Imperial Stout | Boulevard Brewing Co.

BA SCORE
93
outstanding
1,323 Ratings
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Boulevard Brewing Co.
Missouri, United States
boulevard.com

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

BEER STATS
Ratings:
1,323
Reviews:
383
Avg:
4.16
pDev:
10.1%
 
 
Wants:
274
Gots:
414
For Trade:
27
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,323 |  Reviews: 383
Photo of Boldenglishale
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of Bobloblawlawblog11
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 22 oz. bottle.

A - Black with dark brown highlights, solid, with light tan head and mild lacing.

S - Dark fruit, prunes and molasses, alcohol burn.

T - Starts with the nose, but with a subtle chocolate element, fruity cocoa nibs, fading toward roast coffee in the middle, roasted malts and a touch of tobacco and leather, a line of barrel and bourbon, slight hints of umami, closing slightly bitter, but very smooth.

M - Slick and heavy, but not cloying. A mild carbonation, and decent drying in the close keep this from becoming taxing.

O - This is a pleasure to drink. There are several layers to this, and it is fun to explore how they mix and mingle through each sip. This is a big beer, with a punchy roast and alcohol core that is quintessential imperial. A bomber worth its price, certainly, and an excellent choice when you've got nothing left to do for the night.

 886 characters

Photo of Beastcpa
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Jae61
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Stagga_Lee
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of th0m
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Photo of BigMike
4.33/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Faroveryonder
3.77/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of DaveRinn
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of SierraFlight
3.96/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Chrispy_Creams
4.64/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of nut
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of CycleHops
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

One of the dark beers Ive ever tasted. Would recommend to anyone.

65 characters

Photo of Tuckerster
4.45/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Photo of paresis
4.24/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Prost76
4.04/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of SteveD082791
4.56/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

Photo of MaltLickyWithTheCandy
4.76/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of rbmjr1
4.75/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Photo of duceswild
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of amvrana
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of poopfaced
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of kojevergas
3.23/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

BOTTLE: Batch number I14295-1. Best by: 10-2016. 2014 vintage. Brown glass. 750ml. Classic understated label design. Hood-and-wire cap over a cork.

11% ABV. Expectations are high. Served cold into a snifter and allowed to warm.

No bubble show forms as it's poured.

HEAD: 1.5 fingers wide. Khaki colour head. Should be richer and darker, but it's decent, with nice creaminess and fullness. A thicker more even consistency would be ideal. It's supple and soft enough. Retention is excellent (esp. for the ABV) - ~10+ minutes.

BODY: Opaque solid black. No yeast particulate or hop sediment is visible.

Appears well-carbonated. It's far from unique or special for an imperial stout, but is above average. Certainly appealing.

AROMA: The whiskey barrel character eclipses the base aromatics, with pungent whiskey-soaked wood, whiskey's signature spiciness, and hints of mesquite. The whiskey hides the base for the most part, but I do find cream, dark malts, oats, subtly spicy rye malt, and oats. Additionally, the barrel wood dips into sourness a bit, indicative perhaps of infection.

I find no roasted barley - to its detriment, and the rich dark malt backbone that should be prominent is absent. I find no smoke, chocolate, coffee, etc. This aroma suggests a neutral simplistic base beer with an eclipsing whiskey character, neither of which is interesting.

Aromatic intensity is quite low; this is a timid reticent aroma.

No yeast character, alcohol, hops, or off-notes are detectable.

TASTE: A light hint of sourness mixed with dampened cardboard is present, which throws off the balance and build substantially - but doesn't make this undrinkable. Just...different. I imagine if they'd stop mucking about with blending they wouldn't run into that problem.

The whiskey barrel isn't anywhere near as rich or evocative as one would hope, but it's present. Some subtle spice, a kiss of mesquite, whiskey soaked wood. There's no vanilla or rich toasted oak.

Mild as the whiskey barrel is, the base is even less interesting. I don't know that I've run into an imperial stout with such a neutral or even insipid malt backbone in a long time. I can tell dark malts were used, but there's just not an accompanying sweetness; it comes off depleted. Cream is the most notable note in the flavour profile, though the oats are nice as well, and bring a hint of starchiness to the taste in addition to their usual smoothening effect on the texture. I search for rye, but have trouble finding it; perhaps rye's subtle spiciness is overshadowed by whiskey's. Odd, since you'd think they'd work together.

Roasted barley is sorely missed, but frankly I'm desperate just for anything of interest from the base. This beer is crippled by its lack of a robust malt backbone, and it doesn't offer anything else in its place; there's no chocolate here (not even chocolate malt), no coffee, no smoke, no vanilla, no dark fruit, no charred or burnt sugars, no marshmallow, no caramel, no hazelnut, no nothing. It's oddly simple and lacks depth of flavour. There's not much subtlety or nuance to it. Flavour duration is average. Flavour intensity is below average. The beer doesn't have an American feel to it, and I suspect American yeast was not used - to its detriment.

I don't dislike it. As it warms, I find it flirts with a lactose sugar sweetness in the second act. And some faint raisin fades in.

TEXTURE: Way too thin, lending it a weak presence on the palate - an issue not helped by its surprisingly moderate body. I wonder why they used wheat in the grain bill of an imperial stout? This is oddly light, but of course unrefreshing, and there is some faint alcohol warmth. Smooth and wet. Slightly sticky, a biteen chewy, slightly syrupy. Its best attribute is its creaminess, and the smoothness lent by the oats works well here, bringing it closer to a porter without overstepping bounds. It's well-carbonated to boot, and has a slight powdery feel (which would be fantastic if this had any cacao presence at all).

Overall presence on the palate is above average, I guess - if only because of the creaminess and silkiness. Still, this texture fails to elevate the beer or to accentuate any specific notes from the flavour profile.

OVERALL: I expected far better given this is a Boulevard beer, but it's by no means a bad brew. Nor is it anywhere near world-class. In spite of its alcohol presence, it's drinkable enough, and I'll enjoy finishing the bottle. But with the wealth of widely available superior imperial stouts out there, I won't be buying this again. Even non barrel aged examples of the style like Victory Storm King, North Coast Old Rasputin, and Great Divide Yeti bring far more complexity to the table. This seems more like an attempt to cater to the market than an inspired brew; certainly Boulevard knows craft beer fans go apeshit for imperial stouts. I just hoped their offering would be consistent with the quality of the majority of their lineup.

High C+

 4,983 characters

Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
4.16 out of 5 based on 1,323 ratings.
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