Bona Fide Imperial Stout | 4 Hands Brewing Co.

very good
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Bona Fide Imperial StoutBona Fide Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
4 Hands Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by JoEBoBpr on 02-15-2012

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Reviews: 45 | Ratings: 351
Photo of 44Stone
4.83/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On tap at 44 Stone, poured into a Nonic Pint.

I don't need to say too much here. An absolute must-try for big, roasty stout lovers. The Coffee is a dominant flavor that doesn't dominate, perfect balance with the bittersweet cocoa and molasses notes. Dangerously delicious; another hit from 4 Hands.

It seems as if there isn't a style that those guys can't nail. Buy this beer.

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Photo of Tuey13
4.66/5  rDev +17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick, dark as night black with a one finger dark mocha colored head... no light is coming through this beer.

The smell is very roasty with espresso coffee and dark chocolate...then i get some sweeter toffee, milk chocolate, and vanilla with a bit of coconut and figs on the back end. There is a bit of a piny hoppiness in there as well... smells very complex and unified.

The taste is all roasted malt with espresso and bitter chocolate with a sweet vanilla before the hop bitterness comes in. Very velvety and rich in this full bodied Russian imperial stout... a treat for a very cold fall night.

I have held on to this for quite a few months to enjoy on a cold night and i am happy i did... very smooth and very flavorful... a very balanced and easy drinking Russian Imperial stout that i am anxiously awaiting for to be released again. I have never had the barrel aged versions but i am salivating at the thought. ;-)


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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.43/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours thick and dark as night with a pretty good sized head. Head is very frothy, with tight bubbling that is a medium tan in color. Lacing and retention are both tremendous.

S- Big, bold, and dark coffee right up front. Coffee is fairly dark and bitter on the scent. Just a slight hint of vanilla mixes in with the dark coffee. Under both the coffee and vanilla are some quality burnt malt scents.

T- Dark and bold coffee is the dominant flavor throughout. Drinks like a slightly burnt cup of dark, cold coffee because of the dark malt base. Not really any of the vanilla flavor mentioned on the label comes through the coffee flavor. The bite of dark roast coffee ends the drink and lingers for a bit afterwards.

M- Low in carbonation and pretty thick and smooth across the tongue, this beer drinks just plain smooth. The alcohol is undetectable. Full, dark flavors make this one a slower drink, but it's so delicious, you want to drink it faster.

Overall, a very good imperial coffee stout. Ranks right up there near Imperial Biscotti Break. 4 Hands has done it again, making a quality beer that delivers right on point with its style.

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Photo of bnes09
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Jet black and completely opaque. Pours a thick, tan colored head which retreats to a thin film and coats the glass in foamy lace.

Rich, complex aroma of toffee, brown sugar, prunes, coffee and vanilla. Sweet overall.

Flavor begins with assertive roasted malt bringing coffee and dark chocolate nuances to the brew. Dark fruit sweetness mixed with toffee and molasses balances out the roasted bitterness. Hops are subtle with an herbal, leafy tone. Exceptional balance.

Full bodied without the syrupy texture. Has a well rounded malty feel on the tongue. Smooth, creamy finish with lingering coffee flavor.

Wow, there's a lot going on with this one. Tons of complexity with the roasted and sweet flavors battling for dominance. Despite all the levels to this beer, the roasted finish reminds you you're drinking a stout and that's what I love about it.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.31/5  rDev +8.6%
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 ColForbinBC
4.25/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap served in a tulip

Pours an ink black with a one finger mocha colored cap. Some spider web lacing as the head recedes to a thin layer. Viscous liquid.

Huge hop aroma up front, pine needles and fresh cut grass, maybe even a little mint. Behind the hops is a bold nose of dark roast, espresso and milk chocolate. What gets me most about this nose, is how compact it feels. All of these aromas aren't layered, but rather greet you all together.

Up front, a wave of deep roast, fresh espresso, milk chocolate, and vanilla before the hops begin their assault. Fresh cut grass and pine resin, lend an earthy bitterness that comes in mid-palate, and extends out into the finish.

Full bodied, bold, assertive, and hoppy all while being smooth and lush. Velvety, creamy smooth.

I am impressed with how they managed this level of complexity while being so well blended together. The flavors are in one big bundle and unravel nicely on the palate. I like this better than some of the other hoppy stouts out there.

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Photo of brentk56
4.24/5  rDev +6.8%
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 Vonerichs
4.21/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Very dark brown, far from the "black as night sky" claim. Little head and looks viscous.

Tons of vanilla in the front of the nose, also a hefty dose of coffee. It has a strong aroma, but basically is comprised of those two.

The taste is majority coffee, then that vanilla. Dark roast malt, light Hershey syrup.

Soft but thick body. Smooth. Low carbonation.

It's a two trick pony, but both tricks are done well. It drinks easy for an impy. If coffee's your thing, give it a ride.

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Photo of rudzud
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Received as an extra in a trade and poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - Pours a dark dark brown nearly black hue with a good one finger mocha head that fades down to about a quarter inch and that's it. Light side lacing too.

S - Aromas of dark dark chocolate, coffee/espresso beans, roasted malts, nice vanilla notes as well.

T - Taste is roasted malts, faint caramel, bitter dark chocolate, hard roasted coffee beans, super super faint vanilla. Pretty straightforward. Tasty, but straightforward.

M - Mouthfeel is awesome. Alcohol hidden wonderfully, smooth and creamy. Very nice.

O - Overall this was a tasty RIS. Wish the vanilla came out more in the taste but all around very nice.

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Photo of larryi86
4.19/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Thannks bstyle for this!
22 oz bottle, dated 3/18/14, poured into a teku

A- Black with a two finger mocha head.

S- Rich dark chocolate, coffee, some milk chocolate, some vanilla.

T- Roasted coffee, some chocolate, vanilla, hints of dark friuts

M- Smooth, medium body.

O- A really nice coffee stout, nose made me think this would be bigger. Very happy I got to try this.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
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 Fcolle2
4.17/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Pours super thick dark black in color with a good one and a half finger dark tan head that retains nicely. No light makes it through this beer.

Smell is great. Rich cocoa aromas forward before more chocolate malt and a small amount of coffee come into play. Very mild vanilla aromas are present along with a slight tang that is hard to categorize.

Taste is also really good. Chocolate malt is forward ad much more dominate then in the nose. There is a slight roasted flavor before some very faint coffee flavors come in with mild cocoa also there. Mild roasted bitterness in the finish.

Mouthfeel is great. Huge body, mild carbonation. Great creamy feel and mild bitterness, this is a really smooth sipping beer.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer smells like coffee, roasted malts, booze, and a slight hint of vanilla, and the color of this beer is an opaque black color with a small brown head that fades to and stays at a ring. The taste is mildly bitter andmildly sweet, which is complex and well-balanced, and the palate combines as full body, thin yet creamy texture, soft carbonation, and a warming bitter finish, making for an overall great beer.

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Photo of russpowell
4.09/5  rDev +3%
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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Photo of richj1970
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 22 oz bomber into snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with one finger mocha colored head that settled fairly quickly to a thin ring around the edge.

S: Espresso and roasted malts with subtle chocolate and vanilla notes.

T: Rich roasted malts embedded with strong black coffee. Bitter sweet dark chocolate and a touch of vanilla.

M: Full bodied with a creamy texture but a slightly dry finish.

O: Very enjoyable coffee stout. I would love to get ahold of a barrel aged version of this one. I think a bourbon influence would fit in nicely.

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Photo of gibgink
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Initially, I was able to pick out the vanilla notes amongst the coffee in the smell and the taste. Over time however, the vanilla faded or was overpowered by the coffee flavor. Pleasant beer, and the alcohol is well hidden.

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Photo of craftaholic
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
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 TH28
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
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 LambicPentameter
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed out of a 22 oz brown bomber with no dating to be found on the label or glass. That said, I'm pretty certain this is the 2013 release, which puts it at about 3-4 months old. Poured into a large snifter glass.

Appearance - Pours a rubber tire black body with no light able to penetrate. Most stouts have a brownish twinge to them, but this one has no such component. Atop the pitch-colored body sits a half-finger head the color of toasted marshmallow, mostly fine, smaller bubbles, but with a few larger bubbles from my pour. Retention is slight, quickly fading to a rim of foam around the edge and an uneven filming across the top of the beer. Lacing is nowhere to be found.

Smell - The roasted coffee beans are front and center, dominating much more bashful notes of charred malt and some faint vanilla sweetness. Some fainter hop elements, but more on the earthy side of things, which is good. The malt and coffee are definitely the frontrunners here. Just a tad simplistic, but that can happen with a coffee-infused beer, I've found.

Taste - There is more complexity now than hinted at by the smell. Yes, the roasted coffee bordering on that great espresso pungent bitterness is still present, but now I get more of the sweet profiles as well, with vanilla bean, lactose, sweet roasted malts and even some notes of black strap molasses.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with moderate carbonation and a surprisingly smooth mouthfeel for an RIS, which I occasionally find to be a little overly prickly. Bittersweet finish rounds the experience out.

Overall, a quality beer that has me curious to sample the barrel-aged variants. There are other, similar beers that I'd choose first, but the fact that this one is pretty easy to get is a huge plus in my book. One of 4 Hands better offerings.

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Photo of Jonny41
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
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 JoEBoBpr
4.03/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip glass from an awesome looking 22oz bottle.

Poured a very nice dark black with some caramel edges. A nice latte colored head forms with some awesome dense bubbles. The head is pretty retentive and it recedes down to a nice thin film.

Notes of vanilla starts off with some nice slight sweet chocolate. Nice dark roasty malt notes. Very strong coffee notes come up quick and stay for a bit. Definitely some nice grassy hop notes.

Flavor starts off with some strong coffee and dark malt notes. VEry roasty. The grassy hop notes are very nice and give the beer an interesting earthy and grassy finish. All to an awesome intense espresso background. The vanilla notes are slightly felt on the back end and behind the scenes. SOme nice strong coffee notes and nice dark bitter chocolate. Very nice. Very nice and velvety.

Overall this is a good stout by the 4 Hands guys. Cant wait till the Barrel Age this one. The coffee flavors are intense and the nice dark chocolate notes are also very nice.

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Photo of HopHunter19
4.02/5  rDev +1.3%
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 Tone
4.01/5  rDev +1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a black color. 1/2 inch head of a tan color. Great retention and great lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, hint of oatmeal, slight alcohol, hint of coffee, and a hint of hop. Fits the style of a Russian Imperial Stout. Mouth feel is sharp and crisp, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malt, sweet malt, hint of hop, hint of coffee, and slight alcohol. Overall, great appearance, good aroma, body, and blend.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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 TX-Badger
4/5  rDev +0.8%
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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Bona Fide Imperial Stout from 4 Hands Brewing Co.
3.97 out of 5 based on 351 ratings.
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