Tsar's Imperial Stout
Chelsea Craft Brewing Company

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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #307
Ranked #7,923
4.17 | pDev: 15.59%
Chelsea Craft Brewing Company
New York, United States
Reviews: 23 | Ratings: 30 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of taigor
4.65/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into snifter glass.

A - Poured jet black non-transparent color with medium brown head that quickly dissipated leaving slight lacing around the glass.

S - Very subtle roasted malts, chocolate and coffee.

T - Pretty much follows the nose. Lots of roasted malts with big amounts of coffee and dark chocolate. Rich and creamy burnt and bitter taste.

M - Full bodied with high carbonation.

O - Excellent RIS with ABV well hidden. Overall I would highly recommend it.

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Photo of tempest
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Dinosaur BBQ in Harlem, served in a 12 oz glass. Came pitch black with a short tan head. It needed a little time to warm up, but once it did, the flavor opened up with a mix of roasted coffee, smoke, medium-dark chocolate and toasty grain. It's not too thick, but instead a satisfying stout that doesn't leave you too full.

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Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chelsea Tsar's Imperial Stout on cask at The Pony Bar in Hell's Kitchen, New York City. Also available there on regular draft (already reviewed).

Appearance: Served in their standard 12-oz pint. Comes with a beautiful two-finger head, brownish white, bubbly. Extremely black color, super dark. Incredible lacing.

Smell: Roasty hops, dry bitterness. Some sugary malts. Chocolate. A bit of creme brulee.

Taste: Liquid chocolate, roastiness. Also, like sucking a leather shoe, very earthy/umami-like. Some espresso aromas.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation, medium body and flavor. Dry, bitter finish.

Drinkability: Fair enough. It is boozy at almost 10% and it goes down boozy, more so as it warms up. Still, quite drinkable.

I prefer the cask version over the draft. The flavors are out and dancing and the beer becomes more complex and rich.

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Photo of kwjd
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This was labeled as "Russian Imperial Stout" at Pony Bar, listed at 10.5% alcohol. It was available both on tap and in cask, so I went for the cask version. I'm going to assume this is the correct beer because the reviewer below me mentioned this and it is the only Russian Imperial Stout on the list from Chelsea.

Pours a pitch black colour with thin tan head. Smells of roasted malt with lots of dark chocolate. Sweet flavour, slightly bitter in the aftertaste I find though. Very smooth mouthfeel. This beer seems to be made for cask. I wish more stouts were on cask rather than nitro.

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Photo of Nickls
4.05/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

(From notes)

A - Deep, dark black color; with a very thin bubbly light tan head; very dense looking

S - Dark fruits, almost a hint of raisins; light roastiness; deep, rich sweetness in the nose

T - Lightly roasty; bittersweat chocolate; not as sweet as in the aroma

M - Thicker, full MF; slick; not really any carbonation to speak of; very awesome stuff on cask.

D - True sipper, but certainly drinkable when treated with some respect; nice

Overall, a great example of the style and loved this on cask.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cask at The Brazen Head, served by Mr. Alex Hall himself.

Usual appearance: black body with a thin tan cap.
The aroma displayed bittersweet chocolate and coffee grounds, burnt sugar, some dark fruit, and wood (not oak from aging in wood, but more like damp wood, or I think more like that old wood smell that you find in old buildings - and I don't mean that in a bad way, it was a mild note that was pleasant).

The flavor showed more dark caramel than the nose suggested it would, and the burnt sugar continued as a major part of the flavor profile. Of course the chocolate and roastiness were still there, but they took a back-seat. A firm bitterness backed it, and I found it well-balanced and nicely rounded. The alcohol never made an appearance, even at 9%; and it finished with a dull roastiness and notes of dark coffee.

Nicely done! One of my favorite beers from the cask festival. I've always liked the beers that Mark and Chris put out, even their basics, but this one was primo! Just a little different than you'd expect of the style. Worth trying!

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Photo of Amalak
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this brew at Barcade in Brooklyn. Black in color with a limited head, no lace. Burnt wood scent to it. As you would expect, it's very smooth and very easy to drink. To be honest, there is nothing that really jumps out with this beer, but it is very good. Definitely worth a try.

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Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.73/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 8/15/08. On tap at Blind Tiger, 2005 vintage. Pours black with a pretty 1/2 inch thick tan head. Aroma of roasted malt, Flavor of roasted malt, vanilla, oak, bitter chocolate. Sharp alcohol finish, also some apple skins in the finish. Nice rich malt. Delicate mouthfeel, not heavy at all. Good, complex beer.
7/4/8/4/15 (3.8/5)

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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

'07 vintage

Pours black. Surprise! No head to show off a gravity pour. Woody sweet nose. Real smooth flavor. Vanilla. Light woody character. Very nice sweet tone. Great feel. Goes down super easy and goes down as another excellent stout from Chelsea.

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Photo of Lexluthor33
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark black.tiny bubbles for lace.
The aroma of cocoa,chocolate and malts.
The taste of roasted malts,chocolate and some alcohol.
The feel was full bodied,low carbonation(cask),smoky and chewy. An easy beer to drink especially as it warmed.Coffee notes and despite the ABV is was so smooth and a delight to sip on.

Notes: I had this towards the end of the night and I was expecting something bitter and heavy,well it was neither and I reveled in my pick.

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Photo of getalife2k5
4.13/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

had this on tap at Hop Devil Grill in the East Village. poured black like espresso with a thin, creamy, white head.
smelled of black coffee and even charcoal.
i could certainly taste the alcohol but it wasn't overpowering. it tasted like strong coffee with hints of sour cherry, smoked ham and charcoal. stacked up against another I-stout that will remain nameless, it was pretty good, but not prefect. it was lacking the robust, full-mouth effect of some others. i'd certainly get it again, though!

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Photo of plaid75
4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep oily black hue with a one finger foamy white head. There was very good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a robust buurnt grain and some caramel sweetness. Elements of cocoa and smoke as well.

The flavor consisted of a serious burnt grain with hints of black malt, candy sugar, dark chocolate and cofee.

The mouthfeel was full and chewy.

Overall a superior RIS on cask.

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Photo of Douglas14
4.03/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a growler within about an hour of being filled. Like all RIS's, black. It has a great thick tan head that leaves great lacing. Smells like a very dark roasted coffee more than anything else...obviously dark chocolate comes out as well.

It has a nice hop taste to it that makes it pretty dry and gives it a nice little twist. Again, coffee and chocolate dominate the flavor. It has a medium to full body.

Overall great beer...this was my first Chelsea brew...they just set the bar high with this one; I hope the other beers can live up to this quality.

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Photo of gwong
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark black color with a thick tan head when poured. A good amount of lacing on the glass remains with each sip.

S: Chocolate and malts are prevalent in the nose.

T: Roasted chocolate and coffee flavor.

M: Rich and thick enough to coat the tongue.

D: Despite its high ABV, it's very drinkable due mostly to its roasted chocolate flavor.

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Photo of markgugs
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

drank out of a tulip glass at Chelsea Brewing Co.

A: Poured a delightfully abyss-like jet black, with a fine ruby glow about it. Small but ever-present wispy dark cream head leaves trickles of sticky lacing throughout. Gorgeous.

S: The dark roasted malts are immediately present, as are an ample amount of cocoa and rich chocolate. Extremely inviting.

T/M: This beer requires patience, as the coldness direct from the tap misleads one into thinking the beer is semi-thin and without complexity, but ahhh, as it warms? All those rich malted characteristics unfold over your tongue, complemented by layer after layer of bittersweet chocolate, cocoa and roasted coffee bitterness. Lip-smackingly good!

D: honestly, I could drink this all day, but not at 9.8%. As it stands, a perfect after-dinner drink, or perhaps Sunday afternoon sipper. Delicious & recommended!

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Photo of Sammy
3.19/5  rDev -23.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at Barcade. Odd aroma, and for an RIS. Dark black with mocha soapy head. Bitter coffee and some chocolate. A coffee experience primarily. Second glass brought, aroma was still a bit off for the style. Not a bad beer, but if you are in the mood, still below average for the style.

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Photo of jwc215
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had from growler the day after purchasing at Chelsea.
Pours jet black with a two-finger tan head that slowly descended, but stayed around throughout. Rings of lacing were left. Incredible head retention for abv level.

The smell is of chocolate with coffee notes. Subtle hint of dark fruits and roasted grain.

The taste is of rich, dark chocolate. Some espresso mixed in. Dark fruitiness is subtle, but present. Sweet, but not overly so.

Full bodied, rich texture. Smooth despite alcohol that is well-covered for the abv, which is deceptive. A very good example of the style, and a real treat.

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Photo of bultrey
4.52/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On cask at the Brazen Head -- a beautiful tan head to this even on cask. Not as hoppy as the Sixpoint Bolshoi, not as vinous as, say, a Stone Impy Stout, but somewhere in between and with a load of malt. For those who like their Impy Stouts a little maltier, I suggest you seek this one out. Of course, this was on cask, so the malt would tend to come through. I'd like to try on draft for comparison. Quite a bit of residual sweetness, reminiscent of vanilla, mixing with the espresso roastiness. Long smooth finish and mouthfeel. Unbelievably well-hidden alcohol. Superb.

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Photo of Truh
3.33/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Was duped by the charlatan Gregory Efimovich Rasputin with this one on 3/29/2005. 12-oz. goblet pour at the Blind Tiger, run-off from their vintage night.

Intelligence test of specter-thin head that gave pause to wonder about, well, things. Inky black, to the point of drawing in light, like a black hole. Treacle/black licorice sweet and sour tang on nose with a light vinegar note. Large vinous and core-walloping sweet swell on mouth along with an over-generous dose of prune juice; light roasted character. Seems like this particular pour has gone over a bit given its somewhat thin character and off notes.

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Photo of Billolick
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

More Vintage brew from the Tigers recent aged beer fest.. This keg was from the '03 vintage. Pours pure black, minimal head and lacing, nose was all about expesso coffee and wine notes. Roasted malts, notes of burnt raisins, more coffee all add up to a flood of intertwining flavors and high marks for complexity and interest. Best stuff I've ever tasted from chelsea

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Photo of woodychandler
4.8/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is CB) [that should be a backwards C]'s seaonal for the holidays. They will only serve it in a 12 ounce wine glass because of its ABV content and based on patrons' reactions last year. Respect beer!

The liquid is obsidian black and utterly unwilling to allow any light to pass through it. It arrives with a thin tan head that quickly dissipates. The nose is of a lovely smoky chocolate. The mouthfeel is simultaneously hot and creamy. The finish is so chocolaty that I am put in mind of good bittersweet chocolate. It is as the beer warms and approaches room temperature that the smokiness really begins to assert itself. This is a complex, dense beer that is undoubtedly worthy of a growler fill since they won't let me drink to my content at the bar.

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Photo of aracauna
4.1/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I got mine at the same tasting that goldtwins got his. Thanks Mike (Eyedrinkale). Not quite black. Darkest ruby. Nice light tan pitted head. Sweet caramel malt aroma. Chocolate, low hops. nice cherry and stone fruit. Body a bit light and bubbly. Mike passed on the brewer’s disclaimer that it might be a little oxidized from it’s age (3 years), but this tasted perfectly fine to me. One of the better beers at the imperial stout tasting.

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Photo of Mick
4.97/5  rDev +19.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Really dark, ink black. Nose of roasted malt, sweet aromas as well. Thick mocha colored creamy head. Great roasted malt flavor. Tinge of hops. Heavy body but textured just right. Finishes smooth. I really enjoyed this one.

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Tsar's Imperial Stout from Chelsea Craft Brewing Company
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 30 ratings