Imperial Russian Stout | Black Sheep Brewery PLC

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Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
33 Ratings
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Black Sheep Brewery PLC
England, United Kingdom

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by mdagnew on 07-19-2011

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 33 |  Reviews: 19
Reviews by mdagnew:
Photo of mdagnew
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

330ml bottle from The Vineyard, Belfast...

Poured jet black - nothing gets through even when held up to the light. Creamy brown head poured quite thick and fizzy then faded fairly quickly to almost nothing... very faint lacing...

Aroma - Strong roasted malts, chocolate mixed with strong espresso coffee, some blackcurrent/blackberry notes, leathery, woody, light liquorice, some vanilla traces, some tar, spicy hops, treacle/burnt sugar, some alcohol traces...

Taste - Strong roasted malt bitterness, some smokey notes, definite black coffee, creamy dark chocolate, peppery hops, faint liquorice, some nutty sweetness, treacle..

Feel - Quite sharp and dry with some smoothness coming through after... medium bodied... very drinkable - hardly noticed the 8.5%

Overall - An excellent Impy stout and up with some of the best.. recommended..

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More User Reviews:
Photo of DeanBB
3.44/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Marius
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of jazzyjeff13
3.7/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 330ml bottle with a BB of Oct 2012. I bought this ages ago from Trembling Madness in York; it's been cellared in my garage ever since. Originally brewed to participate in the 2011 Great Baltic Adventure - sending Russian Imperial Stouts from the UK to Russia. I really like the label art.

Poured into a Delirium chalice. A deep black hue, though ruby highlights appear when held to the light. Good carbonation. Yields a huge head of creamy light-tan foam with good retention; this slowly subsides to a surface layer. Aroma of rich, fruity malt with notes of dried fruit, molasses, yeast esters, vanilla, mild spice and faint stewed hops. Quite sweet and a tad cloying, with a huge warming whiff of alcohol in the background.

Tastes of rich, sweet malt with a fruity character and a prolonged finish. Notes of dark malt, molasses, caramel, dried fruit, chocolate, yeast esters, vanilla, faint spice and stewed hops. Fruity and complex, with a considerable hint of alcohol in the background. A restrained malt/hop bitterness upon swallowing. Mouthfeel is thick and velvety, with a spicy, tingly sensation that pervades the palate. Quite astringent. Aftertaste of sweet, fruity malt and stewed hops.

A decent RIS with good complexity. Lots of fruity malt and tons of yeast esters (perhaps too much). The aroma is great, though the flavour feels like something is missing - the depth just isn't there. This doesn't seem to be bottle conditioned, which I think would have added extra character. Also a bit too hot and boozy - this aspect could be more attenuated. An impressive and tasty effort, but falls short of greatness. Worth sampling if you have the chance.

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Photo of dwren89
2.96/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: dark, dark brown with deep garnet hues when held to light, big tan head, too opaque to judge clarity

Aroma: milk chocolate, roasted coffee, dark chocolate,

Taste: Very chocolatey. Dark chocolate on the uptake, a little roastiness in the middle, and lingering milk chocolate flavor on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, smooth. Too light bodied to be a real Russian imperial.

Overall Impression: More like a milk stout than a Russian Imperial. The dominant flavors were all roasty and chocolatey, with a milk stout mouthfeel. There just simply isnt enough complexity to call this a Russian imperial in all fairness to the style. That said, this is a very drinkable and tasty beer that would go well with any chocolate cake and ice cream.

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Photo of Ciocanelu
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of MrKennedy
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

330ml bottle from Platinum Liquor and poured into a Victory Golden Monkey tulip.

Has a thin pour, and looks a light black with hints of brown when held up to the light. Has a beige head of foam at two fingers that gradually reduces to a layer just above film.

Smell has plenty of cocoa there, some bread and strawberry fruit also some sort of booziness as well, which reminds me (as an irregular wine drinker) of merlot and the heat that comes with it.

Taste has a lot of that merlot-ish booze from the smell in there, plenty of heat as well. Some roasted malt as well early on and makes a comeback late.

Plenty of heat in the mouthfeel, lots of carbonation as well. However a consistent smoothness underpins it all.

Bit of a booze-bomb with a good deal of heat from it. Some overall solidness to it and a decent enough nose seems to help in getting it by.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.24/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours black with an off-white head.
Nose shows sweet chocolate liqueur, port, dark dried fruit and fudge. Very sweet-smelling.
Pretty similar flavours; burnt caramelised fruit, port, alcohol. Big vinuous notes override most of the roast. Tastes like grape juice....

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Photo of Beer-Ed
3.58/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of UniversitateaDeBere
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of hdtrice
3.49/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Photo of eric5bellies
2.88/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Drank from my Gage roads tulip

A - Pours a deep Mahogany colour with some transparency. Tanned head that retains ok before reducing to a film and laces.

S - Not too much other than sweet dark malts and dough.

T - Up front some nice vanilla flavours closely followed by roasted malt the finish is a little boozy.

M - A little bit watery with minimal carbonation.

O - A solid RIS but there are better around. It lacks some cencent body and aroma.

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Photo of pin
3/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Photo of MeetMyBackhand
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Near perfection on the tongue, with a nice bitter/sweet finish.

63 characters

Photo of sd123
3/5  rDev -14.8%

Photo of Mendicant
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Photo of leitmotif
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Photo of mmapes
3.62/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Brought home from York. 330 ml bottle. Not pure black like some imperials. Very dark brown. Seems more like a porter.

Smells like dried fruit, prune, maybe a bit of bitter chocolate/smoke on the nose.

First sip - smoky, pruney. Sweet but bitter. Long finish. Complex, with smoke and bitter chocolate. Light body for a stout.

Second sip - complexity comes through. Bitterness offsets sweetness.

Would buy again if I were in Yorkshire.

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Photo of StJamesGate
3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chesnut-tinged midnight brown with creamy sepia head that leaves wispy trailers. Cola, salami, burnt caramel, and charcoal on the nose.
Molasses, black currants, demerara sugar, a sweet roasty hit and cocoa powder end with no real hops.
Caramel raisin chew finish and minty bitter linger. Medium even leaning towards light, slight cling, dry, no burn.

Interesting at first in trying to create a less plodding, dark-flavored version of the style: the nose is zesty for an RIS, lots of white smoke, and the tastes are all high and bright. But it all doesn't justify the ABV, and with the lack of body, plays more like a strong brown ale or overstrength regular stout. Maybe it needs a few months at sea (this was brewed for the Great Baltic Adventure) to cut the sugar and deepen a bit, but I doubt it would help.

Ultimately insubstantial.

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Photo of AlexAfonin
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of interzen
4.14/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

330ml bottle served into a tulip glass

Look: Dark brown, almost black with a big, diffuse tan/khaki head. Big head retention and a decent amount of lacing. Ruby-red highlights if you hold it to the light.

Smell: Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate predominate with a slight tang of alcohol.

Taste: Chocolate and coffee predominate - coffee to begin with, before the roasted malts kick in and you're left with a long, dark chocolate finish. Not a massively complex flavour profile, but not bad nonetheless. Slight alcohol heat in the finish.

Feel: There's a decent enough body and it's fairly smooth but compared to something like Sam Smith's Imperial Stout or Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout this feels a bit on the light side.

Overall: I thought I was familiar with most of Black Sheep's output so this one was a new one on me, which given that it was apparently a limited run isn't that surprising. I'd hesistate to call this a 'proper' Imperial stout as it lacks complexity and body - it's more like an over-clocked milk or oatmeal stout. Even so, it's not at all bad - if you like stouts and see this it's worth a shot.

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Photo of horshack7
3.6/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Dark brown and on top is an off white head only about a finger thick.

Aroma: Dark fruits, light smokiness, whiskey, pumpernickel, mild espresso.

Taste: Raisins, plums, grape, prunes, smokiness and some roasted malts.

Notes: Very tasty all around and drinkable. Cheers.

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Photo of wisrarebeer
4.06/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased in North Yorks while I visited last fall.

Best by 18 Aug 2013

A: deep copper brown color, off-white/tan colored head, thin veil
S: great traditional Black Sheep nose, slight astringency and extremely dry in keeping with the brewery's taste profile, deep roasted malt
T: traditional Black Sheep dry taste, roasted barley upfront, maybe not what you'd expect from a typical IRS but, combined with the brewery's dry taste profile, not bad at all
M: thinner but pleasing, some astringent dryness throughout

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Photo of bylerteck
3.1/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle from Local Provisions.

A - Pours black with decent carbonation. Film of beige retention. Spatterings of lace and an island film of retention.

S - Quite a bit of chocolate and some coffee in there as well.

T - Roasty with some chocolate. Quite straight forward. Roasted malt dominates the flavour profile with some chocolate.

M - Light to medium carbonation and a medium to full body with a sweet licoric finish.

O/D - Really, really lacking complexity for an Imperial Stout. Just not alot going on here. Drinkable and fairly tasty. Just nothing to rave about really.

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Photo of dansmcd
3.21/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Pours a dark brown molasses colour, topped by a glorious two fingers of densely packed tan head which slowly drops to a creamy 5mm layer with bubble bath quality sticky lacing with broad sheets.

S - Roasted malt, ash, chocolate, coffee, red berries, licorice, slight yeasty funk, some booze detectable.

T - Follows the nose with the typical stout characteristics of ash, smoke, mocha, blackberries. Fair bit of heat also. Not particularly well balanced or tasty.

M - Moderate carbonation, medium body, dry and hot.

O - A cheap RIS in price and quality.

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Imperial Russian Stout from Black Sheep Brewery PLC
Beer rating: 3.52 out of 5 with 33 ratings