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: 362
Photo of ixodus
4.47/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the tap into the South Hampton release snifter.

A: Pours a thick black in color with a beautiful coffee colored head with good head retention and lacing.

S: Bittersweet chocolate, cacao nibs, plums, dark roasted malts, faint earthy hops. The aroma has a bit of smokiness to it as well.

T: Burnt malt, dark chocolate, vanilla, raisins, plums, figs, molasses, smoke, bitter dark coffee, slight hop bitterness. Impressively smooth.

M: Full bodied smooth, viscous, soft carbonation with a pretty dry finish.

O: Overall a fantastic RIS. For such a big beer it's so smooth, alcohol is barely present. Glad I picked up 4 bottles of this beast.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.65/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Date: 01/28/2012
Type: On Tap @ Release
Glass: Commemorative SH Release Snifter
Vintage: 2012

Have been going to this release every year since 2008, have sampled numerous times, but never took the time to enter in a review.

Pours a viscous looking midnight black in color w/ a 11/2 finger medium brown head that left heavy, sticky lacing on the glass for days. Aromas of charred malts, burnt brown sugar, dark chocolate, molasses, smokiness, and that unique vanilla marshmallow note. The taste starts off w/ sweet molasses, vanilla marshmallow, and charred malts up front, leading into peated smokiness, and finishing w/ a good amount of herbal hop bitterness. Full bodied and creamy w/ adequate carbonation. Definately a sipper, but that's what it was designed for.

Overall, fantastic as usual! Phil Markowski and SH strike again, but do they ever miss!?

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Photo of cosmicevan
4.35/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the release thisyear. Poured this into the release day commemorative snifters. Deep chocolate mud jusr like last year. Roasted chocolate malts on the nose. Deep dark chocolate roastiness. Much like last year, nut not nearly as hot. Drinking great from the tap.

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Photo of SpdKilz
4.42/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A big thanks to Shane for sharing this at a recent small tasting at sirotan’s up in Ann Arbor. 2010 vintage.

Appearance – Pours into my tulip with a dark black color and about a half finger of mocha colored head that dissipates slowly leaving some nice lacing.

Smell – Loads of bittersweet cocoa/chocolate and roasted malts. This is always a positive sign to me because it means the initial aromas are not too sweet...which personally is a bit off putting for a RIS. A hint of molasses and caramel, but again it is not the dominant aroma.

Taste – Char, roasted malts, and bittersweet chocolate up front. A very dry stout. Mixes in with just a hint of sweet molasses (and a touch of toffee).

Mouthfeel – Medium to full bodied, moderate carbonation, creamy, finishes dry.

Overall – A great RIS. Very glad I was able to try this due to a generous BA. Would seek out in the future.

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Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4.09/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle sharred with many BA's at this years Darkness Eve tasting. Thanks Kevin for sharring this bottle.

Bottle# 5/500

A- No apparent head in the initial pour no lacing, dark black color, very opaque.
S- I get dark fruits upfront (plums, raisins, figs), dark roasted malts, slight chocolate presence, coffee.
T- Really smooth drinking, dark fruits, raisins, plums, dark malts, coffee, roasted notes, well balanced, really nice RIS.
M- Medium mouth feel, well carbonated, smooth drinking, dry finish.
O- Overall its easy drinking and enjoyable, not a beer I would hunt down, but glad to try it once, thanks kbutler1 for sharing this.

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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 joefuzz
4.83/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 vintage Bottle 301 of 650 split with a friend poured into snifters.

Pours jet black, used motor oil black with a dark brown head.

Smells of roasted malt, coffee and ripe plums

Taste is amazing, huge malty taste up front with a pleasent coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is pure velvet its so smooth carbontion is perfect.

Overall mind blowing RIS can't wait until this comes out again next year.

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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 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 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 brew3crew
4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jackie o's tasting baby!! 2011 bottle number 297/650. Thanks brad. Gusher fo sho

A-dark body wth a tan head that quickly disapates

S-lots of malt. For better or worse

T-follows the nose. Maybe a little bit of barrel, but not much

M- medium boey and smooth

O-rarity definitely affects the reviews. OK beer. Nothing too special

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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 TurdFurgison
4.11/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, one of the better bottles in the WW2 BIF from tprokop7 (thanks Todd) Opened during a tasting/party at DrGonzo's place in northeastern OH.

This pours a black color with a few fingers of dark tan foam. It looks and smells really solid, I love the dark foam. I get tons of roasted malts in the nose, along with some cocoa. I'm so used to bourbon aged stouts any more that I actually searched for bourbon. But this doesn't need it, a very nise smelling RIS.

The taste matches my memory of Bolshoi, although not as much chocololate in the Southampton. Lots of roast character in the aftertaste, this was really good from start to finish.

I know this bottle is a real pain to get, but I highly recommend it. Definitely a nice RIS, one of the better ones I've had in recent memory.

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Photo of TheDudeRules
4.01/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Generously hooked up from Afksports. Thanks Brendan.

Pours a nasty black into the Surly imperial pint glass. Big thick two tone mocha to khaki sponge of a head. Pretty sure I can do a handstand on that sum bitch. Retention is status level amazing. Nose is coffee, chocolate, toffee, and a small hint of dark fruit. Taste is an explosion of espresso. Tongue numbing espresso. Bakers chocolate follows. This beer has a hop bite that fades to a fairly dry finish. Alcohol is present when the sip is over. I'd consider it a belly warmer.

Good not great. I'd like to try next years and compare the notes.

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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 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 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 AgentZero
4.33/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I like this beer. I've had it multiple times. I like this beer multiple times.

Reviewing 2010 vintage.

A - Black color with a fairly large foamy-brown head that had moderate retention and a fair bit of lacing on the glass.

S - Lots of chocolate and roasted malts, which is pretty much a pre-requisite for me in a good RIS. Some bittering coffee, toffee, touch of molasses.

T - Roast, cocoa, coffee, little char, slightly sweet, very roasted. Duh, winning.

M - Smooth, moderate carbonation, full bodied.

O - Really like this beer and have gone out of my way to acquire multiple bottles of it. Good stuff, will try to get my hands on more.

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

2010 vintage, which I believe came courtesy of rlmartin; either way, thanks to rlmartin for being awesome one way or another.

A - The brew pours a rich, deep coffee-brown and is topped with a solid inch of khaki froth, depositing slippery globs of foam upon the glass' wall as it is upended. The brew's look is perhaps more typical of FES, but is tidy and impressive all the same.

S - The nose is an excellent blend of bitter dark chocolate, charred and naked grain, leathery notes, hints of smoke, and a vaguely berry-ish fruity sweetness.

T - The taste delivers on the promise of the nose, and is charry, roasty, hoppy and just out-and-out big. Suggestions of burnt coffee, leather, wood, anise, cherry and dark fruit complement the prevalent heavily-roasted grain, dark chocolate and molasses notes. The hops are defintely still discernible, and contribute a spicy, earthy and herbal quality. Booze is not particularly notable. Smoke lingers on the finish.

M - The brew has a soft, creamy feel that is quite enhancing given the brutal nature of the overall package.

O - Drinking this alongside '09 KtG, '10 Darkness, JK Black Metal, CCB Bohr and Dirac, I can confidently say this is only a notch below world-class; it was better than nearly all the aforementioned, and only KtG easily bested it.

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

Bottle of the 2011 vintage poured into a wine glass; thanks to the kind soul who shared this at DLD '11.

A: Black body, brown head. Ok retention and light lace. Not bad at all; I love the color of the foam.

S: Lots of chocolate up front, and a little spice. Further peering shows light smoke, coffee, and pronounced dark chocolate. Enticing.

T: Smooth, soft, and rich. Dark chocolate, coffee, spice, and more coffee. Lovely.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Good.

O: Great stout. It's got some serious individuality to it with the hints of spiciness and smoke, and I love that the emphasis is on the darker, more complex aspects of roastiness instead of big malty sweetness. I'm just going to have to go to the next release to get some bottles of my own.


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Photo of fear025
4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Aroma:Sour dark malty aroma with an underlying sweetness.

Appearance:Black and opaque, nice head with large bubbles. Head quickly dissipates.

Taste:Great fruity taste in the foretaste along with dark roasty malts. The fruits are kind of like a green apple. In the midtaste, the roasty notes take control.

Mouthfeel:There's some harshness, with good (perhaps too much?) carbonation.

Overall:This is a great complex roasty fruity imperial stout.

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Photo of SkunkWorks
5/5  rDev +18.8%
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 +8.1%
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 -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 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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Southampton Imperial Russian Stout from Southampton Publick House
4.21 out of 5 based on 362 ratings.
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