Imperial Stout | Boulevard Brewing Co.

381 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: 381 | Ratings: 1,320
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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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750 was gifted to me ..Big Thanks... I had a couple of samples at the BA/RB tasting a week or so ago.. Very impressive out of the gates... tonight poured into my Chimay goblet... I maybe should have waited to cork this one... Oh Well.

2" lite tan head... good lacing.. with a big POP as soon as the cork is freed... the brew is thick and dark... obviously a thick brew is in the goblet.

The aroma is a great mix of chocolate and dark dried fruits.. cherries and cocoa come to mind.. prunes and dark chocolate..

Flavor is everything that a RIS should attempt.. dark fruits and a ton of bittersweet.. French Roast.. dark malts have a thick presence.. The body is pretty much perfect.. Carbonation lends perfectly on every pour..

This RIS is an Upperclassman for sure.. deep on every angle.. and surprising ... I've been pretty impressed with every one of the Smokestack series brews.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bottle 06339 of 11960 - Pours a omnivorous brown to establish its ever so opaquely inked blackness in the glass. A tall sponge of dark khaki tan foam swells up swiftly. It resides down to a dense compaction of foam that firmly sits for the duration of each pour from the bottle and growing again at each addition. Lacing covers the glass with a solid base of moth holed sheeting.

At first wiff this was impressively complex, but somehow it lost its capacity and mellowed out as it sat. However, the nose is mostly an all overness of dryish chocolate covering an even higher amount of pruney port-like tangerine peel sweetened tangyness. Nice notes of pie crust, black cherry, and an ever changing demeanor of vinous alcohol. Its a great nose, but just not as boomingly wafty as it could be.

Taste of solid satisfaction here with a big, bold, and beefy character thats soaks right into every corpuscle of your taste buds. Tangy black cherry, prune, plum, and even some citrusy things(tangerine, orange, lime)are placed well in the forefront and coated with a soothingly taming chocolate tone. Mellowing out nicely, staying tangy but mild and chocolate laced in the mid ranges into one finely developing finish of charred, burntish roasty grains. Leaves a heavy bittering tang of chocolate, cherry, and fig with heavenly notes of port-like warmth.

Body of this Boulevard beaut is quite substantial and grand. Starts tangy and large, bold and grabbing, fulls up and then softens up as it soothes its way to silken creamy sense of chocolate mildness. Holds its tang inbetween and along the way into the finish where it gets all lofty and impressive as noted in the taste. One solid beast of a brew!

A true and purely dark sipper of an Imperial Stout. The balance of darkly set tang is superbly set amounst its milding, mellowing chocolate and warming vinous tones. Boulevard can smile big and drink even bigger with this one under their belt in the Smokestack series!
Solid fuckin yum!

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Photo of tr4nc3d
3.83/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

I dont need to stress enough how much I hate corked bottles. This one was a bitch to get open(or maybe I just need to get a better cork screw)and it took me some time to finally get this motherfucker open. I was holding on to the neck with dear life and pulling the shit out of the cork until I finnaly managed to do it with a little scare.

So off goes the cork and obvioiusly heres comes all the pressure from pulling of the cork so I pour this immediately into my glass. This poured a dark brown/black ruby looking color with the biggest light caramel brown head I ever saw. I mean it was GIGANTIC I tell you. It seemed to last for years before it slowly went down but always leaving a rocky head with sticky lacing on the sides of my glass.

The smell was of roasted malts, molasses, leather, dark chocolate, barley.

It taste of roasted malts upfront with dark chocoalate, dark coffe taste in the middle, with a decently smooth finish that leaves just enough bitterness and a slightly alcohol burn.

Mouthfeel is medium body with lightly carbonation, and once again you get that small alcohol burn.

Being 11% I could not manage to drink more then one of these.

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Photo of zeff80
4.83/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A - Poured out an opaque, jet black color with a huge (4 finger) brown, foamy head with big bubbles. It left sticky patches of Brussels lace all over the glass.

S - It smelled of dark chocolate, sweet caramel, floral notes and hints of fruits.

T - It tasted of chocolate, caramel and fruity sweetness. It had a bitter/citrusy hop presence and slight hints of raisin.

M - It was crisp, sharp and velvety smooth. A medium-bodied beer that is surprisingly easy to drink despite its alcohol content.

D - This is outstanding. The finest of the Smokestack series.

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Photo of coldmeat23
4.31/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

GLASS: Oversized Wine Glass
TEMP: Cellared @ approx 50 degrees
BOTTLE NUMBER 00889 of 11960
THANKS to TheHand for helping me get this one!

Pours black with the slightest ruby tint. Two-finger head of dense, milk chocolate colored, foam. Retention is totally amazing! Excellent super-sticky lacing.

Big, dark fruit notes hit me first. Folowed by a hint of leather and a touch of booziness. Nice roasted grain notes. I'm getting the Rye, most of all. Just a touch spicey. Very light hints of dark chocolate and coffee.

Big, dark coffee notes blast my tastebuds. Very nice smokey presence, also. Big dark fruit sweetness. Nice hint of caramel malts. Roasted grains make a nice showing for themselves. Once again, I'm getting the spiciness of the Rye, coming through, loud and proud. Hints of vanilla and bourbon-like notes.
A very nicely complex brew.

Mouthfeel is full, as it should be with an Imperial Stout. Very nice and creamy. Super smooth going down.

This one is very easy to drink. An enjoyable process, also. Nice one to sip and bask in all of the flavors that are going on in there.
Yet another excellent offering in the Smokestack Series from Boulevard.

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Photo of Fweezle
4.82/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

First review and this beer is whole heartedly worthy.

A : Inky black that foamed up something fierce in the glass. 3 1/2 finger cocoa color head with minimal lacing.

S : Just outstanding. One of my favorite parts of tasting a beer. Hints of Chocolate, charcoal, roasted grains, coffee, and a bit of rye spiciness.

T : Simply delicious. The roasted grains take the forefront with darkness coating your mouth. The roasted chocolate really comes through, coffee is superbly subdued but present and a touch of the grainy rye spiciness. Moderate hop bitterness on the finish.

M : Silky and lightly carbonated. Maybe just a touch too thin, but adds to the drinkability. No overly "coatiness" to your tongue.

D : At 11.00% its a bit hard to finish one on your own, but definitly one to share the experience.

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Photo of SpecialK088
4.48/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into the Smokestack Chalice

A-Deep dark black with a great head and nice sticky lace down the glass

S-Rich coffee/expresso and dark rich chocolate sweet malt all of the equally noticeable

T-Dark rich coffee and chocolate with a nice smooth bitter finish and just the right alcohol burn on the finish

M-body is thick rich and exteremly complex very smooth and creamy

D-I could not drink this all the time but dammit i wish i could!

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Photo of Kahlerbock
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark in color (opaque) with a respectable brown head.
Some imperial stouts I've drank had a noticeable taste of alcohol,
but this one, even at 11%, hid it pretty well. Sweet smell. Rich taste with hints of coffee and chocolate with a very nice finish. I've got an extra bottle of this in my beer cellar which I'm sure will taste wonderful in a year or two, but here and now, this one is quite enjoyable right off the shelf. Another winning big beer from Boulevard.

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Photo of jdubjacket
4.26/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 mL bottle split last night between me and my dad. Pours an almost pitch black color with a milk-chocolate head on top. Lots of head on this one despite pouring along the side. Smell has traces of coffee, chocolate, and sweet, sweet alcohol. Taste is very well-balanced between the bitter hops and the malts. Coffee and chocolate eventually dominate the tastebuds with the roasted malts countering the initial bitterness of the hops. Silky mouthfeel and moderate carbonation make this beer very drinkable. A little high on the ABV might lower the drinkability for some, but I could probably have 2 or 3 of these in one night. Overall, I think this is the best of Boulevard.

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Photo of Mazdajoe
3.52/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Dark Coffee in color w large cappuccino colored head.

Smell of sweet alcohol and hops with subtle hints of roasted coffee and dark chocolate.

Quite a bit of carbonation up front. This beer likes to be sipped for the best mouth-feel. When sipped the beer is quite smooth and creamy. A bit of cloying on the finish.

Taste pretty much mimics the aroma, as expected. Sweet alcohol and hops dominate the taste. Only on the exhale does the coffee and chocolate come through. A little bit too hoppy for what I look for in this style.

Alcohol takes center stage with this beer. If you can handle the 11% abv it is very drinkable.

Overall the decent alcohol content and acceptable taste make this a must try. I am a huge Boulevard fan, they could sell fermented urine and I'd purchase a bottle. I just wish this beer had less hop character and more chocolate and roasted coffee notes.

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

I bought the bottle at Cosintinso's Downtown Market, 26 January 2009. It is a 750 ml corked bottle. I opened it and poured slowly into a pint glass, 28 January 2009.

It forms a head fast. Despite my angled and slow pour, at least an inch and a half of head forms fast.

It has a dark bitter burnt malt smell with coffee and cocoa undertones.

The initial taste is like the smell. After a couple of seconds a strong alcohol taste comes through and competes with the dark bitter malt coffee taste.

The mouthfeel is smooth and soft, and expands nicely in the mouth.

I had to come back to my initial review because as the imperial stout came to room temperature, the taste softened. The strong alcohol taste that competed too harshly initially blends into the coffee and cocoa nicely.

The overall drinkability is good because of the feel of the beer and the eventual blend of flavors. The major drawback is the strong alcohol taste that comes through at first. I have not had many imperial stouts but none had that strong of an alcohol taste that competed with the initial taste.

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

Purchased from The Wine & Cheese Place for $11.99

This pours from caged and corked 750ML bottle(no. 6037 of 11960) a pitch black with a 3 finger head of tan foam. The cork was very stubborn so I used my BA bottle opener's bigger end to wedge the cork out. It saved a lot of irritation on my hand. Just kep wedging and rotating and it's simple as pie. ;^)

The smell has a lot of roasted malt and dark fruits with side orders of chocolate and a wee bit of coffee. Very nice nose.

The taste comes out with a ton of roasted malt and grain followed by some chocolate, light coffee, and a good but not overpowering flavour of wood...bourbon, in fact. I started off this session with a very cold bottle that I just got so some warming is in order to get the full effects of what this beer has to offer.

I waited for about 30 minutes after my first sips and, man, was I rewarded. All of the flavours come out to the forefront and are tickling my palate like few Imperial Stouts can. Yum!

The mouthfeel is in fullish territory, the carbonation is on the light side of medium, and it finishes lightly bitter with a last mad dash of bourbon. This one is definitely made to savour and... the alcohol? At 11%abv, it appears to be on the very timid side. Very well hidden to my tastes. Wow.

Drinkability? Super drinkable given how strong it is. A very well made Imperial Stout indeed and I take my hat off to Boulevard for pushing the "envelope" for what an example of the style can be. Don't hesitate for a moment if you see this one on the shelf of your local liquor store. It is, imho, a must try.

Oh, and head retention and lacing are superb. This beer can do *no* wrong!

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.78/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nice presentation, numbered bottle. Cork took a wine opener to pop. Once it popped off the brew poured forth a solid black river. Deep black, even the edges didn't lighten up. Dense, tan head that foamed at a slow rate, it built up over 12 seconds after pour.
Good coffee and toffee smell. Not overpowering, but constant and thorough. A hint of cocoa is present as it warms. I can smell the dryness.

Taste seems to come out big, but settle down to a nice balance of coffee, cocoa, and molasses. A sharp bite grips the middle of the tongue, yet finishes smooth. Flavor tends to start to sour towards the end, but then calm down with subtle complexity.

Overall, this beer is very nice. Rivals the Abyss, and like the Abyss a big bottle is too much for one person. Not a bad thing, but just know this ahead of time.

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Photo of hckyfn9999
4.53/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a thick and creamy tan colored head. Great retention of the head and loads of lace left on my Smokestack goblet. Aroma is of cocoa, roasted malt, a bit of dark fruit, some grain, and a touch of booze.

Taste is very roasted, with some dark chocolate, dark fruit, vanilla, bourbon, oak, and some rye. Very complex flavors here and very delicious. Mouthfeel is full but not syrupy, and silky smooth. Best beer in the Smokestack Series so far.

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Photo of bfields4
4.4/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A very dark brown with a nice full head. Bubbles are slightly large but very compact making for a puffy cream brown colored head. The head leaves a lacy finish down the side of the glass.

Smells nutty and chocolate with some coffee and roasted malts.

Tastes nutty and very malty oak leaves a nice lasting impression. A little hop is nice in this beer. Taste is just so complex. Leaves me speechless, guess I'll just have to drink my beer...

A little creaminess lets this beer flow along the palate nicely.

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


Poured an opaque pitch black with HUGE rocky brown head that lasted ages, leaving loads of lacing.

First aroma is vibrant of the roasted malts (coffee/chocolate) and some subtle dark stone fruits and dark sugar. There is also a touch of lactic sourness in the nose.

Flavors start with some malt complexity. Coffee and chocolate dominate. A touch of oak, and again some subtle dark stone fruits, and a lactic acid sourness. The bitterness is high and lends a huge hand in the balance. This is nowhere as sweet or cloying as many other examples out there right now. The finish is dry.

Medium in body with mild carbonation. There is a definite astringency for a number of reasons.

Job well done. I will be grabbing a few of these while they are around, something I really would like to try every year.

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Photo of kcillini77
4.9/5  rDev +17.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I gotta tell you - this is close to the perfect beer. I have to mark down the drinkability slightly just because it's so stinkin' high in alcohol and it takes a full evening to enjoy a bottle.

The pour (into my Ommegang chalice) is black as it should be. The tan head looks great and retains well.

The smell is of roasted grain, pure cocoa, coffee, and some faint hops.

Taste is the perfect mix of roasted oats, barley, dark chocolate, espresso beans, wood, and a little bit of boozy alcohol.

Taste is very complex.

I know this might be sacrilege but I enjoy it more than Stone Russian Imperial Stout. I have only had that once, and may have to revisit it on my upcoming trip west.

Phenomenal job by Boulevard. The best of a great Smokestack series to date. Keep 'em coming.

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

Boulevard Imperial Stout from a tightly corked bomber (had to use pliers) --> big wine glass.

A - Pours used motor oil black, no light getting through this one. Surprising amount of cappuccino-colored head, a little bit seems to stick around. Easily passes the "pencil test." Very nice lacing.

S - Fireplace smoke, a zillion different dark roasted malts, pencil lead. Just a tiny bit of sweetness.

T - No way this thing is this smooth... Mountains of malts.. oats, barley, rye. Baker's chocolate, coffee, espresso. Bits of burnt wood. Just enough metallic hops and the tiniest bit of sweetness just to bundle all the malt together. A little bit of boozy alcohol warming in the back. Aftertaste is of roasted malts and burnt coffee.

M - Thick and fairly slick. Just a little bit of carbonation, but don't expect much.

D - Not sure how to really rate this. Really good for an impy stout, but that's all pretty relative. Drink it fast and you'll get sick, drink it slow and you'll enjoy it nicely. The high ABV will also get you. Hard to believe there's 11% alcohol in this, it is very well hidden.

Pretty darn good imperial stout. Nicely balanced (if there is such a thing), it isn't hop-tarded like some (Old Rasputin).. very good stuff.

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Photo of hwwty4
4.37/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle number 05105.

Just to start out, I had to open this cork with my teeth. Damn thing was just a pain in my ass. Ok, I vented. I poured this into my Tripel Karmeliet tulip. This beer pours more of a dark chocolaty brown then a true black. What also comes forth is like a 4 inch, chocolate moose head. It looks like I'm going to have to eat through it with a spoon. Luckily, 10 minutes later the head had receded leaving just a spotty bit of lacing. The aroma is a combination of dark chocolate malts, lightly roasted espresso beans, chocolate nibs, a bit of vanilla bean, and just a hint of wood. The flavor is full frontal chocolate malts. Not real chocolate but a really nice roasted chocolate malty flavor. There is definitely a bit of coffee and vanilla but both are more subdued then in the aroma. Also there are hints of cherry and still a bit of oaky astringency. The mouthfeel is still a bit thin. This definitely reminds me more of a Belgian stout then what is traditionally considered a "Imperial" stout. Wonder why? This is a great beer, it's defiantly worthy of its Smokestack series, and I'm ecstatic to see Boulevard pumping out so many great brews.

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Photo of Buebie
4.43/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I couldnt think of a better way to go into Zealot, then with this review. #222

Picked this up last night, this beer is insanely limited in MN.
The cork on the BBQ was a huge pain in the ass to get off, this one came out a bit easier.
Poured from a 750ml brown bottle into an oversized snifter.
Bottle number 6351 of 11960

Off the pour I see a velvety inky thickness to the liquid. Poured semi rigerously I now watch this head take gynormous shape! Its like watching one of those sponge toys that you add water too, but it just gets bigger and bigger. Forming a 4 finger khaki brown fluffy head.
I've been waiting now for several minutes for this thing to receed. Still a finger left with sticky thick globs of lace all around, drapeing down the glass. The cap is a solid half finger of retention, looking alot like brown whip cream.
Color on this is black, with zero light penetration or glowing.

Aroma has a bit of a boozy warm alcahol smell, but not terribly bad as other aromas of chocolate and coffee help to soak up alot of the boozyness.
I get wiffs of oak soaked bourban, vanilla, chocolate nibs with a subtle cocoa nutty aroma, hints of coffee, burnt caramel and grassy pine like hoppy aroma.
The bourbon aoky aroma is really rich and just makes this one hell of an appatizing aromatic brew.

Wow, I dont have the vocabulary to describe how good this tastes.
Its warm up front with a rush of bourban and smooth heavily creamy textures and mouthfeel. Carbonation is present all the way through, but kept in check by all that is going on with the bourbon, the warmth and the super thick and creamy mouthfeel. This can not be low in calories! lol
Dense, this is definatly dense. If Darth Vader drank dark beer, this would be his beer.
Grassy hay like flavors with a minerally water flavor coming through the middle. Cocoa poder like flavor with a super bitter baking chocolate taste. Its sweet upfront, but all that is sweet and safe in this worl, turns to the dark side.
That bourbon made this beer somthing fantastic in the aroma! Holy hell its doing somthing even better in flavors with the lightly toasted oak and dark chocolate with just a touch of warm booze. This is one of the best, most original RIS's I've ever had.

The 11% is not well hidden, but it is well blended with the other flavors and aromas. Keeping it in line and not overwhelming. Brooklyn Monster ale would be a good example here. The alcahol solvent aroma and taste in that beer was far to much. This one is just right.

I highly recommend getting a bottle of this beer!

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Photo of mdcrouser
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

#01664 of 11960 - bought one for now and another for a year(s) from now.

Caged, capped, and corked, inside the Boulevard bomber.

Opaque black, with one of the largest heads I've ever seen at 2+ fingers. Sandy brown in color, it is light and fluffy, falling in "columns" as it rests, leaving behind lacing that covers nearly half of the glass where head was before, and clinging to everything it touches. And the head that remains (and remains) is still huge - chunky and bubbly.

Malts - yes, many of them - are heavy on the nose, giving way to a little bit of chocolate. Kind of like sticking your face in a box of malted milk balls, but much more fun.

Once in the mouth, those malts are immediately absorbed into the deepest recesses of your mouth, alighting the taste buds at the back of the cheeks. Exceptionally bitter on the tongue, I would guess that it's the oats that help everything blend so well together.

Subtle and exceedingly smooth carbonation percolates on the tongue, helping to mask the alcohol (though not completely), which at 11% is beneficial. Definitely a sipper though - I'll be spending the evening, enjoying this one.

Only a bottle this big could hold a beer this big. Well worth the wait.

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Photo of stephens101
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is one of those beers that you have to ask yourself, is it all that good, and is all the hype just a little overblown? You never know until you try, but I pretty much have an idea by the Smokestack's history, it's probably going to be pretty good. Then again, there's always an exception to the rule, but let's hope this one isn't it. This one is numbered 00055/11960 and shows the 11% abv, which I like seeing, as the bigger Boulevard brews always have a good blend on the alcohol.

A massive multi-colored, light and dark-tan head explodes and rises quickly above the rim of the pint. It's topped with a crop of big bubbles, and recedes at a snails pace, leaving stacked sheets of slightly broken lacing all around. You have to be careful with the pours on the Smokestacks, i.e. the Doublewide, or you're gonna get froth all over the place. No complaints here though. Color is pitch-black and opaque, with virtually no lighter shades showing when held to light. Aromatically this one is very complex, but that's no surprise. Burnt wood, some ubiquitous Boulevard brettanomyces (which seem to show up lately), burnt sugar, toasted bread, wheat, pine, subtle dark fruits and hops all work in unison to create a perfectly balanced aromatic profile.

A smooth, creamy and very slightly viscous mouth-feel makes for a medium to full bodied experience that is actually highly drinkable, but warrants sipping due to the well-hidden alcohol content. The palate is filled with dark chocolate, coffee, caramel, furtive candy spices, roasted malts and a good hit of alcohol that works itself into the overall experience well and is not overbearing. In my opinion the hype surrounding this beer is well-deserved, but you'll just have to seek it out and give it a shot yourself.

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Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
4.16 out of 5 based on 1,320 ratings.
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