Imperiale | Ninkasi Brewing Company

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240 Ratings

Brewed by:
Ninkasi Brewing Company
Oregon, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.10%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Formerly Imperiale High Gravity Stout

Rich, full bodied and surprisingly smooth, Imperiale Stout has a big roast hit up front, and rich, dark malt flavors balanced with ample hop bitterness to finish.

Added by flexabull on 11-05-2011

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 240 |  Reviews: 82
Reviews by MaltsOfGlory:
Photo of MaltsOfGlory
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours about a one finger head into my standard pint glass. The head is very dark, I might go as far as to say that it's not even light brown, just strait brown. One of the darkest heads I've seen in a while. The head isn't really creamy looking at all, it is slightly pillow looking. Maybe a tiny bit soapy looking, but overall it just looks like your standard head, that has no real distinguishing characteristics about it. Mostly small bubbles, a few medium ones scattered here and there though. Head retention isn't bad, I still have a half of the original head left. The lacing looks like it will be very nice, but we will have to see for sure as I get down the glass. The body is just pitch black, damn this is a dark beer. Even when held up to the light, all I get is the slightest brown around some of the edges. I cannot see the carbonation due to the color. Visibility through the beer is zero. Overall it's a pretty nice looking beer so far, it looks very hefty. It for sure looks like a 9.1% beer. We will see how the lacing goes, but I like the appearance so far. The smell is chocolaty, malty, rich. I get a little alcohol on the nose, but for sure not as much as a rough high gravity beer would be, so that's good. Very light sweet smell, as well as a very light sour smell, probably from the hops. I'm surprised the sweetness isn't a bigger smell, considering the high gravity and heavy malts. It's not a bad thing necessarily, but it could prove to be rough around the edges without enough sweetness. Perhaps a little coffee in here too. Maybe even some dark fruit, like black cherries? Overall this is a good smelling beer, but my main problem is that the smell just isn't that huge. It's a 9.1% STOUT, I mean, I feel like the smell should just punch me in the nose, and it's not. It's not a bad smell by any means, it's a good smell with nice flavors coming through, but it's not anything special because I can't smell that much. I think I'll give it a 4, I was contemplating 3.5, but it's for sure better than that. Well that flavor is a little disappointing. I take my first sip, and....I really don't know what's going on here, it's very abnormal. The first thing I get is kind of a sweet and salty sourness. Like it taste remotely what a high gravity stout might taste like, but way too far with the saltiness, and not enough sweetness and other flavors. I mean I suppose those are the salty-like hops I'm tasting? I don't know. Malts really take a back seat in this beer, which is never good in a stout. It almost has a tangy taste to it to, like there is something weird about this beer. I mean with all that being said, it's still obviously a quality micro brew. It's not a bad beer, it's just really weird, not really my cup of tea, or beer. One thing that is nice is that you barely taste that 9.1%, it's hardly there at all. Those weird flavors are kind of starting to settle down now, the sour/salty flavor is more of a hop flavor now, with a little bitterness. I guess the malts have come out a little more, but not much. There is still that overall weird feeling here. I really don't know how to grade this because it's not terrible, it's a good beer, but there are a lot of weird things going on. It's between a 3.5 and a 4, and I really have no idea which one to go with, I'll wait until the beer warms I suppose. The mouthfeel isn't bad. The carbonation is pretty damn low, which is typical for the style, but this may be a little bit too low. The body on the other hand is way to thin for the style, not liking the body at all, it's thin and in no way thick. A 3.5 is actually a little generous for the mouthfeel, even though it's not bad, it's really a 3. The drinkability is extremely good considering the beer is 9.1% ABV. I mean it really tastes and drinks like a 6% or 7% beer, nothing more than that for sure. Great drinkability for the style. Overall this is a very confusing beer, it's a quality brew, but a lot of flavors are very odd. Overall a good beer, but not one I will be dying to have again.

The appearance is a little hard because the body was great, the head was good, and the lacing was good, but not great. The lacing turned out to be average, it was pretty patchy. I mean I guess it followed me all the way down the glass, but by the time we got there it was barely lacing anymore. I think a 4 is fair considering the good head and great body, mediocre lacing equals a 4 total.

As far as taste, damn...I was really expecting myself to give this beer a 3.5 for taste cause of all the weird crap. However, that stuff dumbed down a bit. Also, it is a quality brew, any way you slice it. I'm going to give it a 4 and balance things out by giving it a 3.5 overall. Let it be know that it BARELY got a 4.

 4,757 characters

More User Reviews:
Photo of EROCK83
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of chickenm
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Seattle_Suds
4.19/5  rDev +12%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Beer21
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of AnEscapedMind
4.5/5  rDev +20.3%

Photo of acurtis
3.47/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of InfernoBoss
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of Chanfles
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of biboergosum
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle. I love how this is called "High Gravity" here, like anyone would look at a north of a 9% ABV brew any other way.

This beer pours a solid, light diffusing black, with the barest of basal cola edges, and three fingers of puffy, frothy, and rocky Dockers tan head, which leaves some decent pockmarked inner city wall lace around the glass as it gently subsides.

It smells of roasted, kind of meaty caramel malt, bittersweet chocolate, a touch of funky yeast, vanilla-tinged brown sugar, very meek and muddled dark fruit notes, and earthy, leafy, and fairly herbal hops. The taste is more of the same - bready, lightly toasted caramel malt, meaty wet ash, dark cocoa beans, still apparent phenolic yeast, somewhat acrid black orchard fruit, some real (read: boozy) vanilla, bitter coffee grounds, and more leafy, weedy, and earthy hops.

The carbonation is fairly low, but supportive enough in its plain fizziness, the body a strong medium-full weight, and generally smooth, the alcohol slowly chipping away, Chinese water torture style. It finishes on the sweet side, the caramel malt, chocolate, and booze lording it over the still relevant hops.

Not a bad version of the style, but that yeast weirdness has got to go, man. Other than that, the hops do well to more or less balance out the typical big stout flavours, and once the alcohol comes along, everything just sort of works itself out, y'know? Yeah, the rest of this is gonna go great with some spicy Hunan chicken - order up!

 1,503 characters

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.53/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance - Pours jet black with cola brown edging. The head is tan in color, a good finger and a half thick, and holds with good retention. Lacing is spotty, with fair stick.

Smell - Aroma is faint; mostly anise, with hints of chocolate, caramel and coffee. Hops are present as well, though fairly indistinguishable.

Taste - Starts with subtle chocolate and roasted coffee notes, mid-taste is fairly muddled, then finishes with a touch of roasty bitterness and a moderate anise character.

Mouthfeel - Medium to full body, with low carbonation. Kinda flat. Somewhat chalky.

Overall - This is a decent imperial stout. Nothing that hasn't been done before, and the execution isn't all that great. Drinkable, somewhat enjoyable. Probably wouldn't buy again.

 759 characters

Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of augustgarage
3.7/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Bruery snifter.

Nearly opaque bistre body with faint auburn highlights and a small frothy desert sand crown that recedes to a creamy collar and a messy surface slick. Sandy lacing, viscous legs, decent retention.

Roast barley, coffee, and other dark malt notes greet the nose, followed by some sweeter yeast esters, and a hint of molasses, spice, and a slight herbal note.

Flavors follow the aroma closely with an emphasis on the malts - raw cocoa, toffee, and burnt sugar give a slightly acrid bent to the profile, though it mellows out with a spicy bitterness leading into an herbaceous drying finish. Hop presence is moderate throughout. Well balanced, but not greater than the sum of its parts.

Medium bodied, faintly prickly and moderately warming, though by no means fusel.

A decent stout, though slightly muddled with perhaps an excess of specialty malt or roast barley for my taste. A little goes a long way.

 956 characters

Photo of dertyd
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Fatehunter
3.62/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a then tan head on a black body.
The aroma is good. Big dose of roasted malt, black licorice and coffee.
The taste delivers on the roasted malt and strong pine bitterness. Though the transition through the profile is abrupt.
The texture is smooth with moderate carbonation.
Enjoyable if you like a mixture of roasted maltiness with strong bitter.

 353 characters

Photo of trocketsauced
4/5  rDev +7%

Photo of SamuelR
4.09/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I really like this especially for the price- pours a charcoal color with light colored head and good retention and lacing.

Smells like a very rich stout- nothing particularly sticks out but there's definitely a good roasted character and maybe a bit of raisin.

Tastes great- big roasted malt character, definitely caramel, some chocolate, and a bit of that raisin/dried fig character. Delish.

Feels pretty good- medium full bodied, modest carbonation, not so smooth. This tastes good; not incredible but definitely very good.

 528 characters

Photo of BeerRunner
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of Schwegler
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%

Photo of joemcgrath27
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of meno19
3.45/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Great value for the price

25 characters

Photo of Nage37
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%

Photo of Backlash209
3/5  rDev -19.8%

Photo of SpdKilz
3.85/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A big thanks to James (cavemanlawyer) for this great extra. Cheers!

Appearance – Pours a dark black into a tulip with less than a finger of tan head.

Smell – Heavy caramel, malt, coffee, slight hops, and molasses.

Taste – Slight char up front, chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruits such as prunes, and a bit of vanilla.

Mouthfeel – Medium bodied, lower carbonation.

Overall – Not a bad stout…I feel it should be rated a bit higher than it is.

 459 characters

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Imperiale from Ninkasi Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.74 out of 5 with 240 ratings
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