Bona Fide
4 Hands Brewing Co.

Bona FideBona Fide
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #388
Ranked #4,823
4.06 | pDev: 9.36%
4 Hands Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States
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
Reviews: 50 | Ratings: 364 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of wmscottsimpsonjr
4.45/5  rDev +9.6%
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.

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
3.5/5  rDev -13.8%
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.

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Photo of StonedTrippin
4.28/5  rDev +5.4%
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!

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Photo of maximum12
1.9/5  rDev -53.2%
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.

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Photo of TH28
4.06/5  rDev 0%
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

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Photo of Harrison8
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

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Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -1.5%
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.

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Photo of craftaholic
4.06/5  rDev 0%
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

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Photo of Rifugium
4.18/5  rDev +3%
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.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown body with a thin, beige collar that faces to nil. Aromas of coffee, followed by roast and chocolate. Vanilla character emerges in the flavor profile. Nice coffee character. Good balance. That said, this is a notch or more below the big players of this genre.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.31/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle to snifter. (aged 27 months)
I95 Draft.
Dark black, big creamy looking tan head.
Vanilla is very present in the nose.
Smooth sipping Stout. Taste has noted of roasted malt, chocolate, vanilla. Lingering bitterness from the age counteracts the sweet vanilla well.
Never had this fresh, but it was very good aged.

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Photo of Alieniloquium
3.28/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle. Black body. Smells of coffee and vanilla. Some milk chocolate. Taste is less balanced. Strong coffee. Vanilla. Bitter coffee and milk chocolate. Some sort of light sweetness. Lactose? Thin body for what it is. Kinda meh.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.02/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Minimally impressive imperial stout
A - nice dark brown/black beer with no head "dough" (as the retards say now)
S - milk chocolate, coffee, bready malts, vanilla, cream
T- roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, bready malts, vanilla, cream
M- medium to heavy, alcohol covered, aftertaste is cloying bready sweetness/chocolate
O - No. I would not buy again. Is it a horrible impy stout? No, but
Keep in mind the standard here. This is far below the par for the course. The barrel aged version that I've had on her other hand is a different story.

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Photo of sphmiel
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours very black, quickly fading pale head. Roasty, toasty aromas, initial tastes of bittersweet chocolate followed by lingering espresso. Not quite an imperial, but beyond the typical coffee stout.

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Photo of brentk56
4.24/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Arrives pitch black, capped by an inch or two of mocha foam; streaky lacing drizzles

Smell: Roast, chocolate and coffee tones

Taste: Roast and chocolate forward, with the coffee flavor developing; a touch of dried dark fruit, after the swallow, followed by a very dry finish

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Freshly brewed and very enjoyable; really like the dry finish

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.94/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

BOTTLED 1.16.15
A year in the cellar

S: sweetness, some chocolate.
T: sweetness, but muted flavors. It like the milliseconds before a great beer saturates your tastes buds. The flavors on this one don't develope.
F: medium thickness, coats well and it's smooth
O: good, but lacks explosive flavors

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Photo of Jonny41
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

poured deep black with thin tan quickly disapating head,
smell went from slight coffee notes to deeper rich aroma as it warmed
taste smooth slightly bitter flavor, definatly coffee forward beer, as a blackk coffee drinker it was much appreciated.
The dark chocolate was faint but notable and blended nicely.
overall a solid coffee stout much enjoyed.

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Photo of Big_V
3.8/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Very well balanced stout but what could've made this beer much better to me was the mouthful for one could have been just a little fuller and two the coffee and vanilla never really stood out and were not dominate, it was just 'meh.

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Photo of Ego
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

literally stuck indoors for 4 days now while 20+ mph wind and rain roar outside on the Chesapeake bay here in Scientist Cliffs MD, what a vacation...
So I picked up what looked to be most interesting from Nick's of Calvert (great selection for out of towners)

pretty dark, some ruby hue when looking through the pour, chocolate ring of foam circles the glass and sticks around for the long haul, decent amount of carbonation gurgling up from the bottom, looks impy like an impy should

light roasted coffee with cream and then a slap of vanilla on top, some chocolate notes with traces of bitterness, a little too much sweetness takes away from the coffee factor imo. not bad through, more like pretty good

taste etc...
coffee flavor is somehow... almost chemical at first, takes some getting used to, once you are in you get really super strong coffee notes, almost bottom of the grind bag flavor (it is really strong), this is almost an unabridged love affair with coffee BUT (you knew there had to be a but in there)... I think the vanilla ruins it, that is the chemical-ish flavor I was sensing earlier, as soon as I am in my coffee nirvana this other flavor bumps me out of my bliss, this has decent weight in terms of mouth feel... and has the right carbonation (almost feels more like a baltic stout), all around this is a good beer if not just a touch off

drop the vanilla. is that racist ? I don't know anymore... but seriously stick to the coffee, those notes were the highlight here

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.54/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Brief write-up. The nose is light on coffee and vanilla (though both are still there), instead focusing on general roasted and caramel notes. I even get a touch of umami. Flavor-wise, it seems to come together more cohesively. A gentle coffee-like roast opens it up, and is tempered by soft vanilla flavors. The finish is loaded with roasted malt and almost burnished caramel. It's a touch light feeling, though appropriate for 9%. I do like how clean and dry it is on the palate. It's a tasty imperial stout that's only lacking in complexity....and maybe in more intense coffee/vanilla notes.

3.54/5: I like it...too bad I'm sampling it shortly after a bona fide stunner named 4Beans

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Photo of Smakawhat
3.97/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from the bottle into a snifter glass.

A good looking creamy slightly taller than one finger tan like head. Espresso brown in its make up, and some good staying power as it slowly seeps down. Classic dark walnut brown, even a little bit blood red to it as well. Good looking brew.

Good solid aroma. Hints of dark chocolate, with a milky tone but with a bitterness behind it. An interesting light and almost milky char angle too which is real interesting and different, getting towards tobacco slightly also. Waffery dark biscuit like grain in a sense which is a real unique sensation.

Palate becomes much more obvious on the coffee angle. Light bodied roast with a hint of thick milk flavors in the mid palate. Roasted bean and hinted latte like milk qualities, with a bit more charing thickness to match. Interesting light bodied profile for easy drinking coming with a good mix of chocolate and coffee.

Overall a solid fun imperial flavored stout.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.89/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black as night with no penetration to light. A fingernail of beige is around the rim but is otherwise absent. I smell coffee, vanilla, and loads of roasted barley. The aroma is still on the sweeter side. I taste vanilla, coffee, and roasted barley. Like the aroma, the taste is more sweet than bitter. The mouth is exceptionally silky smooth.

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Photo of PReust
3.24/5  rDev -20.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Aye, not a strong spirit taste, heavy on the coffee, It wasn't bad. It was, on the other hand, expensive....extremely so, in fact, for a bottle of beer. It just wasn't worth it.

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Photo of 57md
3.88/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Dark brown with ruby edges. Nice roast on the nose. Chocolate is the most dominant flavor as the roasted malt profile takes a backseat. Smooth and creamy.

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Photo of russpowell
4.09/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottled on 12-02-14

Pours ebony with 2 fingers of mocha colored head. Great head retention & lacing

S: Cocoa & dark fruit, some figs & cherry

T: Follows the nose, dryness as well, roastyness as well up front. Chocolate & some caramel, plus more dryness as this warms, faint coffee notes lingering on the edges, plus just a bit of charred grain, slight lactic sourness as well. Finishes dry, slightly roasty, with cocoa

MF: Lively carbonation, medium bodied, carbonation pushes the flavor profile up

Drinks too easy, well put together & very approachable, maybe a little too sweet for the style

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Bona Fide from 4 Hands Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 364 ratings