Enlightened Despot
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery

Enlightened DespotEnlightened Despot
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Virginia, United States
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #189
Ranked #3,241
4.2 | pDev: 10.95%
Dec 15, 2022
Feb 21, 2014
Enlightened DespotEnlightened Despot
Notes: The Enlightened Despot is an amazingly rich, complex and surprisingly drinkable Bourbon Barrel Russian Imperial Stout. Notes of chocolate, vanilla, and of course the delicious flavor of Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon round out this robust stout. Aged for 100 days in 15 Year Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve Barrels, made with 10 specialty grains and containing over 78 IBU of American Hop flavor, this truly is a one of a kind beer.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of BillRoth
Reviewed by BillRoth from Maryland

4.28/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2022 Version. Had from bottle (#466).
Poured black/rich deep brown. Tan head quickly to halo. Very nice ruby red accents to light. Nose is dark malts, hops and vanilla. Taste mirrors with more prominent barrel, wheated bourbon and corn sweetness coming out. Vanilla stands out. Roastiness arrives as well as chocolate. Nicely rich flavor that remarkably different from other BBA Imp Stouts. Body is an excellent medium smooth lightly carbonated sipper. There is some booze harshness. But not really a distraction from an otherwise enjoyably soft and easy brew.
Overall , I really liked the brew, and with so many BBARIS’s out there these days it’s still easy to rate this one as extraordinary.
Dec 15, 2022
Photo of Treyliff
Reviewed by Treyliff from West Virginia

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
2016 Vintage
750ml bottle poured into a tulip

A- pours jet black in color with a two-finger foamy khaki head that has good retention

S- plenty of oaky barrel juice on the nose, adding layers of caramel, vanilla and toasted coconut. Brownie batter, dark chocolate, molasses, brown sugar, a hint of char

T- as with the aroma, the barrel is immediately noticed; barrel juice, oak, vanilla, caramel and toffee. Mid-palate brings out some chocolate undertones that add notes of brownies and prunes. The finish brings out some faded hop notes, evidence that this has a highly hopped stout when fresh. Lingers of bourbon, oak, vanilla and char

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a slightly foamy mouthfeel that turns silky into a warming finish

O- the bourbon barrel dominates this one, which I'm a fan of. But those looking for a bit more balance might not be a fan
Nov 25, 2020
Rated: 3.71 by QuintusHorace from California

Oct 29, 2020
Photo of metter98
Reviewed by metter98 from New York

3.82/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4
A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a quarter finger high tan head that died down but never completely faded away.
S: Light to moderate aromas of oak and vanilla are present in the nose.
T: The taste follows the smell and has additional notes of chocolate (of the Hershey's syrup variety).
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate with a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This Russian Imperial Stout doesn't seem to be as strong compared to other beers in the style - it seems like the oak and vanilla from the bourbon barrel aging softens things up. It does a very good job at hiding the alcohol from the taste.

Serving type: can
Sep 12, 2020
Rated: 4.24 by bigpoppa67 from Wisconsin

May 03, 2020
Rated: 3.87 by Mikexw from New York

Sep 07, 2019
Rated: 4.5 by NickThePyro from Washington

Sep 05, 2019
Photo of cjgiant
Reviewed by cjgiant from District of Columbia

4.32/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
2019 version "aged in oak bourbon barrels":
Beautiful obelisk of a body with a billowing brown head that consolidates into a thick foam as it slowly falls back to the liquid that contained it. Lacing is heavy at first, but clears up further down the glass.

Nose and taste keep the same general course, but do take slightly different routes to get there. Both have a strong charred wood roasted malt at their base. The nose shows a little alcohol when the beer has warmed, but offers a little marshmallow as well. The taste throws in a little unsweetened chocolate brownie with the bourbon lingering longer and longer as the beer warms.

A bold, mildly thick RIS that brings the bitter char of the stout (which dominates early) with the spice and sting of the bourbon that seeps from the barrels that housed the beer for a year. A nice representation of a straightforward big barrel-aged beer.
Jul 21, 2019
Rated: 4.28 by Oh_Dark_Star from Washington

May 08, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by NolaHopHead from Louisiana

Mar 23, 2019
Rated: 3.84 by Slatetank from Pennsylvania

Oct 14, 2018
Photo of the_benskii
Reviewed by the_benskii from Washington

4.37/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
Poured 10/12/18 into a snifter - dark with a nice even khaki head. Smells of boozey with bourbon and hints of vanilla and a bit of cherry? Tastes of molasses, nuts, bourbon and chocolate with a nice mildly sweet after taste. Not too thick but smooth and light carbonation. Easy to drink and puts you on the floor.
Oct 13, 2018
Rated: 4.25 by kylehay2004 from Illinois

May 28, 2018
Photo of avalon07
Reviewed by avalon07 from South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
L: Had this beer on-tap at Lickinghole Creek Brewery, poured into a plastic cup. Had a dark brown / black color and a thick, opaque consistency. There was a small amount of foamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Very good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of roasted malt, chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla.

T: Tasted of a good shot of bourbon (and its accompanying barrel, a tinge of hops (mostly in the finish), lots of chocolate, a hint of vanilla, and some molasses. It's a complex and big flavor, but it's not as overwhelming as you might think. It has a nice subtlety and good balance.

F: A decent amount of carbonation with a silky smooth finish. Medium-bodied.

O: On the whole, a very solidly made, easy to drink stout. Worth a try.
Apr 22, 2018
Rated: 4.17 by Jason_cs from Florida

Apr 15, 2018
Rated: 4 by jschott75 from Illinois

Mar 03, 2018
Rated: 4 by Lucoli from New York

Nov 09, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by Zekenyce from New Jersey

Oct 14, 2017
Rated: 4.23 by hophugger from Virginia

Aug 07, 2017
Rated: 3.99 by JMUbrewz from Virginia

Aug 03, 2017
Rated: 3.89 by kidzord from Illinois

Jul 19, 2017
Rated: 4.02 by Eziel from Ohio

Jul 10, 2017
Rated: 4.75 by razorsdescent from Pennsylvania

Jun 30, 2017
Photo of TheSixthRing
Reviewed by TheSixthRing from California

4.05/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4
2017 release, aged in 'Oak Bourbon Barrels'. Bottle no. 85

Appearance - Pours black with cola brown edging. Cocoa colored, finger width head. Fizzes away in fair time, leaving a small island of suds that gravitates toward the edge of the glass while a razor thin, broken line encircles that edge. No lacing.

Smell - Strong aroma of chocolate, vanilla, oak, molasses and faint toffee.

Taste - Follows the nose. Chocolate, vanilla and oak upfront. Booziness hits with bourbon sweetness and accompanies molasses. Light malt roastiness on the back end. Finishes with the sweeter notes giving way to oaky wood and a hint of earth before faint cocoa sweetness returns in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full-bodied with low carbonation. Slightly syrupy texture with a somewhat harsh, dry and boozy finish.

Overall - Not my favorite BA Lickinghole offering, but pretty good regardless. The overall balance is fair; I just wish there was more roast to tie it all together. Not the smoothest drinking BA impy, either. Despite the flaws, there's enough redeeming value here to proclaim this as a must-try beer, provided it isn't too much hassle to get.
May 21, 2017
Rated: 4.11 by Jamison85 from Indiana

May 17, 2017
Rated: 3.75 by rspauldi from Texas

Mar 14, 2017
Rated: 4.14 by oriolesfan4 from Maryland

Feb 21, 2017
Rated: 4.25 by brocktune from Virginia

Feb 05, 2017
Photo of BeerSeniorJudge
Rated by BeerSeniorJudge from North Carolina

2.88/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3
Dark brown to black in color with flavors malty, roasted and fruit. The bitterness was high.
Jan 23, 2017
Rated: 4.28 by IckyT2012 from Florida

Jan 10, 2017
Rated: 4.09 by yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

Jan 01, 2017
Rated: 3.01 by mothman from Minnesota

Dec 09, 2016
Rated: 3.76 by MGibbons from Maryland

Nov 06, 2016
Rated: 4.5 by Casey3236 from Pennsylvania

Nov 02, 2016
Rated: 3.52 by aaronyoung01 from New Mexico

Oct 13, 2016
Rated: 4.21 by boogerisu from Iowa

Oct 10, 2016
Photo of BuccoFan
Rated by BuccoFan from District of Columbia

3.58/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5
Found it too sweet for an RIS, even one aged in barrels.
Oct 09, 2016
Rated: 4.17 by NickyDee21 from Pennsylvania

Oct 02, 2016
Rated: 4 by ipc2000 from New York

Sep 27, 2016
Rated: 4.38 by vtmel82 from Virginia

Sep 25, 2016
Enlightened Despot from Lickinghole Creek Craft Brewery
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 217 ratings