Imperial Stout
Boulevard Brewing Co.

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #511
Ranked #1,618
4.21 | pDev: 9.98%
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Notes: Like India Pale Ale, the classic Imperial Stouts were originally brewed with high levels of alcohol and hops to withstand the rigors of a long sea journey, not to India but to Imperial Russia and the Baltic States. Our version is an over-the-top riff on the style, with a huge grain bill featuring several kinds of malted barley, wheat, rye, oats, and spelt. Robust grain and coffee flavors are counterbalanced by date and plum notes from the Belgian yeast. To add extra complexity and depth, this Imperial Stout is made up of a blend of freshly brewed beer and several barrel-aged beers, carefully balanced. Za Vas!

63 IBU
Reviews: 388 | Ratings: 1,334 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.83/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

This is a review of the 2013 vintage, consumed on Halloween 2017.

Pours black but with a full sized 1" beige colored head. Dense. Aroma was light, sweet whiskey alongside a lesser amount of roasted malt, we're talking like a 60/40 split in the nose (similar to that on the label).

Taste was good and relatively easy going for something with a hefty amount of roasted malt, bitterness and whiskey barrel influence alongside an 11% mouth feel of alcohol that isn't anywhere near that perceptible. The yeast is far more influential taste wise, dark fruit bitterness on it, makes you think this is a quad and imperial stout blend. And I guess that would be the least desireable aspect of the beer, the bitterness from multiple sources (roasted malt, hops, yeast) that isn't fully met by the partial aging in whiskey barrels. That yeast also seems to contribute to the 'thin' notion that isn't really borne out by the hefty amount of malt going on here. I liked it, but less than your average person.

Aug 19, 2020
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macrosmatic from Florida

3.88/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from (long-standing) notes. 2014 vintage bottle, consumed 5/16/16. Poured from a 750 mL bottle into a J. Wakefield Brewing OG teku glass.

A: Very dark brown and nearly opaque. Low visible carbonation, but a big three-finger tan head with great retention.

S: Whiskey, chocolate, vanilla, and oak. Deep moist tobacco, cacao nibs, and toffee.

T: Chocolate and roasted malts. A big punch of whiskey with some alcohol sweetness and heat. Vanilla, oak tannins, and mild barrel char. Some bitterness (roasted malts – a bit of hops? Can’t pick out specific flavors) after the swallow with fading malt and ethanol sweetness.

M: The body is fairly thin, and I think this detracts from the beer pretty significantly. Whiskey flavors are pretty dominant, and it does drink a bit “hot” but not insanely so. Low carbonation sensation.

O: The whiskey presence toes the line, but I think stops just short of being over the top. Aside from the thin body, there aren’t really flaws here…but not much to set it apart or prevent it from being forgettable. Decent, but nothing I’d go seeking out in a world crowded with barrel-aged stout offerings.

Mar 24, 2020
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HopsAreDaMan from Missouri

4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the 2015 version 12 oz bottle in a side-by-side with a few other imperial stouts. Although it was very good, it was not at the level of a barrel-aged RIS, so I was a bit disappointed by this beer. For the price (about $4 a bottle) I judge there are many other better imperial stouts out there.

Dec 28, 2017
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Tony210 from New Jersey

4.44/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage - had been in my cellar for 3+ years... Best by date is 10/2016, so I am a year late...

Pours very dark, gave me 3 fingers of foam, which was delicious (vigorous pour)! Great carbonation. Big whiskey and chocolate aromas, coffee in the background with the roasted malts. Pretty complex brew, rich and creamy, quite sweet, like s sweet milk stout, big whiskey presence, gobs of chocolate, sweet vanilla, some dark fruits, fig, prune. Viscous and sticky, fairly full bodied. Overall a nicely done brew - I am curious how it would have tasted a year or two ago.

4.5 rating

Dec 04, 2017
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spaser from Canada

4.63/5  rDev +10%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 vintage, drank November 2017.

Barrel character is very apparent. Strong vanilla, and malt notes, weaker hints of chocolate, tobacco, smoke, and a touch of spiciness. To me this beer epitomizes what a barrel aged stout should taste like.

Nov 08, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This was poured into a snifter. The appearance was a dark brown close to black color with a soft and somewhat refined bubbly off white to slight tan slim head. This head died within about less than forty seconds. The lacing was there in a slightly weird messy way, but it was there. The smell started off with a boozy roasty coffee cocoa sort of blend. As it warmed, a light plum entered in. The taste was mainly boozy and sweet but did have a decent roasty quality about it. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with more of a sipper aspect to it. The carbonation was slightly there but allowed a decent harshness to pervade. Overall, I say this was a good Imperial Stout it draws out all of the aspects as any Imperial Stout should. This would make a great night capper.

Jun 29, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

4.24/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 edition, drinking super well right now. i cant believe its taken me so long to get to this one, you used to see it around all the time, and now its nowhere to be found! its a great beer, grain heavy in a cool way for the style, more than just the dark barley roasted element, it has that sure, but it has more cerealy bready build, some wheat and oats in here for sure, its got a lot more going on than most amidst the roasty coffee and dark chocolate notes that are common in the style. some sweetness in the nose, and i can smell the whiskey and wood too, but being a blend of some fresh beer too, it has less of that all encompassing whiskey character to it, which i appreciate here actually, i think it lets the more unique mash come through, some rye in here too i think. its got raisin and plum and port wine aspects, but also bran and bagel breadiness, along with a rich dark roast that doesnt pack too much bitterness into it. smooth on the feel, light carbonation and a lot of body, creamy and dense but not too much. obviously a beer to share, but i found this rather drinkable for the style, its got some nice complexity and not over the top sweetness, its what i like in the style. there is a little tangy element to the finish, like maybe this sat a little long, but its maturity is nice. id like to try it fresh at some point, but i was impressed with this one on the whole! the smokestack series beers are all fantastic!

Jun 29, 2017
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ccg from District of Columbia

4.08/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle with a "best by" date of 11/2015 opened in April, 2017.

Dense and thick-looking while pouring. The head initially seems kind of thin and fizzy, but it settles nicely. It leaves a thin layer of brownish suds on top, looking like a glass full of espresso.

The smell is loaded with chocolate and oak and malted grains without being overly boozy-smelling or overpowered by bourbon.

The flavor starts out with a slight metallic note and a bit of sourness in the background, but it improves as it warms. The flavor is similar to the smell with one noticeable difference: there is a coffee note in the flavor that I'm not picking up in the scent.

It has a creamy feel that adds to the overall impression of a drinking a boozy coffee.

Overall, this is a good barrel-aged stout that rewards patience. Let it age for a while, and when you open it, sip it slowly as it warms up and changes. In the past, I've found that partially barrel-aged stouts usually seem like they're not barrel-aged at all, but this one is different. This is probably the best beer I've had so far from Boulevard. It's certainly brightening up a dreary Tuesday night.

Apr 12, 2017
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GreatHammerhead from Pennsylvania

4.19/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: 12 oz bottle Dated 05 July 2018 poured into a pint glass.

Look: Nearly black in color with a brown one finger head. Head is short lived.

Smell: Chocolate and coffee with a strange grassy aroma.

Taste: Coffee and dark chocolate flowing over an underbelly of alcohol.

Feel: Medium mouthfeel, cream and smooth with little to no carbonation.

Overall: Not for the faint of heart, everything about this brew is big and in your face.

Mar 08, 2017
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DenverBigRed from Colorado

4.61/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Going through my cellar and found a 2011 version of this. Thought maybe I waited too long, but I didn't. A bit of funk in the aroma. Taste is well balanced with whiskey, chocolate, and a hint of funk. I was a bit thrown off from the funk, but upon research, it turns out that batch 2 of this year had some brett characteristics that were known before release. I must say it works very well. Wish I had some more of these sitting around.

Mar 02, 2017
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drtth from Pennsylvania

4.52/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The best by date on the bottle is 6 Aug. 2017.

The beer pours out into a snifter glass a dark brown that is almost black with a 1/8" dark tan head that soon recedes to a thin film on the surface and a small ring around the glass and leaving no lacing on the sides of the glass. Sipping creates lots of tiny small patches of lacking that slowly turn liquid.

The aromas include a touch of Bourbon including vanilla from the barrel along some dark chocolate and dark fruit in the background.

The flavors include an initial bit of roasted malt bitterness that may recede briefly but never completely disappears, the effects of the Bourbon barrel show in some vanilla sweetness and the hint of oak that comes along with that. In a different, less forward, layer of flavor there's some dark chocolate, a hint of dark fruit and that roasted malt. Throughout the alcohol is well concealed except for the slight warming effect

The mouth feel is on the full side of medium bodied and just a bit creamy from the very soft carbonation. The finish begins early on as the initial roasted bitterness that starts the show is only there very briefly before allowing the vanilla and oak from the Bourbon barrel to show up. Those flavors soon begin to recede allowing the chocolate and a touch of dark fruit to emerge and join in the flavor profile. These flavors also then recede a bit leaving the final ending to the vanilla with a hint of chocolate that is pretty much on the back of the palate.

Overall this seems an excellent beer that shows the effects of Bourbon barrel aging riding over the top the chocolate, dark fruit and roasted malt, but never completely concealing them so that they get to play a bit on the palate as well. While I'll be happy to have another it seems to me that this is a special occasion beer or one that can turn a dreary day into a special one all by itself. BTW, I recommend that this be the first beer of the day since I think some of the complexity would be concealed by having another beer first.

Oct 31, 2016
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victormoth from Massachusetts

4.39/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Half Moon Brewing pint glass from the Gardner Ale House (MA). It poured to a tight foamy head of about a half inch. Held up to a light it was a deep mahogany. A prevalent bready pumpernickel and whiskey aroma with a slightly sweet coffee, plum taste (a friend of mine drinking one remarked "soy notes" in a pleasant sense). With the 11% alcohol level I felt my ears turning red and warm even before I got to the bottom of the neck of the bottle, definitely boozy (probably equal to three Coors Lights, so if you drank it quickly watch out) and best quaffed slowly as it lost no appeal when reaching room temperature. This beauty came in an 8-pack called The Great 8 along with Boulevard's: The Calling, Tank 7, and A Tell Tale Tart.

Oct 24, 2016
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chinchill from South Carolina

4/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Cellared 2015 bottle with a Sept. 2017 BB date stamp; opened September 2016. Served in a Belgian snifter.

Appearance: essentially black and opaque body with a semi-durable light tan head.

Aroma: whisky and whisky barrels; black bread; alcohol; dark dried fruits; hints of vanilla.
Flavor: bourbon and oak; molasses; less dark dried fruits and more chocolate than in the nose. Hints of vanilla, brown sugar and black bread. Lightly sweet, overall.

Mouthfeel: very full, relatively thick body with alcohol warmth extending from the tongue downwards.

Overall: quite nice but likely to improve with further aging.

Sep 07, 2016
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TH28 from Florida

4.25/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

2013 release drank 11/29/14. Appearance is jet black with a tan foam cap that dissipates quickly. Aroma is dark fruit, bourbon, vanilla, roast, and alcohol. Taste is rich caramel and chocolate, with bourbon, vanilla, licorice, and roast on the back end. Mouthfeel is medium with a light carbonation and moderate alcohol warmth. Finishes well balanced with some lingering notes of bourbon and alcohol. Good imperial stout...roast is restrained with a prominent bourbon and alcohol flavor and finish

Aug 12, 2016
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jp32 from Michigan

4.88/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Pours black in color with a nice sized khaki head on top that lingers around. A nice aroma profile made of roasted dark malts, brandy, oak, leather. The nose gets boozier the more it warms.

Chocolate, coffee, sticky sweet malty goodness, plums, oak, and brown sugar all make an appearance, and together they meet in what seems an incredibly smooth, creamy beer. This winning combination of flavor and texture is difficult to come by.

2015 version.

Jul 29, 2016
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Pray_For_Mojo from Colorado

4.26/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Cellared: 12/21/13 Opened: mid-April 2016

Poured into a tulip

Appearance: jet black and thick. The head is a dark coffee-and-cream color of superfine bubbles.

Aroma: a combination of chocolates: bittersweet and milk chocolate, and bourbon with light oak. Very inviting.

Flavor: prominent molasses, raisins and bourbon, which are all very well balanced.

Mouthfeel: on the light side of heavy – perfect for a high abv sipper.

Overall: another success from Boulevard. This beer is very well balanced, and better than most of the more readily available imperial stouts.

Jul 08, 2016
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4.5/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense two finger tan head that retains well and leaves some lacing
S: Smells of oak, caramel, vanilla, chocolate, some plums and espresso. This beer smells great.
T: Taste is nice roast with some vanilla and caramel from the barrel. The plum notes from the yeast come through at times as well. A bit of oak as well as some cocoa powder and coffee. Swallow is more oak, caramel and vanilla with lingering roast, coffee and chocolate.
M: this one is thick and velvety on the palate with soft but adequatte carbonation and a dry finish.
O: everything about this beer is awesome from the flavors to the complexity. This is one to grab if you like big stouts. The barrel influence is there but it isn't super strong.

Jun 16, 2016
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Giggy from Michigan

4.31/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Beautiful head but it dissipates fast. Great flavor, let it warm and open up. Brown sugar to carmalized sugar. Coconut in the nasal passage after the swallow. Slightly too much carbonation.

May 17, 2016
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nawpnawp from California

3.82/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.5

2013 vintage opened in 2016 (best by date was end of 2015).

There is very creamy carbonation and the brew pours thick. The smell is amazing with loads of chocolate and coffee. Unfortunately, the taste doesn't quite match the intensity of the nose. It seems with age, a lot of the flavors have faded a bit and I'm picking up more of a bitter chocolate with almost no sweetness. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I was anticipating a much sweeter profile based on the nose. The feel is great, however, and makes for a fantastic sipper.

Overall, I was hoping for a little more from the taste. Perhaps the brewer had it right and I let it sit for too long.

May 16, 2016
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TreyIsWilson from Michigan

4.17/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours black with a one finger creamy tan head. Heavy amount of soapy lacing.

S - Aroma is chocolate, vanilla, and oak.

T - The flavor is vanilla, oak, caramel, chocolate, and dark fruits. The finish has some rye and a touch of alcohol heat.

M - Heavy body with low carbonation. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy.

O - Very nice barrel aged Stout. The flavors are balanced and the ABV is dangerously hidden.

Mar 27, 2016
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jaypaul522 from Iowa

4.12/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark, with a good head. The smell is of the malt and a hint of fruitiness. Taste is strong, and the alcohol overtone gives way to the fruitiness in the aftertaste. This is a strong stout, with a pleasant flavor. Very satisfying.

Mar 26, 2016
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craftbeersweden from Sweden

4.72/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Well...It IS Saturday and after 12 a clock :)

I was going through my beercellar-collection and found a few nice friends. Finally I choose this one for now.

Bought in September 2015 at Systembolaget, Sweden.

The beer pours very dark brown with a huge, four finger high, beige-brown head that leaves a lot of lacing on the glass.

Nose: Caramel malt, brown sugar, fudge, rye, oatmeal, bourbon whiskey, oak barrel, vanilla, coffee, plum, dark fruit, chocolate cake and dark syrup. What a nose! I'm in love even before my first sip!
Taste: Oh! This is such a complex, beatiful f*ing GREAT taste! Vanilla, bourbon, chocolate, whipped cream, oak barrels, a light taste of licorice, honey, brown sugar, maple syrup, caramel malt and roasted malt. I think I could go on forever...
Mouthfeel: Full body. Light carbonation. Soft and silky smooth! Creamy and fluffy. So good!

This is a dessert! One of the best you can have! It is a big 750 ml bottle but you do NOT want to share...

Boulevard Smokestack Series Imperial Stout is one of my absolute favorites up until now. Beautiful, complex, sweet nose and likewise taste: smooth, complex, soft, creamy and with the bourbon oak barrels in the background... Well this is just what I want! I'm a sucker for this!

Mar 05, 2016
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Invinciblejets from South Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L: Poured dark brown/black.. Small tan head nice retention.

S: So much stuff. Carmel toffee chocolate slight coffee. Slight bourbon/whiskey vanilla oak barrel. A bit of dark fruits like raisins and figs.

T: Nice vanilla oaky whiskey up front. Sweet Carmel and toffee. Chocolate cake. Some raisin and oats. Beautiful tasting stuff.

F: Like vanilla velvet. Great. but wish it blanketed my mouth a bit more and stuck around.

O: Really impressed with this as I always am with boulevard. Hides the 11% so well and so balanced between all of the smells and flavors.

Feb 28, 2016
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Harrison8 from Missouri

4.14/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours black, with no head at all. A little bit of dark caramel colored fizz rises up when you pour it aggressive, but that's it. Sweet biscuit and roasted malt notes lead off the front of a sweet smelling aroma. The taste starts subtle and builds into a large roasted malt blast that feels rather sweet (sugary sweet). There is a booze burn towards the end of the taste profile as well. Good dynamic of taste, which is extremely simple. Mouth feel leads a little to be desire. I'm getting a bit of a carbonation burn on the tongue, and yet there is no head or lacing prevalent, even after a somewhat aggressive pour. Overall, a solid barrel aged stout. Nothing too fancy, it just works.

Served in a 12oz snifter.

Feb 27, 2016
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Xenoreactive from Virginia

4.85/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Very close to being a perfect 5 for me. What an incredible stout.

Preliminary: poured from a 12 oz into a snifter.

L: A dark and luscious syrupy waterfall. Reminds me of chocolate syrup coming down on ice cream. Oh myyy. Next to no head. No lacing. This is my favorite kind of beer.

Smell: Nutella, chocolate syrup, fudge, dark fruits, dried fruits, candied ginger, tamari, bourbon, vanilla, milk chocolate and cabernet sauvignon? Desserts galore, this will be a delicious beer.

Taste: Wow. Just fucking wow. All the smell combined into a delicious booze-dripped brownie out of hell. This is an incredibly thick, complex and tasty beer to be paired with a luscious dessert. Might as well replace your chocolate syrup. Has a heavy chocolate-forward flavor that is highlighted with oak, vanilla, honey, sugary malt, brown sugar, figs, prunes. avacado?, lactose, muscavado sugar and caramel. nomnom

Feel: When drinking such a densely flavored stout, you want this kind of luscious and velvety feel. A little chewy and coating, to the point that it's almost like a salad drizzle.

Overall: Phenomenal. Almost perfect, but can't give it a 5.

Feb 03, 2016
Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 94 out of 100 with 1334 ratings