Dark Sky Imperial Stout | Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom

BA SCORE
85
very good
137 Ratings
THE BROS
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Dark Sky Imperial StoutDark Sky Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom
Japan
bairdbeer.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by UncleJimbo on 03-01-2005

BEER STATS
Ratings:
137
Reviews:
77
Avg:
3.78
pDev:
11.64%
 
 
Wants:
6
Gots:
12
For Trade:
0
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 137 |  Reviews: 77
Photo of mpenske
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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Photo of PorterLambic
4.6/5  rDev +21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a deep, extremely dark, brown. A dark tan head (think of a mug of hot chocolate) rises big and creamy looking. Dissipation is even and not too quick but a thick film is all that remains after three minutes. Decent lace, though.
Smell is rich with notes of roasted malt, soy, whiskey-soaked raisins and whole wheat bread. Very fruitcake-y.
Taste is notes of malt and soy, whiskey, wheat, dark fruit, light smoke, coffee and faint hops.
Rich and smooth, creamy and full-bodied with a very light effervescence. Slightly dry finish with a coating of the palate. Aftertaste is a nice slow fade, warming in the back of the throat. An extremely good beer. Drink one.

 665 characters

Photo of Cyberkedi
4.58/5  rDev +21.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first whiff of this beer was surprisingly yeasty, but subsequent sniffs caught the aroma of a good imperial stout: smoky with tones of roast coffee, molasses and unsweet chocolate, as well as a hint of miso. It pours a rich, opaque sable with a fairly thick, fine-bubbled tan head that leaves quite a bit of lacing. Mouth filling smoky flavor has tones of quality coffee, chocolate, caramel, licorice and toffee. There is also a fair alcohol kick, but this complements the rich flavor rather than overwhelming or even dominating it. Flavor is quite tingly and edgy, hardly smooth, thanks to a strong fizz and the alcohol bite. Recommended to all stouties.

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Photo of Huboluv
4.52/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of djeyez
4.5/5  rDev +19%

Photo of redfox405
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Hoppsbabo
4.45/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

* I think mine was aged because the label was different from the current one.

A: Impenetrable black body with a small beige head.

S: Chocolatey with fruity hops – American smelling.

T: Intense but mild if that's possible. Very chocolatey and not very bitter at all. It's certainly American in character. It's hoppy and fruity with smokey fudge in the aftertaste. Tart as well.

O: By a mile the best beer I've had from Japan. Really lovely. Wish I bought a few.

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Photo of basica
4.43/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at Baird Beer Nakameguro Taproom in Nakameguro, Tokyo, Japan - http://bairdbeer.com/en/taproom/nakameguro-taproom

A - Tapped a jet black color into a small taster glass yielding a large, round milky tan head (4.5)

S - Fresh roasted malts with some smokiness on the nose (4)

T - Pleasant leathery flavors upfront with roasted malts showing up in the middle; hop sneak in towards the finish, lasting well into the after taste along with roasted malts and a moderate bitterness. Generally very delectable stout flavors but more pronounced on the leather tastes than most stouts I have tried (4.5)

M - Light to medium bodied with an apt amount of carbonation and a very creamy smooth texture; I would prefer a slightly thicker body for this style. Goes down extremely quickly and easily (4)

D - One of the most refreshing Imperial Stout you can find; great flavors and mouth feel lends credence to its wonderful drinkability (5)

This was the second of 3 beers I sampled at Baird's Nakameguro Taproom. The other 2 beers I had were the Jubilation Ale 2010 and the West Coast Wheat Wine

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Photo of madpentzer
4.35/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed off notes from a tasting at Beer U: Craft Beer Around the World at Stone Brewery.

A - Pours black, almost like motor oil, with a dark tan finger of head.

S - Aroma's of dark chocolate, coffee, and heavily roasted malts.

T - Lots of different flavors in this one. First, I pick up the roasted malts, almost as if they were smoked. Then, that is followed by chocolate and coffee.

M - This is thick, but not too much so. Has some carbonation, just enough to make it not flat.

O - This is by far the best beer I've had from Japan. Makes me want to travel there to check out the fishmarket taproom. Perfect to sip on with some dark chocolate or on its own.

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Photo of Bokonon
4.33/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of YouSkeete
4.3/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Thick, dark, and cloudy black with a one finger dark tan head. Weak retention on the head, fades into bubbles and turns quickly into moderate lacing.

S: Big molasses and caramel upfront. Notes of sweet dark chocolate, bitter coffee and dark fruits with some hints of black malts and smooth barley. Roasted nuttiness and wood in the aroma as well.

T/M: Smooth bittersweet chocolate, dark black malts and molasses on the taste upfront. Nutty flavors and aged wood give a full flavor to the body, while chocolate, vanilla and coffee flavors allow a balance of sweetness. The taste of heavy cream and cloves also gives a smooth sweetness to the body. The fruits that were in the nose are scarce in the body. The 9% ABV is perfect for this brew. Nice moderate carbonation, medium body. Sweet, flavorful and moderately complex.

D: Highly impressed with this Imperial. Amazing drinbkability, maybe a bit strong on the level of sweetness, but nothing i can hate on. Very well done, Japan.

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Photo of BEERchitect
4.27/5  rDev +13%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

And so the brewery at the foot of Mount Juji borrows Russian influence when adapting the roasty, alcoholic, and robustly flavors found in stout that shows that there's no limit to the flavors or techniques that influence their beers.

With a certain stouty appearance, the Dark Sky carries a nearly black coloration, if ever so tilted toward brownish hues because of the stain of roasted barley. A turbulent pour from the large format bottle yields a much lighter than expected carbonation that struggles to find a cask-like loosely knit head that's equally stained with tan. After relaxing a bit, the head settles like coffee creme and skirts the surface of the beer intermittently yet consistently.

The aromas of coffee and chocolate swirl about the nose with impressions of coffeehouse mocha lattes. Diving a bit deeper, the underpinnings of scorched toffee, rum-ish alcohol, and esters that belong to cherries, raspberries, vinous red grapes, and tawny port come to mind in the most savory and succulent aromas possible.

With a first draw off the rim, the flavors of the beer seem scattered with the taste of roasted coffeeish grain, cocoa powder, and ash. But as the subtle carbonation evens out, the beer reasonably light zest of carbon dioxide allows the beer to sit heavy on the tongue with an evenly and velvety coat of malt afterwards. Brownie batter, decedent espresso, and heavily caramelized molasses cling to the surface of the mouth with smothering charm.

Where the label boasts the integration of hop flavor and bitterness, I find those elements to be moderate if not understated. The bitterness of the beer are easily rendered from the coffee roast as much as it is from woodish hops. While pleasantly bitter and slightly astringent with the texture of grape skin and grain tannin, the finish is indefinite and powers through the warm alcohol thinning for a linger of robustly sweet malts that meld seamlessly with the next sip.

The pop of the cap provided the assurance of carbonation, but the pour caused caution to the eye. However, the beer's understated carbonation actually accents beer flavor in all its glory and all its flaws. In other words, the seduction of carbonation eludes the beer and leaves it wonderfully naked.

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Photo of pstam87
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BretSikkink
4.22/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Side note: the label on this beer is absolutely gorgeous. This is very fine quality, from the pleasing color palate of the Meiji style painting to the matte finish of the paper. Baird means business.

Dark, oily looking liquid. Moving right up to the cusp of black and sticking a toe out. The foam builds some momentum from large bubbles to a fairly tightly packed brown head. After the first glass, some lacing is evident, and more follows. Looks like there are some hops in this beverage!

The nose is quite strong, with elements of roasted barley, dark fruit, and the unmistakable waft of American hops. Coffee and caramel play off each other, figs and raisins dance 'round the fire, and for complexity there's a large dosage of peppery, spicy hops that lend a nice pine, herbal edge. A lot of character in the nose; I'm really impressed.

The flavor is the equal of the nose, which is wonderful. Chocolate is more apt than coffee as a descriptor, although it would definitely be bittersweet. Caramel and toffee also make an appearance, later in the flavor cycle. There is an herbal component as well - the hops are quite prominent and earthy. Star anise is somewhere in the mix, with a tiny bit of mouth-numbing going on. Is this as complex and palate-shattering as the best R.I.S.s on the planet? Maybe not. But it's very well balanced, and there's plenty of complexity and character to go around.

Smooth, velvety soft mouthfeel. Not hugely full, but definitely solid. The finish is acrid and burnt, and lasts long. Alcohol is prominent, but not over the top of all the other outgoing characteristics. The generally large amount of bitterness start to finish caused the "low" score in drinkability - I actually really like it, but I'm not looking to drink more than the 533 cL provided me.

Dark Sky is a really well put together beer. It's going up against some nasty competition amongst other members of its style, but I would bring this to a tasting with The Abyss, Speedway, and Peche Mortel. It's really terrific, and if you see one, don't sleep.

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Photo of chanokokoro
4.21/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Fairly aggressively oured from a 12 oz. bottle into an unbranded snifter

A Russian imperial stout brewed in Japan at Baird Brewing Company located near Mt. Fuji. As someone who is very interested in Japanese culture and history and craft beer this brew is of great interest.

Pours an extremely dark motor oil brown capped by a fluffy beige two finger head that slowly reduces to a substantial foam ring. Above average retention, a good amount of splotchy lacing along the glass. Big roasted malt and grain, bakers chocolate, burnt raisins and some espresso notes. Opens with strong dark chocolate, black cherry, roasted barley and grain, dried dark fruit and some port accents. Finishes with abundant bitter hop notes, espresso, and bittersweet cocoa powder and a bit of warming alcohol. Lighter side of full bodied with a fairly high level of carbonation when compared with other Russian Imperial Stouts, smooth and slick. A very solid RIS. A bit lighter bodied than some other brews in the style, but fairly complex and definitely a brew that is worth revisiting. Kampai, indeed!

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Photo of rhoadsrage
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a bubble sticky film swirling on top. There is a gentle carbonation of tiny bubbles that glide to the surface.
S- This beer has a smooth roasted black malt aroma with a deep red wine quality to it and a black grain hint in the finish. T- This beer has as big roasted chocolate flavor with a dark cola notes underneath. There is a red wine quality without the tannins. This beer has a slight tang in the finish with a roasted note and a nice bitter black note. There is a bourbon note without any booziness.
M- This beer has a medium-light mouthfeel with no alcohol heat and a texture that coats the mouth with each sip.
D- This beer has full flavor but all the mellow qualities making it mysterious smooth and good depth in subtly. There is a dark malt richness that still shows of the subtle complexities.

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Photo of philipquarles
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an extremely dark brown with a substantial, light brown head. Nice lacing. Smells of coffee, cocoa, and dark fruit. Dark, biscuity malt with very light alcohol burn. Dark roasty, almost burnt malt taste, with coffee and chocolate again. Raisins and brown sugar. Slight warming alcohol. Full bodied. Nice, refined stout that doesn't beat you over the head with extreme flavors.

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Photo of u2carew
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A) Poured from a 22oz bomber. 99% opaque, 1% reddish hue. Thin creamy, tan head. Great lacing.
S) Roasted barley, chocolate, and a touch of caramel sweetness.
T) Smoky, slight alcohol effervescence, and a nice toffee sweetness.
M) Creamy, chewy, and hearty. Definitely a full bodied brew.
D) A well crafted and delicious stout.

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Photo of jdhilt
4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a two finger khaki head that fades quickly to ring layer, leaving some lace. Black color, no highlights. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Chocolate nose and flavor is roasted malty chocolate. High ABV is hidden. Not labeled a RIS but tastes like one. $9.99 for a 633ml bottle from Beverage Warehouse Winooski, Vt.

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Photo of bnes09
4.16/5  rDev +10.1%

Photo of pat61
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%

Winey and malty aromas, burnt grain, coffee
Bright dark brown under a 1" rocky tan tinted off-white foam cap.
Palate: It has the malt which starts at first but then it blossoms into a coffee, burnt grain astringency. The malt is a bit different here than in some of the other Imperial stouts. The roastiness of the grain is more prominent – it is a little drier and thinner than some of the other Imperial Stouts but then at the same time the flavors are very deep. There is some caramel in the flavor.
Medium to a shade less on the body, medium to medium high carbonation.

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Photo of Snow81
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black as night with no light penetrating my beer

Head: Supper thick brown head

Smell: Dark roosted burnt malts with hints of coco and hints of a deep black liquorish

Taste: Roosted burnt malts, raisins, and butter coco

Weight: Medium to low body and very low carbonation

Finish: Roosted malts and floral hops

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
4.15/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours as a bible black libation.
a small but long lived head

The nose gave off hints of coffee and toasted malt.

The flavor is/was a nice round "saftig" melange of toasted malt, hints of coffee, chocolate,
hops and everything else to "round out" an imperial stout.

A nice cordial mouthfeel followed the flavor hit.

My criticism is that it doesn't quite have the flavor "Whack" or the "gravitas" of a Russian imperrial-- it's in a way a little "soft" or maybe "pillowy"... yes all the ingredients are there of the Imperial Stout flavor.. even the 9% ABV but somehow the tires aren't fully inflated..

But don't get me wrong-- the strong overwhelming flavor "punch" of an imperial stout has its place. But this beer has its strong points-- it's when I'm not ready to duke it out with an "in your face" beer but I want the heavy stance of an "Imperial"-- here it is..

Then I took a look at where it's from-- and WOW! Usually "American Adjunct alikes" come from this place!

I purchased but one bottle- I'm going back for more...

I like I like I like..

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Photo of SargeC
4.12/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Slightly hazy, black brew. Almost has a touch of grey. Minimal tan head.

Smell: Bold roast malt, cherries, fig and alcohol. Undertone of hops for good measure.

Taste: Very dense malt flavor balanced well with a touch of hops. Semi sweet with a warm wave provided by the alcohol.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Not as sticky as many imperial stouts. The alcohol is evident in the mouthfeel.

Drinkablity: Very complex and tasty. It was a treat to find a well crafted imperial stout in Japan.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.1/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Winter '09 release. Midnight black with miniscule highlights on this overcast early summer morning. An increasingly elevated pour produced a bubbly crown of brown sugar colored cream that has plenty of interesting surface topography. Small spots and dots of lace do nothing to dampen my enthusiasm for the appearance. To be fair, a clingy sheet of thick lace sticks to the opposite side of the glass in the end.

The nose will be good if it opens up with warming (it does). There's a generous amount of roasted maltiness and fruity hoppiness. The latter is somewhat unusual at more than one year of age, but indications are that this RIS was pretty highly hopped right out of the gate.

Dark Sky Imperial Stout is good beer if you love the lupulins. It tastes and feels like it has both less malt and more hops than the style average. Some won't care for that slant on things, but my taste buds are fully onboard.

Specifics include bittersweet chocolate, black coffee, blackstrap molasses, raisin paste and a heapin' helpin' of grapefruit and lemon zest. There's almost certainly one or more of the American hop varieties (probably starting with the letter 'C') in this Japanese Russian Imperial stout.

The flavor is reminiscent of Bear Republic Big Bear Black, but isn't as abrasively hoppy (at this late date anyway). Warming doesn't change much, though it does fill the beer out a bit and creamify it as well. Alcohol is almost completely buried, which is no mean feat at 9.0%.

Dark Sky Imperial Stout follows the trail blazed by most of the BBC offerings that I've had so far. In other words, it's good to very good, without being outstanding. If you like the combination of roasted malt and American hops, seek this one out.

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Dark Sky Imperial Stout from Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom
3.78 out of 5 based on 137 ratings.
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