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

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very good
188 Reviews
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Raven's Eye Imperial StoutRaven's Eye Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
188
Ratings:
320
Avg:
3.75
pDev:
16.27%
 
 
Wants:
13
Gots:
29
For Trade:
2
User Reviews
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Reviews: 188 | Ratings: 320
Photo of njmoons
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

More interesting than anything and seemed more like a Porter to me.

Appearance: Dark black, with a nice dark head of foam. Looked tasty.

Smell: Had the traditional RIS aroma, heavy fruit, molasses, caramels. There was more hop aroma that I typically would expect.

Taste: The initial impression was that it was thin for RIS, then flavors of molassis and cherry/plum fruitiness with some unexpected smokey flavors as well. The finish is dominated with Washington State Hops (Cascades?) which are not my favorite, but under control here, so it did not ruin the beer for me. This seemed more a good Porter to me.

Mouthfeel was too thin for an RIS

Drinkability was about average. A good beer to enjoy slowly.

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Photo of WJVII
3.21/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1 1/2 pint bottle this brew has a dark molasses color with a overly thick head that settled from the bottom up. There is no lacing to speak of despite the high ABV. The nose is light and has some hints of chocolate and coffee. A mild nuttiness is present as well. The taste is a little thin for the style. There is noticeable alcohol in the taste. Coffee and roasted malt are in the finish of this brew. Not too impressed with this. I enjoy the style however this brew is not as complex as similar imperials I have tried. Not sure if the "organic" nature takes anything away. For the cost not worth it (at $6.99 a bottle).

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Photo of WYVYRN527
3.62/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm not sure I can consider this an Imperial stout. The beer pours a very dark mahogany with some light shining through. The head is vigorous and thick, and lacing is minimal. The smell is decent. Dried fruits, some caramel and chocolate, and very malty. Taste is more that of an old ale than an imperial stout. Sweet, with hints of fig and rasin, with a bit of caramel and spice. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, but still enough to coat the palate. Drinkability is there, but I am dissappointed in the brewery for calling this beer an imperial stout. It doesn't even come close to being a stout, in my opinion. I would have classified this an old ale, while Triple Exultation would have been considered an American Barleywine. It's a decent beer, but wrongly named.

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Photo of theboozecruise
3.99/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first beer from Eel River... let's see how this goes.

Poured from a 16.9 oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass... beautiful chocolate body with a creamy beige head... even overflowed a little. Hopefully the beer gods will forgive me!

The smell is a little muted, the malt and chocolate is there like you'd expect just not as strong as I'd like to smell. A little bit of raisin in there as well.

Not so on the palate. Chocolaty malt is what you get, followed by a tinge of bitter hops on the back of the tongue. I like it.

Feels great going down, the 9.5% abv is very well balanced with the flavors.

In my opinion, a very well done imperial stout.

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Photo of far333
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black with purple highlights and a head of light brown foam that rises to a full inch and slowly recedes down to a fine cap.

Aroma of raisin and port, some molasses.

Vinous flavor, some cherry tang, molasses and brown sugar. Moves to coffee and cocoa. Subtle notes of alcohol. Seems to be missing a roasty character.

Thin mouthfeel with moderate carbonation. Average drinkability, needs some complexity and backbone.

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

taste- chocolate malt, roasted coffee

color- deep, red-brown

clarity- opaque but pours clear

smell- chocolate malt

body- firm and lean

appearance- dark, clean, thin off-white head

overall impression- good, lean

notes- this is the first eel river beer i like. killer label, would have liked a creamier mouthfeel. would like more roast and heavier chocolate. this review is for a 2008 vintage tasted in 2008

glassware: pint

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Photo of EgadBananas
2.82/5  rDev -24.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

1 pint 6 oz bottle. Into the tulip.

A: Pours deep dark black with a little bit of crimson highlights. Dark tan head, not caramel colored like a typical good RIS... frowny face. Heads up nicely if its any consellation..

S: The smell is a little redeeming. It's got a nice creamy, smoky aroma. Hints of chocolate, very mild coffee or expresso notes, and roasted malts. Vague fruits if at all.

T: I don't find this to be a very good Imperial...it's more along the lines of an American Stout, a la Sierra Nevada Stout (though still not as good). Theres malts, a little chocolate. Very dissappointed in the lack of coffee notes upon taste. Smells smokier and more burnt than it tastes.

M: Probably the most dissapointing part of this beer is how thin it is. Though it is heavier than your average beer or even porter, this should be so much thicker and richer. Theres no chewyness at all really and the flavors don't burst out at you as you swill.

D: Some peaple might take the thinness of this and call it uber drinkable... it's just not the case. 1 of these is plenty, and only because of quality concerns.

Notes: Theres so many better offerings of this style. Obviously the "certified organic" tagging doesn't save this beer. And, being as most all good beer is made from natural, supposed not in-organic ingrediants, why isn't all beer organic? I think beer should be a given if you ask me, "certification" not required....

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Photo of maximum12
3.77/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A bomber split with the wife that said kind wife bought for me for my birthday. Is there anything better than a wife that gets you a box of beer for your birthday AND your anniversary? Didn't think so.

Pours pitch black with no fizz to speak of, not even a cute little tan or white ring. Reeks of alcohol & black licorice.

Raven's Eye is dominated by the taste of black licorice, which I don't believe I've ever tasted in a brew before. Along for the ride is a hefty box of chocolate, gritty roasted dark grains, & a splash of espresso.

My only real complaint about this one is that it's extremely filling, after about two ounces I'm feeling the nooks & crannies in my tummy starting to fill up with dark stout goodness. Style-appropriate thickness that coats my tongue & mouth.

Very good beer. Not tasty enough to crack the upper echelon of imperial stouts, but an original take on the style & certainly quaffable.

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Photo of sweetbrew82
3.19/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22 oz. bottle into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Extremely dark rosy-brown in the glass with crimson edges where the light easily penetrates through the liquid. The tan crown is barely 1 inch tall, even after a vigorous pour and is much looser & soapier in its appearance than I would expect from a RIS. It showed only average retention before sinking to a paper-thin halo while leaving only specks of lacing that didn't hang around very long. Looks very underwhelming for a RIS.

A: Roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, coffee, caramel, dark fruits, citrusy notes, and some molasses. Smells much better than it looks, that's for sure.

T: Starts much more roasty upfront with flavors of bittersweet chocolate, black coffee, molasses, licorice, and some fig/plum type of dark fruit presence. Then, seems to become much more bitter on back end from slightly burnt malts, citric hop bitterness, a hint of charcoal, and a musty earthiness that leaves a nasty, astringent aftertaste. Upfront, the beer is okay. But the back half of the mouthful is too burnt, abrasive, and bitter for my personal preference. However, it does get better once it's warm. Still, not real impressed with this one.

M: Raven's Eye Imperial Stout features a mouthfeel that seems more fit for a porter than a Russian Imperial Stout. It's medium-full bodied and seems almost a tad watery in spots. Its got a moderate amount of carbonation that prickles the back of the tongue a bit with some slight creaminess that develops if you swirl it around in your mouth for long enough. But, it offers nothing in the way of silky smoothness or chewiness whatsoever.

Notes: Well, after being hesitant to try any of Eel River's offerings after being hugely disappointed with their Organic Porter, I was hoping that they could redeem themselves with this stab at a Russian Imperial Stout. Unfortunately, I was wrong. It's not horrible, but not great by any stretch of the imagination, either. Just like the Organic Porter, the flavor just isn't up to par and the mouthfeel is waaay off and needs to be beefed up considerably. Not recommended

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Photo of DontTreadOnMike
2.9/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance
Very dark, almost black, with reddish tones. Quite foamy if you’re not careful. Large cream colored head.

Aroma
Very sweet. Caramel and chocolate maltiness. Not very strong aroma but I can tell this is going to be big. Very malty, no hops detected at all.

Pallate
Velvet silkiness. Very smooth and thick but not sticky. No bite at all; I don’t know if that’s good or bad in most people’s eyes but for a thick Imperial Stout, that’s just the way I like it.

Taste
My first impressions went like this:
“Hmm. This is kind of boring. I’ll hold it in my mouth for a while to see what I can detect…….not a whole lot is changing.”

After I swallow….

“Wow! Excellent coffee after taste! Very good finish!”

After a few more sips my impressions mellowed out again. It’s not very complex. Apart from the surprise ending, there isn’t much to this brew at all. It’s very malty and that’s good but it didn’t change much. It’s not very strong, there’s almost no hint of alcohol or hop flavors; it’s just…sweet.

Overall
Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a BAD beer. Not at all. In fact I’ll probably buy it again. It’s very drinkable, especially for an Imperial Stout. But that’s sort of the problem, I could gulp this thing down if I wanted to. When I buy an IMPERIAL Stout I want it to make me wince a little bit. I want to have to sip it slowly and think about the way the complex flavors are changing in my mouth. This beer looks, smells, and feels excellent. But the flavor is just a little boring for an Imperial Stout. Like I said, I’ll definitely buy this again but it’s not going in my list of favorites.

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Photo of BeardedBoffin
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The brown bomber states that Raven's Eye Imperial Stout is, apparently, certified organic.

The beer pours a dark chestnut brown with a big robust cap of ecru foam. Semisweet chocolate in the nose is kissed with some sweet dark fruit aromas. Surprisingly light on the palate, a little thin as it makes its way back.

The flavor starts out bland. Things pick up as it moves through the center with milk chocolate character and a bitter cocoa finish. Just a tad of booze is detectable right at the end.

This beer could use some complexity. The profile is thin and the flavor is weak, particularly upfront.

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

This was the last bottle from a birthday gift my (now-ex) girlfriend gave me in August of 2008. It wasn't the best bottle from that gift, but it meant the most to me when I finally drank it in March of 2009. Wherever you are Sarah, I love you, I miss you and thank you. Out of the bomber the brew was a dark brownish-black color with a tan head. The retention was decent as a thin skim and the lacing spotty but consistent. The aroma was full of chocolate with some dry cocoa, roasted malt, light coffee, alcohol heat and caramel malt. The flavors were again full of chocolate malt along with alcohol heat, raisins, dark fruit, molasses, roasted malt and a little coffee on the finish. The mouthfeel was a little oily but slightly above-average, the body full and the carbonation medium. Yum. And thank you again. For everything.

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Beer Hunter snifter.

Full, dark tan head that dissapates quickly. Opaque black. No light gets through.

Aromas of roasted malt, alcohol, figs, and plums/prunes.

Taste is much like the aroma. First impression is fruit (figs and plums), malt, alcohol, and carbonic acid. After taste is sweet malt and fruit, and....licorice on the finish.

On second sniff, licorice is present as well.

Biggest drawback on this beer is mouthfeel. It is a little thin. Not very coating. A little spritzy from the carbonation, more than I would like in an imperial stout.

Drinkability is good. I can imagine the fruit coming forwward with a year or more of cellaring, and the carbonation thinning a bit.

Good beer overall. Not sure that the Organic label means anything to me, personally. but would buy/drink again.

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

I've had this bottle for a year or two, tonight she beckoned to me.
This one pours a solid black with a smallish tan head that dissipates quickly. Chocolate syrup, candied caramel, and a touch of alcohol dominate the aroma. Some rosted malts come through as she warms, but it is faint. Luscious and creamy mouthfeel bring out the milk chocolate very well in this one. It's almost like sipping on a thick chocolate milk. Slight alcohol midstream with a slightly roasty, dark dried fruit finish. Carbonation is low but ample, body is thick. I really enjoyed this one, its very tasty. I thought it lacked some roasted flavors that I usually associate with an Imp Stout, but I could enjoy this beer often if given the chance.

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Photo of coldmeat23
3.74/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 45 degrees

Pours a very, very dark, golden brown. One-finger head of loose brown foam. Recedes, rather quickly, to a nice, thin, surface covering. Lacing is in chunks and is somewhat slick.

The first scent to hit me is 'Dutch Style' chocolate milk. Very good milk chocolate sweetness. Lots of dark fruit presence behind that. Light traces of coffee and a very mild hint of booziness. Sweet milk caramels. Mild hints of brownie batter. Light touch of roastiness.

Roasted grains and sweet milk chocolate. A light touch of some not quite desired coffee bitterness. Some dried fruit notes. Mild hop presence.

Rather light and thin, for the style. Medium body with medium carbonation. Smooth, but practically no creaminess at all.
This one should be thicker and creamier.

At 9.5%ABV and around $8 for a bomber, I have to say that I don't think I'll be drinking too many of these, in the future.
Especially when their Triple Exultation sits right next to this on the shelf. That one is such a better product than this one.

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

One of the bottles I ordered through Shoppers Vineyard online.

Pours a light black liquid with brownie syrup highlights and a two finger, light brown head. The foam quickly recedes to nothing. The aroma is a heavy nesquick and brownie with a smooth coffee mixed in. The taste starts with smooth roasted malts, brownie milk chocolate, and some coffee. The middle is silky smoth and warm, while the finish bitters up a ittle bit and has a smokey note to it.

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Photo of thryn
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark reddish brown into the goblet but looks fairly black once it gets there. No head but a nice espresso-crema effect.

A lot of coffee in the nose. A bit of bitter chocolate. Some bourbony booze.

This is pretty damn tasty, but it's a bit hot. Starts out bitter and boozy. Prominent coffee flavor follows. A really nice chocolate aftertaste. If it was a little more balanced, it would get a 4. I wonder if it would smooth out bit with age. Still very tasty.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin. It's nicely sticky but needs a bit more heft.

Overall not bad at all, and I'll happily finish the bomber, but there are better RIS options out there.

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Photo of CityBoy1986
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a 22 oz. bomber. I could not find a freshness date.

The pour is a deep, dark brown with ruddy undertones. Two fingers' tan head are gone quickly and leave little lacing.

The nose is roasted, chocolate, some dark fruits and a bit of alcohol. The taste is more of the same with some added grassy and earthy flavours. Overall, the taste reminds me of licorice. A mild bitterness is present throughout the sip.

The mouthfeel is a little thinner than I expected, but there is a nice amount of carbonation. Drinkability is good. The 9.5% alcohol is well hidden, but one can tell this is an alcoholic beverage.

Though there is room for improvement, this is a solid brew. However, I'd be more likely to buy this again if I found it in a four or six pack (which is a moot point in Miss. at the moment).

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Photo of stemcell001
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured black from a bomber with a small tan head. The head dissipated at a reasonable rate and left very nice lacings down the glass. Smells of sweet caramel and dried fruits hit the nose before the first sip. I really thought the body on this one would have been bigger from the looks and smell. There still was plenty of roasted malt goodness up front with some licorice and dried fruits in the taste. It was strange how quickly those tastes vanished leaving a trace of alcohol bite in the back. I really like this imperial stout. It isn't my favorite, but I would have another just to change things up a bit.

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Photo of shadow1961
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Eel River's Raven's Eye Imperial Stout pours a thin head over an opaque black brew. The steady stream of bubbles making a ring around the edge of the glass speaks to an active and steady carbonation. The nose is dark fruit, plums perhaps, and mocha. The flavor is slightly sweet roasty dark malts, with notes of dark fruit, bitter chocolate, and rum, balanced with a bit of herbal hops and a bright flash of alcohol. Mouthfeel is round and full- though the alcohol by volume comes in at 9.5%, at no time is it out of control- so take care- this one is a sipper! Pretty remarkable too, is that this brew, like everything out of Eel River, is certified 100% Organic- sourcing all the materials and maintaining quality must be a constant challenge. In the end it's worth it because this is a very nice stout!

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Photo of mjl21
3.92/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle poured into a Chimay glass. No bottling info is given. Comes in at 9.5%.

A-Pours black with a 1/2 finger tan head that dissolves to a frothy, bubbly ring. The second pour yields nothing but a small ring.

S-Roasted malt, chocolate, raisins/prunes, and dried grass/hay.

T-Roasted malt upfront with some nice bittering at the end. Notes of chocolate and dried stone fruit.

M-Thinner for an Imperial. Has nice carbonation.

D-Very good. The 9.5% is nicely blended.

If someone gave this to me I would never guess it is an Imperial. The alcohol is not detectable and it does not have the chewy mouthfeel. Still it is a good organic beer, though not perfect for the style.

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Photo of AdmiralDiaz
4.02/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark brown almost black. Small brown head with poor retention.

S: Roasted malts with chocolate and a lot of sweetness.

T: Very mellow (for the style) Roasted malts with an almost fruity sweetness ending with a nice chocolate. Good hop balance overall.

Overall: Good smooth and well carbonated mouthfeel. Pretty drinkable for the style, but the sweetness would get old after a bit. First from the brewer and I really enjoyed it.

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Photo of Richardberg
3.69/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Liquid is dark but not quite black; lets a little light thru and has a noticeably ruby border. No head at all.

S: deeply toasted malts, sweet caramel, licorice

T: crisp ale taste quickly blooms into a rather unexpected chocolate flavor. Finishes slightly bitter with ample hopping. Hard to believe it's the same beer as the smell description :) Thoroughly pleasant style-buster.

M: quite thin for a stout, little carbonation to speak of. Flavors are strong but don't linger (aside from the alcohol burn).

D: alky is pretty well hidden considering the 10% ABV. But you don't get the overall bold presentation that usually rewards your trip into big imperial brews.

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Photo of ThirdLap
4.17/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

I remember being quite impressed by Raven's Eye the first time I tried it, so I figured I should do a proper review of it.

It pours like a baltic porter, dark, but more translucent than most imperial stouts. The head is medium tan in color, chunky, and short-lived. Little to no lacing remains.

On the nose is roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, alcohol, and hints of anise.

This is a tasty beer. Chocolate and licorice dominate, with a perfect compliment of hops. Alcohol is reasonably well-hidden considering the near 10% abv.

For the style mouthfeel might be described as lacking, as this is a relatively thin-bodied beer. It doesn't linger on the tongue like a proper imperial stout, but Raven's Eye makes up for this by being one of the most drinkable examples of the style I've ever tasted. Carbonation is right where it should be, and the finish is one that sticks around.

While it likely won't score that way over the long run, the drinkability of Raven's Eye makes this one of my favorite imperial stouts. Keep an 'eye' out for this one.

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

Ratnig this based on the beer, not the style, as some say this is not an IS. I would tend to agree this tastes more like a big stout, but not an imperial stout. Pours very black with a thin head that lingers. Nice aromas of melted licorice, tar, burnt grains, chocolate and nuts. Good flavor profile of roasty toasty and broasted (broiled/roasted) grains. Almost like this was stored in bourbon or other toasted barrels. Somewhat thick tasting, without the insane alcohol level to smack your ass. Very good flavors. I would get this again.

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Raven's Eye Imperial Stout from Eel River Brewing Co.
85 out of 100 based on 188 ratings.
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