Empire Strikes Black Imperial Stout - Beer Camp #6 | Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

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Empire Strikes Black Imperial Stout - Beer Camp #6Empire Strikes Black Imperial Stout - Beer Camp #6
54 Ratings
Empire Strikes Black Imperial Stout - Beer Camp #6Empire Strikes Black Imperial Stout - Beer Camp #6

Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kleffman on 06-11-2009

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 29
Reviews by jlindros:
Photo of jlindros
4.45/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Delaneys in New Haven, served in tall flute glass.

A: Super pitch black color with dark brown rich 1 finger head.

N: Lots of alcohol, some dark roasted malts and slight dark fruits, touch of chocolate

T: Dark malts, some alcohol, lots of coffee, some dark rich fruits, bourbon and oak come through to round it off a bit, a creamy stout center and rich milk chocolate somewhat, sweet dark molasses, more bourbon, and do I detect a touch of salt???

M: Creamy and frothy, thick almost like molasses

F: Coffee and sweet chocolate but kinda sweet, lots of bittersweet malt and an earthy bitterness like charred malts, and some earthy hops, it gets some hop bitterness on the finish, more woody taste and slight alcohol slowly dissipate off the tongue

Final thoughts: This is very rich and complex beer, very delicious, very stout and dark bitter sweet chocolate, it has some oak and bourbon, its 10% alcohol and you can taste some but it hides it well, and finishes with a slight hop bitterness, maybe a little too sweet on the finish, I wish this was more readily available

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More User Reviews:
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.19/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with what seems to be a very dark cherry red undercurrent to it, great carbonation and head that doesn't puff up and show off. Aroma was sweet, alcohol, roast.

Taste, nothing super dominant, definitely get the dark fruit thing going on, true to style. Plums, prunes, dark sugar. Easy drinking for the alcohol, but it is a sipper. Much sweeter than their IS, less roasty. No one aspect of this beer dominates over another really. Good meld going on, prolly due to the wood/oak feel you get.

I can't wait to see how these taste through the years, I was so impressed with it, I went and bought some bottles to use as Christmas presents.

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Photo of glid02
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by Lance. I had the original on-tap at Beachwood BBQ a while back and was interested to compare the two.

Pours black with a half-finger light brown head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of heavy roasted malts with large amounts of citrus hops and hints of anise. Also present are mild amounts of dark chocolate.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Roasted malt and dark chocolate flavors kick things off and dominate through the mid-point of the sip. A solid amount of deep citrus hop flavors come into play midway through the sip and contribute a good amount of bitterness. The bitterness intensifies through to the solidly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a very smooth thickness with grainy carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass without any problems and could have a few more without any problems.

Overall the aroma and flavor of the beer wasn't as complex as well-nuanced as I remembered but the thickness was just as great. A big beer that goes away from SN's roots that's well worth a shot.

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Photo of kevwcamp
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of ste5venla
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of shoretaxi
4.1/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of jlb502
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of EgadBananas
3.75/5  rDev -9.4%

Photo of scottoale
4.33/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had this at O'Brien's on tap, served in a pint glass. The pour was viscous brown-black liquid with a 1/2" of orange-brown foam with decent retention.

The nose is roasty dark malt with hints of chocolate, dark fruits and a bit of coffee. The smell reminds me of Port truck stout.

The taste is rich roasty malts that are more bitter than sweet, aided by a generous hop backing. The alcohol was really subdued throughout, was expecting this stuff to be a bit hot, not so. It is big and burly in flavor with a chocolatey base and just a bit of coffee bitter like bite. Lingering bitterness in the finish.

Big body with plenty of lively carbonation. A very filling beer but not quite as strong (alcohol wise) as I was expecting. High drinkability if you like big, bold stouts. I'm not sure how much was made but I will definitely seek some more of this elixer of collaboration.

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Photo of plaid75
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On draft at Rattle n Hum, NYC.

Poured a deep black hue with a one finger frothy tan head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured dark chocolate and roasted malts.

The flavor was upfront roasted malts with elements of dark chocolate and charcoal.

The mouthfeel was dry and clean.

Overall a very good dry RIS.

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Photo of Ghenna
4.2/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Corked and caged 1pt 9.4fl oz bottle. Pours a thick motor oil black into a goblet. Foam is solid fat finger thick, sticks around forever (both on top of the beer and the glass) and is the color of milk chocolate.

Smell is heavily of roast/burned malt, with a mild alcohol in the background. I can get almost a nutty or wood smell in there as well. MF is generally creamy with very fine carbonation.

Flavor is a perfect example of what I would expect from a RIS- subdued malt sweetness up front, heavy chocolate/coffee bitter on the back end.

I literally know nothing about this beer, other than it was the 2010 beer camp beer and is a RIS. It is a thoroughly classic example of what I would expect in the style, big flavor, fairly high and well hidden ABV. I'm definitely going to be picking up at least a few more bottles to see how they age over the years. Once the bitterness mellows a bit, I think this will be a top class beer. Congrats to this year's participants and I'm definitely looking forward to making a strong effort to get in to next year's beer camp!

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Photo of rbrefbeerman
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of 31Sam13
4.5/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.5%

Photo of rodbeermunch
3.88/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very black pour, has a cherry cola head to it, tiny dense bubbles. Good retention. Aroma of roast, booziness, black/chocolate malt tag team.

Taste hits both heavy roast and bitter dark fruit impressions. Alcohol not too pronounced. Is there wood in this? On one hand, its just a big roasty RIS. Cool name. Substantial hops to it, got that bitterness. The dark fruit and licorice thing isn't my jive, but overall, I'm sure they hit what they were going for.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.36/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ last week.

A: This is a great looking imperial stout: black in color with a nice mocha colored foam.

S: The smell has the usual cast of characters: roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee. There is also a nice hoppiness that I find enjoyable in the porter and stout that Sierra Nevada makes.

T: Like the nose, but more intense. Absolutely wonderful roasted malt character, which helps to bring out the chocolate and coffee flavors a bit more. The hops are still there, but a bit more subdued.

M: A bit disappointing in terms of the mouthfeel. The beer was a bit thin, but still overall quite good. I enjoyed the bitter finish this one left.

D: I was amazed at how quickly I flew through my glass of this. Absolutely amazingly drinkable for the alcohol level and the style. I wish this one was more common, I'd order it all the time.

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Photo of LtCracker20
4.58/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had on-tap at Delaney's Tap Room last night. Served in a Sierra Nevada tulip.

A- Served a deep black with a 2-finger chocolate head that stuck around for a long time. Great lace also. Was actually suprised at how great this beer looked.

S- Smell was of boubon (not sure if we actually got the Oak-aged version by accident, our waitress did mess up quite a few of our orders), vanilla, bitter chocolate, roasted malts, espresso, and dark fruits. The alchohol is there, but subdued.

T- Wow, just like the smell, but the alchohol is hidden very well. This taste awesome. The vanilla, chocolate, espresso, and dark fruits are all there, but very balanced and mellow. They all meld very well.

MF/D- This is one smooth and creamy beer. Absolutely amazing body. Full and rich. If it wasn't for the 9.8%, could've drank it all night. Would be a very good dessert beer.

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Photo of flexabull
4.15/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the brewery, from notes.

Pours a flat black color with a decent dark tan head.

Aromas are of toasted nuts, dark roasted malts, bitter dark chocolate and espresso beans.

Taste is much like the nose, but it's not the beast I was expected. A little on the subtle side of the Imperial Stout spectrum. (I think part of this might have been because I drank Hell Raiser prior to this one.) Dark rich caramel, dark cocoa, deep ripe fruits notes, and a finish that is warm with light oak and some earthy bitterness.

Mouthfeel is nice. Quite smooth and full in the mouth.

Drinkability is very good, and might be this beers strong suit. Not as complex or as flavorful as Hell Raiser. But this is a great drinking Imperial Stout. Goes down way easier than I expected. Good stuff.

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Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +2.7%

Photo of smutty33
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of Raziel313
3.25/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of litheum94
4/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml cork and cage. Reviewed 8/28/11, cellared since it's release (can't remember exactly when).

Pours an inky black, letting no light through. Thick, mocha head forms and then wanes, leaving spider webs on the glass.

Loads of dark chocolate and fresh roasted coffee. Very smoky, like BBQ meat. There's a fruit sweetness there as well, plums and some raspberries. Light hopping.

Tons of bitter chocolate right off the bat. Underlying milk chocolate sweetness as well. Fresh brewed coffee and figs. Smoked meats towards the end. Decent hopping on the finish, with a touch of alcohol. Bitterness subsides as it warms, revealing a more creamy, milk chocolate flavor.

A very good RIS. Wish I had bought more bottles of this.

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Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -3.4%

Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Stormking47 for the sharing of this brew. Corked and caged 750ml into a tasting glass. The brew pours black with a tan head that has a nice creamy character about it. It displays pretty good retaining powers and leaves patches of lacing on the glass.

The aroma of this brew is roasty coming across like dark grainy character imparting a scent of coffee. There is a citrus element that seems somewhat fruity as well from a combined mixture of the hops and alcohol. The back of the nose shines forth with a sweet chocolate scent.

The taste is roasty from the level of char to the grain. There is a bright citrus hop flavoring present which adds to the bitterness already present from the char of the grain. The alcohol is evident with a fruity ester aspect. As the brew warms a bit of depth comes out tasting minorly of licorice and molasses.

This is a medium bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Fairly easy drinking and surprisingly still fresh tasting. This was one of those stouts that was on the verge of being overly hoppy and going into black ipa territory but it carries enough roasty character to keep it in check. Other than the fruity indication of alcohol, it was fairly well integrated and not all that noticeable for an offering creeping up on double-digit strength. I have a bottle of this I've been meaning to open, with this experience I feel there is no rush, it is holding up quite nice.

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Photo of Phelps
4.05/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A big thank-you to flexabull for sending this bottle my way. Poured into a Russian River glass.

Darkness! Burnt black in color, completely opaque. One finger of dense foam colored like coffee with cream sits atop the brew, and some thin lines of delicate-looking lace decorate the glass as I drink.

The nose is packed with dark fruit, like prunes that have been sitting under a smoking campfire. Some burnt toast, oak and dashes of espresso are also noticeable.

The flavor exhibits the same prunes-and-grapes-in-a-smoker quality. I get tons of charred toast, molasses and seared steak, with oats at the finish.

Gloriously creamy body. Medium in fullness, it has weak carbonation but continues to break into fizz as it moves. Alcohol is impressively hidden, and only noticeable as heat in the chest.

Pretty damn good, lads. It’s nice to see a big, traditional RIS, with all the dark fruits I know and love. Big, creamy, rich and delightful. Impressive that this came from one of Sierra Nevada’s first Beer Camps.

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Empire Strikes Black Imperial Stout - Beer Camp #6 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 4.14 out of 5 with 54 ratings