Tatonka Stout
BJ's Chicago Pizza & Brewery Inc.

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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #796
Ranked #26,636
3.78 | pDev: 13.49%
BJ's Chicago Pizza & Brewery Inc.
United States
Very Good
Notes: An imperial stout — a classic style so rich and flavorful that it was once the private beverage of Russian Czars. The profile is malty sweet, hop bitter roasted, full-bodied, alcoholic and deliciously complex. Beer doesn’t get much more intense than this!

60 IBU
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Reviews: 67 | Ratings: 230
Photo of JJKBeerLvr
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Sampled December 29, 2018 from tap in pint style glass.

Appearance: Very dark black, dark color, with a dark tan head of 1 finger. The head lasted only a short length of time, and did not leave much lacing on the side of the glass.

Smell: Strong oak, and caramel aromas. There are also roasted fire aromas, along with some coffee, vanilla, and hops in the aroma. Nice combination and balance between the hops, malts, and other aromas.

Taste: Pronounced coffee and caramel flavors. Also burnt malt flavors. Full-bodied with nice balance of malt and hops. It is very smooth, almost like a milk stout. There is a hint of sweetness like chocolate that may be due to the oats and malts, but it has a good taste. Light hop flavor as well.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, with strong alcohol which matches with the marketed 8.5%.

Overall: This Stout is a good stout. It has strong flavors as well as alcohol, and the mix of oak, malts, and hops makes for an interesting stout. I would buy this again.

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Photo of andrewh995
1.53/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 3 | smell: 1.75 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 1.5

I don't get the good ratings. There wasn't much flavor there and the flavor that was there was not good. Tastes like chemical solvent, alcohol, and some very minor and mediocre stout flavors. Smells similar. Looks fine although the head is very strange.

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Photo of jaketaz
2.4/5  rDev -36.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Ugh... if you like it, good for you, I really wish I did, no one wants to drink something they think tastes bad. But I'm simply mystified at the good reviews here, the only explanation I can think of is that the writers have never tried another stout. Again, I'm not here to tell you that you SHOULD be drinking something else, but I will say that whatever it is you like about this thing, there are 9 million other stouts that do those things better.

It lured me in by looking legit, black with a nice white head and good retention, appears carbonated just right. Some chocolate aroma with a little rubbing alcohol has me worried. The taste is just awful, I'm getting a little malt, no chocolate or anything like that, mostly an overwhelming grain alcohol burn. The aftertaste isn't better. Thin watery mouthfeel, under carbonated. I can't remember ever having a worse Russian Imp stout.

Let's talk solutions. I have a couple recommendations for way better Russian Imp stouts that won't break the bank and aren't too weird. #1 Oskar Blues "Ten Fidy". #2 Sierra Nevada "Narwhal". #3 Bell's "Expedition". #4 Samuel Smith. All available year round and not crazy expensive. Just try one and see. We can end this nightmare together.

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Photo of TeamMathis
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent! Looked like a nitrogen brew. Beautiful head. Alcohol on the nose and some in the bite. Smooth. Such a great Imp Stout. I would absolutely get this one again.

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Photo of Cylinsier
3.76/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

tap at the Pittsburgh location

Pours a dark cloudy brown, notably note fully opaque. Head is finely textured, light tan, and retains indefinitely.

Smells of cocoa and roasted coffee beans.

Flavor is of roasted coffee, hazelnut, cocoa, and a toasty bready malt undertone.

Medium body with a velvety carbonation.

Pretty okay stout, feels more like a strong Irish than a RIS to be honest. Flavor is okay, pour is lighter than you would expect from the style. All in all, acceptable to good stout worth grabbing if you are looking for a stout at BJ's. You won't be wowed, but you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Lagerhouserules
4.13/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had on this on tap in Orlando. I must say I was a bit surprised at the quality coming from a chain restaurant. Beautiful black opaque creaminess, smell is underwhelming, taste is smooth but strong. Coffee.

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Photo of chinchill
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap in Daytona Beach FL.

Pours essentially black and opaque with an excellent head. Ruby highlights at the edges when in bright light. The head is exceptionally creamy and durable.

The aroma has an unwanted but not very unusual sour note. Partially hidden alcohol.
In contrast, the flavor has negligible sourness and obvious alcohol. Its moderately bitter. Some faint coffee and chocolate.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The color of the beer was subpar for a stout, but the solid beige full inch head was above average so it all averages out I guess. Nice roasting, not a lot of dark fruit bitterness thankfully for an RIS.

Easy drinking for its strength, strong c hop bitterness, chewy. Very smooth, unlike most RIS in that way. I liked it more than the average person I guess, its pretty straightforward, not a ton of chocolate malt.

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Photo of nizzle8287
4.71/5  rDev +24.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Lunch pint at BJ's near Hulen mall in Fort Worth. Beautidul nitro bubbles cascade for a minute or so leaving awesome head retention. Its dark, but not opaque, with brown shining through just at the edges. Head is an offwhite color and lends at least a half finger at all times. Lacing coats the glass in a fairly uniform fashion, as with most good nitro brews. Not much on the nose for a RIP, but given its a nitro that's to be expected... just slight cocoa and a general sweet maltiness. Taste is chocolate, coffee, slightly sweet maltiness, and some mild bittering hops, probably a European hop as they seem to be more mild. Mouthfeel maintains usual creamy nitro fashion, but being a RIP, it's really rather thick (for a nitro, of course). The beer just glides over the pallete with a nice creaminess. Overall, at 8.5% abv it is a milder RIP (because it's nitro), but nonetheless still very well crafted stout, and a must try for nitro stout fanatics such as myself.

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Photo of JeffBlue
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

(Draft, BJs, Valencia) Nice creamy head and silky mouthfeel. Roasted taste up front and consistent throughout. Not sure why I have taken this long to finally try this beer.

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Photo of pmangold
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

on tap at the brew hub in Lakeland, a nitro offering. looked like a dark black RIS on Nitro... smelled sweet with chocolate and coffee present. taste followed the nose. Went down smooth for a beer over 8%... good brew!

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Photo of JmacB
3.78/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Rich, dark almond colored Imperial Stout with a rich, creamy head that has the feel of an intense coffee flavor and a surprisingly mild but intense flavor. This is my favorite beer with a great ribeye!

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Photo of ShawnMN
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Great brew x I love BJ'S brew house , great food but their beer is definitely brilliantly crafted. This tatonka stout is great dark roasted malted brew. Great thick creamy feel on the pallet. Beautiful chocolatey coffee flavor with a thick caramel colored head to start it off. Great coffee chocolatey aroma. Great beer, goes great with their Bison Burger!

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Photo of rdilauro
4.26/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had this when I was done in Jacksonville, FL. I was totally impressed. Right from the dark jet black color with a dirty cream head, the aroma was captivating. A little coffee, a little chocolate and a hint of orange. The taste was big and bold yet creamy smooth. The finish was as if you just had some pudding that you loved.
A treat for me. Now to find it in the Northeast

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Photo of NiallMac44
4.65/5  rDev +23%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Outside of a pint of Guinness in Ireland this is my favorite beer. Do not get me wrong, it is not at all like Guinness. The stupid thing is that it is not even as good as it used to be. An imperial stout has three characteristics: strong, a bit sweet, a burnt taste. I almost never like a sweet beer and when our local BJ's opened I tasted it with no expectations of liking it. I wish I was good at describing tastes, all I know is that this classic burnt taste and a hint of sweetness really worked for me. Unfortunately they messed with the recipe and hopped it up. My feeling is that the burnt taste of a stout and hops do not mix well. Yet this is still such a damn good beer I go there just because that is the only way I can get it.

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Photo of DoubleJ
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Served on-nitro at the Anaheim Hills location. On to the beer:

Nitro is usually good at producing a long lasting and sexy looking creamy head, and it happens again here. The beer is black with a cola hue at the bottom of the glass, and the lacing covers the glass in its cream. The aroma of smoked chocolate and a dash of vanilla stirs up the nostrils and preludes the taste, which offers a similar profile. It's rich, smokey and cocoa nibs leading the way. A hint of vanilla breaks the smoked chocolate duo. It's full bodied and very smooth, yet it does also seem to have a slight watery character from the nitro. However, that's a small chink in the armor to an otherwise good strong stout.

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Photo of Bills453
3.55/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a BJ's growler into my Duvel tulip glass.

Appearance - dark brown/black, no light shines through this darkness.

Smell - coffee and dark chocolate. I actually smell some charcoal in this one as well.

Taste - coffee and chocolate taste. Roasted flavor as well.

Overall - a nice stout. Nothing blew me away about this one though.

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Photo of JamesS
3.32/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

At Greenwood, Indiana location... Poured a fairly thin black with some decent head and a bit of initial lacing. Decently deep sweet roasted malt aroma with hints of coffee. Decently roastiness in the flavor, as well, with some coffee, and hints of earthy hops. Went down quite smooth, but that could be due to the fact that it's one of the thinnest impy stouts I've ever had. Nothing was bad, but it just wasn't very thick and rich, with a nice collection of flavors, like their should be.

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Photo of BeerBuckeye
3.3/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Pours a rather light brown. It almost looks reddish in the pour but ends up brown in the glass. Little lead.

S - Mostly some chocolate malt, some dark fruit, very faint.

T - Taste was decent. Again, it's actually pretty light. Some hints of coffee and bitter chocolate, followed up with some dark fruit

M - Smooth, ABV hidden incredibly well. It's actually a lot lighter bodied that what you would expect in an imperial stout.

Overall - It was decent. Very light and drinkable, but not incredibly full and flavorful. Sort of a RIS Lite.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.38/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown pour, lighter brown head to it, looks the part, even if slightly lighter than most. Aroma was kinda muted, not as much sweetness or roastyness as you would hope for.

Taste, decent, hides the alcohol quite well, but a little pase for an RIS. Sturdy, but no one flavor to speak of, which depending on your point a view, could be a grand testament to its balance.

Overall, a decent beer worth having again, especially considering its cheapness and ability to hide alcohol.

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Photo of HopHead84
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4


Nitro pour at BJ's Escondido.

A: Dark brown and opaque with a monstrous brown head that lingers for many minutes. It's actually been sitting there for probably 8 minutes and not moving. Witchcraft (I've since learned that this is on nitro, so perhaps not occult this time).

S: Molasses accompanies a restrained nuttiness and evident earthy notes. Dark chocolate blends with a robust roasted malt profile.

T: Pronounced roasted grains blend with dark chocolate and a moderate earthy bitterness. I get licorice and a little molasses. Finishes with a touch of booze.

M: Full body with a silky mouthfeel.

Overall: I'm enjoying this. Definitely the best beer I've had at the illustrious BJ's Escondido.

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Photo of MsRif
3.48/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown in color with decent head retention. Lacing is very decent with this beer. Smelled of coffee, chocolate and caramel. I little too sweet smelling with not enough complexity. Tasted very roasty with undertones of chocolate, vanilla and caramel. Definitely has a little bitterness to it, but it is more sweet than bitter...bitterness really only hits in the finish. Does NOT taste like an 8.5% ABV brew.

Smooth, but maybe a tad on the thin side. Good carbonation. Overall a good stout, but not really representative of the style...it is not complex enough and it was really lacking in richness. Good, but not great.

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Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First had: on tap at BJ's, Westminster, CO

Tatonka! Poured a dark brown-black with a finger of tannish head that retained and laced well. Big roasty aroma: dark malts, coffee, some cocoa. More big roastiness in the taste, with dark malts, coffee and cocoa notes, licorice and leather. Alcohol somewhat noticeable, but not in a bad way. Heavy-medium body, full of flavor and personality, and generally very drinkable.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.45/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Dark brown in color, light brown frothy, creamy head of a solid finger that sticks to the glass all the way down. Appeared to be nitro, but I never found out out for certain...

The aroma was okay. Light roasted notes, which hints of chocolate and sweetness.

Taste was nice, with bittersweet chocolate, lots of roast, a touch of coffee, and a hint of hops in the back.

Feel was good and creamy, medium bodied and clean.

Overall, a tasty brew, but an average RIS. I think a lot more non-beer-people will enjoy this, but beer geeks will likely find it lacking in depth. I'll gladly drink it everytime I go there though.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.33/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

On-tap at BJ's in Valencia, CA.

Pours pitch black with a 2 inch milk chocolate colored head that fades to a small cap. Nice ring lacing on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt, espresso/coffee beans, and bitter chocolate. Taste is of bittersweet chocolate and burnt coffee. Lingering hop bitterness and burnt taste on the tongue. Carbonation is horrible on this beer. Extremely flat and thick on the drink down. Very creamy in a bad way, like drinking coffee creamer. Drinkability is average due to the flatness of this beer. Not too good.

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Tatonka Stout from BJ's Chicago Pizza & Brewery Inc.
Beer rating: 86 out of 100 with 230 ratings