Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

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Berkshire Russian Imperial StoutBerkshire Russian Imperial Stout
551 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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Ratings: 551 |  Reviews: 313
Photo of Billolick
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
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 meathookjones
3.73/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This came I a 22oz bomber with a buy by data of October 4th. Pours out pitch black with a tall tan head that leaves scattered rings of lacing covering the glass. Aroma is chocolate with a slight roasted maltiness to it. It’s a fairly simple but pleasing nose. The taste starts of with a bittersweet dark chocolate over a lingering roastiness. A bit of earthiness was there as well to balance it out. The taste ends on a lingering roasty note. This was fairly thick with full coating feel to it. Good drinkability as the flavor and nose were both solid. While this was not quite standout Imperial Stout it was a good one I wouldn’t turn down. Thanks to ppoitras for the chance to sample this.

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Photo of steinlifter
4.27/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured black as dirty oil, nice moderate tan head that held up well, hard to get a smell here, faint coffee and toasty malt, taste follows,toasty malts(and lots of em) and coffee , chocolate notes, and a nice little bitterness on the end, mouthfeel is full, creamy, lightly carbonated, and a bit chewy, drinkability is fantastic! This little beauty was like an angel dancing on the tip of my tongue! and although a high abv, you don't really taste any alcohol bite, great stuff!

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Photo of mschofield
4.33/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours pitch black, well carbonated and topped with a two finger creamy dark tan head. A beautiful looking stout, one of the best I've ever seen.
Nice aroma, dark cherry and raisin, coffee and chocolate.
Coffee, and a strong alcohol taste, no way of not noticing the ABV in this one. Raisin and other dark fruits, but mainly deep dark chocolate, expresso and mocha.
Full-bodied, it's great but I couldn't get through a full bomber on my own.

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Photo of shippos
2.81/5  rDev -30.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

courtesy of ppoitras

poured black with thin tan head. molasses burnt sugar and treacle in the aroma with some alcohol amongst some sweet creamy milk sugar. fairly thick heavy molasses taste with brown sugar and treacle, smooth body and a fairly thin mouthfeel for an IS. finishing off the rest of the bottle becomes a chore as the taste just becomes one dimensional and very repititous which hurts the drinkability of this.

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Photo of mattcrill
4.25/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Mad props go out to ppoitras and BIF 11 for this dandy brew!

Appearance: pours deep, dark brown with chocolate edges. A beautiful tan head the retains throughout the whole experience. Great looking lacings that hug the entire glass.

Smell: alcohol in the background, spices, and candied fruits. A mildly sweet smell.

Taste: Wonderfully big and complex. Dark chocolate, espresso, and fudge dance on my palate and the alcohol shows up at the end.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, creamy, and warming.

Drinkability and overall: This is my idea of a Russian Imperial Stout. A nice balance of all the wonderful characteristics that make a top notch RIS. Not over-the-top like many others try to be. A great example and a wonderful, wonderful brew!

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Photo of connecticutpoet
4.12/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a nice very dark brown, almost black, with a nice thick low head that dissipated somewhat quickly.

The aroma was slightly sweet and fruity, with hints of cloves. The roasted malt was there, but underlying the sweetness.

The taste was a smooth and creamy roasted malt, with hints of coffee and molasses, mild bitterness, and a definite alcohol aftertaste. The alcohol is becoming more prominent as it warms.

Mouthfeel was, as mentioned above, smooth and creamy. Somewhat chewy, a little oily.

Drinkability is good, but the aftertaste takes something away.

A very nice tasting beer, with a good amount of complexity in the nose. I would have liked it is the alcohol was not as prominent, however. Still, one to try if you can find it.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.36/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have had this bottle sitting around for a few months, seems like a nice night to drink it!
I am pouring a slightly chilled sample into a snifter glass. The beer pours jet blackwith an appearance of motor oil. Very small brown head foams up and fades to an edge layer quickly.
Aroma is rich, molasses, ripe pears and plums, raisins, black coffee, and a hint of brown sugar. Very intense mix of scents
I also get a brief hit of smoke on the nose.
The first sip reveals a thick bodied beer with gentle rolling carbonation. Very malty flavor with coffee up front followed by a nice ripe fruit twang, and finishes roasty and some smoke again. There are mild chocolate hits intertwined throughout the beer. I get a mild alcohol flavor at the start of each sip as well. This is a well crafted brew and I would recommend to anyone!

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Photo of ppoitras
4.03/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at The Moan & Dove, Amherst, MA. Presented in a pint glass.

Nice tan head on top of this dark, dark brown brew. Grainy, alcoholic aroma, with a shockingly slightly fruity aroma. Taste is mostly of dark grains, including the chocolate grain, which was amazingly drinkable such an abv. Worth finding, for sure...

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.75/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: a color that reaches for opacity, yet cannot escape the floodlights of red that shine through on occasion, topped with a perfunctory tannish brown head.
Aroma, burnt toast, rusted root, molasses, coffee grounds, Meyer's and cola, minus carbonation, the very murk of an IS, done appropriately.
Taste: sweetness, though thick and dark, burst through foremost, and mellows, hops are negligible, malt is rich and luscious, thick and almost syrupy. Could go deeper, though, for the mouthfeel is a trifle vapid for an Imperial Stout. Has some of the true character, but doesn't go all the way.
Nice enough, in it's fashion, though!

Cheers to BeerResearcher for the bottle!

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Photo of BierReise
3.7/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber Best Before December? Black and opaque with a ruby tinge at the edges. Creamy tan head looks like it may have some staying power behind it. Let's let it warm a few minutes. Aroma is really roasty with notes of espresso, licorice, nuts and cookie dough. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style and carbonation is a tad strong. Flavor is a bit weak. Some roasted malt and coffee with a slightly bitter finish. Overall not a bad stout but not as Imperial as I'd like. Thanks for the sample Pete.

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Photo of BeerResearcher
3.55/5  rDev -12.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

16.9oz brown bottle.
Roofing tar color with a thin beige/tan head.
A smell of wet burnt campfire wood, sweet doughy bread and hops blend nicely, but leave a sort of a wet sock scent.
Really sweet and smoky malt with a taste of dark chocolate and licorice added. A mild citrus bitterness, along with the faint taste of dark tea fail to adequately counter the malty sweetness. A briny salty flavor shows up uninvited. The potent alcohol is noticeable throughout.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in the 22 oz. bomber, into a pint glass. The color is jet black, with a nice tan head. The smell is a nice chocolate malt. The taste is a nice chocolatey imperial stout with a bit of alcohol, and some hops in the aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a bit thin. As for drinkability, could have a few.

Thank you to mydeadguy for this bottle. A solid if not spectactular imperial stout that I'm glad to have a chance to have, and something I'd have again.

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Photo of CRJMellor
3.95/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours jet black even when held up to the light. Small tan head fades away quietly leaving minimal lace on the pint.
Aroma of milk chocolate, vanilla floral hops along with a hint of sherry and alocohol in the background. Smells promising !
Flavorof chocolate cakeand sweet cherries along with some grapefruit and citrus hops backed up with some roasted malts. Bitterness is dwonplayed but obviously present given aroma.
Mouthfeel seems a little thin for Imp. Stout but very pleasant fell on the tongue and warming alcoholic kick on the back end is welcome on a cold night.
Thanks to Mikeys01 for this baby.
Drinkability is high, good but filling beer.

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Photo of Stimack
4.3/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: Standard 22 oz. Bomber from Berkshire Brewing with a clearly defined purchase before marking. Normal picture on the front of most Berkshire Brews, the two brewers!

This brew poured jet-black, when holding it to a light none came through! Had a dark tan head that was somewhat small but had staying power and some light tan lacing. A very nice presentation for this Imperial Stout!

The smell of the brew is of roasted coffee, malt, fine chocolate, and a slight essence of fruit.

Taste of this brew is very good! Has a strong robust taste of roasted (large amounts?) malt with a mixture of coffee, chocolate and a hint of liquorice. Reminds me of a nice rich chocolate desert. The finish has a little bit of an alcohol flavor that is nice with a little hop! It is a delight, a great tasting stout that is local, what a delight! The feel is very smooth and creamy with the perfect amount of carbonation.

Over all this is a fantastic brew. If you have the chance try it, I am sure you will be pleased! Another great brew from Berkshire Brewing!

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Photo of marc77
4.13/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

A notch shy of oynx, with brilliant crimson flashes when held to light. Thin, but well retained beige head manages exiguous lace. A combination of balmy, bourbon filled chocolates and mellow, sugary prune dominates the aroma. Swlrling releases notes of burnt salty biscuit, black licorice as well as nostril warming ethanol. Simple, but pleasantly so aromawise. Carbonized barley bitterness initially in flavor is quickly complemented by hints of buttery, light toast oak and stately dark toffee. Subtle dark fruit character melds with the persistent chocolate malt presence to lend an agreeable impression of chocolate dipped raisin. Trace Goldings hop flavor adds an earthy undertone. Understated, but functional hop bitterness prevents cloying residual residual sweetness. Lightly bodied overall, with a mouthfeel that could use a touch more dextrin and protein derived viscosity. A bit over attenuated. Becomes progressively sweeter as it breathes, eventually leaves a lingering suggestion of whiskey drizzled chocolate cake. Finishes brusquely bittersweet, with quickly fleeting hints of spiked, sweetened cappachino. A unique imperial in the fact that it doesn't assualt you with aggressive roasted barley and hop character. It's rather a dangerously smooth, chocolate driven brew with balance skewed towards sweetness, (but not cloyingly so.) Relatively light on the palate, immaculately crafted and superbly drinkable.

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Photo of mikeys01
3.83/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My BBC Imperial Stout was poured from a brown 22oz bomber and poured out black as a moonless night into my glass. A little bit of medium brown head, very tight bubbles, fading quickly. Aroma is nice and sweet with hints of chocolate but strongly backed by coffee, and fairly malty. Taste is definitely initially a coffee stout flavor, but not too bold, and rounded out with light notes of chocolate and vanilla, and even a little bit of smoked malt. Very smooth and full bodied, lacks the warming sensation lent by the alcohol content in some imperial stouts, but very drinkable. I've heard the BBC Imp Stout is in the 8-9% ABV range, but I wouldn't guess it. Finishes with a nice dark sweet malt flavor. Not the most remarkable imperial I've had, but pretty nice....

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Photo of HonestWeightBeer
4.17/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From a 22oz. Bomber poured into my NERAX Imperial pint glass.

Pours pitch black with an inch of light chocolate colored head, with tiny bubbles. The head becomes a persistent coppery-tan ring aroung the edges of the glass. Strong scent of smokey, roasted malts. Tastes like ...roasted malt, chocolate, smoke and just a hint of cherries at the finish. A complex and balanced brew. Has an immediate warming effect, with very little alcohol apparent in the flavor. As it warms, the alcohol pushes into the picture, pleasantly. Mouthfeel is smooth, full, and round. Drinkability excellent. As summer swiftly turns to fall, this is a great beer to warm up with.

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Photo of UncleJimbo
4.18/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on tap at Amherst Brewing Co. as a guest tap.

This stout poured black (with hints of brown near the edges) with light brown foam that settled but clung to the glass. The smell was dark malt, molasses, and vanilla. The taste was sweet, dark malt with coffee, chocolate, molasses, caramel, chicory, and hints of vanilla. The mouthfeel was smooth and creamy and warming. The body was full with low to medium carbonation. The finish was dry. This was a good imperial stout, much better near room temperature than colder.

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Photo of goz
4.38/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour is a very dark almost black, slight garnet tinge at the very edge, Head is thick and dark tan, diminishes to a lasting dollop that laces nice on the way down. Aroma is dark roasted coffe, chocolate, grape, and cherry. Flavor is dominated with some sweet chocolate, followed with some of the cherry from the aroma. Body is full and strong, goes down smooth, and has great lasting complex flavors.

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Photo of jward
4.1/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The rather simple label -- two blokes who could be right out of Shakespeare are proudly holding up mugs -- on this 22 oz. bottle refers to the beer as "local" and "fresh"; my local retailer told me that all Berkshire products are delivered once a month, and always kept cold. The beer is dark, almost black, with a luscious, mocha- perhaps mushroom-colored head and moderate head retention. The rich, sweet smell combines chocolate, raison and a fruitness that is surprisingly tropical. The flavor is sweet and mellow, at least for the style. Hints of alchohol are detected at the finish. A solid offering from Berkshire.

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Photo of Jason
4.47/5  rDev +10.4%
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.

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Photo of Murph
4.43/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Pours blacker than night with a decnt brown head thiat sinks at a slow enough rate. Strong roasted malt and coffee aromas are present as well as some chocolateish sweetness and some alcohol notes. The brew starts off very sweet on the tongue with a lot of chocolate cake presence and some nice mocha qualities begin to emerge as well. The incredibly smooth character of the brew makes it awesomely drinkable although it is just the slightest bit thinner than I prefer my imperial to be. This would definitely be a great dessert beer but I could drink it anytime and I can't wait to get my hands on some more so that I can.

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Photo of Bierman9
4.08/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opaque black color, with a creamy, tan head. This head does stick around a bit, at about 1/4" and leaves some nice, patchwork lace. The nose exhibits rich, coffee notes, some dark fruit, and a whiff of alcohol. Real nice body; ditto on the tongue! Good semi-sweet malty flavors, again dark fruit, and a bit of a hop-kick to round things out. Got me where I'm going! Prosit!!

overall: 4.15
appearance: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | mouthfeel: 4.5 | drinkability: 4


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Photo of Todd
4.5/5  rDev +11.1%
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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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 551 ratings