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

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Reviews: 161 | Ratings: 361
Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2004 bottle laid in cellar for a few months. Coca-cola dark colour and strong Southampton carbonation. Mellowed taste, and medium mouthfeel not a thick Russian porter. Easy drink, but its like a Coca-Cola in strong caramel, though some grains of cocoa, I am sorry fans, please don't flame me. Enjoyable but overated.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.92/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle pour sampled at mrbubbler's tasting courtesy of mrbubbler himself.

2008 vintage.

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark malt, dark fruit, and slight roast aromas. Taste is the same with a mild roasty bitterness after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS but it seems pretty subtle in my opinion.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.3/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

An aggressively roasted beer that holds all the halmarks of great beers of complexity, power, and body; but could use restraint on burnt qualities, in favor of roundness and delicacy.

The nose is chocked full of roast- Coffee, cocoa, and burnt fruits of currants, grapes, and berries. Other subtleties of dates, figs, plumbs, and raisons come into play but in complimentary fashion.

Flavors favor the burnt qaulities up front with French roast, charred fruits (sames as in the nose), licorice, molassas, toffeees and caramels. A dash of brown sugaras dance about the peripheries. Tasty and delicious although the roast quality dominates in a bullying fashion.

As the beer warms and as the carbonatiohn releases, the beer shows much more of a soft coffee and brownie mix that is much more appetizing than the over-carbonozed and abrasive start to the beer.

Full, creamy, and rich from the on-set, the beer carries the robust quality into a dry-malty alcoholic finish that stops short of the evaporative finish that I prefer. The acrid and nearly ashy finish makes the beer more harsh than I expect.

I know I'm being picky here but were discussing the differences between a great beer and world class beers. The balance here is tilted far toward the roast character, but still doesn't acheive the espresso balance than these beers deserve.

I cannot express the true appreciation that Ding deserves for sharing this beer. For this, I appreciate you my friend!

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Photo of brentk56
4.38/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottling; bottle 94 out of 650

Appearance: Pours like a best in class; with a massive mocha-colored head sitting atop the pitch black liquid; doesn't hold its shape as long as some but splashes lace around the chalice

Smell: Sniffs a bit on the sweet side, with dark chocolate and coffee with cream; some hops and alcohol in the aroma as well

Taste: Rich milk chocolate, up front, with a burgeoning coffee and hop element that adds complexity through mid-palate; after the swallow, the alcohol adds another dimension, but the sweeter flavors edge out the hops in the final analysis, though there are plenty of hops in the finish

Mouthfeel: At first, it felt a bit overcarbonated, but after a few minutes the mouthfeel moved in a full-bodied and creamy direction

Overall: This is a first rate, well-balanced RIS; a true contender

Thanks, acurtis, for the opportunity

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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 Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a deep pitch-black color stout with a huge medium brown foamy head with good retention and some good lacing. Aroma consists of roasted malt with clear notes of green hops with light floral and bitter notes. Taste was a very nice mix between some roasted malt with dry coffee notes, some rich black chocolate and some green bitter and floral hops. All the ingredient and flavour were well integrated and balanced. Body was full with a smooth creamy texture and good carbonation with no apparent alcohol. Not the most complex imperial stout that I have tasted but I must admit that everything was well balanced while still having some complexity.

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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 Thorpe429
4.15/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark, dark brown nearing on espresso black with a large tan-cream heading and a good amount of lacing as it goes down. Strong initial whiff with plenty of chocolate and roasted malt with a bit of anise in there as well. A little bit of alcohol thrown in there. Fairly full mouthfeel with good carbonation. Good drinkability, but not quite up there with the best of the RIS's I've had, although it's certainly a loaded category.

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Photo of mothman
4.2/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage

Pours a light brown head. Color is fairly black.

Aroma: Rich Belgian chocolate. Roasted malts, dark fruits, and cherries.

Taste: Rich and sweet. Dark chocolate, roasted malts, caramel, dried fruits. It reminds me a bit of Expedition stout with a few years on it. Pretty solid flavors.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, and syrupy. Full bodied with a medium amount of carbonation. Ends roasted and sweet with some coffee in the aftertaste. The mouthfeel reminds me a lot like 08 darkness.

Overall, it reminds me of aged expo meets 08 darkness. Very sweet and syrupy. It is great, but slow drinking. Pretty thick.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by Adam at Churchill's yesterday. Thanks. Bottle No. 156 of 650.

Pours a solid black with a fine cocoa colored head which fades to the edges of the glass slowly. Smells of roasted grains, earthy malts, alcohol heat, and some cherry/sherry notes. Tastes similar to the nose with a somewhat chalky and chocolate quality. Quite a pronounced boozyness with a lingering roasted grain finish. Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy and dry. Overall, enjoyable and glad to have tried this one.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.23/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a simple black body with a bubbly, beige head.

Smell: Roasted malt aroma with supporting notes of prune juice, licorice, fudge, and French Roast coffee.

Taste: Sweet, roasty maltiness. Light taste of dark fruitiness. Rich chocolate fudge and a robust cup of coffee. Hint of licorice and toffee. Some earthy bitterness. Finishes sweetish and decidedly creamy.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: It's good, damn good, even.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.75/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

So, I hunted and looked and finally was able to get my hands on one of these. I had heard mixed things about this one, but really wanted to judge for myself what this one was all about. I decided last night to unwrap the black foil and pop the cap on this beauty. Bottled on 2/16/08, this was going to be nice. The pour was huge, and absolutely perfect. Pitch black with absolutely no light shining through; it was like looking into a dark windowless room. A huge tan head formed on top that almost came out of the over sized wine glass it was in. Insanely good looking, I was foaming at the mouth when I looked at this one. A slight settling left behind a nice two finger head that lasted through the night, along with copious amounts of dripping chocolate colored lace all over the glass. Really just, perfect looking for the style, really hard not to be impressed with this one.

The aroma was just as huge as the appearance. Deep rich notes of sweet lactose sugar, with loads of cocoa mixed in. A very nice mingling of bitter dark coffee as well as a touch of vanilla. Really quite nice. There was a touch of some alcohol in there, but it mostly blended out by the time this one warmed up to the right temperature. Really a very solid score going for this one. The flavor was very nice, with a lighter feel then I would have expected. It was nicely carbonated, with even the last few drops a couple hours later still having a good deal of life left in them. Smooth across the palate, though a little thinner then expected, but this only added to its Drinkability. The flavor of cocoa dominated this one, with the rich bitter taste. Very nice coffee tones throughout, were really well blended. As it warmed, there was a touch of some earthy, woody type of hint that started to come through with hints of vanilla and sweet sugary notes coming in and out. The finish was perfect, with a nice little bit of a grassy hoppiness to it, but then shut down with a deep bitter chocolate taste and a gorgeous hint of vanilla lingering on forever. The alcohol was very well hidden in here, with it clocking in at over 10% I was amazed at how smooth it was. You really could barely taste anything in this one, and I had all I could do from drinking it too fast, and not giving it the time needed to really pick up some steam and show off what it could do. Really just a fantastic beer that they have made here.

Overall, I would have to say that this one more then lived up to the hype for me. It was just completely wonderful with a huge flavorful profile, a lightness that was rather unexpected, a beautiful finish and really just outstanding on all sides. I was more then impressed with this, and actually thought it over performed to my expectations. I would love to get more of this one as it was just that good, really just an enormously good beer and something I would have to recommend to anyone. Definitely up there with the best of the style.

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Photo of Slatetank
4.6/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Lots of gratitude to unclejedi for sharing this tasty brew at Deuane's 40th birthday bash, poured chilled into a 1/2 pint

A - Pitch black color w/ head that gradually decompresses to a ring. The clarity is almost opaque with some head reviving as it is swirled. The bead is tiny and smatterings of lace stick and hold

S - The aroma is ultimatetly roasted w/ coffee scent emanating from the glass. The odor of blackberry and brown sugar w/ cocoa essence much like very dark chocolate and mild spice notes w/ toasted nuts and hints of vanilla intermingled in aromatic complexity. The nose has a slight hazelnut effect w/ light coconut tinged aroma the yeast is giving a lot of curious scents to this ale

M - Rich sweet dark sugar effect w/ moderately effervescent w/ a spiced texture medium high body w/ mild sweetness and subtle alcohol influence on the palate

T - A flavor similar to dark cocoa dusted truffles w/ fresh baked cookie taste, mild roasted and biscuit tasting malt w/ pepper and subtle pine hop accents. The taste has a dark stone fruit and mild toffee essence w/ slightly strong and balanced finish. The intense dark brown sugar with a nice bit of residual sweetness and subtle molasses in the background. the fruit accent is bitter but subtle blackberry tinged with mild coffee

D - The drinkability is very impressive to say the least, very possibly one of the best Imperial stouts I have had, nuanced and still strong without coming off as too alcholic, the complexity is there keeping you coming back for each additional sip. It is a shame it is not available year round- great example of the style.

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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 womencantsail
3.98/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Ryan for sharing this one.

A: The pour is nearly black with some visible carbonation and a fluffy tan head on top.

S: This one relies heavily on the roasted malts. The coffee and dark chocolate aromas are there, but the nose is just very roasty.

T: As the nose would indicate, the roast and coffee flavors dominate with perhaps just a touch of char. Some bitter dark chocolate smooths things out a bit.

M: The body is fine, but the problem is the beer is quite overcarbonated and really detracts from the drinking experience.

D: A pretty easy drinking RIS, especially for 10+%, but the mouthfeel was just a bit off-putting to me.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.43/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From 01/21/11 notes. Shared by nimbleprop at a small tasting; thanks Mac! Huge want. Bottle 57 of 500, 2010 vintage.

a - Pours a jet black color with one inch of tan head and light carbonation evident. Not a lot of lacing or retention.

s - Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, dark fruit, and light toasted malts. Pretty nice.

t - Tastes of chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, cocoa, roasted malts, and vanilla. I thought the taste was very balanced; I loved it.

m - Medium to full body and moderate carbonation, smooth and creamy body. Perfect mouthfeel for a RIS in my opinion.

d - I thought this was a great RIS. The smell was enjoyable but the taste and mouthfeel were outstanding. I was also surprised how easy it was to drink considering it was over 10% ABV; didn't feel that strong at all. Glad this one lived up to my expectations, would love to have again.

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Photo of orangesol
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from the 2012 release.

A - Pours pitch black with a decent one finger tall tan head leaving spotty streaks of lace down the glass.

S - Smells of dark roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and some fresh cream. Good balance of sweetness to roast.

T - Starts off with plenty of dark roast slowly giving way to a good amount of sweetness - mostly from the vanilla, chocolate and cream - and some day old coffee grounds. Finish is best described as sweet roast, lingering on the pallet for some time after consumption.

M - Big body and lots of roasty flavor with a good amount of carbonation, growing a little thin as it sits in the glass.

O - Not my first time having this one. I think this particular one is still kinda raw, some of the aged versions I have had have been much better. Still one of my favorites.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 vintage, shared by Brad at the tasting on Saturday.

This beer appears a jet black with a gargantuan, beautiful, tan head. The aroma gives away the age of the beer to some extent, as there is a very slight mustiness in the nose. Scents of chocolates and roasted malt. There is a slight musty, been in the cellar a while taste (in the best way), along with robust roasted malt flavors. Alcohol is still slightly detectable in the finish, even after five years. This is a great beer that I'd really enjoy having again.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter. 2012 bottle.

Appearance - Thick black body. Medium mocha head. Thin collar.

Smell - Licorice. Roasted malt and coffee. A little boozy.

Taste - Fruity. Licorice. Deeply roasted malt. Hefty bitterness. Fudgy in the back end. Boozy finish.

Mouthfeel - Heavy. Medium carbonation. Definitely a sipper.

Overall - An intense and delicious stout. Excellent.

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Photo of stakem
4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a 2011 bottle I picked up at the release. Bottle #617/650 with a listed abv of 10.5%. What a bastard of a cork, I worked it out most of the way and the last quarter of an inch broke off in the neck. A corkscrew was the salvation setting this brew free with a nice pop. Poured into the matching Southampton RIS release party fishbowl goblet at just under 50 degrees. This brew appears deep black in color with no light penetrating except for the thinnest line around the edge. The coloration that shines through the edge is a deep reddish brown. Atop the brew sits a quick dissolving brown cap that holds in a lace across the top and spots of lacing stick to the glass. A swirl revives a finger of dark brown head that coats the glass with patches of lace that glide back down to the solution.

The smell of this brew is deep and roasty. Woodsy tannins initially come to mind coupled with dark roasted coffee and grain charred to the level of being burnt that imparts a light amount of smoke as well. When I had this brew on tap at the release I remember being taken back by the sheer amount of hops present. Even now, 6 months later the hops are still running amuck in the nose imparting a mixture of fruit aspects that blend well with some fruity alcohol esters. As the brew warms up, more smells reveal notes of dark grain that are reminiscent of chocolate and a hint of molasses. Also, the warmer this brew gets, the more the alcohol starts to get fusel and tingle the nose.

The taste of this brew is quite roasted imparting a very strong bitterness that I really enjoy in this style when it comes from the level of char to the grain instead of oily and resinous from hops. The dark roast of the grains imparts a flavor of bitter chocolate, coffee, molasses, licorice, leather and lightly woodsy elements that are very earthy. The alcohol is bold enough that it comes through the dark grain flavoring and produces some fruity elements that are accented by the hops that are still lively in this brew. There is a very mild fruited flavor of raisins present which brings out more flavor of dark smoked molasses. While initially this brew seemed excessively roasted, drying and bitter the longer I enjoy this the more some residual sweetness seems to come out. The aftertaste is all char with a light citrus element. I dig this brew a lot.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Thick and viscous enough to coat the inside of your mouth but carbonated enough that it isn't distracting. Having a full glass of this is absolutely vital to my level of enjoyment. Upon first sip I was a bit let down, the flavors seemed to be disjointed and a bit of a mess. But the warmer the brew gets and the more sips I take, I really start to enjoy this. This is a full on assault of roasted goodness, a must try for those who enjoy the RIS style and a benchmark at that. You bet your ass I will be there again next year to secure more of this treat.

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Photo of Billolick
4.55/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the venerable Blind Tiger ale house in my home town, NYC. What can be added about this fine brew? Its black, strong,rich, flavorful,.malty,roasty, complex, chewy. Just an all around fine product. If you see it available in your local drinking establishment, do yourself a favor and order one. You cannot go wrong with this one, especially if you are a stout lover. I wouldnt start with this one however, it makes a much better last brew then a first. Sante..

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Photo of MasterSki
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 vintage thanks to Overlord. Served in a goblet.

A - Dark mocha foam, that dissipates to a solid cap and leaves some spotty lacing. Pitch black body, with a hint of lighter brown at the bottom of the glass.

S - Tons of cocoa, dark fruits, figs, raisins, roasted malts, some coffee. Very intense, potent nose, well hidden ABV.

T - Taste is very similar with tons of dark fruit, marshmallow, but with more anise twang, and a roasty dry finish.

M - Medium body, soft smooth texture, lots of residual stickiness, some dryness as well.

D - This was a surprise - a better straight-up stout than Kate the Great. Awesome brew, and I'm super glad I got to try this one.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11/25/05- Received via trade with Jetsbeer.

Presentation- 22oz bottle, year 2005. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

Appearance- Darker brown, close to black pour with some cherry like highlights. Larger inch plus dirty colored head and patchy lacing.

Smell- Lots of dark chocolate and espresso scents. You can get a whiff of some of the alcohol qualities as well. Maybe some super dark fruits also. Great smeller.

Taste- Like those dark chocolate chunks you get from Gihradelli infused with some dark coffee bean flavor. Rasins and plums hit your taste buds as well. One of the most flavorful stouts I have had.

Mouthfeel- Very low carbonation, especially after it warms to room temp. Creamy and a pretty darn heavy mouthfeel. Thick and viscous.

Drinkability- Right up there with Stone IRS in my book. You can pick up the alcohol a tad more, but I still felt like I wanted another after having to share the bottle. One of my top brews I have ever tasted. Thanks so much to Jetsbeer for another great brew!

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Photo of drabmuh
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Vintage, again from Brad.

Beer is served in a tulip. Beer is black and forms a dark brown head that leaves some lacing on the glass but the overall carbonation is low.

Aroma is great, lots of chocolate, some alcohol, sweetness from the malt and roast from the roasted malt. Almost a liquor like quality to the whole thing.

Beer is smooth and medium bodied. There is some alcohol and sweetness up front and a lot of roast in the back. The flavors rest on the palate as I wait between sips. There isn't much of an aftertaste, just flavors that linger. It kind of coats the back of my mouth and the bitterness from the roasted malts rests there. Its a good beer, much anticipated by myself, very excited to get to try some. Thanks again.

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Photo of Gavage
4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle label: 2013 version, bottle #149 out of 450.

Appearance: pours a black chocolate color with a mil chocolate colored 2" head that slowly falls to a thick surface foam.

Smell: roasted malt, chocolate, and some alcohol come through to the nose.

Taste: big roasted malt, dark bread, and dark chocolate flavors here. Prunes, a bit of molasses, and a hearty bitterness rounds out this big beer. Alcohol provides a bit of warming after you swallow.

Mouthfeel: heavy in body. Smooth at the start, velvety at the finish with some warmth and a touch of dryness. Long lasting aftertaste here.

Overall: Super RIS. Very slow sipping, but this is a meal in a glass. Expensive at $16 a bottle, but worth the splurge.

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Southampton Imperial Russian Stout from Southampton Publick House
4.21 out of 5 based on 361 ratings.
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