Imperial Stout | Boulevard Brewing Co.

378 Reviews
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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

Added by BeerAdvocate on 10-23-2008

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Reviews: 378 | Ratings: 1,315
Photo of MPLS
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared this 750ml bottle with a friends as a after dinner desert. Poured into a tulip glass that is shaped more like a snifter. Beer was cold, so we let the bottle sit for a minute.

A: Great looking beer, dark and deadly, with an cloudy 2 cm brown leather head. Lacing was pretty awesome on this stout as it clung on for it's carbonated life.

S: Roasted malts, bitterness, alcohol, hint of coffee/anise. A very sweet smelling offering.

T: Sounds so cliche, but better as it warmed. Profound coffee like flavor/bitterness up front, some roasted alcohol, followed by a pleasant smokiness. The sweetness went away with the more alcohol that touched my palate.

M:Smooth, but not outright creamy, would have wanted it a little more vicious

D: I have a few bottles left of these and worth holding onto one, probably trade the other. Worthy stout, with my biggest gripe being the sweetness of this beer.

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Photo of McStagger
3.59/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a ridiculously opaque black with mild brown edges when held to the light. The head is three and a half fingers of dark chocolate cappucino head. Head retention is incredible. In fact, it's as good as I've ever seen.

S: Rich bittersweet chocolate notes jump from the glass. Very mild nutiness detected as well.

T: Big, bold and powerful. So powerful, in fact, that I couldn't get any real tasting notes at first. It tasted like somebody lit some barley on fire, threw it in some water, and bottled it. As I become accustomed to the flavor, and as the beer warmed slightly, I began tasting the nuances. A toasted sweetness was noted in the very beginning, before the big hops and burnt grain enveloped my palate. In the mashup were chocolate notes along with espresso as well. There were also subtle notes of citric and herbal hops. A very bitter smoke finished this beer.

M: The mouthfeel is a tad thin at first. The amazing head of this beer was undercut by the slightly seltzer feel it had in the mouth. That, combined with how big the malt backbone feels, combines for a slightly off balance mouthfeel.

D: I've had precious few beers that are less drinkable, but I understand the style of Russian Imperial Stout. However, this is still definitely considered a sipper. Replace your favorite brandy with this, light up a cigar and sit next to your bear skin rug while being warmed by the fire.

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Photo of CHSLBrew
4.03/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle shared with a friend, poured into stemless wine glasses.

A-Black, dark and opaque beer. BIG dense brown head, retention is strong. Actually, the head, off a gentle pour, rose too large and sustained too well. However, in spite of the oversized head, carbonation was not out of line (as I'll say below).

S-Chocolate, some floral hoppiness under the roastiness and chocolate. A bit of alcohol and a slight fruitiness.

T-Oh boy, chocolate, beautiful chocolate with a big, dense roasted-malty spine. A slight alcohol flavor peeks its way in near the finish, embraced by the huge roastiness, and coupled with a fruity nuance.

M-Full body, medium-low carbonation. A comfortable, subtle belly warmth.

D-Tasty and easy to drink (relatively speaking), this one is very drinkable.

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Photo of CMW
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a very dark brown, almost black. Very large dark tan head forms and sticks around for at least half the glass.

S - Definate notes of coffee and dark chocolate. The alcohol is also very present in the nose.

T - Much like the nose. Roasted malt flavor is strong up front mixed with an almost bitter chocolate taste. It almost tastes like baker's chocolate. There is some warming from the alcohol and the beer finishes dry.

M - Carbonation was quite high and the body was somewhat watery.

D - It wasn't hard to put down one large bottle, but I couldn't imagine trying to drink more than one in a night.

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Photo of maximum12
3.91/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this recently & had a hankering for a big stout tonight. Cooled down, popped open, warmed up, split with the wife.

Weirdly carbonated. The head starts small on a gentle pour, then swells, eating away into the beer. Cool. Smells neat, but with a milk stout-y undertone that dampened my enthusiasm a touch.

This is an above-solid stout. Nothing leaps out of the palate of flavors doing the macarena over my tongue. There's some coffee, a roasty toasty edge, with a layer of chocolate spattered over it all. It's plent thick for a stout & the Carbonatioin Gone Wild is very evident if one holds the brew in one's mouth for a moment or two (as I often do to let the smell waft up my somewhat damaged nose).

I don't actually believe there's any alcohol in this. I'm tempted to have seven to prove that the 11% is a misprint & should be 1%. Nah. Maybe tomorrow.

Very good beer.

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Photo of Blaketj80
3.12/5  rDev -25%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours with monstrous tan head and has less aroma than one would think. Tastes of sweet roastiness with a bitter black patent kick. Alcohol notes are subtle in the aftertaste and has legitimate body. Would recommend for the average stout drinker, but nothing exceptional for the money.

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Photo of jdklks
3.95/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours lighter than expected. a see-through dark brown color that comes together to create a black body that cant be seen through. light brown, almost milk chocolate color head. looks like it may be over-carbonated, but we'll see. looks a little thin for an imperial stout (i like them to be the consistency of motor oil).

S- smell is of dark fruits and very malty. a sweet, smoky scent, almost like that of a smoked porter (think alaskan and stone) dominates. the smell doesn't have the strength of an imperial stout's, but rather of a porter (i.e. a little bland)

T- good beer, but less complex than expected, perhaps even a little bland. this is probably due to the sweet smoky flavor that dominates the more subtle flavors that are begging to fully realize their potential, namely, bitter chocolate and a hint of dark fruits. the aftertaste is of coffee, strong bold coffee, and is surprisingly bitter considering the sweet taste up front.

M- as i thought after pouring and smelling it, it is over-carbonated. i love almost all imperial stouts, but over-carbonation is one thing that damages the score in the mouthfeel, and even taste, department (im thinking old rasputins, which is also over-carbonated). other than that, it turned out that the thickness is acceptable (though not that of the thicker class of imperial stouts, i.e., Abyss, ten fidy, bourbon county stout).

D- For an imperial stout it is actually fairly drinkable. not much else to say except that i wouldn't drink more than one in a night because a) they are $12 and b) they are in 750ML bottles.

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Photo of yeastsipper
4.41/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer received in trade with sry23. Scott rules. Part of a blind stout tasting in which the Boulevard finished 3/11, behind Rasputin XI and Darklord. Fantastic beer.

Beer pours a huge, frothy head over a pure black body. How does Boulevard get this kind of carbonation? The saison-brett was the same way. Fantastic!

Smell is super interesting. This was confirmed with others, but there are notes of celery and bell pepper (noticed the smell immediately as I use celery often to make juice). It wasn't bad, just odd, and very different. It gave the beer a very earthlike quality. Taste is much the same. Very earthy with a hint of vegetable and big chocolate tones. Nice carbonation and goes down easy. 11% hidden very well.

Superb, superb beer.

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Photo of Crosling
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This ale pours with a dark brown color. The large head appears a dark tan in color. The potent nose reveals dark chocolate, espresso and burned fruit. Sweet, well extracted and very complex, but doesn't quite have the mouth coating, non stop flavor, but rather spurts of deliciousness. A beauty and a beer to put away. Rich, very sweet and vinous, chocolaty.

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Photo of BZero007
4.23/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After having some Espresso and Coffee style Stouts this brew made me a happy man. Honestly this stouts appearance was great, very dark and the head retention was great and featured a nice medium brown color to it. Smell was not strong but was there and contained malts, alcohol and chocolate. Taste was exactly what i needed, warming bit of alcohol followed with a roasty malt and bitter chocolate taste. In the background smokey flavors highlighted the beer. Mouth feel and drink ability were fine for me and I have to honestly saw this is one of my favorite stouts.

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Photo of russpowell
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours ebony with 3+ fingers of rocky mocha head with caramel streaks in it. Insane lacing & head retention

S: Roasted malt, a touch of smokeyness & some booze

T: Roasted malt, booze, black currant, baker's chocolate & some smokeyness up front. Rich dark chocolate, wet roasty grains & a touch of dryness as this warms, plus nice dark fruits. Finishes dryish with a bit of booze warmth in the finish, plus some charred grain & cocoa

MF: Oily, fairly chewy with fairly lively carbonation that smoothes out a bit

Drinks great for the abv, there is much to love here. Will stockpile this when possible, great IMP stout!

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Photo of wnh
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle number 07800 of 11960. Poured into a snifter.

Pours black and thick, with a four fingers' worth of thick, foamy, dark tan head that sticks around for a while and leaves great lacing. I poured less than half of the (750 mL) bottle into the snifer, with the liquid itself taking up about three fingers and the head rising to the rim. Really phenomenal, even if I've got to wait a few minutes before drinking.

The nose is roasty up front, with a warm alcohol smell coming in, followed by molasses and finally dark chocolate. Inviting, for sure, but somehow not as complex and deep as I had anticipated. It's not bad at all, but seems a little flat and almost two-dimensional.

Taste is considerably oaky, with a good roasty backbone. The alcohol is prominent, but that's expected and welcomed. Dark chocolate toward the end, with a hoppy bitterness in the finish. No particular hop flavor that I can detect, just some bitterness. Toward the end of the glass I began to notice what I can best describe as a 'sharp' flavor in the middle that knocked the overall score down a notch or two. I'm not certain what it was, and while it isn't horrible it certainly doesn't help.

Thick and mouth-coating, with a smooth finish. The thickness is cut by the carbonation so that while thick, it's not heavy and cumbersome.

This was certainly a drinkable beer, but it didn't leave me wanting to finish the bottle (or even the glass) as much as I wish it would. This wasn't a case of not wanting to finish the glass, just that there wasn't much compelling me to take another sip. The alcohol content, while high and noticeably so, was held in check enough to make it drinkable without being boozy.

A good beer overall, and one I certainly wouldn't mind having again. I'll be a happy camper if Boulevard decides to make this more than a one-time-release beer.

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Photo of Wasatch
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to Bitterbill and bort11 for this brew.

750ml Bottle
Batch 2008-1
Bottle: 6038

Poured into a chalice a very nice black color, very nice carbonation, huge three-finger creamy tan head, with tons of nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, lots of chocolate/toffee. The taste is sweet, malty, nice vanilla notes, very nice chocolate/toffee notes as well. Medium/Full body, the ABV is hidden very well for a 11% brew. Very drinkable, this one is a joy to drink, thanks guy's.

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

Bomber into goblet on 3/7/09. Thanks to sholland119 for sharing.

A - Poured as close to black as can be with about a finger of creamy, burnt mocha-colored head that diminished to a quarter inch of patchy retention and deposited spotty lace around the glass.

S - Smokey and astringent with plenty of dark roasted malt, bitter chocolate notes, earthy hop bitterness and a bit of a nutty character.

T - Smokey flavor with a mild sourness and nutty astringency. However, there is a good bit of dark roasted malt and coffee flavor, as well as some semi-sweet chocolate notes. Finish is quite bitter and earthy with a bit of the aforementioned astringent and smokey characteristics riding through all the way to the end.

M - Medium body with a creamy texture and bristly carbonation, but not overly done. Finish is dry with an earthy bitter quality. Quite astringent on the palate overall.

D - Nice smokey imperial stout that drank much easier than an 11% brew would imply. Perhaps this was just a tad too astringent for my personal tastes, but it was still quite good nonetheless.

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Photo of Monkeyknife
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pulled the cork from the bottle and heard a resounding "pop". Wow, I thought this was an impy stout, not champagne.

Poured from the bottle a deep dark burgundy brown with a massive mocha-colored head.

Malty aroma with caramel, brown sugar, and toffee.

The taste is big roasted malts, coffee, caramel, and dark ripe fruits.The 11% alcohol is definitely there.

Medium-to-full bodied, smooth and creamy, and lightly carbonated.

This is a very drinkable and very enjoyable impy stout from Boulevard. If you can find it...try it.

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Photo of magictrokini
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from South Bay. Let this one warm up. Poured jet black with an impressive thick, creamy tan head. Sticky lacing. Heavy chocolate and roasted malt nose. Smoke, leather, oak, some bourbon, and oats as well. Velvety smooth mouthfeel with light carbonation. Love how it coats your mouth. Bittersweet chocolate and roasted malt hits you first. More sweet than bitter, but held in check. Rich coffee flavor (without the acidity), anise, caramel, and creamy milk-chocolate flavors come through. Hints of bourbon and an earthy smokiness pop occasionally. No soy sauce or wooden flavors, just a thick, lovely stout. The alcohol is well masked, but gives a pleasant warmth. Please brew more of this.

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Photo of Bung
4.38/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml. Corked bottle was a bit of a bear to get open. Sturdy black pour with a large dark tan that darkens to brown head. Roasted malt, mocha, booze and some light hop aromas. Very nice amount of lacing. Mouthfeel borders on creamy, just a bit of liveliness. Roasty malt, coffee, chocolate, anise, molasses with light vanilla/bourbon/booze flavors. There are traces of some dark fruits, not sure if they will increase or fade with age. A nice lingering coffee finish. Could have been just a little bit heavier bodied, but it is plenty adequate. Worthy, pushes up to the top big names of the style. Will be curious to see how this ages.

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Photo of longbongsilver
4.63/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

During a routine grocery trip, found the concept of beer bottled like champagne amusing. After a brief giggle, figured what the hell, let's find out what the fuss is about...

Pours pitch black. Head is thick & brown like off of a float, nearly triple the initial volume of beer and sticks around awhile. Pouring a decent amount takes some time as a result.

Smells kinda like almonds, plus more of the hops than I expected. The hops & the nutty malt balance out, and I don't taste the alcohol at all, just feel it. Goes down clean, but not watery.

Buy it again? Heck, if not for the price I'd fill an entire 2nd fridge with it...

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Photo of Bighuge
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Black bodied beer with a tight cap of brown foam. Great retention and lacing comes abundantly. Aroma consists of chocolate, black licorice, cherrywood, char and tobacco. Nice aromas, but fairly subtle. The flavor is a real treat. Anise oil mixes with charred wood. Black currants mix with burnt malts. Chocolate and coffee and caramel all accent nicely. Nice depth and complexity. Mouthfeel is smooth and about medium-full bodied. For 11%, this beer doesn't show much alcohol in the flavor. Quite a feat. Damn solid Imperial Stout.

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Photo of scottoale
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #05840 of 11960. 750ml. brown champagne style with cork finish. Poured into a Chimay chalice a black-brown with a thick two-finger smokey brown head. The head eventually settles to 1/4" and leaves a blanket of lace clinging to the glass. Good carbonation and head retention.

Sweet, roasty malt nose with complexity to unfold as it warms. Dark chocolate, dark fruits, some smokey bitteness and oak are what this brew is made of, aroma wise.

Sweet dark roasty malt is how this beer comes across from the start to the middle. From that the oak and hops come into play with a good bittering aspect and wind down with some warmth and a bittery bite to the tongue. A bit of oak and aged ale linger in the aftertaste. Very satisfying flavor.

Full bodied with the alcohol lying low in profile, the carbonation keeping the brew lively and the whole of the brew, reeling you in for more...I think this is my favorite of the four smokestack series that I've encounered.

A very tasty and interesting RIS that I hope to enjoy again in the likes!

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Photo of homebrewhawk
4.32/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml corked bottle served in a Smokestack Chalice. This cork was a mother to pull out. Lots of carbonation. Poured a dark brown/black with some hints of red. Two fingers of dark tan head. Fruity aroma with some chocolate. Rich and creamy mouthfeel. Not over the top with the roasted barley, more towards the chocolate side. Some hop bitterness. Long dry finish with chocolate malt. More fruitiness in the flavor. A bit of a different take on an Imperial Stout. Probably my least favorite of the Smokestack Series so far.

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Photo of naterock
4.73/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Smokestack Chalice. Pours a Deep opaque black, Thick rocky two finger head that settles like sand. As close to a nitro-tap settling as I've ever seen in a bottle. head leaves a nice patchy lacing.

Smell is rich malt, some rye and oat malt. a brown sugary nose is relenquished by a alcohol twinge in the nose. A very distinct yeast profile is so incredibly enticing. Absolutely amazingly complex.

Suprisingly I taste hops first, but is quickly overpowerd by rich but subtle malts. I sense some fig and vine fruit in the aftertaste. Incredibly complex with a bitter-sweet overall complexity. Approach is bitter but finishes sweet and smooth. Not as creamy as some other RISs but I don't think RIS is in a league all it's own.

Mouth is rich and viscous, this one really sticks with you while you attempt to finish off the bottle. For future reference I might want to split one, but this bottle is all mine. MuaHA HA HA!

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Photo of katan
3.68/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

750 mil, bottle 5385 of 11960.

A - Dark black in color - like a heavy burnt syrup. Head formation is very strong and mocha in color. Very well retained head as well. Little hazing.

S - Chococolatey and sweet. There is something similar to a bourbon edge in there. Amazing amount of lacing on the edge showing its thickness. A small amount of phenolic background hiding behind the assertive malted flavors.

T - Starts off with a hair of roasted malt and sweetness. Some lighter chocolate flavors. Moves to show just a bit of the Belgian yeast. Minor phenolic flavors - very well hidden. Finishes with a very sweet and much more assertive bittersweet chocolate flavor that carries over into the aftertaste.

M - Odd combination of thick creaminess at the beginning, which turns to a more balanced moderate mouthfeel after all the carbonation kicks in. More carbonated than I would have preferred.

D - Potent as can be. Higher ABV is harder to manage. Carbonation creates a heavier feeling on the palette. I would find these all in line with the style.

Overall a great beer. My only knock on this beer is that I find it higher in carbonation than I would prefer for a double stout. I imagine that is a symptom of their use of the belgian yeast strain vs. something more traditional. I would go to the GI BCS first - but I will do anything to support these great offerings from BLVD.

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Photo of jcompton
3.11/5  rDev -25.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

appearance: opaque black into a snifter. bubbly head rescinds to a slight foam. nice lacing around the glass

smell: a slight roastiness on the nose with a slight alcohol burn

taste: slight mocha followed sharply by a heavy alcohol burn. the alcohol over powers the flavors in this one

feel: high level of carbonation. fairly creamy, but still a bit thin for others i've had of this style

drinkability: sharing this 750ml, and i'm not really wanting anymore than that. even if this was always produced i wouldn't go out of my way to grab one. maybe i was looking forward to this a bit too much, but i am disappointed

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Photo of brewintheLou
2.99/5  rDev -28.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours black with a tan head that leaves some lacing down the snifter.

Smell doesn't have much there. Getting mostly a boozey smell.

Taste has a slight roastiness. There is a strong alcohol warmth to this beer. Ever so slight espresso, but not much. I don't think this one of the top RIS I've had. Not a lot of flavor that jump out with this beer. That being said, it is not bad, just not something worth seeking out.

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Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
4.16 out of 5 based on 1,315 ratings.
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