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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 harrymel
1.88/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Bottled: unk

A: black, a finger of khaki foam falls to a sheet of the same. No lace.
S: leather, alcohol, some hops (piney), a little bit of sweetness from the malts. Some licorice and cola smells. I can't shake the feeling that this reminds me of a bag of teriyaki beef jerky.
T: malt is sweet with a odd gunpowder flavor. Some meaty flavors. A bit of hops. Some molasses.
M: Thin for the style with lower carb. Semi dry finish. Fail.
O: I can't tell if this is a poor attempt at a Black IPA, or a poor attempt at a stout. They call it a stout, so, yeah, it's not something I would offer up as a goodie. Thin and poorly constructed malt wise. I'm starting to think the ABI influence on this brewery is taking its toll...

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Photo of MADhombrewer
2.54/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Appearance- Black with a small tan head. Decent lacing. 3.5/5

Smell- Not much going on here. Hints of chocolate and coffee, but both are very minimal. 2/5

Taste- Not much going on here as well. Bummer. Bits of chocolate and coffee. Little bit of vanilla? Earthy hop bitterness at the end. 2.5/5

Mouthfeel- Medium feel that favors the heavier side. Little creaminess to it as well. 3.5/5

Overall- Kind of all over the map as far as scoring. Not much going on as far as flavor. Some of the usual suspects (chocolate, coffee, etc.), but a little watered down. It tastes as if this is made for the people who want to think they are drinking a beer geek beer but don't want the actual flavor that goes with it. 2.5/5

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Photo of vkv822
2.88/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bottle into tulip snifter.

Pours black with foamy, bubbly khaki head.

Roasty malts, some light hop, piney/citric notes. A bit rough around the edges, but pretty subdued overall.

In the taste I am getting some roasty, almost charred malts, a light hop profile, perhaps some dark chocolate as well.

A thin to medium body, with subtle carbonation.

A decent beer, though the flavor profile seemed a bit rough, a bit of a faint charred character at times.

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Photo of timtwoface
2.91/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Meh...this is the first Ninkasi brew I tried that I didn't really appreciate. I anticipated it to blow me away, but nope - it just turned out being strong. Yes, it's meant to be, but the wonderful thing I felt about Tricerahops (for example) is that it has such a high ABV but you can't really TASTE it - here, it's far too noticeable. The stout taste doesn't really mask it at all.

I love Oatis, also by Ninkasi - but in the future I think I'll give this one a pass.

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Photo of RJLarse
3.02/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

I bought a bottle of Ninkasi High Gravity Imperiale Stout in a bottle shop. Poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a black walnut color, opaque, with a chunky beige head.

Smell is sweet with a bite. A molasses and brown sugar aroma, along with a bourbon whiskey scent.

Taste is a lot like the aroma. Sweet molasses upfront with a bourbon flavored finish, and some alcohol heat.

Mouthfeel is thin for the style. Thin, flat and warm.

Overall I don't think I would go out of my way to have this again. I'd prefer more coffee and chocolate flavors in my stouts.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 picked up today at Brewforia... Poured into my new CBS snifter... damn this is a big glass. Short lasting 1 finger brownish head... only okay lacing.. the brew is the expected black.

Nose is a bit odd... roasty, but a dark dried fruitiness seems pretty high for the style... dark cherries and some milk chocolate.. not nearly enough "big stout" qualities for my liking.

Flavor begins with mild roasty qualites... again fruity esters come in quickly and hang on to the finish.. light coffee and chocolate.. okay... needs more heft for sure.

Body is sorta thin for such a big stout...

This is an okay brew.. I doubt it will get better with more time in the bottle.


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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.03/5  rDev -18.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured a very deep brownish color with a moderately sized deep tan head that fades slowly leaving some bubbles and light lacing

S: Smells of chocolate and roastiness, a little booze sting and pretty simple.

T: Taste is an initial chocolate, roast, which carries on start to finish and seems to be th ceterpiece of another boring Ninkasi beer. The finish is rather mundayne with some bitterness, roast and guess what? Cocoa. A little booziness stings on the end.

M: Moderate to full bodied, well carbonated, nothing impressive, not really decadent or appealing.

O: Average at best. I consumed Abyss prior to this and it really showed just how mediocre this beer is.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.09/5  rDev -16.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

22oz bottle from LetsPour.com. No bottling date. Served in a Wild Heaven snifter.

Pours dark brown with a half finger of tan head. Foam recedes quickly but leaves a decent bit of lace.

Smells of light cocoa, milk and caramel. Not bad but far from outstanding.

Taste is a subdued but pleasent blend of cocoa, cream, oatmeal and caramel. A slight sting of booze towards the finish.

Creamy medium full feel with mild but quite forward carbonation. Fairly dry aftertaste of bitter cocoa and sweet cream.

It's ok. There's nothing here to make me stand up and cheer but I didn't need to pour it either. No off flavors but it just doesn't come across as very "Imperiale".

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Photo of nsabo
3.12/5  rDev -15.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Another hoppy northwest RIS. Roasted grains (more like a porter than a burnt stout), chocolate, some booze heat, bitter hops, little carbonation, medium-thin mouthfeel. Not a "big" RIS, but for $5 it tastes like it costs. It's not disappointing, but I won't be buying it twice.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.13/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Received as an extra from eatabagofbooger; thanks man. Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into my New Belgium globe.

a - Pours a very dark brown color, almost black, with two inches of dark tan head and moderate carbonation evident. An inch of head lasts throughout drinking it and leaves some light lacing on the glass.

s - Smells of roasted malts, pine hops, light chocolate, sweet dark fruits, and bready malts. Lots of roasted malts and pine hops with some sweetness to it. Not bad but not my favorite; not the biggest fan of hoppy stouts.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, pine hops, sweet dark fruity malts, chocolate, toasted malts, and bready malts. Pretty sweet; more fruit than the nose.

m - Light to medium body and moderate carbonation. A bit thin and a tiny bit too carbonated.

o - Overall a pretty average American stout. Nose is pretty good, albeit hoppy, but the taste was a little too sweet and fruity for me. Mouthfeel was a little thin and over carbonated as well. Not something I'd probably seek out again.

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Photo of Briken
3.17/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Very dark but watery highlights at the edges and foamy brown head with okay retention. Chocolate and alcohol, light roasted and a dirty hop aroma. Molasses an roasted malts with notes of chocolate. Somewhat piney upfront with a long hop linger for a stout. Moderate carbonated slick feel with a sharp bite.

Seems to me to be in the Cascadian dark ale family. Perhaps there needs to be a Double/Imperial Cascadian ale category for these types of “hoppy stouts”. At any rate, it’s reminiscent of Stone’s Escondidan Imperial Black ale. It certainly is a good hoppy stout though that’s really not what I look for in an Imperial Stout, hence the need for yet another category so at least I know what I’m getting into.

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Photo of djbreezy
3.2/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - dark brown, minor retention on the ring but not much else going on with the head

Smell - chocolate notes

Taste - chocolate with a semi sweet bittnerness, lingering

Mouthfeel - full bodied, creamy, could use more chewiness, slightly sticky

Overall - has some nice chocolate notes but the flavor profile is a bit weak for an imperial stout

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Photo of TheosTheories
3.27/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

A- dark brown, shows some red when put up against the light, nice finger and a half of tan brown head

S- chocolate, dark fruits, light coffee, little hoppiness,

T- light chocolate, light roastiness, light coffee, pretty much light everything, nothing stands out to me, there is a little pine in there from the hops though

M- medium to full body, carbinated and dry

O- your average stout, nothing stands out really, nice flavors that blend together pretty nicely but nothing crazy, good stout for someone that doesn't like dark beers too much.

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Photo of jbakajust1
3.36/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured as Beer of the Day @ Bier Stein, 12oz pour into Tear Drop

A - Pours a pitch black, opaque, with 1/2 finger deep tan head that fades slow to ring, leaves a little lace and nice legs.

S - Smells of chocolate & cherries, dark fruits, light roast, and some citrusy hops

T - Taste mirrors the nose, chocolate, roast, cherries, prunes, rich maltiness, citrus hops

M - Big and chewy, mid level carb, semi sweet, w/ medium bitter finish, light carbonic tang, warming, and a little tingly

O - Good stout, dark fruits, chocolate, sweet malts, light roast, no off flavors, warming alcohol. Probably could use a little more dark grain character.

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Photo of climax
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Imperiale pours black as night with a mocha head. The retention is more of a film that stays atop, not too far out of the ordinary for a beer of this potency.

It's not as bold in the nostrils as I was expecting. Coffee grounds, smoke, and a dash of roasted nuts is about all I can decipher. Despite the mild nose, the alcohol is hidden extremely well.

Sweet flavors of hit the palette up front brown sugar and , but the hops finally show themselves in the finish which is complete bitterness. Loads of dry roasty flavors entertain the taste buds everywhere in between.

The body doesn't seem overly heavy, and it's pretty easy to drink. Alcohol is a hermit the whole time, so it's definitely sneaky. Overall, there's not loads of complexity to ponder, but it's easy to drink and solid.

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Photo of jdense
3.38/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Shared with beer homey 1.10.11.

Half finger brown head, quick dissipation with some lacing retained around edge of glass and a wee bit of broken foam in the middle. Dark brown opaque body, no visible carbonation. Nose is pretty nondescript, a bit of light citrus hop notes but not picking up much roasted malt. Taste is more interesting than the nose, good dose of chocolate, no coffee, very faint roast harshness, with minimal hops and little bitterness, wondering if this might have tasted better a bit fresher. Mouthfeel is medium, decent effervescence, pretty dry finish. A decent first attempt, but need to ramp up the hop and roasted malt presence.

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Photo of lighthabit
3.44/5  rDev -7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark, hint of garnet, but just barely with a bright light behind it. head dies slowly, leaves a spotty but decent lacing. smell is a bit boring. bitter that others mention is there when chilled, but mellows as it warms, and a hint of something cherry-like begins to whisper. not great, but not bad, either. let it warm a bit for best results. hides abv fairly well

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Photo of flexabull
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle from the mixed winter pack.

Pours a dark black color with a nice white head.

Aromas are kind of faint, but pleasant, light cream, cocoa, and mild coffee notes.

Taste is pretty hoppy up front, with pine like bitterness. Beer then settles into some malty notes, but they take a back seat. Some cocoa, a bit vegetal, with coffee, and light sweetness. Finish is bitter, with hints of warmth and booze, but they aren't as strong as the ABV suggests.

Mouthfeel is ok, but too thin for the style in my opinion.

Overall, I think this beer is a bit better than my score suggests, but still not great. With a label that suggests that this "full bodied... And a big roast hit..." I thought this would be thick and full bodied, but sadly it's not. This tastes more like a regular robust stout. Pretty good, but one of the more disappointing Ninkasi beers I have had so far.

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Photo of canucklehead
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Not a great Impy stout but still very drinkable. It seemed to be missing the complexity that I look for in the style . As it warmed up I thought it might really open up but it stayed a little one dimensional. I would have liked a little more of a more luscious mouthfeel but all said and done it still a decent beer.

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Photo of stevoj
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bomber from Albertsons. Pours out black with a creamy dark beige head. Body seems a little watery, aroma a nice mixture of roast grains and chocolate, taste echoes the aroma with accents of wood, nutmeg and vanilla. Abrupt finish, little alcohol warmth.

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Photo of kevanb
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650ml bottle, undated, poured into a Ninkasi snifter.

The beer pours a nice deep jet black color, thick bone colored head, about a finger or so, nice retention and great swatches of lace. The aroma is pleasant, simple, roasted grain, light char and bittersweet chocolate lingers. Not a whole lot going on, but there is decent balance and hardly a trace of the 9.1%. The flavors are right in line, bittersweet chocolate, a bit of stone fruit, roasted grain, light char though a bit ashy. The mouthfeel is a bit weak, it coats well, but the body is a bit lacking, thin with higher carbonation and a dry finish.

Verdict: A nice Imperial Stout from Ninkasi, not the most complex or intense, but certainly enjoyable and one that goes down surprisingly easily for the higher ABV. A bit more body would serve this beer well, but it's still a worthwhile purchase, especially at Ninkasi's typically lower price point.

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Photo of Hophead101
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle labeled #7 courtesy of flexabull

A: 3.5 pours a dark brown nearly black color with an off white head. not much of a head and what was there didn't really last all that long, but was quite bubbly. left a nice collar around the glass and the eventual lacing was not much.
S: 3.5 strong malt smell, caramel, nuts, faint cherry, smoke, molasses and faint chocolate. lots of little things going on but nothing overwhelming. no hops to pick up on.
T: 3.5 much more hops in the taste that the smell. strong malt taste similar to what was found in the aroma. no one taste dominating over the other. a little spice showed up in the taste as well. all in all a very sweet tasting beer.
M: 3.5 a bit on the thinner side. mild carbonation. slight bitterness.
D: 3.5 ok overall. nothing to write home about.

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Photo of shleepy
3.51/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Black, with lush, off-white head.

Smell is roasty, with some dark fruit notes.

Taste is fairly bitter, in a roasty way, from start to finish/aftertaste. Light fruitiness provides some balance.

Body is probably lighter than most imperial stouts. No syrupy feeling to it at all.

Overall, it's a relatively drinkable imp stout. Not offensive at all, but not too complex, either.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.52/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, and slight char aromas. Taste is much the same with cocoa, char, and slight dark fruit flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roast bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is strong and has a roast bitterness that lingers long after each sip.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

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