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

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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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Ratings: 327 |  Reviews: 191
Photo of aforbes10
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours big and black, approaching opaque. Short ring of a head around the outside of the glass. Wet, quick lacing. Smells good, of dark fruits, chocolate, all that good stuff. Flavor is similar to the aroma, though with more of a bitter coffee grounds taste, thats a bit distracting. Still, the fruits come through, as well as a strong alcohol punch that dominates the back end. Full bodied, as appropriate. Drinks fine, but not among the best of the style.

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

Pours a dark root beer color and settles nearly black with a slight cast of very deep mahogany to it. Fluffy tan cap of foam sits about a finger high and swiftly resides to a partial skim and a slim collar. Lacing in some huge sheets and a few spots trying to connect across.

Aroma is hardly evident of anything Imperial as it comes across mostly dry and bittersweet with mild raisin. Smells quite light overall with milk chocolate and graham cracker notes, and there's some slightly roasted heat that shows its 9.5%.

Taste is slender and rounded with a fair amount of chocolate covered raisins soaked in rum. Roasty, toasty, firm, heated, dryish, cherry hints and more soft, airy, boozy chocolate to loft into the finish as it cinders in a warm coating across the throat and gullet.

Feel is about medium with a large warming heart of smooth, soft, airy chocolate and booze.

Its not all that big, but it'll do. Its well made, wholesome, warm, and the whole organic thing is unique to it. Perhaps a punch more of length, body, and complexity this would be more of what I come to like out of an RIS.

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

A - A small, medium brown head with little lace. The body is opaque black.

S - Dark chocolate with some nutty malt and spicy hops. Some slightly solventy alcohol in the background.

T - Chocolate and roasted malt dominate. Some mild hops in the middle and the finish is all coffee and chocolate.

M - Somewhat thick body, medium carbonation, and a sweet finish.

D - This is a nice, solid imperial stout. It is not complex enough to compete with the really great big stouts, but it has a nice dark malt and it gets the job done.

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Photo of stephens101
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've always appreciated organic breweries, but sometimes the brews don't seem to hit me just right. That being said, I'm opening up to the idea more, and am trying to support more organic breweries. Eel River is new in these parts, so I'm looking forward to trying all their beers. Let's see how this one stacks up.

A one finger quickly fading tan head completes a jet black pour. Diminutive sheets of lacing rise above the brew when all settles down. A deep whiff brings to the noses attention some roasted malts and nuts, dark chocolate and dark fruits (figs, raisins, grapes). Aroma isn't overly complex, but the ingredients are quite evident without too much effort being made. Tastes malty, spicy and sweet up front. More grain and pine exist in the middle with some medicinal notes, bitterness and a good alcohol heat bringing up the end. The taste of this full-bodied brew is more complex than the smell, and yet it goes down quite fluidly. There's not a ton of carbonation, but just enough to keep things floating on the palate.

This is one of the best organic brews I've tried, and proves to me that taste doesn't have to suffer just because it's organic. Kudos Eel River!

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Photo of kkipple
3.37/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

From notes:

A. A thin, clear brown brew with a small, dense tiny head. A bit light for the style.

S. Rather boozy, fruity, some roast grains and chocolate... needs more chararacter to be memorable. Requisite coffee and cocoa are there, nice sweet smell, still bit messy.

T. Hmm... thin, tastes somewhat like wort. Unfermented grain sugars. Alcohol forward and still sweet. Unrefined, needs tightening up. Brown sugar, coffee, dark fruit, something here reminds me of a brown ale. Hmm.

M. Thin, wet, sweet finish. Adequate carbonation.

D. Eh... yeah, I mean, you can... but there are so many better brews out there. Hard to recommend.

Rather unimpressive. Too much alcohol and fruitiness make for a rather vague brew that runs against the style. Not bad, just not worth buying again. Pity.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, with plenty of reddishness bleeding through...clean, cocoa tan head standihng tall above.

Roasted bittersweet nose...dry and toasty...nice...

Taste: more of the same,plus some cocoa rising up ...roastytoasty chocolatey. But rather tame for the style.
Body's a bit too passive for my taste. Way too thin to be considered a good RIS, but not bad for an average stout.
It's nearly 10% abv, but it's nowhere as thick, chewy, and full bodied as the style demands.

Should we have lower expectations when it comes to the taste of organic beers? I hope not.
This just doesn't get me what I expect/and/or/desire from an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Arbitrator
2.85/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Bomber poured into pint glasses and split with a friend.

A: Very, very dark brown. Impenetrable when held up to the light.

S: Coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruits.

T: Dark chocolate dominates with the coffee and dark fruit lagging behind. Malts pick up a bit later. A little booze warmth.

M: Just the right amount of carbonation and complexity, but it's boozy.

D: Slight difficulty downing it toward the end; it was almost a little TOO much, even split. Perhaps I drank it too fast. I'd certainly be willing to buy it again to see.

Highly recommended. What a damn good stout.

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

22oz bomber -> american pint
no date ( 2008 )

Pours pitch black with a small cocoa colored head. Thick lace sticks to the glass in sheets.

Nose: Dark malts, deep dark fruit flavors, currants, licorice and a little booze.

Slick thick juicy mouthfeel. Dark malts, chocolate bit of coffee. Finishes with a chalky cocoa like bitterness. A huge flavor profile here pholks, kudos.

An imperial in every sense of the word. Booze warms a bit but never dominates. Organic ta bute. Thanks to Alushia for the bombers!

Enjoyed, thanksgiving 2008.

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Photo of babaracas
4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from bomber, brown-black w/ reddish brown edges. Tan head which fades to thin layer, fairly thick lacing. Smell: chocolate, roasted, black malt, a whiff of hops, raisin, and alcohol. Smell: sweet, dark fruit upfront, chocolate and alcohol and slight toffee. Good amount of citric and spicy hops blended in as well. The alcohol is fairly upfront, but at 9.5 it's not overly boozy. Mouthfeel: almost nitro smooth but maybe a bit thin, medium bodied and not so syrupy. Good RIS and inexpensive to boot.

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Photo of Billolick
4.32/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ouncer, w/o vintage/freshness/bottling data, c'mon guys doesn't this style deserve some sort of consumer info? Anyway, this one pours dark dark mahogany, very dark tan head, tightly knit showing better then average retention, and moderate scattered lace. Rich burnt malty, chocolaty, raisin nose. Full flavor RIS, lots of chocolate, black coffee, figs, raisins, gooey brownies. Yummy stuff, nice cold weather sipper, or would be great with a rich dessert or perhaps with some robust BBQ. Perhaps a bit thin in the mouth feel to qualify as a world class offering, but this one did not disappoint. Stout lovers, go get some and enjoy.

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Photo of eddiebo
4.38/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: pours a large creamy head which takes several minutes to dissipate, leaving some lacing at different points all the way down the glass (drank a bomber in about 45 mins) deep brown almost purplish color to the body
S: coffee and jam-like scents with some chicory notes
T: not overly hoppy and no bitter bite on the finish, not sweet either, a subtle balance of roasted, jam, chocolate, and chicory notes, full flavored without being overbearing
F: a fairly luxurious and creamy mouthfeel - similar to an oatmeal stout but with some porter-like carbonation on top
D: could have easily gone for bomber #2, and this packs a whallop - a very drinkable and enjoyable stout worth seeking out and trying. I am have been impressed with each Eel River offering that I have sampled so far, they are definitely at the forefront of organic brewing.

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Photo of cvfish
4.03/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a glass

A - Black color with a light brown head that dissappeared quickly as the brew was drunk

S - Wasn't impressed with the scent, burnt scents were the most apparent

T - Tasted like roasted coffee with a slight chocolate aftertaste

M - Medium bodied brew with more carbonation than I prefer

D - Other than the higher than normal carbonation, very good brew

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Photo of Vancer
3.23/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pure oily black, thick and gooey rich - topped with a tan head that leaves the sticky lace ring around the ol' Corsendonk tulip.

Big whiff of chocolate milkshake greets the nose, subtle hints of anise just add to the urge to quaff. But the quaff is a bit of a letdown - brew is thinner than expected and missing a real RIS quality. Lacks any standout flavor. No hint of the strong booze, but seems closer to a dry stout than a big hitting Impy.

Decent, but not one I would seek out again.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.43/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber- pours a dark black with frothy chunky beige head and sticky lacing. Nose- not alot there, faint roast and chocolate. Taste- dark chocolate, anise, hint of hotness, but overall very silky smooth. Finishes moderately dry. Body is tad thin, but drinkable

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Photo of cvstrickland
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 22-ounce cellar-cool bomber bottle poured into a shaker pint glass yields a light-absorbing dark mahogany body capped with a thick layer of oily mocha foam. The glossy, grainy-bubbled head recedes slowly and leaves a thick webbing of lacing on the glass.

Rich, dark-chocolatey malts and sweetly herbal hops greet the nose. I'm a fan of hoppy stouts, and this one is getting my hopes up right off the bat! Notes of dark caramelized sugar emerge as the drink warms.

The taste is rich and darkly malty with a spritz of citrusy hops. Notes of licorice and powder-dry cocoa work in concert to keep a hefty alcohol presence subdued and fruity, but a significant warming in the belly flashes a warning light at the drinker... "Look out, this one's packing heat!" The finish is dry and dark-chocolatey, and a boozy fruitiness increases toward the end of the drink.

The brew is on the full side of medium-bodied with fine, unobtrusive carbonation. Silky without being syrupy, and despite the significant ABV, Raven's Eye is a very drinkable Imperial stout. Remember, though, that just because this thing is 'Certified Organic' doesn't mean that it hippily embraces peace and love, and won't kick your ass!

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Photo of ericj551
4.5/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's nice too see organic beers go outside the norm a bit. Raven's eye pours an inky black with a nice brown head. The aroma is dominated by chocolate with some roasted characteristics and a bit of grassy, damp hops. More chocolate and roasted in the flavor, with enough milky, creamy sweetness to balance out the astringency. There is some alcohol in the finish, but the beer goes down smooth and the big flavors only hint at the 9.5% abv.

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Photo of WesWes
3.57/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a deep dark black color with a 1/2" tan head that fades to spotty lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm chocolate and black malt scent that also has some burnt toffee overtones. The taste is decent. It has a thin black malt and burnt toffee taste that goes down very well and finishes warm and bitter. The mouthfeel is average. It is a medium/full bodied beer with less than adequate carbonation. This is a pretty drinkiable RIS. It's quite thin for the style and the carbonation needs some adjustment.

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Photo of abedenbaugh
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: A dark black color with an off white head. The head has medium sized bubbles and stayed for awhile.
S: It has a very sweet aroma. Some alcohol in the nose. Also a little bit of a candy smell.
T: A soft roasty flavor up front. The mouth feel helps make everying more rounded in the beer. Some coffee. Hints of red wine. A little bit of bitterness in the end.
MF: Medium-heavy mouth feel and medium-high carbonation.
D: I enjoyed this beer a lot. The mouth feel really makes the beer more rounded and helped all of the flavors go well together.

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Photo of khiasmus
4.1/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with ruby highlights and light tan head that retains quite well.
Smells like cinnamon rolls, pumpernickel, strong malt, almost wort.... a bit of dark grains. Very sweet overall in the nose with a bunch of very bready yeast.
Flavor is much the same as the nose... tastes under-attenuated because of the worty notes. Very sweet with a bit of roasted grain and fusel alcohol in the finish.
Velvety smooth with very high alcohol warmth and a hint of dryness from evaporation in the middle.
Quite drinkable. certainly worth a try and slightly underrated in my opinion.

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

22 fl oz brown bottle; served in a goblet.

Pours a near opaque, deep oak in color beneath a carbonation-filled, tan head. The head's retention is minimal as it caves outward-in after only a moment. Dimpled lacing with average strength.

Milk & dark chocolate with a heavy mocha and caramel aroma. Light vanilla, espresso, and even dried hazlenut. A rounded, vinous fruit-soaked alcohol. Rich and quite complex.

Creamy caramel and milk chocolate up front, soon followed by a chewy, roasted malt character. Aged, vinous fruit: cherry, grape, plum, mildly tart green apple and orange. The alcohol presence is quite balanced and marries well with the chocolate and vinous fruit characters. The finish is rough and bittered, which shows a sharper alcohol presence in the aftertaste.

Full bodied; big flavors, but a lighter/thinner mouthfeel than I would expect from the style. Thin in spots, but mostly able to balance the flavors.

Good flavors and almost balanced; however, this is on the lighter side of an Imperial Stout. This actually tastes more like a Baltic Porter. Pleasant, but would not be my first choice for the style.

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Photo of DrJay
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up in NJ a couple weeks ago. A short cap of fine tan foam topped this dark brown, mahogany beer. Some lacing, good head retention. Not much roast in the aroma, more burnt and charcoal than anything else, plus some malted milk, toffee, and chocolate. Mild bitterness up front. Sweet caramel and chocolate with that burnt, smokey character showing up mid-palate and lingering into the finish adding some bitterness. Ended with some ripe fruit adding to the mix. Creamy texture, soft carbonation with medium to full body and mild alcohol warmth. Not bad at all. The burnt character just seemed to be a bit overdone, but otherwise quite enjoyable.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.91/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The last of my recent pick ups from Green's in Greenville, South Carolina, Raven's Eye poured out pitch back in color and was opaque when held up against light. The head topping the beer was small, but dark, and dissipated in a short time to a layer of small bubbles. The smell was milder than a typical RIS, and was mostly chocolate and coffee with little hoppyness. The taste was reminiscent of sweetened dark coffee sprinkled with chocolate. There was a hint of dark fruits, but I had to look for it carefully. There was noticeable astringent, roasted grain, bitterness to counter the sweet malts. This was an intense but approachable beer, and made me easily forget the 9.5% ABV, until the warmth in the belly reminded me. Heft on the palette, and slickness of feel was unmistakably imperial. The aftertaste was short lived. Very enjoyable due to its well rounded construction, but none of the aspects were really a standout.

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Photo of BrewAskew
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a thin tan head and very dark red-brown color. Aroma is strong on roasted grain, coffee, vanilla and red wine. Flavor is a roasted malt and vanilla mixture with a caramel finish. Mouthfeel is full and a bit prickly form a bit too much CO2. Good tasting and easy to drink.

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Photo of lackenhauser
4.18/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Deep black in color. Smallish tan head. Mellow aroma-nice deep roasted mocha type smell. Killer roasted and somewhat coffeeish flavor. Silky smooth maltiness against the roasted flavor. Somewhat grainy taste. Nice level of hop bite to it. Lingering dark chocolate taste. Very full and smooth mouthfeel. Just a great RIS all around. Really a nice beer. I love the mellow coffe/mocha thing going on. Thank you sir can I have another?

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Photo of LumpyGuitar
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was a recommended organic brew, well worth the money and one of the best stouts I've ever had.

Poured a dark black with about 2 fingers of rocky tan head.

Smells of dark chocolate, brown sugar, and malt. A faint scent of caramel is also present. Nice.

Taste is very nice, bitter and smooth, with flavors of dark chocolate, brown sugar, molasses. Very thick with roasted malt and bitter creaminess.

Mouthfeel is nice. Carbonation is superb, right where it should be for this, and the balance is outstanding.

Drinkability here is good. This and Stone's Russian Imperial are my go-to's for stouts and this one holds a special place in my heart. I would have never known that this was organic or not, but considering that its this good and it is..well..high praises.

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Raven's Eye Imperial Stout from Eel River Brewing Co.
3.75 out of 5 based on 327 ratings.
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