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 EPseja
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Shared this limited-edition 22oz. slip-cast ceramic bottle of Rogue Imperial Stout over a good game of Scrabble with my friend... it was fantastic! Here are the details...

Black - not a trace of light shows through this beer when help up to the light. The head is like dark chocolate milk - a full inch thick - then settling down to about 1/2" and remaining there for the duration. Doesn't leave Belgian lace, rather it leaves the whole Belgian dress!

Incredibly fragrant for this style of beer. Dark molasses, espresso coffee, dark fruit, roasted nuts, toasted grains. Also imparts a slight milky smell.

In order, (1) Smoke, burnt chocolate. (2) Sweet molasses. (3) Bitter 80% cocoa chocolate. (4) Thick fudge and alcohol. Big and involving. Not for the faint hearted! Leaves an everlasting smoky, warming finish that lasts easily past the 10 minute mark making it very easy to go in for a followup sip.

Round but not thick. Light carbonation with small bubbles. Almost deceivingly smooth. I expected a much more viscous feel but was pleased to find how light it was in the mouth.

Easy drinking despite the hefty aroma and explosion of flavor.

For my tastes, this is an exceptional one-pint beer however I'm sure that many religious stout drinkers would opt for more. I don't believe that a second pint of this could achieve the same sensory results as the first one not only due to the alcohol content, but due to the beer's grand stature.

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Photo of markman
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Rogue Imperial Stout, 2001:

Motor oil big-n-black. Large, viscous, vinous chocolate palate with minimal carbonation. Wow…big burnt finish. An oily, big ballsy stout. God-awful good and everything an Imperial Stout should be, and what all the others wish they were…quite possibly my favorite.


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Photo of skybluewater
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2003 bottling. Glugs out a black that's as dark as night. Very nice chocolate colored head. Man, I love the smell of these stouts. This one smells of chocolate and prunes (good, even though I hate prunes). Taste is pretty much the same, very thick with a chocolate, coffee, fruity flavor. The only problem I have with this beer is the excessively bitter aftertaste. I don't mind bitterness in the flavor, but this lasts way too long. The taste is great, the aftertaste leaves much to be desired.

Overall, a fair impy. Pretty warming on a cool fall night. But that aftertaste is a killer...

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Photo of gbontrag
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

started at 44F. Oh, so stout. I used a spatula to scrape the bottle into the pint. Oww, stained my sinuses with winey, burnt hops. Dried fruit compote spilled on a leather jerkin. Imagine a multi-grain pilaf with Hunza raisins, a pour of cream sherry, a little honey, chili powder....BURN IT!! Ferment it with Italian plums and a barrel of hops. Serve with toasty smores around a campfire.

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled in 2001... a 3-year old vintage. Well aged.

This was an incredibly dark brown beer with almost no head to speak of. What little there was was a medium-dark brown at first, but faded to tan lacing.

The aroma was very complex. It was slightly sweet, with apples in the fore but with a slight acidity. Very dark malt scents were underlying it all... a very layered sensation.

The taste was VERY complex as well. It was quite bitter, with a slight fruitiness. Very dark malts came to the fore, and it transitioned to a roasted malt finish that lasted for quite a long time. I did not taste the alcohol at all. Neither did I notice any chocolate notes as others have... the roasted flavor was just too strong.

A good full mouthfeel, but I couldn't drink more than maybe two of these at a sitting. DAMN it was potent!

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Photo of Denali
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Package: 12 ounce bottle. 2002 vintage.

Appearance: Black black black. Thick head dark brown around edges and lighter brown in the middle. Laces well.

Smell: Very malty with strong alcohol and chocolate.

Taste: Very complex. Different flavors poke their way throughout the flavor timeline. Lots of chocolate, very strong alcohol, bitter hops, and dark roasted malts. Different sips alternate between bitter and sweet. I also detect a fruity flavor coming through as well, almost like black cherry. Slightly peppery also. Sweetens as it warms up. Aftertaste is also just as complex, with the same flavors present.

Mouthfeel: Outrageously thick and chewy. Very very slight carbonation.

Drinkability: Too thick and chewy for me to drink a lot of these. Very noticable alcohol presence also detracts from the drinkability.

Comments: Enjoyable, although there are other imperial stouts that I like more.

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Photo of RoyalT
4.36/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance – Straight black in color with a dark brown head like the crème you find on top of an espresso shot. The head literally did not go away. It was the last of the tasters and, although they were all poured at the same time, the head was the same when I got to it as it was when the waitress brought it over to my table 20 minutes earlier.

Smell – The dark, roasty malts had some good alcohol notes. This is a big nose. The coffee and stale espresso were bitter and inviting.

Taste – The alcohol was indeed big at the taste. The dark, roasty malts were incredibly smooth. What a terrific flavor! The raw espresso beans puckered my cheeks. The hops were present as well but lighter than what I remember from drinking the bottle.

Mouthfeel – This one is not quite full in the body but it’s big. The flavors certainly are full. The alcohol sting is hard but makes you want to say “thank you, sir, may I have another.”

Drinkability – This is a must try for any serious Imp Stout fan.

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Photo of pootz
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle courtesy of Brooklynboy...thanks Edward we made it through the maple curtain. Served slightly chilled in a Petrus snifter. Pour was very viscous and oily color was a light defying head...clinging ring on the glass. Aromas of spice/coffee/cocoa/figs sweet in tone. Mouth feel is significant in body...very oily and viscous....complex tastes...dates,licorice, columbian coffee, all with an over riding dollup of boiled hop oils that shadows this with a driving astringency that at times makes the whole mouthful taste salty when the alcohol tastes are added...long finish where these multitude of tastes play out against the alcohol. I can see how this would mature with cellering...a very good attempt at the Imp-stout genre but falls far short because of the salty finish created by the ABV...needs work. Sorry Edward Wellington Imp-stout wins this duel.

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Photo of altctrlsdelete
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2001.

Poured jet black with a very thin tan head that retreated to just the sides of the glass very quickly. Didn't expect a whole lot of head retention out of a beer this age.

The smell is an interesting mix of roasted malts (chocolate, coffee, the usual stout aromas) and a very floral hop undertone, much more floral than I was expecting, and pleasantly so.

The malts control the taste, with just a hint of the floral hops that are present in the nose. Alcohol is distinctly present and leaves behind a tingle on my tongue. Much harsher than I thought it would be after ~3 years of aging, but still well within the realm of acceptability.

Feels nice and chewy in the mouth and is quite drinkable despite the ever present tinge of alcohol. I would drink another if (a) I had one and (b) it wasn't quite so high octane.

The layer of sediment in the bottom of the bottle is quite impressive. I decanted almost all of the beer, but I'm not sure I would in the future. I don't note any off flavors as a result, but I'm sure it has modified the flavor somewhat. Still, a very, very good brew that should be sought out by anyone who appreciates imperial stouts. Very high quality, as I've come to expect from Rogue.

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

Beautiful black,,,good lacing..head dissipated a bit quickly. Smell is deep malt with a hint of pine. Taste is coffee. burnt malt, alcohol combination...very nice. Mouthfeel is a bit dry with a nicely bitter hop presence. For the high abv, not bad on the drinkability scale. A strong, but flavorful brew.

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Photo of BadBadger
4.55/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This fine stout pours a very nice dark color, bordering on pitch black. A minimal head forms. The smell is malty. The taste is complex but delightful, no hint of the high ABV (10.5%) contained within. The mouth feel is pleasing to the palate: nice and full bodied. This is a very enjoyable Stout. Definitely worth searching out and giving a try.

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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 Tballz420
4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This jet black brew is impervious to light. It has a small, dark brown head on the top of it. Big chocolatey scent, with some hop tones, bit of roast, and some syrupy dark fruit scent. The taste hits the tounge and makes it take notice. It has some roast/chocolate malt tones up front, with an interesting combo of citrusy hops. The combo of flavors makes it a interesting and unique brew. Overall pretty tasty.

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Photo of GuinnessSmurf
4.78/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appeance: Dark, syrupy, with a thin ring of brown head. This beer simply looks perfect.

Smell: I smell roasted malts and heavy dark alcohol. As it warmed up, the degree of malts became more intersting.

Taste: Starts smooth and thick with a cocoa bitterness to it. Then the malts and alcohol come in and give you an intense finish. Each sip sort of shocks the tongue at the end.

Mouthfeel: Not much to say...good body on this beer.

DA: I'd have given it a 5 here, but it just too much of a beer for me to think of it as a session beer.

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Photo of soper2000
3.96/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Alright here we go, I found a glut of this IS at the local liquor store. The only catch; they were from 1995! I figured i might as well give it a shot.
Pulls an absolute dead black with no head what so ever, but what can you expect from an IS 9 years old?
Aroma has notes of plum, sweet malts, and soy? Very interesting to say the least, reminded me a little of Sam Adam's Triple Bock, but a tame version to say the least.
Taste is almost overwhelmingly malty, sweetly malty, but there is a soy-ish after taste.
Mouthfeel is very viscous, not creamy but not thick or watery. Drinkability? hmmm.... one will do me but i'm certainly glad I tried it.

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Photo of beerceller99
4.69/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

7 oz bottle from 2000. Poured dead flat. looked like used motor oil, and about as thick as 15- 40 weight.
smelled of baking chocolate and dark fruits. thick, juicy mouthfeel .had an intense chocolate- coffee - fruit flavor (apples). Finished with a slight alcohol/hop tang.
If there was ever such a thing as a malted port wine, this is it. Excellent.

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Photo of BrewMaster
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I had this beer served on tap at Lucky Baldwin's in Pasadena, CA. Beer was served ina regular pint glass with a thick and creamy 3 cm head. This beer came to the table looking like a supermodel. One person at our table commented that it looked like a chocolate milk shake. Great head but the beer was served too cold so I had to wait for it to warm up to exude any aroma or flavor. Best served 10 degrees above refrigerator temp in my estimation.

Aroma has a hint of raspberry and is mostly chocolate. Flavor is obviously choclately with lots of malt and some hoppy notes. Other flavors I got were raisins, plum, and dried dates. A very tasty stout.

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Photo of blitheringidiot
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Rogue always gets brownie points for great labels. "Best when aged for one year" imprinted on the bottle, along with "Oxygen fixing caps. 87.5 IBU. Bottled 2002. Unfiltered & unrefined" among other info. A novela on this painted browner.

Who shut off the lights? Totally buh-lack no-light revealing pour into me DFH pint. Microscopic sized bubbles in the scant slick razor thin brown khaki head. Tight carbonation reveals clues to a high ABV. A few swirls reveal a brown coating that dissapates quickly in a whirlpool frenzy.

Tangy roasted malt scents with a leafy & carrot vegetable hint.

First swigs: Pass the knife and fork! Like eating roasted malts and coffee beans. Mature dark extremely estery powdery burnt toast tastes cover me tongue. Complex flavors that evolve, perhaps abetted by the gentle warming. Nutty walnut, dry baker's chocolate flavors ease out. Lasting coating of aftertaste of strong espresso and awl-kee-hawl.

Buttery, oily thick, chewy, Bisquick feel. Due to the complexity and

Last swigs: Reminds me of drinking black coffee when there are some grounds in the bottom of the cup. Raw flour and complex flavor build an excellent RIS sipper. This 12 oz.'er went the distance, lasting about a half an hour overall. Wipe the sweat from my brow. Overall, this RIS grabs me tongue and thrashes.

Beer is good. Happy dark black Imperial Stout beering.

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Photo of shapudding
4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Rogue XS, 2002. Beautifully dark and thick chocolately brown. Scant amount of head, but what there is a nice creamy beige with dark brown climbing up on the tops for a bit... tiny ring on the edge and slight pretty clouding swirl across the top. Great scent of port wine, cream sherry, warm alcohol scents, chocolate and coffee. Dark and burnt flavors, great taste. Earthy, very dark good chocolate, dark black coffee, burnt toast, toffee, bit of oakyness, hoppy and roasted malt flavors allll mingling... So good! I keep just wanting to describe it as "dark", that is a good thing to me. Not to heavy at all, good body/mouthfeel, just enough carb and not too much. I could easily kick back alot of these. I can hear some of my friends saying it is too bitey for easy drinkability though. Leaves tons and tons of flavor sitting in your mouth.
Taste makes me think of the aftertaste from when you have dark chocolate covered espresso beans...
Very good Rogue offering!

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Photo of HopGoblin
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottled in 2003: Poured thick, rich, and black. Nice deep brown head with orange highlights. Aromas of caramel and malt. The body of this beer was smooth and silky, which gave way to flavors of burnt sugar, coffee, and chocolate. The finish on this beer was long and bittersweet, just like a good espresso. An exceptional beer, just wish it was cheaper...

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Photo of RedDiamond
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a big, fat, biker-mama beer. So thick you could damn near use a fork. It is fiercely opaque with a light head that exits by mid-pint but leaves behind a thick coating of espresso lace. The taste is of coffee, ash, and a stray sprig of mint. The alcohol is present yet tamed.

Rogue’s Russian Imperial Stout is bottled as “Rogue Imperial Stout” and is sometimes referred to as “RIS.” The good folks in Newport assure me that all three names refer to one-and-the-same product. This brew has a placid, serene mouthfeel with a slight measure of grit. The aroma is vibrant and complex with big fruity notes and a hint of smoke. It’s almost more of a cigar than a beer – like something you could stick in your shirt pocket. It is solid, uncompromised, and just slightly sinister.

This beer is big, perhaps bigger than a beer ought to be. But what the hell. I’d serve it to the Czar. But not the Cossacks.

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Photo of HiroProtagonist
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Rouge Imperial Stout was served from a 12 oz. silkscreened bottle dated 2001 (3 years aged). This beer poured murky and nearly black. In a pint glass, the stout was night black, and was adorned with a minimal dark brown ring form head that was easily thickened with a swirl of the glass. The swirls left nice brown lacing. The nose emitted a very dark and rich chocolate aroma that was accompanied by strong figgy and woody-earthy accents with a moderate sweetness. On the palate, a rich n’ roasty chocolate espresso malt profile presented itself softly, then quickly opened up with bold and tasty energetic-sharp woody-earthy bitter flavors that carried on right through to the robustly bittered finish, which left lingering dark bitter chocolate flavors and a rough powerful bitterness in the back of the mouth. No esters were to be found at any point, accentuating the earthy character of this rich stout. The body was medium-thick for the style, and worked quite well for the flavors and character of the beer. The drinkability was somewhat less than other examples of the style, due to lingering rough and somewhat harsh qualities described above. On the other hand, the alcohol was completely integrated into the flavors. Overall though, a pretty good earthy imperial stout that I would buy again.

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Photo of cbl2
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Pours a thick pitch black, almost like tar or black licorice with little to no carbonation, and thus no head. Faint tan swirls are present in the center, with a ring of tan around the outside of the glass.


Chocolate and figs are prevalent in the nose. A tinge of alcohol cathes you at the end as well, but overall very appealing.


Umm, this is thick, and almost chewable. Silky smooth in the mouth, this one warms through midsip as the high alcohol declares itself. Chocolate and prunes are detectable, but masked by a burnt flavor that is a little offputting.

By mid bottle as it warms further, this one develops a port like quality to it, and the burnt flavors settle down a little bit allowing the other flavors to shine. Good, but could use some cellaring

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Photo of MediocreatBest
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

sits a midnight black with hints of crimson floating around like gohosts in a bad dream. no head, a very thin layer of brown bubbles apeared for a moment then disapeared. you can smell raosted malts, chocolate, slight alcohol smell, alltogether a reminicent smell of brooklyn brown ale with jsut slightly less chocolate notes. far to smooth for 10.5 abv. seems a little mroe watery then expected in my mouth. when it first hits your tounge the flavor isnt as potent as one would expect from the giant nose on this thing. but then you quickly pick up chocolate and nutty flavors. finishes with an alcoholic coffeee taste. somewhat like an irish coffee or a drink like that. a little harsh on the back of the throat, not to acidic like omse of these can get. very low carbonation. i think this is definatley something that should be aged, it allmost seems as if all the flavors aren't melded together, and it generally could use a bit of mellowing out. now i need to buy another to store away for a rainy day.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a jet black motor oil color that no light can be seen through. The dark chocolaty head on this beer is large, about an inch and a half high and takes forever to recede from the glass but never quite leaves. A nice laces is present throughout the full experience of this beer.

Smell: Up front there are strong aromas of coffee, dark malts, bittersweet chocolate, and slight hops..

Taste: This beer initially hits with a strong array of dark roasted malts.. Chocolate, coffee and other awesome roasted malts dominate. This beer finishes up with a nice hop bitterness and a warm alcohol that plays on the palate.

Mouthfeel: Damn this beer is viscous and full bodied. This is damn creamy also.. Just an awesome experience for the mouth.

Drinkability: For an imperial stout, nothing goes down like this one.. Its full body and awesome flavor complex make the alcohol only slightly noticeable. This beer can really catch up on ya...

Overall: I'm still wondering why I didn't try this beer sooner. I love imperials, I knew rogue had one, so why did I wait? I still don't know. For those of you like me get out there an try this beer.

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