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: 1,312
Photo of barczar
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Roasty, fairly sweet malt aroma, with cocoa notes abounding. Touch of booze.

Flavor is sweet, with dark chocolate and char contrasting. Chocolate dominates.

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Photo of john0721
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle, 2013 Vintage

Pours black with a light brown head.

Nose and Taste: Dark fruit (prune,plum, grape), some chocolate, grain, cast wood and mild whiskey.

Lots of dark fruit in this one. With all the coffee and chocolate forward imperial stouts, this dark fruit forward one was a nice change.

The dark fruit forwardness is probably due to aging. 2013 is drinking well now.

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Photo of SteveB24
4.21/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look-motor oil black in color, very opaque, not shiny. pours an impressive finer and a half of off white head that retains very well and leaves beautiful lacing on the glass. About as good looking as an imperial stout gets.
Smell-some nice molasses, coffee and chocolate in the aroma, but the booze is pretty strong
Taste-Has the sweet, smokey flavor of molasses, without the unpleasant soy sauce taste that often comes with that profile, also some nice chocolate and coffee, with hints of vanilla and honey from the bourbon barrels. slightest bit of alcoholic warmth. very pleasant.
Feel-Medium/full body, very creamy, foamy in the finish.
Overall-Not the most deep, complex Barrel aged stout but it is smooth and sweet and really enjoyable, and a great value. if given the opportunity i would buy this several more times, at least.

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Photo of dar482
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours out in dark brown, but black in the glass.

The beer offers rich roasted coffee up front, caramel sweetness, some chocolate flavor and lots of carbonation. The beer however is slightly thin for its ABV. A great amount of coffee for an imperial stout, despite it drinking below its ABV.

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Photo of BWood
4.68/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a great stout. I like everything about it. Very smooth on the tongue and a nice heavy feel. High alcohol but drinks like a beer with much less power.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brief write-up. This is 11%? Seriously, Boulevard? It has a flavor profile that might suggest that, but it generally drinks like it's 6% or so. It starts off intensely fruity, with a gentle oak barrel finish. This is much better than I remembered Dark Truth being, too. A great dessert beer...yet it's never overbearing.

3.97/5: Deliciously dangerous

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Photo of thebeers
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Red-tinted black with a finger of mocha-colored head. Smells of chocolate malt and sweet bourbon with just a kiss of straight-up alcohol. Rich, thick, creamy mouthfeel, with slight carbonation cutting through. The bourbon plays off nicely with roasted malts, leaving an almost coffee taste. Great beer, and relatively easy to come by in comparison to others in its class.

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Photo of uvachief
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 750ml bottle during a bottle share. Extremely good imperial stout. Dark chocolate brown with a full 2 fingers of tan head that dissipated slowly. Nice lacing. Loads of grain. Very bready or creamy. Very traditional stout with malts, grains and hints of chocolate and mild coffee. Big abv beer but very smooth. Liked it a lot.

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

This is a very heavy beer from Boulevard, and it's one of their best. You can immediately taste the balance of the stout, as it isn't dry or bitter at all, and then the sweetness of the imperial sets in hard. You can definitely feel the alcohol in this one - not for the faint of heart. Good to see Boulevard making a departure from their usual styles for this offering.

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Photo of daryk77
4.6/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 out of a 750ml btl. A blend between 4 Roses, Heaven Hill, Buffalo Trace, Templeton Rye, Jack Daniels barrel aged beer and fresh beer. Incredibly balanced for a barrel aged stout, the blend really makes this beer exceptional out of the gate. This guy definitely flies under the radar for barrel aged stouts, I put it up there with Parabola.

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Photo of LanguedocRocks
4.19/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Amazing bourbon flavors. One could say a bourbon bomb. Definately one of my favorite stouts out there, and at the perfect price point.

Had on tap 02/24/15. Have a bottle aging since December 2014. Will be interested to see how the taste changes.

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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.

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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+

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Photo of CTbrew32
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a two finger dark mocha head. Aroma is very sweet with lots of roasted malt, milk chocolate, and a little bit of bourbon booze. Taste is very similar but the milk chocolate outweighs the roasted malts and the bourbon qualities are subtle, but complimentary to the chocolate sweetness. A little bit of dark fruit in the finish as well. Mouthfeel is full bodied, low carbonation, and loaded with sticky/chewy malts that coat the tongue and linger for a while. Overall, this is a great imperial stout that I'll definitely be getting again.

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Photo of DeepBrew
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 version. Poured from 750ml corked and caged bottle into snifter. Label shows an ABV of 11% and Best By date o 10/16

A: Black with surprisingly great tan head and good retention retention. Medium lacing.

S: Malt, caramel and booze with some barrel. Smell improves and becomes more inviting as it warms

T: Booze and malt forward, actually tastes better than the initial smell. Rich dark fruit with some chocolate bitter in the background and hints of rye. Aftertaste of dark fruit and chocolate.

M: Creamy mouthfeel, with strong, at first overwhelming booze

O: Very pleasurable drink, this bottle may have benefited from some aging to temper the strong alcohol character.

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Photo of MattyG85
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 750 ml corked bottle into a chalice. 2014 vintage bottle.

Appearance: Pours midnight black with a moderate amount of bubbles. Huge three finger tan head with decent retention.

Smell: A rich and roasty dark malt forward aroma with hints of chocolate, whiskey, and dark fruit. Dark roasted barley malt with hints of dark chocolate, coffee, toast, biscuit, caramel, oats, rye, smoke, and yeast. Sweet hints of molasses and brown sugar. Solid whiskey barrel hints come through with some oak and vanilla. Dark fruit hints of raisin, plum, cherry, and prune. Subtle earthy hops. A very nice aroma.

Taste: Like it smells, a very rich and roasty dark malt driven taste with notes of chocolate, dark fruit, and whiskey. Dark roasted barley malt with good notes of dark chocolate, coffee, toasted bread, caramel, smoke, rye, oats, and yeast. Some barrel notes come through with some whiskey, oak, and vanilla. Sweet taste of molasses and brown sugar. Big presence of dark fruit with notes of cherry, raisin, plum, and prune. Light hop bitterness towards the finish. A really good taste.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with a medium to high level of carbonation. Creamy, slick, and somewhat sticky. Alcohol heat is masked well.

Overall: A very good take on a barrel aged stout. Good blend of dark malt, barrel, and fruit flavors. On the sweeter side but it’s not overly syrupy.

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Photo of HereforBeer
3.24/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

I wish the label on the bottle said it was brewed with Belgian Yeast, I wouldn't have purchased it. It has a very sour smell, and I tasted some smokiness, but not really any coffee. Others may like it, but it's not my bag.

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Photo of Jack_Malts
4.64/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I'll say this, a great imperial stout. Not too big, not too thin, and relatively complex. What they've done here is crafted a great sipping beer by really ramping up the brewing and blending processes. Good black color, creamy mouthfeel, slick and smooth. The scent is simple molasses/cocoa but the flavor explodes with complexity. Light vanilla, big cocoa, some faint coffee, raisins in the aftertaste, even some chocolate + brandy notes coming in at the same time on the finish. Dark chocolate with some slight berry notes as well, like dried raspberries coated in dark chocolate.

Bottom line - if you're a fan of big, complex imperial stouts than this is a must-have, especially considering the relatively high availability. Definitely recommend.

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Photo of pagriley
3.87/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 vintage

Barrel has faded quite a bit. Bitterness from roast and a bit of hop still dominates the finish. Belgian notes coming through in the yeasts. Very nice, not sure that the barrel has held up. Drink fresh, not worth aging.

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Photo of OneEye78
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage 750 ml bottle, poured into a snifter. Poured oil black with several fingers of khaki head, and with good retention. Nose was burnt sugar, vanilla, and plum. Taste followed suit, but had a good roast coffee and dark choclate bitterness to balance the sweetness of the sugar and vanilla. Overall a solid barrel aged stout.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
4.06/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 Version

Appearance - Poured into a stout glass to reveal a blackened brew with cola brown edging where light can penetrate. The head looks silky and is cocoa powder in color and peaks at a finger's thick. Great retention is exhibited, but eventually gives way to a fine layer of ever-present surface suds. The lacing clings to the glass in sheets, then breaks up and runs down the sides, leaving a spotty, streaky pattern.

Smell - A variety of aromatic characteristics; chocolate, molasses, charred smokiness, plum and raisin fruitiness and light backing notes of whiskey influence can all be found here.

Taste - Follows the nose for the most part. Dark fruit, jam and molasses sweetness are the predominant flavors here, with lesser notes of chocolate and smoked malt coming through mid-taste. Light notes of coffee roast hit toward the finish before fading, giving way to a fruit-driven jammy flavor with faint hints of chocolate and vanilla in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with moderate carbonation and a silky smooth texture before a drying finish.

Overall - A bit more jammy than I prefer when it comes to my favorite impy stouts, but this is a damn good brew. Perhaps the aging has mellowed this too much for my liking? Says the best before date is still 10 months away, but I get the feeling that I may have liked it better about 6-7 months ago. If it sounds like I'm nitpicking it's because I am; again this is a damn fine brew. Think I'll shoot for a 2014 if I can find it soon and give that one a go. :)

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Photo of Norvelljeff
4.25/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Just like all whiskey barrel beers, this thing tasted like booze. I was expecting it, but its just a deeper more mellow burnt taste then I'm used to. What i would call a very good representation of the whiskey barrel ages beer.

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Photo of gatornation
4.1/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 bottle
A-pours a thick black color with dark mocha head
S- chocolate some dark fruit slight funk some wood vanilla and whiskey
T-follows the nose with nothing overpowering notes of chocolate mix with fruit wood and bourboun
M-light body medium carbonation mellow and smooth drinking
O- an impressive BA blended stout that tasty and drinkable buy a couple of these every year

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.54/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beers hits the glass very thickly and black as night, as expected from the style. A small and tan-ish color head of about one finger forms and retains a fair while and also leaves a very good lace pattern. Moving on to the scent of this beer, the first thing that is noticed is the fudgy, dark chocolate and the dark fruit scents in the smell. I expected it to move more toward some dark malts after the initial, somewhat fruity notes, but instead it ramps up the chocolate and adds some slight boozy barrel notes. Slight barrel oak and vanilla ends the smell of the beer.

The taste of this stout starts off with the extreme dark chocolate that blends into slight dark fruity notes quickly, just like in the smell. The dark fruit displays a little bit of plum and maybe even some blackberry flavor before the chocolate ramps back up in a slightly bitter flavor. Immediately after this chocolate flavor, the barrels come in and add some complexity. Spicy oak and slightly sweet vanilla mix with the chocolate and dark fruit flavors to give a very complex overall flavor to the latter half of the drink. Oak and a little booze linger on the tongue for a short while after the drink. The feel on the palate is thick with a moderate amount of carbonation. The alcohoo can be felt a little in the form of slight bitterness in the flavor and a slight warm as it goes down.

Overall, this is a terrifically complex and pretty delicious imperial stout. The huge chocolate flavor that turns into dark fruits are very nice. I get very little of what I would consider straight coffee flavor, but the chocolate more than makes up for it. I really enjoy that the barrel aging in this beer is partial and allows more flavors from the base beer to shine through. I think more breweries should partial barrel age instead of full BA. In the end, a great beer.

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Photo of vfgccp
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle. Best by Nov 2015, opened Jan 2015.

A - A great looking stout. Nice cascade on a dark coffee foam head that pours 2 fingers high with nice retention and low lace.

S - Caramel, coffee, oak, vanilla, Coca-Cola, sweet chocolate liquor booze.

T - Rich molasses, charred bread, caramel, bitter 75% dark chocolate, pumpernickel, cola soda syrup, touch of oak.

M - Thick, full bodied. Soft, syrupy finish.

O - A delicious AIS. Thick and sweet for the style.

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Imperial Stout from Boulevard Brewing Co.
4.16 out of 5 based on 1,312 ratings.
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