Raven's Eye Imperial Stout | Eel River Brewing Co.

very good
189 Reviews
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Raven's Eye Imperial StoutRaven's Eye Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Eel River Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by beerguy101 on 08-12-2003

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Reviews: 189 | Ratings: 323
Photo of Vancoubeer
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a bottle tonight. I have been looking at this one for some time. I have no idea how old it is but at the near by beer cave these puppies have been sitting on a bottom shelf for over a year. Which is nice due to the 9.5% this should age well. Pouring out of the bottle the liquid is a dark brown and as it settles into the glass it becomes black as night with barely a hint of light causing a brownish ring around the top once the khaki thin head, about half a finger deep (I did not tip my glass) after a straight pour into the glass. The smell was expected. A deep roastyness mixed with what seemed to be almost like a sweet dark fruit mixed with dark chocolate. Very nice. At first sip it was stout bitterness mixed with the roasted malt and that dark bitter cooking chocolate like taste. Excellent. It appears to be very smooth. No alcohol whats so ever in the taste. This has aged well and its obvious that this is not fresh but in a good way. What a steal I got here. The mouthfeel is full bodied. Its thick yet dry to the finish. This has to be one of my top 10 stouts of all time from America. I was quite impressed with this and overall I have to say this is one I will buy again. Its really good and for my options in the Portland, Oregon beer scene that says a lot.

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Photo of beergoot
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Opaque, dark body capped with a thick, creamy tan head. A variety of smells: sweet chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit, slightly burnt grains, twinge of alcohol. Burnt toast and bittersweet taste, a bitter undercurrent mixed with some alcohol flavor. Smooth, creamy feel; buttery; medium-heavy body; soft carbonation; some alcohol heat.

A very good imperial stout. Depth and complexity, nicely balanced. Hits all the marks and comes across as a top-notch big beer.

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Photo of Jayman931
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle served in a snifter

Dark dark brown with a head that dissappeared quickly

Smells of vanilla and caramel...mild though

Taste is great...chocolate with a very mild malt caramel ending

Nice lingering..not super thick for an imperial...overall very nice

Definitely will buy it again..6 bucks for a bomber is a great deal


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Photo of artdob
4.19/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark black - initial head subsides quickly, with small amounts of brown foam lingering on top.

Aroma is wonderful. Sweet chocolate, anise, light black pepper notes. Fudge brownie all around as well. And this is before tasting - can't wait to dive in.

Taste - lots going on here. Sweet malt, Dark caramel, bitterweet cocoa, lingering light bitterness. Much to appreciate here.

Mouthfeel has decent amount of carbonation without being over the top for the style.

Overall, I am really enjoying this one and could see revisiting it if found locally. I picked this up at a Whole Foods in Sebastopol California while on vacation. Plus it is certified organic - cool and giving consideration for this bonus feature in my overall rating. In the Imperial Stout category, Old Rasputin is still king of the hill for me but in absence of finding that, I wouldn't hesitate to spend time with this brew.

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Photo of RonaldTheriot
4.12/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Raven’s Eye Imperial Stout has a medium, tan head and a very dark brown, with ruby highlights, appearance. Lacing is minimal. The aroma is of sour, dark-roasted barley malt and dark coffee and chicory. Taste is of dark coffee, dark chocolate, dark cherries, licorice, fudge, sourness, and chicory. The mouthfeel is heavy, slick, and smooth, and Eel River Raven’s Eye Imperial Stout finishes heavy, dense, wet, and very drinkable.


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Photo of kojevergas
3.38/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a hard plastic cup in me friends gaff in Palo Alto, California. Acquired at a local BevMo. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a two finger head of tan colour, great thickness, great cream, and good retention. Colour is a solid black.

Sm: Nuts, chocolate, cream, milk, and caramel. A moderate strength aroma. A simple aroma for the style.

T: Chocolate, nuts, caramel, milk, roasted barley, and maybe toffee. Enjoyable and pretty complex. I quite like it.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some cream. A bit off for a stout, but nice nonetheless.

Dr: Drinkable for the ABV. I'd like to try it on draught or nitro. A nice little imperial stout.


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Photo of StonedTrippin
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

a pretty large imperial stout. pours nearly black with a frothy off white head. smells like espresso and burnt sugary malt. flavor is big coffee up front with a slow wave of roasty bready grain and booze washing over the palate. mouthfeel is fair, plenty of bubbles and a medium body, it could stand to be a little fuller, might balance out the intense flavors a little better. overal a good imperial stout, one bomber is enough for a hefty buzz!

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Photo of SawDog505
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a 20 oz giant Duvel tulip glass. Pours very black with a dark tan 3 inch head, settles slow into a film of bubbles. Little lacing. Smell is roasted coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits, and some molasses. Taste has some of those qualities, but less chocolate and coffee than the smell led on. Raisins and fig are the dominant flavors, some booze. Body is on the larger side, with a good amount of carbonation for it's large abv. Probably on the dry side and fairly easy drinking. This is a solid imperial stout, different in many ways than many I have had. I say a must try for stout lovers.

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Photo of kjlued
2.67/5  rDev -28.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

This is the furthest thing from what I know a stout to be.
though it is not a bad beer, it not only looks like a cloudy pepsi when you pour it, the fizzing makes it sound like one too.

I told myself not to buy it, as I usually find organic beers to be less favorable but I wanted to keep an open mind.

Like I said, it is not a bad beer, just do not open it and expect a real stout. This beer probably would have gotten a better rating if it was not expecting an Imperial Stout.

Need to add an edit because this is a beer that gets worse with each sip. Not a sink dumper, but will never buy it again and most likely will never buy another beer from this brewery.

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Photo of EricCioe
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This pours almost-black brown with a nice, tightly frothy espresso crema two finger head with good retention but no lace. On the nose there are fresh-ground coffee beans mixing with baker's chocolate and a big roasted malt backbone. In the mouth the chocolate makes itself present both as taste and especially in texture, ultra-creamy and good. The coffee burbles out from under the chocolate and the roasted flavors. A long finish heavy on the slightly bitter roasted notes.

Overall, this is a fine beer, much better than I was expecting given the brewery.

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Photo of palmdalethriller
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Poured a deep dark black with a hint of brown with a tan/brown head that foamed up about the size of a finger or two then dissipated pretty steadily, leaving watery suds on the side of the glass.

S - MMMM, dark chocolate with a hint of fruit - plums maybe, or appricot.

T - Not as much roast flavor as I had expected from the smell. A sweet, chocolaty start followed with a bitter finish. The hops were noticeable, but not extremely pleasant as they combined with the dark malts to give a somewhat unpleasant and harsh aftertaste.

M - Thick, but not chewy. About what an Imp Stout should be.

O - The smell was lovely, and it drank extremely well for a strong beer. If it weren't for that acrid aftertaste this would be a marvelous brew.

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Photo of FARGO619
1.96/5  rDev -47.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 2.5

A: Dark, just how I like them, but man what an awful beer. Good head retention. I was hoping for more.

S: Flat, and sticky. Syrup from mugginess would describe it.

T: This was gross. It was stale and tart with a dark sugarish musk that would not go away. It just got worse with every sip. I felt bad pouring it down the drain. For an IMP STOUT this was disappointing.

O: I'm hoping it was a bad batch. The price was good, but this one I am going to pass on.

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Photo of MoreThanWine
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours all head, mocha colored and slowly receding. Clear burnt umber brown body. Smell is mainly malt. Taste actually reminds me a little of a weaker version of a bourbon barrel aged stout, and the body itself is much lighter of course. There's an interesting aftertaste kind of like a sour rye bread. Interesting. Although not the most imperial of stouts I've had it is indeed unique.

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Photo of pintOast
3.56/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Purchased a 22oz bottle for $3.79. I like the organic element. It's tough to find organic brew that cheap, so... immediately I thought there had to be something wrong with it. Well, I know this beer received some pretty harsh reviews BUT I gotta say it was worth the purchase for me. Maybe I got a fresh bottle or something. Many of the bad reviews I noticed were advocates far away from Cali and I'm wondering if they got some bad bottles. I'd be interested to taste their beers fresh out of the tap. I really didn't think this imperial stout was that bad. In fact, I kind of enjoyed it. Did I enjoy it because I was nearly drunk by the end of it? I don't know, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

A - typical stout color - deep dark brown; foam 2 inches with initial pour but lacked thickness and settled down quickly
S - faint smell of chocolate, coffee, prune and tinge of alcohol; overall aroma was a little weak
T - lacking a little body but no harsh finish; did not taste watered down; the alcohol was not totally apparent, which surprised
M - could be a little silkier/creamier but nothing bad stood out
O - this is a solid brew; not an award winner but priced right and surprisingly easy to put down at 9+ abv.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
2.56/5  rDev -31.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Raven's Eye, bomber bought at Whole Foods Bowery for $6.99. Curious to try an "organic" Imperial Stout!

Appearance: Poured into my Sierra Anniversary snifter, the Raven appears customarily black with brown edges and a two-finger head that dies soon, leaving a chestnut-colored rim around the glass but barely any lacing.

Smell: The nose is bitter, raw, oxidized. Lots of barnyard and dirty farm. Milk shake left in the sun. Some cheap Ghirardelli chocolate crushed and thrown to a bunch of starving babies in Africa while you're vacationing and posing as a foreign-aid worker. Reminds me of an old, stale Stone 11th Anniversary Ale I had not too long ago.

Taste: Extreme coffee bitterness is all I get, plus some creamy milk and cheap chocolate. Like drinking cold burnt-ass Starbucks coffee and trying to wash it off with squares of Russell Stover. Booze and heat at the end. I wonder whether this bottle was wrong? Most reviewers didn't get any bitterness, and I do not get any dark-fruit aromas or vanilla. Curious...

Mouthfeel: The bitterness is overwhelming and unpleasant. It attacks and bites. Also, that expired-milk taste that comes after it doesn't help... This thing feel likes sucking the udder of an emaciated Ethiopian cow trying to get any of the spoiled, sour milk out of it just to survive. Not nice.

Overall: I can't get past the taste/smell/feel of rotten milk, dirty farm and saggy old cow tits. This ain't right, organic or not! Good thing is- I poured some Elijah Craig 12-year-old Kentucky Bourbon on this messy brew and it magically transformed itself into a respectable, woodsy barrel-aged Imperial Stout. Cheers!

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Photo of arizcards
3.17/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked up a bomber from Total Wine on New Years Eve for $6.99.

Beer poured dark brown with no head to speak of.

Nose is of roasted malts and dark fruits. There is a medicinal quality in the background.

Taste is roasted malts and dark fruits, seems a bit flat.

Mouthfeel is light for the style, but it is very smooth.

Overall this is an OK beer, a little uneven, but not a drain pour. Not sure if I will try this again.

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Photo of PorterLambic
3.08/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark brown with little light getting in. Fizzy sounding head has little retention or lace.
Smell fresh from the icebox is mostly wet cardboard. Some very light notes of malt, roast and hop.
Taste is more involving with notes of roasted malt, dark fruits, smoke, coffee, molasses and whiskey.
Flavor is rich but body is just medium, somewhat watery, with a fairly high amount of carbonation. Dry finish and slightly warming. A decen beer but there are many better imperial stouts. Is it just me or are the certified organic beers just not hitting the marks the non-certified beers are hitting?

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Photo of bishopdc0
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown and becomes a black color with a a big head. The head dissipates and leaves a full coverage.

The aroma is nice, full of coffee and sweet cocoa. It is well blended with slight roasted notes very nice.

The taste start with a sweetness of malt to begin. The next flavors are fruity and hints of chocolate, almost like a chocolate covered cherry or raspberry. The chocolate taste come in at the end and leaves a slight velvet feel in the tongue.

(My wife said this is a raisin beer)

For a 9.5% there is no telling watch out as this goes down easy. Esp being that it doesn't really feel like or have the body of a RIS

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Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin creamy tan head that quickly dissipated and left a thin ring of bubbles on the surface around the edges of the glass.
S: There are aromas of chocolate and dark fruits in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell except that the dark fruits are more prominently featured in the flavors, which also have notes of coffee and hints of roasted malts. No bitterness is detectable.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied but a bit thin on the palate with a light amount of carbonation. The finish has some notes of warming from the alcohol.
O: The beer is very easy to drink and any traces of alcohol are well hidden from the taste; however the beer lacks the full-bodied nature and bold flavors of roasted malts commonly exhibited by other beers in the style.

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Photo of Thanby
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a finger of smooth brown head.

Nose is wonderfully smooth, lots of apricot and raisin, very sweet and full. A little hops and some notes of clove and nutmeg, overall very balanced.

The flavor is brighter than expected, a burst of lighter roasted malt and laced through with vanilla bean. Some toffee and caramel, and the dark fruits aren't as forward as expected. Rounded off by a bit of dry hops and a lingering sweetness.

Medium body, definitely like the nitrogen conditioning, very smooth and complex though a Tad on the sweet side and a little sticky at the end, this is still definitely wiry a try. My second Eel River, it continues to encourage me to sample more of their brews.

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Photo of Kylito87
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I am very fond of the RIS style. The very first product from this brewery. Heres we goes!

Appearance- More amber then black. It is more of a mahogoney chestnut color with a tawnee colored billowy head that clings to my glass. Decent lacing but the alcohol probably deters that a bit.

Smell- semi sweet chocolate with roasted coffee. Dried fruit with alcohol.

Taste- Bold chocolate with some toffee notes. Some sweet fruit and vanilla sugar.

Mouthfeel- Somewhat viscous with a slick oily feel. Full bodied with a fair amount of carbonation. Some hot alcohol near the end. Somewhat dry on the finish.

Drinkability- It is an RIS so a bomber is more than plenty.

Overall- Is it a good beer yeah. Is it a good representation of the style not quite. That being said the beer might improve with a year or so . I have no patience and I have yet to sample a mature beer at this point. The oldest vintage I have had was two years old. If I have no better option I might try again.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
2.42/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured in to brandy snifter.

A - Medium brown with a small amount of light brown head. Very light colour for a RIS.

S - Chocolate and coffee with some toasted nuts.

T - Some roasted malts, light notes of chocolate. Noticeable alcohol. Very light tasting compared to all other RIS I have had. Not very inviting. Tasted more like an imperial brown ale than an imperial stout.

M - Light to medium body. Moderately carbonated.

D - I drain poured most of this one. Gave it a chance and drank half of my glass but just couldn't get through this one.

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Photo of MrHassellYaHurd
3.76/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into a pint glass. Slightly murky deep maroon color with thick, but rapidly flattening khaki head.

The smell is of sweet candied fruits, and a quite appealing thick malty aroma. Not a terribly high amount of roasted barley smell here.

The taste is spearheaded by super-sweet malty goodness with a bitter roasted grain aftertaste. A slight alcoholic tinge peeks through between the candied fruit tastes from the nose.

Thick-bodied, viscous, syrupy, slick. Drinkability is better than average.

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Photo of 100floods
3.82/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours pitch black and coffee stained white head. From a foot away I got a few sweet dark malt aromas. It smells considerably of chocolate. Tasted strongly of burnt/roasted malt and dark chocolate and remains to be very smooth, too. Lots of dark chocolate and hops towards the end to finish each sip. The malt and hops have a nice balance. It's like a bitter malt flavor that gently cuts through. This reminds me of a smooth, mild espresso or coffee. I'm not too particular about the carbonation in my stouts, but I find it in this beer to be fitting. It's noticeable but overstepping. For 9.5%, it does not show, a huge plus in my book. This beer is extremely enjoyable. High marks considering how many harsh, big stouts I've drank recently. Raven's Eye is indeed, not the most outstanding stout I've had (it's up there), but for it's size it's not hard to drink. Very much comparable to Marin's stout, just with more coffee flavor.

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Photo of JLeege
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Bottle into a snifter.

Appearance- pours a very deep brown with a one finger khaki head. Quickly fades to a slight ring around the glass.

Smell- very nutty and toffee. Caramel and sweet. Trying to put my finger on the aroma, after a few minutes I realize it is those "Bullseye" chewy candies that I am smelling.

Taste- Follows the smell, but is very very light for an imperial stout. Some bitter coffee notes on the finish. Not to bad, but this should be stronger. This is more like a strong brown ale than an impy stout.

Mouthfeel- this is one of the lightest feeling imperials I have tasted. Fairly low carbonation, good, but not thick and chewy, not so good.

Overall- nothing about this says imperial stout, including the 9.5%, so that is both good and bad. They did a great job hiding the abv's, but the flavor and body is not quite there. With all that said, I do like the flavor of this a lot, but nothing about this even whispers Imperial Stout.

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Raven's Eye Imperial Stout from Eel River Brewing Co.
3.75 out of 5 based on 323 ratings.
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