Imperial Stout
Arcadia Brewing Company

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
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American Imperial Stout
3.84 | pDev: 11.72%
Arcadia Brewing Company
Michigan, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Notes: Our extraordinary Imperial Stout is black as midnight with a rich, palate-warming mouth feel. It offers an alluring aroma of dark roasted malts and blackstrap molasses with a hint of smoke. The flavor features notes of coffee, bittersweet cocoa, black licorice and hints of prune. A generous addition of hops contributes to the complexity and balance, and gives the liquid a pleasantly astringent finish. With proper aging our Imperial Stout matures for up to four years. It is the winner of a prestigious Gold Medal for Bottle Conditioned Ale at the 2002 Real Ale Festival.

OG 1090; 59 IBU
Reviews: 284 | Ratings: 472 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by FPWolff:
Photo of FPWolff
3.75/5  rDev -2.3%

More User Reviews:
Photo of Brent
3/5  rDev -21.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In tiny print on the label the vintage is a couple of years old, so it appears I may have gotten some "store aged" beer, which, for this style, should be no problem. Overall, lackluster - rather bland roasted malt and indifferent hopping. Finish was slighlty sour and thin.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.59/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Really black color, almost 3/4" of brown head on it. Looks professional. Lacing is kind of hodgepodge, a spot here, a spot there, lacks uniformity or coherence. Dark roasted malt aroma, we're two for two in terms of this beer being what it should be with no frills or surprises.

Taste is a little less RIS and a little more double stout, which is a good thing. Less dark fruit, less bitterness, more roastiness, more thickness, more viscosity. Pleasant, not challenging, while being plenty sturdy and demanding respect, you aren't going to pound this one, but its not a super hot sipper either.

Usual notes of coffee and chocolate malt, neither one being massive, throw a little bit of toffee flavors underneath it all. Mouthfeel is chewy without getting too thick and syrup like. Really is like almost every Arcadia brew I've ever had: Better than average, a solid 'good' but doesn't do anything 'great'. More oily than hoppy, more sweet than bitter. Thankfully smoother than most RIS beers. Would drink again.

Thanks to jh1982 for bringing this to a tailgate a year or so ago.

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

Pours a one finger brown head that fades quickly to a thin layer leaving some lace. Totally black color. Light carbonation and heavy bodied. Coffee/chocolate nose. Flavor is a strong roasted/burnt coffee with hints of sweet chocolate. Decent imperial stout. $2.89 for a 12oz bottle from Yankee Spirits South Attleboro, Ma. 2007 vintage.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Another random single from Binny's. It pours a straight obsidian, with minor ruby highlights when held in just the right way against some light, topped by a half-finger of tan foam. The nose comprises oats, very light roasted malts, biscuits, and light toffee. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, dark chocolate, molasses, light charcoal, light maple syrup, and oak. The body is a hefty-yearning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a thinly syrupy feel. Overall, a bit on the thin side for its power and a tad too oily for my liking. These, combined with a slightly weak smell, make for a decent, but not great, stout.

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Photo of ZAP
3.6/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A-Dark browish black with a reddish hue

S-Molasses....dark cocoa...a little rum like booziness..

T-A flavorfull but lighter style Impy....molasses and rum like booziness are in the front along with a little dark cocoa, and mild notes of black licorice..

M-Agreeable but lighter than the big hitters...creamy, smooth, and very drinkable...just too thin to be considered elite

D-Overall this is a very nice Impy but definitely a good notch below the big boys. Never-the-less this is one of the better Arcadia beers I have had and is a very drinkable Impy....I could drink a six pack of these in one nights...and I don't want to be able to do that with Imperial Stouts..I'm giving this score a 3.5 because I do like this beer but I might be giving it the benefit of the doubt.

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Photo of tatoodkelt
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Got this one from my buddy 46an2, thanks again Dan!

Consumed 12/5/2009- from notes.

Brown 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass. 2008 vintage.

A- Dark chocolatey brown, almost black topped off with about a half finger khaki head that faded pretty quick. Not much lacing.

S- Alcohol and roasted chocolate.

T- Same as the nose with a little coffee peeking through.

M- Medium to heavy, very smooth and creamy.

D- Definitely a sipper for me. A respectable RIS but probably not one I will look to have again.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.93/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Inky black appearance with no signs of light penetration. Good sized creamy brown head sits on top. Retention is adequate and lacing is actually quite full. Aromas of burnt malts, chocolate and molasses bless my nose. The flavor profile has a unique dark fruitiness to it to blend in with the smoke and char of the burnt malts and bittersweet chocolate. Overall though, the flavors are a bit subdued for an Imperial Stout. Body is not quite as full as I'd like. Maybe a little better than medium. Seems just a little too spritzy in its carbonation as well. So, I guess it's got an average mouthfeel. Everything else is good in my book though.

Thanks Evan.

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Photo of sm0key
4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of proc
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Most imperial stouts are known for their big, bold taste profiles. I'd have to say this offering from Arcadia actually may list drinkability as one of its endearing characteristics. Wonderfully strong without being overwhelming. If there was a "session" version of this style, this one would be it.

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Photo of myxomatosis
3.29/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours nice, opaque and black, with about 1/4 inch of a beautiful reddish head. Reduced to a thin head after a minute or so without lacing.

S - Strong aroma of alcohol, with a hint of dark smokiness underneath

T - Very alcoholic, with some fruity undertones. Bitter, but the flavor itself isn't very smoky.

M - Rather thin, average body. Carbonation was about average - not too much of it, and the bubbles were not coarse.

D - Best suited to sipping. Rather unlike any other stouts I've tried - very intense, but not smoky or thick.

Serving type: 12 oz.bottle poured into a mug

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Photo of Bierman9
3.62/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I snagged a single, 12oz bottle of this in January at the Georgetown Deli in Wilkes-Barre, not realizing I had already had it... Quaffed it yesterday (08JUN12) out in the 'Zebo... Noticed it was a 2007 Vintage.

Using a small tulip, the bier poured a thick, deep, dark brown. Even with a fairly hard pour there was little head to be found, just a few fine, tan bubbles at the rim and little else. The aroma smelled of molasses and dark choco, with hints of woody, bourbon-like notes. Medium bodied, I thought it could (should?) be a lt thicker. It was mostly smooth, though really more on the flattish side. Some choco was present in the flavor, with light sweetness and a bit of mocha. Had a little fig and raisin action, and maybe some cherry, too. The bottle held a good amount of sediment, though swirling it in didn't change the flavor at all. There was some subtle hopping at the finish, though all-in-all this version lacked complexity. Quite simple and meh, actually.

3.6/5 rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*** *** ***

Original review from 14NOV03:
This Imperial pours an inky, black color. Head was creamy and tan, thinning rapidly to a fine layer, with some decent lacing around the glass. Aroma displays some roasty, coffeeish notes, as well as some dark fruit and a lightly citrus-like hop tinge. Feel on the tongue was fairly smooth, and though medium in body, I felt it could have been thicker. Flavor is also roasty, with more coffee, but more heavily leaning into the realm of dark fruit such as currants and raisins. Has a light, burnt aspect to it, and adds a nice warmth to the innards. The hops at the finish are tasty and welcome, with nary a smidge of bitterness. Quite a tasty brew. Thnx to trbeer for a fine Midwest Bier! Zum Wohl!!!

overall: 4.25
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of DrDemento456
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Paid the price to try this one $3.50 for a single. Looks like it was bottled January 2012

A - Immensely dark with no light to escape. Head is minimal with only a slight ring of tan colored lace. Looks sticky.

S - Mild ashy roast, bittersweet chocolates, sugary yeasts, and some molasses.

T - Kind of reminds me of an imperial porter. You got your sweet chocolate, then your roast kicks in, but the finish is a touch chalky and bitter. It's easy enough to drink with no notable ABV but again it taste like a porter.

M - Medium to heavy in body. Not as thick as the typical style but easy enough to put away.

Overall it's quite strange but the imperial porter (which I love) taste more stout like and this imperial stout taste more like a porter. Boy do these guys make for some confusing beers!

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Photo of inebrius
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours tarry under a slippery wafer head. Nose is the perfect combination of roast barley and hop to conjure images of olive bars in fragrant produce stores. A draught gives you a tart hop roast, linear, not spectacularly complex, but still tasty. Mouthfeel is a soothing scratch. A good Imperial Stout, not quite a thought provoker, but good.

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Photo of xnicknj
3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

Photo of Chaz
4.37/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A medium-firm pour yields a two-fingered dark tan head which recedes at an average pace, leaving moderate lacing around the glass. Appears black to the naked eye.

The nose is impressive: light cocoa, a fresh espresso, and a sherry or liqueur-like fusel characteristic, and through all of this I detect a lighter note of vanilla and even lighter caramel.
Looking at this in my bulb I'm thinking "oily", but having enjoyed this lightly-chilled a day ago (while not taking notes) I know it's a lighter-bodied rendition of the style. Another thought is that the nose seems bigger than the ABV listed here.

Either way, this nose is very inviting and I'm glad I poured this one at room temperature for the review.

Soft, smooth, and sweet on the first sip this one immediately strikes me as a brew that has mellowed a bit, and there's hardly any bitterness to speak of. A lighter note of coffee and an espresso bitterness kicks in after the initial rush of sweet maltiness and light booziness (note: the chilled bottle I had poured had initially struck me as fairly 'hot').

There's a very nice roasted malt quality going on here, and it seems to blend surreptitiously an almost rum-and-cola liqueur flavor which again, makes me think this one is stronger than 8.4%, although that does nothing to diminish the drinkability or overall enjoyability of this one. Mouthfeel is very good: smooth and silky/creamy albeit no doubt a bit thinner than some would like.

A sipper, this one would pair well with a nice dark chocolate.
As this bottle has aged nicely, I look forward to acquiring a fresh sample, both for the sake of comparison and aging in the future.

(Bottled in 2006)

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Photo of jrallen34
3.3/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip.

Dark black pour with an average tan head and lace.

It smells mostly like cold coffee and dark bitter chocolate.

The taste is malty coffee with a dry finish. Not a great palate as it is almost oily. It looks much thicker than it tastes.

Overall a fine stout.

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Photo of sponberg
4.03/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage printed in about 2 point font on a snowdrift on the label. Pours opaque with a solid brown head - looks goood. Aroma of toffee, burnt caramel and toast, a little molasses... wants to be drank, so who am I to argue?

Starts with a dark caramel/toffee middle with a burnt bitterness and overtone - not obtrusive, maybe more of a dark malt thang, faint hints of pininess? A clean mineraliness cuts in about halfway, similar to that in Cadillac Mountain Stout, along with a bit of alcohol coming in. Finishes with a dark caramel and roasted barley flavor along with the mineraliness. Slightly light mouthfeel - chewy, but not big. Could enjoy a few of these.

Not the biggest RIS in the world, but a damned tasty one. Thanks to BA JeffKrenner for the bottle :thumbup:

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Photo of gnemesis
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

My 50th review! I can't believe I'm only on #50 but how sweet the journey! I found this bottle as a new addition in my bottle shop but it is vintage 2008... wonder where this has been hiding. Poured from 12oz bottle into snifter on 2/26/2011.
This ale pours a black liquid topped by a thin tan head that recedes with a quickness- no lacing. My nose immediately picks up on the sweetness. A few more sniffs and I'm engulfed in dark fruit (figs/plums), chocolate, vanilla, and a dab here and there of caramel. I don't pick up on the roasted malts until it touches my lips. More sweet chocolate, vanilla, caramel, dark fruit, bitter chocolate, roasted malts. They all pull together nicely but I do detect a bit of warming booze. This is a 2008 and it still seems a bit hot for my liking- I'd expect this from a fresh bottle but not one with some age and one of such low ABV for the style. The body on this beer seems a bit light and thin for an imperial stout as well. I prefer the thick and chewy malt monsters. This isn't a terrible offering from Arcadia but I know they can do better. The fact that the distributor just dropped off a case of 2008 vintage bottles has me scratching my head a bit and I wonder if poor storage could account for the mediocre nature of this stout. I will try again with a newer bottle and report back.

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Photo of cokes
4.08/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Vintage.

Glintless tar black with a receding cappuccino head that lingers as an edging.
Fragrant of soy sauce, molasses, plum, char, and blackberry brandy. The nose is more or less perfect, just a bit meek.
It rides a huge molasses and black currant wave into the mouth. Fudge swells up and drowns the teeth. Turns smokier, with traces of char. I remember this being more acrid burnt when fresh. Hops have largely dropped out of the picture after 2 years. It concludes with a briny wash of soy sauce, concord grape jamminess, and lingering fudge.
It galavants into the mouth fat and proud and chewy, then goes flaccid. For as much girth as it carries across the lips, it is almost lean by the time it reaches the throat. If it didn't go limp, it would really be something.
When this was fresh, it was bold and brash with huge burnt maltiness and a competing wintergreen hop electricity, and more forward alcohol vapors. It didn't entirely mesh, but it had some "experience"-beer charms. It's lost all that aggressiveness, but it's evolved into a stately, lush, and throroughly intergrated Imperial Stout. And one that's as easy to drink as any.

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4/5  rDev +4.2%

Photo of aracauna
4.25/5  rDev +10.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer, although as an imperial stout it fell short in a couple of categories. The appearance was nice. It was black, but not opaque and a reddish-brown glow could be seen around the edges. Despite being fizzy during the pour, the head was thick, longlasting and a good coffee and cream color. The aroma was nicely malty with a bit of a twang. I'd almost describe it as an aroma I've noticed on a lot of belgian strong ales, but since it didn't carry over into the flavor, maybe I imagined it. The flavor was dominated by charcoal and maybe a little smoke under that, but was supported nicely by chocolate. This one didn't fall into the trap that some imperial stouts do in not supporting the burned and heavy roasted flavors with chocolate or other softer malt flavors to flesh out the body of the flavor. In with all this malt was that cherry flavor that's common in a lot of the imperials mixed with apple peels (and a bit of apple cider). The hops come across a little thin and even a tiny bit salty. Despite the huge nose and big flavor, the beer came across a little thin for style. Of course this made it easier to drink. All in all a tasty beer, but on the light side of the style.

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Photo of toppoop
3.25/5  rDev -15.4%

Photo of TastyTaste
3.55/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Inky black body, head fades fast into near nothing, just a thin tan film.

Smell: Very chocolatey and bitter, dark chocolate and alcohol. Pungent and apt.

Taste: Rich and bold, drenched in chocolate and sharp alcohol, I think this could use a little more age, it has a fine start.

Drinkability: Not a bad glass of beer, enjoyable actually. Just a little on the raw side.

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Photo of techfed87
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

The Bottle is a 2007 vintage. Pours dense and dark, with a strong sour smell to it. It almost gives off the scent of iron or a mix of other heavy metals. While it poured in a jet black, the viscosity of it seems to be a bit lighter than similar beers of the style.

First sip was surprising. Taste was of coffee, syrupy carbon, and dark dark malt. However, there just isn't enough carbonation to really get that flavor onto your pallet without it feeling partially flat.

Other than that, the beer is very nice. Flavors are rich, mucho darko, and tantalizingly bitter. But be it my bottle or the beer in general, the lack of carbonation takes great things away from this.

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Imperial Stout from Arcadia Brewing Company
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 472 ratings