Imperial Stout | Nashoba Valley Brewery

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout
34 Ratings
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Nashoba Valley Brewery
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.20%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by Todd on 01-02-2005

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Ratings: 34 |  Reviews: 26
Reviews by AllThingsNinja:
Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.02/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I'll admit that I had rather modest expectations for this brew. It's prepared by a winery that seems to brew more as an afterthought, or a hobby, than a craft or profession. Yes their fruit wines seemed good, but who would have thought they'd craft a smooth, light bodied imperial stout. Black in appearance, with a surprisingly sustainable head, for the style, the brew was quite enticing. The aroma of chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit was enticing and balanced. The brew didn't hint at its alcohol. In fact, I would have guessed that the beer was a bit low for the style - maybe 7%. The highly vinous stout, was smooth, and light in body. Its one of the most drinkable high ABV brews that I've had the pleasure to sample.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of JasonA
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a not quite black slick with an ample light mocha head. Thick lacing, lots of staying power.

Smells light black patent, some abv, some roasted malt. Maybe some espresso like aroma.

Hmm malt. Lots of delicous biscuit hops. The middle of this flavor is deep and delicious.

Awesomely balanced. Feels like lots of hops, but also lots of malt at the same time.

Impressed with the taste would love to have some more. Im onlt 10min away from the winery, but the cost makes it not something I will drink all the time.

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Photo of JakerLou
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of Franchise
4.33/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a pitch black with no light coming through, leaving a brown foamy head that stayed with the pour. The smell was pure chocolate malt, espresso, bold hop presence that gave it a herbal fruit feel. The taste has a strong initial hop bite, as the body swirled on my tongue I tasted a dark chocolate sweetness on the palate, with a syrup consistency that coats the throat and allows for a brief rest then finishes dry and just a bit rough. This is a great Imperial Stout, one that is hidden since the distribution of Nashoba is pretty small, but one I would drive to the Winery again to buy. I would pair this stout with Maple Lemon Wings, the maple sweetness will really mirror the maple/brown sugar flavor in the stout and the bitter hop presence will help cut through that sweetness and refresh the palate.

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Photo of meathookjones
3.63/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours out black with a tall fluffy tan head that drops down leaving a decent scattering of lace. Roasted malts with some chocolate notes over a very big sweetness makes up the aroma. Flavor starts with a bit of sweet chocolate and roasted malt with underlying notes of dark fruit. No sign of the alcohol. A bit overly sweet for my tastes but not to the cloying level. Ends with a light roast and lingering sweetness. A bit on the thin side but pretty smooth. Easily drinkable as it was lighter all around Imperial Stout. Solid all around effort but nothing really outstanding about it.

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Photo of jwc215
2.69/5  rDev -27.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours almost pitch black with a tan head that soon vanishes.

The smell is of roasted coffee, with a touch of smokiness. Licorice, chocolate, dark fruits (plums). Nice, complex aroma.

This doesn't taste like it smells. It is much too acidic. The acidity lingers throughout. The coffee character that was pleasant in the nose turns out to be like burnt coffee (that has been sitting around for a long time). Bitterness with some licorice sweetness. Some good flavors are in the back, but are virtually lost. The alcohol is well-covered.

The body is rather thin for the style. It barely makes medium-body.

I didn't like the acidic character and was not enjoyable. Smells nice, but that's about it.

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Photo of Loki
3.5/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I believe Pamola deserves some thanks for this beer via trade.

Appearance: Pours inky black, but with a faint, beige head that fades way to quickly. It appears thin and not as viscous as I would expect.

Smell: Heavy on the roasted malt and perhaps black patent. Hints of grease and bacon fat. A little light on the nose.

Taste: Flavors of deep roasted barley, char, gristle, bitter chocolate. Aftertaste of bitter and acidic coffee.

Mouthfeel: Way to thin for an imperial stout. Pours and drinks like an amber ale. Very little of the think and stickiness I would expect from an imperial stout.

Drinkability: It goes down easy and is very drinkable even if it misses on some of the other marks.

Overall a decent beer, but nothing I would seek out or buy on a regular basis. The are not far off the mark. A few tweaks here and there and I think they would have a great Imperial Stout. It reminds me of some of the "Imperial" stouts that were brewed in NC before the law was changed and they had to keep the ABV under 6%; this just has more alcohol.

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Photo of ppoitras
3.53/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle purchased as a single at Julio's, Westboro, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a 1/2" tan head over the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head holds steady, with average lacing. Aroma is fruity and vinous foremost, with some dark grains in there as well. Taste starts with dark fruits, and then fills out with some dark maltiness, and closes dryly over the tongue. Mouthfeel is okay, but seems to be lacking in the chewiness/malt bill area, and drinkability is not bad either. Certainly not a bad brew, just not what I exactly look for in the style. Could be your bag, try it and find out.

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Photo of porterman66
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of jlindros
4/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from the brewery poured into goblet.

Very dark with no light coming through and light head

N: Nose has lots of chocolate and sweet malts and a touch of hops

T: Starts with lots of chocolate and coffee, some sweet malts but very slight, a touch of hops are prevelant, some oatmeal taste as well, it's got a sweet earthiness to it which is somewhat unique, a slight bitterness shines through

M: It has a velvet feel in the mouth as it slides around, very thick and smooth

F: A touch bitterness comes out in the end with the nice stout and oatmeal taste, coffee lingers on the back of the tongue, it has a sweet quality to start but gets drier as it fades and finishes really dry, its got a great smooth feeling in the mouth to go along with the great taste

Final thoughts: A great stout, it would be great if it was labelled as Oatmeal or Irish stout since it seems to have qualities of both, but listed as Imperial it makes me wonder since its lacking a lot in the hop category. However, this is the only real Nashoba beer that shines and makes me want more and more. I love this beer and will continue to buy it and save it since its just a winter beer.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.65/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours with a one-finger light tan head that leaves some lace. Totally opaque black color. Light-medium bodied and medium carbonation. Nose is coffee/chocolate. Starts on the sweet side but roasted/burnt coffee is there, finish is slightly dry and on the thin side. The 7.5% abv (their site) is hidden. $1.45 for a 12oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma.

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Photo of taez555
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer poured a black body with a thick pillowy dark tan, mocha type head.

Nose was dominated by a sweet milk chocolate, roasted coffee bean sort of dark malt smell. Lots of dark roasted, freshly cracked coffee or malt smells.

Taste is medium bodied with an immediate dark, burnt chimney brick sort of dark malt flavor. Very much like Otter Creek's Stovepipe porter. Not so much smokey, more of licking an old ash tray, sort of ,the fire's been there already, taste. Dark espresso beans, chopped coffee beans, sweet oatmeal stout type sweet milky chocolate. Hops are kept to mellow minimum with only enough to give his some balance. Ends with a lingering darkness and unfermented yeasty quality.

A nice smokey stout from Nashoba, not sure I'd call it a true imperial, I guess maybe the ABV does it, but you can barely taste it. It's definetly one of Nashoba's better beers, but it still has this yeasty flavor to it.

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Photo of hga2009
3.92/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Picked this one up at the brewery. Not a huge imperial stout fan, but I enjoy one now and then. This beer is night black, and no light through it. Smell is decent. Initial taste is great, rich layered choclate bittering. Complex as it warms. I noticed that they have aged this in oak barrels before, not sure it that is what I am tasting, but it is not over the top. Finishes smooth and lighter. I had their summer stout, I think this is an amped up verion of that one. For you ba's out there who talk about rasputian and ten fiddy, you should visit the brewery for one of these. Solid

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Photo of Stimack
3.72/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thought I would give this brew a try last evening while at Mahars. First time I have had anything from Nashoba. The brew poured to a dark black color with some slight highlights of ruby. Did not have much of a head to it and what it did have broke down quickly and left no lacing. The aroma is carried with thoughts of dark fruit, caramel and some essence of chocolate. No hop aromas at all that I could pick up. It also has a slight alcohol aroma, over all it is a good smelling brew! The taste when along with the aroma but I can notice a more pronounced roasted malt flavor that comes out. It is a pretty good tasting brew and one that I would have again in the future. Another note, according to the brewer the ABV is 7.5 not 9.1.

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Photo of capo56
3.66/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Incredibly dark with a super jet black appearance that was quiet beguiling and attracted much attention, for it had the darkest of head that I had ever seen. When immediately poured the cascading head that was slowly forming and settling down was the self same color as the rest of the body, namely pure black. Solid levels of carbonation and a very impressive imposing presentation at first that portrayed a dangerous sinister aspect to this Imperial Stout - building up its reputation long before I even got to drink it. The head eventually settled to a very dark cocoa brown ½” rim that had a decent consistency and staying power.

S: Activated charcoal that had a carboniferous bitterness to it. Roasted bitterness and fired malts. No sign of any vinous character as expected from the appearance.

T: Dark body broods but actually delivers a rather simplistic profile. Intense roasted malts mixed in with deep hop bitterness lend 90% of the character to this Imperial Stout. The taste profile starts with a little dry charcoal that was detectable in the nose, but it builds rapidly to give this one an intensely dry roasted bitterness in the lingering finish.

M: Drank much thinner than I expected for a beer that was allegedly 9.0%. Still, it had the deeply roasted bitterness hid the alcohol so well that it was barely detectable. Improved as it warmed.

D: Drinks well below its advertised strength and this is one dangerous aspect, for it is easy to forget that this is after all nearly a double digit Imperial Stout. It was a joy to imbibe but the intense roast bitterness would make this a hard one to live with in the longer term, it lacks a little smoothness.

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Photo of Hhawk06
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I wanted to give this local brewery a try and picked up this along with the Bolt 117. While not as impressed by the Bolt, this offering was a true hidden jewel.

It poured with a substantial coffee colored head that is just a wonder to look at. The body is charcoal black and opaque and it just leaves you wondering what lurks inside. The nose could be described as roasty and certainly coffee-ish. Wow, the mouthfeel is so thick and chewy its like having a meal. Even more pleasant is the silky smoothness to it. The main velvet chocolate flavoring is accompanied by a short but intense hoppy essence. Very impressive. As we head for the finish, I noticed a little more of the coffee taste that was apparent in the nose and its gently surrounded by some high alcohol presence. And yes, it will knock you on your ass after one bottle. This is a winner.

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

Pours black as the flipside of a colon with a butterscotch tan head sitting fluffy on the midnight liquid. Rorschach lacing is rather pretty, but the head quickly thins out.

The aroma is like dark chocolate still in the foil wrapper (note the foil), and it is a bit more acidic in the aroma than the typical Impy Stout.

The first thing upon entry, this is really thin tasting for an Imperial Stout. Deep espresso and choco are somewhere in the taste, but are super subdued and give way to a more generic tasting sweetness. The finish is very metallic. On the plus side, the alcohol is hidden really well, can't taste it at all.

The mouthfeel is velvet smooth and lush, but once again, this is far too thin for the style and feel oily instead of rich.

Even though the alcohol is very well hidden and the mouthfeel is cream, the drinkability is rendered only so so because of the taste, which is also just so so.

A different take on the style, and a very very competitive style at that. I do prefer the richness and burnt to hell espresso that is absent here, but it was a good experience all around. Thanks for the bottle Carmen!

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Photo of HopNuggets
3.46/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured 12oz bottle into to DFH etched bottom Snifter.

A - Pours a black as night that lets not light through even at the edges or bottom of the glass, classic motor oil stout, with a huge head that dissipates after a long time to a 1/8 in coating. Leaves a decent speckled lacing down the glass.

S - Smells more of dark sweet dried fruit than the typical roasted coffee of a typical imperial stout. Almost more like a Belgian Strong Dark Ale scent with an imperial stout appearance.

T - Tastes of dark sweet dried fruit almost a sourish taste. It might be in that batch but I had it around Christmas of 2009 and it had the same taste of almost a chocolate raspberry cheesecake... odd but pretty good in it's own way. Not very hot at all for 8.5%. I don't know if it's contaminated or just different.

M - Quite light on the palette for an imperial stout.

D - Quite drinkable for an Imperial Stout, don't know if I love it as much as I had it the first time. I was more impressed in getting a 8.5% ABV Imperial Stout 6-pack for under $10, but I guess you get what you pay for.

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Photo of jbertsch
3.47/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black pour as expected. Proper khaki colored head.

Smell is essentially appropriate for the style...a little char, mocha, and a touch of vanilla and dark fruit...but it's also a touch soapy and metallic. Aroma is not as strong as other imperial stouts,

Flavor is along the lines of the aroma, but again, not strong. Primarily mocha up front, but fades into a mild flavor profile of bakers chocoloate, coffee, and vanilla spice. Finishes thin.

Mouthfeel is fairly full and creamy up front but thinner on the finish.

Nashoba doesn't make great beers, heck they usually make poor ones, but I still have fun trying them, and I have to say this is one of their best, if not the best. It's easy drinking for an imperial stout. Its faults are fairly minor and the flavor is on point enough to enjoy... Not worth seeking out, but if you are at the winery/brewery looking to try some of their beers, I'd recommend this out of their lineup.

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Photo of sholland119
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%

Photo of MuddyFeet
4.28/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle I purchsased from the brewery quite a while age and have been sitting on since that moment.

Pours a very dark color--almost black. Narely a head but the thin film that was resting ontop receded to a a ring around the edge of the glass. Nose is loaded with toasted malts and just a tqad sulphuric too.

Flavor is very rich but not sickly sweet and rather smooth. Actually makes me think of a nice, smooth cigar. Slight hints of a burnt match but (to be kinder) lots of toasted malts.Some very tiny bits of dark chocolate and molases with a slight dark fruity bit. Full body that really hold up well. This beer tastes better as it warms than slightly chilled. For a 9+% ABV the alcohol is nicely hidden. Really nice beer and one of the better choices from this brewery.

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Photo of Resuin
3.75/5  rDev +0.8%

Photo of damienblack
3.71/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This will be an interesting one. Nashoba Valley is about 10-15 minutes from my house, but this is probably the first from them I've had a real interest in trying.

Pours murky, oily black, Standard RIS appearance. Thin head looks like chocolate milk, dissipates quickly. Has a very yeasty smell, that and a little roasty, don't really get a sweet smell, or any of the other big stout characteristics.

Taste is pretty much all charcoaly dark burnt malt. Not too much in the way of other flavors. Little bit of chocolate malt towards the end. No hop kick. Seems a little on the lower end of the spectrum alcohol-wise for a RIS. Not my favorite taste from a stout, but not terrible either. Mouthfeel is a little wanting, not watery, but a little thin and lifeless. A lighter body than I like from this kind of beer. Could do with either a greater complexity in flavor or higher carbonation to make up for it. Simplicity is what does it in, I'm just looking for a little more. Drinkability is decent, a little too burnt for my tastes, and it suffers a bit there. Still, it's nice to support the local brewer, and if you don't go in expecting something grand and complex, it's a nice enough inoffensive stout.

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Photo of brewandbbq
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Cool label-pours black with a thick brown head.
Head dissapates revealing a thin ring of fine bubbles and black liquid with crimson edging.
Black malt and bitter chocolate in the nose with red wine and ripe fruit following through.
First sip raises one's eyebrow.
A moment of typical Imperial Stout character quickly gives way to lush fruit from the vine.
Roasted barley,burnt malts,dark chocolate,a smidge of espresso-all clearing the way for a rich blueberry wine and oakey finish.
Mild tannins and drying, woody finish. The vineous nature lingers with hints of dark raisins and a warming quality.
Medium bodied, a bit on the thin side,with alcohol well hidden.

The brewer-"Jimbo" informed me that this beer was aged in American oak casks that had previously held 5 different batches of Blueberry wine.

A Nashoba hidden gem.

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Photo of ybnorml
4.15/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very dark brown opaque black beer. Has a big brown head and a little lace. The aroma has a string roasted malt sweetness with a nice coffee backbone and a hinf chocolate in the background. At the tip of your tongue get a smooth chocolate note followed by a toffee/coffee character that bathes your whole mouth. The finish has a bitter 1-2 punch of roasted malt and hops to clean your palate for the next mouthfull.

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Imperial Stout from Nashoba Valley Brewery
Beer rating: 3.72 out of 5 with 34 ratings