Imagine
Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant

ImagineImagine
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Style:
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #112
ABV:
15%
Score:
93
Ranked #2,025
Avg:
4.28 | pDev: 8.88%
Reviews:
33
Ratings:
106
From:
Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant
 
Oregon, United States
Avail:
Rotating
Wants
  194
Gots
  23
SCORE
93
Outstanding
ImagineImagine
Notes: Matured 9 & 21 months in bourbon barrels.

40 cases produced, released at the pub every other year, most recently November 2011.
Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 106 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Lingenbrau
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2019 version from the bottle. 13.5%

Hard to knock much on the appearance here. It's diabolically black, mirror clean, and boasts a thin tan head which remains as just a ring around the glass.

The aroma is sweet and slightly tart. Heavily handed with milk chocolate, plum, and maraschino cherries, with a generous dose of damp oak staves. The booze is definitely present but is masked quite well.

The flavor is substantially unique. It says right there on the label "Belgian-Style Stout", but what the hell does that mean? Well, in this case it means exactly what the aroma indicates: a milk chocolate covered maraschino cherry, complete with a nutty almond caramel drizzle and a smooth woody finish.

Slick and rich textures are competing to the death against the mildy tart and wood derived drying finish. The elevated abv is barely noticeable if it weren't for the woods dead giveaway. It has a uniquely bubbly feel to it too. I'd say it fits somewhere right between a Flanders Red and a "stout".

Very impressive and curious brew we have here. Overall, despite what it dictates on the label, I'd call this a wonderful bridging of styles and think it just might benefit greatly with some time, forgotten under the staircase.

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Photo of DefenCorps
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at ABV. 11.5%

Black with a dark brown head that falls off rapidly leaving little lacing this looks solid. The nose is a wonderfully complex with spicy Belgian stout and a strong bourbon note. Chocolate, bitter chocolate, chocolate ganache, buckwheat honey, dark caramel, toffee. A mild booze note is present as well. The palate opens bittersweet with dark chocolate, honey, butterscotch, honey, dark toffee , spice. Dark caramel. Licorice and a mild leather. Full in body and softly carbonated, mildly boozy on the finish. Excellent.

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Photo of brentk56
3.8/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours fudge brown and flat; bubbles form from the strength of the pour but fade away presently

Smell: Chocolate, dark fruit, smoke, Bourbon and oak

Taste: Bourbon forward, with chocolate, dark fruit and cherry tones prominent; hints of vanilla, smoke and oak, through the middle, with the Bourbon dominating the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied and flat; warmth in the gullet

Overall: Received from a forgotten BA in a trade some time ago and aged, due to the high ABV; likely 2013 (or earlier, but no way of knowing); the lack of carbonation is not all that surprising for a high ABV beer but, even if the carbonation were better, I am not sure that I would have warmed to this beer

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brentk56 from North Carolina, Jun 04, 2017
Photo of Alieniloquium
3.88/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle. Black body. Thin collar. Smells of strong bourbon. Nutty malts. Milk chocolate. Tastes of milk chocolate, booze, nutty malts and oak. Pretty sweet. Quite boozy. Heavy. Low carbonation. Tasty.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.96/5  rDev -7.5%

Thanks to Chris F. for sharing this one at mrbubbler's tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to wisps of film on top of the beer. Tiny dots of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, coconut, bourbon, and wood aromas. Taste is much the same with slightly tart cocoa, dark fruit, and bourbon flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of roast bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with nice bourbon barrel aged characteristics all around.

Serving type: bottle.

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UCLABrewN84 from California, Sep 14, 2014
Photo of Jeffo
2.99/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Big thanks to Doodler for this long time want. Cheers!

From an unlabeled bottle into a snifter
Vintage: 2011

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a small, medium looking, light tan head with decent retention. Head fades quickly to a swirly wisp and ring. Bistre brown body with medium levels of carbonation evident. A ring with splotchy wisp remain leaving no lacing down the glass. Decent head, but the body is too light and transparent for the style.

SMELL: Lots of oak and booze. Bourbon, vanilla, light milk chocolate, sweet cream and cookie dough even. Some oak, alcohol and light cherry notes too. Dark fruits and brown sugar come out from the strong alcohol presence as well. Very bold and boozy, Lots of complexity, but this is very alcoholic.

TASTE: Very strong. Oak, bourbon, sweet caramel and cherry flavors up front. Alcohol and dark fruit sweetness through the middle with a bold and boozy finish of barrel flavors, sweet caramel, dark fruits, sweet, slightly tart cherries and lots of alcohol. Not much in terms of bitterness or roasted flavors at all. Bourbon, vanilla, caramel and toffee sweetness, candy sugars and dark fruit flavors, all over a massive bed of spicy alcohol. Sweet and oh so boozy.

PALATE: Thinner body and higher levels of carbonation. Light and somewhat prickly on the palate, goes down okay with a bit of a bite and finishes sticky. Lots of heat lingers. Very thin, prickly and hot.

OVERALL: Not really my thing. There's a lot going on here, mostly in the sweet malt and fruity, spicy booze categories, but very little in terms of roasted grain and bitterness. This is definitely complex and interesting, and if you're into ultra high ABV stouts, this might be right up your alley. As for me, I'm glad to have tried it, but I think it stops there. Thanks again for giving me the chance to try this Doodler. I've been interested in this beer for a long time. Cheers!

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Jeffo from Netherlands, Jan 06, 2014
Photo of wordemupg
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

355ml bottle poured into tulip 15/12/13, 2011 bottle, thanks OakedCanuck for this one

A looks black with a very deep edge, lighter then I expected, a finger of mocha foam falls rather quickly leaving no lace and at 15% that's to be expected, some legs and color left on the glass after a swirl

S lots of bourbon, some wood, smoke, molasses, hard toffee, a little coffee and licorice, some soy and teriyaki sauce, there's a little booze but no where near 15% worth

T lots of sweet chocolate syrup, a little more booze then the nose but still well concealed, charred wood come out a little, everything on the nose is still there in one form or another, some dark chocolate covered cherry adds to the mix

M thick and syrupy, a couple bubbles, oily, a little heat but you feel it in your chest and head more then your throat, sticky for sure, lots of char, bourbon and chocolate syrup on the finish

O solid stuff, the 15% plays a part but they did a great job hiding it, the barrel plays a big part and shes easy to drink for such a monster

I don't mind them sweet and boozy with some woody bourbon here and there, perhaps I should've sat on this for a while but I'm not upset that I opened it at all. I think if I had another bottle I might age it for half a decade but I'm just glad I got to try it

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wordemupg from Alberta (Canada), Dec 16, 2013
Photo of RuckusDu
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage
Decent amount of mocha head which leaves a little lacing. Body is not as dark as most RIS. Aroma is sweet brown sugar, molasses, a hint of coffee. Soft and smooth but a little alcohol. Caramel, molasses, and chocolate. Mouth is thinner and not much carb but covers the mouth and is really nice. Overall it is mellow and delicious. Hides the alcohol well.

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RuckusDu from Colorado, Jan 27, 2013
Photo of cbrunpc
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle of 2011 edition on 1/20/2013.

A: Black, really black. No head.
S: Bourbon, then a little more bourbon, then some malts.
T: See above. A little bit of licorice. You think the bourbon might be overpowering, but I find it just right.
M: BIg, full bodied, bourbon. THe bourbon just sits warmly on the tongue.
O: A great beer for a cold winter day.

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cbrunpc from Oregon, Jan 21, 2013
Photo of Gobzilla
4.16/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a dark brown in color with brown highlights and a thin head that barely left any lacing sticking to the glass. Lots of sweetness in the aroma such as caramel, brown sugar and molasses with dark fruit character and booze heat. More chocolate flavor was apparent on the palate with a mixture of booze, dark fruit, caramel, wood oak, vanilla accentas and molasses toffee sweetness. The brew was medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, boozy, dark fruity, semi oaky and sticky finish, pretty damn good beer that reminded me of black tuesday

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Gobzilla from California, Jan 19, 2013
Photo of Rifugium
3.54/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Thanks to hopsbreath for the generous throw-in!

2011 vintage consumed Dec., 2012. Shared with Kevin at Funky Buddha, Boca Raton, FL.

I'd been waiting a while to open this one, and I figured NYE at FB was a pretty good choice. Served just slightly chilled. Poured into a goblet, a dark brown-black with maroon tints around the edges, a few wisps of bubbles on top quickly dissipated; no lacing. I found this beer to be quite disappointing, but maybe my expectations were too high. In the wide realm of imperial stouts, this one just fell short. Definite booziness right up front in the nose, with a big hit of anise/licorice, moderately roasty chocolate malts behind all that. Surprisingly, this beer was still very hot with booze on the palate, and the bourbon wasn't really well-defined; it was more of a moonshine or fusel taste that I got. As in the aroma, anise/licorice seemed to be the primary flavor component, possibly contending with the booze, lesser notes of dark malts and a touch of unsweetened chocolate, a little bit of a yeasty quality, and a bitter finish that came out more as the beer warmed. I like a nice full body on a big stout, and Imagine really didn't have it. It was about medium-bodied, perhaps thinned out by the alcohol, the lack of complexity made the taste suffer, and the heat from the alcohol reduced the drinkability a bit more. I kind of wonder what would've happened if I sat on this one for another year. It was good to be able to try it, but I wasn't too impressed.

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Rifugium from North Dakota, Jan 01, 2013
Photo of kawilliams81
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz unlabeled bottle into a Half Acre snifter.

A- pours black with a half finger tan head. Minimal lacing.

S- chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, vanilla, and slight bourbon aromas.

T- sweet chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, bourbon, vanilla and some bitter molasses at the finish.

M- medium body and low carbonation. A little thin at 15% but makes it all the more drinkable.

O- expected a little more from this beer, but still a very good BA stout. A little thin and would have liked some more bourbon, vanilla notes.

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kawilliams81 from Illinois, Nov 28, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks for the bottle, Luke!

Pours black as night with a dense tan head. Heavy roasted malt initially with lots of burnt sugar, dark chocolate, dark fruit, and vanilla. A light wood aroma and some mild bourbon. A hint of spice in there as well. The flavor is definitely on the sweet side with lots of sugar, molasses, vanilla, fruit. Good bourbon notes, slight oakiness, and a good bit of roast do balance out the sweetness fairly well. Very little, if any, alcohol presence.

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womencantsail from California, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of Sarlacc83
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

25cL glass at Beermongers. 2011 'vintage'.

A: Pitch black with a surprisingly creamy head. There are some medium legs for this one.

N: Chocolate, caramel, vanilla, and oak. There's definitely some licorice and anise in here. And oh, yeah, I can smell the alcohol. I know for a fact that it's better integrated in the bottle, but I'm reviewing the tap here.

T: Oh boy..lots of Belgian candi sugar, alcohol, licorice and chocolate. Heavy dark fruits such as prune and blackberry. Lots and lots of Belgian yeast. Super sweet and very much a Belgian stout.

M: Highly carbonated and a medium to thin mouthfeel. Not really impressed here, though it fits with the Belgian yeast. So I'll average what I want and what it probably should get for the yeast it uses.

O: A lot of people really seem to like this one, but I'm not terribly onboard. It's an extremely sweet confection, which if you're looking for that, will fit nicely, but for me, I'm hoping this one changes as it ages in my remaining bottles.

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Sarlacc83 from Oregon, Aug 10, 2012
Photo of Sean9689
3.97/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks, Alex! First Birthday beer for Alex...#1 out of 186. :D

A - Pours black, mocha-head, thin ring, wisps.

S - Very sweet & rich, light booze for 15%, creamy and dessert-like. Chocolate brownies, burnt sugars, oak, smooth booze, molasses. Not a whole lot of Belgian yeast character, but I prefer it that way.

T - Again, lots of dessert-like sweetness, booze a little more evident, and light oak. Chocolate, burnt sugars, caramel syrup, toffee, nice barrel character. Bourbon is smooth at 15%, which is a pleasant surprise. Finish is creamy rich chocolate cake.

M - Medium to full body, light carbonation, rich & smooth.

O - Super-sweet, super-rich, a sipper for sure. If you like your stouts sweet & boozy, this is the beer for you. Couldn't believe how the alcohol was integrated so well with this beer. Good stuff.

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Sean9689 from Illinois, Jun 27, 2012
Photo of MasterSki
4.05/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A birthday gift from a secret admirer - how flattering. Served in a Kuhnhenn snifter.

A - Quick-dissolving tan foam settles to a thin ring. Very dark brown body, and a bit of spotty lace that lingers as the beer is consumed.

S - Extremely sweet - as if someone melted Belgian chocolates and caramel into my glass. Some oak, molasses, dark fruits, and a light touch of earthy bourbon.

T - The taste is also extremely rich, with flavors of maple and chocolate syrups, dark candi syrup, treacle, touch of molasses, and light oaky vanilla. Not much in the way of overt bourbon flavor - just a ton of sweet stuff.

M - Smooth, silky, chewy, and viscous full body, with lower carbonation. Not much alcohol heat - was really surprised to see that this was 15%, as I probably would have guessed 11% or so.

D - A very unique and memorable barrel-aged stout. Was extremely enjoyable for the first 2oz, but starts to become cloying and exhausting at that point. Still, the deceptive alcohol is impressive, and this gets bonus points for being quite different from other beers in an increasingly crowded field.

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MasterSki from Ontario (Canada), Jun 15, 2012
Photo of HopHead84
3.59/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

5/26/2012

Huge thanks to Luke (writerljberg) for this rarity. Snifter.

A: Dark brown and opaque with a dark red hue near the edges of the glass. There's a bubbly light brown head that fades in the blink of an eye. A swirl of the glass yields an alcohol collar.

S: Big dark fruit notes with evident tartness and roasted grains. Plum accompanies grape, prune, currant, and a touch of dark cherry - decidedly Belgian. There's a light bourbon presence with lots of dark chocolate, some candi sugar, and caramel. The mixture of dark fruits, chocolate, bourbon, and wood is nice. Very wine-like with a dash of vanilla.

T: Bourbon blends with candi sugar and pronounced dark fruit notes. I get a lot of plum and prune. The beer is very rich with a firm dark chocolate presence and a good amount of booze, though nothing shocking for 15% ABV. There's a decided tartness and a touch of lactic character. The beer exudes earth and molasses with lesser notes of licorice. I detect a little caramel. The Belgian yeast strain is influential and insistent with the aforementioned dark fruit esters. There's a touch of spiciness and wood.

M: Full body with low carbonation. It's essentially flat after a few swirls of the glass, but that doesn't detract from the overall experience. The mouthfeel is smooth, silky, tannic, and sticky with substantial alcohol warming.

Overall: The Belgian yeast exerts more influence than I was expecting, but still a nice beer and definitely worth trying. I suspect this is becoming a bit more tart than was planned, though it could be my broken palate.

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HopHead84 from California, May 26, 2012
Photo of cosmicevan
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

been really excited to try this one for a while, but was waiting for the right night...tonight, it called my name. HUGE thanks to metalgdog for sending this one my way (sans box :( but i'll live). i love that the bottle is just a plain bottle and all the info is on the cap. enjoyed from a SH IRS anniversary snifter.

a - popped the bottle and filled my glass, the brew poured a watery black that settled into the glass a silky oily black. there was very thin barely beige head that was gone quick leaving small oil slicks of head on the surface of the brew. swirling the glass brought the fizzy head back to life for a few moments and left spotty lacing streaks.

s - in a word...BIG. big booze, big malts and a big alcohol mentholated burn. some dark chocolate and dark fruit notes are hiding in there behind all that booze. some sweetness as a cross between vanilla and raisin/fig/plum.

t - YOWZA, that's good! really big chocolate. some dark fruit. obviously there is a lot of woody bourbon in there as well, but the balance is as good as a tightrope walker. the wood characteristics are also there which seem to tame back the rubbing alcohol vibe from all that booze. incredibly well balanced and delicious. although the booze is there, it isn't what you'd expect for a 15% beer.

m - not a sludgy mess!!! actually, surprisingly thin for such a huge beer, but still has a medium body to it. the tingles are all aglow in my mouth from the heat, but this one is dangerously drinkable.

o - overall, i was not let down by this beer. the complexities are carefully balanced and the beer is a winner. i wish i had a case of these, but alas i have just one bottle...and down the hatch she goes. hell of a beer though. it is amazing that a beer this big can also be this tasty. despite how hard it was for me to find and ultimately land this beer, it was definitely worth it.

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cosmicevan from New York, May 20, 2012
Photo of 4DAloveofSTOUT
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Huge thanks to ArchEnemyBrew for this beer! Thanks Hollis!

poured into oversized snifter.

Appearance: an aggressive pour yields a big dark black bodied beer with a half inch of tan colored head. Head drops quickly to a ring of foam around the glass.

Smell: smells really sweet and boozy. Big bourbon, dark fruits, black licorice, jet fuel, vanilla, and leather. This nose is really heavy and intense.

Taste: Starts off with huge raisin notes with a nice splash of bourbon. Mild vanilla, coconut, black licorice, molasses, and cocoa. Finishes with dry oak and cherry notes. Thought I would taste the booze since it was so strong in the nose, but its really well hidden in the beer.

Mouthfeel: Its a full bodied beer with low carbonation. The beer feels surpringly thin for as big of a beer as this is, but its quite mellow and smooth. A fair trade off I would say. Mild warming from the alcohol without any burn.

Overall: I really liked this beer. It show cases the bourbon & dark fruits notes from the RIS beer style. Its a unique beer that stands out from many beer in its respective style.

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Photo of BearsOnAcid
4.09/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No head with bubbles on the side; dark brown/near black clear pour.

Classic heavy molasses and dark chocolate aroma. Strong oak and bourbon/alcohol heat.

Sharp alcohol warms the palate. Chocolate syrup and a huge oak finish. Even has a cola flavor. Sugary but the lighter than expected mouthfeel keeps it from being cloying. Alcohol singes the tongue.

Well done on balance for a big stout like this. It wasn't way over the top like I thought it might be.

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BearsOnAcid from Washington, Feb 15, 2012
Photo of Thorpe429
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Starr for sharing this bottle. Served in a tulip.

Pours near-black with a very thin mocha head. Not much retention or lacing, and a thin collar throughout. The nose has some really nice bourbon notes along with plenty of chocolate. A good dosing of dark fruits as well, especially in the flavor. Viscous and chewy with low-medium carbonation. Really quite good.

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Thorpe429 from Illinois, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of starrdogg
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Reino for sending me this one.

Pours a dark brown, but very much on the light side for an imperial stout, definitely not black. It's got a pretty minimal whitish-tan head. Smell is bourbon, booze and interestingly, dark fruit, which I did not expect. Flavor is pretty interesting, almost halfway between a big stout and a quad - bourbon is the predominant flavor, but the roast is pretty minor, instead dark fruits take over and give it a very interesting, unique finish. For 15% ABV, the alcohol is well-hidden. Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, a little low on the carbonation. Overall, this is a pretty tasty, different stout.

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starrdogg from District of Columbia, Jan 26, 2012
Photo of sweemzander
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Many thanks to Jason for the bottle!

(A)- Pours a thick pitch black as night color. Produced a surprising level of tan froth and even better retention despite its hefty ABV level. Some lace even showed up.

(S)- A heavy, but fitting array of aromas. A deep bready carmalized roasted component. Bits of raisin, molasses, and cocoa all over the place. Finshes with an awesome dry/oaky/almost toffee-like barrel character; Fantastic!

(T)- Like the smell was in pretty much every way. A lovely rich middle of caramel, raisin (dark fruits), molasses, and cocoa. Some nice bread-like roasted parts and a great oaky barrel finish.

(M)- A very mellow, but fitting and smooth carbonation level. Perhaps this beers' shining quality is how smooth and velvet-like this is despite a hefty sweet richness, not taking into account its 15% ABV level. Great barrel characters and just a joy to drink.

(D)- I would keep an eye out for this brewery, cause this beer could go up against the greats for the style and have nothing to hid or be shameful for. One of the better, if not one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts I have had in awhile. It definitely took me by surprise.

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sweemzander from Illinois, Jan 15, 2012
Photo of ArchEnemyBrew
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Plucked from the cellar @ 50 degrees and poured into stemless wine glass. 1-7-12

A: A very dark brown to almost black color. Very small tan head that takes some rousing to appear.

S: Bourbon/oak, dark fruit, sherry, bittersweet chocolate, small amount of tart cherry notes as well. Alcohol is there without a doubt. Very complex.

T: Taste follows smell with flavors of bourbon and oak as well as mild chocolate and as my wife described a cherry danish flavor.

M: A bit thin for a 15% BA stout but this does not detract from the overall experience. After each sip it finishes with a nice creaminess which is odd for being a bit thin.

O: I really enjoyed this beer although I thought it was a bit better on tap oddly enough. One of the more complex BA stouts I've tried in a while.

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ArchEnemyBrew from Washington, Jan 08, 2012
Photo of stakem
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 12oz bottle care of Joe, big thanks man! Crafty little brown box this comes packaged in wrapped with black tissue paper. Identifiable with no label, just a black cap that says "imagine" block 15 brewery 15% abv aged in bourbon barrels. Poured into a snifter, this brew appears black in color with a creamy tan head that slowly fades down to a lacing atop the brew. Some spots of lace stick to the glass. A light swirl revives a finger of froth and paints some stringy lacework on the glass. When held to the light, some clarity is noted around the edges and a deep ruby coloration through the body.

The smell of this brew is pretty darn fantastic. It smells of brownie batter, thick with chocolate sweetness that blends into beautiful barrel aged character smelling excessively of bright vanilla and coconut. Oak is present with a plethora of soft bourbon notes that brings forward a dark fruity quality almost like raisins or prunes. A bit of licorice and coffee open up as this brew breaths. Spectacular the way the barrel presence was captured in this brew, I am really digging it.

The taste is boozy upfront with a big bourbon impact. Lightly tangy in flavor that mingled well with the bourbon accents of alcohol. Dark roast of the grain blends pretty well with dark fruity aspects like prunes and raisins. A touch of bitter chocolate and coffee with a presence of vanilla and coconut. Quite warming across the back but the flavors of this brew are very bold and interesting. The way the flavors of bourbon and the barrel are integrated here are pretty awesome.

This is a medium bodied brew favoring a bit on the lighter side with a moderate amount of carbonation. I think the overall feel of this comes across lighter than expected because of the lighter almost evaporative nature of that 15% abv. Overall, it is a solid, bad ass brew that I really enjoyed. It really warms you up but for 15% is quite easy drinking. My only gripe about this brew was the dark fruited quality was a bit excessive for me, I would have enjoyed this much more if there was more of a solid roasty bitterness instead of tangy fruit element that only got exaggerated by the bourbons presence.

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stakem from Pennsylvania, Dec 22, 2011
Imagine from Block 15 Brewery & Restaurant
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 106 ratings