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 Sammy
3.36/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Dieu du Ciel's Japan taps special. Black body with some white head. Above average carbonation. Chocolate and coffee, centennial and amarillo hops, giving it an American experience. A bit of mould in there. Was not very complex, this is a fresh tap yet did not display its best on tour.

 295 characters

Photo of Texasfan549
3.69/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.95/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black with a 1/2 inch beige head that fades to a film of foam. Thin scraggly rings of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smells of dark roasted malts, caramel, and some citrus zest hops. Cocoa powder and slight coffee aromas emerge as the beer warms. Taste is of dark roasted malts, dark cocoa powder, caramel, with a slight hop finish. Mild bitterness lingers on the palate after each sip. There is a low level of carbonation with this beer which makes for a somewhat thick and creamy mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good RIS and my first beer from Baird. It's very interesting that this is an American owned brewery in Japan. I will be seeking out more beers from this company for sure.

 711 characters

Photo of nmann08
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

On draft, pours jet black, very still, looks like used motor oil, a little head, but not much.

The smell is alot of roast, dark chocolate, bitter coffee rinds, nutty, and just a bit of fruity hops. The flavor is roast bitter chocolate, rice, toast, roasted malts and a little licorice. It comes together well for an easy drinking finish. The alcohol is hidden well, but a few of the flavors (rice note) come out too strong for me.

This makes me think of an American beer more than what I would expect from Japan.

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Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

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.

 2,251 characters

Photo of biboergosum
4.06/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

633ml bottle. Dark Sky - a very appropriate name for an RIS. The label artwork does this moniker justice in its usual restrained grandeur.

This beer pours a thorough, seamless black, save some slight mahogany basal edges when thrust into the light, and gives up two fat fingers of thick, foamy beige head, which leaves a solid paint job of lace around the glass in its wake.

It smells of bittersweet chocolate malt, some weirdly fleshy, earthy fruit, a musty woodiness, soft caramel notes, and mild floral, weedy hops. The taste is toasted caramel malt, orchard fruit-flecked milk chocolate, sweet red grapes, rosewater, bitter floral hops, and a slightly boozy undertone.

The carbonation is well sedated - barely a frothy tic to be had for a dime - the body full in weight, smooth, and somewhat creamy, offset by some minor hop astringency. It finishes quite sweet, the fruity malt most predominant, with more Ottoman confection, bitter hops, and a sidling alcohol heat rounding things out.

A very drinkable version of the style - that bizarro-world fruitiness contributing to an enjoyably skewed big beer experience, one that is hardly affected by the near 10 points of ABV. Worth trying out, if only to see what might have happened if the Russkies looked the other way on the map for this brew.

 1,303 characters

Photo of kojevergas
2.1/5  rDev -44.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

633ml brown glass bottle with standard pressure cap served into a Guinness goblet in low altitude Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Acquired at Wally's Wine in Westwood, California. Expectations are average. Served refrigerator cold and allowed to warm over time. Not paired with food.

A: Pours no head whatsoever - excepting traces of floating tan foam on the edges. Colour is a solid off-black. Not real appealing, especially for the style. 9.00% doesn't excuse how bad/nonexistant this head is. The colour is suspect; it isn't quite black.

Sm: Roast and hops. Some light chocolate. Caramelized malt. A light to mild strength aroma overall.

T: Some roast and caramel alongside some hops. Imbalanced and badly built for the style. The lack of sufficient carbonation lends it a watery character, and it might even be a bit astringent. Some alcohol does come through. The hops are nice. I don't like it.

Mf: Horribly undercarbonated/flat. Smooth and wet. Too thick; a bit syrupy.

Dr: Difficult to drink because of its bad flavour and lack of carbonation. Not in any way refreshing. The ABV is poorly concealed. I'd never get this again, and I'll be regarding any future beers from this brewer with heavy skepticism. Inexcusable. This beer never should have made it to market.

D

 1,293 characters

Photo of oline73
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of largadeer
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Photo of zestar
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Photo of dmorgan310
4.02/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of ygtbsm94
3.81/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Aroma dark chocolate, molasses, faint dark fruit, vanilla, & nuttiness. Taste sweet malt & chocolate, vanilla, licorice, tobacco.

129 characters

Photo of chinchill
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle served in a goblet.

Pours very dark brown, near black and opaque in the glass. Little head or lacing, and the head is too bubbly.

Aroma: rich, nicely complex and very appealing. A bit boozy with hints of licorice and molasses.

Flavor: robust, rich, refined and well-balanced. Leans slightly towards sweet. Very good mix of dark fruit and roasted grain flavors with some suitable alcohol booziness and a touch of coffee and licorice.

Feel: full body with soft, low carbonation leaning towards flat.

Overall: excellent

 538 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.52/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hmm. I would never have guessed this was from Japan. But anyway. Standard stout appearance, dark brown-black--might as well call it black--with a small cap of tan head that receded to a ringlet, leaving some spotty lacing on the glass. Dark roasty malts in the nose, toasted pumpernickel, some vaguely citrus hop notes. Similar in the taste, roasted malts, toasted dark bread, spent coffee grounds, touch of smoke, anise and raisins, faint but noticeable hoppy oils. Body was medium, maybe a tad thin for the style. Decent overall, but nothing I'd see myself going back for.

 574 characters

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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Photo of smcolw
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Great start to the beige head. Oddly, it collapsed in the middle. Thin stringy lace after each each sip. Near black in color, no light shines through.

Clear chalky, chocolate aroma. Subtle sweetness.

The flavor has a touch of coffee and dark chocolate. Light hop gives more interest to the bitter flavor. The aftertaste comes closer to chocolate milk with a mild bitterness. Relatively thin body with moderate carbonation. Overall, an easy to drink Imperial Stout that is not on the extreme side.

 499 characters

Photo of Gkruszewski
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of johnnnniee
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours solid black in color with a huge fluffy khaki head that shows great retention and lace. Smells predominately of dark fruits, cherries and berries mixed with a little chocolate and roast. Earthy hops cut through some of the malt to balance things out a bit. Taste is a bit vinous. Roasted grains have been used sparingly but are present enough to provide some chocolate and coffee flavors. Caramel, fruit, and burnt sugar round out the flavors quite nicely. Medium to thick body, creamy smooth mouthfeel, Light level of carbonation. Wow this is a really good stout. Reminds me of Expedition a bit, well what I remember it to be. I didn't really get the torrential hop downpour that was promised me from the side of the label, but with no bottle dating I have no idea how fresh this is. Honestly its drinking great right now.

 829 characters

Photo of RblWthACoz
3.4/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Eh. This beer lack balance. Too malty tangy with a sweet edge that just doesn't work. There are some mild smoked tones that don't mesh well at all. It's lacking and poorly constructed. Doesn't work at all for me. A shame too, considering the price.

 248 characters

Photo of liamt07
3.65/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by Steve and Zach, 633ml into some tulips.

Poured black with a tan coloured head, some sticky lace and a creamy cap of retention. Nose has alot of hops, big black licorice notes and molasses. Soy and some dark fruits come through as well - some currant and stone fruits. Taste has more sweet licorice notes and hops which battle on the front end of the sip, before giving way to strong coffee and espresso like notes. Finish is sweet and roasty, with some alcohol. Medium full feel, with medium carbonation. Roasty coffee notes extend wayyy into the finish. A bit too hoppy for my liking within the style however.

 628 characters

Photo of afsdan
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of wrightst
4/5  rDev +5.8%

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 Latarnik
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

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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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