this beer. By the end of the glass, I was craving more. Great scent and taste and body. Finish was a bit hot, so combined with the smoke, it was really a sipping beer. May mellow with age, but probably better fresh to get more of the unique character. Definitely recommended, if you can find it.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.12/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: opaque with thick rocky tan head that dissipated
S: milder nose with deep roasted malt, some cocoa evident, incredible depth
T: well-balanced, RIS with good roasted malt and nice finish of bitter hops, some hints of barrel aging but not barrel aged
M: rounded, well-balanced
O: this is drinkable right now but could use maybe 1-2 years or aging but probably not much more

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

We had this beer at tasting two weeks ago at my cousin Peters place. Great beers and great fun.

This beer was poured in my Essen Christmasbeerfestivalglass (what a word for wordfeud!)

This beer is a bit disappointing when you look at the RIS bottles i had before.

The head is nice and dark, just like the fluid. Roasted malts with a very soft taste. This beer has no depth and that is what makes this beer a 'lower ranked' RIS. Good as a first try when you never had RIS.

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Photo of Mar02x
3.41/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wednesday 28th of December 2011 I had a brilliant family tasting session at my uncle Peter place . So thanks for that. And yes every one, I have a beautiful family in which good beer is highly appreciated.

A - A pitch brown ale mixed with yeast, on top there floats a relative white head which I think is amazing for a RIS.

S - A faint smell of chocolate and musty malts.

T - Tones of coffee, chocolate stroke my tongue, but its all a bit to watery and thin. Sorry Thornbridge the good stuff comes from America these days.

M - A soft carbonated beer with a light bitter added.

O - Not bad for an English RIS, but really nothing compared to the American shit (excuse my language) that I experienced lately.

I had antother try on the 7th of February 2012. With thanks to Edwin de Cock (yes, in Holland it is a normal name) I was able to try this beer. Erwin is the chairman of our 'PINT' tasting group at 'de Mug'. De Mug is ABT beer pub located in Middelburg, The Netherlands. Every first Tuesday of the month we blind-taste 6 beers in one particular style, this time it was stout and porters.

A4.5 - A nice creamy beige foam on top of a deep red, and apparently clear, beer.

S4 - Chocolate and a strong fruity hop presence.

T4.5 - This is more like a black IPA, the hop presence is strong and the ale is a bit sweet.

M4 - The body has a medium carbonation.

O4.5 - A very nice stout. I liked it way better this time. i don't know why. Maybe it was the blind test or maybe it just stood out in the line up this evening.

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Saint Petersburg Imperial Stout from Thornbridge Brewery
3.95 out of 5 based on 192 ratings.
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