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: 691 | Ratings: 2,075
Photo of dmamiano
3.42/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour a deep black color with a fairly big, off white head. Thick lacing left behind the diminishing head.
Smells of dark, roasted sweet malts. Coffee and chocolate come to well as hints of toffee and ash.
Taste is good, not what was expected for an "impy" stout though...seemed more tame, like a regular stout.
Good beer, but was expecting a little more from the style.

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Photo of Converge
3.42/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Bomber poured into a 16oz tulip.

A - Pours with a smaller-than-average head, darkish tan in color. Looks as black as any other imperial stout. Decent head retention, with an ever-present creamy cap of foam, that leaves some decent curtains of suds, but no real lacing. Leaves behind a lot of strange residue at the end of the glass.

S - Doesn't smell much like an imperial stout to me. Lots of dark, dried fruit and a bit of spice. Black cherries, dried plums, figs, and a dry, earthy spice. If this were a blind sample, I would assume this to be a BSDA or something. A bit of roasted malt and anise come into play, but are very subdued. I don't really get any cocoa/dark chocolate or coffee as one would expect with an RIS. Slight vegetal character, maybe tomatoes.

T - Opens up very fruity, with black cherries, currants, fresh and dried plums, and figs. Earthy spice in the middle, with bits of sweet fruit and metallic notes. Finishes with mild roasted malt, gentle spice, a touch of warmth and a hint of chocolate. No real astringency here. Very Belgian profile to be honest. Nutty flavors come out as it warms, with caramel malt and subtle molasses. Not very complex overall, and keeping style in mind this is a real miss.

M - Not really viscous and thick, but incredibly creamy. Low carbonation compliments the creamy smooth body. Not exceptional for the style, but still very good.

D - For a style of beer I rarely don't enjoy, Lagunitas really missed the mark with this one. A rather bland, uneventful representation of the style.

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Photo of billab914
3.42/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into my Bruery tulip glass. It poured dark brown in color with a frothy tan head filling the top inch of the glass. The head faded to a thin ring and also left some decent lacing as I drank it.

The aroma has a sweeter, milk chocolaty and caramel flavor to it. I get a good dose of citrusy hops coming out as well in it. The roasty, bitter stout characteristics seem a little light though. Decent aroma overall but not one of the better ones of the style.

The taste has a good mix of roatsy, biter-sweet chocolate and citrusy hoppiness to it. I get a good amount of caramel malt and sweet flavors to it throughout the flavor as well. The flavors really come together pretty nicely in it though. It's not in the top of the style class, but I give them credit for managing to integrate the hops pretty nicely in it.

The mouthfeel is medium for the style and carbonation is moderate. Overall it was a very drinkable and flavorful stout. The hops really mixed with the stout flavors better than most versions that try and do that. Overall though it just fell short of the best versions of the style. It felt to thin and light without enough roasty, bitter character to it. Pretty decent beer overall but not an exceptional one.

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Photo of DavidST
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a tulip glass. This pours a dark almost pitch black with a small tan colored head. The smells are of dark roasted malts and alcohol. The feel is medium to thick. The taste is okay not anywhere the best irs I've had but at least its cheap, some dark toasted malts and alcohol.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.41/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Well, I usually go through the whole process, but this is so far off the mark style-wise I see no point--it's simply not an imperial stout. Granted, it looks pretty good. However, the weak scent is hardly regal, and the flavor sails somewhere between the creamy white cliffs of Dover and the Baltic coast--it doesn't have nearly enough wind in its sails to make port in St. Petersburg.

Lagunitas is a fearless and innovative brewery and should be respected as such, but this one just didn't work. Tasty, but wrong.

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Photo of Brad007
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Color: Dark brown with a thin one-finger head.

Aroma: Smooth and roasty with only a mild hint of coffee. Seems a little weak.

Taste: Coffee/chocolate notes upfront with a pronounced roastiness similar to coffee.

Mouthfeel: Kind of thin and lacking. Some roastiness and only minute hints of chocolate.

Drinkability: Average for the style. There really isn't anything to make it stand out. Still quite drinkable but you can do better.

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Photo of rajendra82
3.4/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This “Unlimited Release” of Lagunitas Imperial Stout came home in a 22 oz. bomber. As I was pouring it in an oversized wine glass, I immediately noticed how clear and light the body was. When held up to the light, this was a far cry from the opaque and forbidding body that many other beers from this style exhibit. Instead, this was translucent reddish brown. The head was a little too small as well. While not an unattractive pour, I had to take a full point off the appearance score for being so light.

The smell of the beer was light as well, with grassy and spicy hops, and sweet toffee. Not much roasted coffee or chocolate on the nose. The taste was clean, sweet, and lightly roasty, with tinge of acidity. In other words, it was near dead on for a Baltic Porter, and way too light to be a Stout. Thin and sticky mouthfeel was Porter-ish too, and the slight but noticeable hop bitterness wiped the palette clean after each sip. This was a remarkably easy to drink beer, considering the 8.2% ABV. Not the Imperial Stout to go for, when you are in the mood for a heavy nightcap.

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Photo of wumpshire
3.39/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22 oz. pour into a Duvel glass. A departure from Lagunita's typical hop profile, very malt forward. Reminds me of home-brewed stouts I've had and made, doesn't taste like a mass produced beer. Alcohol is hidden by a smooth, lightly roasted flavor. Not too sweet, a very balanced beer. This would be a good candidate to be barrel aged, brewed with coffee or vanilla to give it some distinction.

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Photo of williamjbauer
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled 22oz served in a pint glass

A - Dark brown with ruby tint with some light penetrating. Single finger ecru head with poor head retention and moderate lacing.

S - Faint smell of roasted barley and alcohol. Not very impressive.

T - Typically stout, mostly roasted coffee with some dark chocolate but nothing is very bold and the alcohol isn't as strong as I like in an imperial. Smooth but not very exciting.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation.

O - Above average stout, prob won't get it again.

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Photo of harpo111
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark Brown with a ok head.
Smell: Molasses...a little sweetness detected
Taste: Molasses, Coffee...a tiny bit of alcohol...but the thing is 9.9% ABV. Some bitter and fruitiness in the after taste
Mouthfeel: weak for an Imp St..but still heavier than a lager.
Overall: I was expecting MORE from an Imp St. More body, more complexity of flavor. As I drank it I let it warm, but the big flavor BOOM that happens with good Imp St. didn't materialize. Not that it is a bad Stout...but I expect more out of a Imp more like a bitter stout...but smoother.
Overall an average Stout...not bad...a good beer, not that expensive either. I just was expecting a little more.

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Photo of GreenCard
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Appearance: deep dark brown, slight haze visible around the edges of the otherwise opaque brew, medium layer of spongey foam that collapses to a creamy cap

Aroma: ethereal whiffs of coffee, malt, dark brown sugar, and rum

Flavor: rich malt sweetness wrapped in a velvety cloak of roast flavor; hints of licorice, coffee, and burnt sugar; finishes semisweet with a lingering toffee candy taste

Mouthfeel: full/heavy body (almost syrupy), pert carbonation, somewhat sticky/oily

Other comments: Definitely IMPERIAL. Potent and thick. This is what people who only drink light beer probably think all stouts are like: strong, thick, and heavy.

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Photo of jayhawk73
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a black color w/ a very thin chocolate head w/ disappears immediately. Below average lacing and carbonation. Smell is pretty weak for this style, with roasted malt, coffee and chocolate the only things I can distinguish. A little thin on the taste, and the smells are all there. A little better on the taste than the nose, but not among the best in this category. Also a little thin on the feel. All in all a fairly average Russian Imperial Stout. Probably won't pick this one up again, but glad I got to try it.

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Photo of hobbes2112
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5


Pours a dark brown with small espresso-crema brown head. Help up against a light reveals a deep garnet color.

Smell is fairly tame, some chocolate malt and a little roast. As the head fades so does the nose.

The taste is more pleasing than the smell thankfully. More chocolate malt, roasted coffee but not really at the levels I expect in an Imperial Stout. Alcohol taste is oddly missing in this 8.2% As the beer warmed I started to note a little more of a nutty taste, possibly a hazlenut tinge.

The finish is not as dry as I would like, and the taste doesn't stay with you like in other beers of the style. I respect this beer, but don't know if I will pick it over another Imperial again.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber bottle into matching shaker glasses. Split with psycohops. The stout appears a dark brown color with about two fingers of fluffy, but quickly fading ecru foam. Smells and tastes of medium roasted grain, milk chocolate, mild coffee notes, a hint of caramel and vanilla, whopper candies. Barely medium in body with a decent amount of carbonation. Not bad, but it's just missing something.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured from a 22oz bomber, it had an oily-dark color, topped by a tan, creamy head. The topping didn't last long, and left scant lacing in the glass. Smell was mild, for the style, with some cocoa and bitter notes, but lacked oomph. Very disappointed with the mouthfeel. Though it was fairly smooth, it was exceedingly thin for what's called an Imperial Stout. Not a lot of "there" there. Flavor had more of the cocoa/choco aspects hinted at in the aroma, yet little in the way of Imperial complexity. Found little, if any, dark fruit notes, and the hopping was just a touch floral and, basically, pretty straightforward. All in all, a rather simplistic take on the style.


overall: 3.5
appearance: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | mouthfeel: 3 | drinkability: 3


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Photo of kirok1999
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours nicely black with a thin ring of foam on the edge of the glass. Hints of garnet around the edges of the snifter.
Smells of milky coffee with a bit of chocolate shavings. A hint of mild sweetness with a bit of hop bite.
Tastes much the same as the smell with a crisp, dry finish. Coffee comes through more in the smell with some mild, bittersweet chocolate.
Feels a bit thin and watery. Smooth, without much carbonation. Easy enough to drink but not my favorite winter evening brew.

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Photo of boogles
3.38/5  rDev -9.4%
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 brystmar
3.36/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

This bomber was on clearance at the grocery store for $3.99!

Black as night, plenty of tan head. Roasted malts give way to sweet fruit and booze. Really smells like a dark Belgian strong ale towards the end.

Hints of roasted stout-i-ness up front recede quickly in sweet fruits. Again, reminds me of a dark Belgian. Finishes dry with bitter coffee notes. Decent balance, reasonably easy to drink.

Kinda thin and weak for a stout. This brew truly suffers from an identity crisis, as it shares many more qualities with Gulden Draak than other stouts. Not the greatest by any stretch, but a helluva bargain for $4.

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Photo of ecoboy
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Very fine bubbled head sits atop a charcoal brown stout.

Choclatey sweet aroma leads to a rather thin mouthfeel on first sip. None of that delightful (and expected in an Imperial) glycerine-slippery feeling. The high alcohol is noticeable as it is not particularly covered by the malt character. A dryer finish than I would expect as well.

Drinkable, but not up to a Sam Smith's which I had later in the night, just to give myself some comparison.

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Photo of beerking1
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
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 TheStove
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a standard pint glass.

Pours nice and dark black with a good few fingers of foam which reduce down to a small foam line across the top. Nose to the glass reveals strong notes of toasted malt.

First few sips reveal that this is a good thick stout. Nice and heavy mouth feel, almost as if my mouth has to get through the texture before it can enjoy the flavor and I like that. Despite this the sips finish with a welcome ease, like the stout has gone from heavy to runny in a matter of a second.

Great toasted malt flavor with a prominent coffee and cocoa midsection. These flavors remain in a good way and despite being an "imperial" stout there is a noted booze character without noticeable bitterness or hop influence. Of course this changes and the hops begin to come out near the end with light fruit flavors almost like that of an IPA. It all melds together into a good beverage.

I don't know if I'd rate this a top tier stout but it is definitely an easy drinker. I almost want to call it stout training wheels as it is smooth and flavorful yet it doesn't favor any one flavor profile to make it more appealing to a certain palate. Lots for everyone in this one.

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Photo of Truh
3.35/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The throngs bowed in adoration of me with this one on 12/15/2004. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a shaker glass.

Mocha, corpulent head that dies quickly to a fungal covering. Not black but closed, deep red hue on the claret side. Which surorises for the style – expected inkiness. Malty jam with a sweet port fullness in nose that reminds me of a barleywine. The oak char touches to taste are almost overwhelmed by the sweet vermouth maltiness and raisin puckering on mouth. For an imperial, this one is closer to being a court jester.

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Photo of josiahschlender
3.34/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

A cheap impy stout. I think it ran $3.29 for a bomber, so I can't say I came in with the highest expectations.

Look really isn't that good. Lots of light gets through, most porters are this dark brown. Brown head fades quick, no lacing.

It smells like an Imperial Stout, just not the most intense. Dark roasted grain, coffee, alcohol, molasses, hops.

Taste is similar. Not offending, just not as rich as I hope for in a beer that calls itself an imperial stout. Charred malts, molasses sweetness, kind of a dark fruity hop profile. Very short finish. As soon as you swallow, they flavors are gone with nary a trace. Body is thin. The only thing that lingers as it warms up is a dry, ashen mouthfeel. Not my favorite.

The price won't set you back much if you give this a try, but I'll be reaching for something different next time.

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Photo of msubulldog25
3.34/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

My first try of this "Unlimited Release" from Lagunitas, poured at cellar temperature from a 22 oz. bottle to a pint glass.

A: Notable light in color for the style. Deep mahogany brown that shines ruby in the light. Fizzy cola-bubble tan head, about 1-finger worth, that disappears in seconds. Lace is slippery, sticking for a few brief moments then gliding back down the glass.

S: Good smelling, with malt sweetness of smoke, cocoa, molasses, dark fruit and some vanilla. Not terribly complex, but pleasant and true to the style.

T: Smoky toasted grains and low-grade chocolate-covered raisins. Caramel, cocoa powder, and some earthy hoppy bitterness melds with a generally sweet, malty character.

M: Weak mouthfeel, quite thin. A little sticky on the lips and chalky/bitter in the finish, tasting mildly of stale coffee. Carbonation is light to moderate. Alcohol content is masked, but generally there's not much to like...

D: Compared with the many fine examples of Russian Imperial Stout out there, this lags well behind. Aromas and flavor are decent enough but mouthfeel really fails to match the robustness expected. The look of the beer also belies it's thinness. Despite the fact I've liked other beers from Lagunitas, I probably wouldn't get this again.

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Photo of tedpeer
3.33/5  rDev -10.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce into a chalice.

A - Pours a dark brown (ruby highlights) with a sand colored head that quickly became a whispy layer and ring around.

S - Coffee and chocolate.

T - Sweet, a little roasted flavor. No real aftertaste or linger.

M - Thin, fizzy.

D - Weak for the style

Have to say that this is not a RIS, or if it is really considered one, it is a very weak one.

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Lagunitas Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
3.73 out of 5 based on 2,075 ratings.
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