Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Lagunitas Imperial Stout | Lagunitas Brewing Company

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
84
good
683 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Lagunitas Imperial StoutLagunitas Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States
lagunitas.com

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

BEER STATS
Reviews:
683
Ratings:
2,045
Avg:
3.72
pDev:
21.77%
 
 
Wants:
83
Gots:
431
For Trade:
5
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 683 | Ratings: 2,045
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!

 909 characters

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!

 804 characters

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.

 503 characters

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

 1,010 characters

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.

 680 characters

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.

 510 characters

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.

 393 characters

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.

 257 characters

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.

 432 characters

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.

 645 characters

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.

 734 characters

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.

 1,061 characters

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.

 1,104 characters

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.

 594 characters

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.

 1,137 characters

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.

 358 characters

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.

 691 characters

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.

 395 characters

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.

 463 characters

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.

 1,054 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

So I had actually had this one sitting around for quite a while but I never got around to trying it for one reason or another, but with the onset of the cold weather upon us, I figured now was the time to give it a shot. Poured a deep dark brown, essentially black with a large tan colored head. Nice slow retention left behind copious amounts of side lace. Smell was full of roasted coffee, chocolate, and an almost Brandy like aroma. Very thick with a bit of a sweet note to it. The taste followed along almost exactly. Very full bodied, rich and creamy feel let you really enjoy the bold dominating flavors of dark chocolate and coffee and the long finish helped you find some of the more subtle hints of a hoppy finish. Just the smallest touch of an alcohol warming, but nothing that really took you over. Overall this was an excellent sipper, really had the dessert, or late night feel to it. An excellent big stout, very complex and nice and full. I liked this one a lot and would say it was definitely worth a shot.

 1,022 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
1.89/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

A - A large tan head sits atop a dark auburn brew. A fair build-up of lacing.

S - A faint coffee, dates, raisins, grassy hops and moss. A bit pungent and unpleasant.

T - An initial mesh of dark chocolate, moss, coffee and grasses. Aftertaste is a little medicinal, grassy and mossy with some coffee lingering.

M - Harsh, acidic, thin, not very refreshing. Gummed up in my throat.

D - Bleh. I don't even want the rest of the bomber. Maybe my roommate wants it . . .

 470 characters

Photo of blitz134
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

 843 characters

Photo of hckyfn9999
3.57/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown, with some dark garnet and amber hues, with a decent cream colored head. Not exactly the color you would expect from a RIS, normally a pitch black. Aroma is of chocolate, maple syrup, roasted malt, and a touch of hops. Taste is more like a brown ale with a touch of roasted, perhaps burnt malt on the finish. This is like a big brown, although even if this was classified as a brown, I've still had better. Not quite an RIS or a stout in my opinion. Not bad but mislabeled.

 492 characters

Photo of Blupoet03
2.98/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a deep amber with a tan, foamy head and greats you with a strong hop aroma.

Unfortunately, it looked better than it tasted. There was a definite taste of chocolate in this beer as well the strong hops.

Overall it was thin, but with a crisp finish.

In summary, it I think that for those who love to taste the hops, this will be an ok beer. If you're looking for more complexity, keep looking.

 420 characters

Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.72 out of 5 based on 2,045 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Extreme Beer Fest® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe