Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #492
not listed
Ranked #14,780
4.06 | pDev: 11.33%
Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
United States
View: Beers
Reviews: 13 | Ratings: 21 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend from Washington

4.15/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured jet black with lower carbonation leaving a flat tannish head. Like a Tomme Arthur beer

S: Holy Bourbon and chocolate

T: Wow. this was a big, fresh new BBL! Lots of Bourbon, roasted malt, chocolate, hints of light coffee, booze but very good

M: Heavy bourbon, booze, toasted malts, cocoa

D: very good but be ready for a heavy BBL influence

Mar 07, 2011
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rye726 from Colorado

4.8/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Magnificent beers. Pours near black with an excellent head. Quite lacy. Huge note of bourbon, oak and vanilla over a huge imperial stout. What more could you ask for? Simply fantastic. Thick creamy body, great finish. Seek this one out, it is worth it!

Feb 21, 2011
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goldbot from District of Columbia

2.96/5  rDev -27.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black pour with thin, brown head, leaving little lacing. Smells boozy; heavy on the bourbon, light on everything else. Perhaps some hints of roasted malt, but mainly bourbon. Taste is again all bourbon. Heavy alcohol flavor and heat. Roasted, sweet chocolate malts come in, but are too subdued to stand up against the boozy onslaught. Definitely on the sweet side, but still surprisingly thin in body. Would have rather had a regular imperial stout instead of this. The bourbon and malts do nothing to complement each other, instead the bourbon just takes over and kills off any other flavors.

Jan 08, 2011
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biglite351 from Pennsylvania

3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I must premise that I am not a bourbon barrel fan. I feel it typically ruins a stout by making it taste of just bourbon instead.

A - black as pitch with no light coming through anywhere. Brown tight head leaving no lacing.

S - EXTREME vanilla. Bourbon, a tiny hint of chocolate, and I seem to get some sort of fruit like cherry or raspberry. Nearly no scent of actual stout.

T - heavy vanilla but I also get chocolate and berry. The bourbon flavor is present but not overpowering. Some malts in the after taste.

M - medium coating with increasing tingle on sides of tongue and throat, alcohol burn is mild.

D - a bit to much alcohol to drink too many of, but this is one of the best bourbon stouts I have had, period.

Nov 27, 2010
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kzoobrew from Michigan

3.43/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On tap @ Rock Bottom 09/11/10

Lighting was not superb, the beer appeared to be completely black and opaque but I cannot verify that with any certainty. Slender brown sugar head works its way balck to a slight ring with very little lacing left.

The beer smelled good, then again I like bourbon. To be honest there was too much bourbon in the nose. Vanilla, chocolate and a very slight roastiness could be barely detected but just barely. I love barrel aged beer but there has to be some level of complexity.

Unfortunately the flavor was much the same as the aroma. This is a good beer, probably very good with age but right now has too much bourbon. I have had fresh KBS and BCS, while tremendously boozy, there is still some complexity. I cannot kill the beer and score it low because it was good but I cannot score high because it was not as good as it could have been.

Full bodied, smooth and creamy. The body does not quite measure up to the more viscous RIS's though it is appropriate for the style. Flavor grips the tongue leaving a long finish.

This was my only beer of the night. As mentioned before, this is not a bad beer but not as good as I felt it should be. Drinking a glass is fine but probably all I would desire without some age.

Sep 15, 2010
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Sean9689 from Illinois

4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at FFF. Poured into tulip.

A - Pours black with a fingers worth of dark tan-colored head. Some good retention on this one...sticks around for a while with some sticky lacing as well.

S - Chocolate, roasted nuts, sweet bourbon heat, some oak/wood in there as well. A solid-smelling RIS, not too hot or sweet...just right.

T - Chocolate-covered coffee beans, oak/wood, nice bourbon heat that's not too overwhelming. It's like drinking chocolate syrup with some bourbon. Delicious!

M - Medium to full bodied with soft foamy carbonation. Very rich and good.

D - Easier to drink then most RIS I've had. A winner!

Sep 24, 2009
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FtownThrowDown from Ohio

4.17/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown in color, pretty much black. There's a nice inch of frothy light brown head sitting atop the beer. I knew I was in for a treat the minute I smelled this one. Reminds me of GI Bourbon County Stout! Nice vanilla and oak flavor. Perfect amount of bourbon and roastiness. Huge mouthfeel. Thick and creamy to boot. I wish my local Rock Bottom could make a beer even remotely close to this!
A pure joy to drink. Very well crafted and done.

Apr 29, 2009
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KBomb from Minnesota

4.55/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark black beer (dark as my soul) served in a snifter with a creamy brown head. Moderate strength of aroma: coffee, sweet malt, bourbon, and a tiny bit of raspberry. A lot of excellent balanced flavors in here. Roasted malts dominate, but the strength of the bourbon flavor runs all the way through accompanied by a notable sweetness that nearly is too much (but after finishing my second glass I decided it wasn't) some vanilla compliments the sweetness nicely. Again, just the tiniest hint of a raspberry in there. Raspberry makes a surprisingly wonderful accompaniment to the sweet chocolaty flavors of this yummy stout. Taste is absolutely fantastic. A triumph! Big mouthfeel-- incredibly creamy, but not as heavy as you might think. Just a little bite. With the high AVB, this is definitely a sipper. An excellent way to warm my bones on a cool fall night. One of Rock Bottom's best!

Nov 21, 2008
Photo of JDV
JDV from Texas

4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with a coffee brown head. Smell is strong and smooth bourbon, then roasty dark malt and then raspberry like red fruitiness. Server mentioned Raspberries being in this, so I'm not sure if this is the correct entry... Taste was strongly of bourbon, and dark roasty flavor behind that, followed by fresh raspberry flavor mingling well. Prickly, yet light carbonation. Perhaps a hint too bourbony, but still my favorite beer of theirs.

Jun 30, 2008
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kajerm from Illinois

4.32/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A few friends had told me that the Brewmaster for Rock Bottom Chicago knew his stuff, so I decided to give this one a shot. It came out in a snifter, pure, opaque black with a thin tan head and decent lacing. They served it too cold, so I let it warm up a bit before I started drinking it.

Actually, that's a lie, I started drinking it right away, but I didn't start evaluating until it was closer to cellar temp.

Smells like coffee, dark malts, oak, and vanilla. Some bourbon character is present, and maybe molasses too. No one aroma dominates and barrel-aging is just assertive enough without wrecking the balance.

Tastes pretty damn good. Opens up with a mixture of dark malts; woody and bourbon flavors show up midpalate, along with vanilla. A strong but well-balanced coffee flavor appears right after the barrel stuff. Astringency is very mild and well-controlled. The balance and complexity on this one are just awesome.

The mouthfeel is rich, heavy, and creamy. It's by no means the heaviest imperial I've tasted; the palate is just right. This is the kind of beer you slosh around in your mouth when your friends aren't looking. Or at least I do.

11%ABV (according to the menu) is well-concealed, and the balanced flavor profile makes it pretty drinkable for the style, but like every other imperial stout, it's still basically crude oil in a glass.

Apr 28, 2007
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GbVDave from Illinois

4.37/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a goblet at Rock Bottom Chicago 3/6/07.

A: Used motor oil black. Brown ring but hardly any head. No lace to speak of.

S: Huge whack of bourbon in the nose initially. That's followed by some toffee and mildly boozy alcohol.

T: Just like the aroma, the bourbon dominates at first. After the bourbon subsides slightly, some sweet flavors come to the forefront. Dark sweet fruit, cherry, chocolate, vanilla, and molassas.

M: Very viscous and creamy. This stuff coats like house paint!

D: Very impressive. The only thing that hurts the drinkability is how filling it is. One and your done!

Mar 08, 2007
Photo of bainard
bainard from Illinois

4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap in a pub glass at the Hopleaf in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood.

A - Black as night, not much of a head, but the glass could have been sitting at the bar awhile before being delivered to the table, it was busy that night at the Hopleaf. At any rate, this beer was very dark, intimidating to those unfamiliar with intense stouts. I like these sorts of brews very much.

My friend and I have performed a test on imperial stouts in the past: The Maglite test. Basically, my friend takes his mini Maglite and shines it on one side of the glass of stout, while I observe for light on the other side. For example, on Old 38 (not an imperial, I know, but for the sake of comparison), a deep burgundy is exhibited on this test. For this beer, no light was seen (just like Goose Island Bourbon County). That's a cheap litmus test for a 4.5, I know, but if I saw a head on this thing, it could have been a 5.

S - An intense bouquet of whiskey (obviously), maple syrup, chocolate, caramel. The alcohol is quite present in the aroma, as well.

T - Sweet! This is an astoundingly sweet stout, it's mind-jarring as Bourbon County, but for different reasons. Goose Island's brew knocks you over the head with bourbon and love, while Rock Bottom's bludgeons you with sweetness and love. Either is wonderful, but not for the tame. Lots of candy and sugary fruit (sugarloaf pineapple without the tartness, perhaps? certainly a little berry) in the initial taste, with a finish that is nothing but dark (but not bittersweet) chocolate.

M - Surprisingly easy on the tongue, considering how intense the flavors were. The carbonation is slightly noted in this (par for the course with imperials), and the alcohol is masked very well by the flavors, allowing one to fully absorb the beer in one's mouth before swallowing. The beer itself is the perfect conduit for its flavors, enhancing, but not distracting one from the tastes.

D - A wonderful special occasion brew. Though it may be too sweet and too alcoholic (11%) to drink every day, it's certainly something to look forward to. I would definitely have this again, as it serves as a great sibling to its Chicago foil from Greg Hall. Again, it's a big stout, as far as imperials go, it's most likely the best introduction to imperial stouts that I've encountered. Everyone at the table had a taste, and was quite impressed.

Jun 11, 2006
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

4.22/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has an inky black body with a chocolate brown head that last and last.

S- The smell of oak, bourbon, dark roasted malt and molasses come through with a faint alcohol smell in the finish.

T- The taste of oak is blends with the dark roasted malts and a bourbon bite flows into a soft alcohol taste. As it warms there a faint chocolate note with a nice cream taste in the dark malt. The chocolate is note sweet.

M- this beer has a medium mouthfeel with a nice soft alcohol heat and as the beer warms the mouthfeel becomes more creamy in texture.

D- This beer is big and complex but all the flavors really work together and add more depth without overpowering other flavors.

May 31, 2006
Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Stout from Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 21 ratings