Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout | Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.

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Berkshire Russian Imperial StoutBerkshire Russian Imperial Stout
557 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: 557 |  Reviews: 316
Photo of Truh
4.15/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Let none of this pass the lips of the official taster on 2/16/2005. 1 pt. 6 fl. oz. bomber poured twice in a shaker glass.

Finger of thick, multifaceted head that gives way to just a covering sheen with piling on the edges. Black on black hue, even when held inches from a lamp's bulb, scorching hairs on knuckles. Roasted oats, caramel, brown sugar sweetness, and chocolate pudding on nose. Roastiness hits and coats the inner-outer circumference of the oral cavity, with a dark malt fencing setting up behind the teeth; espresso roast caulking filters in and a trailing alcohol warming feints through. Quality ale.

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Photo of Hibernator
4.48/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I had this out of a 22 oz brown bottle and served in a tulip glass. Freshness date cleary notched on the side of the label for November. I'm assuming this is for 2004, but at 8.5% ABV this beer should be just fine a few months after this date...if anything maybe a little better.

Pours a jet black color with an attractive light brown head on top. Light brown sticky lacings cling on the side of the glass.

Aroma of roasted dark malts, coffee and chocolate.

Fully roasted coffee beans and dark chocolate flavors blend. Doughy chocolate chip cookie with fudge chunks and sweet cream melt on the palate. This is one smooth imperial stout. Very, very drinkable at 8.5 % ABV.

Awesome beer...check this out if you see it. I will certainly buy a few more of these bombers in the near future.

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Photo of carln26
4.57/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep brown to black in color with ruby highlights and a reasonable tan colored head. Little lace was left on the side of the glass. Roasted malt in the front of the nose with chocolate overtones and a hint of cherry. The taste is a nice balance of roast malt, the chocolate I detected in the nose and more of a black cherry flavor (rather than bing cherry . The hops just brighten the flavor some, and blend in well. Mild warming and a silky mouth feel lend to a great drinakbility. Very nice beer.

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Photo of bditty187
4.32/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black in hue with ruby influences around the edges, opaque in the middle, the color is typical for the style. The head was beige in color; at the apex the foam was less then one finger in height and it quickly fizzed away to a thin collar, it managed to this with quite a bit of nose, Fred Eckhardt would’ve been proud. Sadly, there was no subsequent lacing of note. There isn’t anything noteworthy about the appearance, the color is, well, nothing special and the beer had foam issues. This aspect of the beer could be improved. The nose offers a well-constructed and somewhat restrained blast of chocolate and coffee with a trace of milk sweetness. There are kisses of berry and even some alcohol. I’m surprised how little the alcohol is noticed in the nose. I guess Avery didn’t brew this beer. *double-checking the label* Yep, BBC. I should have known that based on the craftsmanship. The nose is lovely but simplistic. I find it likable and inviting but it is far from great. I want Imperial Stouts to be angry and assertive (or if traditionally brewed, like this one is, deep in aroma). Clean. Pleasant. The nose smelled non-Americanized and the palate confirms that notion. With that noted, the taste is excellent. This Imperial Stout is not a hop monster with an insane amount of citrus flavors. The malt construction is the important feature on this beer. The astringency is mild from start to finish and this allows a soft but delicious chocolate and coffee base to tickle my tastebuds. There is a good jolt of sweetness almost towards the finish yet at no point is this beer too sweet, the hops are bold enough to create a very balanced and firm taste. It is solid from start to finish, it doesn’t waiver for the worse but it does grow deep at any point either. In other words, from start to finish this beer tastes the same. Thankfully it tastes good! The alcohol is light. Amazing! I like the berry-like fruitiness. The finish is like a cup of coffee and a piece of Black Forest cake with a side of raspberry jam. Yummy. Medium-full in body, the carbonation is moderate but every natural, the mouthfeel is very pleasant. It is soothing yet amble and that fits the flavor profile perfectly. Excellent. This was a very enjoyable quaff. I love the fact the hops are restrained and the alcohol is absent. That makes this beer perfectly drinkable. On the whole this beer gives me a dessert vibe, sometimes Imperial Stouts need meat, this one needs a super rich cheesecake. Oh man that thought just made my mouth water! This is yet another excellent beer by this brewery. Thank you ppoitras for the bomber, this was yet another great addition to Secret Santa 2004.

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Photo of bigbeerdrinka
4.05/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew pours a motor oil black color with slight ruby hues and a head that dissapears quite quickly. Aromas consist of beautiful dark chocolate along with expresso and just a hint of roast. There is also some strong alcohol in the background. Flavors start off sweet and chocolatey with fine expresso like quality. There are hints of dark fruits in the mix but a decent roast flavor overwhelms them. There is absolutely no astringency to be found even with all the heavy malty flavors which is a plus. The finish to this brew is sweet and almost plummy with just a tiny bitter hop ending. The carbonation to this brew was light and tingly but the mouthfeel was just a bit light in the end. Overall quite a nice Imperial stout, especially to start people off for the style. Could you just a little more roast and a little less chocolate, but still very nice.

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Photo of edchicma
4.2/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark as night with a decent initgial head...laces very nicely. Smell is a nice blend of smoke and amlt with alcohol hints. Taste is rich blend of smoke, burnt malt, light hoppiness...excellent...full bodied and almost chewy. A dry finish caps the substantial mouthfeel. Extremely drinkable for the higher excellent choice for winter. Berkshire does another fine job.

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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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Berkshire Russian Imperial Stout from Berkshire Brewing Company Inc.
Beer rating: 4.05 out of 5 with 557 ratings