Lagunitas Imperial Stout | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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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

Added by kbub6f on 08-31-2001

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Reviews: 688 | Ratings: 2,063
Photo of Jwale73
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Served in an Imperial Pint glass. Poured an opaque dark brown with red highlights. Half-inch coffee-colored head dispersed rather quickly, leaving a thin skim of beer foam. Scent of chocolate malt and dark fruit (reminded me a little bit of the 2006 Killer Penguin I had last week), with a hint of espresso. Taste similar to nose, with the coffee more pronounced and the dark fruit much less so; however, for an RIS, flavor and complexity was somewhat lacking. Effervescent mouthfeel, but lacking a bit in body. Not quite watery, but not as full as I would anticipate with the style. Alcohol was well-hidden, making the brew fairly drinkable, but if you are looking for an RIS this one is a bit on the weak side.

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Photo of pwoods
2.61/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz. brown bomber, purchased at Belmont Party Supply in Dayton, poured into a tulip. No dating.

A: Pours nearly pitch black, just a bit of ruby in the back light. Maybe 1 finger worth of light caramel head that dies to a thick skim within a minute. Not much lacing.

S: Smell is very subtle. Some roasted malts that are a bit grainy. Not getting any hops or sweetness... not getting much at all.

T/M: Very plain. Some roasted malts and maybe a touch of molasses. A slight cola taste and maybe licorice? Not not a lot going on... on the bland side. Body is a bit too thin.

D: Lagunitas just didn't get this one right. I'd probably never even think of this brew again.

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Photo of theformula
3.58/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Beer #22 in my 366 Days of Beer Quest, tasted on 1/22.
So I read the label and this sounds great. I have a Cappucino Stout ready to review as well.

A: Pours a dark amber body into a tulip glass, not as dark as I thought it'd be. A khaki head retains well. Not typical but looks good anyway.

S: The aroma is pretty subdued for an RIS, more like a brown ale of cream stout. What is there is dark-roasted malts w/ brown sugar, caramel, a little lactic tartness and chocolate.

M: Med. body, low carbonation. Extremely soft, smooth body, if not a bit thin for style.

T: A tasty brew for sure, but it seems almost misplaced as a RIS, more of a brown ale. Nutty, chocolate malts make up a decently solid background, balanced by a caramel sweetness, a light hit of grassy hops as well as a green, woody note. Finish is somewhat short w/ grass, cocoa and nuts.

D: Interesting. I wouldn't label this a RIS, as the body, alcohol and malt depth isn't near the level of any RIS I'm used to. Yet it is a tasty beer, alcohol is well hidden. Not a great RIS, but a nice beer. It's just mis-labeled I believe.

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Photo of Raymond69
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a rich mocha head , some lacing.

Smell is very muted , slight caramel.

This beer has a lot of malt character. Sweet caramel , roasted grains , dark chocolate. The hops are an afterthought and cut the sweetness nicely.

Mouthfeel is thick/sweet and chewy. Good carbonation.

Overall a nice beer I'll revisit.

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Photo of ruckzuck
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Enjoying this after a nice Guinness stew.

A - dark brown, hints of red, nice head

S - malty roasted grains, chocolate, hops

T - like the smell, coffee shows up really prominently, chocolaty, hops come through

M - medium bodied, fine carbonation, sweetness really sticks around

D - ok; I've had better Lagunitas but this is good and hitting the spot since it's oh so cold outside. Would perhaps order again, though not sure I'd buy another bottle.

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Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.24/5  rDev +14%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: poured into a snifter. pours a rich deep brown with a fairly tan head, that dissipates rather quickly. Leads to spotty lacing, but it could be the glass.

S: deep hints of molasses and very sweet malts. Chocolate is all over this as well. aromas of hops are present. this beer has one hell of a nose.

T: very different flavors than I expected from the initial aromas. A lot of coffee in this mixed with a good chocolate flavor as well. hop are there, but masked which i enjoy, because it separates this from the majority of imperial stouts.

M: leaves the mouth feeling warm and places a ton of flavor on the sides and back of the palate. absolute delightful.

D: one a day would be an understatement from this beer. i manage a bar and i have drank at least four cases in the past 2-3 months(which lowered my paycheck, but it was well worth it). any beer, from lagunitas, is absolutely 100% phenomenal!

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Photo of ccrida
2.28/5  rDev -38.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

bomber into my New Beligium goblet, garnet tinged black with a quickly receding tan head that leaves light lace.

Smell is lots of chocolate, sweet malt and some alcohol. A hint of piny hops as it warms finally swings it from disgustingly sweet to still not very appealing.

Taste is also very sweet, chocolate and way to much oats for my taste, caramel with just a hint of roast. More like a big sugary porter, to sweet for me, which is not something I often say. Finish is very boozy, especially for being on the smaller side for an RIS, this drinks more like an overdone oatmeal stout.

Mouthfeel is slick, medium bodied.

Drinkability is low, my least favorite Lagunitas to date. Took me a good 1.5 hrs of letting this thing sit and warm up and it barely got any better...luckily, it was only $4!

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Photo of boogles
3.38/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from bomber into large glass.

A - decent dark tan head, deep brown but not black, dissipates after a while with thin lacing

S - chocolate, coffee, a bit of roasted malt--standard fare.

T - taste is good but way too weak for RIS

M - decent but maybe a bit thin.

D - since it wasn't very special, I was not too excited about it, so I gave it a low drinkability. No problem enjoying it, just not anything to get excited about. Last night I had Stone Ruination IPA, so perhaps I'm a bit spoiled.

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Photo of bruachan
3.03/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

the brilliant head leaves impenetrable lacing on the glass. tight, creamy. the liquid is light in color for an RIS. i can see through it more easily than i could the porter i just reviewed

the first thing my nose captures is a hazelnut smell. a faint floral hop dances around as well. the aroma is not very dynamic. a touch of heat and even an almost-belgian (yeasty)spice (see flavor comments). winey, husky, hinty-of-teryaki

the flavor is not what i would expect from an RIS. i've been drinking US craft brews too long to let that bother me too much but i don't see much imperial about it, unless you want to stick "brown ale" afterward. i think i taste coriander

very little hop character. lagunitas doesn't make a belgian ale, but if it did i might suspect that this bottle had been mislabeled. no joke. must have fermented very warm. my scores reflect this despite the fact that it wasn't a poor drink. that is to say, i enjoyed drinking it but an RIS that acts like a strong dark belgian is just wierd

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Photo of prototypic
3.45/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: It's a dark, chocolaty brown with a tan head (about a finger and a half). Retention was good, but lacing was light.

Smell: It has initial dark chocolate and espresso aromas. Toasted malts are certainly prevalant. Hops are faint. Has a slight smoked smell to it.

Taste: Chocolate and espresso flavors blend well. Those are followed up by a very sweet, creamy taste. Almost a milk chocolate sweetness. Toasted malts add some depth. Hops are not noticeable in taste.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It seems too light and thin for your typical imperial stout. Carbonation is good. It is smooth and drinkable. It's far being a bad beer, but I've had much better from Lagunitas.

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Photo of cueball52
3.13/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

It pours a dark ruby red with a thick porous head about 3 fingers high. It dissipates slowly leaving a heavy lace and settles to about 1/2" thick head and stops.
A very light chocolate malt aroma.
A light mouth feel and not what you expect from an "Imperial" stout.
The taste also is light, mild chocolate, coffee, raisin/molasses flavor. Not a whole lot here and especially not "Imperial" in any way.
This beer is really a little disappointing. I like a lot of Lagunitas brews but this one doesn't measure up.

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Photo of beerking1
3.35/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a very dark brown with red highlights, but not the black one expects from a stout, especially an imperial stout. Small tan head leaves minimal lacing. Aroma is black malt and green apples (acetylaldehyde). Flavor is sweet dark malt, without the warmth one would expect from a beer of 8%. Body is medium but the beer goes down very smooth and creamy. Tail is all black malt and chocolate.

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Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aged a bit, at Volo. Black with a moderate head and significant lacing. Malty medium roasty,a bit of burnt sugar, nutty. Coffee aftertaste. On the sweeter side with toffee and sugar offset by sure bitterness. Overcarbonated, a sipper. Complex and rewarding.

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Photo of dickieb
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a somewhat translucent black with some ruby undertones. A small tan head leaves minimal lacing. The smell is rather subdued with not much more then roasted malts to talk about. Much of the flavor is roasted malts, with hints of coffee, and fairly well balanced by some bittering hops and no alcohol to speak of. This is very thin for a RIS, but between the light mouth feel and well balanced flavor it becomes quite drinkable.

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Photo of sethmeister
3.1/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with no expiration date. This has been in my cellar for several months.

Pours black but is translucent. Ruby colored when held to a light. Head is a light beige and leaves little to no lace.

Scent is primarily coffee and roasty notes.

I taste a sweet caramel flavor, coffee, a hint of chocolate, a hint of molasses.

Mouthfeel is unsatisfyingly thin and watery for the style.

Drinkability is high since there is very little alcohol presence.

Though I would hardly call this a Russian Imperial Stout it is a pleasant enough beer. Seems almost more like a porter to me. Enjoyed drinking this but expect much much more from an RIS.

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Photo of aerozeppl
3.31/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz into a glass

A: Black in color but on the light side for a RIS. 2 fingers of tan head with some lacing.

S: Roasted malt. Not as bold as you would expect for the style.

T: Roasted malt some coffee notes and a slightly bitter finish. Nothing spectacular. Alcohol is very well hidden.

M: Really thin for the style. I mean this is the thinest RIS I have ever tasted.

D: For a RIS this is a very drinkable beer. The alcohol is hardly noticeable. On the other hand when I reach for a RIS I expect something thicker and to be more of s sipper. Don't get me wrong this is not a bad beer but I expect more from Lagunitas. It was on the cheap side so pick it up and give it a try especially if you are new to a Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of markaberrant
3.52/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A - black, but very clear, light easily passes through. Creamy tan head recedes to a thick ring, no lacing.

S - hoppy citrus nose, balanced with cocoa

T - the first sip really caught me off guard, quite different from the aroma. Has a weird sort of sweetness, almost like maraschino cherries mixed with caramel. Roast flavours are subdued for the most part, showing up at the end and in the aftertaste. Aftertaste is fairly short lived, which is dissapointing in a RIS.

M - too thin for the style, does not help carry the flavours at all. Carbonation is ok.

D - This takes awhile to adjust to, but becomes more enjoyable as I work my way through it.

I bought this as a mistake, I had heard this was a less than spectacular beer, but in my excitement at a really good beer store I accidentally grabbed this one. This is not an outstanding RIS, or even a really good one, but it isn't necessarily bad. Kind of an oddball, it doesn't remind me of any other beer. Certainly not the best offering from Lagunitas, but enough of a curiousity to try at least once.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into snifter.

Just by looking at this beer, I would expect it to be a mild RIS. I can see ruby edges, the head wasn't brown (more of a tan), and the head was bubbly and faded somewhat quickly to a thin rim. Spotty lacing along the glass.

The aroma is somewhat bitter, but seems light. Usually the aroma is strong enough so you can barely handle it. This smells like a heavy porter.

The flavor in this one, is once again, on the lighter side. It tastes good, but more like a regular stout. Lower on the hoppiness. Medium bodied (short again) with the proper amount of carbonation. This one feels less thick than the standard RIS. The finish is lingering grain.

Normally an RIS packs a punch, but this one doesn't. I don't want to take off too many points because it still tastes good, with moderate complexity, it's just toned down. It still has the same characterisitcs as an RIS, such as the deep bitter malt with molasses aromas, a bit of chocolate in the flavor, maybe the hops come up short. It's recommended, as long as you're not expecting a full bodied, ultra-bitter, thick, RIS.

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Photo of cjgator3
3.61/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a dark black color that looks dark brown when held up to the light with a really nice light tan head that has good retention and leaves an impressive amount of lacing. The aroma is definitely on the faint side for an Russian Imperial Stout. The aroma features dark roasted malts, cocoa and coffee. The taste is dark roasted malts with a bitter and slightly alcoholic finish. Overall, this is a pretty decent RIS, but it lacks the bold and aggressive flavors that I enjoy in some of the better examples. Nonetheless, it is still recommended.

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Photo of LeftyBWS
3.51/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. brown bomber into a Sam Adams pint glass.
A: Quite dark brown in color, but not quite black and actually light-penetrable near the middle of the glass. 1.5 inches or so of light brown head, bubbly and active, falling quickly.
S: Very chocolatey and dryish in the nose up front. It's not overwhelming, but it is strong and it kinda masks any other smells. If I really try, I can get a grassy scent, not really hoppy, just kinda fresh vegetabley. Not bad, really, just not a lot going on; pleasant but unimpressive. The sugars seem fake, and there's nothing to back them up, really.
T: Smooth malts at first, kinda chocolate, hints of coffee perhaps. Midtaste is also smooth, bordering on some sort of hoppy taste but not quite, mostly just leafy and crisp, but still sweetish. The finish is a continuation of these tastes, plus a bit of a mild roasted taste, partly sweet, partly grainy. Overall, relatively subtle, but definitely not unpleasant.
M: Not bad, but not great. Dryish at first, and oddly cloying in the finish.
D: One of the selling points of this brew. Easy to put back, and hard to tell it's 8+ % ABV.

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Photo of cswhitehorse
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The Imperial Stout poured as it should dark as night with no head at all. I did not see a freshness date on the bottle. The smell was of roasted malts but couldn't get much else from it. The flavor was average and it tasted good but there didn't seem to be much going on. It had a creaminess to it. In the mouth is was thinner than I like my Imperial stouts.

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Photo of PlaywrightSam
3.32/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bomber into tulip glass. A: Lighter than I expected, very dark brown, some fluffy head that doesn't stay around very long. Lacing is pretty short lived as well. S: Darker malts, grains, some grassy hops, some cocoa. Smells like a porter to me. Alcohol present. T: Surprisingly light. Pretty bitter up front, the hops are surprisingly present. Some coffee and cocoa flavors, vague citrus flavors toward the finish. D: I'm not well versed in the style, but it seems a tad thin to me. I'm actually having trouble finding things to say about it, the flavor isn't terribly deep. But still, it's very drinkable, and I wouldn't get the abv to be as high as it is. A surprising beer, but good.

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Photo of RyanPB
3.21/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Freakishly offbeat for an Imperial. Incredibly effervescent, light enough to make it register as a porter in my mind. I’ve read a lot reviews saying rum, but to me this is more woody that the spiciness I associate with that alcohol. I actually like the mouthfeel, but doesn't fit in to my imperial stout preferences (neither chalky like Dragonslayer nor oily like Old Rasputin). Pleasantly odd.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.13/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours with a fluffy head that has great retention. A ring of lace is left behind after each sip. Has a deep dark brown ( almost black) color.

Smells of burnt coffee malt, a bit of hops and some dark fruits.

The taste follows the trail left by my nose. Notes of dark fruits, chocolate, a bit of coffee. The malts are the key to this RIS. This is wonderfully drinkable. The alcohol starts to come through in a warming fashion as the beer reach's room temperature.

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Photo of tpd975
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Have enjoyed the all the prior bomber Lagunita's offerings that have come to Florida so I really looked forward to this one as a RIS Lover.

A: Pours a nice deep dark black color with a rather mild head for a stout. Appears to be rather thin, just an average looking stout.

S: Hints of choclate and coffee are noted. Some sweetened prunes are noted as well. Nothing too really write home about.

T: Average. Like the nose coffee and chocolate are noted but nothing really stands out. It's an average tasting stout that could be brewed by any company or average home brewer.

M: Thin and watery, much thinner than I like my stouts.

D: It's drinkable and due to the thin quality is less filling than most stouts.

Overall: This one was a pretty big let down which may have led to me being slightly over critical. I have really liked all the previous Laguintas offerings and had high hopes for this one. The taste and aroma are lacking and it is just too thin for an RIS. I will just put this one behind me and look forward to the next Lagunitas offering.

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Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 2,063 ratings.
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