Vinatta Russian Imperial Stout
Kelsen Brewing Company

Vinatta Russian Imperial StoutVinatta Russian Imperial Stout
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Kelsen Brewing Company
New Hampshire, United States
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #29
Ranked #557
4.44 | pDev: 7.43%
Apr 25, 2022
Feb 05, 2015
Vinatta Russian Imperial StoutVinatta Russian Imperial Stout
Notes: Vinátta is a bold Russian Imperial Stout that required four separate mashes to produce one six barrel batch of beer. This beer has a big, chewy mouthful and has flavors of chocolate, prunes, leather and tobacco. This is a bold beer that pushes the limits of an already extreme beer style.

Vinátta will be brewed once every winter in limited quantities.

Friendship is about strength, longevity and working together. Vinátta, Norse for friendship, is a Russian Imperial Stout brewed by friends, to be enjoyed with friends, today, or years to come. Vinátta is a collaboration with our friend Andy Day, owner of The Drinkery and Cask and Vine.
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of Sludgeman
3.73/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by Sludgeman from District of Columbia

Too sweet for my RIS stylistic tastes. Heavy vinous notes in both the taste and aroma. Burnt malty bitterness underneath. Heavy bodied, smooth, with a semi-dry finish. I love the RIS style but this is not a favorite.

Apr 25, 2022
3.94 by tonystanhope from Florida on Apr 04, 2022
Photo of tekstr1der
4.31/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by tekstr1der from New Hampshire

Really excellent but perhaps I drank this too fresh and might have benefited from som cellaring - was a tad rough around the edges. Aroma's are amazing and align per brewer's description. Would love to grab another bottle.

Mar 07, 2022
4 by atlbravsrno1 from New Hampshire on Aug 22, 2021
4.5 by Mickt465 from New Hampshire on Mar 06, 2021
4.25 by Patches826 from Massachusetts on Jan 29, 2020
Photo of ichorNet
4.53/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by ichorNet from Massachusetts

Finally opening a 2017 bottle of this beer I've been storing away, and decided to also give it a solid review while I'm at it. Kelsen's darker beer styles have long been lauded as their most vaunted brews, and this is likely their most coveted single release. I've had it before, but only fresh... this changes now!

Pours a tar-black color with some very, very slight brownish notes around the edges. A very thin but retentive head of khaki-colored foam builds up to a half-finger at its highest point. The surface is mostly clear and devoid of bubbles, though some wisps still remain here and there. I will say that it seems the appearance of this beer varies between vintages, and it is likely that this being a couple years old could account for the poor head formation. As such, I will give it the benefit of the doubt.

The nose here is quite rich and dominated by notes of savory meat, tobacco, dark fruit, leather, earthiness, cocoa, caramel, and dark chocolate. Some light notes of fruity dark roast coffee, surprisingly-bright herbal hops, sticky pine, and toffee. This is really holding up after years of careful cellaring, I will say that. I have had some super awful beers recently from my closet of stuff I've been keeping for years, and this does not seem likely to be one of them. This already is giving me way better vibes than Vendel with a year on it, for example. I think this is likely one of the best-smelling RISes I've ever had the pleasure of enjoying.

My first sips of this cement what I thought from the nose... this is excellent with a couple years on it. It ages spectacularly, and displays prominent savory flavors combined with nice coffee and chocolate maltiness. Dark, rye-like grains with a superb spice and pine-y focus from the hops appear in the mid-palate, while dense caramel sweetness and a round, palatable mouthfeel become apparent and really help out the entirety of the experience. Dense toffee and really nice, sweet chocolate suggestions help balance the insane bitterness that this still commands after several years of maturation. I'm really impressed here, not gonna lie. The feel is smooth and velvety, with a slightly oily slickness toward the end of each sip, and a very modest showing of the intense ethanol on order here. This is definitely the best RIS I've had in a while, and it sits in such high regard without any extraneous ingredients or even any type of barrel-aging. Just a big old beer (literally, in my case)... do you dare? You should.

Jan 05, 2020
Photo of Radome
4.34/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by Radome from Florida

Tasted from a 500 ml Belgian-style bottle.

L - Opaque, deep brown color. Fluffy, long-lasting tan colored head. A very pretty beer.

S - Wonderful aromas of espresso, chocolate, smoke, oak, roasted grain. No real hops notes; yeast gives a low fruitiness.

T - Complex layers of flavors including chocolate, bitter espresso, toasted wood, sherry.

F - Medium to thick body with a creamy, silky feel. Low carbonation. Medium to high hops bitterness that pairs well with the bitterness from roasted grains. Strong alcohol burn., but not harsh because it is in good balance with the other strong sensations.

O - This is a delicious beer, overflowing with rich, deep aromas and flavors. A delicious, satisfying beer that is among the best examples of the style I've had.

Jun 27, 2019
Photo of brewandbbq
4.18/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by brewandbbq from New Hampshire

4oz sample served in a plastic cup at the source. Presents opaque black with barely a trace of tan head. Retention and lacing is minimal. Chocolate and char in the nose with hints of roast and coffee. Full bodied with a creamy, velvety mouthfeel. Brownie batter and Oreo shells on the palate. Finishes fairly dry with lingering bakers chocolate.

Nice, straight -forward RIS that's just not done justice in a small plastic cup.

Also tried 2017 on draft that was faded and oxidized with a cola-like aftertaste.

Mar 09, 2019
4.5 by KMcGrath from Massachusetts on Feb 22, 2019
4.35 by fthegiants from California on Dec 15, 2018
Photo of Holderness
4.13/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Holderness from Massachusetts

L — Pours a very dark black body with three fingers of thick pale brown head produced with aerated pour. Great retention and good lacing
S — Herbal hops, caramel, bakers chocolate, dried dark fruit, smoke, toffee
T — Intense and smokey. Lots of well roasted barley malt, caramel, molasses, dried dark fruit, and bitter herbaceous hops
F — Big mouthfeel, medium- carb. Definitely a sipper, this brew is a bruiser
O — A huge RIS that one should definitely be prepared for going into. Perhaps the most intense stout I’ve ever had


Nov 14, 2018
4.38 by Wizzle32 from Pennsylvania on Jul 14, 2018
4.44 by hozersr from Pennsylvania on Jul 14, 2018
4.48 by Wheels2532 from Pennsylvania on Jul 14, 2018
4.23 by madelf66 from Pennsylvania on Apr 26, 2018
Photo of jdhilt
4.38/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by jdhilt from New Hampshire

Pours a two finger light brown head that fades slowly leaving no lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and medium-heavy bodied. Coffee, some dark fruit nose and taste is leather, coffee, bitter cocoa. High ABV (12%) is hidden. Pricey at $13.45 for a 500ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. Bottle # 14803764.

Feb 01, 2018
4.4 by Beerbom from California on Jan 19, 2018
4.6 by Burghman from Rhode Island on Dec 26, 2017
Photo of GuitarIPA
4.22/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by GuitarIPA from Connecticut

Great RIS thick, rich, root beer, chocolate and coffee - but very sweet

Oct 28, 2017
4.34 by PhineasMcClintock from Massachusetts on Sep 30, 2017
4.41 by jroof1 from Massachusetts on Sep 15, 2017
Photo of Damian
4.33/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Damian from Massachusetts

Drank from a 1 pt., 0.9 fl. oz. bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Belmont, MA
2017 vintage
Bottle # 14803259
Served in a snifter

Review #1400

Very dark brown, bordering on black, appearance. Medium bodied for the style. The oily liquid was topped by a creamy, frothy, khaki colored head that slowly fell to a thick bubbly mass. A curtain of spotty lacing coated the glass.

The nose was really rich and robust. Big roasted malt and sweet caramel notes were immediately noticeable. Loads of fresh coffee too. I am shocked that this beer does not contain actual coffee. Strong milk and dark chocolate notes. Boozy but not at all hot. There was a powdery yeasty quality as well. Dark fruits were also apparent. Plums and raisins for sure. Touch of brown sugar.

The flavor profile was also quite interesting and complex but somewhat rougher around the edges. Malty and rich up front. Nice mix of roasted and sweet caramel malts and some brown sugar notes. The roast profile intensified as the beer moved along the palate. Slightly smoky in the center. Raisin and plums were also apparent. Acrid, bitter roast and sharp piney hop notes rounded things out in the finish. Moderately boozy. Some ashiness lingered on the palate after the swallow. As the beer sat, both the roast and hoppy notes mellowed out.

Nice creamy, frothy mouthfeel. Medium bodied for the style. The liquid contained a moderate effervescence. Slick and smooth on the palate. Solid.

Vinatta Russian Imperial Stout is a robust and complex Russian imperial stout and an excellent traditional representation of the style. In a beer landscape where almost every notable stout is either barrel aged or coffee infused, it is refreshing to try an unadulterated take on the style. That said, my six-plus month old bottle seemed a bit raw. Perhaps another year-plus in the cellar could smooth out some of this beer's rougher edges and transform it into something truly magical.

Aug 24, 2017
Photo of TheDoctor
3.77/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by TheDoctor from Canada (QC)

Serving: Bottle
Bottled: 2017

Pours a robust jet black with a couple fingers of khaki mousse. Decent retention; some lacing. (4)

Spiced malt aroma, fairly roasty, brown sugar. (3.75)

Wood, coffee, hard water, alcoholic warmth. (3.75)

Full body with a thinnish feel light carbonation and a roasty finish. (3.75)

This is a pretty good beer.
It is a roasty, thick, boozy stout but nothing really pops and it is a little thin. Kind of an okay/cinnamon astringency throughout and the alcohol comes through as well. It would be better with a little more rich roast notes but it isn't bad, either. As it warms up to room temp some chocolate comes out but not enough for my tastes. (3.75)

Aug 13, 2017
4.49 by Jasons483 from New Hampshire on Jul 28, 2017
Photo of Dope
4.29/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by Dope from Massachusetts

Batch 2/7, whatever that means?

A: Pitch-black pour with a tall dark brown head. Head is thick and long-lasting, the lacing not so much. Just little specks here and there.

S: Burnt toast and cocoa immediately. Some dark fruit like figs and prunes.

T: Charry burnt toast up front with a backing of prunes. A touch of dark chocolate at points. Finish is leathery with lots of prunes and a touch of star anise, especially in the aftertaste. Hints of smoke here and there randomly. Very very little heat despite the 12% ABV.

M: Super thick, chewy, ultra silky.

O: Definitely a true RIS. It has pretty much every flavor stuffed into one stout. Not just a chocolate bomb or a coffee bomb, it's got the whole kitchen sink in here. Mouthfeel is off the charts and there is little harshness. Great beer, it feels very traditional and it sticks to the style well.

Jul 27, 2017
Photo of cmurphy7
3.9/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by cmurphy7 from Massachusetts

a very smooth imperial stout from Kelsen. Despite the 12% ABV, it is very drinkable. rich malty scent and a lighter mouth feel than most heavier stouts. While the alcohol strength comes on in on the nose, but leaves in the finish which leaves a nice aftertaste.

Jul 15, 2017
4.12 by American_Hawk from Massachusetts on Jun 22, 2017
4.23 by mortgardner from New Hampshire on Jun 18, 2017
Photo of Lingenbrau
4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by Lingenbrau from Oregon

Pours pitch black with dark brown highlights and an almost non-existent dark tan ring of of a head. Smells of lightly toasted sweet dark bread (think squaw), and brown sugar, with a hint of alcohol. Taste follows with a big helping of roasted coffee beans and some earthiness, a touch of dark fruits, and elevated alcohol presence as it warms. Feel is very balanced starting sweet, finishing dry and bitter with mild to moderate carbonation. Overall, this is a well made RIS, and I am always happy to experience non barrel aged offerings of this quality. Cheers and thanks again Tim!

May 31, 2017
3.94 by Mikeypnh from New Hampshire on May 29, 2017
Photo of jzeilinger
4.34/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

Many thanks to SawDog505 for this beer!

A - Pitch black pour with a frothy, thick lacing.

S - Milk chocolate, cocoa, roast, oak, creme.

T - Cherry, milk chocolate, cocoa, light oak, delicate creme, dark fruit, mild lingering cocoa bitterness.

M - Rich and full bodied, thick, creamy.

O - This is an AMAZING beer that's under the radar. I want more. 'Nuff said.

May 24, 2017
4.19 by Knapp85 from Pennsylvania on May 24, 2017
4.42 by KellenPsych from New Hampshire on May 18, 2017
4.41 by Bunuelian from Minnesota on Apr 25, 2017
3.95 by trevorpost from Pennsylvania on Apr 09, 2017
Photo of dpgoblejr
4.95/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75
by dpgoblejr from New Hampshire

Very dark brown pour with a frothy tan head. Layers of tiny carbonation bubbles wash along the sides of the glass. Aroma of dark fruits, bittersweet chocolate, and tobacco. Amazing flavors of prune, leather, coffee, chocolate, roast, malt and anise all come together beautifully. The thick, soft, crewy mouthfeel is unreal and almost unbelievable. Everything comes full circle in Vinatta and a classic RIS shines brilliantly. Overall, I must say this may be the best RIS's I've ever had!

Apr 02, 2017
4.2 by 7irondave from Massachusetts on Apr 01, 2017
4.5 by Vicirus from Massachusetts on Mar 26, 2017
4.78 by BigSmooth12 from Massachusetts on Mar 03, 2017
Vinatta Russian Imperial Stout from Kelsen Brewing Company
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 93 ratings