iStout | 8 Wired Brewing Co.

very good
94 Reviews
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Brewed by:
8 Wired Brewing Co.
New Zealand (Aotearoa)

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
Beware, this is a BIG beer. Brimming with luscious roasted coffee and chocolate malt flavours which are balanced by a brisk bitterness and bold freshness from the hops.

If you’re feeling politically incorrect try it with your favourite cigar, or a dram of your best single malt whisky. Or, if your tooth is sweeter, why not jump in at the deep end with the most decadent dessert of all; half a bottle in a glass with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream on top (beer geeks like us know it as the Imperial Stout Float). Or simply enjoy it on its own as a decadent dessert or night cap - the perfect winter warmer!

If you don’t already know the history of Russian Imperial Stouts please check it out on the internet, it’s a good story. But remember, although based on that century-old classic style, this beer is a very modern interpretation, like all our beers!

70 IBU

Added by dgilks on 11-06-2010

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Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 287
Photo of BullDurham
2.08/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Poured into my DFH signature glass

Appearance: Very dark, not black as I would expect from an RIS. One finger mocha head turns to nothing quickly after a hard pour. Nothing sticking to the sides of the glass.

Smell: Not much of anything here. Coffee? Alcohol? Im trying way to hard to pick up what little I can smell

Taste: Not nice. Charred almost burnt malt at the beginning and ends in a coffee like bitterness that is fighting with a really off putting sweetness and alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation which is ok, but it feels so thin. Needs to be thicker

Overall: I would pass on this beer. The only thing it almost did right was the appearance. Not easy to drink, that sweetness is killing me.

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Photo of mulder1010
2.21/5  rDev -45%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

500 ML bottle poured into a Mikkeller Tulip

Thanks to Mr Kennedy for opening this up!!

A-- Dark cola that settles black. Minimal carbonation to this. Big, black, thick and sludgy looking. Nice looking half a finger of leather head. Some visual spotty lacing.

S-- Thin and quite weak. Muted chocolate, muted malt, muted coffee. A small bit of hop presence in the nose. Alcohol well hidden so far.

T-- Scorched earth policy!!! Scorched malt, scorched coffee, scorched chocolate, some hops to keep the scorching to a minimum and provide a burnt hop quality to this.

M-- Thick and coating but not sure I wanted to taste Sherman's march to the Ocean. Everything scorched beyond belief. Lots of ash, char, and burnt cigaretts and tobacco to this and all other flavors have been scorched into submission.

O-- Probably a good idea to throw this into a barrel so to mask all the scorching with fresh oak. Honestly could not drink this. Maybe it was a bad bottle? I could not finish this and dumped the rest of my half.

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Photo of MrKennedy
2.59/5  rDev -35.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

500ml bottle purchased from Warners at the Bay and shared with mulder1010 with my portion poured into a Tripel Karmeliet tulip style glass.

Pours a nice black colour with a nice beige/tan head of foam that settles to film after a little while and re-emerges after some agitation.

Smell is very muted, some coffee coming through but that is about it. Was expecting a lot more from a 10.5% ABV stout and this didn't deliver.

Taste is dominated by a real over-charred malt flavour, burnt and not roasted this really detracts from the minor other flavours that could be there.

Mouthfeel again is dominated by the over-roasted malt that makes this very tough to finish half of a 500ml bottle. Too much in this regard and lacking balance.

Overall a beer that has over-charring as its main characteristic that serves to drown out all other flavours. Too simplistic, too dull otherwise and too dominated by burnt characters. Something that failed to live up to anywhere near the hype.

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Photo of leroybrown10
3.24/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours deep black. Looks thick and oily. Dark khaki colored head is slow to form and rather small. What head there is does linger but leaves minimal lacing once if vanishes.

Aroma is heavily roasted malt, bitter chocolate, and tobacco. Earthy.

Flavors are strong, bitter and acrid. Roasted malt, chocolate, smoke, tobacco, espresso, and earth.

Rich, thick, sludgy mouth feel. Minimal carbonation. Oily and lingering. Overpowering.

This is not a beer for the faint of heart. Dark and sludgy like used motor oil. Extremely bitter.

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Photo of popery
3.35/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The beer pours black with a small light brown head. Looks a bit thin. Aroma has cola sweetness with some roast, coffee and chocolate (in that order of strength). There's a bit too much cola flavor (probably from some lacto) for me. The taste starts out a bit too sweet and picks up a bit too much coffee and roast, as it progresses, but it's still a pretty decent experience. Mouthfeel is thin for the abv and flavors. For a beer this sweet and strong with roasted malt notes, it needs a thick, luxurious mouthfeel. This beer is just too harsh and sticky in its current state. It's not a bad beer, but as for imperial stouts, it's nothing special and definitely not worth the rather high price tag, here in the US.

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Photo of largadeer
3.36/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Thanks to Jason for this delightful brew.

Looks black, topped by a small head that settles to a collar. The nose is OK; char and tar, some molasses sweetness, bit of brown sugar. Not particularly intense in any respect. Palate has anise, molasses, charred malt, heavy dark chocolate. Finishes with mild roast, tar, light tartness. An alright, somewhat bland but decently balanced beer. The body is pretty chewy, and it has no real flaws, but it's boring and lacks depth for a 10% brew.

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Photo of dgilks
3.41/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

iStout pours pitch black with a creamy tan head. Poor head retention.

Mild chocolatey and fruity aroma. There's a touch of sweaty, overripe fruit in the background. I'm looking for a bit more coffee and roast.

Sweet malt plays with some sweaty NZ hops, mild fruit esters and a touch of bitterness. This lacks the roasty bitterness expected of a RIS and the hop character is a touch offputting.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. It's a touch prickly but still good.

Overall, I'm not sure about this beer. The hop character is weird and I think Soren has picked the wrong hops here. Further, the malt character isn't quite right and lacks the roast, coffee and chocolate expected of the style.

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Photo of ThickNStout
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

500mL bottle from Hop City (Atlanta, GA). 10.49. No discernable bottling date. Served in a Terrapin snifter. 

Pours black with a dense three quarters finger tan head. Not much in the way of lacing. 

Smells earthy, roasty, sweet, coffee and cocoa. 

Taste is bitter dark coffee, cocoa, roast, char, cherry skins and leather. The whole time there's a hefty booze wallop. 

Moderate bodied with light carbonation. Slightly slick/ creamy. Long bitter coffee-like aftertaste. 

It's good but nothing special. I think it would get much better after 18-24 months but I'll be passing- there are far better options that cost less. Pretty good and worth a try, if not the price. 

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Photo of heygeebee
3.45/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

No BB. From Platinum.

Might be the last cold night for a while so here goes...

Pours syrupy black. The one finger tan head dies very quickly indeed.

Moderate aromas of aniseed and licorice. Malts do not smell too roasted(!). Some coffee.

Sledgehammer taste. Roast bitterness roars in with more coffee on plate than on nose. Palate length only moderate. Dry finish. A bit one dimensional in terms of the roast bitterness being detached from rest of palate.

Carbonation very low, medium weight body rather than heavy.

Hmm - not the best RIS I have ever had. Screams for time in cellar, suspect I need to buy a couple... an excellent beer just waiting to get out

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Photo of Bendurgin
3.49/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared courtesy of Andy. Poured into a tulip. Sits black in the glass with a finger of dark mocha colored head. A little bit of soapy lace.

The aroma is robust and full. Leather and rich dark chocolate come to mind. Just a little bit of fruit in the background. Very alcoholic on the pallet. Everything I would expect from the aroma is here; Rich dark chocolate with a little bit of dark fruits in the background but this one is hot. The alcohol masks the flavor quite a bit.

The feel is full and the carbonation is subtle. However, it simply burns a bit. Overall a decent stout. I wonder if a bit of age to mellow it out would be benificial because I feel like the flavors are mostly there. They are just a bit too concealed.

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Photo of danieelol
3.58/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Whoa, classic RIS appearance. Midnight black with chocolate soy milk head. Head dies a little quickly but can be reinvigorated.

Smell is lactic sugar, coffee and banana. This is well hopped with some more classic German style hops. Largely banana and coffee grounds with some berries in the background. Fair bit of alcohol and some whiteboard marker.

Taste is again, banana coffee grounds. Real solid bitterness and ash to finish.

Mouthfeel is thick with quite a bit of carb and roast bitterness/alcohol/hop bitterness/sweetness in that order.

Really brings a bunch of flavour to the table. Cannot call this a bad beer by any standards. Not massively to my taste however. Wild Thing by contrast (at its best) has more enjoyable hopping and a greater balance between roast bitterness and sweetness on the palate.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.68/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opqure bible-black with a short lived dark tan bubble laden head.

Minimal nose- but hints of licorice, hops and toasted malt.

Flavor is what I expect from a RIS-- bold, upfront center stage. Hops, toasted malt, licorice, raisins...

Mouthfeel has what I look for in an RIS, but given the flavor start it seems as if the heart of the flavor characteristic fades with a hole-in-the-middle and the edges of the flavor profile glimmer on my palate. Overall a long clean finish.

Overall- this is a fine RIS-- if you were blindfolded and tasted this one-- you'd know what brew style this beer conforms to.
If you see it on the packie shelf, grab this one--

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.71/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of black chocolate with some light dry coffee notes is interesting. Taste is also dominated by black chocolate notes with dry roasted malt and light coffee with some dust and light smoky/tobacco notes. Body is full with medium carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Good drinkable stout without as much complexity as I was expecting.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%

Pours black with a dark tan head.
Nose shows chocolate and bready malt, fairly sweet-smelling. Some booze underneath along with a hint of liquorice.
Big, roasty flavours. More liquorice and cocoa along with heaps of roasted malt. Some booze. Fairly sharp.

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Photo of bnes09
3.76/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Ink black. Weak head on the pour.

Big roasted aroma of coffee and almonds with a soothing woody, bourbon edge.

Dark chocolate flavor, bitter espresso. Tobacco and charcoal. Spicy, herbal, earthy hop character. Somewhat rough bitterness.

Heavy, malty body. Low carbonation. Sticky texture. Dry finish from the hops.

Ok. Might need aged a little too mellow it out and blend the flavors.

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Photo of andrewinski1
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip. The color is black with notes of amber at the edges. There is a half inch head that is brownish clay colored.

The aroma is chocolatey with the slightest hint of dark cherry. There is a faint aroma of smoke when I go in for a sip.

The taste has lots of roasted flavor and coffee. The finish is slightly fruity. This is overall slightly sweet.

This is on the lighter side for an imperial stout and the carbonation feels like it's delivered in large bubbles (if that even makes sense).

This is a good beer, I just wish it wasn't so pricey.

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Photo of Digimaika2
3.81/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

(4.25) A: Dark ruby tinged colour with a tall creamy and bubbly head. Very good retention and evident lacing.

(3.75) S: Caramel, plenty of dark chocolate, coffee bean, licorice, herbal elements, and some dark fruits. Slight boozy wooden aroma that is subtle and appealing. Good solid aroma that isn’t over the top.

(3.75) T: Dark chocolate, oak, caramel, licorice, herbal, and faint dark fruits. Alcohol well hidden considering the ABV. This is quite the well balanced stout with a very easy drinking (dangerously so) quality. A slight pleasant dryness in the finish.

(4.0) M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation. Incredibly creamy with a fairly oily texture (a nice trait).

(3.75) D: This is tasty, well balanced for an imperial stout, and deceptively easy drinking. A great Apple product, I mean 8 Wired offering.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle. Not bad for a hotel room in Grande Prairie, AB - brought from Edmonton, natch.

This beer pours a solid black, with very slight basal cola highlights, with one skinny finger of glistening, somewhat foamy tan head, which sinks away rather quickly, leaving some random specks of lace around the glass.

It smells of lightly toasted caramel malt, strong dark, yet still sweet chocolate, earthy black licorice, a bit of leafy hops, and some simmering alcohol esters. The taste is gritty medium chocolate, dark roasted coffee beans, a bit of dried cherry, semi-sweet licorice, some mildly astringent earthy hops, and a fairly involved sharp booziness.

The carbonation is quite soft, and kind of lucid, the body a sturdy, bulging medium weight, and tacitly smooth, that swirling alcohol trying to poke holes in the whole affair. It finishes pretty sweet, with the chocolate and licorice notes still loud and proud, though well enough offset by the identity-challenged hops, and edginess of the straining likka.

Yes, this offering gives up a lot of heat, but it seems to be absorbed at damned near every point, letting attention more or less fall on the decent savoury chocolate, coffee, and anise essences. A strong, bristling, big-flavoured stout, recommended if that's your thing.

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Photo of jlindros
3.82/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had a SMBDC Stout tasting thanks to Amy and Michael, but don't remember who brought this one.

No head, dark black color hints of light.

Nose has creamy black malts, light caramel, light roast and syrupy malts, light vanilla.

Taste is creamy, milk chocolate, malted milk ball, biscuit, bready, oats, cocoa powder, light bitter earthy hops. Gets a bit astringent on the finish.

Mouth is med bodied, lighter than expected, hint of booze.

Overall a bit lighter than I expected, more like heavy brown ale or porter than RIS.

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Photo of chinchill
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at the fork & Brewer (Wellington).

Pour was opaque blaak with a durable tan head; very good lacing.

Aroma: Slightly boozy; oak; dark roasted grains

Flavor: a tad sweet; excellent barrel-aging effect; no burnt grain; semi-sweet chocolate.

Feel: full body; soft, well-set carbonation.

O: a very good RIS.

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Photo of jrenihan
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled June 3, 2013

Beer is pitch black with a good-sized tan head, Fades steadily, a bit of lace.

Smell is a bit faint. Some coffee, chocolate and a bit of roasted malt. Coffee is the strongest scent, but nothing is too big.

Taste contains roasted malt, some molasses and chocolate. A touch of coffee and a small bit of dark fruit. Decent bitterness. Nice, but nothing remarkable.

Full bodied, moderate carbonation level. Feels a bit bubbly.

Overall, good but not anything special.

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Photo of viverlee
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Naptime beer. Biding time in the chill chest, you begin to wonder, “When am I going to drink it? It doesn’t go with the pizza I ordered. Or the burgers we’re having tomorrow. Should I just have it with dessert? As dessert?” No, it’s ideal not at any time, but at that key afternoon lull when an oily ten percenter is all that stands between you and some clean sheets.

STYLE: Russian Imperial Stout

ABV: 10%

LOOK: Panther black. Oily and pours like syrup, sleek to match the packaging. Soft, ginger head that doesn’t hold.

NOSE: Raisins, softer than expected. I can’t even say coffee because while I do get a hint I think it’s conditioning. “This is a classy Imperial Stout so there must be a coffee nose.” But no.

MOUTH: So very … Belgian? I’m somewhat unsurprised to learn that this New Zealand offering was crafted by a European. Bacon-wrapped dates, roasted coffee beans, malt chappiness (I thought I just invented that word, but Urban Dictionary not only says “no” but also “you’re an idiot, it means nearly the opposite – something disliked – of what you want it to mean – pleasant lipsmackingness). I don’t think the sweetness is chocolate. Rather something purple and fruity. It’s a nice departure from the usual humdrummery.

Beeradvocate Rating: 89

ratebeer Rating: 100

Hayward Abbey Rating: 89

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Photo of ubersky
3.84/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought this black beauty at Tasty Bev in Raleigh after Soren, the owner of 8 wired did a tasting of 2 completely different beers (DIPA - impressive, Imp Brown Ale - average). He convinced me to try the iStout and the Batch 31 Stout after we talked about the new craft brewery movement in New Zealand (the basic domestic traditional beers from NZ are terrible). He is proud of his heavier offerings, and I see why.

A: Black body with a brown hue at the top...not an overwhelming head, but enough carbonation to hold it up. Head dissipates halfway through a 10oz pour.

S: Smell was average..nothing truly pronounced, but subtle presence of espresso and bittersweet chocolate.

T: Roasty malts with and assertive espresso backdrop...Classic Russian Imperial style. Aggressive but not offensive. Mochaccino on the finish, and it lingers nicely.

M: Silky texture for a Russian Imperial. Carbonation trickles all the way down the glass.

O: After disappointing the nose, my palate thanked me for the purchase.

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Photo of jdhilt
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a one finger light brown head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Light-medium carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Light chocolate nose and flavor is almost sweet chocolate, some bitterness at finish. Higher ABV is hidden, label has ABV at 10%. Pricey at $12.00 for a 500ml bottle from Tully’s Beer & Wine Wells, Me.

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Photo of outdoor7or24
3.86/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Got my 32oz growler filled today at 5 points growlers in Athens, GA, $21

A: poured into sniffer, pours dirty motor oil black, it shines to me in the light, light brown foam head that quickly fades out and just stays around the perimeter to the finish, some lacing, love the look on this brew.

S: the aroma is dark baker's chocolate, coffee, anise, vanilla, molasses, and some boozy aroma at the end.

T: yes, rich and dark, the taste is similar to the aroma, dark baker's chocolate that is bitter (duh, of course), anise, molasses, coffee, and some bitterness towards the end that leaves your mouth watering along with the booze hit (abv 10%)

M: smooth up front, surprisingly medium body as I would have thought this would be more on the thick side, carbonation, kinda oily and coats the tongue

O: This is one RIS you should try, good version that is a little more on the bitter side than others I have had.

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iStout from 8 Wired Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 287 ratings.
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