Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

BA SCORE
90
outstanding
542 Ratings
Berkshire Russian Imperial StoutBerkshire Russian Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

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

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
542
Reviews:
311
Avg:
4.02
pDev:
10.95%
 
 
Wants:
80
Gots:
66
For Trade:
2
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 542 |  Reviews: 311
Photo of argock
3.92/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz brown bomber into a clear pint glass. No freshness date. Purchased from Ancona's (Ridgefield, CT) for $6.49.

A: Coca-Cola appearance with very dark brown body and fizzy beige-tan head with average retention and rare streamers of lace.

S: Coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and raspberries are prominent on the toasted black malt backbone.

T: Flavor is full and enjoyable with dominant roasted black and dark malts mingling with black coffee, cream, bitter chocolate/cocoa, tea, dark fruit, and light molasses flavor. It has a light berry-like sweetness which is pleasant and unique. Hops are pretty strong.

M: A little thin for the style which really hurts this category. Good even carbonation and great sweet-and-bitter aftertaste.

D: An extraordinarily drinkable Imperial Stout for the ABV. It is lacking some body though which hurts the feel and appearance somewhat. The tea and berry aromas and flavors are unique.

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Photo of gford217
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz bomber courtesy of cedromar poured into a tulip.

Pours dark, dark brown out of the bottle before settling in just short of jet black in the glass underneath a small off-white head that dissipates quickly to a collar leaving no lacing.

The aroma is big on dark chocolate malts with tons of licorice as well. There's plenty of molasses and some coffee as well.

The taste starts out sweet with licorice, vanilla and molasses. The dark roasted malts form a solid backbone with a little bit of roasted coffee bitterness in the finish.

The mouthfeel is actually a little thin with some soft carbonation. It's a bit oily and light-bodied for the style.

The aroma and taste are pretty good on this one but it just doesn't have the body I was hoping for from an RIS. On the flip side, this makes it drinkable and it's a decent beer overall.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
3.85/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

I got this bomber as an extra in a trade with SteveO1231, thanks Steve. From first impressions, the beer looked and smelled like a great RIS. It was dark brown color with a thin tan head and had aromas of chocolate, dark fruits, and sweet malts. The taste was good too (same flavors as in the aroma) but not lasting, kind of a clean aftertaste for a RIS. I think the culprit is the mouthfeel, the body was thinner than I expected and didn't complement the aromas and flavors as fully as it could have. On the other hand, the soft body is probably related to the relatively low ABV (for a RIS), which makes it more drinkable to me. Maybe this is a new class, a sessionable RIS.

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Photo of Durge
3.97/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very dark coffee color with a whispy tan head and average lacing. The aroma is a mild chocolate coffee with tangy orange hints. The flavor is charcoal and some citrus highlights. Fairly malty in a medium bodied brew. Mildly carbonated, very smooth, not particularly powerful. But very decent stuff and quite drinkable. Recommended for a try.

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Photo of Duhast500
4.23/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pint glass.

The color is a complete black with a slight light brown head

The smell is a conyac flavor to it. A little maple syrip flavor.

The taste is of marmalade and a little chocolate flavor.

The flavor of this brew is engulfing. While sipping it the arorma will tease your nostrals. The feal is surprisingly light for a imperial stout. Goes down well and is quite smooth. and light.

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Photo of leif86
4.3/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark, oh so menacingly dark, ruby body. The head is like that of cola - dark and tan and quick to fizz up and relatively quick to dissipate. The head is rather frothy and leaves only a tad of lacing.

S: I pick up molasses and roasted coffee beans right away. Bringing up the rear is some general fruitiness that accompanies a bit of alcohol to the party.

T: Bitter, chalky chocolate with a sweet-from-fruit coffee immediately following. The high alcohol starts to warm things up and with the fruit begins to feel like grapes. The malts here remind me mostly of cereal grains and a subtle but present from the beginning to the end.

M: While I prefer something a little creamier and with a bit less carbonation I can't say that I'm at all disappointed. In fact, BBC pulls it off better than I expected when I saw the fizzy head.

D: Certainly an imperial stout that I'd love to add to my regular stock. The 8.5% compared to the 10+% of other brews means I could definitely have more than one 22 oz and not lose my composure or taste buds. Local, comparatively (to craft brews) inexpensive, and tasty - all great in my book.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.41/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours from the 1 pt. 6 fl. oz bottle sampled on Feb. 15, 2009. No brew date or lot number listed but it was probably fairly fresh from the brewery since they use no preservatives.

Appearance - Top notch. Dark brown-to-black pour with root beer-like bubbly carbonation and about 3/4 inch of foamy tan head and considerable lacing about the glass.

Smell - An appealing mixture of chocolate, liquorice, and florals. The chocolate leads the way followed by the others.

Mouthfeel - Bold and creamy on the tongue and remains steadfast with swirling. Almost chewy. Very good.

Taste - The flavor comes on strong similar to the aroma with a chocolate-coffee sensation followed by bitter hops and ends on the dry side.

Drinkability - Thank you and may I have another?

A fantastic value at $6.75 for the tall bottle and an enjoyable experience.

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Photo of roadhouse
3.53/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a snifter. Thanks to Walken.

Appearance is black at first but when held up to the light it is actually a clear deep mahogany color. One inch tan head sinks to a skim relatively quickly. Spotty lacing left behind.

Aroma has some chocolate, a slight vinous note, some dark fruit, I'm thinking plum, and some slight caramel sweetness. Nothing special.

Taste is of milk chocolate initially, with the vinous character coming in midway through with the dark fruit. In the finish there is a bit of coffee like astringency.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied, tending towards fullness. Pretty good carbonation level, it's not too creamy though.

Kind of a middle of the pack RIS in my opinion, though it was nice to try. Any beer that has a vinous character seems to turn me off pretty quickly.

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Photo of PDXHops
3.47/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Yamar18 for sending this one my way. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A fairly vigorous pour gets me a 1-finger head, but it's not too thick and disappears rather quickly. Not much lacing. The body is very dark brown, and you can see reddish highlights against a light.

A bit of fruitiness in the aroma, with some chocolate and dark malt. Not terribly complex, but inviting.

The dominant flavors are bittersweet chocolate and dark malts, with some coffee and cherry (?) in the background.

Mouthfeel is a little thin for the style, but it's tasty and goes down smooth.

Overall impression: Solid RIS offering. Not as bold or complex in flavor as the big boys, but tasty and quite drinkable.

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.1/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Just about black with some hints of brown around the edges. Minimal mocha head that quickly dissipated.

S: Very nice fresh roasted smell. Hints of espresso beans and some roasted from normal coffee.

T: Tastes like excellent homebrew. Nice mix of roasted coffee and chocolate. Very nice and well balanced stout.

M: Very light for the style but it adds to the drinkability.

D: Very nice beer. This brewery really reminds me of a really great homebrew. Just a very well crafted beer.

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Photo of ericlawton007
4.19/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark black, with justa little hint of reddish head. Smells very malty with a fair hint of chocolate. This RIS tastes very sweet, but not too over bearing in the chocolate. Very balanced, and has a wonderful mouthfeel. Slightly on the thick side, with very little carbonation. Alcohol is hidden very well, and I can drink this all night. Great bargain too, at $4 for a bomber at whole foods.

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Photo of jonziefle
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Poured a very dark brownish-black, practically opaque. One finger thick light brown-tan head, but reduces to a thin layer. Appears clear when held up to the light.

Smell: Smells of roasted malts and chocolate, with a hint of coffee.

Taste: Taste is a sweet chocolatey malt. Very smooth. Taste lingers in the mouth, first sweet, then slightly bitter. No hint of the high alcohol content. Not really any sign of any hops shining through.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth. Little to no carbonation. Medium-full bodied, just slightly not as thick as other stouts I like.

Drinkability: Very good stout, definitely something to try. A little sweeter and less dark/smokey than other stouts, but a very good choice. Also, I would prefer an ever so slightly thicker beer and fuller mouthfeel.

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Photo of brentk56
3.95/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark chocolate brown color with ruby highlights; the tan head fizzes away just a bit too quickly but leaves behind a few shards of lace

Smell: Chocolate, roasted malt and hints of both coffee and dark berry fruit

Taste: Plenty of dark chocolate up front, with the dark berry fruit appearing just behind; roasty bitterness arrives at mid-palate, but the flavor tends to fade after the swallow, although it is well-balanced throughout

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied, somewhat creamy; moderate carbonation, but a bit thin after the swallow

Drinkability: All in all, a respectable stout; very drinkable but not in the top tier of the Impy class

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Photo of maximum12
3.54/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to tprokop7 for including this bottle in a great trade this summer.

This one works right out of the bucket, great smell on this RIS, hitting all the heavy notes of chocolate, malts, coffe, etc. That said, the flavor fails to fully back up that promise. Maybe I'm getting spoiled by all the great stouts I've had in the past year, but this one seems only somewhat above pedestrian. Again, it tastes like an RIS that's a little bleached out by the sun, nothing quite as strong, heavy, balanced, or interesting as I would have liked it to be. Not bad, but not great.

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Photo of akorsak
3.3/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Thanks to ralflord for this 650 mL bottle.

A: The stout is dark as midnight, even when held up to light nothing gets in or out. A half a finger of head quickly reduced to a thin band.

S: The nose is swirling with chocolate, burnt grains, coffee, licorice and hops. Quite a bit for one small glass.

T: The nose is exciting but the taste failrs to deliver. Dark grains up front never really seque into anything of substance. Darker nutty flavors appear near the end of each sip, showing off some stout qualities but it is too little too late.

M: The mouthfeel is weak, stout at times but not with enough consistency.

D: The abv is a little too high and the beer a little too weak to really dig into.

 702 characters

Photo of Walken
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Berkshire: Imperial Stout (No freshness date) (Tastes 12/25/08)
22 oz. bottle, poured into a snifter.

Appearance: Motor oil dark brown with a bubbly mocha head that forms slowly and drops down into a thin coating with a thick crown of foam around the edges of the glass.
Odor: Soft, rich milk chocolate and coffee aromas fills out the aroma with a slightly woodsy, earthy aroma in the background. Warming intensifies the heavy cream aroma.
Consistency: Near perfection, like silk on the tongue. Smooth & viscous with very little harsh astringency from the roasted malts. Carbonation is a tad higher than expected.
Taste: The flavor of this beer centers around a mix of dark and milk chocolate malt flavors, paired with bright fruity notes from the yeast. Hop bitterness builds slowly throughout the sip and capping off at the point of balance. I don't detect much of any alcohol flavor outside of the fruitiness. Dark chocolate throws down in the finish, leaving a pleasant bittersweet flavor in my mouth.

This was my first exposure to this style of beer a few years back. It was a favorite then and still is. It was kind of interesting trying other hop forward American RIS with this being my only basis for comparison. I haven't found many others like BBC.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.83/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a thinning, off-white head.

Smell: Aroma smelling of roasted barley and semi-sweet chocolate morsels with notes of coffee beans and aged nuts.

Taste: Roasty blend of creamy barley and chocolate with an overall medium sweetness and, lookee here, a garnish of mini-marshmallows. Hints of licorice and coarse ground walnuts. Earthy, roasty bitterness. Drying, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Could benefit from a slight heft in body. Though it may not be a legendary member of the noble Imperial Stout style, it's still a quality brew and certainly worth seeking out a bottle.

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Photo of mtbbaboon
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Looks a nice dark brown color in my snifter glass. Rather thin, tan, foamy head, even with an aggressive pour. The first thing I smell is chocolate malt, and that's followed by coffee and some sweetness (caramel?). Only a faint hint of alcohol. This is a great tasting beer. Malty, but not too malty. Strong chocolate taste with some hops mixed in, as well as sweet malt. I sense some vanilla. There's some bitterness in there as well. No single dominant flavor. Everything is really balanced nicely. This beer might look dark and heavy, but it's surprisingly light bodied and very smooth and creamy. This is a very easy beer to drink and it certainly doesn't feel like an 8.5% beer. This is a very good beer. I'm glad I tried it.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.77/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, shipped by goodbyeohio, consumed during the first wave of nfl action as the snow begins to come down hard

appearance: pours noticeably thin into a bells chalice, dark mahogany body with a creamy tan head and just a minimal tan ring

smell: rich chocolate and oatmeal, robust malty aromas, minimal trace of alcohol

taste: i feel like i am echoing some past reviews in saying that this feels like a real nice american stout, but just doesnt fit the "imperial" bill. the flavors are nice notes of toasted oatmeal, bitter cocoa, licorice and earthy malts

mouthfeel: quite thin body, minimal traces of any sort of alcohol, rather high bitterness level

drinkability: good

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Photo of brdc
3.5/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Thanks cookin420 for this large capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Very dark brown, not quite black, with reddish highlights, and a brown head that does not hold well and produces little lacing.
Aroma is initially acrid, burnt, but as the beer warms up, more bittersweet chocolate and coffee appear. It improves, but still lacking punch.
Quite thin for a RIS, it starts burnt in similar way to the nose, turning slightly sweet, chocolate and coffee as it warms up.
Nice beer, with a good taste, but it simply cannot be billed as a RIS; it is in the middle to high spectrum for a regular stout, but as a RIS it is a major disappointment; the chocolate I had with the beer (nothing special or particularly strong, mind you) obliterated the beer completely.

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Photo of hopdog
4.07/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle acquired in trade with jjpm74 (thanks!). Bottle labeled buy before Nov.

Poured a dark, dark brown (almost black) color with an averaged sized tan head. Aromas of chocolate, roast, dark fruits and a little on the earthy side. Tastes of light coffee, prunes, chocolate, and roasted malts. I found this to be weak for an Imperial Stout but overall a good beer.

Notes from 12/2/05

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Photo of faernt
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm in Boston and drinking locally. This Imperial Stout is true to style. It's slightly sweet and chocolaty. It has good head retention and body. Its mouthfeel and color are true to style. It's not better than the good Imperial Stouts I've had before, but it's a "go to" version. I take no exception and I mean that in a good way. Off to Cambridge!

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Photo of Bitterbill
4.01/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I got this bottle in a trade with Nutbrown. Thanks Alan!

It pours a very dark brown with some reddish highlights. The foam is a solid 2 fingers and the lacing is very good. Great looking brew!

The smell...well...I don't have a cold but I'm not getting much in the nose department. Light chocolate/sweet malt is all I can say for sure.

The taste is an entirely other matter. Sweet and roasted malty goodness, an oatmeal taste, licorice, and some dark fruit that I notice when I swish the beer in my mouth. Some warming from the alcohol but it's not too intrusive.

Thickish mouthfeel with a medium level of carbonation, it finishes on the lightly bitter side. Good stuff.

Bottom line: This, imo, is a big example of the style with lots of flavours going on and a nice warming from the alcohol; this is a sure bet to sip on during the cold winter nights if you have it available locally.

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Photo of mkobes
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured a deep black in color with an off white fluffy head. Roasty chocolatey malty aroma. Dark fruity caramel notes. Roasty malty and dark fruity flavor. Bittersweet chocolate caramel notes. Dry finish. Sweet tasting. Full bodied. Well balanced. Nice.

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Photo of miketd
3.8/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle from a trade. Pour is dark brown nearly black. Creamy beige head. Lacing present in the glass. Aroma is roasy malt and chocolate. Has just a faint metallic note, but not much. Flavor is chocolate and bitter. Decent palate. Dry Finish. Pretty nice beer...worth seeking out.

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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
4.02 out of 5 based on 542 ratings.
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