Drake's Drakonic Imperial Stout | Drake's Brewing Co.

very good
230 Reviews
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Drake's Drakonic Imperial StoutDrake's Drakonic Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Drake's Brewing Co.
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.75%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Drake's Drakonic Imperial Stout - 8.75% ABV, 40 IBUS
A big, malty beast of a beer that exemplifies the way we roll here at Drake's. Two-row malt is blended with Chocolate malt, roasted barley, and dark Crystal malts to make up the grist. Only one hop addition, Columbus, is added for bittering, allowing the abundance of malt in this beer to shine through. Enjoy the dense brownish head, the silky maltiness, and flavors of licorice, coffee and chocolate, rounded out with a slightly dry finish. here's to those who don't fear the mighty!

Added by xlperro on 08-20-2003

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Reviews: 230 | Ratings: 494
Photo of beerguy101
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2003 version. Eclipse black color. Small thick head. Aroma is chocolate, toffee and roasted malt. A full bodied Imperial Stout. Malts are chocolate and toffee with strong hints of vanilla and dark fruit. Hops are a touch grapefruity. Nicely balanced. The chocolate and dark fruit flavors at the start give way to end with a vanilla-ish finish. Hides the 8.7% alcohol very well. Mouthfeel is full and round. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a very dark brown in color with a thin brown head and left a very little amount of lacing sticking to the glass.

S: brown sugar, chocolate roasted malts, and mild coffee were noticeable on the first whiff alongside faint booze and dark fruits.

T: the booze was more potent on the palate with chocolate brown sugar notes but had roasty character and a touch of underlying dark fruits accents.

M: the brew was medium to full in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a sweet, mild fruity, roasty, and bppzy finish.

D: pretty decent IRS that had a good chocolatey flavor and had a good amount of booze that might have taken away from the overall taste.

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Photo of Bitterbill
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This pours from 16.9 oz swing top bottle a very dark brown with about an inch of tannish foam. It has some nice lacing and the foam shrinks to a fine layer after a few minutes but that little bit does last for the entire session.

The smell has notes of coffee, chocolate, roasted malt and maybe some wood. The nose is pretty light.

The taste has roasted malt, chocolate and cocoa up front which gives it a nice semi sweet flavour. Further in, there's some hop bitterness to go along with the cocoa and is most noticeable in the finish.

It's medium bodied and the carbonation is pretty light(could use a tad more?), oh...the alcohol is starting to show itself along with a woody taste. Interesting flavours here.

Bottom line: This is a pretty interesting and tasty Imperial Stout and I'm glad I got the chance to try it but... now that I've tried it, I doubt I'll look for it again. Maybe if it was available locally, I'd give that a rethink.

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Photo of Furlinator
3.79/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours opaque black with cola edges. The 1/2 inch tan head settles to a thin ring on top and leaves spots of lace.

The smell is of dark chocolate, roasted nuts, coffee grounds and a hint of vanilla.

The taste is of black coffee, dark chocolate, faint dark fruit and vanilla.

The texture is heavy with medium carbonation.

Drake's isn't trying to reinvent the wheel with this one. What they have done is offer up a fairly standard but, solid imperial stout.

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Photo of blackie
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: The pour gives a low, mocha colored head that soon becomes just a tiny ring around the snifter. The beer is, as expected, nearly black in color.

smell: Roasts dominate, backed by an earthy hop aroma. Various malt aromas lend a light sweetness to the nose. A slight dusting of cocoa powder. Just a touch of sour in the aroma. Needs more malt complexity.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is smooth, between low and medium. The body comes across as being too thin, especially for an RIS.

taste: At the front I find big flavors of roasted malts that bring to mind coffee and, to a lesser extent, cocoa powder. Low-moderate sweetness level. An unexpected acidic tartness comes in just after the swallow...not the typical hop bitterness, which comes in a second later. There is plenty of flavor here, but I would definately like to see a heavier complexity. The "twang" I mentioned earlier is pretty strange, also. Seems to be a bit more standard than imperial.

drinkability: easy enough for a "good"...the 8.75% is well disguised

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Black and totally opaque with a 1/2 inch dark brown head and good retention with some spotty lacing and a thick collar

Smell: Roasted malt that blends beautifully with some chocolate, licorice and molasses notes

Taste: The beer is very malt forward and very heavy on the malt. There is a slight bit of alcohol that backs up the malt profile. The beer then finishes with just a touch of coffee and chocolate with some bitter hops

Mouthfeel: Medium body and medium carbonation

Overall: I think this is a good but not great RIS. I do however highly recommend it

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Photo of Chico1985
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%

This was a random pickup while out in California a couple months back. Split with Cammy boy while watching skate videos. The nose was great with lots of deep chocolate brownie, roast, vanilla and nutty malts. Taste was good as well but didn't quite live up, more intensely roasty with a good resiny pine hop punch as well. Some licorice and dark fruit. Seemed a little boozy considering the ABV. Solid imperial stout.

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Photo of RblWthACoz
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark with a real thin tan head. Nose is coffee and sickly sweet malts. Too sweet really. Flavor is nice and robust, yes. There is coffee, yes. But the sweetness of the whole thing is just too much of a kick in the mouth. There's also that odd almost citrus back tone. Feel is slick on liquid and the carbonation is lower but smooth. IMO this is lacking the right balance to be able to pull it off. Perhaps it needs some time to even out, but I guess I'll never know since this is the only bottle I have. Oh well.

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Photo of drewbage
3.8/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Sampled from a different than usual business fliptop bottle.

Beer pours oil black with only a slight tan head.

Aroma is dense and rich with coffee, chocolate, leathery with a strong growing roast that lasts through to the sip.

Flavor matches with the aroma in flavors reflected, but the onset of the roast is more rapid and more overwhelming. The strong bitter roast eventually gives way to a strong hop bite and a strong alcohol warmth that does little to disguise the sweetness in the finish. (But the hops do remain behind long after the brew is out of your mouth.

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Photo of aracauna
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

This isn't what I was expecting when I popped open the flip top. I was expecting something chunky, rich and roasty and pitch black. Instead I get a dark brown porterish-looking beer with an excellent tan head that fades almost completely after a minute or two. The aroma is slight hops and a mellow chocolate and caramel malt. The 8.7% alcohol is hidden quite well actually. The flavor is soft with the cocoa-powder malt dominant and supported by notes of vanilla. I can't shake the feeling that the beer would be better with a little roast or burnt malt flavor to give the lightly sweet chocolate a little backbone. Still, insanely drinkable for a beer this strong, much less an imperial stout. Basically, if this had said imperial porter or something of the like, it would be an amazing beer, but I have trouble with it trying to pull off the imperial stout. It's still a very tasty beer, though. It's flavorful and yet I catch myself sucking it down faster than I usually do with a beer. If it were around here, I'd buy it.

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Photo of czechsaaz
3.82/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Looks, dark. Then it's kind of dark. Held up to a light it's dark with a big foamy tan head that settles into a solid layer. There's nothing about the look to complain about.

Smells a lot like molasses. Swetish but with a sour note from roast malt. But I don't get a whole bunch of roast, just hints.

Starts off sweet lots of base malt and some dark roast malt. Decent bittering hop level but it stays on the sweet side which is fine for RIS. There's also a hint of sourness not from hops but from darker roast malts, black patent or chocolate maybe. Lots of fruity flavor from the yeast. Overall a pretty complex beer.

Thick and creamy in the mouth but not harsh or alcoholic at all. It's not the hugest RIS I've had which might make it seem a little more approachable that some of them.

Definitely worth having again.

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Photo of biegaman
3.83/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The mind can grow gritty looking into such a black abyss - seriously, all you need now is some fire and brimstone. Not a single strand of light successfully permeates this oily onyx body. Drakonic is indeed 'draconian' (meaning 'great severity') with regards to its opacity, which is quite drastic. As for head retention, it's far more lenient - there is none.

The aroma is replete with bittersweet mocha notes the likes of which I've never smelled from any Indonesian, Colombian or Kenyan coffee beans. I have, however, on many occasions, smelled far more impressive and elegant such scents in other imperial stouts. While it unquestionably has more character than most beers, it is relatively dull for a RIS.

Like so many comedians, the imperial stout style has made a career out of impersonations: coffee and chocolate are its best impressions, but it does a mean black licorice, dark fruit and tobacco leaf too. This particular example has a lot of those flavours but it is as delicate as it is intense, which is both a positive and a negative, depending on your appetite.

An oily but heavily charred coffee bean astringency quickly shows up in the aftertaste like it had been sprinting to get there. Although it's only 40 IBU, what would a Californian beer be without just a little hoppiness; leafy pungency is noted on the finish as well. The charred sensation left on the palate replaces chocolate flavours with ones of wood and cigar smoke.

As a Blue Jays fan, I'm constantly frustrated by the fact that no matter how good the team is, ultimately it's too much to compete in a division with the Yankees and Red Sox - that's how Drake's must feel. This is a well-brewed, perfectly serviceable imperial stout that has a lot of good pieces but can't really compete in a division with Great Divide, Brooklyn, North Coast, Stone, Bell's, Great Lakes, Oskar Blues, Hoppin' Frog and so many others.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drake's Imperial Stout delivers the typical appearance that you'd expect, although the head retention could be a little bit better.

The nose is quite nice with clear wafts of caramel and toasty malts that aren't always distinguishable in other examples amidst the heavier roasted and chocolatey notes; and it has a really pleasurable coffee-bean aroma that's somewhat soothing. Piney hops skirt to and fro; they're a non-traditional choice, but they seem to work here. Some alcohol is present, but it's kept in check; and a breath of berry-like yeasty fruitiness rounds it out nicely.

In the mouth, an initial, delicate zest gives way to creamy and smooth maltiness - awakening the tastebuds and then luxuriating the tongue.

Caramel again returns in the flavor; heavily flanked by a hulking roastiness, rich dark-toffee and chocolate, a brash bitterness, and piney hop flavor. It starts soft, sweetish, and intriguing; and then seems to veer off-course, finishing quite dry with a lingering bitterness, pine-resin-like hop flavors, an odd-acidic note (there doesn't seem to be a pH issue in the initial flavor?), and a wash of alcohol that's a tad intrusive.

It's good but there are better choices available.

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Photo of mactrail
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sharp and less heavy strong black ale.

Very dark brown with a hint of red. I keep thinking of cherries. Quite fruity, but not as raisiny as Belgian styles. Hops are ample and balance the load of flavors well. Bitter in the aftertaste but more like bitter chocolate than hops. Feels very carbonated and rich in the mouth, but not at all syrupy.

Does seem to be a different take on the mega stout style. Has more tartness and less sweetness than some really big Imperial Stouts. Really an interesting beer and well worth a try if you like big black ones.

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Photo of WetCoaster
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*Cellared for nine months

Appearance: Deep brown with a surprisingly high carbonation level. Creamy, frothy light brown head with good retention. Sorta looks like a stout version of Duvel.

Smell: Raisins and chocolate out the wazoo.

Taste: Smoke, coffee, chocolate, raisins, brown bread and surprisingly assertive hops. Bitter roasted coffee bite and hop at the finish.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin and the carbonation is ON, very crisp for a RIS.

Drinkability: Nice, but not the decadent, syrupy treat I like. A bit light, but I must admit it tastes really good. Guess it's no more, but worth picking up if you find some.

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Photo of axeman9182
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle courtesy of FunkyMacGrovin. It was allowed to warm before being poured into my Brooklyn Brewery tulip.

Drake's Drakonic Imperial Stout pours a solid black, with maybe three fingers of mocha foam. Head retention is decent, and the lacing falls a bit on the spotty side. The nose has a fair amount of anise, with dark chocolate providing support. As usual for me, I wish the relative intensities of the two aromas were switched. There's a good bit more balance between black licorice and chocolate. A nice roasty coffee note comes in on the back end to provide a nice finish. The body has a little bit of creaminess to it, and is firm. It's not as luscious as some of its bigger, more "imperial" brethren, but it works for this beer. The carbonation is appropriately subdued, not pulling the spotlight away from the malt. Drakonic Imperial Stout isn't one of my favorite Russian Imperial Stouts, but it's a very solid offering. And, according the the $6.99 sticker price on mine, it's a great value buy for California BAs.

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Photo of McStagger
3.85/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

No idea on the date. This could be a two weeks or two years old.

A: Pours night quite to the level of motor oil. Aggressive pour leads to two finger beige head. Fairly rapid dissipation. Moderate lacing. Carbonation is impossible to detect. Beer is an incredibly dark brown, but not quite black.

S: Big roasty notes. Lots of dark fruit, bit of dark chocolate. Slightly sweetened undertone, like a dark chocolate malted milk ball.

T: Initial rush of malted and even lactose(?) sweetness. This is quickly run down by a surge of raisined dark fruit (fig, prunes, dates). Mid palate takes on the malt characteristics. Somewhat roasted notes the meld into an alcohol sweetness. Roasted coffee on the finish. Fairly bitter on the edge, with some of the hoppiness sinking its teeth in. A bit hot on the way down, which is somewhat surprising at only 8.75%.

M: Light/medium for the style. Definitely weight in this beer, but it's stylistically low abv keeps the mouthfeel from reaching that velvety/syrup like texture.

O: Pretty decent RIS. It hits all the right notes, just not hard enough. Flavors are there, but not nearly "in your face" enough. That being said, the pricing on this one is damn solid (6.49 a bomber), so it's getting a bump in the score for that.

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Photo of lighthabit
3.86/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

bomber poured into a sniffer. dark, dark, dark . . . barely lets any light through near the bottom. thick head dies down a bit quicker than i'd like. nose shows a nice hint of molasses. taste is classic stout, with a bit of licorice and molasses. mouth feel is a tad thin for my taste on this style, carbonation is low, but work just right for this style, imo. not boozy, which is nice considering its abv.

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Photo of woodychandler
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

About a finger of deep-tan head with great retention on a humid evening. Color was a deep dark brown. Mouthfeel was thin and (dare I say) watery. Nose was very chocolaty. Taste had a good bit of chocolate, cinnamon, and coffee. Finish had a chili flavor accompanied with by a mild hoppiness.

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Photo of cptierney
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a North Coast nonic from a 500ml swingtop purchased at City Beer Store.

Nice and black as all Imperial Stouts should be. I'm a little concerned about the complete lack of head that this beer pours. Looks like just foamy motor oil with the carbonation barely retaining.

Nice nose to this brew, heavy on dark malt scent- some hints of chocolate and a touch of coffee, really, really black coffee.

The mouthfeel on this beer is slightly suspect, as it begins normally but after a swallow there is a grainy texture left in the mouth. I can't knock it to much, though, as I feel a more visceral connection to the grain in my beer.

Initial sweet flavor on this brew. Very little in the way of that chocolate I was smelling. Mostly hints of sweet fruits like raisins, figs, and prunes make their way through. A dark chocolate, or over-roasted coffee bitter flourish ends the drink and doesn't necessarily marry well with the beers initial sweetness.

A pretty drinkable brew overall. A little lighter in body than other Imperial Stouts and just unique enough to keep you interested.

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Photo of Bung
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. split 2 ways. A pretty thick appearing black pour, finger of dark tan head. Retains well enough.

Aroma, Roast malt, earthy chocolate. Some lighter anise.

Taste, Solid roast malt and licorice again. Pretty well balanced though and not too bitter. Plenty of dark chocolate. Small coffee and malted milk balls.

Solid medium body, not quite creamy carbonation. Minimal warming presence.
A solid representation.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of SS: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a small dark brown foamy head with some good retention and some lacing. Aroma of pure dark chocolate with some light bitter hops is interesting. Taste is dominated by some strong dark chocolate notes with some subtle dry coffee notes and not as much hops as I was expecting from the aroma. Body is full with some low to medium carbonation and no alcohol could be detected.

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Photo of areich6
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoying with my good friend pschul4

A: Pours with about an inch and a half of head. The beer itself is quite dark but the head retains a light tan color. Appears less heavy than many other Imperial Stouts out there.

S: Honestly, it smells like a quad to me, or other comparable Belgian beers. I can detect dark fruits such as black cherries, and a slight bit of roastiness.

T: There is definitely some good hoppy bitterness along with some nice roastiness. I cannnot detect any of the dark fruits I could detect in the smell.

M: Fairly light, but also a little pleasantly creamy. Personally I prefer my stouts to be thicker than this but it definitely isn't watery by any means. There is no bight from the alcohol at all.

O: For a Russian Imperial Stout, I would call this above average. My idea of a great Imerial Stout is a little bit stronger than this, but overall it is satisfying brew.

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Photo of ThreeWiseMen
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

500mL flip-top bottle picked up at the Modesto BevMo!

Poured into a New Belgium globe (because it was the best glass I could find).

Appearance: Bottle opened with a mighty POP! and instantly filled the air with dark chocolate, molasses, and coffee aromas. Nice start! A slow pour produced a creamy, half inch, brown head. Body is thick as hell and completely opaque (black). Looks like dirty motor oil. Very nice head retention, complemented by thick layers of lacing.

Smell: Roasted malt, dark fruits, something sharp - sour cherries?, rich dark chocolate, and vanilla (especially on big whiffs). Fun to smell, though not as pungent as I expected after the initial POP! As time went on, coffee emerged along with hints of anise. Strong alcohol also creeps into the picture as it warms. Nicely done.

Taste: Roasted malt, charred wood, sour cherries, and prunes. Very roasty. Extremely hoppy as well - feels like a handful of piney, resinous, hops are thrown in at the end of each sip. Dark chocolate, yes... especially as it warms. Alcohol is quite apparent. Coffee and molasses are also there, but lie quietly in the background.

Mouthfeel: The carbonation is too high in my opinion. I was expecting a dense, creamy treat, but this RIS is quite vicious. The carbonation even masks a lot of the flavors early on. It fades eventually, but does a number on the palate along the way. Besides that, this beer is thick, roasty, and full bodied. One of the thickest Russian imperials I've had. I dig that; I like thick. Also finishes very dry. This is a rough beer - make sure you know what you're getting into.

Drinkability: This beer is not for beginners. Make sure you know what you're doing before you step into the ring with this one. Roasty, full, bitter, and high in alcohol != drinkable. Still, this hit the spot after a long-ass week at work. I was looking for an ass kicking, and I definitely got one. Thank you Drake's. May I have another?

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Photo of Zorro
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

500 ML flip-top bottle.

Clear very dark brown colored beer with a medium sized brown colored head.

The moment I popped this open I was hit in the nose with a blast of molasses and chocolate. Chocolate syrup and black strap molasses and some candy in the ethanol fumes. Bitter cocoa powder and KahlĂșa liqueur scent no strong coffee aromas though. Little bit of vanilla and caramel smell and that is about all.

The taste starts out sweet and strong chocolate and coffee with a black coffee finish. Sweet and bitter chocolate is the main flavor here with coffee and roast being mainly an after taste. Not real complex in flavor though.

Mouthfeel is very thick.

Drinkability isn't the best here, it is quite thick and the three-note flavor doesn't last much beyond a glass and then you are ready for something else.

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Drake's Drakonic Imperial Stout from Drake's Brewing Co.
3.97 out of 5 based on 494 ratings.
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