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:
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Ratings: 1,280 |  Reviews: 821
Photo of BeerAdvocate
1.78/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 2 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Review from Inaugural Issue of Beeradvocate Magazine.

Here's an old-school 2000 Rogue XS bottle, a seven-ounce mini-bottle with a painted label which warrants props for listing all the ingredients, year bottled, plato (26), IBU (87.5), lovibond (258), apparent attenuation (77) and a recommendation that it's best served when aged for a year. Well, folks, how about over six years? Let's find out.

Popping the twist-off cap made little noise, so it's no surprise that the pour led to barely any head, but what's there is a thin topping of chocolate-colored bubbles. Beneath is an ominous, black-as-hell liquid, sitting heavily in the brandy snifter. Oxidized aroma of sherry, Port-like alcohol, wet paper, herbal, leaf, hint of smoke, and some peppery rubbing alcohol. Falls fl at on the palate. No carbonation. An even, somewhat thick, hard-water consistency; slightly chewy. The big malts that this beer was known for have been converted, dried up, and weakened greatly by time. It's become more vinous, sharp, with young Port-like flavors, and a dash of black pepper, but a powdery chocolate and smoke character is all that remains of its former malt presence. Hint of chocolate cake breadiness. Some semi-bitter, raw leafiness from the hops are still intact. An unpleasant smoky, dry and powdery fi nish, with a candied-fruit booziness that seeps out of the palate and lingers for a bit. Not overly fun to drink, but interesting.

If you're cellaring some of these at home, they've hit their peak and are probably good candidates for the kitchen. We'll be turning our remaining bottles into some tasty drizzle reductions for desserts.

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Photo of BrewCrew2010
1.94/5  rDev -51.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

A: Pours like black oil with a decent brown head that is mostly lasting and leaving good lace on the glass.

S: A very powerful and assertive nose. What I'm getting is roasted malts and bitter chocolate, and some small sour hops notes. A little booze and dark fruits are kind of there, but it's hard to tell with the more aggressive smells.

T: This beer has a strong bite. A coarse and bitter malt flavor that makes this beer taste like burnt coffee, smokey, and a little little hoppy. Not very pleasant.

M: Heavy mouthfeel

D: Not anytime soon. I love stouts, but this did not do it for me. Tempted to get a bottle to age it to see if it makes a difference, but really don't want to experience those flavors again.

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Photo of Ben4318
2/5  rDev -50.4%

Photo of 4000qtrap
2.1/5  rDev -47.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

Smell: Dark caramelized oak and coffee. Light charcoal and smoke.

Taste: Over the top intense, astringent, dark espresso bean bitterness with some burnt wood undertones. Potent, but not super pleasant and a little edgy for me - especially at the warm temperature that it was served at. Incredibly dry after a long, lingering bitterness. The flavor is more oaky in the middle, darkly caramelized coffee and charcoal, continued dry, bitter notes. Drinkability really suffers from the incredible mouth is parched after each sip. Moreover, while intensely roasty the complexity is fairly limited. Finish is more of the same.

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Photo of GRG1313
2.16/5  rDev -46.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Pours black with a thick light brown/brown head and looks very inviting.

Nose is chocolate plums; chocolate covered fruit character (oranges/cherries)and again is inviting;

Mouthfeel is medium bodied to lightly creamy but it's hard to judge or appreciate any mouthfeel because the flavors and general character of this beer are so off-putting.

All character is just forgotten because of the extremely burnt, charred, grain, burnt day old coffee flavors. The flavors are gigantic and aggressive but with little appeal. Front palate is decent with hints of chocolate but quickly goes to burnt tar; charred meat flavors that then go to a burnt charcoal bitter finish.

Little appealing about this one; no finese whatsoever. True to form, Rogue does great bottles and average or worse beer.

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Photo of sammy44
2.18/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Think I might have gotten a bad bottle, I hesitated to add this review at all. A 2006 bottle purchased in Gatlinburg in May 2007.

Poured a really good looking beer, typical jet black, little to no head. Smell of soy sauce, alcohol, and coffee.

Taste: Pure alcohol, this stuff was harsh. I'm a bourbon fan which I like to sip straight on the rocks and this stuff seemed to have more alcohol burn than cheap bourbon. I couldn't taste anything else due to the eye watering sear.

Mouthfeel: Don't know, didn't leave it in my mouth long enough to find out.

Drinkability: How drinkable do you think I thought it was?

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Photo of Chilelli30
2.24/5  rDev -44.4%

Photo of BMos
2.25/5  rDev -44.2%

Photo of bark
2.3/5  rDev -42.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Vintage 2007, XS bottle.

The colour is black; the liquid is a little thick. The finger thick head is warm brown; it sinks slowly leaving some lacing.

The smell is sweet and roasted. Notes of soy sauce, prunes, black currants, liquorice, pumpernickel, caramel and a touch of warming alcohol.

The taste is... Not very good. First, a strong American dry bitter flavour emerges. Notes of black coffee, soy sauce, some cream and a quite weak body. The aftertaste is sharp sour/bitter with some chemical notes of detergents and oat crackers.

The carbonation is low, the small bubbles are mild. The liquid is smooth yet dry.

This one did not mature gracefully...

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Photo of Overlord
2.47/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

With this final Rogue, top 100 brew, I am now done with the brewery for the indefinite future. Thanks to Bgramer for the trade: the tone of my review is not indicative of my appreciation for giving me a chance to try this beer.

Pours a very attractive bubbling black with a big, dark tan head. I could do without the funky ceramic bottle, but maybe I'll find a use for it in home brewing. At first glance, I thought I might have finally found a Rogue beer I enjoy.

Then I smelled/tasted it. The aroma is a jumbled mix of bitter hops, bitter chocolate, and stale coffee. It's acceptable, but not overly enjoyable. The taste is pretty unpalatable. Raw, acrid pine hops mixed with bitter chocolate does not a pleasing combination make. Victory's Storm King Stout and Stone's IRS are two good examples of a bit of hop content merging with the traditional stout flavor profile: this beer is not.

Too sour and bitter, with almost a hint of saltiness about it. This is a melding of styles that didn't work at all. This is only the second below average grade I've ever given to an RIS.

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Photo of champ103
2.49/5  rDev -38.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

A: Pours a viscous pitch black. A tan head gently rises to at least 3 inches, and sticks around. Sticky lace all the way down the glass.
S: Bitter chocolate malt, acrid coffee, and tons of piny hops. Plenty of alcohol in the nose as well.
T: Tons of everything. Malt. hops. chocolate, acrid coffee. It is all there, and not very well balanced. There is a strong bitterness from the chocolate and the hops which makes a mess.
M/D: A full, syrupy, and sticky body. Like an adhesive sticking to the mouth. Lots of alcohol burn. Mix that with how bitter this beer is, and it is hard for me to finish a glass. I knew this was going to be a sipping beer, this is almost undrinkable.

A complete mess of a beer. No balance with anything, and no nuance. Just very harsh and unappealing for me. There are much better Imperial Stouts available. I would not recommend this.

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Photo of Jparkanzky
2.5/5  rDev -38%

Photo of AC-Mivsek
2.5/5  rDev -38%

Photo of HardTarget
2.5/5  rDev -38%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Bottled in 2002.
Aroma: Smells like Soy Sauce. Has a dark malt odor with hints of dark fruit and wine
Appearance: Solid black, not a ray of light makes it through. Showed the thinnest collar of brown head.
Flavor: Astringent, harsh, and rough edged. The deep malt is over balanced with a sharp, harsh hop bitter. Unpleasant and I had to work to finish it.
Mouthfeel: Deep chew with a harsh bitter twang
Overall Impression: Forgive me, oh rebellious brothers and sisters, this is a Rogue that needs to be brought to justice. I’ve loved just about every other Rogue I’ve tried, and Imperial Stout is one of my favorite beer styles, but this was just too harsh. A real disappointment. Maybe my bottle was bad (I fear not) or maybe this just needed a decade or so to age (it did have a good year) but something just wasn’t right. My only suggestion for possible improvement would be to back off the hops (sacrilege) and find some way to mellow this fellow. Unless I hear of major changes, I won’t be revisiting this any time soon.

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Photo of Damian
2.51/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Drank from a 12 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Connecticut Beverage Mart, Newington, CT
Bottle read "Bottled in 2003"

Poured a super thick, pitch black - similar to motor oil. A minuscule amount of caramel-colored fizziness quickly faded.

Smell was reminiscent of soy sauce. Notes of bourbon and brown sugar were also apparent.

Taste was sharp and unusual. Salty and malty sweet on the front end before the alcohol took hold. Alcohol was harsh and astringent, and its presence crescendoed as it moved along the palate. Some roasted and caramel malts fought through the alcohol to create some espresso-like notes. The finish was intensely hoppy. Biting, bitter hops resonated along with some roasted malts. The hops seemed to come out more as the beer warmed.

Mouthfeel was syrupy, super thick and chewy with only a small amount of carbonation.

As much as I tried to come to grips with this beer I simply could not. It was too salty and too alcohol rich for me to stomach. It seemed as if four years time had taken a toll on an otherwise fine beer.

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Photo of beertunes
2.51/5  rDev -37.7%
look: 1.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

7oz bottle poured into 10oz glass. As I finished pouring this, there was a loud plop in my glass. A very large chunk of sediment/yeast had dropped from the bottle. Much o it settled immediately to the bottom of the glass, but most remained suspended in the beer and turned it from the expected black into the brown of chocolate milk. The beer still managed a nice head with good retention and lacing.

The most noticeable feature of the aroma was alcohol. Under that, there were some nice roast and grain scents. The flavors had the roast and grain up front, but the beer finished with a huge alcohol burn.

Due to the billions and billions of particles floating in beer, it had a very gritty mouthfeel. Drinkability might have been OK, if not for the grit. I assume the alcoholic finish would be there anyway.

Overall, this may have been an OK brew but the plop of such a large chunk of sediment from such a tiny bottle ruined my experience.

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Photo of Seanbear13
2.53/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

I have a book full of reviews I've been meaning to put up. Over a year old. Written down on-the-fly in Belgium. But this beer irritated me sufficiently to post my first review.

I continue to be underwhelmed by everything of Rogue's that I've ever tried.

2008. Is there a 2009 on the market?

A: As it should be. Pitch black. Even when held to light. Big beautiful head from a firm pour down the middle of a 12oz tumbler; lovely tan. Very strong lacing.

S: Very nice. Clearly a stout. Lovely sweetness. Chocolate. Heavily sweetened coffee.

T: Here is where it falls apart. You can use something other than roasted malt in an impy stout. A munich; something, anything to cut the roast. I feel like I'm drinking out of an ashtray.

M: Surprisingly thin for (1) an impy stout; and (2) a beer this roasty.

D: See Taste above. I'm having trouble getting through it.

Really, I've had my share of impy stouts. This is, by far, the one with the most roasted character. Too much. Dial it back a bit.

I'm done with Rogue. I think they've spread themselves too thin.

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Photo of JamesS
2.54/5  rDev -37%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Pours a great dark black with fantastic head and lacing. Decent scent, hints of chocolate but mostly alcohol. Very alcoholic taste, with just hints of cocoa. Creamy, if not overly smooth. I was disappointed with this brew. No big stout flavors, no fig, mostly alcohol. If that's what I want, I'll get whisky. Too expensive for lack of complexity.

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Photo of MLegendre
2.57/5  rDev -36.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

I have to say, I honestly don't see what everyone likes about this beer. I love the majority of Rogue beers, but this one was a huge disapointment...

A: Looks awesome, thick and black with a think dark tan head.

S: This was the first sign that this may be a disapointment. smell was faint, burnt toast and hops and that was about it. Nothing really grabbed my attention.

T: All I could taste was bitterness, like I just drank a shot of strait espresso. Any other flavors were completly overpowered by bitterness.

M: Not as think as it looked, but very smooth none the less. Medium carbonation.

D: For 11bucks I don't think I'll be giving this another try.

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Photo of Lerxst
2.66/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

7 oz. bottle poured into Stone IRS tulip. 2009 Vintage

A-Vigorous pour produces a one finger mocha colored that that has fair retention and leaves some sticky lacing.

S-Nose is weak. Faint notes of charred malt, espresso, chocolate.

T-Astringent is the first word that comes to mind. There is flavor here that tastes the way rubbing alcohol smells, know what I mean? Along with that are burnt/charred malt and some baker's chocolate. I'm not enjoying it a whole lot.

M-Fairly light for the style. The carb level is also a bit stinging for the style.

D-I had trouble finishing a 7 oz. bottle. What else can I say?

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Photo of Sigmund
2.71/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

12 fl. oz. bottle, UK import. Bottled in 2003. Trade with maeib. Opaque pitch black, moderate brown head. Pleasant roasty aroma, hints of dark fruits, chocolate and liquorice. Flavour, on the other hand, is not particularly pleasant. From start to finish it is dominated by a one-dimensional intense bitterness of extremely strong and poorly made coffee, masks any other flavour (including the alcohol) which otherwise might be present. Want a definition of "over-kill"? Here it is! As Queen Victoria would have said: "We are not amused!" Apart from the looks and the aroma: Very disappointing.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.71/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Mine is labelled "Rogue XS Russian Imperial Stout". Acquired at Wades Wines in Westlake Village, California for $4.79 plus tax.

7 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into me Guinness goblet in me gaff in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average. I appreciate the bottle size; beers of this high an ABV should always come in smaller bottles so a typical beer drinker can enjoy it without having to commit to a massive quantity. I don't understand some of these thick strong stouts that come in 750 ml bottles; it doesn't make sense.

Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a one finger head of dark khaki colour, great cream, good thickness, and rather impressive retention (4+ minutes) for the 11% ABV. Colour is a solid black. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Lacing is nice.

Sm: Rich chocolate, coffee, dark malts, roast, cocoa bean, and toffee. A moderately strong inviting aroma. No yeast comes through.

T: Dark malts comprise the foundation. Cream and chocolate are present but restrained. The malts are poorly handled, with some buried astringency. Too malty all around. The notes don't work well together, but rather compete and ring distinct. Poorly balanced all around. No alcohol or yeast comes through. Badly built for the style. Not complex or subtle.

Mf: Smooth and creamy. Too thick. Wet where it should be dry, though the roast does lend it some degree of dryness.

Dr: A poorly conceived imperial stout. Hard to drink on account of its low quality. It does hide its ABV quite well, to its credit. I wouldn't get it again. A disappointment from Rogue.


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Photo of Oatsoda
2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

As black as seemingly possible, this beer has a nice layer of espresso crema for a head that breaks up fairly quickly.

It gives a smoky, dense aroma.

Off the bat, the first thing I taste is bitterness-- alternating black coffee and black liquorice.

With a full-bodied mouthfeel, this Imperial stout does not hide it's alcohol content and almost drink like a tall glass of a bitter liqueur.

It could be my lack of experience with many Imperial Stouts, but I found this one a rough drink-- not one I envision ordering again in the near future.

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Photo of jmw141
2.73/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

7 oz. bottle pour into snifter glass.

A: dark black, opaque, dark brown head, good legs

S: coffee, roasty malt, hops, dark fruit

T: burnt bitter malt, bitter hops

M: Medium heavy, thick, flat, smooth

D: I didnt care for the strong burnt malt flavor way beyond roast. Low drinkability.

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Photo of Naugled
2.74/5  rDev -32%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Just tried the 7oz bottle 2009 vintage. Nice package size.

Black opaque body with dark brown head that doesn't last.

Has a vegetal off smell that is hard to get by, not very pleasing.

Very bitter, over hopped, I really couldn't get past this. I tried to ignore it to get to the malt but it is nearly impossible. Some coffee notes come through, but even they are bitter.

Has a medium full mouth feel with a harsh finish.

Not a very drinkable beer at all. Perhaps aging for another year would help. I plan to sock a bottle away and try again but this tasting was a real disappointment.

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