Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

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Berkshire Russian Imperial StoutBerkshire Russian Imperial Stout
560 Ratings
Berkshire Russian Imperial StoutBerkshire Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Massachusetts, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.50%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-30-2001

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 560 |  Reviews: 316
Reviews by ODBRIP:
Photo of ODBRIP
3.85/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bomber. Smells of stout and dark chocolate...color is rich and dark. I love a good imprerial stout, and this one is no exception. As someone else stated, there isn't an achohol taste, but the drink definitely warms you.

However, I think the taste isn't too unique; I don't really taste any distinct flavors, smokey, chocolate or whatever...just an average imperial stout flavor. great beer...just not stupendous.

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More User Reviews:
Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.72/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Darkest mahogany with generous dark cherry highlights. I almost said opaque, but I get the sense that bright sunlight just does reach my eyes from the opposite side of the glass. That's rarely a good thing in an Imperial stout. The head is chocolate milk brown and looks a mite too soft to deposit much lace (and doesn't). Easily above average, but it leaves me wanting.

The aroma is roasted malty and bittersweet chocolatey. A very good stout nose and a merely good RIS nose. I like my Russian Imperials to be bigger and badder and bolder than this. I guess I'll just have to resign myself to the fact that this isn't one of the monsterous versions of the style.

The flavor follows the footprints in the snow laid down by the appearance and the nose. Berkshire Imperial Stout drinks like RIS-lite, although it's still tasty beer and is nicely drinkable. Roasted barley is the dominant member of the flavor profile with black coffee following closely behind. Dark chocolate and sour dark fruit play supporting roles.

The more I drink, the more I feel that the flavor doesn't quite measure up. If the brewery insists on calling this an Imperial stout, then I'm forced to review it as such. The simple truth is that there isn't enough malt on hand to provide a seriousness of purpose, to provide a sturdy enough body to allow the flavor to sink in and be appreciated.

As noted, a relative lack of malt is the weak link in the chain. RISs, no matter what else they bring to the table, need to have huge, meaty malt backbones in order to be taken seriously. Smoothness isn't an issue. A complete lack of viscosity (chewiness if you prefer) is. A few too many bubbles don't detract too awful much because they're so fine that they're easily ignored.

I expected big things from Berkshire Imperial Stout after having enjoyed the hell out of Coffeehouse Porter and Lost Sailor IPA. I hate to classify it as a letdown since it's clearly well-crafted beer, but when judged against even second tier RISs, it falls short. I don't mind 'lighter than average' with most styles, but I can't abide it when it comes to this one.

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Photo of KelsoSaaz
4.29/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into snifter

A: Pours a motor oil – like pitch black with a thin, quickly dissipating, khaki head.

S: Dark fruit, medicinal and herbal aromas with hints of baking chocolate.

T: Dark roasted, but not bitter malts. Flavors of black coffee and bittersweet choc late mixed with medicinal, woody and earthy tones. Alcohol warms the palate nicely

M: Moderately thick and chewy body with very little carbonation.

O: A top tier RIS is what we have here. Loaded with flavor but accessible to even a novice beer enthusiast. Seek this out if you are in New England.

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Photo of bylerteck
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Winooski Beverage Warehouse. From notes.

A - Black with two fingers of tight beige head. Good carbonation, good spotty lace and half a finger of retention.

S - Chocolater, leather. Kinda mild.

T - Woah! Pretty chocolatey and tamer on the roast profile than other examples of the style. Plenty of tasty dark malts. Sweet but not overly so. No alcohol evident. Seemed simple but very solid and well adapted to style.

M - Mild carbonation, medium to full body and nice finish with dryness.

O/D - Really nice stout. Punches above it's belt and hides the alcohol well. Great subtle, but very solid flavours. Could drink a few of these.

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Photo of SABERG
3.96/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Just released bottle poured into a modified tulip glass.

A - Dark as night, with fine carbonation. A little movement brings a fine pale multi finger head.
S - Cocoa, a hint of licorace, a slight rasberry and warm molasses. Complex enough and not overbearing.
T - Dark fruity biscuit, lingers on the palate and finishes with dry chocolate. The taste wanders slightly as it warms. Toward the slighest of roast and brown sugar, in the best possible way.
M - Some could consider this a bit thin, I do not. The feel coats completely and has a great linger. Like the guest that stays just long enough!
O - Berkshire has this particular offering just right, approachable, affordable and delicious!

Strongly recommend

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.68/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks for the sample Jamie2dope

Dark brown but entirely cherry red when held to light with noticeable and attractive carbonation, a chocolate milk skim, and eventually great lacing. Quite attractive.

Aroma: Subdued compared to all the monsters out there these days. Lots of roasted malt and bitter chocolate.

Taste: Well roasted and toasted with plenty of chocolate notes. Berry like yeast, with a hint of cherry. Coffee is minimal at best.

Mouthfeel: Easy going and light compared to most. Balanced with a moderately dry finish.

Drinkability: better than many.

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Photo of orbitalr0x
3.95/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber pours into my glass a dark black with deep brown hues on the edges. A half inch of tan foam rises up and then falls back down upon the brew. Not too viscous on the pour. Aromas begin with roasty grain malts alongside a nice mix of coffee and chocolate. Dark fruit tones and caramel are there along with a faint anise and vanilla. Mellow hops in the background.

First sip brings a big roasted grain malt upfront along with a mixture of brewed coffee and chocolate flavors. Dark fruits move in with hints of cherry and a light vanilla as well. Mellow herbal hops on the way down along with a slight bitterness. Finishes with an afterthought of anise and a lingering roasted flavor.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and creamy with a nice steady carbonation. In the realm of Imperial Stouts I'd say this is a bit on the lighter side overall. However, that makes it all the more easier to drink. It has a nice balance of sweet and bitter and ends up being quite satisfying. Ends up in the middle of the road for Imperial Stouts I've tried.

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Photo of blitz134
3.65/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nearly opaque, but a tiny amount of reddish-brown light makes its way through. Pours with two fingers of light brown head that reduced down to a dense 1/8" layer that just doesn't leave.

Interesting aroma, has some subtleties I'm not used to in RISs. Typical dark toasted malts. Has some dry coffee. A bit of sweetness with some caramel. And what comes across as very weak sassafrass, possibly some Coke syrup flavor.

Dark toasted malts again, a fairly solid breadiness in there too. Dark chocolate hints and weak coffee. Has that Coke syrup flavor again, weak but I pick it up. Other random spices come through as well. Alright flavor. The faintist touch of alcohol at the end.

Medium bodied, low carbonation. Coats the mouth well and has a wet feel to it, flavor doesn't hang around for too long.

Pretty easy to drink, lacks anything that really stands out to me.

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Photo of lordofthewiens
3.29/5  rDev -19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A 22oz bottle with no date stamped on the label. It was a dark brown with a medium head and a bit of lacing. It had a chocolate aroma, as well as a fruity (cherry) aroma. The taste was quite fruity and sweet, with some chocolate. Quite pleasant, but more reminiscent of a Belgian than a Russian Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Todd
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Whoa! Now here's a beer. This is dessert (life?) in a bottle. Seemingly pitch black in colour with a coffee head. Aromas of wood, sherri and chocolate. Syrupy, sweet, thick, rich and robust on the palate. Tingly and tight carbonation. Fruity, dark. Huge chocolate, caramel, sherri, wood and liquor notes. I even pick-up some vanilla and smoke lingering in the background. Bitterness is there, kind of twangy, and wrapped within the roasted quality of this beer. Mmm ...

Alcohol is spicy, and has a warming quality that builds-up in the brain, massaging and eventually numbing it into utter beerdom.

Boys and girls ... this is some bad-ass juice in which to warm your cockles during the winter. Seek it out.

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Photo of 40451
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of bnewall3
5/5  rDev +23.2%

Photo of Doomcifer
4.33/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an inky black with a robust, frothy, caramel head that doesn't go anywhere. Beautiful lacing and a beaut of a beer.

Smells of sweet malts, chocolate, espresso, berries.

Taste is of more sweet malts, very roasty, overripe dark fruits ala dates/prunes?, bittersweet chocolate covered espresso beans, slight alcohol warm with an otherwise very well hidden abv content. Ends very roasty, slightly bitter, and semi-dry.

Mouthfeel is decently heavy with just the right amount of carbonation.

One of the most drinkable Imperial Stouts out there.

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Photo of megamass
4.5/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber style bottle with “purchase before month notched” marked properly. The two brewers are on the label as renascence king and jest with frothy mugs in hand.

Appearance: Opaque black with a thin yet unwavering light brown lace, very tiny bubbled even with a sturdy pouring.

Smell: Dark chocolate and light dark roasted coffee overtones and an underlying mixed berry fruitiness are the forefront with a trace estery alcohol in the end.

Taste: Smooth and a little slick, light carbonation with a creamy mouth feel. Big broad malty body, Black Forest German Cake comes to mind, deep berry fruitiness is found by the tongue. Heavy malt flavour takes the show over for a while with sweet dark chocolate, brownie like to a point. Alcohol is mellow though still makes a point of warming the mouth and body right away to show that it still holds its strength. Bitterness from the hops is muted a bit from age but that does not take away from the balance it give along with the bitterness from the roasted malts. In the finish the mouth is full and flush with warming spicy alcohol, roasted remnants of a big stout and a lingering flavour of a fudge brownie that was devoured.

Notes: American brewers take a style and mold it into their own whether that beer style has been dead for decades / centuries or not. Berkshire Brewing has taken in the Imperial Stout Style into its home to befriend it and make it a charmer for beer geeks and stout lovers to gawk over. A brew that I will make a point of visiting again.

 1,558 characters

Photo of merlin48
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bottle thanks to OldTex29. Pours dark and opaque with a two finger head that rises two fingers tall. Retention is excellent and some nice curtains of lace are left on the glass. Aroma is milk chocolate, raisins, and a hint of roast. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with a good zippy carbonation. Not as full as most examples of the style. Taste is well balanced. Lots of chocolate, with some nuttiness, dark fruits, and citrusy hops. Roastiness is present but a bit restrained leading to a slight brown ale character. Alcohol is hidden very well. Nice balance and subdued heaviness make this a very appealing imperial stout for summer quaffing.

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Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle, with freshness dating notched onto the label. Pours the expected black as night. minimal dark tan head, also minimal lacing. Nose is burnt fruit, smoke and some alcohol. Rich notes of smoke, expresso, dark, bitter chocolate, rum, burnt meat, yummy, rich flavors. Nice Impy stout, not as viscous as some others , but this one makes up for any body/mouthfeel weekness with gobs of flavor and respectable complexity. I'm sure this one would age nicely for a year or three as well.

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

A heavy, pitch black pour with a half finger of tan head...sticks around for a bit and leaves behind some thin lacing.
Nice aromas of toffee, milk chocolate, roasted malt and a hint of vanilla.
The taste is real enjoyable...roasty and nutty with a sprinkle of coffee for good measure. Pleasantly sweet, but not overly so...alcohol is very well hidden. Fairly thick mouthfeel and low in the carbonation which helps this one go down very easy.
A great offering in the style from the folks over at Berkshire.

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Photo of mctizzz
4.75/5  rDev +17%

Photo of tigg924
3.35/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: one inch head, dark brown in color, clear

Smell: burnt malt, cocoa, and cream

Taste: burnt malt, some cream, slight touch of syrup and nut

Mouthfeel: medium/heavy body, light carbonation, semi-sweet

Drinkability: The price is right, but this one strikes me as being average to just above average in the style. The combination of flavors almost tastes like medicine at times. This beer does get better as it warms. Not a bad beer just does not jump the way others in the style do.

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Photo of jcdiflorio
4.53/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Recived this beer on a trade several months ago from Sudsdog. 22oz brown bottle poured into and imperial nonic glass.Opaque,black with a rich creamy generous tan head turning pillowy as it falls.Good retention leaving a couple of lace curtians down the glass

Very clean roasty chocolaty aroma with heavy sweet carmell.Very pleasing not real strong.

Has a very clean roasty start with a great chocolate taste that's dusty and dry. Excellent balance with a very nice clean sharp hop bite with woody/earthy notes. Extra smooth i'd have to guess that some oats were added to this one with the exceptional smoothness and creamyness. Can't really notice any alcohol presence for a beer with an 8.50 abv. The creamy smoothness of Berkshire beer alway amazes me. Love thier beer this is another excellent beer. Wish this beer were avalible in my area. Would always keep some on hand. Not over the top or extreme,just simply pleasing!

Has a warming effect that overcomes you the more you drink. Beware this beer is amazing. Must try beer in my book.

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Photo of far333
4.03/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany color with violet highlights. A shiny and grainy light brown head rises up thickly and slowly sinks. Aroma of smoke and powdery cocoa, roasted malt and molasses. Flavor is initially cocoa and sweet dark malt, a little charred bark and talc. Some ripe plum and the faintest of hops riding beneath. A bit of tangy brandy in the finish. Not as complex as the aroma had me believe. Smooth and full mouthfeel. Pretty drinkable, but moreso than I expected.

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

Berkshire Imperial Stout pours forth from the bottle a nice dark color. The head was a tan color and moderate in both size and duration. The smell was mainly of of the alcohol cutting through the malts. NO hint of hops were detected by the olfactory apparatus. The taste was malty smoothness with just a bit of alcohol and bittering. This is a descent RIS which I am happy to have come across. While not a "must have", this is certainly a rather enjoyable brew.

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Photo of amstokesdb9
4/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of doremite
3.75/5  rDev -7.6%

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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Beer rating: 4.06 out of 5 with 560 ratings