Austin Beerworks

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #107
Ranked #1,789
4.27 | pDev: 10.77%
Austin Beerworks
Texas, United States
Notes: Brewed with oats and coffee
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 158 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Hooded
4.46/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 1/20/2020.
Sputnik 2019 edition.
Poured from a 12oz can into a tulip glass.
The appearance is dark brown with one finger of tan foam leaving a moderate amount of thin lacing. 4.25
The aroma is medium in strength, and has notes of dark roasted coffee, milk chocolate, and roasted malt. 4.5
The taste is between medium and strong. I taste toasted oats, roasted malt, milk chocolate and dark chocolate, with a finish that is between medium and light in bitterness. 4.5
The mouth feel is between medium and thick, silky, and has an excellent creaminess. 4.25
Overall, the balance of taste and creaminess make this a delicious beer. A somewhat thicker mouth feel would make this a world class beer. 4.25

 710 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.1/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Arrives espresso colored with a one finger head that fades to a ringlet; spots and streaks of lace

Smell: Chocolate, coffee and a hint of roasted grain

Taste: Chocolate and roast forward with a fruity coffee flavor developing; somewhat roasty, in the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: A little low in the ABV to be in the same game as many RISs, this nevertheless is an enjoyable beer to consume

 460 characters

Photo of FFFjunkie
3.94/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Look is very dark brown/black. Pours with less than half a finger of light tan head. It does look a bit thin while pouring.

Aroma is nice. Dark roast coffee, roasted malt, and dark chocolate.

Taste is solid as well. Big coffee upfront, some roasted malts and finishes with bakers and/or milk chocolate.

Feel could be a bit better. It is creamy but somehow comes across as a little thin.

Overall a nice stout at a manageable abv. If they could dial the mouthfeel in this one would be near perfect.

 503 characters

Photo of jhavs
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Can poured into a fluted snifter.

Pour is dark brown, thick foamy tan head, lets a fair amount of light through the edges.

RIch coffee and roasty malts in the aroma.

Flavor is deep coffee, roasty bitter malts and some bitter cocoa.

Body is a bit light, moderate carbonation.

A bit lighter than I was expecting, looks like cola. Good flavors come through. A nice easy drinking RIS.

 387 characters

Photo of kojevergas
3.46/5  rDev -19%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rating from notes taken @ Hopfields in Austin, TX in January 2015.

Served on-draught into a goblet. $6 per 12 oz.

Head recedes within 10 seconds, leaving no lacing.

Easily Austin Beerwork's best beer...but what is that really saying?

High B- (3.46) / WORTHY

 261 characters

Photo of Reema
3.93/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Serving type: 12 oz can into a glass

Pours an absolute dark cola brown. Mocha colored bubbles rise from the bottom of the glass. Smell is of intense coffee ground, char, roasted malt, along with a permeating milk chocolate scent. Taste reflects the smell. Initial intense coffee flavors lead into a pleasant roast bitterness that finishes with a mixture of milk chocolate tastes and dark chocolate bitterness. Feel is a little on the lighter side, especially for an oatmeal RIS. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with good coffee aromas and tastes.

 551 characters

Photo of The_Epopt
4.52/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

If you like coffee, and you like beer, and you like them together, in the same glass, you will love this seasonal from Austin Beerworks. They put out a lot of great beers and this one toes the line. Initially, you think you're drinking carbonated coffee, then the beer flavor comes in at the end and you realize you just had a sartorial moment that will leave you changed for life.

 383 characters

Photo of TX-Badger
3.96/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown almost black with a small amount of tan head. Roasted malts, coffee, and raw cocoa on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with more roasted malt. Not bad, a little thin though.

 203 characters

Photo of erushing
3.62/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Very drinkable, very smooth, but no complexity whatsoever.
The nose is pretty much just cold brew coffee and the taste is the same. Overly sweet to me, even for an oatmeal stout. I'm not sure why they're putting "Russian" in the style description.
Overall, it's fine, but with the local hype, I was expecting so much more. It's not something I would probably get again with so much else available during the stout months.

 424 characters

Photo of LittleDon
3.88/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The best of both worlds, the worst of both worlds. The addition of the coffee gives this beer a lighter body and higher acidity than the beer alone. Dark with a decent head and strong coffee aroma. Strong coffee start (more cold brew than beer) the complexity fades in the middle and picks up toward the end where there is a bit of chicory/roasted grain. Lighter than expected body and medium carbonation. Very good as a hybrid, if that's what you're after.

 457 characters

Photo of MattSweatshirt
3.5/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Crowler from Austin

Black bodied. A decent light brown head forms but disappears a couple minutes in.

Deep roasty woody coffee, chocolate, and vanilla.

Medium bodied with lighter carbonation.

Not super into this. Decent enough beer though.

 244 characters

Photo of DoubleSimcoe
4.07/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Super coffee-y! Kind of like a cold-brew with bubbles. Not very complex but delicious, excellent mouthfeel, prickly carbonation, perhaps a tad too thin in the body at the end. Very drinkable.

 191 characters

Photo of inlimbo77
4.28/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

32oz, filled 12/12/13

A: Pours what appears to be pitch black in the glass. It's a very deep brown. Some light around the edges of the glass. Still nice carbonation. Initially a half finger of light tan. Leaving some lacing bits.

S: Very pronounced coffee on the nose, akin to a FBS. Dark chocolate. Roast. Some vanilla. Chocolate milk like character.

T: Dark chocolate bitterness. Ground coffee. Some roast. That vanilla and cocoa like sweetness to match the bitter dark chocolate. Finish has lingering rich cocoa. Maybe a hint of booze.

M: Full bodied, but not super chewy. Fairly easy to drink

 610 characters

Photo of Beer-Zombie
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This RICO (Russian Imperial Coffee Oatmeal) on draft pours up regular lookin. Dark brown. No crazy head. Aroma is coffeee, Dark malts, vanilla bean, nothin too out of the norm. Tastes of coffeee, and same as nose, not too out of the yoosh ('usual' for the dummies), malty, hop balance, doesn't take a scientist to guess this brew. Full bodied, easy carbo. I give this beer a Lil better score just cuz I loooove coffee beers. And this beer is coffee loaded! I can't ever taste oatmeal so that's whatever here. Any-fart, drink this beer

 534 characters

Photo of htomsirveaux
3.45/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Tried on tap at Austin Beerworks first anniversary, 12 May 2012. Served in the Hellbent shaker pint.

From the second session, the keg from the first kicked in about 30 minutes.

Medium light brown head is short lived. Lightly carbonated. Very dark brown in color, opaque. Aroma is dominated by coffee, roasty sweet, almost smoky. A says some peanut butter. Taste is similar, coffee, slightly acrid. Lots of caramel. HInt of smokiness. A bit charred. Becomes burnt and dry in the middle. Coffiesh acrid finish and aftertaste.

Dominated by coffee, on the lighter side for an imperial stout.

 593 characters

Photo of BgThang
2.59/5  rDev -39.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer is litterally straight up coffee. No real beer aspect to it, except it's carbonated.
THis is like the old perculated coffee my grandma used to make. THe nose is big coffee, the smell you guessed it. COFFEE!
The appearance is nice. Black with a nice mocha head.

This is a very unbalanced beer. Why spend the extra coin on this beer if you want coffee, just buy some coffee.

I hate coffee, but love a good coffee flavored beer if it is done right, a good balance.

 473 characters

Photo of champ103
3.75/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Downhouse a little while ago, and have shared several growlers.

A: Pours dark brown, nearly black with a small tan head. Light lace, but the ring of foam sticks throuhout.
S: Roasted malt, bread, some chocolate. BIG coffee flavors. Though never overbarring or acrid.
T: Again big on the roast and coffee flavors. Cream, chocoalte, vanilla. Bread biscuit flavors. Finish with coffee again, but never acrid.
M/D: A medium to full body. Good carbonation and creamy smooth. Easy to sip. I enjoy this everytime I try it. Though one in a sitting is enough.

A big coffee stout. The coffee is right up front and center. Though not nearly as rough and acrid as some other examples. I like it a lot. Still, just does not make the cut as one of the ellite coffee stouts around.

 779 characters

Photo of GrayHam
4.34/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Hopfields.

A: Black, not quite opaque. Light brown head with medium
retention and good lacing.

S: COFFEE! Actually, the coffee combined with sweet malt
makes this smell better that coffee. One of the most
aromatic beers I've come across.

T: The smell doesn't lie. There is coffee in this beer. It
tastes like a carbonated iced toddy. In the best way
possible. Might be too much for some people, but I really
like coffee.

M: Thinner than I had expected for a Russian Imperial, but
that made it more drinkable. Carbonation was also higher
than I was expecting, but that helped to bring out more
coffee aroma. The oats did lend a nice smoothness.

O: A really cool and unique beer. Never had anything like it
and I look forward to trying it again.

 778 characters

Photo of omnigrits
4.37/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A. Very dark brown, not quite black. Tan coloured head.

S. Coffee straight off and lots of it. Sweet malts, not too much else.

T. More coffee, more sweet malts, and a slight nuttiness. Maybe some chocolate. This is an RIS that leans towards sweetness rather than bitterness.

M. Very smooth and creamy from the oats. Medium bodied. Prickly carbonation.

O. As coffee stouts go this is a pretty good one. As RI stouts go it's a bit on the thin side in terms of heft. It definitely doesn't have the weight and presence of something like The Czar or Stone RIS, but it's still a seriously good beer from a young brewery. I want to try this one with some food.

 657 characters

Photo of crusian
3.5/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Draft at oddfellows...
Pours a dark brown color, oddly enough, with about a finger of head. Figured this would be jet black.
Nose is coffee. That's about it. A nice coffee though.
Taste is much sweeter than I thought. It is not just carbonated coffee as a lot of coffee stouts are. VERY creamy mouthfeel, a bit thinner than I wanted... I assume the oatmeal helps a lot on the creaminess factor. Despite it not being overpowered by coffee, there really isn't much else there but the coffee... glad I tried it.

 509 characters

Photo of kunstdrache
4.44/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Split a fresh growler of this with 2xHops.

Pours a dark black, smell is amazing though. I'm not a coffee drinker but I love coffee beer and the smell of coffee. Sputnik hits he smell of freshly roasted coffee, just right.
Taste is incredible, many of the coffee beers tend to have the bitterness associated with coffee incorporated. Not this one, it's all about the smoothness and flavorness of sweet coffee and it is done beautifully.
This is marketed as a RIS but somehow feels light for the style, never less, it is a very easy drinker and I easily polished off my glass.
I've had a many coffee beers and this by far beats my top coffee beers- Oakshire Overcast, Surly coffee bender, FBS, Victory at sea. The guys at ABW hit a homerun with this beer. Age this in bourbon barrels and can it! This would give KBS a run for its money.

 836 characters

Photo of UTCengOwl
4.47/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this a couple of times over the weekend. Once at Hopfields and once at a NYE house party. Excellent. Just excellent. Reminded me a lot of Peche Mortel, but the coffee flavor was much stronger in this and IMO better.

The beer was black. I can definitely say that. When I served it at a NYE party, the beer definitely stained the red Solo cup (not just a cup... a friend) that I poured it in. Nothing special, but not bad either.

The smell was coffee. Whoa, boy. Coffee. Nicely rounded and full-bodied coffee. Cuvee knows what they're doing. When I popped open the growler at the NYE party, you could smell this thing from across the room. Mmmm... strong.

The beer was fairly dry and relatively light. Good carbonation kept it feeling fresh. The taste was mostly the coffee, but there was also a roasted, chalky background that complemented the coffee quite well. This isn't really a RIS, but who cares about styles anyway? Damned tasty. The sips definitely brought back Peche Mortel to my mind, but the coffee in this thing was much stronger and much better.

Overall, this was excellent work that nailed the RICO style. I was glad to have it again and this beer once again cements the quality of ABW in my mind.

 1,218 characters

Photo of 2xHops
4.07/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I want to preface my review with an admission: I don't like coffee that much at all. It was a risk for me to try this beer, but i had to give it a try.

The beer had a typical dark brown/black body with very little head. It was not foaming much at all, and the smell definitely hit you hard with the coffee aroma. It lives up to its name.

I was somehow hoping that it wasn't too overpowering in the taste department with the coffee presence. As opposed to other beers that had coffee in them, I do feel this particular beer was well-balanced and easy to drink.

The only thing that I felt that this beer fell flat was in the mouthfeel department. It felt a bit too flat for my taste, and for me it did feel a bit too thin as well.

It's still a pretty dang good beer coming from ABW, and I know many of you will enjoy this.

 828 characters

Photo of BeerZack
4.05/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The brewery calls Sputnik a Russian Imperial Coffee Oatmeal Stout.
Smells straight up like an iced coffee. Intriguing. Cream, sugar, roasted coffee beans, its all there. The similarities don't end there. The impression that Im drinking an iced latte or other sweetened cold drink from a coffeeshop continues as I sip. The astringency that adding coffee to beer sometimes brings out is gladly missing in this brew, but I think the body of the beer may have absorbed the shot. While its still very much medium to medium-full bodied, I prefer my RIS's to be pretty weighty. There is a bit more flavor development on towards the finish which brings out some chocolate and a deeper roastiness that keeps it from being cloying, which still reinforces the whole iced coffee ideal. Overall, this beer is pretty delicious in a unique way.

 830 characters

Sputnik from Austin Beerworks
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 158 ratings