Bona Fide Imperial Stout | 4 Hands Brewing Co.

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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: 48 | Ratings: 353
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
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 brentk56
4.24/5  rDev +7.6%
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 zeff80
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured out a jet black color with a foamy, creamy-smooth, caramel-colored head. It smelled of coffee, vanilla and chocolate. Great blend of coffee, vanilla and chocolate. As it warms the chocolate becomes a little too sweet. It was very smooth with a warm alcohol presence.

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Photo of Rifugium
4.18/5  rDev +6.1%
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 russpowell
4.09/5  rDev +3.8%
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 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 Alieniloquium
3.28/5  rDev -16.8%
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 smakawhat
3.97/5  rDev +0.8%
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 Tone
4.01/5  rDev +1.8%
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 rudzud
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
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 jbaker67
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

 416 characters

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 ColForbinBC
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

 1,014 characters

Photo of maximum12
1.9/5  rDev -51.8%
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 ThisWangsChung
3.54/5  rDev -10.2%
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 57md
3.88/5  rDev -1.5%
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 Sean9689
3.11/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Bottle into tulip.

A - Pours black, mocha head, spotty lace, thin collar.

S - Super-hoppy, light coffee, light dark chocolate. Lots of pine/grassy hops, very astringent and harsh.

T - Similar to the nose, overly hopped, and light RIS notes of chocolate, oak, and toffee. Just too much hops for me to really enjoy much else. Finish is bitter hoppy pine...harsh bite.

M - Medium body, good carbonation, oily finish.

O - This thing is hopped to the moon and back. Way too much pine and bitterness to really appreciate this RIS. Perhaps some age will tone this down, but for now, I won't be seeking this one out again.

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Photo of richj1970
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
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 Franziskaner
3.89/5  rDev -1.3%
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 bnes09
4.35/5  rDev +10.4%
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 larryi86
4.19/5  rDev +6.3%
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 Vonerichs
4.21/5  rDev +6.9%
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 JoEBoBpr
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
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 Bosoxfan20
3.36/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Near black. Aroma is fairly subdued with some roasted malt and Touch of coffee. Flavor is more coffee forward. Heavy malt and dark chocolate. Body is nice and creamy. Not overly complex, but solid

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Photo of q33jeff
4.31/5  rDev +9.4%
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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Bona Fide Imperial Stout from 4 Hands Brewing Co.
3.94 out of 5 based on 353 ratings.
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