Laika Russian Imperial Stout
Straight To Ale

Laika Russian Imperial StoutLaika Russian Imperial Stout
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Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #320
ABV:
9.75%
Score:
91
Ranked #5,176
Avg:
4.08 | pDev: 10.78%
Reviews:
47
Ratings:
184
From:
Straight To Ale
 
Alabama, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  39
Gots
  29
SCORE
91
Outstanding
Laika Russian Imperial StoutLaika Russian Imperial Stout
Notes: Named for the Russian space dog, Laika is a huge, chewy beast of a beer. Dark, rich and robust, it has a wonderful body and a flavor that has notes of chocolate, coffee and toffee. It is a fantastic dessert beer. It is part of our Right to Brew series, which we make in conjunction with local homebrewers, scaling up their recipes and producing them to help bring attention to the ongoing fight to legalize homebrewing in Alabama.
Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 184 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of GarrettB
GarrettB from Colorado

3.62/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

May 14th, 2016 - The rich smell of brownies bounds out of the glass like an excited dog, followed by soy sauce and teriyaki. The flavor isn't quite as sweet, though offers a hint of dry chocolate. The malt profile os quite dry too, tasting overall like a very fancy, very bitter and dry chocolate bar - the top shelf stuff at the grocery store, with the arcane typeface.

Sep 28, 2020
Photo of dcscientist
dcscientist from Colorado

4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

You know what you're getting here - a heavy, dark Russian imperial stout. That works for me. They've done a few other iterations of this one, but this is the original base beer, and it has some flavors that don't come out in the other versions. It's clearly best to do a side-by-side with those other ones and see which is your favorite. I think this one is right in the middle of their dog pack.

Sep 04, 2019
Photo of WoodBrew
WoodBrew from Ohio

3.95/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I tried this beer at the brewery. This beer pored an opaque dark with tan head that is not leaving much lace. The scent had hints of bittersweet chocolate, caramel, molasses and vanilla. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink with bittersweet chocolate, caramel, molasses and vanilla. The mouthfeel was lighter in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it is a good beer.

Oct 27, 2018
Photo of MMOSNN
MMOSNN from North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look - a deep oily dark brown with a small mocha head with little retention.
Smell - huge roasted malts, bittersweet chocolate, caramel, molasses, vanilla, and a strong foundation of booze rounding it all out.
Taste - basically follows the nose but isn’t as rich and robust, and the roasted malts, coffee, molasses, and vanilla are the strongest notes.
Feel - medium carbonation and kinda thin body for the style.

Oct 31, 2017
Photo of outdoor7or24
outdoor7or24 from Georgia

3.87/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz can poured into pint glass.
A: pours a coffee black with hints of coca cola brown, off white one finger foam head that slowly fades
S: roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee
M: creamy rich heavy body
T: sweet chocolate malt, roasted malt, nice sryupy feel
O: good brew, the alcohol is well hidden;

Apr 22, 2017
Photo of dbrauneis
dbrauneis from North Carolina

3.99/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque yet still clear thick viscous jet black in color with moderate amounts of fine active visible carbonation along the edges of the glass and faint dark cola brown highlights. The beer has a three finger dense foamy dark mocha colored head that slowly reduces to a large patch of thick film covering the entire surface of the beer with a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of roasted malts, moderate aromas of bittersweet chocolate, and moderate aromas of caramel sweetness. Light to moderate aromas of earthy hops.

T: Upfront there are moderate to strong flavors of roasted malts with moderate flavors of dark bittersweet + milk chocolate and caramel sweetness. That is followed by light flavors of charred malts and a moderate amount of earthy hops. There is a moderate amount of roasty bitterness in the finish which lingers for quite a while. Hints of booziness in the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: This is a big, rich imperial stout which is very enjoyable but definitely a slow sipper. A bit boozy but not overwhelmingly so. I could definitely see myself enjoying this one again.

Feb 10, 2017
Photo of Scott17Taylor
Scott17Taylor from Iowa

4.38/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark black with very small mocha head.
The aroma is rich dark malty sweetness, dark fruit, char, chocolate, and a little tobacco.
Flavor is dark rich malts, espresso, with a dark dry chocolatey finish.
The mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, but overall is great.
This is an awesome beer, I have no idea how it's even possible it has an 89 on here.

Feb 01, 2017
Photo of Lembeh
Lembeh from New York

4.32/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got this in a 12oz can from a buddy, pours a dark black tar color with a nice dark tan head. Aroma is a bit weak with nothing much than faint roasted malts. The beer tastes outstanding though, nice bourbon characteristics with some good amount of alcohol heat, vanilla and charred notes. Mouthfeel is thicker than most stouts but not as viscous as I like my heavy stouts to be. All in all this is a very good dark and dialed up stout that's sure to make stout fanboys happy.

Jan 02, 2017
Photo of JohnnyHopps
JohnnyHopps from Indiana

3.78/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Appearance – The beer was dark with mocha bubbles crowning the glass.

Smell – The nose was dark and malty with hints of chocolate.

Taste – My initial impression is dark and bubbly chocolate. The malts were rich. There was a noted metallic taste which was a bit of a draw back. The stout faded into a dry rich chocolate.

Mouthfeel – The feel did not allow the rich chocolate to linger. Instead metal seemed to cling to my teeth.

Overall – Of the Laikas, this is my least favorite.

Jun 27, 2016
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

4.24/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage
22oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pour like motor oil, jet black with a one-finger thick and creamy dark tan head that retains long after the pour, leaving small patches of lace

S- roasted malt gives deep aromas of dark chocolate with a hint of espresso, followed by notes of dark cherry, sherry, sweet vanilla cream & earthy tobacco. Some alcohol heat hits the nostrils on the close

T- dark roasted malt gives flavors of rich dark chocolate, followed by notes of rum soaked dark fruits, mainly black cherry & fig. Earthy tobacco, licorice & molasses close it out, with a linger of cocoa and more dark fruit

M- medium body with low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns creamy into a slightly warming finish

O- a couple of years has brought out some great dark fruit notes and i quite complex for a straight up RIS, very good

Jun 13, 2016
Photo of parris
parris from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black pour

Metallic-y coffee up front on the nose, milk chocolate follows

Huge sweet body, followed by dark chocolate and coffee, lingering black malt bitterness on the finish.

Not a perfect RIS, but tasty for sure.

Apr 24, 2016
Photo of jmv0009
jmv0009 from Alabama

4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

L- Jet black with a nice mocha head.
S- espresso coffee and dark chocolate.
T- sweet raisins and plums with dark chocolate and milk coffee. Quite delicious.
F- slightly lighter bodied than most other RISs I've had.
O- delicious beer, not the best RIS I've had but still a top notch brew. I'll definitely get this again.

Apr 21, 2016
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo from Netherlands

1.95/5  rDev -52.2%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Got this one from Halo4one a while back. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A thick black pour yields a big, 3+ finger, medium, creamy looking, dark tan head with excellent retention. Black body with no real carbonation evident. Head fades to a huge thick cap and leaves some good lacing on the glass as it recedes. A splotchy wisp remains until the end leaving lots of lacing down the glass. Huge head on this one, but pretty good looking overall.

SMELL: Lots of roasted barley, black malts, coffee, pure chocolate and tobacco initially. Burnt aromas and notes of sweet cream. This starts out alright, but as it comes closer to room temperature, some definite diacetyl comes through rather strongly and casts a shadow over the entire thing. The yeast were probably rather unhappy during this whole fermentation thing. Off-putting for sure.

TASTE: Starts out with roasted and burnt malts, tobacco and more burnt flavors at the swallow. A big finish of roasted and charred malts, bitter espresso, dark chocolate and tobacco. Like the nose, however, as this comes closer to room temperature, a sheet of diacetyl covers the entire experience. In the end, it’s a combination of roasted and bitter flavors clashing with a definitely off-putting bed of diacetyl. Guessing this beer/batch was well underpitched.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. Creamy enough on the palate, goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Some bitterness lingers. Quite a bit of bitterness, actually.

OVERALL: Not good, unfortunately. The base recipe is probably pretty solid, but the diacetyl character becomes rather overwhelming as it sits. Some other reviewers have described this as a metallic or band-aid character. Diacetyl is a classic sign of underpitching, so that would be my guess. In any case, the yeast was obviously not happy going to work here. Definitely rough going and drain saw the last part of the bottle. I hope the barreled versions came from different batches; otherwise, this might turn into a massive waste of time. Avoid. This batch at least.

Mar 19, 2016
Photo of CNoj012
CNoj012 from New York

2.77/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a jet black color with a gigantic, super fizzy, dark brown head. Retention is excellent and there is not lacing. Seems overcarbed. Smell is bitter and milk chocolate, roasted malt, and a hint of coffee. Taste is gross. There is an overpowering metallic taste that absolutely ruins this beer. You can get a hint of bitter chocolate and roasted malts, but the metal taste just dominates. Feel is medium and slick, but a little watery as well. Overall no, just no. I've never had a beer taste so bad before. I'm not sure where a metal taste could come from in a beer, but I would avoid this one like the plague.

Mar 02, 2016
Photo of ccg
ccg from District of Columbia

4.13/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a can dated Feb. 15, 2016.
Looks quite similar to Founders Imperial Stout. Motor oil with dark brown foam. The head is pretty fizzy-sounding, though, and it dissipates quickly. Retention and lacing are minimal.
Smell is also excellent for a pure stout. Loads of roasted malt, chocolate, some smokiness, hints of oak and coffee.
Flavor is roasted malt and roasted nuts, almost like peanuts were in there. There is a hint of bitterness mid-palate. At first, there was a slightly metallic aftertaste, but that faded almost immediately.
It has a good viscosity. The carbonation leaves a little bit of tingly fizziness at the end.
This is definitely one of the better pure stouts I've had -- I mean, a plain RIS without adjuncts or barrel aging. Also, I thought I was going to have to buy Laika in bomber format, so I appreciate that Straight to Ale put it in cans. I'm much happier spending $11 on 48oz of beer in four cans that I can spread out over time, rather than spending a similar amount of money on 22oz of beer in a bomber that I have to drink all at once.

Feb 29, 2016
Photo of FriedSlug
FriedSlug from North Carolina

4.6/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours dark and requires an aggressive pour to coax an inch thick creamy head out of it. The head stays for just a little while and then is gone. The aromas are nicely roasted malt, dark chocolate, raisin, vanilla and a touch of bourbon. The taste is all of the same with a coffee taste near the end followed by a pleasant bitterness that balances out the sweetness of the chocolate and malt. A ever so slight bourbon burn at the end finished the sip. This is definitely one of my favorite RIS mainly because of the balance and that extra creamy feel. This is really a great beer.

Sep 15, 2015
Photo of papat444
papat444 from Canada

4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Roasted coffee and chunks of chocolate in the aroma. Body is medium but maxes itself out on creaminess. Creamy coffee flavors as well as fudge make this RIS go down smooth.

Aug 11, 2015
Photo of leroybrown10
leroybrown10 from Missouri

4.08/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours black and thick. Head is about 1+ finger and dark khaki in color. Head looks rather thick and sticks around for a while. Heavy lacing lingers.

Aroma is espresso and dark-roasted malt. A bit of vanilla, burnt toffee, sweet cream.

Taste is like the aroma. Roasted malt, dark coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, and molasses. Sweet notes from cream and vanilla.

Rich creamy mouth feel. Thick body with moderate carbonation. Roasted flavors linger, a tad bitter on the back end.

Very nicely done RIS. Big flavors. Really like the smooth, creamy body.

Apr 22, 2015
Photo of Nicknackpaddywack
Nicknackpaddywack from Iowa

5/5  rDev +22.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

RateBeer's #1 Alabama brewed beer & #1 Straight To Ale brewer which I whole heartedly concur with. And, that's not even taking into consideration the barrel aged versions. Top quality ingredients make this "gruel" heavy, heavy weight beer better than just about all the barrel aged Russian Imperial Stouts out there. I'm sick & tired of partial barrel aged blends & barrel aged for six weeks light beers by comparison.

Best for any occasion on the planet.

Mar 26, 2015
Photo of Ohiovania
Ohiovania from Ohio

3.63/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Lots of bandaid in the nose and taste in this one. No bottle date or batch number to compare to other reviews.

There is a brilliant RIS underneath but it's all being muted.

I will hopefully try this one again to see if this is an isolated occurrence.

Mar 07, 2015
Photo of Javelin185
Javelin185 from Alabama

4.1/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into pint glass

Pours very dark almost oily with a very rich dark Carmel head

Smell very rich strong chocolate with a slight hint of some type of berry and maybe a little toffee

This is a delicious beer that I would put in the dessert beer category.

Feb 22, 2015
Photo of portia99
portia99 from Massachusetts

3.97/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pours a black color in the glass and is topped with a finger of dark brown fizzy foam that lingers for a brief time before fading to leave a foamy collar and no lacing on the glass.

S - Boozy, heavy licorice, molasses, roasted malt, a bit of charcoal.

T - Big roasted malt up front with lots of char, cocoa powder and coffee. Licorice from the aroma carries over here too as well as some sweet caramel and molasses. Fairly boozy too.

M - Thick and full bodied, a bit oily and more than a little syrupy. Carbonation is at a lower level but still tingly on the tongue. Booziness throughout, lots of big flavors to go along with it.

O - Good imperial stout...loaded with big flavors and a bit of a sipper. Missing some of the finer nuances of the best in the style, but this is still quite good. If you like assertive imperial stouts, this is one to try.

Feb 22, 2015
Photo of dar482
dar482 from New York

4.8/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

The beer pours out in an almost oily black color.

The aroma hits of big chocolate, cocoa, woody hops, lots of caramel sweetness, a touch of dark fruit.

The flavor has a wonderful balance. Layers and layers of milk chocolate, caramel, dried dark fruit, umami, woody hops throughout, onto molasses and espresso bean.

The mouthfeel is clean and medium plus. Not too thick, nor thin.

Reminds me of a blend of Darkenss and Zhukov. Underrated and one of the best imperial stouts available.

Feb 16, 2015
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chinchill from South Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Large shared bottle pours near black with a decent head.
The aroma is typical for style with, perhaps, a bit more prominent alcohol esters. Actually about as good as the barrel aged versions which I tried just prior to this, although the flavor lags behind both of these. The flavor as some char and burnt toast notes (too much), with hint of expresso in the aftertaste.
Very smooth, full body.

Jan 04, 2015
Photo of Franziskaner
Franziskaner from Missouri

4.06/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Easily a half inch of mahoghany colored head. Black in color with no light getting through. I smell dark malt and bakers chocolate. The flavor is sharp dark malt,and strong sweet plum. A bit of coffee is also present. There's a slightly smoky note. The mouth creamy, sticky,and chewy.

Dec 22, 2014
Laika Russian Imperial Stout from Straight To Ale
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 184 ratings