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Imperial Stout | Rogue Ales

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
1,276 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:
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: 1,276 |  Reviews: 821
Photo of mjc410
3.48/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

From one of those huge ceramic bottles, 2006...

The pour into my old La Moneuse glass raises a hefty head that sticks around for longer than average, with some nice patches staying behind. The head is nearly the color of espresso crema. Below, the beer is a murky and unknowable black.

The nose on this one is sweet with caramel, molasses, and dark fruit. There may be chocolate as well, or that might just be me hoping...

The taste is, admittedly, quite harsh and bitter at first, in the same manner as a very darkly roasted espresso. This bitterness, though, may well lighten the otherwise syrupy load of this draught. The roasted character leads the caramel sugar notes, but I fail to pick up much else. Perhaps a little milky, too.

Still quite heavy, though with a pretty active carbonation. A fun stout, though not one I'll be looking for.

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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 tedpeer
3.9/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750ml ceramic (2006) poured into a chalice.

A - Pours deep, dark brown/black, with a mocha head that settled to a thin layer with ring around.

S - Fruity, bitter.

T - Starts with roasted malt, and then coffee, has a very bitter linger. Alcohol warmth burns through it, though.

M - Full and well carbonated.

D - Well, this dang ceramic bottle adds to the price unnecessarily. The bitterness found me wondering if the dang bottle was empty yet.

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Photo of tpd975
4.26/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours deep dark and black. There is not a trace of light that shows through this beer. The head is like dark brown in color and a full inch thick. It settles down to about 1/2" and the retention is great. Bold sheet lace left behind.

Smell: Big bold aromas. Tons of dark fruit mixes with dark sweet molasses. Hints of espresso and roasted nuts. Some toasted grain and milky chocolate as well.

Taste: Nice blast of smoke with hints of burnt chocolate. Some sweet molasses and a touch of coffee. Dark fruits come thru in the finish along with a blast of rum soaked dark fruits.

Mouthfeel: Full in body with ample carbonation.

Drinkability: One enjoyable sipping brew. This is one had had been wanting to purchase for sometime and I am glad I finally did.

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Photo of joezak5
3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter; perfect pitch black with a three finger tan head that disspated quickly; little retention and lacing.

Smell: Very oily almost soy sauce-like bittersweet chocolate with roasty espresso background.

Mouthfeel: Huge full body, syrupy... this stuff stains the glass black... slick and muted carbonation.

Taste: Roasty and pruny and malty, chocolately and burnt.

Drinkability: I've got to hammer here a bit for the $15 price tag for the ceramic bomber... totally unnecessary... I wouldn't buy again for that price... great beer, but not a $15 beer.

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Photo of soultrain19
4.01/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A -It pours thick with an oil like consistency. The sturdy caramel colored head lingers or rather loiters then leaves it's lacy trail along the glass.

S- As expected from an Imperial Stout, the aroma is sharp and bitter like an ex-girlfriend. You can tell there is still a certain malt sweetness hidden behind the abrupt harshness.

T- A soft, almost warm chocolate flavor greets your taste buds and is survived by an espresso bitterness.

M- The light carbonation creates a somewhat soft almost caressing mouth feel.

Overall this beer lives up to a billing of Imperial Stout. Yes I would rather not pay extra for the "collector's" ceramic bottle, but the beer is well made and quite enjoyable.

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Photo of IronDjinn
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The 2008 batch, from a 750 ml special edition black ceramic bottle. This imperial stout pours out as dark as its container, large creamy sandy/mocha head, slowly drops to a frothy cap. A wall of lacing.

All the right notes are hit and present in the aroma: roasted and burnt malts, espresso, brewer's licorice, and sweet warming alcohol.

Flavour starts out contained with roasted malt and some licorice, but then suddenly expands in intensity on the palate, burnt notes, earthy dry malts, twig-like after a while. Reminds me of Turkish coffee. Very burnt dry woody finish and aftertaste. The hops barely manage to penetrate through the bitter dryness of the malt and alcohol, just small pockets of white grapefruit rind, and the herbal notes blend right in with the woody earthiness. Alcohol throughout is contained well for the abv%, the slow burn blends well into the dry earthy characteristics of the flavour.

The mouthfeel is not as full as I expected, the lighter side of full-bodied, the real fullness comes on the finish. Yet this lends to the overall drinkability of such a high octane stout.

Pretty impressive and drinkable for such a big beer, the flavour expands the mouth a few more notches, the dry bitterness of malt carves out a few trenches of its own, but the alcohol doesn't really kick in until near the end of the bottle. It's a satisfying accomplishment to finish a bottle of this imperial stout.

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Photo of kkipple
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

*2003 vintage from an old-school 12oz bottle, drunk 5 years later in the summer of 2008. Thanks Jamie!

A. Pitch black with a low, dingy tan head. No lace and almost no noticeable carbonation, even though the beer still has life.

S. Still quite intense. Deep coffee notes, cocoa, dark roasted, bitter and scorched grain, boozy and singly sweet with a burnt sugar nose.

T. Wow, this is tasty stuff. Very "blended", and slick, with big coffee and roast flavors at the front, then falling into an oily, dense cocoa heap with coffee around the edges. The alcohol is there but is restrained, maybe it's the age. The sweetness is like a low 60 cycle hum in the background - you know it's there but it's never in your face till the finish where it emerges nicely. This is a dense, old, yet still intense Imperial stout. Well done.

M. Slick, heavy and dense with some legs. Low carbonation, but what do you expect 1,800 days later? Heavy burnt roast finish with brown sugar round the edges. Delightful as a nightcap.

D. Well, no. 5 ounces was enough. But it's very good after 5 years. Wish I had more, this is better aged then fresh in my experience.

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Photo of Beeryce
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This bottle was a properly conditioned flip top from 2006. I really want to get a fresh one and see how it compares.

THe look is phenominal, thick black and still with a minimal creamy think brown head.

The smell is a pronounced sweet roasty combination that is totally masking the alcohol.

THe taste is devine! Perfectly balanced with everything in proper proportion. A wonderful roasty bitter taste that has a slight sweetness to it and a hop balanceing accent. Again the taste hides the 11% very well.

Huge thick creamy mouthfeel is complimenting and lets you know to sip this beer.

THe drinkability is very good for the strength and boldness of the flavors.

I really enjoyed this beer!

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Photo of katan
3.46/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22oz bottle in the ceramic container

Having a little then resealing with their fun resealable container.

A - Wow this is dark and thick looking. Like a very dark chocolate color. Very little head retention, although there is a little that appears and quickly disappears upon pour.

S - Not really all that strong of smell here. I was surprised considering the style. I would say its mostly a chocolate or roasted malt flavor with a hair of phenolic background.

T - Starts with a bit of sweetness from roasted and caramel malts. Transitions to a bit of a bitterness, then hits you like a freight train with some burnt malt notes at the end. Later I noticed how much the bitterness built up - its much more bitter than the first few swallows would let on.

M - It is as thick as it looks - as far as my mouth can tell. Syrupy, but thats not a bad thing for the style. Does go down fairly easy.

D - I like the re sealable container here since I know I could barely finish one of these. Good for a change of pace ,but not particularly easy on the palette. The leftover bitterness on the tongue is just too strong after a while.

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Photo of biggmike
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured almost as dark as old motor oil with small brown head that lingered a short time. Aroma is dark roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate. Flavor is very similar to the aroma with a very nice hop balance to it. Mouthfeel is an oily, hoppy, pleasnantness. Hides the alcohol content well. This is one of the best beers I have had.

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Photo of BrewMonkey
3.07/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Pours very dark brown to black with dark tan head. Though not a ton of head developed, maybe due to the odd pour of the ceramic bottle, what was there was steadfast and slow to recede leaving a mask of lacing on the glass.

Deep chocolote, caramel, raison, fig and nuts in the aroma. Taste is strikingly bitter and the mouthfeel was a bit watery. The bitterness creeps even more as you drink pretty well burying the fig, date and caramel notes after a few sips.

While I enjoy them, I'm not a huge fan of IRS's, but if I were to compare to version I do enjoy, like Abyss or Stone IRS, this is not very impressive at all. The mouthfeel is too thin, the bitterness is out of whack, and the beer just comes across unbalanced. At $15 a pop to boot, this was a major letdown.

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Photo of avaulteriam
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First thing I noticed, aside from the dark, though not truly opaque, pour was the minimalist head that faded into a sort of oil slick, as one user stated. STrong smell, I can smell it from 2 feet away. I really like the way it smells, similar to a light white wine, in my opinion. Wow, for the taste. definitely feel the 11.6% in my throat, like a mixed drink. I, being a bit of a hophead, really enjoy the long dry finish. Nice and bitter! The beginning flavor is almost sweet, creating a very nice balance.

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Photo of arizcards
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Received a ceramic XS 750 ml 2006 edition for Christmas this past year. Perfect beer for an unseasonable 77 degree day in the desert.

Beer poured black as night into my snifter with no head to speak of. Nose is great, of roasted malts, chocolate, expresso, and northwest hops. Taste is roasted expresso with cocoa, finishing with a blast of those hops. Mouthfeel is thin for the style but it is pretty smooth. Drinkability is surprisingly good for an 11% abv beer as the alcohol is extremely well hidden and not even noticeable with the first sips. This is a very good beer but seeing the price tag i am not sure if i would buy as there are better cheaper RIS out there to enjoy.

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Photo of tiger88
4.23/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage in a flip top ceramic bottle

Pours a beautiful black with minimal head. What litle head that does form disappears almost as quickly as it appeared. Smells great. Earthy tones with chocolate and coffee churning up through the malt aroma. This is a great tasting impy! Lots of subtle chocolate and coffee as the smell indicates. Rolls to the back of the mouth and leaves just the right amount of bitterness that begs for another sip. Rather light in the mouth but goes down smooth. Good beer to share. Great with some age on it!

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

a: This was a very dark brown with some ruby edges. It poured with a big, craggy, mocha colored head that left tons of lace in its wake.

s: Big aromas of roasty, almost burnt, malty cocoa. Some cherries and, more faintly, smoke and alcohol as well.

t: Charred malty cocoa flavors dominate, leaving a smoky aftertaste. Lots of hop bitterness that almost tastes citric. Moderate alcoholic warmth.

m: This has a thick, almost chewy texture. Superbly carbonated, long lasting and gentle.

d: This is a world class RIS, but it will be my last if Rogue continues to it in these damned expensive ceramic bottles.

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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 Strix
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2007 Bottling

Pours very thick, decent head which eventually fades.

Smell is roasted malts, dark coffee, and hops.

Starts out with roasted malts, then a variety of flavors kick in, including coffee, chocolate and just burnt flavors. However, towards the end, things get overwhelmed by bitterness.

Mouthfeel very nice and smooth.

Falls a bit short of what I'd hoped. Definitely a big beer, but the hoppy bitterness overwhelms things a bit towards the end of the sip - and I thought Shakespeare Stout was great (though something like Old Rasputin is also a bit overhopped for a stout for me). A stimulating drink, but not worth $15 for me. I would like to see the bitterness pushed back just a bit to see the rest of those flavors come out.

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Photo of swizzlenuts
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rogue Imperial Stout 2005 edition.

The beer pours out almost completely black. The head is a dark brown that wasn't very big. The small head I received stuck around a bit longer than I expected, but eventually completely dissipates. The beer also looks fairly carbonated. A slight bit of sediment comes through when pouring the beer as well.

The nose on the beer is of dark roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee. The hops also come out in the mix. The beer is thick as fuck with coffee and chocolate flavours to it. The coffee taste is quite bitter, which I like a lot. The hops linger the whole time and make a complexity to the bitterness. What is quite nice about this, like most imperial stouts, is the bitterness due to the hops and then the finish of the dry coffee taste, but what I like about this beer is the more complexity it has rather than an initial hit, then to the next flavour. This one switches from chocolaty hops to dry coffee to hops. The hops in this imperial stout make the beer simply addicting. The alcohol doesn't really come out for an 11% beer. I could definitely drink a few of these in an evening.

This is just an incredibly tasty imperial stout. One of the best I've had.

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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 cabsandking
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black color with an oily, sticky hot chocolate foam cap and retains well. Sorghum, molasses, dark berry, and chocolate malt nose. Taste leans on a big roasted malts with dark chocolate and a dry, nearly chalky turkish coffee character. Notes of berry tartness and floral, fragrant hops balance well. Not as sweet as the nose might indicate. Smooth mouthfeel, yet chewy and slick. This brew isn't shy on boldness, maybe a tad hot but still drinks nicely.

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Photo of jdubjacket
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had on-tap at the BrickStore Pub in Atlanta. Is a deep black color with a chocolate-brown head. Smell is coffee and chocolate. Taste and mouthfeel are drier than I expected. Unfortunately, I was not a big fan of it. A slightly bitter aftertaste follows the dry taste. Not the most drinkable of beers. A decent Rogue beer, but I've had better by Rogue, and better versions of the style.

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Photo of jwilli7122
4.68/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

very dark brown. zero transparency. more head than i expected - about a half inch of dark tan/light brown. bubbles of all sizes. from bird's eye view head appears inconsistent in color (it's darker where the beer shows through and lighter where it doesn't- and the variation in bubble size exaggerates the effect). head is very soft and smooth.

smells like dark chocolate, non-sweet prunes, and alchohol.

taste has 3 phases- subtle smooth roasted malt, heavy dark chocolate and alchohol, soft and heavy bitterness than lingers but is not crisp.

i don't review beers anymore but i had to come out of retirement for this one. it's my new #1.

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

Served in a tulip glass from one of the XS bottles. It was an impenetrable black with a thick brown head. It had a coffee and roasted malt aroma, maybe a little chocolate too. Similar taste: espresso, roasted malt, a tiny hint of chocolate. The alcohol was hidden well, but I think it warmed things up a little. A little bitterness, but good mouthfeel. Good beer.

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Photo of YonderWanderer
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rogue Imperial Stout, poured from one of the giant XS bottles that they come in today. Pours like motor oil - thick, black, viscous, and leaves a half-inch layer of foam. Smell is of roasted malts, some dark chocolate, a bit of pine from the hops, and a hint of alcohol. Taste follows suit - pretty damn good. Roasted malts, chocolate, toffee, coffee, some hoppy pine, and a bit of heat from the alcohol. Pretty well-balanced, as no one flavor really dominates substantially. Mouthfeel is smooth, thick, and viscous. Very rich. This is a damn fine stout, and well worth taking the time to drink. Were it not the price tag on their XS series, I could see it making a more regular appearance.

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Imperial Stout from Rogue Ales
Beer rating: 4.03 out of 5 with 1,276 ratings
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