Dark Seas Russian Imperial Stout | Mission Brewery

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Dark Seas Russian Imperial StoutDark Seas Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Mission Brewery
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.80%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by srandycarter on 12-08-2011

For Trade:
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Reviews: 167 | Ratings: 695
Photo of woodychandler
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I am just continuing to wade through the Bottle Backlog here at Chez Woody as beers come to the surface for drinking and reviewing. I am back on an Odds & Sods kick, clearing out some loosey goosey bottles before embarking on the next long brewery horizontal. What will it be? That would be telling!

From the bottle: "The ancient legends that abound about the Russian Imperial Stouts of yore are filled with tempestuous romance, sinful thievery and scurvy, too. So highly regarded was this historic recipe, the Russian Kings tried to keep it all to themselves. They failed. Today we bring you our own dastardly dark version, with a rich and roasty aroma, notes of plum and port and a velvety texture so luscious it just might make a grown man weep."

I Pop!ped the cap & began a gentle pour, in keeping with my New Year's Resolution. Aggro pours from bottles are now (mostly) a thing of the past. I am really coming to embrace a vigorous in-glass swirl since it is much less likely to bungle things up. This action raised just under two fingers of foamy, deep-brown head with moderate retention that left some nice lacing in its wake. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Nose was bready and chocolaty, like chocolate cake batter or really dark chocolate brownies. Liquefied dessert! Mmm. Mouthfeel was medium-to-full, not quite creamy, but on the approach. The taste was as they mentioned, with plum and port, but also with leather, dark chocolate and rich coffee. This was true to my initial thoughts of liquid dessert, although it would work well with cheesecake and coffee. Finish was semi-dry with just enough sweetness to keep it from being outright dry. This would definitely be worth trying if you have not had it before.

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Photo of Kirock
4.34/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Nice black appearance and a somewhat subdued smell of smokiness and perhaps some fruity nuances.

It's a smoky chocolate flavor with a nice smooth mouthfeel. Bold yet smooth. Medium carbonation seems to help this feel balanced. Maybe it isn't for everyone but I rather enjoy it.

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Photo of Zythophile
3.92/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle Date: none
Palate Contaminants: other beer

Appearance is black with a little bit of medium brown fine head.

The smell is burnt molasses and olive oil. There's a slight bit of vanilla.

Smokiness dominates the taste. There are some dark fruits in there like raisins and prunes. Black licorice, as well. And I get some alcohol taste. Charcoal. (Haven't used that one on anything but a wine.) There's some bitterness in the middle, but it doesn't dominate. Basically, overall it has a lot of nice supporting flavors, but nothing really carries it. Maybe smoke is the point.

The feel is a little thin for the type, and the smokiness is about all there is for the aftertaste.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 22oz of this from Mission Brewery last weekend, tried it on tap beforehand and it seemed pleasant enough for a full review at home. Poured into a Spiegelau Stout Glass. No bottle or freshness date.

L: Dark black with faint ruby edges, great two finger tan head with excellent retention and spectacular lacing.

S: Rich aromas of wood smoke, molasses, chocolate, vanilla, sherry and even some leafy hop.

T: Follows the nose closely however the sherry and wood smoke notes fall off a bit, the molasses and chocolate is mellowed nicely by the vanilla. Leafy hop is still present. Complex and balanced nicely. Could be a touch more bitter.

F: Very smooth for 9.8%, creamy mouthfeel with decent carbonation. Medium body.

O: An excellent beer by Mission, competes with their Shipwrecked DIPA.

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Photo of brentk56
3.48/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Surprisingly translucent coffee brown with a tan head; strands of lacing hang around; just can't get over the color since i was expecting something more like engine oil

Smell: Roast, ash and chocolate; peanuts, too

Taste: Very roasty, up front, with chocolate and peanut tones underneath; the beer develops an ashen taste, after the swallow, along with a tobacco bitterness

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body; moderate carbonation

Overall: Quite disappointed in this beer; not only does it lack the full body I expect with the style, the flavor profile is just unpleasant

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Photo of johnnnniee
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle in trade from solidfunk, thanks for the opportunity!
Solid black with a good sized tan head that persists. Roasty chocolate with a bit of earth and licorice and just a touch of dark fruit. Pretty tasty stout.

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Photo of jeffjeff1
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- black color, nice looking head that dissipates quickly
S- chocolate, coffee mostly
T- chocolate, coffee mostly, very good
M- full bodied
D- very good. Definitely getting more of it, very good stout!

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

Pours a black opaque with little to no head. Extremly robust and an almost peanut butter Like taste. Burnt toffee and a bitter dryness to the finish. Different than others of the style, but solid nonetheless. I think of peanuts and chocolate all the way with this one!

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Photo of mchegash
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

L: Extremely dark brown, almost black. A small layer of mocha foam which dissipates quickly.

S: Strong chocolate/cocoa aromas, nutty (peanuts), raisin and other dark fruits. A tiny bit of booziness.

T: Very toasty and nutty (has an almost peanut butter-like taste). Moderate sweetness with strong notes of dark fruits. Cocoa is much less detectable than in the aroma. Overall pretty delicious.

F: Medium-full bodied. Moderate amount of moderate-high intensity carbonation. Very slight bitterness.

O: This is quite a good beer. I really like the nuttiness. It's something I've never experienced in such a strong stout.

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Photo of OldManMetal
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Dark Seas lives up to its name: it is an impenetrably black, effervescent beer that is devoid of highlights except for a fleeting glimmer of mahogany at its base; the thin, brief-lived creamy brown head leaves fair bands of lacing. The nose is medium-strong and dark: toffee and dark cocoa with hints of bitter coffee and black-strap molasses, all topped by significant alcohol overtones. The palate is a dark, bitterish, seamless blend of fairly rich dark chocolate, toffee and a bit of lighter milk chocolate, over a significant boozy undertow. The finish is a fair hit of alcohol and bitterish toffee, and is slightly astringent; the linger is a mild chocolate/grassy bitterness that lasts for a good while. The mouthfeel is commensurate with the full body, and the texture is thick, creamy/sticky and slightly peppery from the well-expressed carbonation. A solid RIS (if a bit restrained flavorwise) with a great mouthfeel. (12 oz bottle, no code date)

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Photo of CraftBeerRunner
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Excellent imperial stout. Excellet chocolatey head, crisp coffee/licorice smell. Rich and robust flavor. Think delicious texture. Very good! Bevmo, Oakland, May 2016

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Photo of Rogerlb
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I'm with that other guy. This RIS is more roasty malt and coffee than some of the other RIS options. Old Rasputin for example has a sweeter fruit that makes it closer to barley soda pop (no wonder it's so popular). Mission lays in the burnt coffee and caramel, therefore feels more like a "russian imperial" to me. You know, dark and aggressive and a bit off-putting.

Pours dark as it should, head is all but inconsequential, disappearing as soon as it can. The ring of foam that remains is a light brown/tan, very attractive looking detail on your glass. Smell is roast and vanilla and some plum/dark fruit. Sweet booze. Could be great...

Taste goes more of the baker's chocolate variety, bitter espresso coffee, that rotten fruit suggested by the aroma; I get the sensation of coffee on the burner too long with charcoal. Interesting. I guess that's what they call "chewy."

Get some char, slight hoppiness, even citrus, caramel deep in there giving us some body, some plums that have been boiled down to mush. It's kinda a mess. Complex and heavy, certainly not nearly as easy drinking as some of the more popular RISs (OR or Stone's IRS) which tend more to some fruit in the char.

Bitter roast and boiled plum is my takeaway. Feels boozy as well. Aftertaste has traces of hoppy resin stickiness and bitter and fruit. Burnt coffee with port. Note that the 12oz bottles I've had seem much more nuanced and sweet than the 22oz bottles. They for some reason tend towards roast burnt taste the 3 or 4 times I've had this that way. I prefer this in 12oz bottles, although I can't imagine it's a different recipe.

Once it warms, the roast turns to ash and mellows out. Do you have the patience? The ratings above, overall 3.5, is for the burnt (too burnt) bitter espresso bombers. Burnt variant on RIS with heavy roast forward than other imperial stouts.

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Photo of detgfrsh
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From an undated bomber. Pours an opaque black with just a thin lacing of bubbles. Smells of roasted malt, chocolate, and dark fruits. Thick mouthfeel. Rich malt flavor and a touch of bitterness, with alcohol warmth to finish. Very good stout, everything is well balanced and it's easy to drink despite the high ABV.

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Photo of 57md
3.79/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep dark brown color with a thin layer of head. The nose is rich and roasty. The flavor is where things fall apart - it's flat for the most part. There is some roast but less than the nose would indicate.

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Photo of stakem
3.39/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

This 12oz bottle came to me in a trade some years ago, sorry I dont remember from whom to give thanks. It appears black with brown head that fades leaving patchy lace.

It smells meaty with minerals than raisons and milk chocolate oxidation with a backing thats both roasty with charred grain and fruity with alcohol.

This tastes of minerals and a weird meaty character before getting roast with earthen bitterness and char. Some oxidation is noticeable along with raison alcohol.

This is medium in body with modest carbonation. Its an ok offering.

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Photo of OlaB
3.77/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L: Very dark in color with a a small top of creamyhead that disappear very quickly , lacing seems moderate

S: Dark chocolate, cofee ,dark malts , dark fruits like figues and dates

T:Dark chocolate and cofee is the dominant taste here , very much like the smell.

F:Creamy, very thick, carbonation is very low,

O: This was a interesting beer, Stouts are usually not my favorittes but i like this one, the taste was very good balanced and the aftertaste was also very nice. It was absolutelly a enjoyable beer. and is a brew style that i want to trie more of

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Photo of LennyOvies
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

L- Pitch black body with brown edges, creamy persistent beige head. Looks thick while being served.
S- Vanilla, roasted beans, chocolate, coffee, dark fruits.
T- Bitter coffee, espresso. Dark chocolate. Booze. Burnt milk candy. Everything combines for a bitter taste all throughout.
F- Rich, full, velvety. Palatable carbonation.
O- Even, though this is very good. I cant take the strong bitter taste for too long. It is a bit too much.

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Photo of NateDyk47
4.23/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

L- almost black, thin off off-white head
S- sweet espresso
T- dark chocolate espresso, faint dark chocolate aftertaste
F- lightly carbonated, about as thick as you'd expect for a stout

Pretty good overall

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Photo of gopens44
4.07/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

I have no idea how old this beer is, but I'd say it's at least from no earlier than 2012 since I bought it at my favorite shop that closed in 2012.

Looks spot on for style, black as night, thick copper head and abundant foamy lacing. Nose is full of molasses and dark fruit while sneaking in some amount of nose irritating heat. Taste is wicked big dark chocolate that drops off into a dark malt yet randomly bitter finish. Thick bodied nearly throughout until the very end where we have a thinning out that allows the bitter to longer on the tongue.

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Photo of raiderob
4.49/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber into pint glass . Pours dark as a country night . Brownish creamy foamy head that lingers awhile then gives way to very nice lingering lacing . Smells of coffee&toffee taste of chocolate earthy flavor. Mmmmm very yummy . Prost❗

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Photo of josanguapo
3.9/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

In Bar Viriato. At lunch, with Pedro, Miguel, and David. With Papas Bravas. Soft taste and easy to drink, which makes it very dangerous because of its high ABV. However, Id prefer a bit more body

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Photo of gregb13
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Very good, hits the right notes. A bit boozy as it warms. Very similar to any number of stouts. Nice but wishing it was a bit more complex, ala Old Rasputin with something different to offer (anise, licorice, etc.).

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Photo of pat61
4.53/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L: Pours deep dark brown under a 2” creamy dark tan persistent foam collar that grips the side of the glass.
S: alcohol, dark fruit, dark malts, cocoa.T: Big bitter espresso flavors layered with bitter dark chocolate.
F: Thick, chewy, extremely soft creamy carbonation
O: Very creamy and towards the dry side for a Russian Imperial Stout but in a good way - like an espresso with a shot of dark chocolate

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Photo of Pukstopper
4.02/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark malty black with a slight head that fades and leaves lacing. Roasted malts very present. No big aftertaste but a rather smooth finish with subtle bite on the back end. For 9% ABV not bad at all

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Photo of mabermud
4.16/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This looks nice. Dark chocolatey body. The head is dark brown with black highlights. The head melts from the side of the glass. I smell medium and dark roasted malts, lactose, and some chocolate. This smells nice. The taste has all of the characteristics of a RIS, but this one is richer, and heavy on the roast. Nice balance of sweetness and roast. There is some faint twang on the backend. I need more body and substance. The feel could use some work, but it isn't bad...

Overall - The smell is very nice. They did a good job with that. The taste is up there. Everything comes together well.

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Dark Seas Russian Imperial Stout from Mission Brewery
4.04 out of 5 based on 695 ratings.
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