Imperial Brown Stout London 1856
The Kernel Brewery

Imperial Brown Stout London 1856Imperial Brown Stout London 1856
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Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #133
ABV:
9.9%
Score:
93
Ranked #2,437
Avg:
4.24 | pDev: 8.25%
Reviews:
42
Ratings:
115
From:
The Kernel Brewery
 
England, United Kingdom
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  26
Gots
  15
SCORE
93
Outstanding
Imperial Brown Stout London 1856Imperial Brown Stout London 1856
Notes:
Reviews: 42 | Ratings: 115 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of kitch
kitch from Hong Kong

4.21/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 330ml bottle, bottled on 5th February 2016 and with a best before date of 5th February 2021. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: A dark dark brown colour with a reddish hue and a thin tanned head that disappeared quickly but left lots of nice spotty lacing.

Aroma: Roasted malts, milk chocolate, caramel, coffee, chocolate milk, with hints of nuts and dark fruit.

Taste: Roasty, chocolate, coffee, chocolate milk, slight bitterness, hint of dark fruit and char.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, medium bodied with soft carbonation.

Overall: Body was perhaps lighter than I prefer, but despite this, it was still very enjoyable and great to sip.

Oct 11, 2019
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EmperorBevis from England

4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled and presumably bottle conditioned and purchased from Beermoth
Pours a jet black body with decent enough tan head
Aroma is treacle and chicory coffee
You’ve got that in the flavour
Full bodied

Jul 08, 2019
Photo of zeff80
zeff80 from Missouri

4.2/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle. Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, light brown head of foam. It smelled of roasted malt, chocolate, molasses and toffee. Roasted coffee taste with chocolate, vanilla and molasses.

Apr 07, 2019
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mishi_d from Romania

4.5/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black color, beige head, aroma of coffee, dark chocolate, roasted malts and alcohol, taste is medium sweet / lightly bitter with hints of dry red wine, full body, excellent.

Mar 26, 2019
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Zythophile from District of Columbia

4.3/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle Date: 7/25/18
Palate Contaminants: none

Lots of fine, light brown head. Decent amount of lacing. Discernably brown liquid, letting in very little light at the edges.

Straight up? It smells like Kahlua. Coffee, dairy creamer, and non-sweet (and non-bitter) dark chocolate. There's even some alcohol volatilizing.

The main taste is very heavily roasted coffee. Sweetness and bitterness might not have been on the nose, but they are up to detectable levels on the tongue, with bitterness winning the arm wrestling match. A little bit of desiccated dark fruit, somewhere between figs and prunes. Slight bit of honey. Alcohol shows up in the taste.

Weight is heavy, and the carbonation is fine. Aftertaste is unfortunately bitter charred wood, but the nose and taste were nice. It's also a bit disapponting that the alcohol isn't better hidden for a niner.

Nov 17, 2018
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josanguapo from Spain

3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

From lalonjadelacerveza. In Teku glass. Playing Avadon 3. Very toasted and nutty, with some herbal hoppy notes, maybe a bit more vegetal than desiderable. Alcohol fairly well hidden

Jul 26, 2018
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hopsputin from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: dark, matte black. Like motor oil. Thin tan head

S: dark and milk chocolate, brown sugar, roasted malts, a hint of cola and some sweet malts. More roasted malt and chocolate to finish

T: rich roasted malts and chocolate up Front. A touch of alcohol and a smooth nutty note behind that. A touch of bitterness from the roasted malt behind that, which almost tastes like wood. A slight earthy hop note towards the end also. Finish is roasty and rich

M: heavy mouthfeel with mid carbonation

O: excellent stout. A decadent sipper that should be enjoyed slowly

Jun 24, 2018
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Snowcrash000 from Germany

4.25/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a pitch black coloration with a medium, creamy head. Smells wonderfully of dark chocolate, coffee and caramel malt, with just a hint of licorice. Taste follows the nose, with a rich dark chocolate and roasted coffee taste, backed up by roasted, caramel malt and a hint of licorice and vanilla. Very rich and smooth mouthfeel, almost oily. There's not a hint of boozyness to this, with an incredibly rich flavor profile and mouthfeel. Probably the best non-BA Stout I've ever had.

Jan 08, 2018
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.15/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330ml bottle served in a tulip. Bottled on 20.10.16 Best before 20.02.21. Pours an inky, opaque black with a mocha-colored froth that disperses towards the edges into a thin tight band, leaving an oily residue across the surface. Nose expresses roasted notes and dark chocolate, as well as the merest hint of vanilla. Taste consistent with nose - quite nice. A true RIS - roasty, chocolatey and earthy with a slight char that lingers betweens quaffs. Mouthfeel is light-medium on body (but closer to light) with a mild, even carbonation. All and all, a wonderful example of the style. This beer stands on its own. No barrel-aging necessary.

May 22, 2017
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kojevergas from Louisiana

3.39/5  rDev -20%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

[Reviewed from notes taken in late Summer 2014.]

9.80% ABV.

330ml brown glass bottle with a classy understated label design purchased at Craft Beer Co. Clerkenwell, London, England, and served into a stem-tulip. Bottled: 07.10.13. BB: 07.10.18. Consumed at cellar temperature.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: None. Just a brief pale khaki ring of foam immediately after the pour that disappears almost immediately. No lacing.

BODY: Opaque solid jet black (not brown, contrary to its name). No yeast/sediment is visible within. Looks like any other traditional porter, lacking any unique or special characteristics as well as the titular brown colour.

AROMA: Actually, I detect bourbon (even though I know it's not there). Vanilla mainly but no oak. That's odd.

Dark malts, chocolate malts, cream, a kiss of hazelnut. Malty as it is, it's not too sweet.

Quite appealing, but not up to par with the aromas of the best expressions of the style.

A pleasant aroma of mild intensity.

No overt yeasty notes or off-notes are detectable. No overt hoppy notes either.

TEXTURE: Smooth, wet, full-bodied, of apt thickness, well-carbonated, and slightly sticky.

Not oily, gushed, hot, boozy, astringent, harsh, rough, or scratchy.

Suits the taste decently. Doesn't accentuate specific flavours, but it does have a fairly heavy, hefty presence on the palate that plays well to the maltiness of the brew.

TASTE: Dark, schwarz, and specialty chocolate malts comprise the malt backbone. Herbal hints of fennel, anise, and mint play across the palate. Herbal hops complement the herbs. A kiss of vanilla. Raisin. Mellow sticky plum; indistinct vague dark fruits.

Average depth, duration, and intensity of flavour.

It's balanced, albeit simple for the style. There ain't nothing brown about it from colour to malt flavour; it's a pretty conventional dark porter.

Far from the most complex, subtle, nuanced, or well-layered imperial porter I've had, but well-built and cohesive. Not a gestalt harmonious whole of a beer; the build isn't seamlessly put together or carefully considered. It's more of a loose combination of flavours, most of which are effective. This doesn't have the concise deliberate flavour profile of better imperial porters, but I do like it.

OVERALL: It's a nicely executed imperial porter, and one I wouldn't mind having again (or aging), but it's not world-class fare. I've had far better, and I'm not sure what the "brown" bit is meant to refer to. A nice little English stab at an imperial porter, but it can't compete with the big dogs. Worth trying when in England, though.

Hides its ABV well and is more drinkable than many brews of this strength. A wee bit of age would likely mellow it out.

B- (3.39) / WORTHY

May 21, 2017
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Marius from Netherlands

4.1/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

33cl bottle. Pitch black pour with a thin tan head. Smells like dark cherries, cocoa, chocolate and roasted malts. The taste follows the same notes, with an addition of both brewed as well as roasted coffee. Medium to full bodied, soft carbonation and a roasty bitter-sweet finish.

Nov 14, 2016
Photo of AlarmClock314
AlarmClock314 from Wisconsin

4.45/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

11.2oz bottle, dated 5/2/16. Pours black with a medium sized light khaki head; some lacing. Smells of roasted malt, citrus and earthy hops, cocoa, coffee, and molasses. The taste follows exactly with roasted malt, citrus/earthy hops, cocoa, coffee and molasses. The brightness of the hops seems to elevate the flavor. Light bitterness, medium sweetness, and medium lingering dryness. Average body and carbonation for the style. Overall, this is drinkable, fitting of the style, and has a very complimentary hop profile. Well done.

Oct 06, 2016
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Bruno74200 from France

4.31/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 02/26/15. So it's one year and a half old when consumed
Roasty and bold ris. It's a bit on the dark fruits, cocoa, vanilla. It has almost a oak aged smoothness and roundness. The smell is great. The taste is a bit more boozy but nothing overwhelming. A bit of green apple

Aug 02, 2016
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aleigator from Germany

3.97/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, sunny-amber color, with a huge froth head on top.

Smells of wheat entangled orange peel, spiced up by black peppers and coriander. Offers a soothing wet grass quality among toffee malts and a whiff of rock sugar.

Has a higher, lively carbonation, although the beer's overall soft and creamy mouthfeel prevails, while adding a nice refreshment to it.

Tastes of bitter cardamom and equally bitter lemon peel accompanied by white orange zest, hay and a rock sugar peak. Unusually refreshing with blood oranges and a note of black peppers together with a soft aqueous quality. Finishes with a world class creaminess, while a perfectly dosed, bubbly carbonation cuts through along with sweeter spices, and a still recognizable bitter counterpart from the beginning.

Fantastic beer overall, offers a unique twist while sticking to the style, perfected by its balance and supersmooth mouthfeel.

May 03, 2016
Photo of Martine
Martine from England

4.76/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Pours thick, jet black into a tulip glass from a 330ml bottle. The mocha head, initially 3 fingers high, decreases down to a single finger after a while. The head has good retention, is close, foamy, and leaves excellent lacing on the sides of the glass.

The aroma is fantastic. Charred grain, woodsmoke, roasted dry expresso, tobacco, and booze. This stout has a really mature and complex aroma to it; very country club style nose. But best of all - it smells dry, and stolid; there's not really any other way to describe it. There's no cheapness, it has quality to the odour.

Jesus. The very first thing I notice about it, is the mouthfeel, but I'll get to that in a bit. The flavour has a balance like I've never had before in a stout. All the nose is present - the molasses char, the smoke, the dry expresso, but what I get most of all, is an oaty creaminess. It really reminds me of a well roasted, well charred, complex, oatmeal stout. There's a brown sugar sweetness, and a breakfast nature about it, with a great helping of tobacco, oak barrel, leather, and just pure abyssal gravity.

The mouthfeel is exquisite; it feels satin smooth, heavy, and yet quite dynamic at the same time. It weighs down the back of the tongue yet meanders about the front quite easily. This is a mouth coating, creamy product, make no mistake.

This is a game changer for me; the balance is something to be admired. I've never handed out 5/5's before in all my years sampling beer, but this deserves it. I sampled the Old Rasputin prior to this, and this thrashes it in my opinion. This just might be my favourite RIS so far; true to the style.; light yet heavy, smooth yet solid, creamy yet complex. Just go buy it.

Apr 30, 2016
Photo of flyingpig
flyingpig from Scotland

4.43/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

330ml bottle from Good Spirits Co, Glasgow:
Another excellent Kernel beer, my first dark beer from them in a while & every bit as good as their IPA's & pale ales. An excellent beer with plenty of dark chocolate flavours & a nice, strong kick from the alcohol alongside nice coffee flavours & sweetness. Highly drinkable for the strength of the beer as well & exactly what I was expecting from this one.

Oct 30, 2015
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Bugs318 from Canada

4.12/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours virtually flat with only the faintest trace of head. Nose wafts cocoa, slight vanilla, a hint of licorice, and espresso. Taste is a touch dark cherry combined with licorice up front with a bold quite dry espresso finish. There is some slight pricklyness to the feel showing there to be more carbonation than visually apparent. A bit sticky and just faintly warm in the linger. Pretty solid.

Aug 16, 2015
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BlurryVisi0n from New York

4.09/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served in a flute at Cerveceria Esparte in Conil, Spain.

Appearance: Thin dark brown almost black with heavy bubbles to the body. Head is a slight dark tan, comes off at the very least a finger's length off the body.

Smell: light chocolate scent, pretty strong lingering feel.

Taste: The taste really changes on this brew as it warms up. I let it sit for a bit and it goes from chocolate to dark chocolate in a few minutes. Coffee bean light pressed against a smooth mocha finish which is smoothly bitter.

Mouth: medium to heavy carbonation which flattens a bit as it warms up but fine by me.

Overall: Another good brew, I can think of a couple of American counterparts which might edge this beer regardless of temperature. Worth grabbing, everyone should have taste...Salud!

Jul 08, 2015
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bark from Sweden

3.73/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The colour is black (100 EBC), the two finger head is brown and compact, It sinks slowly leaving some lacing on the glass.

The smell is smooth with notes of brandy-like alcohol, roasted nuts and chocolate/cocoa. Hints of toffee and condensed milk. It is milder than expected.

The taste is very sweet (although a smooth sweetness) and roasted/burned. Passing clean strong bitterness and some malt sourness. Notes of molasses, dried flowers, orange peel and coconut candy. Medium body. The aftertaste got growing clean bitterness, green tomatoes and unripe bananas. Hints of charcoal and chocolate brown malt. The finish is rather short and dry with clean bitterness and burned malts.

The carbonation is smooth with lots of small foaming bubbles. The liquid is thick and creamy.

A very interesting and tasty beer; it would have been too sweat and heavy if it hadn’t been for the passing powerful bitterness.

May 08, 2015
Photo of interzen
interzen from England

4.64/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

330ml bottle served in a tulip glass - ABV on the bottle is 10%.

Look: Opaque black - this beer is bottle-conditioned so there's likely some sediment. Thick, two-finger tan head with good retention.

Smell: Lots of coffee, roasted malts and a hint of dark chocolate right of the bottle. Hints of spice and just the faintest tang of alcohol once it has had time to 'breathe'

Taste: Big coffee flavours, with a slightly chalky, dark chocolate and roasted malt following, not to mention the merest hint of dark fruits (plums, stewed raisins etc.). The alcohol is a bit more noticeable too, giving a nice, warming feeling to complement the predominantly dark flavours.

Feel: Not surprisingly rather rich, albeit with a fairly dry aftertaste - smoky flavours predominate, and the hint of alcohol in the taste serves to give it a bit more of a backbone. Even so, it doesn't taste at all boozy.

Overall: Kernel have a big reputation and on the strength of this it isn't difficult to see why - this is a fairly heavy hitter in terms of ABV, but disguises it well with a superb balance of flavours. As Imperial stouts go, this one is up there with Sam Smiths, in my opinion.

Mar 08, 2015
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dcmchew from Romania

4.28/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark brown, borderline black, with a dark mocha head, small, but sticky.
Coffee liqueur and raisin, smokey roasted malts, anise, sherry (really boozy-prickly on the nostrils), dark chocolate, light earthiness. A lot going on here.
Rich dark chocolate-covered raisin and dried cherry up front, with a drop of strong brandy and some plum juice. A rich spiciness, with cinnamon and anise, faint nutmeg even, hinting at Port wine, kinda. The roasted malts are dense, coating, a bit smokey, finishing with burnt cereal and roasted coffee bean, a bit dry.
Aftertaste lacks the dark fruity note, but compensates with rich cocoa powder, roast and coffee. Medium body, very low carbonation, really palate-coating, but not sticky. Alcohol simply strengthens the flavors, it isn't boozy at all.
A really awesome big beer that retains a really authentic feel. Balanced and complex at the same time.

Mar 02, 2015
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Ciocanelu from Romania

4.35/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black color with dark mocha head. Dark roasty aroma with some light fruity character. Taste follows with bitter roasted malts and a bit caramel. Definitely not the sweet kind of imperial stout. This one is all about the roastiness. Medium to heavy mouthfeel, smooth and easy drinking. Really nice beer.

Nov 23, 2014
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SpasmWaiter from Vermont

4.75/5  rDev +12%

12 oz bottle poured into 18 oz snifter. Bottling date 5/29/12

All I can say is that I wish I had cases and cases of this beer and all of its variants.

Oct 20, 2014
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stcules from Italy

4.26/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Black color, beige foam, not too beautiful.
In the smell a lot of vanilla, cappuccino and toasted notes. Good.
A bit sweet, but very smooth in the mouth. Again vanlla and cappuccino, dried fruits, toasted, artichoke. In the back, the cappuccino remains for a good while. Soft and pleasant.
Full and round body, intense aftertaste, starting toasty, and finshing with green hops.
Very good.

Sep 23, 2014
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kscaldef from Oregon

3.75/5  rDev -11.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours nearly still, just a slight suggestion of head, no bubbles visible. Dark cola color, with moderately thick legs.

S: Nutty chocolate. Even as it warms up, pretty minimal, perhaps hindered by lack of carbonation.

T: Certainly not an American Imperial Stout. This keeps the classic london stout characteristics, but dials everything up a bit, without getting sweet or cloying or harsh. Dark chocolate, a hint of coffee and dried dark fruit

M: A delicate balance. Slight sweetness lingers on the corners of the mouth, but generally finishes dry, but not overly bitter. No carbonation to speak of, but despite that it isn't heavy.

Jul 12, 2014
Imperial Brown Stout London 1856 from The Kernel Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 115 ratings