IStout | 8 Wired Brewing Co.

very good
94 Reviews
no score
Send samples

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

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 284
Photo of russpowell
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Took a chance & picked this up at Lukas in Kansas City...

Pours jet black with a finger of mocha head. Good head retention & lacing

S: Dark fruit, figs, & boozey carob

T: Figs, roasty grain, carob, some woody & leafy hops up front. More figs, a bit of black currant as this warms, some charred grain bitterness & a touch of cocoa, plus leafy hops & a bit of booze bite. Finishes with charred grain, carob, figs & a bit more booze bite

MF: Chewy, slight carbonation, thins out a touch as this warms

Like most Shelton Bros beers this is good, but bloody expensive. A good take on the style, the ABV is fairly well hidden. I do believe this would keep easily for 3-4 years as advertised...

 693 characters

Photo of Thehuntmaster
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle 10,0% Abv.
Served lightly chilled in an over sized wine glass.
No bottle date.

Appearance: As any decent imperial stout, iStout looks pitch black in the glass, but sadly a strong back light reveals deep red along the edges. A rough pour yields a small dark tan coloured head, that lasts fairly well for the Abv. and leaves a few tiny patches of lace. A swirl coats the glass in a thin yellow film and leaves thin alcohol legs.

Smell: Mmmm, this smells quite good and somewhat sweeter than I expected. Notes include: Dark chocolate, dark caramel, toffee, a little coffee, heavy dark fruits, a touch of smoke, an earthy character, a little liquorice and some sweeter red fruits (could this be the NZ hops?).

Taste: The flavour displays quite a bit more roasted malt than in the nose and even a touch of char. Other notes include: Dark fruits, dark chocolate, a little liquorice, an earthy charachter, toasted nuts and a light coffee character in the finish. The alcohol cover is superb, I would guess that this was 7,5%. The finish is moderatly bitter.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied, with a low level of very smooth carbonation. The lighter body makes this a very drinkable beer, but I do prefer my imperial stouts to be thick and heavy.

Overall: iStout is a good imperial stout, however it is just nothing special (much like everything else with an "i" prefix!!!). That said, I would be quite happy to buy and drink a fair amount of this if I was in New Zealand.

 1,481 characters

Photo of Vierenner
4.62/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a delight! I've been searching for somewhat sweet big imperial stouts for quite awhile and very few have hit the mark. This one is nearly perfect. A rich, dark pour with coffee and chocolate aromas. Tastes like it smells with a little charred flavor entering the equation. Reminds me of Goose Island Big John and Oskar Blues Ten FIDY. Absolutely delicious ... only nit for me is it's just a tad sweeter than what I prefer and lacking a bit in carbonation. Other than that a fabulous beer!!

 494 characters

Photo of Brabander
4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I got this bottle a few days ago from Dgilks. We met in Belgium and went to the abbey of Saint Sixtus together.

Wanted to try this beer as a start for the weekend.

Poured in my Struise glass (as always) this beer has to be poured with some force in the glass....but then it shows itself! Pitchblack with a super nice head. After a while some lacing in the glass.

Not really very much to smell but the taste is very good. Not heavy on the palate, just good. The alcohol is well hidden. Great beer and this must be my first one from the other side of the earth!

 562 characters

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.

 1,006 characters

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

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some light hints of dark brown when held up to the light and some very light visible carbonation along the sides of the glass near the surface of the beer. The beer has a quarter finger tall mocha head that reduces to a thin film and thicker ring at the edges of the glass. Significant lacing is observed.

S: Moderate aromas of dark roasted malts with a lighter presence of coffee/espresso.

T: Following the smell, this beer starts with the taste of dark roasted malts along with some burnt coffee/espresso and some more subtle notes of bittersweet chocolate. Moderate amounts of lingering bitterness.

M: Full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth.

O: This is a very enjoyable beer and a nice one to pair with breakfast/brunch. This is a sipping beer - there is no way this beer could be sessionable. Nice complexity and the alcohol presence is well hidden.

 918 characters

Photo of metter98
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a quarter finger high dense mocha colored head that gradually died down but consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts in the nose along with some hints of licorice.
T: The taste has flavors of bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans and roasted malts in the nose.
M: It feels full-bodied and smooth on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: Considering its strength, the alcohol is well hidden from the taste. Although this is still a beer that needs to be sipped, the overall taste lacks interesting complexities.

 629 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Power, balance, complexity, and succulence are all delivered in the ultra rich imperial stout. With the influence of English stouts and American boastfullness... Let's see what'cha got New Zealand!

Decanting with a viscous pour, the beer settles with a very masculine dark, bark-brown hue and a lot of visual weight. Light carbonation fuels a dense and creamy tanish foam that retains most the session, leaving stray pockets of foam behind. The beer simply has an oily and robust appearance that's both appetizing and intimidating at the same time.

Rich malt aroms of burnt toffee, caramel, and maple are accompanied by strong counterparts of chocolate, freshly ground coffee, strong nuts, and a kiss of peated earth. With no real hop aroma the nose is all malt, but with a plethora of malt variety it carries.

Balanced malt flavors continue with the semi-sweet toffee, caramel, and maple that carry a slightly scorched taste. This provides the perfect bridge into the world of cocoa-rich chocolates, espresso and toasted walnuts. Flavors of whopper candies have a starchy chocolate taste that introduces nuances of light licorice, burnt cherries, and woody hop flavors and bring rise to the alcohol taste late.

Full bodied and highly robust, the beer engulfs the mouth entirely with a heavy blanket of malt and roasty dryness. As the carbonation subsides, the malt hugs the mouth tighter and denies to reliquish its grip. This provides a long-lasting taste of roasted grains, alcoholic warmth, and systemic savoryness.

 1,523 characters

Photo of Brad007
4.36/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This has been eluding me for some time. Until yesterday, I thought it was an ordinary stout.

Pours a strong pitch black with the thickest brownish head that I've seen in a while. Yessir, this is to the style.

Roasted coffee, cocoa and a bit of cream upfront. Not as acrid as previously thought.

Don't be deceived. This is one thick stout with plenty of roasted coffee to keep you alert. What? 10%? (according the label that is). I swear I didn't notice that until yesterday. You couldn't even tell by the taste. Creamy too. Nomnomnom.

Lingering roasted coffee and cream in the mouthfeel. Very mellow. Again, 10%? Feels like 5%.

Don't be deceived. This stout is marvelous. I previously balked at the price but not now. Good stuff!

 735 characters

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

A: Pitch-black pour with a good sized and dense medium brown head sitting on top. Fades slowly leaving thick sheets of lacing on the glass.

S: Loads of nice roasted malt. Char, chocolate and coffee abound. Some anise and dark fruits in there as well.

T: Rich roast and coffee up front, changing over to sweeter chocolate in the middle and in the aftertaste. There is a touch of anise throughout. Coffee bitterness carries into the residual aftertaste. Perhaps just a touch of earthy or piney hops too.

M: Fairly heavy, thick and creamy.

O: A nice big RIS. Not terribly complex but roasted malt character is excellent - a must for any RIS of course. Big, creamy and tasty. Can't complain.

 693 characters

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--

 663 characters

Photo of bylerteck
3.91/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Beer Deluxe. From notes.

A - Black pour, good carbonation with half finger of dark brown head. No lace and no retention.

S - Lot's of chocolate. Lot's and lot's of chocolate. Some roasted malt as well.

T - Lot's of chocolate. More roasty notes and some hops are clearly there as well.

M - Good carbonation. Full body and sweet in the finish with lot's of chocolate.

O/D - Definitely a sweet stout. Good and drinkable. Really tasty and drinkable for the ABV.

 474 characters

Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured in to Duvel tulip.

A - Poured black with one finger of espresso coloured head.

S - Huge coffee and cocoa aromas up front compliment a big roasted malt profile. Lighter licorice and molasses aromas in the background. A nice sweetness in the overall nose is balanced by a hop presence.

T - A robust palate full of roasted malts, char, espresso, milk chocolate and licorice. Moderately hopped to balance out the malt sweetness. A warming alcohol throughout and a bitter, dry finish.

M - Medium to full body. Chewy and somewhat viscous. Light carbonation.

 565 characters

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.

 525 characters

Photo of
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with a modest dark brown head, not much retention to speak of.

The nose is a little subdued. Aromas of charred oak and liquorice, with an underlying menthol. Lots of hops, piney fresh hops.

The palate displays dark cocoa, hints of caramel, molasses, burnt coffee and more piney hops. The mouthfeel is a touch thin for an imperial stout.

This is a nice stout, especially coming from the southern hemisphere. I would definitely revisit.

 455 characters

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.

 486 characters

Photo of Kegatron
4.17/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

500 ml bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours a dense black in the glass, topped with a finger of dark & angry looking mocha head. This retains with some rich bunching around the edges of the glass and a robust flare-up that leaves back a thick cascade of spotty lacing and a brown oily film. The aroma smells of chocolate, a touch of molasses, and a whole lot of ripe dark fruit. This is rounded out on the edges by some slightly astringent feeling roasted coffee character, while the ABV really pulls the sweetness out here in the nose and singes the nose hairs with a bit of heat and spice about every other sniff of this.

The taste has more bitterness to it, with a lot of underlying green citrus and crunchy coffee that spreads out across the palate in a roasty bloom. This is buffered by a thick blanket of chocolate and caramel sweetness, with harbors a good bit of dark fruitiness in the center of it as well. The finish is dry and bitter with a bit of warming roasty feel to it. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a thick mellow chewiness to the carbonation but does still lay down a bit of an underlying sharpness on the tongue at times as well, helping bring out those citric hops. That beefy 10-11% ABV is a big part of this beer, giving this a bold sweetness that carries a warm spiciness the whole way through the profile yet never gets overly hot feeling. The overall strength of this just seems right-on, being enough for the heavy flavors here but not going overboard with it.

This was a real nice example of a RIS, with a full richness to the flavors and a heady alcohol presence that complimented it well. At $15 a bottle, I’m not sure how often I would go back to this but it’s definitely comparable and easier to find than some of the other highly ranked examples of the style out there.

 1,812 characters

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.

 714 characters

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.

 815 characters

Photo of ralree
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a deep brown head. Retention insanely good. Lacing great. Perfect.

S: Chocolate, sweet, great hops.

T: Rich and sweet, this is definitely a dessert-y beer. Hops are nice and bitter, and the bitter chocolate is full-on. Burned toast after swallowing.

M: Thick, syrupy, chewy, quite a bit of astringency.

D: Really rich and sweet, so not the easiest to drink, but goes down well for the style.

 409 characters

Photo of drpimento
4.46/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Man, this is some pretty good stuff. Really good stuff. I let it warm a bit out of the fridge and then poured a voluminous, foamy, frothy, fluffy, tan head that slowly settled down and good lacing. Color is an absolutely opaque pitch black. Aroma is malt, cocoa, toffee, roast, yeast, coffee. Flavor's like nose, extremely well balanced (especially for the style), with just a little of the sweetness on top. Body and carbonation are perfect. Finish is like flavor, fairly long, only a bit of alcohol, and super easty to drink especially considering its strength.

 563 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Shared with @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a heavy and extremely dark black-brown, with a crunchy and excitingly rich head of mocha brown. Body is extremely heavy, and forms some tight, dirty brown carbonation when tilted or swirled. Lacing forms in waves when tilted, but the only residual is the legs of the body itself as it's swirled. Looks very impressive.

Nose is extremely interesting. Instead of the big toasted, roasty, bittersweet charred grain characters I was expecting, the first smack is of fresh New Zealand hops, giving a crisp green vegetation and sharp fruit character. Sure, under this is a mellow roastiness that gives it a slightly deeper note, but it's really excitingly hoppy, which is a pretty unique experience. If anyone was going to do it, I'd trust it to the New Zealanders though, and 8 Wired in particular.

Taste is extremely smooth and mellow (I love that I've started each paragraph with "extremely"), with a caressing roastiness and a fluid back palate that is so supple that you don't even realise you're drinking anything. The hop character from the nose has disappeared, but surprisingly, the roast doesn't really come up to takes its place in the bitterness stakes. Instead, it's an exceptionally drinkable 10% ABV mellow smooth-bomb.

Another great brew from 8 Wired. I love the amped up hops on the nose, and the exceptionally creamy finish, that make this a dangerously drinkable brew. They continue to impress.

 1,447 characters

Photo of rudzud
4.12/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up on a whim from Julio's.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a rich, dark oily black pour with a one finger mocha head that faded to leave light clouds/wisps.

S - Pretty nice aroma here. Good chocolate and coffee notes along with the usual roasted sweet malts. Some dark fruits in there too.

T - Not quite as nice as the nose, there is still alot of good chocolate and coffee. Quite bitter coffee on the finish. Good sweetness to counteract the coffee/chocolate.

M - Nice mouthfeel. Its not that thin, not super thick. Enjoyable.

O - Overall, I enjoyed this offering from 8 Wired. About on par for me with their IPA offering. Might buy again.

 651 characters

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.

 706 characters

Photo of ATLbeerDog
3.9/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep pitch black with a quickly dissipating medium tan head. Smells mostly of dark almost burnt roasted malts with well ripened dark fruits supporting. First sip is Dark lord like in its malt make-up as those rich malts have that burnt flavor so reminiscent of that amazing FFF beer. Also adding to the comparison is the character of the bitterness due to dark chocolate and heavily roasted coffee. Unlike DL, this puppy is thin in body & complexity and has a body nowhere like motor oil. Lightly carbonated to the point that any less carbonation one could considered this aspect the beer’s only fault. ABV is well hidden. Overall a very nice beer especially for anyone would thinks Munster, Indiana is a great place to be the 3rd week in April

 754 characters

IStout from 8 Wired Brewing Co.
4.02 out of 5 based on 284 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.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.