Southampton Imperial Russian Stout | Southampton Publick House

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Southampton Imperial Russian StoutSouthampton Imperial Russian Stout
365 Ratings
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

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 365 |  Reviews: 161
Photo of SkunkWorks
5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Popped in celebration of finding an apartment with my girlfriend, a 750ml bottle from the 2011 vintage cellared since the release poured into a Southampton IRS release day snifter. Bottle number 39. I've had this on tap but this is the bottled version.

Look: A little gun smoke once the cork is popped and the pour reveals a solid, black body and an aggressive pour yields a thick, creamy mocha colored head that retains until the last sip and leaves sheets of sticky lace behind as I drink. Exceptional looking beer.

Smell: just how I remembered it from the release day, except a lot stronger. Once its out of the bottle, sitting on the table in front of me, I'm already picking up some aromas from this one! Roasted malt, chocolate fudge, coffee and alcohol stand out to me. No one aroma seems to dominate and all of it smells amazing.

Taste: I remember now why this is my favorite IRS of all time. Big, dark chocolate, subtle coffee, roasted grain, hints of vanilla and dark fruit and a slight alcohol taste. Wonderfully complex without being too aggressive.

Feel: this is the area where this beer has improved most when comparing the bottle to the tap version. Full bodied and perhaps the creamiest beer I've ever had. The texture is almost like melted whipped cream. The beer is dry and carbonation is spot on for the style. Its one you have to force yourself not to gulp down.

Overall: exceptional. I've never given straight 5's before but I can't see how this beer could improve in any aspect. For the next release, I doubt I'll be trading any of my bottles of this because its really a big step above the other release day stouts I've had to this point. I can't wait for the next special occasion we have so I can pop another bottle... Cheers!

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Photo of RandomBattle
4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Black, tan head. Thick body. Very stout-like.

Smell - Roasted malt, chocolate, licorice, and some earthy hops.

Taste - Sweet and roasty. Great RIS taste, notes of chocolate, roasted malt, brown sugar, and licorice. Delicious.

Mouthfeel - Thick full body. Just right.

Overall - A great beer, has everything I look for in a non bourbon barrel aged stout. I enjoy the fact that its a seasonal beer as well, it makes me look forward to having it again and fills me with memories of the last time I had it.

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Photo of yeahnatenelson
2.78/5  rDev -33.8%
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 Sean9689
3.04/5  rDev -27.6%
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 thagr81us
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Shared during a small Charlotte BA tasting with marine1975, caSSino, CarolinaKevin, and GehenHerzog. Massive thanks goes out to CarolinaKevin for sharing this tick with the group! Bottle 610 of 650! Served from bottle into a Cigar City snifter. Poured pitch black with a three finger brown head that subsided to one finger massively slow. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, sweet malt, dark fruit, sweet alcohol, and dark chocolate. The flavor was of roasted malt, smoke, dark fruit, dark chocolate, and alcohol on the followthrough. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation that was almost felt creamy on the palate. Overall this brew was quite excellent. The flavor was both very smooth and nicely complex. Also it had a nice toasty aspect going on too. The aroma was very inviting and pleasant was well. Really glad I got a chance to try this one and I suggest you seek it out as well.

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Photo of seeswo
3.33/5  rDev -20.7%
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 Verecund
3.44/5  rDev -18.1%
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 wchollif
4.26/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 Bottle 459 of 650

Pours a pretty standard RIS, pitch black with a two finger head that lingers throughout.

The nose was not exciting, malty, coffee, tobacco and smoke coming through.

Flavor is smokey with coffee undertones. This was a good beer overall, but I wouldn't say well balanced. The smoke seemed a bit to pronounced.

Mouthfeel is a great, not too heavy, keeps the drink ability factor high.

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Photo of wethorseblanket
4.12/5  rDev -1.9%
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 CrellMoset
4.31/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 260/650, 2011 vintage. Cracked at a friend's house and paired with some delicious vanilla bean ice cream.

Appearance: Pours a thick inky black, heavy, opulent, and decadent, capped by two fingers of dark, cocoa-hued head. This is a fierce looking brew, right up there with the fiercest, thickest, most badass RISs. This one has even more going for it than most, though - the retention is absolutely phenomenal, with the crown lasting for most of the session, leaving huge swaths of frothy, chunky lace dripping and drizzled up and down the sides of the tulip.

Aroma: Dry, toasty, and astringent, this one's all about the malt, and is definitely dryer in the nose than last year's version. Hints of dark fruits and macerated blueberries and raspberries mingle with a slight chalky twang, likely set free by the high attenuation. It's solid, if not groundbreaking.

Taste: When I first had the 2011 on draft, I was distinctly less impressed than I remember being when I first had the 2010. I'm a little more receptive to it now, though, but I'm unsure if that's the result of time to reflect or instead the serving type. Caramel, fudge, and toffee mingle with toast and bitter fudge for a huge and fat but also elegant dryness. Those same berries and dark fruits mingle expertly with the malt astringencies and a hint of booze, but those notes elevate this one rather than take away from it. A flavorful and complex tasting brew.

Mouthfeel: Even and silky, with a good amount of lift at first and for a while. Milkshake like creaminess at the end. On both ends its good, though the mouth amplifies different flavor components at different points.

Drinkability: As I said above, I was less of a fan of this year's batch the first time I had it, but enjoyed it much more out of the bottle than I did on tap. Maybe it's the carbonation level or some such, but this beer was exceptional as always. Not to be taken lightly at 10.2%, this one is to be sipped and savored. Glad I have seven more bottles I'm sitting on - I imagine this one is only going to improve with age, though there's only so much opportunity for this one to improve.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a tasting glass.

Appearance: This is nearly black all the way through. A big bubbly brown head relaxes on top for the duration.

Smell: The aromas blend together very nicely. Roasted malt turns into coffee then dark chocolate, with a little bit of dark fruit and molasses.

Taste: Dark roasted grains, smooth roast coffee, a fair amount of molasses, some dark chocolate, and a bit of anise. The finish is sweet, with a hint of coffee in the background.

Mouthfeel: This is creamy, viscous, very full-bodied, and quite smooth.

Drinkability: If not for the other amazing beers I tried along with this, it might have done much better. Without being too angry or brash, this IRS just goes about its business, getting its tasty job done.

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Photo of mgbickel
4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery. Served in a standard pint glass. The giant beer arrived at my table with a solid two fingers of mocha colored head. The thick foam slowly receded, leaving behind large tufts of itself on the glass walls. The body is dark, deep and light can be forced through this one.

The nose has lots of coffee and roasted malts up front. Molasses, beef and chocolate dance around in the background.

The first flavor is a massive molasses punch. This turns sweet toward the center where cocoa takes over. The finish finds a roasted and malt.

Thick and chewy mouthfeel...this one will coat your throat.

Once you get started on this one, it is hard to stop. Very glad to have tried of my new favorite non BA stouts!

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Photo of xnicknj
4.47/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at the release party

Pours a viscous black color with a bubbled toffee brown head which slowly dissolves into some wisps of film and sprinklings of lacing on the glass.

Strong scents of heavily roasted malt, subdued by softer chocolate and sweetness with touches of coffee and molasses.

A mix of roasty malt and caramel with some sweeter flavors. Dark chocolate and molasses balanced with hoppy bitterness. Lighter coffee flairs alongside alcohol warmth. All of the flavors are well balanced and in relative harmony, allowing each one to shine equally. Finishes with a spike of booziness and toasty malt.

Heavier body, mild carbonation, chewy yet smooth and soft on the palate. Pleasant drinking, excellent balance, and one of the better non-bal aged beers I've had in a while. The alcohol is just right, and there's enough hop bitterness to counter the sweetness and roasty malt. Great beer.

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Photo of rowingbrewer
4.78/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap at the release.

this beer pours an absolute pitch black with a nice thick brown head. no light makes it through this beer

the smell is wonderful roasted malt smell with hints of chocolate

the taste is roasty malt, a little hint of chocolate, nice balance between the roasted bitterness and the malt sweetness. the abv is not even noticeable

the mouthfeel is very full feeling and the drinkablitiy is very high, its a smooth easy drinking ber

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Photo of maximum12
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to gn0sis for stuffing this into a small box, slapping my address on it, & tossing it into a Minnesota-bound truck. This is one of those rare beers I hate to open, because I'm expecting great things. Oops! Well, too late now. Split with my wife (OK, I might have taken just an extra ounce. Maybe two. Hope she reads this while she's at work & I'm far away. Love you sweetie!)

Bottle 270 of 500, 2010 vintage. Nice clean, attractive label. Pours a rough, heavy black with little to no head or carbonation - fine by me. Even when stone-cold, this smells like the asphalt outside the gates of heaven. Billionaire roasted malts. Deepens & really opens up as it warms.

Southampton IRS was crafted by a master. Roasted malts & chocolate blitz the tongue, along with a graininess more common in a hefe; weird, & weirdly appealing. Feels rough around the edges, like it grew up on the wrong side of the tracks in a John Hughes film. Cocoa powder dry, tiny current of dark fruits, with a bitter finish that might be sharp chocolate or hops still fighting for their lives. Horrifically drinkable for a big stout.

Excellent beer. Southampton has succeeded in making a beer that's not terribly complex, but with great depth. This is the hewn-wood equivalent of a cabin in the forest that you want to go back to. Frequently. Yummy.

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Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.38/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mac (nimbleprop) for this gem.

A: Heavy pour with huge tan head. Viscous black!

Smells like tons of molasses malt and chocolate. I like what I smell, but it's good not great.

Taste is awesome though. Huge RIS character with smoky charred malt, fudgy molasses and dark fruit. Cinnamon in there with other sugary spices as well. This is a GREAT example of the RIS style.

Mouth is smooth and silky, and viscous. Excellent drinker, especially for the ABV. Went down quick for me! Awesome

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Photo of mentor
4.17/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thin layer of brown head over a pitch liquid. Smells molasses, chocolate, salt, fig, clean alcohol, mild smoke, coffee astringency, scorched marshmallow.

Tastes wonderful. Overall, it comes across as a very potent brown ale, with much more complexity added on. Cocoa powder, bitter baker's chocolate, molasses, fig, blackberry (from hops), roast acidity, and some vanilla. Dry in the finish is a bit astringent and there is an herbal retronasal.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
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 Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -4.8%
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 jrallen34
4.74/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2010 bottle poured in my Darkness glass. Bottle 99 of 500. A birthday present from my girlfriend, what better night to open up then to hopefully celebrate OSU's Sugar Bowl win...Midnight black pour, looks good. No head at all though, looks like a barrel aged beer with only the slightest dark tan head. No lacing. Disappointing look...The aroma is full of fresh cocoa, brownies and dark fruits. At first its sweet, but then its real backbone is lightly bitter with cocoa being the major player...The taste is awesome with extreme balance. Sweet and bitter at the same time, main player again is the cocoa. However, the sweet chocolate brownie note is huge, its almost like drinking a liquified brownie. This is what a RIS should be, best one I've had in a long time that WAS NOT barrel aged...The feel is a little lacking, on the lighter side for a stout, but a nice tannic and warming sensation...Incredibly drinkable, because it taste great and you can't detect the alcohol on the nose or taste at all.

This is a must try. For a pure stout (not barrel aged) this is probably the best I've had besides stormaktsporter. Get this!!!!

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Photo of JAXSON
4.21/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Pours a thick, rich deep espresso with a frothy caramel head. Very pretty! Nose is roasty, rich with dark fruits, earth, a little booze. Somewhat bitter flavor with subtle expressions of licorice, anise, a bit of coffee dust, some cocoa. Impressive layering of flavor. Rich and creamy but not all all burdensome and heavy. Finish is a bit long on the roasted bitter element. Very nice brew here.

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Photo of Deuane
4.52/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to slander for sharing this hard to find bottle of joyous liquid. From the 2009 release - bottle #339 of 450.

A - Deep, dark, black with a thin dark tan head that retained as a thin cap and left minimal spots of lace.

S-Deep, rich, roasted malt, fresh tanned leather, 90% cocoa chocolate, espresso with hints of anise and prunes. Quite complex and very nice. Light alcohol burn emerges with warming.

T-Arguably one of the most interesting and complex beers I have ever had the honor of drinking. Deep, dark leather, licorice, oak, black velvet, cocoa, espresso, prune and deliciousness all wrapped up in a refined smoothness with a touch of alcohol burn. Simply memorizing!

M-Medium-heavy bodied, rich and roasty, slick, oily and oh so smooth! LONG lasting flavours and a demand respecting alcohol burn in the drying finish.

D-Bold, complex and refined this is a HELL YEA! brew. Certainly not poundable by any means. This one demands respect and enjoyed slowly in a snifter, embedded in a cushy overstuffed chair, alongside a roaring fireplace, donned in your favorite crushed velvet robe!

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Photo of Jeffo
2.34/5  rDev -44.3%
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 Jwale73
4.35/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Thirstybird for braving the cold and sharing this one at our last tasting. Bottle 401/500. Pours black with a thin, quarter inch, khaki-colored head that quickly dispersed into a swirl. Nose reveals dark malts, roast, brown sugar and molasses. Taste is roasty and chocolatey with some brewer's licorice and some light bittering hops at the finish. Sweet, but not cloying so. Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a pleasant, even carbonation and a slight viscosity. An excellent example of the style. No bells and whistles, but a fair amount of complexity and drinks extremely easy. Hard to believe it has a 10.2% abv. A really top notch RIS.

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Photo of mothman
4.2/5  rDev 0%
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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Southampton Imperial Russian Stout from Southampton Publick House
Beer rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 365 ratings
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