Laika Russian Imperial Stout | Straight To Ale

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89
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 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 barleywinefiend
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Poured jet black with a big, viscous pour yielding a big brown head, good head retention with good lacing. Very nice.

S: Big roast and scorched malt with bitter chocolate, a nice booze sting, a wee bit of coffee. I can smell what is perhaps a crystal or pale malt base underneath.

T: A big scorched malt presence upfront with layers of decadent bitter and milk chocolates. There is a nice mix of bitterness from the IBUS and the scorched black malt here. A nice booziness throughout reminding me this is a serious beer. The finish is big, bold, rich, chocolatey and pseudo boozey. Everything I like in a RIS.

M: Well carbonated, huge body, creamy, filling and decadent. This beer is extremely robust and could please even the hardest of hardcore RIS fans.

O: A well crafted RIS which nails every BJCP aspect of a RIS, it has great bold flavor to boot. Extremely surprised and happy to see my hometown cranking out world class RIS!

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Photo of dar482
4.8/5  rDev +19.1%
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 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 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 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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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 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 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 Treyliff
4.24/5  rDev +5.2%
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 richj1970
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bottle into goblet.

A: Poured pitch black with nice one finger chocolate brown head that dissolved to a thin ring which followed the beer all the way down.

S: The nose of this one is incredible. Lots of roasted malts, chocolates, caramel, expresso, and maybe a bit of hops.

T: Big flavors here as well. Bitter chocolate, coffee, caramel, a bit of fruit undertone.

M: Thick and creamy. Everything you want in a big stout.

O: Pleasantly surprised here. This is definitely a top notch stout, and from a local brewer on top, nice!

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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 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 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 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 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 Tilley4
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a couple of these while in Nashville recently...

Glugs out into a tulip with a deep black appearance and a slowly forming mocha head... coats the glass with a swirl... looking really good thus far... appears thick and creamy

Very intense aromas of bittersweet chocolate, black coffee, some licorice.... this is extremely pungent... nothing subdued about this beer so far at all... the aromas practically blast out of the glass at me... smallish hints of booze here and there...

Rich, creamy and delicious.... the flavors, like the aromas, are intense and big... licorice, coffee, chocolate... all the usual suspects... done very nicely... maybe even a kiss of hops at the finish... sip after sip, this brew delivers... im very impressed...

I loved this offering from Straight to Ale.... a real sleeper here....

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Photo of brewskifan55
4.31/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of FriedSlug
4.6/5  rDev +14.1%
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 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 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 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 sommersb
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at The Nook in Huntsville, AL. Laika was the name of the first animal to orbit the Earth, a Russian dog. Very fitting name considering Huntsville's space history and the Russian Imperial Stout style.

A: Dark black in color, with no visibility through the beer when held to the light. A small amount of dark brown head with little lacing.

S: Rich aromas of coffee, dark chocolate and roasted malts were dominant.

T: Heavy and complex, I picked up flavors of roasted malts with a subtle sweetness, chocolate and coffee flavors. It had some burnt character to it, but not in an unpleasant sense. The balance of malts and hops was done well. Also had a boozy quality to it.

M: Full body and a dry finish with a slight lingering bitterness.

D: This is an intense brew; not one to take lightly. The big flavors are very enjoyable, although this is not a beer I'd drink more than one of at a time.

I updated my score for the appearance after having this in the bottle. The head was a good size with good retention and lacing.

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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.

 393 characters

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