RIP - Russian Imperial Porter
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's

RIP - Russian Imperial PorterRIP - Russian Imperial Porter
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American Imperial Porter
3.7 | pDev: 8.92%
Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Kentucky, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
RIP - Russian Imperial PorterRIP - Russian Imperial Porter
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Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 38
Photo of Chaney
3.35/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Okay... I was born and raised in Kentucky and am always stoked to try a Kentucky brew!

I picked this up several months ago in Louisville, at the brewery, when I was in town to attend my cousin's wedding.

A: Black as night, but the thickness looked rather lager-like.... kinda thin. The head, which was mildly off-white, ended up being a mere ring around the brew.

S: I got sort of a mild roasted banana scent here.... that's about it.

T: This has more in common with dark fruit than coffee or chocolate. It tasted like roasted figs with melted "Larabar."

M: BBC has some MAJOR mouthfeel issues. Every beer I've tried from them so far, including the Heine Bros Coffee Stout (which I like), would benefit greatly from some sort of creamy element. Nothing here on this one. It's like a dark, non-hoppy lager in terms of mouthfeel.

O: Not bad, but the thinness killed this one for me. It wasn't worth holding on to.

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Photo of mikesgroove
4.17/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

dark brown with a nice reddish ruby tint to it. Nearly opaque but enough light came through to show off the red tones to it. Hige pillow like cream colored head was very slow to recede and when it did left behind a large amount of gooey lace on the glass. The smell was very strong of roasted dark chocolate, which caught me a bit by suprise. As it warmed some more sugary, caramel like tones started to come through. The mouthfeel was a little thin, watery which is my only complaint, I expected a bit more of a robust feel to it. The taste itself was very nice. Suprisingly hoppy on the back and very well balanced with the roasted malts. Main flavors here were more of a roasted coffee and sugar, with a ever so slight hint of chocolate, nothing like the smell which was dominated by it. Overall this was a nice sessionable beer.

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Photo of drpimento
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bottle warmed out of the fridge. Poured with a nice, tan, foamy, frothy, head that slowly subsided and lots of lace.Color is a clear, very dark garnet. Aroma is mild and malt, hop, and toffee. Flavor is like nose, but sweetness is more apparent due to light carbonation. Body is good but carbo is light. Finishi is like flavor and of medium length but is boozy. Not bad, not great.

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Photo of ferrari29
3.69/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Beer poured from bottle into Snifter glass

A - Dark brown colored body; low amount of visible carbonation; small head formed and dissipated rather quickly

S - Sweet; cherry and strawberry; some chocolate; spices like coriander; almost like a shortcake with currants

T - Mild taste; slightly bitter; slightly dry but refreshing; crisp notes of dark berry fruits; lots of raisins and currants; coffee

M - Thin consistency, almost watery; sips are followed up by a light bitter aftertaste

D - I'll have another; worth a shot if your curious

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Photo of claspada
3.92/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Aromas of milk and dark chocolate rum soaked cherries. Lesser notes of espresso and toffee with very slight earthy notes. Really inviting and fruity, much more so than any porter I can recall in recent memory.
The taste begins with full milk chocolate and coffee flavors. Initially I am not getting the full fruitiness or any of the alcohol that I was getting in the nose with is a negative and a positive at the same time. I wish I knew when this was bottled just for an age reference, anyway... As it warms you can detect the cherry cordial flavors I was describing in the nose. As it further warms you get more of the bitter dark chocolate and espresso bitterness which helps to balance out the initial caramel and cocoa sweetness. This is really a complex beer to say the least.
Mouthfeel is medium with adequate carbonation, could probably benefit from being a little fuller bodied for the style and ABV but by no means is this watery as I have read from some other reviewers; every beer doesn't need to be as thick and heavy as World Wide Stout, Dark Lord, etc. I wish reviewers would grow up and not just go by booziness, thickness and IBU for every review they do. I digress... This is my 3rd beer from this brewery and my first positive review to date; I will not abandon them yet as I was planning to after my first 2 experiences. Let's hope for some more well balanced special offerings like this from Bluegrass in the future.

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Photo of Gobzilla
3.9/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a very dark brown with brown highlights that had a thin head and left a little frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: chocolate goodness and oats pop out first on the nose alongside some roastiness, milky character, and faint coffee notes.

T: the chocolate qualities are there but not as potent like I thought it would be from the nose with slight roastiness, coffee, no milk character, but it did have a little hop bitter bite on the end.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a low amount of carbonation which had a slight sweet, roasty, smokey, and hop bitter finish.

D: it drank pretty decent but it did show some signs of oxidsation. It still did have a good taste. Hopefully I can get another bottle to compare.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
3.73/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ditmier provided this one a while back.. thanks buddy...

Tannish yellow head.. short lasting atop a surprisingly dark brown/black brew.

Nose is pretty good... chocolate and lite cinnamon.. bits of caramel.. okay.. sorta rich, but reaching.. multi-dimensional but never meshes.

Flavor is better.. milk chocolate essence and minor roasty notes.. there are some dark fruit notes that add well... honestly.. I don't have alot more to say.. the chocolate points do alot to push this one out of the mire, but I just don't dig it too much... body and carbonation seem average to a bit above, but I still having a hard time pushing it to the upper echelon.

Eric... I wanted to like this one more, but sorry.. it just doesn't jive. Thanks a ton for dragging this one back from your travels.


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Photo of mrandypandy
3.57/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750ml foil and capped bottle purchased in Valparaiso, IN. Interesting artwork on the bottle.

A- Pours a flat dark brown that borders on black. Billowing brown/tan head on pour, quickly dies down.
S- Aroma is strong dark fruits with a touch of roast.
T- Roasted malts, dark fruits (raisins, figs), tobacco. Almost has a coffee like bitterness to it.
M- Thin, almost watery. Low carbonation. I was expecting there to be more body on this.
D- Too many mistakes in the RIP. Flavors are OK, and the aroma is good, but the thin body really takes away from the overall experience. Not sure what the ABV on this is, but it feels high.

Overall - I feel like this beer had a lot of potential but let me down in too many areas. Thin and flat is no way to go through life son...

***Note: I origionally reviewed this at night, and didn't finish the bottle (750ml is a lot for one person). The next morning I finished (don't judge me) and I somehow liked it better. Better appearance, slightly better flavors. My score has been adjusted a bit to reflect this.***

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Photo of ejyoung
3.77/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice near black color with a good amount of brown head that hangs around for some time. Smells of figs, raisin, coffee, and cocoa. Taste is similar, with a good amount of toasted malt, chocolate, and molasses. I could use some more body - at times it seemed a little thin. It's definitely a big beer and drinks that way.

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Photo of Bung
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml picked this up while in South Bend.
Pretty much a black pour with a smaller amount of tan head.

Aroma is pretty strong, a little sweet. Roasty malt, chocolate, molasses little booze.

Taste is less roast more malt. There is some roast malt, but the caramel, molasses and chocolate are bigger. Finish is a little weak some sweeter caramel and peat, oak, but it also leads to a bit of cardboard likeness.

Very easy to drink. Small bubble not quite creamy, mid body mouthfeel. Alcohol is well subdued, this might be a few months old with probably also helps there.

Kind of like malty dopplebock meets porter. Really not bad, but be prepared for something a bit different. It was like 8.50 for the 750, which nowadays seems quite reasonable.

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Photo of RickS95
3.88/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A fine looking drink. Pours dark, black, almost pitch black, and thick with a huge plume of brown bubbles. Good retention and the lacing starts as the head thins.

Just from the smell you can tell this beer means business. There's a note of coffee, but mostly you smell smoke.

Smoke is prevalent on the tongue as well. In addition, there is a subtle hint of bittersweet chocolate.

I'd like to score this a little higher, but there is major alcohol going on. It starts off creamy, but the smokiness takes care of that. In the finish you get the heat from the alcohol.

Not sure what the alcohol is on this, but it's got to be impressive. The high alcohol burn and the ABV make this something that's only slightly drinkable. Glad I had at least one however.

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Photo of Pabs311
4.15/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a nice clear black color, kept the sediment out from the bottle conditioning. good sized mocha head, settles to leave some lacing along the glass. not a bad lookin beer.

S- Sweet, dark roasted malts. mocha, chocolate, caramel. decent nose, but not very complex.

T- very similar to the nose. mocha, coffee, chocolate and other dark roasted malts make up the majority of the flavor profile on this beer.

M/D- Medium bodied with low carbonation. good mouthfeel for this style of beer. would have like to have seen a little more body with an imperial porter.

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Photo of RomaniIteDomum
4.2/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This bottle was courtesy BEERchitect.

Pours black, or at least super dark brown, with a small brown head.

The beer smells of raising, figs, brown sugar, toast, and toasted malt.

There are quite a few deep, righ flavors going on here. The toast and toasted malt compliment the raising, figs, and light mocha very nicely. Very good.

The feel is quite creamy with just enough carbonation.

This was a pretty damn drinkable brew. I could easily have killed the bomber, but I had to share. I will definitely pick up more when I'm back in Kentucky.

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Photo of gnemesis
3.45/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Picked this up from the brewery. Poured from 750ml bittle into snifter on 4/19. Very dark brown almost black with a 1 finger head. Dark fruits, sweet malts, zero hops. Taste is the same with chocolate. Alcohol is very well hidden. The mouthfell is medium with ok carbonation. Lighter bodied than I wanted but was ok. This beer was good but not great- drinkable for the high ABVs

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Photo of manahansf
3.82/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, dark color with a nonexistent head but a big bold sweet malt and vinous aroma. The nose is echoed in the drink with strong and warming vinous flavors alongside malty sweetness. No hop presence at any level of the drink which is mildly heavy with moderately low carbonation. The finish sweetens with the estery flavor of figs and prunes as it fades quickly into a coffee flavored end.

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Photo of russpowell
3.32/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is courtesy of BEERchitect, cheers Kevin!

Pours an effervescent brown tinged mahogany with a finger of mocha head. Minimal head retention & lacing

S: Faint toasty malt & figs

T: Toasty malt, brown bread, chocolate, a bit of powdery dryness, figs & herbal hops up front. A touch of coffee intertwines with dates & a touch of booze & leafy hops as this warms,along with a bit of coffee. Finishes fruitty with pralines & dryness

MF: Medium bodied, smoothly carbonated, skews fruitty

Drinks fairly easy, more American Porter with a touch of English, than anything else. Not bad, but nothing to get too worked up about. They should've put the effort into brewing they did in tarting up the packaging

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Photo of Dogbrick
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Sample at the Most Honorable SuperHappyFun Stout Tasting. Bottle from Ashland Beverage Center in Ashland, KY. This beer pours nearly black with a light brown and foamy head that dissipates slowly. Patchy lacing. Aroma of cocoa and malt with notes of espresso. Medium, dry body with roasted/burnt malt, chocolate and dark fruit flavors. Hoppy character throughout as well. The finish is dry and roasty with malt and hops aftertaste. I am not sure of the legitmacy of a "Russian Imperial Porter" but it's still a pretty good beer.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
3.47/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to my man Compass for this one

Poured a dark brown color with red hues a small head and good carbonationbut think for an Imperial brew. Nose has hints of chocolate and sweet maltiness. Taste is very malty with chocolate and plenty of bitterness at the end. Tasty brew with hints of alcohol and perhaps crystal, chocolate, Munich. Medium bodied and drinkable but was looking for a bigger creamier brew.

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Photo of Sammy
3.48/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Jon's bottle, this one is sweet and drinkable. Brown body that leaves spider lace. A tad below average mouthfeel. Some chocolate, and a bit of cooconut. Too malty to be very interesting, and booziness still there. Somewhat coca cola.Maybe better with ageing.

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Photo of hopdog
3.8/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

750ml bottle acquired in trade with CaptainCougar (thanks!).

Poured a dark brown color with an averaged sized off white head. Aromas of roast, cocoa, nutty, licorice, and molassess. Tastes of dark fruits, caramel, cocoa, and licorice. On the sweeter side. Alcohol content very well hidden.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bloody mahogany that isn't quite opaque when weak winter sunshine is allowed to enter the glass. I've decided to cut it a little slack since it is a porter, not a stout. The upper quarter of the glass is filled with a tight-bubbled head of brown sugar colored foam that looks pretty good. Thick sheets of sudsy lace get it done as well.

Even though no ABV is listed, RIP probably has a high-ish ABV (hence the name). The good thing about the aroma is that almost no alcohol is appreciated. The slightly less good thing is that the beer smells like a good (non-Imperial) American porter. Dark caramel and cocoa lead the way.

Russian Imperial Porter tastes at least as good as it smells, and possibly even better. Let's see what warming and many more mouthfuls have to say about the final outcome. What in the world does '210' mean? Why the mysteriousness? The BBC website is no help at all.

The beer really does taste more like an American porter than a stout. Maybe it's the lack of roasted maltiness and coffee. That doesn't mean, however, that it's short on flavor. Far from it. Chocolate-covered caramel mixed with molasses gets it about right. There's also a candied white grapefruit tanginess that is undoubtedly coming from hops that were born in the U.S. of A.

Warming brings an expansiveness to the flavor profile and the mouthfeel. In addition, the alcohol is beginning to warm the belly and numb the tongue. I'll guess an ABV in the vicinity of 10.0%. It's impossible to tell based on flavor, however. Great job guys.

What started as a medium mouthfeel is now at least medium-full. The silky smoothness is probably the result of plenty of malt and dead... solid... perfect... carbonation. The next highest score is just out of reach.

Other than Hell For Certain, I haven't had very good luck with Bluegrass beer packaged in 750 ml bottles. Russian Imperial Porter 210 gets things back on track. This is one of those beers that is (slightly) better than the final score would indicate. Might this be a bigger version of the outstanding Dark Star Porter?

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Photo of becktone
3.6/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Eye: Almost black in color, this beer is an extreme dark brown. Its got congealed blood red garnet highlights, very faint in coming out as it were. Head is nice and creamy, retention is good, laing looks nice as well. A very optically appealing brew.

Nose: A strong aroma fills the room once this brew is opened, even moreso when poured. Alcohol is apparent in the nose, huge dark malts, some chocolate, sweetness from alcohol, all in all very similar to a RIS. No heavily roasted aroma.

Tongue: Alcohol is present in the taste of this brew and helps to balance out the sweetness from all the dark malts. Roasted/burnt grain bitterness/flavor also gives some balance to this beer. Spiciness and a bit of heat from the alcohol. Chocolate malt is also present, not too much caramel though.

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: This one finishes with a semi-dry feeling in the mouth, lots of dark malt to dry the palate out-roasted/burnt/chocolate. I have no objections to the feel of this beer in the mouth, medium heavy body, lower carbonation, thick and filling this beer is what I would expect from an "imperial porter." This is a beer that is perfect for a rainy day, hey look at that-today its raining in CINCY, a good opportunity for me to drink this beer before it gets to warm with the spring coming round and all... To me this seems like it would serve best as a desert beer, nothing to session here, This isn't a beer that I'd normally drink, too much to take in for a session beer, to strong in flavor, doesn't compliment that many food categories/styles as well as say a pale ale/bitter/pils/eruo lager. Good for after meals, but as to drinking this (more than one bottle-750-seems like it would be absurd.)

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.85/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I always wonder if these bigger Porters will loose the balance and push it into the Russian Imperial Stout catagory. This one seems to keep the chocolate, roasty balance with Porter-like fruity esters. Subdued hoppiness comes through in the bitter and flavor, but only balances the sweetness and complements the flavors without dominating. The body certainly substantiates the R.I. prefix, but the alcohols push into fusal territory, leaving a bit of harshness in the finish. Otherwise, a straight-forward Porter, just amped up a lot. The carbonation was medium and supported the heavy brew well. Medium on the head formation and retention with light lacing on the glass. I'd gladly have another, but prefer to give it a year's age if possible.

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.04/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - no light getting through this one. A finger of soapy, creamy tan foam. It's heading south pretty quick but leaving a nice blanket of lace behind.

Aroma - toasted grain, a note of alcohol early on, a note of butteriness at times. Fades out a bit after it sets up, with the butter bit gaining ground. Ends up just plain buttery, not portery at all to me.

Taste - a very good robust grain flavor, hints of caramel and toast. A light hop presence followed by warming alcohol on the swallow, a light bitter chocolate and toasted malts at the end. A nicely ramped up porter flavor, good length on the finish.

Mouthfeel - a good solid heaviness and slightly held back carbonation really help amplify the flavors.

Drinkability - not sure of the abv but while it is evident it doesn't come across hot. Another good choice to help get through this latest round of winter weather. Cellarable too I'd imagine.

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3.21/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a murky super dark brown almost black body. A strong pour creates a foamy one finger thick dark tan head that stays creamy and long. Nose is a very zesty spicey feel with noticeable burnt malt and notes of peanuts and oak. Huge syrupy sweet zestyness swarms around the tongue on first sip. Slightly soured oak and hints of port develop also. Malt characters are sticky and alchol is slightly up front. Burnt malt feel comes through on the end of the mouthfeel. Soured malt feel slightly hurts the drinkability.

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RIP - Russian Imperial Porter from Bluegrass Brewing Co. - East St. Matthew's
Beer rating: 87 out of 100 with 38 ratings