Free Will Brewing Co.

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #58
Ranked #975
4.35 | pDev: 6.67%
Free Will Brewing Co.
Pennsylvania, United States
Notes: A rich full-bodied stout with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, caramel, and jammy dark fruit. This bourbon barrel aged blended behemoth has a complementary smooth finish with a lush velvety texture. Aged for 1 year.

ABV varies by year.
Reviews: 53 | Ratings: 192 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of woemad
woemad from Washington

4.39/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Wee little 8.4oz can. Small enough to be mistaken for a Red Bull. I find the notion of someone grabbing one by mistake and downing it, expecting an energy drink, hilarious. This is probably because I'm a misanthropic psychopath. 2020 vintage per the can label. Hopefully, the beer's 2020 was better than that of most of us.

Poured into a stemless wine glass, this was the color of evil, with virtually no head at all, just a vague skiff of tan foam about 1/20th of an inch high, which then promptly dropped away to a level almost invisible to the naked eye. A vigorous swirl of the glass produced only the tiniest of lace spots. At 14.1% abv (per the can), I wouldn't have expected much of a head, but, Damn!

When I popped the can's tab, a big aroma of booze filled my kitchen. After letting it sit and warm up a little, things became more complex in the aroma dept. Bourbon stands out, along with a vanillaish oakeyness, but also chocolate and molasses notes, and a bit of a charred, burnt aroma.

Whoa! This is some delicious stuff! Roasty, toasty dark malts up front, with some sweet, dark chocolatey notes. Midway through, the bourbon barrels make themselves fully felt. A low but unmistakable boozy, bourbon-y warmth steps up, like a laconic yet powerful hero calmly walking up to a villain in a movie. The tone is low key, almost friendly, but carries an unmistakable undertone of menace, saying "mess with me and I will fuck you up." Perfectly appropriate for a beer like this. Things also get kinda sugary in the middle. The booze gets hot at the swallow, which is also quite sugary. "I wasn't a diabetic until I started drinking this can of beer," I see myself telling a doctor in the near future.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for a beer like this, but not to the extent of being a deal breaker. It might be a blessing in disguise, actually.

Wow! This beer is YUGE! I've had three beers today, all from Free Will, and they couldn't have been more different from one another. While it's a little OTT, booze-wise, it's a small sin for the size of serving, and I really dig this beer. I'd love to have another to lay down for a couple years and compare notes to. Thanks, Jay!

May 08, 2021
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micada from New York

4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2020 9.3 oz can. Color is super dark brown to black. Poured aggressively to the ol’ tulip, but forget about head other than a crisp ring that fades quickly. Tons of vanilla, oak, bourbon on the nose. First sips are all that plus a sweet stone fruit middle. I get a tiny bit of dark chocolate in the way back. Thick mouthfeel, very nice, nothing too heavy or cloying. Alcohol has a bourbon bite up front, not too much warming early on, though I’m sipping as I write notes. One big baller mouthful brings out the full array of complementary aromas and flavors. It’s a complex profile, very enjoyable, and easy to knock back. It’s a big ABV, which starts to show up early. As it warms, there’s a bit of roasty char in the sip, plus a hint of anise. Overall, excellent brew.

Feb 11, 2021
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Roguer from Connecticut

4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Good head production and retention for the style and ABV. Body is dark but clear around the edges.

Nose is reminiscent of Bourbon County: rich, dark, chocolatey, boozy. Chocolate, molasses, oak, bourbon, nuts, light char.

Quite sweet on the palate, much sweeter than expected. Red grape, syrup, chocolate, chewy caramel, brown sugar, plum, bourbon, honey, cherry. I don't know what barrels they chose for this beer, but they undoubtedly contribute to the sweetness. Mild char.

Smooth and easy drinking. Despite the massive ABV, it doesn't drink hot; it's smoother and easier than Bourbon County at roughly the same ABV. Could stand to be thicker, however.

Jan 09, 2021
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Im sampling a cellar temp 12 oz bottle poured into my snifter. this is a 2016 vintage and the ABV is listed at 15% not the higher 16.6% listed here.
I picked up this bottle on one of my visits to PA to visit family.
The beer pours jet coffee black into my glass with a tan fizzy head of .5 cm that quickly fades away to a sturdy edge layer.

The aroma on the beer is rich and malty with deep roasted malt and molasses notes mixing together. I also get a rich bourbon note and dark chocolate plus a little bit of anise note. The booziness shows through a little on the nose and makes me anticipate that this is a sipping beer.
The first sip reveals a fairly thick body with fine, tingly yet spacious carbonation. The texture is smooth and a little oily and coats my palate after each sip.
Flavor is what the nose predicts, all malt flavors with no hop presence. I get dark chocolate and bourbon mixing with some raisin and molasses too. Slightly roasted notes on the finish and also a very dark (not sweet) chocolate lingers on my palate.
The booze is evident after each swallow with a little warming in my belly.
A nice robust imperial stout that I am enjoying sipping tonight. Worth getting again, as I am starting to believe that this brewery can do the big beers well.

Jul 05, 2020
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DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 12/19/19. Got some age on it. Not much though.

Pours an oily dark brown. Half a finger of dark beige head. Strong lacing. Clinging to the glass for dear life.

Nose is hard hit of bourbon, wood, and brown sugar. Wow. Bright and sweet smelling. This reminds me a little of BCBS. Despite the ABV, the booze is very mild. Big inhale gets me scents of caramel and cinnamon. This brew has character for days.

Taste is similar. Bourbon, wood, brown sugar, caramel, faint notes of bitter dark chocolate. This brew leans more towards the sweet side, but not unpleasantly so. Rich, smoky, sweet complex. Almost no alcohol burn. I say again...wow.

Mouthfeel is fullbodied and oily. It definitely looked it on the pour. Very mild carbonation. There is a smooth and silky quality to this which makes it highly drinkable. Which is dangerous for a 15%.

This one completely blindsided me. Being my second Free Will brew, I took this on a whim. This is a stellar barrel aged stout. It's great on the nose, tastes great as well. The 15% is hidden like guerrilla soldiers in a jungle. Even when you look it is nowhere to be found. You're not aware of it right up until it strikes you. Everything about this brew conveys controlled, skilled restraint. Well done. Superb stuff.

Jul 04, 2020
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.52/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Zekeman17 for this one from a ninja box during the Can-Cans BIF. I didn't notice the ABV until after I had opened it. Well, good morning to me! 12oz can, dated 2019, poured into 14oz teku. Poured the expected solid black color, and had 3/4 inch of tan head that had moderate retention and light lacing.

Gentle, but solid, bourbon at the front of the nose. behind that were the expected roast and chocolate notes of the style.

Same on the palate, with the addition of the not unexpected alcohol heat. Bourbon was still the lead playa, but the chocolate notes seemed a bit stronger than the roast.

The body was full, duh, and was smooth all across the tongue. The finish was sweet, with a touch of alcohol roughness.

Drinkability was good, I'd enjoy having it again.

Overall, a pretty nice brew. I think my can could have benefited from some time in the cellar, but it was still enjoyable. a must try, especially if you like the big, burly brews.

Jun 05, 2020
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dafla67 from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark black. Aroma is chocolate, brown sugar, caramel & bourbon. Taste is amazing sweet mix of -- bourbon, coffee, chocolate, caramel, brown sugar and oak. Mouthfeel is full body. Incredible stout.

May 03, 2020
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colts9016 from Idaho

4.66/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am not sure when I got this beer, I think I have had it for at least a year or so. This behemoth of a beer is has a high alcohol content, 16.6 to be exact. I do not know anything about this brewery. I picked up the beer solely based on the fact it is an imperial stout. When I looked further into the beer, I realized that the beer had good reviews. Now I am stoked to drink it. The beer is 55 degrees and served in a tulip glass. The pour of the beer produced a two finger dark brown head. The head is airy, creamy, and foamy with good retention. Pouring the beer out, it looked like well used motor oil. The head did leave some lacing on the glass. The color of the beer is SRM 36, dark brown nearly black. Having the high ABV, I am surprised with the retention of the head. I would have guessed the head would have came and went. The appearance of the beer looks great.

The aromas of the beer are dark chocolate, brown sugar, fig, toffee, light roasted coffee, hint of floral, earthy, wood, orange peel, cinnamon, resin, cherry, caramel, bready, dark roasted malts, solvent, vanilla, dates, a touch of herbal, biscuit, burnt sugar, nutty, tobacco, and leather.

The flavors in the beer are medium roasted coffee, figs, dates, cherry, wood, bourbon, burnt sugar, brown sugar, caramel, toffee, tobacco, cinnamon, orange peel, cherry, smokiness, Maillard, vanilla, dates, anise, bay leaves, dutch cocoa, biscuit, bready, oats, nutty, and earthiness.

The mouthfeel of the beer is coating, thick, and a touch hot.

The body of the beer is full, low carbonation, and a full finish.

When I want an imperial stout I want a beer like this. I want the full flavored beer mysteriously wrapping the flavor with an elegant balance. It took me a few minutes to pull the flavors out of the beer ( I like a challenge). The barrel age on the beer gives the beer depth and character. I did not expect to get this caliber of beer from just picking it out because it was stout. One of the better imperial stout I have drank in the last six months. Excellent beer, a must try for any stout enthusiast.

Jan 19, 2020
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JJKBeerLvr from Pennsylvania

4.81/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a tap into pint glass in December 2019.

Appearance: Very dark black with a thin dark brown/red head. Head was about 1 finger high, and lasted a minute. It leaves a little lacing on the glass, and ended with a thin tan head still on the beer.

Smell: Nice aroma of dark fruit, bourbon, and coffee. There is also some cocoa, caramel, and some other sweet aroma like black licorice, but overall the coffee and bourbon dominate the others. It is a very nice balance of aromas.

Taste: There is a nice balance between the coffee, bourbon, and sweetness like licorice flavors. There is some dark fruit flavors like cherry, as well as smokie roasted flavors, some caramel and vanilla flavors, chocolate, and only a little amount of bitter hop flavors to enhance the taste and add some complexity. There is a strong alcohol presence, which matches the 16.6% on the label, but it is balanced nicely by the sweetness. The taste is an excellent mix.

Mouth-feel: Thick like liquid licorice, but with a smooth body. Not overly smooth like a Milk Stout.

This is a very good, complex, Imperial Stout, and it has a variety of flavors that adds a nice complexity to the beer. Although this is a big beer, it is very smooth and enjoyable to drink. This sweetness and bourbon flavor is a nice balance to the high alcohol content. This is one of my favorite stouts overall. My current favorite stouts are:

Founder's CBS
Goose Island Beer's Bourbon County Brand Stout
Founders Breakfast Stout
Weyerbacher's Sunday Morning Stout
Free Will Ralphius Imperial Stout
Fegley's Bourbon Barrel Aged Insidious
Hoppin' Frog's BORIS Oatmeal Imperial Stout - Barrel Aged
Bourbon Barrel-Aged Czar Imperial Stout
Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

Dec 07, 2019
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Saylor from Pennsylvania

4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Nov 2019 canned at 15.6% abv. Well done Free Will Brewing. Love to support local. This is a solid barrel aged stout that can stand to the challenge of Goose Island Bourbon County. I’m not one for all the tasting notes but will definitely buy this again.

UPDATE - Salted Caramel variant is delicious also!

Dec 07, 2019
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woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is my seCANd on I CAN Only Tell You That I Am Drinking These New Beers This Sunday of My Own Free Will Before CANother Flashback Begins (Week 767).

I ran into a guy that I had not seen since high school last weekend & he was stunned! I have gone from a young hippie to a melded hippie-punk when he first met me to a full-on punk & now to a biker-inspired look. I bought my first black leather jacket in 1985 at the NEX in Groton (NLON), CT following my first overseas cruise/deployment. Tim Kiefer drove, Stan Jones rode shotgun & I was inna backseat, squirming with excitement to finally own a leather ala The Ramones. The smell of leather still sets me off better than that of (ahem!) womanhood. A chick sporting leather? BINGO! That jacket has worn like iron & seen a lotta s**t & its replacement awaits inna wings, but Dickie was flabbergasted at who & what I have become. My mother remains proud! ;=) (This was to have ended my ELLA! review but I ran outta characters).

Hello, Ralphius! From the CAN: "Russian Style Imperial Stout Aged In Bourbon Barrels (2018 ed.)"; "A rich full-bodied stout with notes of dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, caramel, and jammy dark fruit. This bourbon barrel aged blended behemoth has a complementary smooth finish with a lush velvety texture. Aged 1 year."; "C[AN]ned: Oct. 2018"; "'Liquid and Friends First'".

I was disappointed twice from the outset with this one. 8=( First, it was not brimful on the Crack! & seCANd, it registered virtually NO head following my slow, gentle C-Line Glug. Even an in-glass swirl failed to stir it out of its slumber. 8=( Color was stygian Black/Opaque (SRM = 44) & if some of last night's beers were frightening, this was downright terrifying! Light & air were being sucked outta the room by virtue of this beer's presence. What have I unleashed?!? Yahhh! Even worse was the laid-back nature of the nose. Where Ella had been in-my-face from the outset, Ralphius was more reserved, simply growling at me with his Bourbon-Bbl. teeth bared. 8=O Ella was an on-the-street takeoff, a roust, a mugging in broad daylight while Ralphius was proving to be a cat burglar, stealthily entering while trying to catch me unawares. Yeah, the Bourbon was not hiding, but it was subdued in a miasma of chocolate, coffee & vanilla. 8=O Mouthfeel was full, thick & creamy, like a dollop had been scooped into my mouth & onto my tongue. 8=O I let the initial sip simply roll around, warming as it did so. Holy Liquefied Brownie, Batman! This was no playing around. It exploded like a "Spring Surprise" out of the Whizzo Chocolates DeLuxe box! Good thing that I was already half insensate following Ella. Anybody seen my brain? It's a wee, tiny thing, smooth as a bowling ball, about the size of a marble. The taste was liquefied Bourbon-infused, caramel-drizzled, coffee-based, chocolate brownie! Have I ever had one? Well, the one time on liberty in Amsterdam … Man, I'm getting as f**ked up as a lab rat! Much like I was back then.

Baby, I was out with this chick & the scene was right outta the graveyard bit in "Easy Rider". This "snack" had me going & she dropped a tab & the next thing you know, the day/night/weekend all melted away to the point that I barely didn't make ship's movement, rolling up in a cab as she's screaming out the window in 150+ languages to hold the crane & the brow! 8=O I was on Cinderella Liberty the next two ports, meaning a) I hadda be onboard NLT Midnight & b) to go over was to have Liberty secured for the next two ports. 8=( How to get around that? Hit the beach as quickly as possible, secure a girlfriend for the duration, pop a buncha speed, see the sights, eat some crazy chow, ride the fun machine & be back aboard by NLT 2300, spent, drunk, high as a kite, blewed, screwed & tattooed, all to everyone's amazement & then do it all again the next day until a) my duty day(s), b) my $ ran dry, c) we got underway or d) any CANbination of the above.

Finish was dry, but it tasted like one of those salted caramel chocolates that are now the rage, washed down with a cuppa joe! 8=O I'm gonna lick the vent offa this one! I generally eschew sweets, but this was different. Less sweet than a CANbination of its adjuncts. A powerhouse, to be sure, but not a buncha CANdy, either. I CAN see this with a cigar (even though with both a bout of CANcer & adult-onset asthma, my sawbones recCANmends against it/them, I ocCANsionally indulge). YMMV.

Nov 03, 2019
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AyatollahGold from Indiana

4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 12 oz. can into a whiskey glass, this beer pours out black with very faint brown highlights. It doesn’t muster up bubbles to form a crown.

The nose carries in a huge whiff of dark fruit; deep notes of dark cherries, raisins, dates, plums. Huge barrel presence; dry oak, leather. Reminds my memory of VSOD, honestly.

The taste follows the lead of the nose. A lot of deep, dark dried out fruit. Some dried out coconut. Getting dry notes of leather, slight figs, dry oak. I get chocolate, but even though it’s quite strong once you find it, it is somewhat covered by the other notes. Which is fine, those other notes are nice.

Very dry on the mouthfeel, almost dusty. ABV and barrel are there with a big warmth. Full and sticky.

Overall, it’s a very well made barrel aged RIS. It really does remind my memory a lot of VSOD, a beer which comes from one of the most highly regarded barrel aged programs there is right now. I would actually love to try this side by side with it.

Aug 14, 2019
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larryi86 from Delaware

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Thank you thebeers for this
12 oz can, dated 11/20/18, poured into a teku

A- Black with a two finger mocha head

S- Lots is bourbon, fudge, vanilla, some dark fruits.

T- Bourbon, charred oak, some vanilla, chocolate, some coffee, hints of caramel, some warming alcohol.

M- Smooth, thick, full body.

O- A great sipper of a stout. Definitely let’s you know it is over 16% ABV, but it is not too hot.

Mar 24, 2019
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MikeWard from Pennsylvania

4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz can into a goblet. two canned on dates here, Oct 2018 on the label & 11/20/18 on the bottom of the can. . Take your pick.

Jet black body with initially a thick dark tan head looking like a well done pancake. Good lacing initially.

Molasses and dark fruit on the nose.

Lots of tastes and feels going on here. The BBA element is strong without being harsh. There is a nice vanilla presence taking the edge off a little. Abv is quite hot. There are faint hints of chocolate and dark fruit. The balance here is excellent, because although several elements are strong, nothing dominates.

The mouth is full, finish warm & sweet with a little molasses.

Overall, really tasty well made and balanced BBA RIS. Happy to have picked up a pair. Sorry I didn't pick up 4.

Jan 18, 2019
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JamFuel from Sweden

4.51/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with soapy, chocolate colored foam.

Smell is rich, sweet and oaky with notes of vanilla, bourbon, chocolate and fudge.

Taste is sweet with some charred oak notes upfront, leading into notes of vanilla, chocolate, coffee, fudge and caramel. A hint of warming booze and a slight bitterness brings the intensity up even further. Massive taste and a long, lingering aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is thick and sludgy, well carbonated.

Overall, a truly massive stout that manages to not be overwhelming. Looking forward to trying the maple version.

Dec 18, 2018
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CanConPhilly from Pennsylvania

4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L - 1-finger mocha head atop a pitch black body.

S - chocolate, vanilla, bourbon.

T - follows the nose. Tons of chocolate and bourbon, with caramel, molasses, wood. Moderate bitterness. Low sweetness. Moderate booziness.

F - medium-full body with average carb.

O - very tasty.

Dec 02, 2018
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blackmagik2272 from Pennsylvania

3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This Russian-style Imperial Stout was aged in Bourbon barrels and you can taste it for sure, but its not as pronounced as you would think i would be. Anyway, This beer is a real rich-bodied stout and I tasted notes of dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit, but not the advertised vanilla and caramel. It has a smooth finish and a velvety texture, but something just didn't connect for me to put it in may rotation of beers. \m/

Apr 24, 2018
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Jlabs from New York

4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Seeved into a 10oz glass via draft
Color is straight up like a black hole..deep black
Smell is some bourbon and creamy vanilla with some dark fruit in the background..taste is about the same with the vanilla and dark fruit coming more to the forefront and the bourbon makes more of a guest appearance
That being said i thought this was a well balanced stout and nice after dinner sipper

Apr 13, 2018
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rudzud from Massachusetts

3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2015 vintage. Received as an extra in a trade.

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a nice deep brown almost black with a half finger mocha head that fades slowly to leave thin wisps. Very, very nice legs though.

S - Aromas of fudgy chocolate, roasted dark malts, little bit of black licorice and dark fruits. No discernible alcohol on the nose, however, no real barrel qualities either.

T - Taste is similar to the nose. Very nice dark fruits and big anise notes. Good dark malts, almost bitter finish. Chocolate notes are super light. I don't really get any bourbon notes at all. Super, super faint tannin. Alcohol hidden on the taste, lingering bitter roast.

M - Mouthfeel is almost brightly carbonated, really light on the tongue. Body is on the lighter side too. Alcohol is hidden phenomenally, but this some how drinks thin. Not really sure how that's possible.

O - Overall this had loads of potential. Pretty much no barrel notes anywhere though. It's a solid enough russian imperial, but the lack of bourbon and the surprisingly light mouthfeel really were unfortunate. Perhaps a bad vintage.

Serving Type: Bottle

Feb 22, 2018
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Pencible from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at SAVOR 2017. This was a wonderful barrel aged strong stout that was incredibly smooth and rich. It was sticky in the finish, but amazing overall.

Dec 28, 2017
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Jason from Massachusetts

4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12oz brown bottle, sample from the brewery.

A ridiculously huge beer. Sweet sugars, roasted stout character, and fine Bourbon notes abound. Hitting just above 15% abv even a 12oz bottle you'll want to share with more than none friend unless you are looking for a serious nightcap. Free Will Brewing Co. goes all out with this one but still makes it approachable to a spirits drinker ... the beer geek will be easily pleased here. Oozes of Imperial Stout talk, booze and wood barrel overtones, and ends a bit sweet ... a real treat.

Apr 23, 2017
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Wasatch from Colorado

4.74/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Thanks goes out to thebeers for this brew, via NBS BIF#5

12 oz. Bottle
Bottle On: 11/09/16
2016 Vintage

Poured into a tulip a black color, very nice carbonation, with a very nice thick/creamy small tan head, which leaves minimal sticky lacing behind. The nose is really nice, malty, some roast, bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruits (cherries, figs, raisins), chocolate/toffee, licorice. The taste is really nice as well, malty, lots of chocolate/toffee, vanilla, dark fruits, bourbon/oak, licorice. Full Body, ABV hidden pretty well, what a complex brew, definitely a sipper. Overall, this is a BIG BREW! Awesome! Glad to have had a chance to try it. Thanks Arthur!

Apr 17, 2017
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jwilcox767 from Ohio

4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Another fantastic BBS here. Like everyone said, pours like motor oil with a little carbonation. I really liked the vanilla, it's hard to high test find brews where this flavor comes out in any meaningful fashion. Definitely get it again.

Feb 03, 2017
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sjones5045 from Pennsylvania

4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

1/27/17 home

Pours thick black like oil. Thin tan head but expected from such a big stout.

The smell is boubon with vanilla and a bit sweet malt with a bit tart cherry.

The taste is really impressive. All the flavor comes out at different stages. Chocolate, vanilla, hints of cherry. Not too sweet and very well balanced.

Very smooth and extremely easy to drink for a huge 15.1%. Not a huge burn but it there. Again a very impressive to be this smooth for a 15.1

Overall very impressed. Loved this stout. Great winter sipper after dinner.

Jan 28, 2017
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Erikshegda1994 from Pennsylvania

4.77/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2017 Ralphius on tap at brewery 16.7%

Dark motor oil, sticky appearance with a thin mocha colored head

Smell is a delicious blend of chocolate, caramel, coffee and bourbon that you could sniff all day long (would be an awesome candle scent)

Taste is sweet cocao and cararmel flavors with a nice bitter coffee/bourbon finish, excellent balance in this years batch and unlike last years all the booziness is completely hidden because I could keep sipping on this all day. It's unbelievable that its almost 17 percent!

Feel is full bodied, thick and a perfect balance of bitter and sweet that make this stout so drinkable. Mad props to free will because this beer has a big change from last year.

Overall a delicious world class beer I would put up with a parabola or a bourbon county status. So good I had to buy a bomber to go, it was really impressive after last years batch was extremely boozy.

Jan 20, 2017
Ralphius from Free Will Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 192 ratings