Laika Russian Imperial Stout | Straight To Ale

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89
very good
42 Reviews
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Laika Russian Imperial StoutLaika Russian Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Straight To Ale
Alabama, United States
straighttoale.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by sommersb on 12-22-2010

BEER STATS
Reviews:
42
Ratings:
172
Avg:
4.04
pDev:
11.14%
 
 
Wants:
40
Gots:
29
For Trade:
3
User Reviews
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Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 172
Photo of dbrauneis
3.99/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Photo of Scott17Taylor
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
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.

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Photo of Lembeh
4.32/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.78/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

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Photo of Treyliff
4.24/5  rDev +5%
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

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Photo of parris
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.

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Photo of jmv0009
4.08/5  rDev +1%
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 Jeffo
1.95/5  rDev -51.7%
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 -31.4%
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 ccg
4.13/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

 1,073 characters

Photo of FriedSlug
4.6/5  rDev +13.9%
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.

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Photo of papat444
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.

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Photo of leroybrown10
4.08/5  rDev +1%
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.

 560 characters

Photo of Nicknackpaddywack
5/5  rDev +23.8%
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.

 459 characters

Photo of Ohiovania
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
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 Javelin185
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
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.

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Photo of portia99
3.97/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

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Photo of dar482
4.8/5  rDev +18.8%
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.

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Photo of chinchill
3.75/5  rDev -7.2%
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 Franziskaner
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.

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Photo of Immortale25
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
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 ThickNStout
4.2/5  rDev +4%

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.

 1,202 characters

Photo of brewskifan55
4.31/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a tulip glass. Thanks, Corgidad!

A: Black and beautiful. A tan one-finger head that sits for a bit. Thick lacing.

S: Mmmm, nice. Leather, anise, dark fruit (raisins, plums). Brown sugar. Just terrific.

T: Smokey, toasty, malty with anise and plums. Sweet and robust. Chocolate and coffee. Could sip this one all day.

M: Heavy with medium to heavy carbonation.

O: Almost as good as the bourbon barrel and the cabernet barrel versions. Straight To Ale really makes a solid RIS. This little doggie makes a fine fireside companion.

 547 characters

Photo of Dope
4.16/5  rDev +3%
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 WarEagleJeep
3.72/5  rDev -7.9%
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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Laika Russian Imperial Stout from Straight To Ale
4.04 out of 5 based on 172 ratings.
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