Lagunitas Imperial Stout | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout
Very Good
2,206 Ratings
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.90%

Availability: Summer

Notes / Commercial Description:
2010 8.2% abv

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,206 |  Reviews: 723
Reviews by mattmaples:
Photo of mattmaples
2.76/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The biggest mistake was putting the word Imperial on the label. Great sweet stout but it is seriously lacking in Imperial quality. If just said "Stout" on the label it probably would have gotten a 3.5 to 3.75 above average.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of depechemode1983
4.35/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours out black. The head is dense and brown. The retention on this is ridiculous. Its not going anywhere. Lacing is great to boot. Lots of thick sticky rings around the pint glass.

Smells like plums and raisins. Getting a hint of coffee. Or course toasted malts. Smells a bit smokey as well.

Taste of dark roasted malts. Semi sweet dark fruits through the middle. Coffee is light on the taste with chocolate being more dominant. Alcohol is surprisingly toned down considering the abv but is there. Finish is mildly bitter with a lingering roasted grains flavor.

Mouthfeel is very smooth. Like drinking silk. Carbonation is soft and pleasant.

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Photo of LovingCup
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Pours a little bit like motor oil with a decadent mahogany head. Got that big roasty and toasty smell. Smells more cocoa than espresso. You know its got all the signs going for it. Tastes rich and dark. bittersweet chocolate. caramel. maybe a touch of espresso. clean and creamy mouthfeel. touch of booze in a good way. Nothing crazy out of the box, just a well done imperial stout.
9.9% abv, $4 all day for a bomber? Sold! Perhaps I'm bumping my score up a bit because of this, but it's hard not to take into consideration.

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Photo of HorseheadsHophead
4.5/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L: Pitch black with a creamy tan head. Very good retention. Lots of sticky lacing left behind.

S: Dark chocolate, cocoa, soy sauce, caramel, pumpernickel bread, vanilla, raisin, black cherry, coffee, licorice/star anise, earth.

T: Dark chocolate, chocolate syrup, milk chocolate, and a huge amount of soy sauce and beef broth upfront. Pumpernickel bread, black cherry, raisin, caramel, toffee, and vanilla follow. Finishes with some black coffee, earth, black licorice and star anise spice, and then a lingering black coffee bitterness.

F: Medium-plus, almost full-bodied. Rounded and creamy. Moderately carbonated.

O: An outstanding imperial stout. I don't know why it gets the low ratings. It's fully up to the par, borderline world-class.

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Photo of Antbox530
4.23/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Damn good RIS.

Almost as good as old rasputin. Slightly less flavor and complexity, still one of the better stouts I've had. I'd give it number 4 behind Campfire stout, Old Rasputin, and breakwater's salted caramel. Almost a tie for third.

When you factor in the price (4.99 a bomber) it moves up to number 2 behind Old Rasputin.

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Photo of BeerNCue
4.37/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with some light penetration. Offers a brown head that recedes to brilliant lacing showing you all your sips. Smells of coffee and a roasty maltiness beyond it's price range. The taste is smooth, roasted coffee, light hops and a little smokiness. It's not too thick, and rolling it around in your mouth it develops a creamy texture. Well done.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
2.84/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

The Lagunitas Imperial Stout pours from the bomber a deep charcoal/onyx black with a big foamy two finger tan head that nearly spills over the top of my glass. Very active carbonation...maybe a bit too much. Aromas of dry, chalky cocoa powder, mellow roasted malts, a hint of day old coffee and some citrusy hops peek out as well. Really toned down and quite honestly boring...not what I look for in an imperial stout.

First sip brings an upfront dry roasted maltiness that imparts a grainy chalkiness on the roof of my mouth. Sprinkled with cocoa powder and an underpinning of brewed coffee. Citrusy hops hit the back of the palate on the way down. Slight lactic twang. Nowhere near what I expect from an imperial stout...much more along the lines of a standard stout.

Mouthfeel is actually quite thin with bubbly carbonation. The big malty chewiness I've come to adore in a RIS is nowhere to be found. A middle of the road stout that doesn't really grab my attention. I think I'll be passing next time.

Current CD: Jake Mandell - Love Songs For Machines

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a thick, sludgey opaque black with a fluffy, persistent dark khaki color head. Aroma is dark chocolate, dark roasted malts, coffee, and a touch of sweetness. Taste follows with a sweetness upfront, followed by roasted malts, dark and bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and a bit of caramel and toffee on the finish with just enough hop/coffee bitterness to balance. Mouthfeel is thick and creamy, not quite chewy, although very nice for an imperial stout with this profile. Overall, this is a very good imperial stout that does well to hit the hallmarks of the style at an affordable price.

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Photo of TheItalianStallion
3.79/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a bomber into a tulip

A: Pour is a very dark brown/light black with a huge 3 finger head of off white colored foam. Lots of lacing and a faint amount of light penetrating the edges of the beer.

S: Aromas of sweet chocolate with subtle roastiness. Surprisingly some floral hops coming through as well. The nose isn't as big as I would expect for a beer of this style.

T: Subdued flavors of roastiness and sweet chocolate. Finish is dry with some lingering bitterness. Just like the nose, the flavor isn't as big as I would expect for an imperial stout.

M: Medium bodied with a somewhat creamy mouthfeel and medium-high amount of carbonation. Alcohol slightly detectable on the finish.

O: Overall this wasn't bad, but it wasn't as rich and robust as I'm used to for beers of this style. It seemed more like a stout then an imperial stout to me. In my opinion the aromas and flavors were a bit too subtle.

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Photo of MacStinson
4.36/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2017 bottling. Poured from a bomber into a Chimay chalice.

Look - I read a couple reviews that said "dark brown". I'd say it's closer to black, given the vagueness of those statements. Nice head, sticks around on the edges and looks island-y.
Smell - Not a lot compared to the taste. I'd say, the only flaw in the beer. But who am I, Michael Jackson? It's great, not overstated like so many in this style are. I think this beer adheres to the centuries of precedent. More on that later...
Taste - quite balanced for the style, drinkable for the abv/weight. 9.9% is a lot for beer when you think about it and it's not terribly noticable. But I do think that it contributes to some of perceptions; raisins, dates, brown sugar, burnt bread, caramel, slight tootsie-roll and Belgian dark chocolate bitterness. But that bitterness only balances the sweetness and nothing more. Makes one anticipate the next sip. A little bit of espresso.
Feel - Perfect. Intense but not cloying. Would drink another. Tiny bubbles scrub the tongue just enough. Right amount of lift.

Overall this is a great beer. I didn't give it all 5's because I thought that it lacked the smallest bit of intrigue. But by all means this is an absolute standard. It's readily available and definitive. It's guilt-full-y cheap at $4.99 a bomber and could be... Dare I say it?... An "every-day impy stout". Oh man, what has this existence come to if one imbibes a beer like this every day? But the ubiquity of it screams for regular consumption for the sake of pride.
I would digress but there is a bit left to say: It's not barrel aged or brewed with coffee. There's no Madagascar vanilla beans or Mexican chiles or maple syrup. But this beer does it all anyways and leaves me satisfied. It's basic in the most satisfying way and should not be missed.
Here's to the standard, friends!

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Photo of utopiajane
3.84/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours luscious d a bit thick. Perfectly black with a good head of khaki colored foam that lasts and leaves lace. Eventually the head falls to a thick ring and the bubbles seem to want to hug the glass as I swirl the beer around. Nose is deep and rich and a bit sweet. Roast and chocolate, a sweet caramel and weak coffee. This has a mellow quality to the nose that I really like. It smells soft and like it does not have any rough edges. A bit of earthiness and a faint and elusive nuttiness comes forward as it warms. I am not getting any smoky qualities form the nose. Taste is smooth and well blended. There is a bit of smoke on the palate and a touch of earthy bitterness form the roast. The coffee stays weak in the drink and the chocolate is also a bit fainter on the palate than on the nose. The sweet underpinnings of caramel carry through smoothly to a dry and bitter finish with a nice drying effect on the tongue from the alcohol. That's all you see of the alcohol though. You do not taste it and it's not in the nose . Only a ticklish bit of warmth as you swallow and it's faint at that. Lovely! It does come across with a bit of a cereal taste in the middle but I think I would say that is richness of roast without a lot of heavy or sugary sweetness. Mouthfeel is full and creamy, but not too thick or too heavy. It is not terribly complex. There is no fruit character and the malt says supple and soft throughout the drink as the sweetness of the chocolate creeps shyly onto the palate more and more as you drink.

This is very easy to drink and well done.

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Photo of Beerdanza
4.66/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a 24 ounce bottle.

Pours opaque brown, with a milk chocolate colored head. Perfect for a stout.

Smells sweet and chocolately, with just a touch of biterness.

Tastes is dominated by sweet, smooth milk chocolate. It's a little one-dimensional in its chocolateness, but I really like it. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous, as a stout should be.

Overall, this is the most chocolate beer I've ever had, and I like it a lot. It doesn't go with dessert, it is dessert. I'm glad I stumbled upon this in a convenience store I don't frequent. It was a wonderful diversion.

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Photo of Allyournamesarebelongtous
4.71/5  rDev +23.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Maybe I'm a plebeian or too proletariat to understand these complex beer reviews noting flavors of Indonesian cinnamon and floral bouquets of white lilies. Maybe my palate is just not not refined enough to be able to tastes all these incredible things people are tasting. I'm am surprised this imperial stout is not rated higher though. I have tried many, and this is my favorite. It also happens to be the cheapest in my neck of the woods. 22 Oz. bottles for $3.99. It's rich and chewy like any imperial stout. I find it to be very easy drinking too. I'll try my hand at flavors noted. Coffee and dark chocolate come to mind. The very rich flavors tend to hide the high alcohol content, as with most imperial stouts.

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Photo of oberon
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a near black but with some crimsone hue showing thru near the bottem of my glass with a big fluffy almond colored head,aromas of rum and butter are dominant with some light nuttiness in there as well.Like others who have reviewed this I also think the body is real watery for an imperial stout,it has good flavors for the style lots of rum and butter with a nice big earthy finish but the mouthfeel keeps the flavors from really kickin ass.Iam glad I tried this and its not all bad but man that is a thin beer for an impy stout for sure.

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Photo of RoyalT
3.03/5  rDev -20.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Appearance – Nice, dark (almost black) body with a decent head that laced the glass well.

Smell – The aroma is very faint, even after warming, but I’m picking up some nice cocoa notes and a bit of roasted malt.

Taste – This was pretty lightweight for an Imperial Stout. The chocolate flavor was there, but the biggest part of this one was the hoppy backbone. It was good, but very different from the other IS’s that I’ve tasted.

Mouthfeel – This was the stout’s weak point, IMHO. It was very thin, not even medium-bodied, and lacked any kind of alcohol sensation.

Drinkability – This went down well but the label is misleading.

Comments – I guess you have to wonder about an Imperial Stout with an Availability rating of, “Summer Seasonal.”

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Photo of tectactoe
4/5  rDev +4.7%

Photo of ExtraStout
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a tulip glass. This is from Lagunitas and its an Imperial so my review will be biased toward the high side. This has all the good stuff you're looking for (blackness, creamy tan head, roasty smell, thick not watery, etc) and as much as I liked it, if I had to chose between this and their Cappuccino Stout it would be the Cappuccino Stout. This was just a bit too roasty/smokey for me to love but a quality example of the style none the less.

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Photo of t2grogan
3/5  rDev -21.5%

Photo of Tiernan
3.5/5  rDev -8.4%

Photo of SanFranJake
3.74/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Photo of blitz134
3.47/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Brownish, red colored body. Not the pitch black that would be expected with the style. Initially about an inch of light tan head that reduced to a skim layer fairly quickly.

A bit of chocolate then a slathering of dark fruits, raisins and some plums. A bit alcoholic with some sugary sweetness coming through. Lacks the daker roasted notes I'd like to see.

More dark toasted notes in the flavor and lacks the sugary sweetness that the nose hinted at. Finish is actually a touch chocolaty. Simple flavor overall, just not nearly as complex as the others on the market. Not as much alcohol as the nose alluded to either.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied. I'd like to have this be a bit thicker. Carbonation levels seem okay making this one a fairly smooth.

Overall a drinkable beer just simple overall. Good price for what you get I think.

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Photo of sabitu
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%

Photo of EastBay_Nick
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of FadetoBock
3.75/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of Aaron420
3.67/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from the 10.14% abv 22 oz. bottle, into a snifter.

A: Deep black color with a extremely small creamy tan head, that dissipates quickly leaving a small foam residue in the center of the glass.

S: Smells or rich caramel and toffee, with hints of alcohol, coffee, and what I would call a oak like smell, even though this is not a barrel aged brew.

T: The taste is of caramel and molasses with a rich maltyness to it. With a bit of chocolate and a hint of fruity flavors coming through toward the end.

M: It is a little thinner that I would have expected from such a high gravity beer..

D: Not a bad beer but defiantly nowhere near the top of this list in its category.

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Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.82 out of 5 with 2,206 ratings