Laika Russian Imperial Stout | Straight To Ale

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very good
39 Reviews
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Laika Russian Imperial StoutLaika Russian Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Straight To Ale
Alabama, United States | website

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by sommersb on 12-22-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
39
Ratings:
164
Avg:
4.03
pDev:
22.58%
 
 
Wants:
42
Gots:
29
For Trade:
4
User Reviews
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Reviews: 39 | Ratings: 164
Photo of Jeffo
1.95/5  rDev -51.6%
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.

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Photo of CNoj012
2.77/5  rDev -31.3%
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.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Funky Buddha Brewery snifter. No freshness date.

A- Pours a fully opaque black color with a 3/4 inch medium brown head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a mostly full sheet of surface foam. Semi-resilient lacing leaves a jagged ring behind.

S- Lots of char and booze spring forth from the glass. There are some dark chocolate and molasses aromas but mostly just alcohol and burnt bread.

T- Lots of bitter dark chocolate and char. There's also the strong booze flavor that lays over the whole thing. Very bitter aftertaste. There's also a considerable amount of smoke.

M- Very sharp and bitey from the hops and booze, yet very creamy at the same time. I wish I could say they work together but it's just confusing. Medium carbonation and a full body.

O- If you like bitter, charry imperial stouts, this is right up your alley. Unfortunately I like my stouts to have a bit more sweetness. It's not a bad beer, the flavors just don't mesh well on my palate.

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Photo of Ohiovania
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
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.

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Photo of WarEagleJeep
3.72/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pitch black and thick looking pour. Quarter inch dark tan head that dissipates to a thin ring.

S: Dark roasted grains, subtle chocolate, and a heads up on the ABV.

T: Roasted malt at the start followed with resinous hop bitterness right behind it. Finishes with dark chocolate and warm alcohol.

M: Thick like most RIS's I've had, a little sticky, and a bit dry on the end.

O: Pretty good stout but a little too bitter and missing some of the heavier chocolate and dark fruit notes. Worth a try for sure.

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Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
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.

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Photo of darkstar12
3.76/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on tap into a heavy goblet at Mellow Mushroom in southeast Huntsville, AL

A: classic look of a glass of used motor oil. Not even a hint of either a head or lacing.
S: Faint amount of hops, not much else
T: some bitterness, roasted and burnt taste - begins to taste a little more sugary as the beer warms up. Didn't really taste the alcohol at any time.
M: Very thick and syrupy
O: Another very good beer from Straight to Ale. I'll ask for the beer again

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
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.

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Photo of Roman5150
3.94/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

750 ml bottle into Duvel glass

appearance: pitch black, with large 2 finger mocha head, lots of lacing

smell: roasted malts, espresso, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, vanilla

taste: rich oak taste, almost like there's the slightest hint of bourbon, the body is a blend of dark roasted coffee/espresso beans and sharp, bitter dark chocolate. A lot of roasted malt flavor througout. Alcohol is present, felt from the warmth and perhaps not as mixed in as other RIS's.

mouthfeel: low carbonation with a creamy, full, thick body

overall: A great RIS, but probably just out of my top 5. Alcohol presence is too much, while it has some great roasted oak and espresso/dark chocolate flavors, the booziness makes it not as enoyajable as say a Stone IRS, Bells Expedition, or ST Choklat. With that said, I would buy again if I found it cheaper than $9.99 for a 750ml, which is hard since they only distribute to TN and AL. Still, a solid RIS that anyone stouthead should add to their palate.

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Photo of portia99
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of Reaper16
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

served on-tap into a pint glass @ Suds of the South beerfest

Pours an inky pitch black. Which is, of course, a good thing. A finger and a half of loose but still voluminous dark tan head forms and doesn't go away quietly.

What strikes me most about Laika is how well-crafted it is. This beer is all about balance (albeit in an admittedly extreme style). There's lots of roast here, but it is held in check by sweet malts. There's some hops here (maybe not enough), but they don't take center-stage at any point. There's some dark fruits here (maybe not enough), but they're always quick to share space with the graham crackers and black bread flavors. The aroma is pretty roasty, but the flavor is so balanced. It provides pretty much every type of flavor that imperial stouts should provide.

The mouthfeel is pretty creamy but not chewy or thick in the ways that some imperial stouts are. Your mileage my vary, but I think it makes the beer quite drinkable. Overall, this is a pretty good imperial stout. Probably the best I've had from an Alabama brewery. It isn't a subtle style, but what separates Laika from, say, Good People Fatso (and there isn't much separation) is its sorta' subtle balance.

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Photo of GPHarris
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a - poured a one finger thick dark brown head into a snifter that left a thin ring throughout. the body was dark black.
s - coffee, roasted chocolate, some caramel sweetness.
t - roasted chocolate, coffee with some hop flavors coming through.
m - medium and creamy.
o - another really solid beer from STA. this reminded me of left hand's imperial stout as it had more hop character than most.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.03/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Many thanks to richj1970 for sending this bottle my way.

A - Pours engine oil black with a nice creamy layer of toffee colored foam.

S - Roasted dark chocolate, toffee, booze, cherries, oak, and vanilla.

T - Follows the nose with dark roasted chocolate, espresso, vanilla, dark roasted chocolate, oak, light cherries, vanilla, and ends with an Espresso-like lingering bitterness with noticeable alcohol warming in the back of the throat.

M - Thick, chewy, and viscous.

O - Thick, big, and boozy.

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Photo of Tonmeister
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

bottle poured in a 16oz Goose Island Glass

Appearance: Dark Black with a thick black head when poured aggressively. It also looks highly carbonated. The lacing dissipates a ring around the glass.

Smell: Chocolatey malty citrusy,

Taste: Taste follows the smell. Pretty sweet, Caramel, Chocolate, Dark Fruit citrusy, alcohol.

Mouthfeel: syrupy, medium thick bodied with moderate carbonation.

Overall: This is a well balanced RIS. I goes down smooth and it it tastes sweet and not to bitter. This reminds me of Stone's RIS.

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Photo of Franziskaner
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of papat444
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of parris
4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Photo of jmv0009
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of elgiacomo
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours thick black with barely a finger of very dark brown head that leaves some short-lived lacing and recedes to a wispy cap and ring.

Aroma is coffee, milk chocolate, dark roasted malts, dark fruits, anise, some caramel, hops are there in the background. Good to very good strength.

Flavor is rich coffee & espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malts, anise, molasses, dark fruits, nutty, underlying notes of caramel, fairly sweet, moderate bitterness, moderate alcohol.

Mouthfeel is very thick and creamy, soft carbonation. Really nice.

Very nice Imperial Stout! Straight to Ale is definitely doin’ it right in Alabama. Looking forward to trying some more from these guys.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.08/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

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Photo of Javelin185
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
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.

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Photo of ccg
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of Dope
4.16/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

No bottle date that I can see.

A: Pitch-black pour with a tall dense head that's nearly the same color. Very very dark brown. Head fades at a moderate pace. Zero lacing and zero head retention.

S: Huh, very interesting aroma. It reminds me of stoneground chocolate and coffee beans. Mexican coffee? Pretty subtle but nice.

T: Taste is even more interesting. Dark fruits and molasses up front. Brief bit of char and smoke with lots of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Coffee heaviest in the finish with more bitter cocoa giving it a quasi-mocha flavor. Coffee and chocolate lingers forever.

M: Heavy with a thick, syrupy mouth-coating feel.

O: I really liked this one. Lots of bittersweet chocolate and coffee flavors primarily. Mouthfeel is especially intriguing, it coats the mouth like hershey's. Almost an oily residue. A little "simple" for a big RIS but I enjoyed the flavors a lot.

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Photo of ThickNStout
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%

22oz bottle from Sprayberry Bottle Shop (Marietta, GA). 11.99. No bottling date. Served in a Barrel and Barley teku.

Pours black with two and a half fingers of thick mocha head. The foam settles to a modest halo without much lacing.

The nose is roasty and sweet. Toasted malts, brown sugar, dark fruit, cocoa and mild coffee. The aromas seem deeper and sweeter as it nears room temperature. Impressive.

Flavors are bittersweet and roasty. Burnt molasses, charred malts, dark fruits, brown sugar, dark bakers cocoa, an earthy vegital bitterness, coffee, bark, leather and some alcohol. There is a lot going on in this slightly different blend of flavors that I enjoy more with each sip. Seems slightly hot but that's something that I expect from the style.

Creamy, smooth, medium heavy feel with with fairly light carbonation. Finishes with cocoa, port soaked raisins and charred molasses.

Laika is another great brew from Straight To Ale. In the short time they've been distributed in Georgia I've been quite impressed with their work. This Russian imperial stout hits on all levels from appearance and aroma to flavor and feel. Good stuff and I hope to try the barrel variants at some point.

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Photo of AgentMunky
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a St. Bernardus goblet.

A: Black as night, pouring with a brilliant crema akin to espresso. The head is thinnish but dark brown. Viscous and completely opaque.

S: Incredible. Simply incredible. Unbelievably rich and sweet. Fruity and bitter. Dry and dark and engaging.

T: After such a smell, it's sadly disappointing. The flavor is thin (though the mouthfeel is thick) with not much going on. Noticeably alcoholic, with hints of orange peel and cacao nibs. Some chocolate, milky. Aftertaste is strongly bitter and lingering. It does improve as it warms.

O: An incredible imperial stout. Highly recommended to everyone. I really, *really* enjoyed this beer.

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Laika Russian Imperial Stout from Straight To Ale
4.03 out of 5 based on 164 ratings.
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