Taps Fish House & Brewery

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #110
Ranked #1,867
4.3 | pDev: 8.6%
Taps Fish House & Brewery
California, United States
Notes: Remy is a travel buddy whose life, at times, has rivaled that of the world's most interesting men -- free-spirited, adventurous, social, and with a penchant for fast women, whiskey, and beer: the perfect inspiration for something truly special. We filled eight Heaven Hill bourbon barrels with our award-winning Imperial Russian Stout and let them sleep for eight months. The transformation resulted in a beer that is rich and roasty, with incredible flavors of marshmallow, coconut, and dark chocolate. We hope you enjoy this very limited release -- that it inspires you to try something new and that it makes you a little more interesting as well!
Reviews: 25 | Ratings: 101 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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mrn1ceguy from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 vintage opened in 2016. Pitch black color. The nose is a good blend of sweet bourbon and with strong stout background. The taste has more bourbon, but muted slightly due to age with hints of dark fruit. Finish is not perfect but still very enjoyable. A great beer to enjoy.

Jan 12, 2016
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Properly cellared 2013 bottle, poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing nearly opaque in the glass and a fine one finger brown head with great retention and lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt, bourbon, milk chocolate, wet leather, hint of vanilla; very bourbon forward. Flavor is also bourbon forward; bourbon, dark toasted malt, vanilla, bitter baking chocolate, light char. Finishes boozy and with just a hint of sour cherry, like a baltic porter. Medium bodied with active carbonation. A pleasant barrelled imperial stout, quite bourbon forward, reminiscent of a boilermaker with a heavy pour of whisky. The malt body is almost not heavy enough to meet the intense barrel flavors, but does enough. Lots of good barrel flavors of vanilla, dark fruit, wood and light char. Although I wished for a bit more intense malt flavor, this was a tasty barreled stout. The hints of sour cherry in the finish may indicate that it is reaching it's cellaring age, but I was not able to try this fresh to know for sure. Very enjoyable, glad I found this.

Mar 30, 2015
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Jeffo from Netherlands

3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got this one from totoropanda a while back. Thanks for the brews man!

From a 750 into a snifter
Vintage: 2013
2010 GABF Silver medal winner

APPEARANCE: Pours out a transparent dark brown, almost black, yielding a two finger, looser, slightly foamy and crackly, tan head with only half decent retention. Head quickly recedes to a foamy cap. Transparent black body with no carbonation evident. A ring and slight wisp remain but leave no lacing down the glass. Body is a little too transparent for the style and the head too loose and foamy. Average at best.

SMELL: Smells really wonderful. Lots of oak, coconut, vanilla sweet cream, caramel, toffee and butterscotch on the nose. Bourbon with milk chocolate and light notes of tobacco as well. Bold with plenty of decadent barrel character. Really nice.

TASTE: Flavor follows the nose nicely but more bourbon forward than expected perhaps. Bourbon, oak, butterscotch, coconut and sweet vanilla cream up front with lots of bourbon and alcohol at the swallow. A bold and lingering finish of oak, coconut, toffee, vanilla, milk chocolate and some bitter dark chocolate as balance. Very flavorful and enjoyable, though a touch barrel heavy perhaps.

PALATE: Medium-thinner body with medium levels of carbonation. Prickly on the palate, not quite smooth, goes down fine with a bit of a scratch and finishes a touch sticky. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Really enjoyable brew here. The barrel is wonderful and very forthcoming, though I’m not all that sure that the base stout is all that special. There might be a reason why the whole batch gets barrel aged. The look and feel could have been better as well, but overall, the beer has taken to the barrel extremely well and I enjoyed this one very much. Would gladly drink another one if it landed on my porch. Thanks again totoropanda. This was a beaut.

Mar 05, 2015
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

4.36/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured out as a nice deep black color with a very thin head on top. The smell of the beer has quite a bit of bourbon on the nose, Subtle roasted chocolate and some vanilla too. The taste of the beer had more oaky bourbon and some of the roasted malts peaking through. The feel was very nice. Overall this beer was nice!

Feb 28, 2015
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Deggar from Idaho

4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A very solid BA beer. The nose is awesome. Sweet and filled with bourbon. If anything it is a little thin and finishes a little too hot but overall the vanilla marshmallow taste is great and balances the chocolate. (If there was more coffee it would be a perfect white chocolate mocha beer).

Jan 21, 2015
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wolf_switzer from California

4.61/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

*This was the 2012 release that was aged in Heaven Hill barrels, not the 2013 release that was actually aged in Rittenhouse Rye barrels*

12 oz. bottle poured into a mini snifter

A - Nearly pitch black with only a small amount of tan head

S - A little bit of booze with lots of burnt malt and dark chocolate aromas

T - More booze, but extremely smooth after two years in the bottle. Hints of bourbon and vanilla. A strong cocoa flavor that is reminiscent of baker's chocolate. The perfect amount of sweetness balanced by the bitter chocolate notes

M - Great amount of body for the style. Pretty chewy with little carbonation

O - Wow, this was one tasty beer. One of the best BA stouts we have had. It was really smooth and extremely flavorful without being too sweet or boozy. Great job, Victor! A huge thanks to Joel for sharing this one.

Jun 21, 2014
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4DAloveofSTOUT from Illinois

4.39/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

doing a side by side with Pappy Remy and Remy(2013)!

poured into TG snifter.

Appearance: black bodied beer with thick cap of tan head. looks identical to pappy remy. booze legs and minimal staining.

Smell: slight roast and nutty notes. milk chocolates, brown sugar and tobacco. hint of black licorice and slight oxidation.

Taste: sweet tobacco and dry cocoa with milk chocolate for good measure. brown sugar and caramel. hint of black licorice. vanilla and bourbon are mellow.

Mouthfeel: medium bodied beer with almost moderate carbonation levels. this has a better feel that Pappy Remy. Maybe a little bit more carbonation made this feel thicker than pappy remy. not a boozey as pappy remy either.

Overall: Remy is still a really nice BA stout. those heaven hills barrels are always a great choice for barrel aging; they are a staple of barrel aging.

Jun 16, 2014
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gcamparone from Rhode Island

4.04/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz glass. acquired in a trade

A- Pours a deep brown, slightly opaque body with a small off white head that reduces to a thin layer of foam.

S- Sharp whiskey, french vanilla, caramel, some booze and a plastic-like smell.

T- Lots of milk chocolate, vanilla, caramel-raisin, whiskey, coffee-char aftertaste.

M- Medium-heavy mouthfeel, low carbonation

A solid barrel aged stout. Very well done.

Apr 09, 2014
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elNopalero from California

4.32/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Oooooh, this was a beaut. It poured the color of motor oil with a thin cocoa-colored cap.
I got a heavy whiff of fresh coffee with a swig of bourbon mixed in for good measure. Some coconut, vanilla, and dark chocolate. Flavor delivers on more of the same, with a touch of alcoholic heat. Definitely a sipper. Worth seeking out, glad I had a chance to try it.

Dec 29, 2013
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Alieniloquium from Florida

4.29/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black with slight transparency. Nice khaki head. Medium collar.

Smell - Bourbon. Cola. Lots of caramel. Chocolate.

Taste - Wow, a lot of bourbon. Oaky bourbon. Sharp. Chocolate. A little fudgy. More cola here. Tons of caramel sweetness.

Mouthfeel - Medium heavy and sweet. Medium carbonation. Strong bourbon, but not overly boozy.

Overall - Yum. That's all I got.

Dec 17, 2013
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JohnGalt1 from Idaho

4.27/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Little 375 provided by Buckeyeboy for an impromptu mid-week tasting. Brownish head rises and drops pretty quickly... spotty lacing.

Nose is big and boozy... bourbon soaked tootsie rolls.. surprisingly good.

Flavor mirrors the nose with some background dark malt... long finish. Very rich and decadent.

Body is a bit light probably accentuated by the massive ABV.

Thanks Jeremy... Surprised I have not heard of this gem.


Jun 13, 2013
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Brabander from Netherlands

4.73/5  rDev +10%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

I got this beer last week from Nate, Cardinal79. Tonight the beer had to be opened by me cause i heard lot of good thing about it.

Poured in my small Struise tasting glass the beer has some troulble to get a decent head, only with a thourough pour! The head disappeared quit fast. Only a small ring stays in the glass.

Smell is on of the better one's in this style. Nice boozy.

Taste is super, what a balanced beer. This is one the RiS beers you should try when you beging tot drink this style.


Jun 02, 2013
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Rutager from Canada

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thank you to ObeMaltKinobee for this killer extra.

Appearance. Pours pretty much black with half a finger of light tan head.

Smell. Big dark chocolate, a little molasses, rum and old barrel wood, vanilla and bourbon and just a slight hint of plastic or maybe pvc. Smells rich, boozy and big.

Taste. Sweet dark chocolate, some nice barrel wood and a drop of bourbon. There's a lingering woody, bourbon-vanilla taste that's pretty darn nice.

Mouthfeel. Full body, just below medium soft and smooth carbonation. There's a nice boozy tingle that stays on the tongue but doesn't quite have the throat and tummy warmth one would expect from such a big abv.

Overall. The beauty of this beer is in the taste. I know that sounds obvious, but the look and smell just don't quite live up to the taste and it does taste mighty nice.

Mar 26, 2013
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FosterJM from California

4.35/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

1605th Review on BA
Bottle to Woodshop Snifter

2012 Release
Thanks to MrHrschybar for this one

App- When this poured it wasnt deep black, nor dark brown. It was a mix of both colors with some nice reds mixed in from the bourbon barrels. The density was there and in the glass it did look thick and sludgy with a good viscous body. The center was dark and deep with some lighter edges. A small head of about 1/2" was there and left and didnt leave any cling.

Smell- This was a nice smelling BBA stout. It had the nose of a good malty stout and included the bakers dark chocolate and then moved into a bit of a thick malt and even transitioned into the vanilla and deep wood notes. The ABV on this was well hidden and didnt pick up on it at all.

Taste- This was a very good stout. The 11.2oz bottle was a bit of a let down. Maybe a 500ml wouldve been better. However, with the booze level it was acceptable. This had a ton of great flavors in the glass with a great depth of flavor. I read the label and I really did pick up on the marshmellow flavor with a tinge of coconut and more chocolate than I thought. The prickly booze was pretty tame on this one and was a lot smoother than I was thinking.

Mouth- A great low body with a big thick viscous feel behind it. The carbonation was a bit low to keep it creamy like a dessert. The residal flavors were of the vanilla, oak, dark chocolate and a bit of a grainy roasted marshmellow flavor.

Drink- I really enjoyed this beer. I drank it at 55 or cellar temp and it warmed a little from there. Good aromatics, but not great but the taste and the body on this were outstanding. I would like a few more bottles, but the $$ is a bit off for me. 11.2 and $10.

Nov 07, 2012
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Jules11788 from California

4.41/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured from an 11.2oz bottle into a Hair of the Dog tulip. This is the 2012 release of this beer.

A: Pours a motor oil-like jet black with almost no head; barely any lacing; lets no light through. Reminiscent of Ten-Fidy

S: Smells of leather, bourbon, coconut, vanilla, tobacco, and a strong woody character that pervades throughout. The smell is very strong and quite amazing.

T: Taste is all bourbon and musty wood, and just like the nose carries hints of vanilla, leather, tobacco, and coconut as it opens up along the palate. The flavors are really intense, this is definitely a sipper.

M: Mouthfeel is thin, and carbonation is low. I don't mind the low carbonation as it comes with the style, and a good imperial stout shouldn't feel like a bubbly IPA. But the thin mouthfeel is pretty disappointing and I prefer something thicker and chewier with this style of beer. This is the weakest part of this brew.

O: Had this on tap in May at the release party and was not very impressed, but with a few months of age on it this thing has blossomed into a fantastic imperial stout. If you like your stout bursting with flavor then this is the way to go. Can't wait to hold on to my other bottle and see how it tastes with a year on it.

Oct 24, 2012
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UCLABrewN84 from California

4.04/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Chris for sharing this one at Benny’s tasting.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, bourbon, and wood. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick and a woody finish. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with a great smell and some tasty flavors.

Sep 11, 2012
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ikantspel from California

4.94/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

11.2 oz bottle into a tulip

pours a not too dark black/brown with a slight/minimal dissipating head

chocolate. dark chocolate. hershey kisses mostly with a slight touch of alcohol to it

in the taste is super dark sweet toasted chocolate with a little hint of whisky/caramel

amazingly amazing. alcohol is masked remarkably . well done TAPS

Sep 07, 2012
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jmarsh123 from Indiana

3.97/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to mrhirshybar for the bottle

Pours deep brown to black with almost no head or lacing.

Aroma definitely tells you there's a barrel involved here. A little bit of licorice and dark fruits with some roast and a lot of booze.

Dark fruits in the up front in the flavor. Some good roasted malt helps balance out the sweetness although it's still maybe a tad too sweet. Barrel character is again high and comes out more as it warms. Definitely bourbon kiss and it finishes slightly hot.

Medium plus mouthfeel with medium carb level. Definitely boozy, but that's a good thing in a stout.

Pretty solid beer. I prefer my barrel aged stuff a bit hot, so if heat isn't your thing, sit on this a while. This one is definitely hot, but fairly well integrated so it's still good.

Aug 10, 2012
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Dreadnaught33 from District of Columbia

3.08/5  rDev -28.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Bottle shared thanks to Darrell. Not my favortie beer of theres we had.

Pours black with a lighter brown highlight running down the glass where the light is behind. Ring of tan head.

Nice roasty beast of a beer with nice sweet and savory notes with the barrel over the top of it all. Not a ton of aroma in the middle of the nose, just a hit up front and some stuff lingering, seems thin in aroma if that makes any sense. Not much malt to smell.

Tast and Mouth were both average really. Up front oak borubon and cofee/espresso like malt base and then a ton of booze in the finish. Again, lots of booze in the finish it is overwhelming in ways. Not balanced well at all, and I think this has some age on it too.

Overall not my favorite, there are many barrel aged Stouts that kill this one.

Oct 05, 2011
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Huhzubendah from District of Columbia

4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by durwoodx. Thanks Darrell.

The beer is dark brown, nearing black, with a finger of beige head that leaves some decent lacing on the snifter. The aroma is of bourbon, roast, and alcohol. Nice flavor, though a fair amount of alcohol strength comes through. Quite toasty as well. A nice imperial stout. More complexity and a smoother feel would improve this beer. Good stuff.

Oct 03, 2011
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thagr81us from South Carolina

3.7/5  rDev -14%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had at the brewpub while on a recent trip to Cali. Served from bottle into a goblet. Poured pitch black with a one finger tan head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of roasted malt, dark chocolate, wood, and alcohol. The flavor was of roasted malt, dark chocolate, alcohol, and caramel. It had a heavy feel on the palate with medium carbonation. Overall this brew wasn't that bad. It was still a little hot for my palate if I'm honest. It could probably improve sitting in the cellar for a little while to allow the alcohol burn to mellow out a bit. Worth trying if you are at the brewpub or if you want a good brew to tick.

Jan 12, 2011
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womencantsail from California

3.23/5  rDev -24.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle available only for on-premises consumption at Taps in Brea.

A: The pour is essentially black with a finger of khaki colored head that has pretty nice retention.

S: At first, the bourbon and oak really overwhelms the beer, which is a good thing. Unfortunately, as it opens up, the base beer comes through. I pick up its usual traits of rubber cement and harsh rubbing alcohol. The chocolate, vanilla, and roast can't really cover it up.

T: Like with the nose, the beer starts off alright, but the flaws begin to show through. Begins with chocolate, bourbon, oak, licorice, and dark fruits. The alcohol starts to become a bit abrasive as it warms up.

M: The body is medium, nothing amazing for an imperial stout, with a smooth carbonation.

D: This is significantly better than the base beer, so the idea that -bal aging can help out a bad beer proves itself true, but it only does so much.

Jan 10, 2011
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teamizm from California

4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Grabbed a bottle of this after the Bruery RS party.

A - Pours a viscous, almost coffee like black with a brown head that laces the glasses.

S - roasty coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, and bourbon.

T - roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, some toffee and vanilla.

M - a littl thinner than I had hoped for. Such a big nose, but the mouthfeel lacks the smoothness I was hoping for.

D - Very good drinkability, even with the alcohol taste. This is a very well balanced RIS. I just wish it had a little bit more body.

Jan 10, 2011
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OlieIPA from California

4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle and shared with my homebrewing partner...Pehlman!

A: This beer exhibited bold black body and an extremely viscous body, which was evident when poured into the glassware. Once this brew settled in, a beaded brown head encompassed the exposed surface area for an ample amount of time.

S: A robust amount of bourbon and vanilla upfront with strong touches of dark fruit/fig, chocolate and roasted malt towards the back end.

T: The chocolate is much more apparent in the taste, but again, the bourbon and vanilla share most of the spotlight. A lingering dark fruit character is pronounced throughout the entire sip as well, but doesn't take center stage. Instead it adds a subtle complexity to the beer that helps balance the multitude of flavors. The alcohol is noticeable too.

M: Thinner than what I expected, but had some cream-like texture that wasn't too bad.

D: The flavors that developed from the barrel reminded a lot of the characteristics I find in some of Lost Abbey's beers! Alcohol was present, but was never over the top and the flavor profile was both robust and complex simultaneously.

Overall: Wow! A great beer! A must try! Cheers!

Jan 07, 2011
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Pehlman from California

4.5/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sitting at the bar at TAPS in Brea and sharing a bottle of this lovely brew with my good buddy, OlieIPA.

Pours a nice smooth black with a light, foamy, copper head. Fairly medium bodied so it sticks to the glass here and there, but not too viscous.

Smell hits you softly, with a nice bouquet of vanilla, oak, spice, bourbon, and black currants.

Taste is also smooth and long on the finish. A nice vanilla tone fades into a lush black forest of chocolate and tart black cherries. The mouthfeel is also creamy with a light to medium body and soft carbonation.

This is a great beer. I've always been a fan of TAPS beer and this is another great one to add to their list. Not bad at $15 a bottle to share over some good food. Wish I could take this one home.

Jan 04, 2011
Remy from Taps Fish House & Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 101 ratings