Imperiale | Ninkasi Brewing Company

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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

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Reviews: 82 | Ratings: 239
Photo of Hoptometrist
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap into a shaker glass.

A- Poured dark brown with some ruby highlights shining through, soapy mocha head that left some splashy lace.

S- Big roasted malt, roasted coffee, and rich dark chocolate in the aroma.

T- Big rich and decadent dark chocolate notes, fudgy brownie notes, some vanilla, pretty big roasted malt and coffee, moderate alcohol taste and bitterness.

M- Very smooth, prickly carbonation, fuller bodied, dry finish, big warming, and light burn. Easily one of the most drinkable imperial stouts I have ever had.

O- This is my favorite Ninkasi beer I have had, aside from a sample of the blended Imperiale Stout and Oatis Oatmeal Stout infused with Stumptown Coffee I had a few weeks ago. Very rich and chocolate forward with nice roasted malt notes and a great mouthfeel.

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Photo of Eamonn-Cummings3
4.29/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black with brown highlights. Little head that dissipates quickly. Caramel malt smells.
Taste is rich and roasty bitter. Tastes like hops and amazing coffee.
No taste of the 9% alcohol. Delicious

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Photo of Hopdaemon39
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
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.

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Photo of ZakFaruki
4.27/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured from a bomber into a tulip, pours an opaque black, with a tan head, a decent amount of lace comes as well

S: Dark Chocolate on the nose, with roasted malts, a bit of hops, and some ash smell as well

T: The taste follows the nose, Cocoa and roasted malt on the nose, then a slight bit of hops on the way down, a slight ting of booze on the finish as well

F: Smooth as silk, carbonation is light, as expected with the style

O: An exceptionally delicious stout, it definitely competes with the legends. A must-try for a craft enthusiast.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.26/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from 03/2014 served in a tulip glass

Nice pour. Thick and black with a massive brown head that had real staying power. Even when this beer warmed up t was still like motor oil. Immediately the massive hops pounced in the nose and was a dominant force. There is some ripe fruit in there as well, raisin. The bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavored are intense and the roasted character in all over. The mouthfeel is creamy and thick like a fine hot cocoa. All of the components that were in the nose easily carried over in to the taste. Raisin was the dominant fruit character but I found the hop bitterness and malty astringency a bit too high. This is still an excellent beer and a perfect example of a Russin Imperial Stout.

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Photo of ocelot2500
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%

Pours a deep black with a pillowy tan head that leaves chunks of lacing.

Smells of deep roasted notes with some hops to it.

Tastes like a nicely hopped stout. Deep roasted notes lead off with dark chocolate, espresso, burnt sugar, and some slight char. This gives way to some syrupy sweetness. Hops add in with pine notes. Touches of dark fruit come next as well as some alcohol. Finishes with a slightly acrid burnt note.

Mouthfeel is full with a creamy amount of carbonation.

Overall, this is tasty, but be prepared for a hoppy, bitter stout.

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Photo of BierJager89
4.25/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Black with a brown ring of head.

S: Dark chocolate and coffee, some roasted malt in the nose.

T: Dark chocolate, coffee and dark fruit.

M: Smooth and full bodied.

O: This beer is really good, if a bit disappointing and boring. Still worth a try, and very tasty.

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Photo of N3rdM3t4l
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A little off for a review because this bottle has been aging since february and it is september. Bomber iu nto standard pint.

A: not much head and a pretty sparse cap although there is an average sized ring around the glass. Completley opaque but the thinnest layer on the top where I can just barley see through is deep amber like the bottle it came in. the head when there was some was mocha brown and looked good but there just wasn't much of it.

S: roasty and sweet smelling. Hints of dark fruit and caramelized goodness. No hop on the nose nor any alcohol. It smells divine.

T: sweet, those hints of dark fruit still present in the taste. Big rosty flavor and notes of vanilla. Sweet and rich. Finishes just a tad bitter, I can't tell if that is hop or burnt malt though. the bitter fades away to a slight chocolate flavor and a bit nore of that vanilla. I like this a lot, I don't remember the young bottle I had in december very much but this is good stuff.

M: full bodied, I really could eat it with a spoon ita like maple syrup almost. With such a high abv I am surprised it is so thick. Right on for the style.

O: not as amazing as the bourbon barrel aged version I had at the taproom but still quite good. I reccomend it to big beer lovers.

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Photo of Ozzylizard
4.12/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Undated bottle at 45 degrees into tulip
Aroma weak, roasted malt and coffee
Head large (5 cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy, diminishing to 1.2 cm ring and 1 -3 mm frothy layer
Lacing excellent – nearly complete curtains of tiny to small bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor begins bitter, mostly roasted malt, with some coffee at the end; bitterness seems to come from hops rather than roasted malt; no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 4.75, Aroma 4, Flavor 4, Palate 4.25, Overall 4.25

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Photo of wordemupg
4.06/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Beer Revolution 5/7/15 (from notes)

A top filled glass has a deep cola edge in black liquid, not much room for foam but the thin mocha film still manages to leave a few rings

S chocolate of all sorts, lots of dark fruit with a little char ash included, smells pretty roasty

T not far from the nose with some herbal notes, plenty of char and chocolate, not as much dark fruit but still has some citric hops shining through all this darkness

M lighter side of full, creamy from the bubbles, chalky after it settles, bitter sweet, heaps of hoppy chocolate linger

O poured a little cold but still rich and flavorful, no booze at any point, a little sneaky for the size

I though I was ordering the Imperial IPA so this one was a bit of a surprise and a pleasant one at that, I'm surprised it doesn't have a higher average on BA

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Photo of Reidrover
4.05/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle from "Lifesource" Salem. $4.59 Black as can be with a larget frothy,thick creamy tan head. Aroma is toasted malts, some coffee and nuts...alcohol Very rich indeed, as the blurb says, getting roasty oats in the back ground but the foreground is oddly mellow..drinking chocolate( milk) and hazelnuts..some alcohol evident but not over the top. The palate/mouthfeel is very nice and luxurious. Overall and odd one..kinda tamer than i expected for the strength.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber into a snifter

Appearance – The beer pours a pitch black color with a one finger head of tan colored foam. The head has a good level of retention, fading to leave a decent level of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma is heaviest of a roasted malt smell with some notes of dark chocolate mixed within. Some nice sweeter smells of vanilla, caramel, and brown sugar as well as a little bit of dark fruits of cherry, plum, and raisin are there as well. A bit of coffee as well as a hint of a smoky smell round out the aroma, creating a rather dark and roasty, warming smell overall.

Taste – The taste begins with a roasted malt taste with a rather sweeter chocolate flavor consisting of a semi-sweet chocolate mixed with vanilla and caramel. More roasted malt enters the taste as it advances further from the start with some of the sweet fading just a tad. All while the sweet fades a bit, a decent showing of a coffee flavor as well as some toast and smoke flavors come to the tongue. In the end, with a bit of graininess as well as the onset of more roast and dark chocolate and coffee flavors, one is left with a moderately, but not too sweet mocha flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thicker and chewier side with a carbonation level that is quite low. For the style the carbonation and slightly thicker body are nice (although a little more thickness would have likely been even better) making for a good and intense stout flavor to soak into the tongue.

Overall – A rather nice stout overall that is very approachable and that at only ~ $5 for a bottle is a great value. This is a great imperial overall when considering price/characteristics.

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Photo of velosuds
4.03/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Deschutes snifter. Paid $5.49 at LifeSource Natural Foods - decent price compared to other brewery's imperial stouts.

A-Pours a deep, dark brown almost black hue with a one + finger, creamy tan head with good retention that recedes into an uneven lace. Second pour after it warmed produced a three finger head.

S-Dark roasted malts, alcohol, and caramel sweetness approaching brown sugar. Faint vanilla as it warms. Not much from the Nugget hops in the nose.

T-Rich malt and dark chocolate with a slight vanilla coffee latte taste. Slight alcohol present in the taste too, but not overwhelming, but not especially warming either. Sufficiently hoppy, clean, and well balanced. A straight forward "imperiale" stout.

M-Very smooth, medium bodied, and nicely carbonated. Not quite as luxuriant as I prefer.

O-This is a very drinkable stout. I think it is one of Ninkasi's better offerings and I will buy again.

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Photo of archyquaffer
4.02/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a shaker pint glass. A moderate pour produces about a one inch bubbly, frothy and somewhat sticky head that settles down to a solid 1/8 inch pale tan coating of froth. Lacey rings linger as the glass is emptied. The beer is a deep ruby brown that requires a strong flashlight to see light through.

A very light toasted malt aroma with a little bit of herbal hops. The flavor is semi-sweet, with definite notes of chocolate, coffee, licorice, and dark fruit (cherry, chokecherry, plum), and a touch of citrus. A little alcoholic spice and some port-like flavors become more apparent with warming. A lingering bittersweetness lasts from sip to sip. The body is perhaps on the light side for a stout, which makes it somewhat dangerous in terms of quaffability.

This was an excellent deal at $4.79 for the bomber, purchased at Front Street Market in Butte, Montana. At this price, I would always seek this out.

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Photo of Zorro
4.01/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Clear dark brown colored ale with a small brown colored head.

Smells sweet and a lot like German chocolate cake. Strong chocolate and caramel. Slight Kahlua scent. Smells quite tame.

Starts out bittersweet with a emphasis on the sweet. Sweet with bitter chocolate flavor. Strong caramel and a hint of coconut, I'm reminded of German Chocolate Cake again. Slight amount of char but this is mainly bittersweet in flavor.

Mouthfeel is good.

Overall a good stout.

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Photo of CHickman
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black color with a foamy 2 finger creamy/foamy light tan head that was full of bubbles of all sizes and faded slowly, leaving very good foamy lacing and rings as it went down.

Smells of chocolate, smoked malt, coffee grinds, cocoa powder, brownie batter, dark chocolate (like Hershey's Dark), light vanilla, floral hops, pine cone/piney hops and charred wood. It's very chocolatey with a lot of char, ash and smoke notes that combine with the burnt malts, coffee grinds and light hop sweetness to make for a nice smelling stout.

Tastes just like it smells with strong chocolate notes as the most dominant flavor, followed by cocoa powder, smoked malt, coffee grinds, burnt brownie or burnt chocolate chip cookie, dark chocolate, vanilla, floral hops, pine cone/piney hops, vanilla bean, chocolate syrup,charred wood, some dark fruit like plum or a chocolate covered cherry, ash and burnt pumpernickel bread. Very rich and malty with most of the flavor coming on in waves of chocolate malts and all aspects of roasted, charred and smoked malts/grains. The hops peek through, but the main sweetness is like a burnt coffee with some cream and a s'mores. The ashy and smoky notes leave a bitterness that is chalky and close to dry but still sweet like eating a Whopper candy ball.

Mouthfeel is slick and buttery smooth, with a medium chewy body that has very little to no carbonation and a thin overall feel, but it slides down easy with no signs of the alcohol and a bitter finish that is similar to a Starbucks Frappuccino with a shot of espresso and chocolate syrup in it that trails off with a lot of charred wood, ash and smoked grains. A big bold imperial ("imperiale") stout. Well balanced with the hops adding a sharp leafy bite and complimenting the malty roast, making it easy to drink.

Overall a tasty beer that had well above average flavor, hid the 9% ABV quite well and happened to be a bargain for NYC at $4.99 for a bomber at Whole Foods. At this price point I plan to buy as many as possible since I really enjoyed this brew.

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Photo of ryannosaurus
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is a black lump of coal

Aroma is lightly malty with a hint of coffee

Taste is this brews long suit: bitter and twisted with lurking deep molasses sweetness. Coffee, chocolate, malt, and charcoal in abundance. Hints of vanilla, anise and dark fruits in the background

Mouthfeel is sprightly for such a big beer with limited carbonation.

Overall I am amazed I rarely see reviews or mentions of this beer, and doubly amazed I got it on the cheap ($5.50/22oz). Crazy drinkable for a big beer, so save this for the weekends.

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Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a dark brown-black with a finger of frothy chocolate colored head. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of roasted chocolate malts with some coffee, dark fruit, molasses, anise, vanilla, and a touch of earthy hops.

T - Starts off with a mix of roasted chocolate malts, dark fruits, molasses, anise, and some vanilla. Through the middle, some coffee comes through with some more dark fruits and some earthy hops. The finish is a mix of roasted chocolate malts, coffee, molasses, dark fruits, and some earthy hops.

M - Medium-full bodied with mild carbonation. Feels smooth and a bit thick with a sweet, roasted, and warming finish.

D - Very drinkable. Nice overall balance, could have maybe used a touch more body.

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Photo of Catracho5
3.99/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle poured into a snifter

A: Pours black with some coming through around the edges, tan colored head, lots of lacing, looks a little thin, some carbonation streaming up from the bottom.

A: Dark chocolate, coffee, hint of dark fruits, roasted malts, slight alcohol aroma coming through at the end, smells pretty solid.

T: A good balance of roasted and dark fruit flavors, up front, get a hit of dark fruits, followed by some dark chocolate and coffee flavors, hit of bitterness, finishes dry with a big, lingering coffee aftertaste, solid.

M: Smooth, creamy mouthfeel, big dry finish.

O: I think this is a solid beer, nice balance of dark fruits and roasted flavors, smooth creamy mouthfeel, alcohol is well hidden, a little on the light side for a double stout, drinkable but nonetheless, a solid offering.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: Impressive head. It lingers for a good 3-4 minutes after the beer is poured as a half-inch, light brown, foamy top. Underneath is a pretty much, pitch black beer. Shining an iPhone light through it produces nothing more than a faint, red spot, shining through from the other side of the glass. The lacing is pretty strong for a big beer like this, covering a good 70% of the back side of the glass.

SMELL: Aroma is lighter than I would expect from a beer like this, but roasted malts lead the way. Dark chocolate with a touch of caramel and a little oak lie behind the roast.

TASTE: That roasted malt flavor leads the way, but it is mild and pleasant. Vanilla and dark chocolate help to round it out along with hints of dark fruit.

MOUTHFEEL: Very smooth and velvety, silky smooth. This beer should be very full-bodied, instead its medium to full…much lighter than expected and very easy to drink.

OVERALL: Excellent Imperial Stout. Just a well done beer that I’ll drink any time its available.

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Photo of prock180
3.97/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Average take on the style. I kept wanting a little more to come out in this but it didn't. Good imp stout with nice chocolate flavor. I want more body and coffee with an imperial stout.

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Photo of Jermaine44
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Overall a well made stout. Smells sweet like Carmel, vanilla.. Taste is roast up front followed by sweetness from the malt finished with a bitterness to balance the beer. Medium mouthfeel just the way I like my beers

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Photo of LampertLand
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Ninkasi Brewing 'Imperiale Stout' @ 9.1% , served from a 'special release' 650 ml bottle purchased for $7.25

A-pour is a dark brown from the bottle to near black in the glass with some crimsom red peeking thru along the glass edge , with a small tan head leaving a spotty lace along the pint

S-ripe dark fruits , boozey

T-sweet tasting start , not so smooth , slight bitter bite before the swallow

MF-ok/good carbonation , full body , yet it is a bit thin tasting , needs some more ?

Ov-ok beer , ok Imperial Stout , lacks something

prost LampertLand

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Photo of jdanyeur
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bottle. Ninkasi has always had higher alcohol beers but this is a big step for them.

It pours a very dark brown, almost black. It has a short khaki head, typical of the style.

I smell hops, sweet malts, and a little bit of alcohol, something hard to hide in beers with a higher alcohol content.

The taste is almost like if you poured a shot of bourbon into your stout, but not too intense. Some beers cannot hide the alcohol flavor, but this one does it better than others. Apart from that, it tastes similar to the Oatis but still the lingering alcohol flavor which isn't too bad.

The mouthfeel is nice, the carbonation is a little high but it probably adds to hiding the alcohol flavor.

Overall, it is not a terrible high gravity stout, they definitely pumped it up with a lot of malt, that's for sure. I would get it again but I don't look for it when browsing.

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Photo of utopiajane
3.89/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This was a terrific stout. Smooth, roasty chocolatey and had a hints of caramel udnerneath that really added to the richness. The body was as supple and smooth and perfectly full.

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Imperiale from Ninkasi Brewing Company
3.7 out of 5 based on 239 ratings.
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