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

very good
53 Ratings
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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

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Ratings: 53 |  Reviews: 29
Photo of Texasfan549
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to PaulStoneAnchor for sending me this one!

Bottle reads Beer Camp # 6: Russian Imperial Stout. I checked on the Beer Camp website and # 6 is called Empire Strikes Black so I am reviewing this beer under this listing.

Pours an opaque black with a huge 3 inch beige head that lasts as a foamy 1 inch cap. Nice thick rings of foamy lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark roasted malts, coffee beans, and cocoa powder. There is a spicy hops smell as the beer warms. Taste is mainly dark roasted malts and cocoa powder covered coffee beans. Distinct herbal/pine hop flavors emerge as the beer warms. There is a mild bitterness that lingers on the palate after each sip. A good level of carbonation makes for a smooth and bubbly mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS and my first experience with a Beer Camp Beer. A good hoppy stout when it gets warm.

 872 characters

Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of nmann08
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of zestar
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of mothman
3.6/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap at Beachwood

Served with 1/2 finger of tan head. Fades to a collar. Leaves light lace. Color is black.

Aroma: Roasted malts, silky chocolate, caramel, some hops shine through. Nice.

Taste: here I get some licorice and molasses. A touch of dark fruits. Roasted malts, chocolate, and caramel. Some coffee. Earthy hops.

Mouthfeel: Roasted and dry. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry, fairly clean.

Overall, decent but nothing overly complex for an RIS. However, it did have some nice qualities. Somewhat drinkable.

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Photo of jlindros
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
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

 1,086 characters

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.5/5  rDev -15.7%

Photo of Slatetank
4.15/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to stormking47 for sharing this at International stout day. I enjoyed this from a goblet.

The color is like very dark chocolate, deep brown verging on black with a light tan collar. The lace sticks in spots. The smell is very nice with a sweet and slightly fruity nose with some roasted malt odors and slight hoppy floral fragrance. The feel is surprisingly vibrant for the style, standing out among the other stouts I had with a pretty high hop bitterness in the feel with moderately high roastiness and semi-dry finish with a light alcohol influence overall.

The taste has a strong chocolate element from the malt with mellow spice taste which I believe is hop derived. The taste is full with slight fruit note which comes off as lightly citrusy with a taste that seems like bitter chocolate and dried candied grapefruit with light alcohol as it finishes with mild toasted flavor and gentle coffee-like quality which is more in the realm of citrusy beans with slight hints of pine in the back end. The overall drinkability is really good, but comes off almost like a Black IPA as the hopping is very high and if not for the sweetness. I consider this to be a pretty tasty if not unique take on the style.

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Photo of womencantsail
4.36/5  rDev +5.1%
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.

 857 characters

Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of stakem
4.03/5  rDev -2.9%
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.

 1,428 characters

Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of plaid75
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

 334 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.99/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood BBQ,

A: Pours black with a firm literal brown head leaving nice lacing, imposing.

S: Coffee, dark chocolate, some pine, hops are evident. The nose is tight.

T: Roasted malt and thick dark chocolate start the show which is balanced by a clear pine/cedar hop attack. The beer sweetens up by the mid-palate and finishes even sweeter with a lot of chocolate syrup.

M: Thick, full-bodied, strong carbonation, solid mouthfeel, though I would have liked it a little more if the beer was silkier and smoother, a boisterous beer if you get my drift.

D: A very nice Imperial Stout, I heard Gabe from Beachwood was involved in the brewing process. On the hoppier side, what else would you expect from Sierra Nevada.

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Photo of Raziel313
3.25/5  rDev -21.7%

Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Consumed on tap at O'Brien's some time long ago. My review was inexplicably deleted from BA a while back and I thought it lost forever, but I found it just now on the back page of a notebook as I was cleaning out my desk.

The beer is black with light brown highlights near the edge of the glass and a frothy one finger light brown head.

The malt in the nose is highly roasted, with notes of dark chocolate, astringent coffee, and blackstrap molasses. The flavor is of roasted malt with a strong chocolate presence. The dark chocolate is bitter and the light coffee adds astringency. Alcohol is apparent in the form of subtle heat, but it can't be tasted. The finish is acrid coffee, roasted malt, and lingering astringency. The beer is full bodied with a creamy, chewy mouthfeel.

A good RIS. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.88/5  rDev -6.5%
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.

 466 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a jet black color with good carbonation and a nice tan cap

S: Bitter cocoa, roasted malt, some remnants of milk chocolate

T: First off I noticed a great amount of bitter cocoa, perhaps charred black malt, cocoa, booze tinge, some Earthiness, smooth mid body but comes back with a light bite on finish

M: Big body, tasty and a nice feel. Tasted somewhat similat to last years SN Pioneer Series Imp Stout.

O: Good

 425 characters

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.19/5  rDev +1%
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.

 655 characters

Photo of twelveinches
4.5/5  rDev +8.4%

Photo of glid02
4.2/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

 1,087 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.75/5  rDev -9.6%

Photo of ste5venla
4.25/5  rDev +2.4%

Photo of flexabull
4.15/5  rDev 0%
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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Empire Strikes Black Imperial Stout - Beer Camp #6 from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
4.15 out of 5 based on 53 ratings.
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