Southampton Imperial Russian Stout | Southampton Publick House

161 Reviews
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Southampton Imperial Russian StoutSouthampton Imperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Southampton Publick House
New York, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.20%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-08-2002

For Trade:
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Reviews: 161 | Ratings: 362
Photo of Jeffo
2.34/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 1 | overall: 2

Was very grateful to get this bottle as part of a larger trade with Craytonic. This is pretty well respected around BA, so I was pretty excited when we opened it. Cheers!

From a 750 into a snifter
Vintage: 2009
Bottle 403 of 500

APPEARANCE: A pitch black pour makes a thinner looking, super fizzy and noisy, one finger, brown head that quickly vanishes almost completely, leaving only a slight ring behind. Black, opaque body with next to zero carbonation. A slight, very faint ring remains but leaves no lacing. Despite the very thick looking pour, it looked a little flat and the head was very disappointing. Not up to par here.

SMELL: Medium strength nose of roasted malts, molasses for sure, some figs and touches of oak. Some cream coffee and charcoaled malts as well, with a good base of booze under the entire thing. Almost smells barrel aged it's so boozy, which is a little alarming.

TASTE: Like the nose, with some nice flavors, but a very strong booze presence. Too strong really. Some roasted malts and lots of sweet molasses. Some sweet caramel malt joins the party through the middle, and some bitter chocolate, charcoal, and burnt espresso on the finish. Some oak and lots of booze after the swallow as well. Lots of booze. Again, this tastes barrel aged, but not in a good way; overly boozy and hot. A roasted, charred, bitter-sweet and boozy aftertaste is bold and long lasting. Very boozy and hot still. Lots of flavor, but too boozy to be enjoyable really.

PALATE: Thinner body, light, with higher levels of carbonation. Goes down rough with an alcohol burn at the swallow and finishes slightly mouth-coating with lots of heat. Too rough, thin, light, and not creamy enough either. Way too much heat too.

OVERALL: An overly boozy, burnt, thin, mess of an RIS. Granted, there was lots of flavor and plenty to consider, but not everything worth considering was enjoyable. Decently complex and overly boozy means the scores balanced out some. Perhaps another couple years will mellow it out a bit, but that still won't improve the look or thicken up the feel at all. Overrated and far more valuable than the beer in the container. Was grateful to finally get to try this highly acclaimed bad boy, but don't think I'd even buy it if it was readily available at the corner store for $5. Regardless, thanks again for the awesome trade Craytonic!

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.78/5  rDev -34%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Thanks to Gregg for breaking out yet another big gun to the show. Cheers, pal!

Appearance -- Pours a deep dark brown with a tuft of dark brown head. Looks interesting.

Smell -- Licorice, anise, coffee, cocoa powder. Seems a bit dry.

Taste -- Very burnt. black malt, roast char, notes fresh ground coffee, underlying chocolate sweetness. Burnt/acrid notes definitely take up the most space in the flavor profile.

Mouthfeel -- Full-bodied with waaay too much carbonation.

Overall -- What is the appeal in this beer?!?! Horrendously over-carbonated, and not much to the flavor beyond burnt, charred malt.

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Photo of AleWatcher
2.83/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Had this at a tasting... Finally getting around to typing up my notes from my iphone.

So stoutfest popped this thing open and called me over to give me the first pour... Thanks man.

Pours a HUGE frothy foam of a giant root-beer-float-like head. It isn't moving, it isn't going anywhere. I need to make up the guest bed for this thing because if I don't make a plan here, I'm gonna have a house-guest... The retention, lacing, and legs are all gorgeous. A dark dark black with some tan hints in the lacing and legs. The head is dark tan. Looks amazing...

The nose has some oak, some earthiness, chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, black licorice... not bad at all.

Wow. The beer drinks like espresso... with a GIANT alcohol presence on the finish. I mean like huge boozy character on this. HUGE. This is the booziest beer I've ever had-- and I've had Brandy barrel Alpha Klaus... The taste does not do the nose or looks justice.
Hiding beneath the napalm-attack of the alcohol is some toffee, some bitter cocoa, some anise, and a dry, oaky, boozy bitterness at the finish. This is like rocket fuel. It is HOT. Not even trying to mask or hide it at all.

The mouthfeel is nice-- it is thick, luscious, creamy, and velvety smooth...

Overall-- this is hurt big-time by the alcohol. I like big boozy beers, but this is just too much.

At this point khazaduhm heard me talking about the lack of balance in this beer and came over... He took a sip of my glass and exclaimed, "What the fuck man! Did you add a shot to this thing?! This is NOT the same beer I just drank..."
We took our pours from the same bottle... I am certain I had a clean glass. I don't know what happened-- but this beer was amazing in every way--- except the taste. Which, to be honest, hurts a fucking lot.

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Photo of youradhere
2.92/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

South Sound Tasting Notes

Pours black with an extremely thin tan head, amber edges shine in the glass. Smells of faint chocolate and stale coffee, some brett funk and fruitiness showing through the two dimensional base nose of this brew. Taste is bland dark chocolate, stale coffee and wood char; a slight sour funk adds some depth and character to an otherwise unimpressive RIS. Mouthfeel is extremely thin- it felt like a porter rather than an RIS. High carbonation created too much carbonic acid, effectively weakening any flavor character. Overall- not horrible, not great, but surely not worth the trade price.

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Photo of Sean9689
3.04/5  rDev -27.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Southampton Mega Tasting! 2011 vintage, bottle #164/650, into Darkness snifter.

A - Pours black, mocha-colored fluffy head, spotty lacing, thin cap remains on top.

S - Huge amount of char, oak, roast. No chocolate, alcohol, burnt sugars, dark fruits? Meh, no good...

T - Too much char, slight chocolate, oak, and roast. Really though, the off-putting char is all that I'm tasting from this one. Where's the sweetness, even a small amount? No where to be found.

M - Full, over-carbonated, creamy finish.

D - Too much char & carbonation...that pretty much says it all for me. There's no sweetness, no chocolate, not even much alcohol burn. Meh, I'll pass. Perhaps some previous vintages are better? This one is average, at best.

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Photo of Jason
3.13/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22 oz brown bomber with a vintage date of 2005 on the cap.

A- Used motor oil black color, nearly poured like it as well. Slow moving brown head holds its ground for a while.

S- Wet acrid burnt malt, underlying burnt sugar sweetness and some ripe dark berries make up the aroma.

T&M- Big sweetness, a higher sweetness of unfermentables. A bit too sweet as the burnt grain rides higher with a sharpness rather than complexity. Small complexity of estery dark berries and burnt coffee drive at the palate with a further sharpness. Smooth with a viscous creamy heavy body.

D- Couldn't finish the bottle ... I even let it warm up and tried again later to no avail. Not horrible but just misses the mark, I did not mind sipping about 6oz of it ... paired well with some dark Belgian Chocolate.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.15/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Poured jet black with good carbonation leaving a nice brown cap

S: Funk, faded hops, cocoa and caramel

T: Typical profile. Roasted malt, light coffee faded bitter chocolate and hops which once lended some floral notes. Has a nice dose of funk and caramelized sugar

M: Thinner than expected, still a big bidy but watery, faded hops and malts which are not holding up and some light booze which has also faded

O: Average RIS

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Photo of Crosling
3.32/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I tasted this in a blind tasting last Sunday and it came out # 10, out of 19 different Imperials. I noticed my score was fairly low considering the norm, so that, on top of the fact that I didn’t take notes at the blind tasting, Pdee and I cracked a bomber tonight and shared it. Perfect appearence for an Imperial, inky black, with a huge, creamy and fat head, which appears muddy brown in color. The aroma is fairly subtle, with coffee bean and mocha hints, a slight note of chocolate and sharp, resinous aroma hops. Flavors begin with sharp anise notes, which lead into light grape and vanilla flavors, followed by a slightly chocolatey and coffee malt finish. Yet it remains flooded with aroma and flavor hops, particularly on the finish, which delivers a bitter and citrusy finish, and completely manhandles the assumingly great malt finish. At first the mouthfeel was a bit fizzy but it tamed and settled and eventually ended up being quite nice. I usually love Southampton, but definately not this one.

8 Month old bottle: The agressive, crude hoppiness of the initial batch has tamed substancially, both in the aroma and the flavor, yielding a balanced hop character right now, whereas the original batch was way over the top. Opaque black color, with a full, light brown head. After the aroma hops subside, a rich malitiness overwhems the senses, with a coffee ground, fudge character, with hints of charred fruits. Still hints of hops in the aroma, albeit light. Flavor has improved in a shocking manner, revealing the magic that the agressive hop rate concealed. An array of gummy, charred fruits and chocolate blanket, while the finish leads into a lightly alcoholic and lightly bitter hop finish. This really had molded into a classy drink. I look forward to seeing further improvement, but, unfortunately, my original fresh bottle rating still stands. 8/4/9/4/17

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Photo of seeswo
3.33/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours black with an exploding cocoa head. Seems over-carbonated, but the head actually looks really good, so I split the difference. The smell is pretty mild - charred, smoky malts, maybe some molasses. Nothing altogether that exciting, but not deficient. The taste is a charred, almost tobacco malt. Very rich, but dry and a bit bitter. Not boozy at all, but really dry, molasses, little sweetness. I don't think there is anything fundamentally wrong with the taste other than the malts seeming almost over-charred, but I don't really like it. The mouthfeel was creamy in a nice way, but way over-carbonated. Again, I split the difference. Overall, I really didn't like this beer very much, but I think that may be more personal taste than anything wrong with the beer. As such, I'll downgrade it overall to balance my opinion.

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Photo of raverjames
3.4/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I finally got a chance to try this hyped up beer from a brewery that I enjoy.
This brew poured thick and black with a nice brown creamy head. It smelled pretty good with a load of roast. The taste was not quite as good. For some reason, after you get past the nice chocolate initial flavor, a bit of wet dog flavor follows. It also has a slightly metallic flavor which is disappointing. I don't want to just point out flaws. It has the proper mouth feel for an IRS and the carbonation was low just like it should be. Overall, I didn't really enjoy this beer. I did feel privileged to get the chance to try this brew. Thanks for sharing Scott!

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Photo of kbutler1
3.4/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bottle. 2010 vintage. #5/500. Pours a dark brwon color with a tan head. Roasty, leather, and dark fruit. Medium/heavy mouthfeel. Rich and complex aroma. The taste is dominated by an over roast note that I find a little detracting. Roas, dark chocolate, and leather in the flavor as well. Overall, decent but the over roast bittereness to me is offputting and as I said detracts from my overall enjoyment of the beer.

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Photo of Verecund
3.44/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2011 vintage, bottle #459/650. Thanks to Carl (wchollif) for bringing this.

Very attractive IRS: ink black with a nice two-finger mocha head. Thick, frothy lacing.

Not a lot going on here at first, but it opens up after ten minutes or so. It's drier than I expected, featuring (almost caustic) smoke and tobacco. Dark chocolate, coffee, and molasses thankfully join the fray.

Bitter chocolate, some dry, leathery notes, and a smoky finish. Some dark fruit character, though it's harsh in nature, combating the roasted malt and smoky underbelly. A little anise peeks through right before the dry punch of a finish.

Medium-bodied and creamy, with higher than normal carbonation for the style.

This one grew on me the further into my glass I got. I think splitting this, say, three ways would have improved my regard for it, but, as it stands, SH IRS was a slight let down from my expectations.

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Photo of hopbar
3.5/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Southampton Publick House
Pint Glass

A: Dark, almost black, with dark brown hues. Two finger head that disappeared quickly. Nice lacing.

S: Coffee smell with some hints of chocolate and toffee.

T: Strong, coffee taste. Burnt and dry. Even a little bitter.

M: Thick and bubbly.

D: Definitely worth trying again. Not really a session beer, at least not for me.

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Photo of largadeer
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

'08 bottle shared by nickd717. Thanks, Nick.

Black in the glass with a dark tan head. Charred, chocolatey aroma. Undertones of coffee with a light fruitiness. There's a lot of charred bitterness on the palate, bordering on astringent, backed by spicy licorice flavors, espresso and a touch of chocolatey sweetness and dark fruit. Medium-full body, quite rich and flavorful but not necessarily my favorite take on the style. Less burnt bitterness and a touch more sweetness would be more to my liking. Solid stuff all the same.

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Photo of craytonic
3.75/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2008 vintage.

Appearance: Reminiscent of Dr. Pepper. Pours black with a hint or rust, nice head.

Smell: Toffee, dark grilled fruits (dates, raisins, prunes, figs), caramel, roast, vanilla, heavy malts.

Taste: Rather sweet, like fudge with brown sugar. Some burnt acidity, dark bitter chocolate, coffee, toffee, along with the aromas listed above.

Mouthfeel: A little lighter than I expected. Beer made with milk? Seems that way.

Drinkability: Decent, wish I had let it age a few years for the flavors to meld - they all seem to distinct. Felt this was unimpressive and doesn't live up to the hype.

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Photo of John_M
3.78/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Sampled during the gala tasting over at Dyan's the other night. This was bottle number 83 from the 2009 release.

The beer pours blackish brown color with good head retention and lacing. Nose is very unusual in this one, with aromas of dark chocolate, licorise, malt balls, sawdust and manure fertilizer. While certainly not repulsive, needless to say this isn't something I smell every day in a beer. The beer is much better on the palate, with dark chocolate and milk chocolate, licorise, roasty malt and a hint of vanilla. The beer is definitely on the sweet side, probably excessively so (at least to my palate). There's some decent bitterness on the finish, but it's really not enough to counter the sweetness in this beer. The beer is pretty smooth and long, and there's no denying that this beer is an absolute presence on the palate. The beer is otherwise very full bodied and rich, and drinkability is OK for the abv. and style. However, the excessive sweetness and noticeable alcohol make it difficult to drink a whole lot of this.

An interesting beer, but not sure I'd want to drink this on a regular basis.

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Photo of Urbancaver
3.8/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cork rockets off, hits the ceiling, and hits Roger in the face from across the room.
Pours a frothy foamy dark dark brown. Nice tan head. Looks pretty solid.
Smells dark chocolatey and roasty. Decent aroma.
Tastes dry and chalky. Roasty and dark chocolatey. A bit blah.
Wll carbonated. Decent mouthfeel. Oversell not impressed.

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Photo of grittybrews
3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured cola black with a finger of dark tan head. Aroma dominated by cocoa with some roasty coffee and caramel in there as well.

Moderate carbonation and a creamy but slightly thin mouthfeel. Lots of chocolate flavor with coffee, hints of oak, and a touch of caramel. Some roasty bitterness on the finish.

Nice flavors but nothing really stood out beyond the chocolate notes, which were pretty pleasant. Drank easier than the 10% would indicate.

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Photo of PatandDavid
3.85/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at the Blind Tiger. Deep black, the thick 1/2 deep tan head lasted for 10 minutes, and then went down to 1/4 inch, where it stayed. Initial aroma came across as milk chocolate, but if you waited, some hints of hazelnut was waiting in the wings. Alcohol made itself known. Thinner than expected mouthfeel. Tastewise, fruits like raisins, stonefruits like plums, dash of alcohol...made for a pretty warming experience.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.86/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to drseamus for the share. 2009 bottling. Bottle 293 of 450.

A: Jet black with a finger of coffee colored head. I was surprised at the amount of head on this beer. It was a nice looking beer with decent head retention which again is unusual for a RIS.

S: Little bit of chocolate. This was a really tight nose. I really did not get much else.

T:Chocolate and roast. Someone at our tasting described this by saying the beer displayed "a narrow band of flavors" and I think that really nailed it. Quite bitter in the finish. This was one of the most hop forward beers of this style I have had.

M: Very sharp carbonation. Very well carbonated.

D: Easy drinking but it was just missing something for me. I was really looking forward to this one and it was a bit of a let down.

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Photo of JohnQVegas
3.87/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft into tulip, reviewed after trying at two different bars (Barcade and Blind Tiger).

Pours black, no head at all. Utterly opaque, some soapy suds but that's it.

Nose is light, roasty, some espresso, licorice and earthy dark fruits, some alcohol heat.

Taste leans heavily towards an almost earthy vinous dark fruit character, with strong licorice and black-strap molasses notes as well. Some roastiness, but surprisingly lacking in coffee or strong chocolate presence, with an earthy bitterness on the back end.

Mouthfeel is slick, low carbonation, bit viscous but not as thick as I'd like.

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Photo of dtmets84
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle (2011)

Acquired via trade and I am forgetting who I traded this with so thanks!

Poured a whole lot of head about 2inches of it and looks like a giant chocolate milk shake.

Smell was toffee and some malt. Did not get anything to write home about.

Taste was the same old stout. Good but not great . Was hoping the bottle would be the BRL so I could get to dabble in the BRL and the RIS but it was RIS straight up.

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Photo of gotbeer
3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance of this beer is dark and black. The head is thin, and it dissapates quickly, leaving only a very light lacing on the glass. The smell has hints of malt and caramel.

The taste is great. Chocolate, caramel, and toffee come to mind. Deep and complex. There is a little taste of alcohol at the nose, but it is buried by the malt and complexity of this beer. It hides it well, but gives a warming feeling.

Overall, a very good Imperial Stout. I will enjoy it again, but I don't think it is at the same level of Stone's IRS or Samuel Smith's Imp Stout. Almost world class in my book, and I would reccomend it to others.

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Photo of oline73
3.9/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours black as night with a finger of brown head that fades to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Roasty and sweet with some dark chocolate and dark fruit notes.

Taste: Quite smooth but still rather roasty. I'm picking up some dark chocolate along with bitter hops. Warming alcohol shows up in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with way too much carbonation. The finish is mildly dry.

Overall: The only problem I had with this one was the carbonation. I thought it took away from everything else. Didn't knock my socks off, but I enjoyed it.

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Photo of LuckySevens82
3.91/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber courtesy of Beerhandy.

Poors jet black into my Rapscallion goblet. A deep brown head tops this one off and sticks around for quite some time. Thus, retention is quite good, lacing is nice as well.
Smell is roasted coffee, chocolate, caramel, and I think I detect a bit (very very very slight) of oxidation, but I don't know how that's possible. Defintitely rich smelling, and remeniscent of chocolate cake. Not a hint of alcohol in the nose at all.
Taste is big chocolate with just a hint of roasted malts and coffee. Caramel forms the backbone of this as well as the chocolate. Not very aggressively hopped at all, but it all seems to balance out. A slight bit of alcohol as this warms the throat going down. Definitely chocolate cake-like. I am still detecting a very very very slight bit of oxidation, but who cares, this still tastes pretty damn good.
Mouthfeel is almost perfect with this one not being too oily or heavy (which looking at it, you wouldn't expect). The mild hops and rich flavors balance out nearly perfectly.
I could drink this one for a while, it's a bit rich to drink all night long, but not bad at all. Another quality beer from Southampton.

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Southampton Imperial Russian Stout from Southampton Publick House
4.21 out of 5 based on 362 ratings.
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