Bona Fide
4 Hands Brewing Co.

Bona FideBona Fide
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4 Hands Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #404
Ranked #9,543
4.03 | pDev: 9.43%
May 27, 2022
Feb 15, 2012
Bona FideBona Fide
Notes: Bona Fide Imperial Stout is a collaborative effort with Goshen Coffee, a local fair trade coffee roaster. This beer is big, bold, and in your face. Bona Fide pours black as night with a smooth mouth feel. Aromas of espresso, dark chocolate, roasted malt, with nuances of vanilla. Drink now or cellar for up to 5 years.

65 IBU
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Photo of 86sportster883
Reviewed by 86sportster883 from Maryland

4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Bottle dated 12/29/15, so this one has 5+ yrs. in the bottle. Not sure how long ago I bought it. Impenetrably dark and capped by a 1/4 inch head of dense tan foam that quickly recedes to a solid ring and a coffee swirl cap. Rich roasted coffee notes blend with hints of vanilla in the nose. The taste is a mix of fine dark chocolate, vanilla and toffee. It tastes like an old fashion, slightly fizzy, chocolate malt, soda fountain drink. It is absolutely delicious. The mouthfeel is not at all syrupy and drinks more like medium to full bodied beer with a barely there, but essential, fine carbonation that supports the transition from rich toffee and vanilla upfront, to a drying roasted coffee finish. There’s also a hint of lactose in the middle and a dark malt char bitterness that comes to the forefront in the finish. I’m a big dark roasted black coffee, dark bitter chocolate and vanilla fan, so this version of an American take on a RIS really resonated with me.
May 27, 2022
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Reviewed by tone77 from Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25
Poured from a brown 22 oz. bottle. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of chocolate, light coffee. Taste is chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, a bit to easy drinking for this abv. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality beer worth trying.
Aug 29, 2021
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Reviewed by DanO1066 from Maryland

4.14/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
Enjoying a 22oz "bomber" (12/29/15 NFI) picked-up at The Brass Tap here in Baltimore (50% Off!): lovely black body w/a short-lived tan head; smells a bit like a mocha; chocolate most dominate on the tongue, but as others have mentioned some pepper (maybe just the alcohol?; seems odd at what is NOT a very high ABV) in the middle; a tad more carbonation than I prefer; Nice!
May 17, 2020
Rated: 4.02 by psweendogg from Connecticut

Feb 02, 2020
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Reviewed by wmscottsimpsonjr from Missouri

4.45/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
Black with reddish tan head. Strong coffee and cocoa aromas. Taste is a fantastic balance of the same with roasted malt, moderate bitters. Moderately sweet and ridiculously smooth.
Jul 22, 2018
Rated: 4.09 by TylerJ from Iowa

Jun 23, 2018
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Rated by Alangard from Kansas

4.73/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
Great look, great head, very good taste with a great finish. Very good Imperial Stout with vanilla beans and coffee.
Apr 22, 2018
Rated: 4.15 by Thirstygoat from Illinois

Mar 18, 2018
Rated: 3.25 by jgunther71 from Illinois

Jan 19, 2018
Rated: 3.75 by krome from Illinois

Jan 18, 2018
Rated: 3.83 by GenoMcCoy from Texas

Dec 26, 2017
Rated: 4.04 by REVZEB from Illinois

Nov 10, 2017
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Reviewed by ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

3.5/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
L: Pours a very dark brown, tan head fades quickly leaving some spotty lacing.
S: Vanilla, coffee, malts and some roasted malts.
T: Above....too sweet.
F: Decent body and carbonation.
O: Another way to sweet dessert beer.
Sep 19, 2017
Rated: 4.04 by TooGood from Minnesota

Aug 04, 2017
Rated: 3.5 by Kahlerbock from Kansas

May 03, 2017
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Reviewed by StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
definitely underrated, the coffee in this beer is great, really brings out some of the cool chocolate and earthy notes in the dark barley malt, and it doesnt seem sweet to me, no caramelized middle, no residual sweetness, no forced vanilla richness, its just about the grain and the coffee together, and while it may seem a little simple overall compared to what is on trend these days, this beer wants for nothing, and really scratches my itch for a great imperial stout without all the crazy adjuncts, just some high quality coffee on perfect pitch with the grain. there is a great dry bitterness to this, and a seeming bit of rye spice or something equally peppy and earthy in the middle where sweetness often ends up. this doesnt need a barrel at all, and i almost prefer it without, but it also seems perfectly suited to a quick whiskey barrel maturation, it could benefit from that i think, without being taken over by it. i have enjoyed other dark beers from these guys, but this one to me seems the best of the lot. fuller bodied and palate coating without being sugary or too heavy, its just smooth and perfect. awesome beer, id love to try some of the barrel aged variants!
Apr 16, 2017
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Reviewed by maximum12 from Minnesota

1.9/5  rDev -52.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1
Picked up during my globe-trotting & jammed into a tiny carry-on that wasn’t meant to be jammed or checked. This, & the others, survived. 22 oz. bottle dated 1/7/16 split with my wife.

Pours “black as night” to quote the bottle, though if there were a full moon & you were lounging out on the prairie with this, it might not be accurate. Smells like rich milk chocolate with lactose layered on top. Roast is light.

Bona Fide isn’t quite right with me. The coffee waxes with an almost meatiness that harks to a Baltic Porter, or a 29 cent hot dog. The coffee itself is like it’s been scraped off the bottom of the break room pot on Monday morning; the vanilla retreats into a chemical haze. The malts are OK, I suppose. Tolerable right out of the fridge, the beer warps into undrinkable within about fifteen minutes.

Not good at all. Not sure if it’s in a weird spot or it’s not my speed, but about 17 ounces of this will end up in the sink.
Mar 25, 2017
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Reviewed by TH28 from Florida

4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
750ml bottle. 12/18/13 bottle date. Appearance: Jet black and opaque, with a thick khaki head and nice lacing. Aroma: Rich dark chocolate, deep dark fruit of cherry and plum, and a touch of light vanilla. Minimal roast remains after the 3 yrs in bottle. Taste: Really rich, syrupy chocolate and roasty maltiness, strong plum and cherry, and a touch of vanilla. Bitterness is spicy and strong. Slight oxidation appears on the back end. Mouthfeel: Syrupy and creamy medium body, with a light carbonation. Finish: Relatively dry with lingering coffee roast and bitter chocolate. Overall: After 3 yrs in the bottle, this has aged quite nicely. The coffee is very faint and vanilla barely noticeable, but has overall blended well with the rich chocolate maltiness and strong bitterness. The beer has become a bit syrupy, but not cloyingly sweet. Probably lacks the complexity of it’s fresh version, but still a nice RIS
Mar 18, 2017
Rated: 4 by rossracing from Illinois

Mar 10, 2017
Rated: 4.19 by Cpmitchno1 from Virginia

Mar 07, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by BarrelAgedG from California

Mar 05, 2017
Rated: 4.07 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

Mar 03, 2017
Rated: 3.78 by BMMillsy from Florida

Feb 09, 2017
Rated: 4.04 by Eric_T_07 from Illinois

Feb 04, 2017
Rated: 4.29 by robertm2152 from Illinois

Jan 24, 2017
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Reviewed by Harrison8 from Missouri

3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
2017 version. Pours black with a finger of caramel-khaki head foamy up on top. Head retention is moderate, with little to no lacing left behind. A whiff of this beer provides a blast of vanilla bean, with notes of coffee, roasted malts, with a sweet hearty ice cream note to it. Despite having sugary sweet notes and leaning towards having a dessert smell, it remains balanced and approachable. The flavor profile features very similar notes, with vanilla bean still coming to the forefront. Coffee is present, but less-so in the flavor profile. A little green olive seeps into the flavor profile, robbing away some of the experience. It has a rich, creamy taste similar to quality vanilla bean ice cream. Mouth feel is smooth and creamy, with no graininess. It has a filling and thick consistency. Overall, a sublime RIS. It's rich and creamy, with sugary sweet qualities, while remaining both easy to drink and savor. A fantastic RIS out of Missouri.

2016 version drank alongside 2017. One year in the cellar. Head forms slightly larger, and is further evidenced by caramel colored foam forming around the edge of the glass when swirling the glass. Vanilla still pops in both the aroma and flavor profile. A little green olive and green pepper show up in both the aroma and flavor profile, as the coffee flavor has faded away some. Overall, it ages very well over a year. Vanilla is still playful and energetic, with coffee still remaining present. Nice.

Both served in a 12oz snifter. Ratings based on current 2017 edition.
Jan 21, 2017
Rated: 4 by mmoriarty from Rhode Island

Jan 10, 2017
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Reviewed by TX-Badger from Texas

4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours an opaque dark brown color with khaki colored head. Coffee, roasted malts, chocolate, and some molasses on the nose; follows onto the palate. Full bodied. Finishes with coffee and dark chocolate.
Dec 28, 2016
Rated: 4 by Lucoli from New York

Dec 14, 2016
Photo of craftaholic
Reviewed by craftaholic from New York

4.06/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Smooth and vanilla forward. A little thin but very robust coffee flavors. Downside it smells like green olives along with the dark roast. Has a nice feel but overall leaves a little to be desired
Nov 13, 2016
Rated: 4.28 by MattXT from Virginia

Nov 08, 2016
Rated: 3.75 by jvgoor3786 from Arkansas

Nov 08, 2016
Photo of Rifugium
Reviewed by Rifugium from North Dakota

4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Thick black pour, minimal head. Lots of sweetness in the aroma. Surprisingly still a vanilla bomb even with a year on the bottle, but much of the coffee had faded. Nice smooth body, and easily drinkable. I enjoyed it a lot.
Oct 31, 2016
Rated: 4.13 by monty79_1997 from Missouri

Oct 29, 2016
Rated: 4.39 by Kavinci from California

Oct 15, 2016
Rated: 3.98 by billab914 from Virginia

Sep 24, 2016
Rated: 4 by ArkyVaughan from New Jersey

Sep 19, 2016
Rated: 4.25 by BrewskiBrandon from Missouri

Sep 13, 2016
Rated: 4.07 by bmf5581 from North Carolina

Aug 19, 2016
Rated: 4.26 by TheHopsman from Nebraska

Jul 29, 2016
Bona Fide from 4 Hands Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 368 ratings