Imperial Stout | Rogue Ales

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
1,280 Ratings
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Rogue Ales
Oregon, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Also known as XS Imperial Stout

12 Ingredients:
Malts: Great Western, Harrington & Klages, Hugh Baird XLT-80, Black, Munich, Chocolate and rolled oats.
Hops: Willamette, Cascade and Chinook. Specialty: Two Secret ingredients.
Yeast & Water: Rogue's Pacman Yeast & Free Range Coastal Water.

88 IBU
73 AA
256º Lovibond

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,280 |  Reviews: 821
Photo of IntriqKen
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2002 Vintage
Pours used motor oil black with a half finger dark tan head that melts to almost a nitro sticky lace ring and suface blanket.
Aroma...hmmm....dark fruits, raisins, a little coffee, a little dark chocolate, and alcohol.
Taste hits you as very creamy at first and then an incredible dark, rich chocolate. Swallowing it becomes slightly bitter from hops but seems to be more of the chocolate turning into unsweetened chocolate. Swallow completely and feel the warmth of alcohol spreading throughout your body as the aftertaste of chocolate covered raisins fills your mouth.
This may be a miracle of Imperial Stouts.
It has aged incredibly. I have a new bottle recently received but am now thinking I should lock it up for 4 years to open when miracles might happen again.

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Photo of mhenson42
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of spazx
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of TaylorK
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of ATXRyan
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of brewdlyhooked13
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I found a 7-ouncer from 1996 at Party Source here in town. Here's hoping it's been well-cared for.

Appearance - poured into a champagne flute since it's such a small bottle, to help concentrate the aromas. Opens silently. Pours with no bubbles. The last few drops create a few oil-like bubbles that sit and skitter on the surface like water bugs. Heavy stuff, it doesn't even mix with itself well, lol.

Aroma - heavy charcoal, Liquid Smoke™ all the way. Some raisiny sweetness, dark roasted coffee.

Taste - very smoky malts, triple espresso. Some hops on the finish, but they are very subdued; not quite flat, just very mellowed after 8 years. The sweetness gives it a winy taste at the swallow. Very warming aftertaste, some really good coffee flavors coming out late as well.

Mouthfeel - no carbonation, thick and velvety, resilient in the mouth.

Drinkability - these 7-ouncers are perfect and this one has aged exceedingly well. I'll be heading back to PS to see if they have any more of these.

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Photo of kjkinsey
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of HopStoopid120
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of horshack7
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation: It comes in the great ceramic bottle with the resealable rubber cork 1Pint 10 ounces.

Appearance: This is one of the darkest of the dark. With a mocha color rocky creamy head. The head lasts for a few minutes but then disipates to a thin foam.

Aromas: Tremendous chocolate malt scents. Light hints of burnt hops. The malts in this one are roasted to the the brink of burnt but not quite so dark so evil it's wonderful.

Taste: Dear god this one packs a sinister punch. The chocolate malts stand out rather well. The dark roasted hop character hits like a sack of bricks. Slight port wine notes that hide a little bit yet show themselves so incredibly. Dark roasted coffee notes fly around so freely yet savagely. The mouthfeel is quite smooth very much like dark chocolate milk so silky. I knew I had to be carefull tasting this beast of a Russian imperial stout it's so dam tasty.

Notes: It's cold hearted, evil, and down right sinister. Thank you very much Rogue brewing company for brewing this masterpiece. I am happy to have had the opportunity to have sampled this beast of a beer oh hell yeah. Prost


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Photo of UnionMade
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Little baby 8oz bottle from 1996. Given to me by my Chicago friend and fellow BA oldcrustacean. He said he bought it recently at a store. I don't know if Rogue aged a bunch of these and released them for retail, or if the dustributor had them. Either way, it's an old ass bottle and I'm very excited to crack it.

Opens with a slight hiss, and pours like a bottle of waterproof drawing ink, the kind that comes with a dropper and you dip a fountain pen into. Entirely opaque, the last couple sips revealing a thick layer of yeast on the bottom of the glass. I noticed the neck of the bottle, where only air occupied the space, had little yeasty particles clinging to it, as if the bottle had been sitting slightly sideways for a long, long time. When the cap was popped, the underside also had bits of sediment caked to it. Not even an attempt at a head. No bubbling on the pour. Inky black malt aroma, smoothened with time into a down blanket of char, toffee, chocolate and maroon colored fruit. Soft notes of resiny hops, woodsmoke, and currant. A mild undertone of alcohol, baring worn teeth like an old, faithful hunting dog. The first sip reveals that absolutely none of the fire in this beer's belly has been quenched with age. Maybe a little older, a little wiser, but still barrel chested and built like a bulldozer. Coffee laced black-roasted barley rumbles in, clearing it's throat after such a long silence. Strong as ever, but a bit more tactful in it's delivery than when it was young. Baker's chocolate bittersweetness, vinous red grape, heaps of pressed, blood colored fruit juice. Every so often a beer fills my glass that my palate isn't ready for. I know this is one of them. I'm sure I'm missing at least half the complexity in this brew, because my palate isn't refined enough. So deep, it's like a well of regular beer encapsuled in one tiny 8oz bottle. Amazingly, hops are still prominent in the finish, vaguely citric, more piney, resiny and earthy than when this brew is new. Still a good deal of bitterness, quite acidic, enough to retain balance, even robustness. Every sip wants to kick you right in the ass to pay full, honest attention. Really amazing. Strong bittersweet malt flavor in the finish, ending with a grace only acquired through time. Lingering roasty coffee and cocoa. A mouthfeel soft as cashmere, the carbonation like velvet, I couldn't ask for more. A masterpiece.

By no means am I an expert at cellaring. I'm guessing this one was stored very well, but man oh man, I bet this beer would survive a nuclear winter without an off note. Strong, surly and mean as hell at an age when most beers (even some breweries) would be nothing but a memory. It goes to show that american craft brewing ain't going nowhere. I'd guess this has another few years to go before it starts to slow down.
After almost 10 years, this beer, a monster when young, still remains a dragon of a brew in it's old age. Wizened and much more refined, this only grows in character after the time put into it. It goes to show that a little care and patience really do go a long way in aging a beer. I really need to cellar more.

As an afterthought, I'm debating giving this beer a perfect score. After so much time, I really don't expect any head, and the flavor really deserves a solid 6 on the BA scale. What the hell. I think it's earned it, and sure as hell proved it to me. My only complaint is this is the last sip. My first perfect score. Yeah, it's worth it.

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Photo of goethean
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2001 vintage --- seven year old beer.

Served in the 50s in a scottish thistle glass. Strong roast caramel malty aroma. Great big huge mouth-filling profile. Big burnt malt flavor from tiny sips of liquid. Intense, potent burnt malt. I cant detect much fruit --- it is annihilated by the roastiness. Some hops flavor toward the end which blends with the roast nicely. Alcohol. Burnt malt aftertaste, bordering on astringency. A syrupy mouthfeel, but not insanely so.

A five --- cannot be improved upon. I actually like this better than Dark Lord, I think.

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Photo of edwardkersh
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of KGarrett
5/5  rDev +24.1%

Photo of Sephiroth
5/5  rDev +24.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottled in 2001: Six months after my first review of this vintage, I am drinkin another one. Pours with an enormous mound of foam, and leaves beautiful lace, just like I remember. The smell is awesome, burnt malt, dark chocolate, slight anise, and slight hops, amongst others.

Taste runs the gamut of stout flavors. Burnt and roasted flavors, dark chocolate, slight anise, slightly piney hops. Vinous notes are developing. Bitter finish. This could probably age two more years before declining. Mouthfeel is thick as hell, I feel as though I should be using a straw. Carbonation is impressive given the age and alcohol. Drinkability is perfect, as is everything about this beer.

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Photo of jackndan
4.97/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Rogue Imperial Stout 1996: In a tiny 7-ounce bottle. Beer is thick and black. The blurb on the back says it’s made with free-range coastal water and “two secret ingredients.” Absolutely flat, no head whatsoever, but there are bubbles floating slowly toward the top. Aroma is very pleasant: strong scents of coffee, mixed with sweet/dried fruits, and burgundy/wine. Astonishingly thick body. Incredible tastes, it starts out very sweet, but then follows up hops, and lasts forever as it coats the tongue. Little alcohol taste, but very nice warmth. Think dark chocolate, strong coffee, Cabernet/port, and molasses. Truly wonderful, well-balanced, complex. Well worth the extra trip tonight. I take back the “tiny bottle.” This is the biggest 7-ounces of beer I’ve ever had, and I’ll be drinking it all night.

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Photo of inebrius
4.95/5  rDev +22.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottled 2001

I'm trying to gather my thoughts, goddam. Pours a muddied 90 weight with a surprisingly thick, sticky malted milk ball head. Nose of fine dark Belgian chocolate, black currants, hazelnut gelato, black forest cake, a freaking French dessert cart of aroma. Intoxicating! In many ways intoxicating, cozy, a blanket of warmth and flavor, roasty and hop bitter and joy to the buds. This beer is huge, round, silky and a thousand other favorable adjectives. Like a session with the all-time great Russian novelists, transcendent.

Cheers to Billy Stout for the sample! My god man, you could sell this stuff on a street corner.

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Photo of corywalston
4.93/5  rDev +22.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A. Poor was from a tap and not aggressive enough to have any head. No carbonation. Color is black/brown. No light gets through.
S. Roasted malt.
T. Coffee, dark chocolate, toffee, roasted malt.
M. Thick syrup, delicious.
O. Rouge did a very good job making this imperial stout. I recommend giving it a try. Hard ass buzz for 11% ABV.

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Photo of DagFishHead
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Black as a shark's eye. Viscous, engine oil-like pour. Darkest espresso brown head I've ever seen on a beer. Tightly-bubbled, thin but frothy and tenacious head...ok for a beer this big.
Smell: Holy cow.. malt, malt, deep roasted malt everywhere! Bitter hops, espresso, bitter chocolate, licorace, alcohol tingle. Pint glass seems like it's holding a whole mash tun of gorgeous nose.
Taste: HOLY COW! Lush, creamy malt/ripe, dried-fruit sweetness so big you almost panic, but fear not, it's quickly cut by an oily, smokey, bitter hoppiness.. then finished of with a dry, semi-acidic flourish. A rollercoaster ride. Then, when you finally think you're safe...the alcohol warmth washes over you and all is right with the world.
Mouthfeel: Thick, viscous..can't imagine a fuller feeling. This is truly concentrated, liquid love. Light carbonation tingle.
Drinkability: This IS Imperial Stout! Only Rogue Shakespeare Stout rates higher (for me) because I could drink more of it in a sitting. The Rogue boys know their stouts.

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Photo of hustlesworth
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

from the awesome 750ml black ceramic swing-top bottle into my cleveland browns fat imperial pilsener glass.

A- pours like smooth black molasses with a sweet slo-mo cascading effect that forms 2in of thick chocolate milk colored creamy frothy head. head has the look and consistency of a chocolate mousse, i've never seen anything like it. brew is black with black highlights, haha there's the fainest hint of burgundy at the bottom of the glass. head has great retention, almost to the end, and leaves lots of sticky brown lace on the glass.

S- cocoa powder, toasted malt, and sticky icky flowers. faint mocha coffee and smoky charred wood like cognac barrels push through along with more dark nutty malt and toasted oats. sweet dark fruit like dates and figs come out mating with a soft resinous dark hop tar aroma.

T- i had some high quality belgian chocolates recently. one was 80% cocoa called "african ebony" this has that taste and i love it. rich mocha espresso as well, herbal hop resin, charred wood, earthy stone purity as well, dark burnt hazelnuts, toasted caramel, and fine cigar tobacco.

MF- thick and rich like drinking pudding, yet strangely refreshing. chewy almost melted ice cream texture and low carbonation is a perfect match with this one.

D- due to the fact that it seems to thin itself after the swallow, it could possibly be a thirst quencher like guinness if not for the high ABV. weeeird. undoubtedly the emperor of all stouts.

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Photo of 99bottles
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled in 2001. I think it's about time to give this guy a shot. Pours a deep DEEP brown. Okay, lets call a spade a spade. I know that Black is really not a color, but rather the abscence of all color. This is about as close as you can get to BLACK. Really and truly looks like used motor oil. Maybe not as viscous, but close. The darkest tan head billows up and fades away minutes later. The smell is of rich espresso, dry wood, and there is a detectable bitter acid even in the smell. The first sip can't be prepared for. It spills slippery and thick into ones mouth. The espresso and chocolate taste serves as a base, while the most complex hop blend I've ever had bites and nips with bitterness at the back of the tounge and in the aftertaste. I agree that there is a very paper like taste to this beer after 3 years of age. I guess oxidation is bound to happen at some point. It's not bad though, and really makes for quite a good secondary compliment. The dryness and sweetness meld beautifully. Halfway through I notice a huge wispy tan sediment at the bottom of the glass. This is perfection for Imperial Stouts. I love Storm King, and maybe if I cellar it for a few years it would be even, but I must say this is the most refined stout I've ever had. I can't imagine anything better. Highest review I've ever given, and probably ever will.

Interesting note: Rogue, famous for listing all their ingredients on the side of the bottle, perhaps realizes the importance of this brewing achievement. Of 14 ingredients, # 9 and # 10 are listed as "Two Secret Ingredients". Nice.

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Photo of putnam
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2001: The color is of black paint. The charcoal-brown head disappears quickly. The smell is of bitterness. Deep, unabiding bitterness of tortured souls. Peets espresso... Burning pine forests...
Sticky, toung-lashing bitterness with a monster grip forces flavors of dried fig, cigar, hazelnut and bitter chocolate (i.e. Valrhona 70% "Guanaja"). This is a big, big beer. Not for the timid. Primordial, bowels-of-the-earth type energy is packed in to this now larger, 12 oz. bottle.

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Photo of NEhophead
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled 2002.

An espresso-chocolate colored head that is very creamy looking. Fades after a few moments to a thin sheet. Great thin and patterned lacing with a a lot of strength. Opaque, pitch black in color.

Hazlenut, roasted dark chocolate, dark cherry, plum, black raspberry aromas. Chewy malt sweetness that is perfectly balanced with the array of aromas.

Dark chocolate and toffee flavors along with some dark fruit. A great chewy maltiness combatted by a huge hop bitterness (87.5 IBUs). Warming alcohol presence in the aftertaste.

Syrup-like on the palate. Low carbonation allowing this stout's natural flavors to surface. A full bodied beer.

For the style, this beer is very hard to be beaten (might be trumped by Stone's Russian Imperial IMO). Here's my advice: buy a case of this and cellar it. Truly a priceless beer!

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Photo of jj21
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I love the Ceramic bottle. Very cool look. Pours black with an awesome dark tan head that lasts forever. Great lacing throughout. Nutty, malty aromas. Some Coffee. Flavor explosion! Coffee, chocolate malty goodness. Very thick and syrupy mouthfell makes this an easier drink than a lot of Imp Stouts. Outstanding

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Photo of Hibernator
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Rogue Imperial Stout
12 oz brown bottle
Bottled in 2003
Served in an Allagash tulip glass

Pours a slick jet black that reminds me of ink. Tan colored head that fluffs and leaves incredible sticky lacing patterns.

Intense nose with whiffs of fine dark chocolate, roasted coffee and ripe funk.

Rich chocolate flavors with a wholesome backbone. One of the most complex beers I've had. Fresh Starbucks espresso quality with a sharp bite on the finish. Oak and dark fruit highlights with a very respectable hop presence. Tastebuds are working overtime.

This is truly an exceptional imperial stout. A highly recommended sipper. Exceeds any other stout in this style that I've had to date.

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Photo of Trueant1
4.9/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From a 2006 ceramic bottle.

An awsome 2 inch head that is so thick with large bubbles cascading from the center. Leaves a total lace on the side of the glass with globs of head material. The head is dark brown and the beer is black.

Smells: Ohhh that smelll ~~~ I am singing Lenard Skynard now!
I smell these in order as I smell them...

Chocolate, black licorish, expresso, Lea and Perrins ( other imps have this smell to me), toasted smoke, figs, dates, dark molassis, carneros wines, alcohol, truffles, fresh baked hot brownies, floral hops (roses) ...and the list could continue!!!!

It tastes as it smells! The only surprise is it is smokier than I smelled. ( a very good thing to me.) The spices are strong. A long alcohol burn with some hop bitterness on the aftertaste.

For so intense flavors and smells this beer seems thin, smooth and creamy and dry to me. The only thing that would keep you from swigging this one fast is the alcohol burn on the way down. I great sipper to me.

This is another beer that blows away any 100 dollar bottle wine I have tasted! I wish I had been patient enough to lay this one down 5 more years! But NO!

So far, this and Yeti oak aged stout is my favs!

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Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 1,280 ratings