Island Reserve: Russian Imperial Stout | Cisco Brewers Inc.

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Island Reserve: Russian Imperial StoutIsland Reserve: Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Cisco Brewers Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by codsmith on 02-25-2012

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Reviews: 43 | Ratings: 131
Photo of dbrauneis
3.78/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours an opaque jet black in color with some very light amounts of visible carbonation. The beer has a quarter finger tall dark tan head that slowly reduces to a thin film covering the entire surface of the beer with a small thick patch and a thick ring at the edges of the glass. Moderate to significant amounts of lacing are observed.

S: Moderate to strong aromas of dark roasted malts, possibly a little burnt. Lighter aromas of dark fruits and chocolate. Maybe just the slightest hints of licorice.

T: Very similar to the smell but possibly even a little more intense. There is a strong flavor of the dark roasted/slightly burnt malts along with dark fruits, chocolate, and licorice. Additionally there is the slightest (barely present) hint of citrus hops at the very end of the finish.

M: Medium bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation. Smooth and slightly sticky with a light amount of alcohol heat in the finish.

O: Alcohol is very well hidden in both the smell and the taste making this beer pretty easy to drink - though at 13.5% it is most definitely a sipping beer. Nice amount of complexity, possibly a little sweeter than I expected for the style, but very enjoyable.

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Photo of jaasen64
3.33/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750ml bottle. On their website it says it's one of their styles currently being "toyed" with, not exactly sure what that means. Poured into CCB snifter.

A- Pours a dark black with about a quarter finger of creamy mocha brown head with good retention. Definitely a little bit above average carbonation for a stout. Not too much lacing.

S- Dark fruits- figs, a little bit of plum; cocoa, definitely a bit hoppy for a RIS, a little bit of espresso, roasted malts, almonds, vanilla, some booze.

T- Cocoa, lightly roasted almonds, some citrus hops, some faint figs + plum (not as strong as in the aroma), some light booze. Different tastes balance fairly well, however not one of my favorite tastes for a RIS. A bit bitter on the finish, lightly sweet + boozey aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied, a little bit creamy, slightly syupy, a little bit above average carbonation. A little bit of an alcoholic burn, but not bad at all considering it's abv.

O- This imperial wasn't bad, however it was far from being my favorite. Like the quote on their website, I think they are still trying to improve this one. They should definitely try bringing down the booze a little bit, 13.5% is a little bit too high for this one. They could make it a little bit sweeter, tone down the hops, and make it a little bit less bitter. Overall not a terrible start, but definitely room for improvement. I suggest waiting for later batches on this one, although at $10 it's not terrible.

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Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.72/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark brown color, very large head, in fact, be careful since it very well could overflow like it did with mine, fades at a slow rate and leaves some good lacing on the glass.

Smell is a bit of a surprise, huge aroma of piney hops, based on aroma alone I'd say it would have been an Black IPA, roasted malt and cocoa does make an appearance behind the strong pine forefront.

Taste starts out with the piney hop flavor which is quickly balanced by the roasted malt, a burnt coffee-like presence makes itself known in the aftertaste, body is thin for a stout with high carbonation, the strength is very well hidden though and I would not have thought this to be anywhere near 13.5%.

A bit torn, drinks more like a Black IPA than a RIS. As a RIS it fails, as something else it's quite good.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
1.69/5  rDev -50.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 4 | overall: 1

750ml bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours black with a creamy tan head. Decent retention, broken webs of lacing.

S: Chocolate cookies, sugar cookies, vanilla bean, creamed coffee, nutty and woody scents, and cherry and plum darkfruit. Citric and herbal hop scents. Plastic and band-aid. This doesn't smell right.

T: Roasted tastes get acrid and smokey, a hit of citrus from the hops, powdery chocolate and some darkfruit, but there's also that horrible plasticy taste that overshadows it all. Very hot and boozy too. Rubbing alcohol, even. Something is very off with this beer.

M: Full and creamy mouthfeel. Smooth enough. Low carbonation. Mouthfeel is good.

O: I don't know what went wrong, but there is something very off with this beer. Tastes like lots of phenols. I'd be inclined to guess too high a fermentation temperature, or maybe sanitizer in the beer. Not sure what happened here, but this should not have been allowed out of the brewery.

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Photo of MatthewWilde
3.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample: 1 bottle 2012

A: Pitch black, moderate sized dark brown head, moderate internal carbonation

S: Interesting for a RIS, heavy citrus and hops, moderately fragrant, elements of cocoa and espresso as well

T: Again, unique for a stout, heavy IPA notes to start, hops, citrus, even tropical fruits, finishing with a more espresso/chocolate flavor, moderate alcohol as well, balanced, but bitter

M: Smooth and refreshing, but definitely bitter and heavy in terms of alcohol, moderate citrus aftertaste, a bit lingering and drying on the palate

O: Flavorful and fragrant, but very strange tastes for a stout, more like a black IPA, delicious, but not representative of its style whatsoever

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Photo of jdhilt
3.86/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a four finger tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and heavy bodied. Light piney nose and flavor is baked chocolate, some molasses and piney hops. Very high (13%) ABV is hidden. Lingering piney hop aftertaste. Not enough malts for a RIS. Pricey at $11.70 for a 750ml bottle from Tully's Beer and Wine Wells, ME.

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Photo of SawDog505
2.74/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 20 oz Duvel tulip. Pours a slick black with a huge 4 inch head, with thick lacing left behind. Smell is huge pungent hops, some roasted nuts, roasted garlic, and some mocha. Taste is all of that, not what I expect from a stout the horror. The body is big, plenty of life, not overly dry, and so over the top drinkability is kind of low. The biggest problem with this brew is the nose and flavors are so uninviting. I love HUGE STOUTS, but the flavors here are so wrong.

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Photo of Pawlie
4.03/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cisco Brewers Island Reserve - 22oz Botttle Purchased from Cork's in Mansfield, Ma

A: Pours black with a bit of a creamy swirl before settling to form a creamy tan head. Quite nice actually.

S: Coffee and vanilla are quite dominant at the outset before settling and recognizing the aroma of alcohol with a bit of fruitiness.

T: Coffee and vanilla are very apparent with first taste, but settles nicely as the fruity aroma kicks in and adds nicely to the overall tasting experience.

M: Quite heavy.

O: Extremely delicious in my opinion. My first review here on Beer Advocate and given the average and occasional negative reviews this beer has gotten, I have to say I'm a little intimidated to embrace this brew as wholeheartedly as I just have. It's very filling, perhaps to a fault, but stands up quite well to many Russian Imperials I have had. In one sitting, I probably could not finish off a full bottle of this brew. It's better shared and strikes me as a great dessert beer, but I am generally impressed overall.

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Photo of ms11781
2.62/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

750ml bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a deep, opaque brown color with a thick, dense tannish brown head. Great, thick rings of foam are left on the glass with each sip, especially if some time elapses between sips. Really excellent head retention with great lacing.

The nose is pretty subdued when chilled and definitely doesn't get better as it warms. Some nice roast is present when chilled with light chocolate and perhaps a touch of coffee. There is some dark fruit here but it's a bit off, something I can't quite put my finger on. When the beer warms the roast lightens up a bit, the chocolate and coffee become almost non-existent and the fruity notes get stronger. A substantial amount of alcohol is present when the beer warms.

The taste is muddled when the beer is chilled and even more so when it warms. There is a touch of roast with some light chocolate and the odd fruit notes up when chilled but a good amount of alcohol is present and it takes over as it warms. It's a bit odd because the alcohol isn't really harsh nor does it have the warming affect that some higher ABV beers have.

The mouthfeel is thin and the carbonation, while low, is a bit prickly on the tongue. The carbonation probably helps the beer feel as thin as it does.

Overall this was an odd beer for me. It looks fantastic but things head downhill from there. The body is thin, the nose is a bit weak and the fruit and alcohol tastes are off. The fruit almost wants to be tart but it never quite gets there. It's not the normal dark fruit expected from an imperial stout. The alcohol is odd as well. It's not harsh and doesn't have the burn, it just seems to be "there". It really just seems like a beer with no definition, nothing that makes it stand out.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.18/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In a tulip this beer was a very dark brown, nearly black, color. It had a tan head that left a little bit of lace.

Roasted malt aroma, chocolate and coffee. It wasn't very sweet. Alcohol was noticeable.

Bittersweet chocolate taste. Espresso. I thought there was a bit of charcoal in the taste. And don't forget the alcohol.

This beer was a big mouthful. Nice enough, but not something I would want to drink often.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.18/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This is one of those beers that I just pick up on a whim and take home. It's also the last beer before a one month sabbatical. Hopefully it is worthy!

A: Pours black as stouts will, topped with a pretty intense brown head that takes a while to recede. Sparkling, rich, with big bubble bursts to release the aromas.

S + T: A surprising note of hops on the nose... some sweet and semi-burnt malt notes, but the big, piney scent is taking it. If I were to close my eyes and blind sniff this beer, I might suspect that it is a Black IPA. The flavour has a similarly unusual quality of citrus, some modest chocolate, and earthy, herbal spiciness. It's not really what I would think of an imperial stout as being.

M + D: Quite thin, as far as stouts go. It's not a terrible beer--not a drain pour--but it's definitely NOT what I would think of a Russian Imperial Stout as being. So... while it might not be a terrible tasting beer, I don't really see myself going back.

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Photo of silentjay
3.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

bought this a couple weeks ago. properly cellared it. chilled it for a few minutes in the fridge before I opened it so it was just below cellar temp. before I got to pour it, a couple minutes or so, I look over to see it bubbled over and beer all over the table. Not an extreme gusher, but a slow, steady one.

It pours an opaque dark brown/black with a huge mocha head made of huge bubbles that quickly pop to leave a spattering of foam and some decent lacing after I finish cleaning the table.

aroma is better, cocoa, molasses, brown sugar, roasted malts with a huge amount of piney, woody, herbal and floral hops.

flavor falls back from that, providing chewing tobacco, chocolate, cacao, molasses, woody/earthy/piney hops. thats about it.

very thin for the style with a carbonation that is harsh at first and then nonexistent on the swallow. kind of odd.

well, its drinkable, and I'll probably finish the bottle, but I wouldn't but it again, and I'm glad I only bought the one and didn't send this out to anyone in trades. It has potential, just needs some (lots) of refining. so far the Island Reserve series has failed to impress me.

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Photo of jlindros
3.4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

After the top pops out slowly rises up in the bottle and starts to bubble over, then pours a huge fluffy 2+ finger darker mocha colored head that fades at a med pace with messy lacing, pitch black beer.

Nose is loaded with hops, pine, earthy, spicy, and a bit resinous fresh hops, smells like a big ban of hop pellets. Some dark malts behind that, hints of mocha, caramel, roast, hint of coffee, and a touch of toasted malt.

Taste starts with more malts, chocolate, powdered dry cocoa, carafa and dark malts, a bit of roast and almost acrid burnt roast, coffee, plenty of caramel. Then hops kick in big time, earthy spicy hops, pine, slight resin, starts to hey slightly astringent, a big pine kick. A creamy chocolate milk like taste cuts through the middle, with a hint of vanilla. I can feel some of the tingling booze leaching into my tongue and into my blood stream before I even drink it. Finish is, some stout flavors and dark malts, plenty more lingering hops and bitterness, and a bit more burnt acrid roast.

Mouth is a bit bigger bodied, decent carb, some warning and tingly tongue spicing booze.

Overall not bad, way too much on the hops, this is a russian imperial stout, not a black ipa but drinks much more like black ale. Malts are to light in comparison. Not very drinkable either with the heavy crazy hops and booze.

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Photo of NEhophead
3.15/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

25.4 fl oz brown bottle served in a tulip.

Syrupy oak with shades of dark maple. Light coffee colored head that recedes to pools of bubbles and thin intact sheet.

Rich, sweet milk chocolate aroma with a cutting bourbon-like alcohol character. The alcohol component is aided by a tart cherry.

It's a bit strange for the style, but the initial flavors of this Imperial Stout are more fruity than rich. Tart cherry, orange peel, and other lighter citrus qualities. Once the sharpness of the tart fruit subside, a bulky alcohol component, reminiscent of straight vodka, takes over and runs wild. Very mild coffee and milk chocolate tones don't stand a chance against the acidic, slick alcohol character.

Medium bodied. Incredibly slick from start to finish. The texture is just not on target for the style.

In all honesty, it's just tough to get past the acidic, intense alcohol character. Maybe this one would benefit by laying it down for a few years or maybe this is what this beer is.

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Photo of PeterIngemi
3.85/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 750ml into a duvel tulip.

A- pouts jet black with a two finger mocha head, looks creamy and delicious. Nice lacing

S- hops, right up front in the nose, kinda caught me off gaurd, alcohol, vanilla, hints of mocha chocolate, pine, toastyness beneath the hops, smells nice

T- chocolate, mocha, a light toastyness, piney hops, cirtusy hops on the finish, strange on the finish, with hints of tropical fruit, I seem to be getting grapefruit/pineapple, and even bannana on the aftertaste. which must be from
All the hops, deffinatly different for an ris. But pleasant none the less, wonder how this will age.

M- a bit light for the style, I'd call it medium bodies with medium carbonation, a dry finish, and a strange aftertaste. I prefer a bit more heft to my ris.

O- a strange brew, but different and interesting, the hop profile adds unique qualitys that are different for an ris, but pleasant none the less, the tropical fruit intermingles strangely with the other flavors, again I am interested to see how this would age, maybe I am drinking it a bit too fresh.

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Photo of Bendurgin
2.12/5  rDev -37.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

Poured into a tulip. This one pours black with a finger of short lived dark mocha head.

The aroma is kind of a mess on this one. Pretty hoppy with a little bit of a vinous with salty black olives lingering in the background. Has a bit of a leathery and roasted malt aroma but there's something off here. Boozy as all hell with small notes of chocolate. Not really to bad but certainly not especially good. A bit of a rubber flavor here.

Hot and full on the feel with soft carbonation. Overall this is just bad. No real redeeming qualities.

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Photo of andrewinski1
2.52/5  rDev -25.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Poured into a tulip. The color is black with a nice creamy tan head.

The aroma is very hoppy. There seems to be a bit of olive in the aroma as well. This doesn't smell quite right, though I will still venture a taste.

The taste is bitter and alcoholic. I love hoppy stouts, but the malt profile doesn't hold up to the bitterness. The finish is off-putting. The taste doesn't deliver typical chocolate or coffee notes of a stout; perhaps the flavors are muted.

The mouthfeel is creamy, not quite heavy bodied.

I don't know anything about this beer except it's a RIS. This doesn't really come together. I'm not sure if it's a little green or what. Pass.

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Photo of codsmith
4.03/5  rDev +18.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cisco Brewers Island Reserve - 22oz Botttle From Armanetti's (Lincoln) in Chicago - Poured in Snifter

A: Pours jet black with a very nice rich and creamy tan head that lingers just above the beer and laces the glass perfectly

S: At first pour it comes off as a thin light fruity hop, vanilla, and slight alcohol aroma. However, after breaking the initial barrier it becomes little more complex with some dark grains coming through, but not overtly done. Not a traditional RIS aroma at all.

T: It has a very heavy mid-to-late finish on the bitter end adding not the most desirable taste. Taste characteristic is not close the RIS standard and should be reclassifeid as something else.

M: Heavy body, slightly chewy, and carbonation is slightly heavy for style and ABV

O: First brew I've had from CB and I'm very impressed by the uniques aromas and taste characteristics. Maybe not a traditional Russian, but a very good beer. I look very forward to trying more of their great creations

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Island Reserve: Russian Imperial Stout from Cisco Brewers Inc.
3.39 out of 5 based on 131 ratings.
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