Dark Sky Imperial Stout | Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom

very good
138 Ratings
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Dark Sky Imperial StoutDark Sky Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom

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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 138 |  Reviews: 77
Photo of shigg85
3.59/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tried this again after a few years, and I found it to be really sugary. That's pretty much it. It's a tasty stout, but I look for something more than that in a Russian with 10% ABV.

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Photo of SawDog505
2.68/5  rDev -29.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured into a 20 oz Duvel tulip. Pours a very dark brown with a half inch of tan head with a very aggressive pour, little nervous something isn't right with this brew, but there is some spotty lacing. Smell is chocolate, coffee, molasses, and tobacco. Taste is dark chocolate, coffee, tobacco, and dark fruit. Body is thin, very little carbonation, dry even for the style, and not overly drinkable because of lack of life and body. Very big let down and I really don't think it was a spoiled bottle, because there was some carbonation and some lacing. First time ever saying this, but this my last bottle of this ever.

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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 Jhatwig
4/5  rDev +5.8%

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.


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Photo of jondeelee
3.92/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Sky opens with a malty, yeasty nose that also bears a slight sourness, as of rising sourdough bread or marble rye dough. Black and chocolate malts are dominant, as are dark and sour fruit esters such as black cherry, fig, raisin, and prune. Some of the sour aromas may stem from a large hop addition, which does bring lemon/lime notes, as well as some grapefruit. As a whole, the nose is potent and nicely geared towards darker aromas, with just enough ash and tobacco to bring a smoky quality to what promises to be a sugary, chewy mouthful.

On the tongue, the beer opens with the same strangely sour notes detected in the nose, as in sourdough breads, lemon/lime sodas, and dandelion stems, these backed by a massive black and chocolate malt base that adds huge black coffee, tobacco, ash, and burnt offerings to the mix. The sourness lasts throughout the mouthful, not irritating or offputting, but definitely strange, as in when bright garlic-lemon collard greens are paired with the blackened ends of a well-done roast. These plant-stem notes become somehow more potent in subsequent mouthfuls, overpowering even the darker malts. The aftertaste is a continuation of the same, though the sour notes do die off faster than do the tobacco and ash flavors, leaving a more pleasant and familiar Imperial Stout memory. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium-light.

Overall, this is certainly one of the more strange Imperial Stouts I've tasted, and knowing the beer is from Japan, I couldn't help but make soy sauce associations with the sour notes present in the mouthful. My bottle lacks a born-on date, so I have no idea what aging has happened since this was bottled. The beer does seem out-of-balance, however, as the plant stem/soy sauce/sour notes actually distract from the far more sugary and dark base--a base that would be enjoyable, were it more apparent. The beer also suffers from a slight alcoholic bite, the 9% ABV not quite hidden.

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Photo of silentjay
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

dark brown to black with a big-bubbled mocha head that quickly dissipates while leaving behind some good lacing.

lots of dark fruits and molasses as well as some tropical fruit hoppiness that makes for an odd aroma that isn't bad by any means.

flavor is a lot more roasted and a bit chalky with just a bit of dark fruits and some woody hops. cacao and a touch of coffee come in to play, though were not evident in the aroma.

medium bodied and syrupy with just a touch of carbonation and a drying chalky finish.

not bad. But it doesn't compare at all to the best of the style. Would drink it again, but not buy it.

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Photo of IronDjinn
3.61/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

From a 633 ml brown bottle. Pours out a dense opaque black hue, with a tall spongy mocha coloured head that slowly settles to a thick cap.

Aroma reveals some coffee, molasses, dry roasty grains, black currants, some dark dried fruit.

Sharp roasty notes up front in the flavour, along with a burnt and sour character from the roasted malt, espresso, char, and a touch of smoke. Some molasses sweetness peaks on the finish along with chocolate. Charred roastiness lingers on in the aftertaste.

Medium-full bodied mouthfeel, creamy, velvety smooth texture, moderate carbonation.

My first impression is that this sits as an RIS more due to the abv% than its character. It an enjoyable strong stout in its own right, but lacks a few typical characteristics of a typical RIS. Quite dry, and nothing wrong with that, and also rather mild in flavour although it does deliver a bit of complexity. On a personal level it's missing some oomph, although a degree of refinement is a skill of craft on its own as well. I'm not inspired to grab another one of these, yet am happy I tried it, Baird makes pretty solid beers regardless.

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Photo of DoctorB2B
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of phichifiji00
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: black with tan head. No lacing.

Smell: roasted malt, chocolate, some hop presence.

Taste: roasted malt, chocolate, a bit hoppy.

Mouthfeel: full bodied, moderate carbonation, smooth.

Overall: A good imperial stout. Not very complex. Good drinkability.

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Photo of richbrew
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Photo of oline73
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Photo of dgilks
3.91/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black with a big, creamy, tan head. Good head retention.

Malty and slightly sweet. Some chocolate and roast. Very lightly fruity. Nice.

Rounded malt and chocolate with plenty of fruitiness. A wonderful combination. If anything, I seek a bit more roast and a more robust chocolate or coffee note.

Medium-full body with moderate carbonation. Just a touch astringent. Good.

A very nice RIS with good flavour but lacking a bit or robustness. I think it is a good beer and another quality product from Baird.

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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.

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Photo of EgadBananas
3.68/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Black body, with a creamy dark tanned head. leaves a nice lacing.

Aroma is mostly roasted malts, with a more herbal, minty hop note.

Chocolate, roasted malts, and a bit of coffee dance around with a fairly bitter hop bite and finish.

Creamy, medium to full body.

This might be a slightly aged bottle with the more muted hop notes, so I'd love to try a fresh bottle. It's still a pretty good stout.

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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.

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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.

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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 Ultraman9000
4.03/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into my Great Divide snifter.

A: Pours dark with a coffee/beige head of around 1/3", later fades to a bubbly film with fair lacing on the sides. Certainly looks the part for an RIS.

S: Roasted malts, toastiness, a bit of dark chocolate, and hops backing it all up well.

T: Taste matches the nose pretty well, with a bit of vanilla joining the party and a pleasant balance of bitterness from the dark malts and hops. With a bit of warming, the vanilla flavor sticks on the tongue longer, but never becomes cloying.

M: Carbonation level is spot on, and the less-than-thick body (compared to some more viscous RIS) actually makes this stout dangerously easy to drink.

O: A solid RIS from a Western-inspired Japanese brewery that really does a good job of balancing a few select flavors (as opposed to the "kitchen sink" approach of some other big stouts) and doesn't overwhelm even after 3-4 glasses. Definitely worth checking out!

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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.

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Photo of ADZA
3.96/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love the artwork on the label and the name and the brew pours an impressive dark as night black hue with decent carbonation that leaves behind a creamy two finger cappicino laced two finger head and lacing all over the place,the smell is a mix of aromas of raisins,dark bitter chocolate,coccoa nibs and dark fruity hops,the mouthfeel is nearly perfect for me as it is full bodied yet perfectly carbonated and feels extra smooth and the taste is no far off either with hints of strong dark bitter coffee,milky dutch chocolate,dark grapes and finished with a nice tinge of dark fruity bitter hops and overall in my mind a beautiful example of a RIS and a must try from this fine Japanese brewery.

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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.

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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 rudzud
4.01/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from Julio's after a Japan benefit tasting. Poured into my Duvel tulip.

A - A nice deep brown/black pour with a big, dense two finger dark mocha head that never really disappears, with big thick side lacing. Considering the ABV, this is almost exceptional.

S - Nice roasty malts and espresso notes. Not getting much in the way of hops, or chocolate. Just nice coffee notes.

T - Similar to the nose with that big bold roasted malt notes upfront. The coffee qualities are throughout and at the very end, almost as an aftertaste, I get the faintest hop bitterness.

M - While this does feel just the slightest thin, it still has the ability to stand up. Definately wish this was thicker feeling though.

O - This is a very tasty stout from a Japanese brewery. Quite impressive. I'm okay with the lack of chocolate, and slightly weaker mouthfeel as this is still quite the standout stout. Really impressed by Baird's offering.

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Photo of wordemupg
3.86/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

633ml bottle poured into tulip April,4 2011

A near black with some cola at the edges, long lasting thumbs width of dark mocha head just cakes the side of the glass even after the foam falls to a thin film, no issues here

S milk and bakers chocolate with some faint coffee and mild dark fruits, decent but not overly complex

T a fair bit more going on in the mouth with some faint hops, a little licorice, smoke and some booze on top of what I smell

M could be a little thicker but still decent with just enough carbonation and lingering flavors

O nothing amazing but certainly nothing to be ashamed of either, a good stout at the end of the day

this ones well worth trying and perhaps worth seeing how it ages, but at over 10 bucks and with all these new beers flooding the market in Alberta I doubt I'll be aging more then a single bottle. quite easy to drink considering its 9% I just realized I've caught a buzz, oh well

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Dark Sky Imperial Stout from Baird Brewing Company / Fishmarket Taproom
3.78 out of 5 based on 138 ratings.
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