Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

310 Reviews
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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Reviews: 310 | Ratings: 540
Photo of moodenba
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Berkshire "The Imperial Russian Stout" 22 oz. bomber bottle purchased for me in October, 2016. Strong dark brew with medium body. Alcohol is a primary flavor component, competing with malt and hops for my attention. It is good enough, but I am cutting it with Founder's PC Pils to reduce the alcohol bite (and the subsequent wooziness).

The Brothers and other most advocates loved it, but I'm less of a fan.

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Photo of mac31
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Faintly fruity up front. Dark coffee hits mid palate and adds some heaviness, followed by cooked caramel sweetness on the back end. Very chocolaty also. Sweet chocolate notes reminiscent of Hershey's chocolate syrup. The faint fruitiness runs the length of the palate, popping up here and there. The coffee notes add some bitterness that combines with the hoppy bitterness in the finish.

Hops are slightly earthy with a touch of spice. The hops add some brightness to this dark brew. Slight hint of bitterness on the finish.

Lighter bodied, creamy, slightly oily slick. The carbonation is fantastic, almost nitro like-it's pretty amazing. This is where carbonation definitely adds to drinkability of this brew. The lighter body and carbonation actually makes this beer dangerously drinkable. Watch out. Alcohol is noticeable, if looked for, but well covered.

Wow. A very good beer. On the verge of being great. It's straight forward for an RIS and a tad sweet, but that's nit picking a bit. If you're really judging the thin body is considered a flaw. For me, I really like it the thinner body is a departure from the norm and really works for this particular beer. If you get the chance, grab a couple bottles, you will not be sorry you did.

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Photo of Mikeszab
4.46/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Little lacing
Deep black color
Taste is a balance of alcohol and malt
Nice finish with great balance.
Another great offering from Berkshire. I would recommended.

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Photo of twosheds
4.22/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Purs a very dark brown with a tan head

Smells of chocolate and molasses with some alcohol coming through.

Very sweet and malty upfront with a dry and slightly bitter aftertaste. No one flavor seems dominant except for maybe chocolate. Some alcohol in the nose

Really nice imperial stout. I like that it has bold and flavorful but still very drinkable and not super heavy.

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Photo of dpgoblejr
4.83/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Best by date of 3/29/16 and consumed on 1/29/16.
Very dark brown, black, look and there is very little in the way of a head. Aroma of roasted barley, malt, chocolate, coffee, and dark fruits. Very dark fruits, like chocolate covered cherries, dominate the flavor with the roast and coffee following behind. Poured very thin and feels very thin but the smell, look, and the enticing flavor more than makes up for the feel. This truly is a fantastic RIS but, I'm not sure it's; "The Russian Imperial Stout," as the label implies.

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Photo of evergreen_machine
3.75/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

A challenging and complex beer, but definitely not a beer to have twice in a row.

A wheaty body starts and then fades into a cinnamon and nutmeg finish.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.67/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Bottle dated best by 7/16/2014

Appearance - dark brown liquid with tan head

Smell - molasses, roasted malts

Taste - molasses, roasted malts, coffee bean, chocolate

Mouthfeel - lighter end of medium bodied, medium carbonation, moderate sweetness from the molasses, not very complex, watery for an ''imperial'

Overall - decent beer, but lacking depth of flavor, complexity and the body to compete with the big shots of this category

Price Point - $5.99/22 oz bottle

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Photo of JebBeerFish
3.12/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Molasses and light teriyaki sauce, some unpeasant bitterness at the back end. Not a bad beer and probably better fresh on draught, but very unremarkable. Not likely to purchase again.

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Photo of Carolvs
4.16/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Well, for a change everyone here gets it right: this is a great beer that lives up to the "imperial" title. Powerful yet suave, leaving an impression without offending. Bravo, BBC!

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Photo of badgustav
4.44/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Aroma - malty, chocolate, with notes of coffee and a faint alcohol.

Appearance - very dark, clear, with a ruby hint. head is brown tinted which dissipates in short order

Flavour - rich, creamy, chocolate, with faint notes of coffee. Medium mouthfeel which fades to a sweet aftertaste.

I really enjoyed this representation and look forward to trying more, possibly aged.

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Photo of ervc
4.59/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A drinkable Russian Imperial? That's a dangerous notion BBC decided to run with. In comparison to other Baltic style imperials this one is far beyond the competition. The only problem with this beer is you can only have a couple...because too many will find you on the floor.

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Photo of HamdenHector
4.24/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: very deep brown - no ruby at all at the edges; 1 finger light brown head that receded to a thin cap; nice, thick lacing;

S: coffee, mocha, molasses, vanilla - almost smells bourbon barrel aged;

T: follows the nose; alcohol is warming, but not harsh; low to moderate bitterness at the finish;

M: full bodied; coats the mouth; moderate carbonation;

O: this is a big beer;

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Photo of cpetrone84
2.7/5  rDev -32.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

pour is dark brown with a light tan head. Nose is sweet, magic marker, chocolate, uneaten sugar, stale grain. Taste is overly sweet and lacks malt complexity. Some chocolate, lots of sugar, brown sugar, caramel, thinner body and moderate carbonation.

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Photo of Jeffo
2.68/5  rDev -33.3%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Got a bomber of this from totoropanda in a recent box. Cheers!

From a bomber into a snifter.

APPEARANCE: A clear brown pour yields a 2+ finger, medium looking, fluffy, light brown head with very good retention. Transparent dark brown body with no real carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a creamy cap and sticks to the sides of the glass. A ring and splotchy wisp remain leaving some good lacing the whole way down. Body is a little light, but the head is good.

SMELL: Mild nose of roasted malts, some cocoa powder and light coffee notes. A good dose of dark fruits with licorice as well. Okay.

TASTE: Lightly roasted up front with some dark fruit sweetness through the middle into the swallow, much like the nose. Milder but lingering finish of dark fruit sweetness, grapes, dates, some lightly roasted flavors, licorice and some light bitter coffee notes. Too mild up front, but much more flavorful after the swallow.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Slightly creamy on the palate, goes down okay and finishes somewhat sticky on the palate. Okay here.

OVERALL: This is an okay beer, but it's a bit mild overall and slightly underwhelming in the imperial stout category. Lighter color and too much dark fruit character for the style perhaps. A bit lighter on the palate as well. Decent beer, but not an imperial stout worth seeking out. Thanks again panda!

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Photo of Sensaray
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a dark brown with red hues and a frothy light brown head

Smells of dark malts, dark fruits, raisins,

Taste is dark malty with some roastiness, light coffee, occasionally chocolate and red fruits . Finishes with a dark bready finish.

Mouthfeel is smooth kina creamy with a dry finish

Overall a solid option especially local and at a good price

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Photo of KelsoSaaz
4.29/5  rDev +6.7%
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 SABERG
3.96/5  rDev -1.5%
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 bylerteck
4.1/5  rDev +2%
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 DrinkNewport
3.78/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Black pour. Black. Black. Black. Not Onyx. Not Jet. Black...with a teeny-tiny head.

It a mild stout. Nothing too crazy going on here.

This Russian Imperial Stout has a flavor very typical of the genre, but just a tad weaker than you would expect and an aftertaste which is a tad off-kilter.

Despite having next to no head, this stout is probably carbonated more than most.

Overall, not a bad beer for the price, but nothing to write home about...unless your mother is on Twitter...then you can tweet her.

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Photo of Kooz
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4.75

Dark, almost black. Pours with a nice tan head, tightly packed. There's a subtle lacing on the glass, and a rim of suds stays around through the end.

Smells warm and sweet with a hint of molasses.

Tastes amazing. Sweet aftertaste, not too carbonated, very strong flavors. There's a slight booziness initially, but the chocalatey ending covers it perfectly. I get a little coffee flavor too. It's really sweeter than other Russian imperials I've had--it's almost like a milk stout.

The weakest part of this beer. It needs a little more body and a little more creaminess. It's not bad at all--maybe slightly above-average.

Despite the mouthfeel being a little less than I hoped, the other elements make up for it. In fact, this is the rare beer that gets a higher overall score than the individual scores--it's more than the sum of its parts.

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Photo of smcolw
3.41/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.25

Near black in color; no light shines through. Beige head (small). No lace.

Smells of chocolate and plastic--a little bit like Creepy Crawlers, if you're old enough to remember that smell.

Served warm, I'm guessing 55 degrees. That plastic presence remains...distracting. Creamy chocolate flavor. Semisweet. Rich, rich, rich body. Chewy. Low carbonation (naturally). There's a strong element of vanilla. Very mellow for the style, no extreme flavors at all.

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Photo of Dylan101
4.45/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is a home town favorite of mine. Find myself grabbing this bottle more often then most. The rich dark brown/black that fills the glass is something you can't find every day. When the flavors ranging from chocolate to raisins enter your senses you find yourself quickly taking that first sip. Great beer and a must have.

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Photo of Dope
4.09/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Best by 05/24/11. Guess I'm a little late to the party. Judging by the date I'm assuming this to be around 3 years old.

A: Pours a very dark brown but not quite black. Big fluffy medium brown head. Head fades slowly, leaving fluffy, almost soap sud-like rings behind. Good retention too.

S: Definitely has some age on it. Mellow roasted malt with some chocolate and a little bit of char. Maybe a hint of coffee? Pretty mild.

T: Nice sweet chocolate up front. Hints of dark fruits. Mild coffee in the middle with the sweet chocolate still mingling. Sweet all the way to the end, lasts a long time. Almost a vanilla-like sweetness. Just a hint of umami in the finish but only the very lightest bit. Those dark fruits pop up in the aftertaste again, very faint and integrated with all the chocolate but they're there. Figs, mainly, I think. Well integrated flavors betray the age.

M: Medium bodied, smooth and silky.

O: A nice mellow RIS that has aged quite well. Surprisingly low ABV for an RIS, one of the lowest I can think of, although Weyerbacher has a couple of low ABV RISes too around 8%. Tasty, drinkable and smooth. Can't complain, I enjoyed it a lot.

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Photo of metter98
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color. It poured with a short light tan head that died down, leaving a thin head covering the surface and a collar of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: Light to moderate aromas of dark malts and licorice are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and also has notes of roasted malts along with a light amount of bitterness.
M: It feels a bit more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is a fairly solid Russian Imperial Stout but isn't as full-bodied compared to other beers in the style and also lacks a lot of roastiness.

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Photo of Gatch
4.28/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A: Super dark brown, almost deep blood red, and nearly black with sediment floating around. Big, frothy, fizzy, light brown head that really sizzles near the edges of the glass. Never really seen that before. Just a bit of lace and retention.

S: Big aromas of dark chocolate, roasted malt, molasses, some booze, and some spice. Very rich.

T: Wow...spectacular. So smooth and so much flavor. I can already tell this beer kills you with consistency. Nothing too crazy...just big RIS character. Huge dark chocolate, heavily roasted malt, and a bit of lactose sugar to sweeten it up just enough. I loved every sip.

M: Velvet. Great balance of roasted malt, booze, and sweetness. Roasty finish is superb.

O: I'm very, very impressed by this beer. With all the hyped RIS out there, this is a safe alternative when you don't want to worry about off-flavors or a huge price tag. Relatively inexpensive but not short on flavor. A new favorite for the style. I never buy cases and rarely consider it but I may consider buying a case of this stuff next winter. I also like that the ABV isn't going to knock you on your ass. Huge fan.

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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
4.02 out of 5 based on 540 ratings.
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