Black Rain Imperial Stout | Lagunitas Brewing Company

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Black Rain Imperial StoutBlack Rain Imperial Stout
24 Ratings
Black Rain Imperial StoutBlack Rain Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Lagunitas Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
Specially Brewed for Sam’s Wines & Spirits.

Added by goethean on 03-16-2009

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 24 |  Reviews: 20
Reviews by erz316:
Photo of erz316
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1pt 6floz bottle, added on as an extra from my ebay purchase of dark lord. poured into guinness tulip pint glass. I just noticed that this is a twist off bottle, and that there is no expiration or bottled on date.

A- -head forms very slowly, and eventually gets its medium brown self up to about one finger before fizzing back down to a 1/3 finger coating of fine small bubbles the beer pours a bit thick and is a very pitch dark brown color, with some reds coming in through the bottom. pretty average looking: needs a lot more head and some better retention for what it does get. the colour would also make the shift to pitch black instead of an opaque brown. but mainly the lack of head makes me think it is a dud or something like that.

S - very fragrant and can smell it quite clearly as it sits on the coffee table. top notes are of caramel, and coffee. midground is an almost licorice like note, the dark sweedish kind of course, and dark roasted malts make up this transitional shift from the mid to back. the nose is quite elusive for the lower tiers of flavour, not really letting one grasp fully onto any one note, aside from the caramel coffee.

T - the first thing i noticed was an almost lacto like sourness, and the usual flavours. initial taste is malt and dark chocolate bitterness, that lacto sour, and some molasses. finish is a bit odd, its a the slight sourness and dark chocolate. after taste is primarily dark chocolate, with a light sweetness on the lips from the malts. not that powerful a beer, and one that i would not particularly buy again, though i would gladly drink a bunch of it on tap if a place had it, it is a vast improvement over the majority of most things on tap.

MF&D - the feel is a bit thin at times for some reason, but the carbonation is really great and thickens it right up, as long as it is cold that is. the carbonation looses it punch too quickly for my taste, and thus it looses some of the viscosity.

not bad for a freebee

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More User Reviews:
Photo of mikey711
3.19/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Pretty dark black and pours a fluffly brown/tan head that has a moderately good hold but no lacing

S: It starting to smell like teriyaki, very sweet and somewhat spicy. There is a subtle roasty hint but really past the point you would want

T: Again definitely on the downslope but there is some nice chocolately sweetness with hints of bread, caramel and toffee. It reminds me a bit more of a brown ale than a stout

M: There is no heat and a decent bit of creaminess but it is kind of watery

D: A little taste is just enough but at this point it is not worth it

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Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of Thorpe429
2.6/5  rDev -29.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Picked this up at Sam's Wine and Spirits on Butterfield on April 10, 2009.

A: Thick and very, very dark with minimal white head. A little bit of lacing.

S: Very sweet with a strong scent of black licorice. A little bit of dark malt with little hop presence.

T: Sweet and slightly bitter; the black licorice definitely comes through here. Very little complexity--mostly the sweetness throughout.

M: Light-to-medium bodied with very little carbonation. Slight alcohol feel as it goes down.

D: Not horribly impressive. I don't think I would buy this one again. Too strong on the licorice, and not nearly enough complexity.

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Photo of FlandersNed
3.94/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Wow - this aged extremely well - far better than it was when introduced. Very dark brown color. Molasses and dark chocolate with ripe figs, and a slight char note. Full+ body and medium- carbonation.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks for opening this obscure bottle, Richard.

Pours almost black in color with a minimal off-white head. Smells strongly of vanilla and molasses with a bit of dark fruit, dark chocolate, and coffee in there as well. It’s quite sweet on the nose; a bit too much for me. The flavor is somewhat nice, but also a bit too sweet. There is a really nice vanilla note, but also lots of molasses, brown sugar, and caramel. A hint of dark fruit and roasted malt, too. Medium body with low to medium carbonation.

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Photo of beerad666
3.69/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a thin very dark brown color, almost black. The heads disappears quickly to just a few outer bubbles. The aroma is a roasted malty with some hints of chocolate. The mouthful is extremely thin and smooth almost silky. There is some nice bitterness with a trace of alcohol. Also get a nice sweet brown sugar. But overall a little lacking... There's almost no aftertaste, leaving you wondering if you even drank anything. At $5.00 this is a great value beer.

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Photo of brandoman63
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of Redrover
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I picked this one up at Sam's Wine & Liquors in Downers Grove. It comes in a 1 pint 6oz brown bottle. My wife & decided to split this one as the last beer of the evening.

Poured into a pint glass, the beer is black with ruby highlights and some pretty impressive brown head and lacing.

The nose is of heavily roasted malts, molasses and dark fruit.

The taste tracks the smell. The malts border on being charred (in a good way), the beer is slightly sweet with some molasses and dark brown sugar. There are notes of raisins and wood smoke.

The mouth was sturdy and slick. I thought for a 8.2% it was an easy drinker. I did not notice any alcohol or harshness. I liked this one and would buy again. Made for the perfect night cap.

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Photo of gordavidson
4.54/5  rDev +23.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- A very dark, clear brown liquid with some light getting through at the edges. The head isn't too shabby and saves the appearance of this a bit.

S- Smells surprisingly aged. Chocolate, dark fruits, old citrus, vanilla, and coffee. Very complex and appealing.

T- Tastes very fruity with a huge watermellon presence. Not as roasty as many beers of this style. Very sweet and tasty. I'm very impressed.

M- The carbonation level is nice and smooth. The sweetness keeps this even in the mouthfeel and keeps the bitter roastiness under control.

D- Between the sweetness, reasonable ABV, and complex flavors, this is awesome. I can't believe this was less than $4 a bomber.

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Photo of Schmittymack
3.36/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 22 oz bomber into small taster glass with a small head. Dark brown/black in color; picked up roasted malt and chocolate in the nose, taste was chocolate, malt (again, a good thing!) and very smooth--no hop bitterness. A pretty solid brew; I could do this one again (though Sams was bought out by Binnys so...)

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Photo of emmasdad
3.45/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks Dan, for bringing this one over Friday night. I had never heard of this beer, and although it makes no sense, to me, for Lagunitas to brew a beer for a Chicago area liquor store, I was more than happy to try it. Pours a deep brown/black color, with a small amount of foam on top. Aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt and a little dark fruit. Similar on the palate, a little thin, but not a bad beer.

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Photo of chicagobeerriot
3.54/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a little short of jet black as it picks up some deep mochas and ruby highlights when held to the light. Pours with a bit more effervesence than you normally see, with a quickly forming light tan head and some uncharacteristic bubbling along the side of the glass. Things quickly settle down and the beer begins to look more like a true impy.

The smell is more fruit forward: figs, plums, prune, and caramel. Other than a light coffee smell, there is very little roastiness on the nose.

The mouthfeel is where Black Rain shows its first classic RIS quality: thick, full-bodied, its oil slickness is moderated by just the right amount of carbonation. After the initial appearance, the mouthfeel is a pleasant surprise.

The taste starts with a sweet medley that was foreshadowed by the smell: some caramel, plum and raisin, but with a little vanilla and molasses. As things develop, a bit of coffee bitterness and leather come in to provide a bit of balance. That said, this is definitely on the sweet side of the spectrum and there's not quite enough roastiness to round out the experience. There's also a bit of alcohol on the finish that would normally blend with a roasted malt note. Here, it seems out of place(the alcohol presence is surprising since, at 8.2%, BR is not at the high end of the style). Other than that, this beer is very good effort. It won't blow your mind, but it's worth your time (and at $4.99 per bomber it's one of the better RIS bargains this side of Old Rasputin).

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Photo of dEM1972
4/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Very, very dark brown (as opposed to actually being black); has a wonderfully dark roasted malty aroma with fruity elements; smooth to taste, with the usual dark roasted mouth biting bitterness; some coffee elements and traces of fruitiness (think more dried fruits than fresh, citrus fruits), thick and full bodied; bitter aftertaste lingers

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Photo of goethean
4.26/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Label says: "Brewed Specially for Sam's Wine in Chicago."

Burnt toffee, burnt caramel, burnt currents, burnt, roasted malt, burnt or blackened grain, cream, espresso. Hints of leather and tobacco? Tastes like it was brewed with lots of 150 L (very very dark) crystal malt, as well as roasted malt and grain.

Harsh at times but not acrid. Demanding, complex, wonderful. A stiff drink; a sipper. Lingering burnt bitterness which melds with hops bitterness. No tawny port character as was advertised by Sam's Wine. Maybe with some aging, though.

At $4.49, a fantastic deal for the price considering the typical price of a bomber of super-premium beer.

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Photo of scruffwhor
4.46/5  rDev +21.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Black color with some faint blood highlights. Pretty quick head that recedes to nothing pretty quick. Semi-viscous looking liquid. Mellow roasted malts swirled with caramel, brown sugar and ripened fruits. Sweet, malty, and full aroma. Very smooth and creamy palate from start to finish. Definetly let this beer warm up a little. Just a mellow and thorough flavor that stays steady throughout, from front to back of the palate. Great roasted malt flavor that mixes with some caramel syrup. Then some creamy marshmellows blended with oven roasted fruits. This beer is super smooth, silky, and very easy to drink considering the abv.

This beer makes me feel very special. Since this beer is available only to Sam's Wines & Spirits customers in IL!!!

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Photo of Wadsey
2.7/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Lagunitas Black Rain Imperial Stout

Served in DFH signature glass

A: Pours very dark brown with dark amber highlights that appear clear. Head doesn't amount to more than a thin skim. 

S: Smells predominantly of cola, honey, and oxidation. Additional aromas include powdered cocoa and soy sauce. 

T: Starts off with honey, malty sweetness and molasses. Next comes dark, dry chocolate syrup and a light note of cardboardy oxidation. Medium bitterness and soy sauce take over for finish. 

M: Medium bodied and lightly carbonated. Time has thinned out this beer. A little oily. 

O: I inadvertently cellared two bottles of Black Rain but was pleasantly surprised by how well it drank a little over a year ago and made the unfortunate decision to hang on to the final one. It is still drinkable but has lost a lot of ground. 

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Photo of Florida9
3.27/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Thin, dark brown in color with light shining through around the edges. A light tan head rises quickly, but fades away even quicker leaving the appearance of a glass of flat coke.

S: Simple roasted malts, coffee, and sweet licorice.

T: Predominant cola flavor intermixed with alcohol. Reminds me of a weak, flat, rum & coke, but with a generic brand of cola. Finishes with a light burnt coffee flavor. Noticeably sweet.

M: Surprisingly thin with virtually no carbonation.

D: I was hesitant when I purchased this one. At $2 for a bomber, I wasn't expecting much, but Lagunitas makes decent beers, so I thought I would give it a try. Well, while my expectations were met, that isn't saying much. Other than the alcohol content, I would never consider this beer an Imperial Stout. It is quite weak in flavor and is especially thin, though these qualities do make it somewhat easier to drink.

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Photo of kirok1999
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep garnet, just a bit of foam that disappears quickly.
Lots of roasty char in the smell, a bit of burnt charcoal with a slight metallic twang.
Taste is much like the smell with some mild milk chocolate thrown in. Some slight raisin note as well. Just a bit of alcohol in the finish. Nicely creamy and dense. Easy enough to drink but not the best stout out there.

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Photo of t0rin0
4/5  rDev +9%

Photo of KickInTheChalice
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip.

Appearance: Mostly opaque black with ruby edges. A small white head forms and dissipates quickly, leaving little lacing.

Smell: Chocolate, dates, prunes, sweet roasted malts.

Taste: The starting flavor is light chocolate, dark malts, dates, prunes, and espresso. The dark fruits surprised me a little bit here, in a good way. A little bit of black licorice, and no real hop presence. Stays sweet all the way to the end.

Mouthfeel: Feels sticky on the tongue, light to medium carbonation presented in a full body.

Drinkability: This was sweeter than I expected, either due to the time it spent in my cellar or the ripe fruits, but it was pretty nice.

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Photo of capra12
3.78/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed with the help of Speedwayjim on 7/7/09 served out of a snifter glass.

Appearance: 2 1/2 fingers of fine and coarse caramel colored head, deep ruby and mahogany.

Smell: The alcohol in this is not strong and there are dark fruits, dried raisins and figs and roasted malts.

Taste: This opens mellow with low carbonation with malts which intensify as it ends. There are hints of raisins and dates which come through in the middle and linger to the finish. There is a sweet dried dark fruit aftertaste with a mild and brief hop profile.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied leaving a malty, dry and crisp feeling.

Drinkability: I would have another.

Side note: Kind of reminds me of a young beast (Avery)

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Photo of barnzy78
3.52/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 from Sam's DG. Poured thinner than expected for an imperial stout. Thin off-white head that dissipated very quickly. Aromas were fruity with a hint of chocolate and coffee. Mouth-feel was rather thin & flavors consisted of overly fruity esters, mild cocoa and chocolate, and a lingering of alcohol. This seemed to be lacking a dominant presence of roasted malt and robustness that is expected for the style. It was worth the try, but would not recommend.

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Photo of imperialking
3.53/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black Rain Imperial Stout from Lagunitas Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.67 out of 5 with 24 ratings