Arcadia Imperial Stout | Arcadia Brewing Company

very good
280 Reviews
Arcadia Imperial StoutArcadia Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Arcadia Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
Our extraordinary Imperial Stout is black as midnight with a rich, palate-warming mouth feel. It offers an alluring aroma of dark roasted malts and blackstrap molasses with a hint of smoke. The flavor features notes of coffee, bittersweet cocoa, black licorice and hints of prune. A generous addition of hops contributes to the complexity and balance, and gives the liquid a pleasantly astringent finish. With proper aging our Imperial Stout matures for up to four years. It is the winner of a prestigious Gold Medal for Bottle Conditioned Ale at the 2002 Real Ale Festival.

OG 1090; 59 IBU

Added by BeerAdvocate on 01-09-2003

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Reviews: 280 | Ratings: 465
Photo of xav33
4.8/5  rDev +25.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Arcadia Imperial Stout
12 oz bottle
Bottled winter '05 (6 pk), basked in its glory 10/06
Medium pour in an English pint

Poured black with a large creamy somewhat lasting light brown head with a small ring of lacing.

Smelt strongly of burnt molasses and roasted coffee, some fainter dark chocolates and dark berries, kinda jammy.

Taste was upfront moderate dark chocolate with a tinge of sweet fruity esters, some faint sour banana and apple, followed by a strong bitter burnt smokey taste with some creamy feel and light grassy hops on the average to long finish. Mouthfeel was medium bodied, creamy, velvety, caressing, softly carbonated, lightly astringent.

Overall, almost perfect. The finish could use a bit more length, and the flavor could be amped up just a bit. As this is a year old brew, these factors could have died down a bit, for a year old imperial stout, this one is as close to perfect as I've yet to have. Bonus mystery sludge at the bottom too!

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Photo of corby112
4.65/5  rDev +21.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black with a thin coffe colored head that settles into a lacing that lasts. Roasted chocolate malty aroma with coffee, sugar cane, whiskey and vanilla notes. Very quaffable with a lot of malty flavor as well as a slightly bitter hop and oak presence. Roasted coffee and sweet alcohol/ whiskey in the finish.

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Photo of pmcadamis
4.64/5  rDev +21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - I like the simple, but nice label that reminds me of the cold months of winter as I sweat my nuts off in this 90 degree heat. Deep mahogany brown ...almost black in the glass, but you can see the murky brown-ness during the pour. the head is fluffy at about two fingers, and lots of really fluffy lace gives us a clue as to how thick this one is. The color of the head is almost reddish brown in cedar wood.

S - Rich chocolate notes abound. Bitter bakers chocolate, rich dark chocolate, and a woody sawdust smell that reminds me of my grandpa's basement woodshop. There is a smoky element to this that is quite alluring. Nice.

T - Bitter espresso and salty dark chocolate. Again, this has a very roasty and woody taste that I'm really enjoying. The hops are coming in with force as the sip progresses to a swallow, and the interplay of bitter sappy hops with bitter bean espresso and salt is pretty cool.

M - Rich, silky, and satiny carbonation combines with a full buxom body to make this a brew worth savoring. This feels like putting an expensive Japanese silk kimono in your mouth. 'm reminded of the crema that sits atop a good cup of espresso....this is that damn silky and rich.

D - A simply killer beer. Kicking ass all over the place, this is a very impressive effort from Arcadia. I'll buy this again for sure.

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Photo of becktone
4.63/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes 10-27-08

2006 Vintage...Even though I work at the Party Source in Bellevue, KY, I didn't realize that there were some 2006 vintage left on the shelves. Thanks to Craig/Brewdlyhooked13 for pointing them out to me.

First of all let me state that I've not been visited any Arcadia beer in quite a while. The first and only time I tried it I bought a mixed 12 of their "core" brews. Haven't tried any of their higher end brews. I hope I've a better experience with the higher end of their brew than I did with the "core" brews.

Eye: Black body, no light on a moonless night. Basically no light is diffusing through this beer giving any indication of its clarity or highlights....Heh..heh..hehh (evilly) just the way an Imperial Stout should be. I've only one qualm with this brew's appearnce and this is the lack of head formation, retention, and lacing. It is a sickly looking blanket about ready to dry rot. I mean if you were to wash this blanket you've have naught but lint once the cycle was how is that going to keep you warm on a cold winter night?....Less you stuff a jacket with it, and I'm not all about wearing jackets to bed less I am homless and as of now I am not. Now if I were I wouldn't be drinking this beer, but I'd like the idea of stuffing a jacket with dryer lint. Lets just hope with the upcoming election that I don't become homless because another dumbass president kills, or does his best to kill, the economy....sorrry for the rant.

Nose: Strong, very strong dark malt aroma and alcohol fill the room once this brew is decanted from its twelve ounce jail. When I first put my nose to the glass I pull away and think for a minute..."What the Hell was that?" I soon realize before I go to take another whif that some unconscious part of my brain that has lain dormant for many upon many moons recoginized that aroma to be like that of the berries from Captain Crunch Crunch Berries. Upon second smell the aroma rings about we just say that it is fruity. Anyway you look at it I really like the aroma of this beer. Strong dark chocolate malt and some dark fruit aromas, and some french vanilla aromas in there as well (french vanilla as is found in coffee). Awesome aroma, I can only hope that the beer is as good on the palate. Very impressed with this offering from Arcadia, the first Arcadia purchase I've made that I've been satisfied with.

Tongue: Nice flavor overall. It finishes with a very distinctly mocha flavor. The way if finishes quite reminds me of the overall taste of Starbucks Frappucino. There's quite a nice malt profile here, when it first hits the lips it quite reminds me of a Belgian brown-malt qualities only. Alcohol is able to be picked up as well...and then there's the dark fruity esters that come through in here just as they did in the aroma. Nice chocolate and fruity finish, the real nice blend of those in the finish sell me on this beer. I really like this one, I don't see anything wrong with it. This is one enjoyable beer. Think I'll pick up the freshest vintage I can find and see how it compares then cellar or drink depending on results. But as for now this is drinking real fine. HELL YEAH!

Mouthfeel and Drinkability: In the mouth this one is thick, sure not as thick as Dark Lord, but there was some Dark Lord thick-like qualities to it as it rolled cross the palate...there was what felt like a thick film that left itself on the tongue after being swallowed, yeah it sounds gross, but it really is great for this beer. Real nice mouthfeel as it should be for the style and better than most of the same style that I've had. Drinkabilty on this guy is hard...Since it is aged two years. Right now it is drinking religously, great, awesome. I can't tell you how well it drinks though fresh (so unfortulately it is reflected in the score). And if it only drinks this well after two years than that is a shame, because I'm telling you right now that this one is probably better at two years than fresh...just a hunch. Right now it seems perfect. I am really impressed with this beer. If you have it then age it for 2.5 to 3 years (as it is almost the turn of the year, but then again I don't know which month this was bottled). Easy drinker and just great, I'm really happy with this one.

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Photo of brewbucker
4.62/5  rDev +20.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tasted on Jan 18, 2007. 12 oz. 2005 vintage. Pours jet black with a dark tan head. The bottle still had a big lump of sludge stuck to bottom after I poured it. I think I am in for a treat here. The aroma is unreal ! ! ! Massive malted, roasted coffee, and dense ripened fruits. Flavor is liquid heaven. BIG black currants and creamy malts. Touches of roasted nuts and coffee also. This must really be hit and miss because I cannot believe some of the low ratings. Maybe the 2005 was a HIT ! . WHY IN THE HELL DID I ONLY BUY ONE BOTTLE ! ! ! ! ! Bravo Arcadia. BRAVO ! ! !

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Photo of hooliganlife
4.58/5  rDev +19.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at the international tap house. dark as night with light head. smell was typical imperial stout, roasted malts were apparent. the taste is what really took me. perfect blends with light coffee up front and chocolate through the finish. alcohol was barely noticeable and the malts were balanced. the mouthfeel was pretty perfect, carbonation was not too light like some stouts. i could drink these all night and i just may.

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Photo of jcnd9803
4.54/5  rDev +18.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: A deep dark black color, with no head whatsoever. But, when you move it around in the glass, there's actually some serious tracing.

S: The smell is great. Loaded with chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and roasted malts. Also, a nice touch of hops.

T: Very rich and malty with creamy flavors of milk chocolate and coffee up front and background flavors of dark fruits. There's also a complimentary hops presence. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp and very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is slightly sticky.

D: This is enjoyable. I really think Arcadia is an outstanding brewery with a signature malt flavor that rocks, and this beer basically amps that up. A very flavorful big stout that is worth drinking repeatedly if you're in the mood for the style.

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Photo of kwalters
4.52/5  rDev +18%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Unforgettable! This was my first ever imperial stout and I simply won't forget the experience.

There was very little head as I poured this yummy libation into my glass. The color was a deep, dark brown with just a few hints of crimson red. The aroma was more pleasant and telling of the this brew's potency.

The taste: Fantastic! Admittedly, this tasted much more like a barely wine than I would have thought, but that may be par for the course when sampling imperial stouts. Yes, it had an oily texture and was thick and chewy, but I savored each sip. This one is heavy on the malts with a good balance of hops, but nothing is overpowering in and of itself. I could take down two of these bad boys, but that would be where I'd draw the line.

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves one finger of an espresso foam colored head that quickly fades to a foam ring at the edge, and it leaves some isolated spots of lacing. Body is black.

Smell - chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, burnt crust malt bread, and hints of dark fruits like raisins, plums, prunes, and cherries.

Taste - exactly like the smell. Chocolate, roasted malt, burnt crust malt bread, and richly roasted coffee all flood the tongue. There are also hints of raisins, plums, prunes, and cherries on the finish, and on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - full bodied.

Drinkability - this is very good, only the high abv limits sessionability.

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Photo of LairdChisholm
4.49/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours a jet black color. Absolutely no head or lacing.

S - Smelled this one coming out of the bottle. There are some deep roasted malts, coco, fig, and plum, in that order.

T - This one has three very distinct layers that are all very good. The first one has deep, warming roasted malts with a little boozy feel. The second has dark fruits, plums, figs, and dark cherries. The third is a warming bitter coco aftertaste that finishes this stout of very nicely.

M - Perfect amount of carbonation with a sticky heavy mouthfeel. Very consistent with this style.

D - This is a good stout but I don't need to another right away. It's a sipper for sure, even though I've seen RIS's with lower ABV. A good brew over all.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Glistening, inky black with garnet accents. Atop the liquid is a large cap that is the color of a chocolate milkshake with nearly the same creamy thickness. A slooow deflation is followed by the appearance of a few thick shards of lace on the upper reaches of the glass. Only a relative lack of glass coverage keeps it from scoring higher in the appearance department.

The nose is powerful and concentrated. There's plenty of heavily roasted black patent malt and anise as well as a leavening fruitiness that just has to be hops. Please be hops. Wait, there's more... bittersweet chocolate and blackstrap molasses round out the scent-o-rama. Very, very nice.

This is a beautiful Imperial stout! The flavor profile consists of, in descending order: sweet black malt, anise, molasses, dark chocolate and hops. Coffee/espresso flavors are lacking for the most part. Imperial Stout is seamlessly integrated and is as smooth as a baby's butt. There's a mildly bitter bite from charred malt--or maybe hops--although the beer is far from astringent or harsh.

The 8.4% ABV is nearly unnoticed on the palate. It isn't all that warming in the mouth or the esophagus, but is nicely toasty in the belly. Although I love its silky smooth creaminess, the medium-full body is probably on the lighter end if compared to some of the giants of the style. I'm enjoying the hell out of the long, increasingly hoppy finish.

Arcadia Imperial Stout is excellent beer. It isn't what anyone would call extreme, but is a well crafted, exceedingly tasty, eminently drinkable take on the style. Maybe it's the fact that I haven't had a good hearty stout in a while, but this one hit the spot in a big way.

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Photo of aforbes10
4.44/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this is a bottle that ive had in the cellar for a year and is probably a year older than that as well. i figured i should drink it now since its not that high in alcohol and i didnt know how long it would keep.

shit, i poured it in a tinted glass! oh well, i can tell that is black as can be anyway so thats not a real issue. nice big head, lots of retention, a bunch of big old chunks in the base fell out into the glass. certainly a beer with a smell...odor is like fermenting chocolate raspberries, creamy cherries, and more sweet chocolate. Really smells good. Taste is a niuce burnt hoppy mix with no alcohol to be found....just roasted coffee, hops. After the bitterness of first few sips leaves you, then theres more of a cherry/date flavor that comes through. Nice and well balanced, maybe a bit thin. Just one is enough, but any russian imperial stout that you can say otherwise about is just not up to snuff.

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Photo of mhatters
4.44/5  rDev +15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip glass at Teresa's in Wayne, PA

A brilliant black pour with a brownish an head, nice and thick

Toasty nose, some coffee, but not too much, as it opened up more fruit exposed.

Chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt provides a fantastic taste, easy to drink, almost too easy. This is a great imperial stout, go find one!

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Photo of brewdlyhooked13
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hello, what's this? A 2006 vintage among the single bottles...*take*...

Appearance - an opaque black brew. A thin cover of wispy cocoa-colored bubbles. Some light negligible lace. The beer maintains a solid collar.

Aroma - intense roasted grain, chocolate, molasses, some vanilla with warming. Smells like an imperial stout ought to.

Taste - roasty, toasty grains to start. Chocolate syrup with a touch of alcohol follows. A bare trace of bitterness on the swallow, mellow and complementary. Finishes toasty with espresso notes.

Mouthfeel - a touch thin for the style but a nice smoothness, enhancing the weight.

Drinkability - a delicious warm treat on a cool fall evening.

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Photo of zerk
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours an opaque black with a thin but persistent tan head, leaving behind no lace. Aroma of anise, chocolate, and coffee with some sour cherry thrown in. Flavor begins somewhat smokey and sweet, with roasted malt, coffee, and a heavy dose of chocolate, then becomes slightly vinous. Moutfeel is smooth and creamy, but somewhat light in body for the style. The lighter body does improve drinkablity however, and with the high ABV well hidden, this could be a truely dangerous beer! All in all, a very good Imperial Stout.

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Photo of proc
4.42/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Most imperial stouts are known for their big, bold taste profiles. I'd have to say this offering from Arcadia actually may list drinkability as one of its endearing characteristics. Wonderfully strong without being overwhelming. If there was a "session" version of this style, this one would be it.

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Photo of dwarbi
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a big, light brown head. Excellent lacing. And the head thins out quickly, but doesn't disappear. Solid black beer, opaque. Smells a little sweet. A little like coffee, too. Tastes nutty. Very rich and robust. A little bitter. Grungy may be a good word for the texture Not a bad thing. Hard-core, man. Very drinkable. Complexity is the key.

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Photo of ypsifly
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Three year old 12oz poured into a pint glass.

Black with a light brown head that bubbles up on the pour then falls to a couple cms where it seems to stay for a while. Thick lace.

Time has turned the nose on this one into something close to an English BW. Raisins come through as well as a bit of the roasted flavors but they are in the back. The hop profile is damn near gone and the alcoholic aromas have taken on a creamy smell. There's some wood and chocolate in there as well.

The mouth is very smooth and full, nothing to chew on or lingering oils. Just enough carbonation to give it life. The taste has a lot of chocolate and coffee with a bit of the hops still there. Subtle berry notes with some wood towards the end. The finish is clean and dry with a just a lingering hint of chocolate. No abv detected at all. This is one smooth and tasty beer. Time has been nothing but good for this one. I'm going to have a tough time leaving the other five alone for a while.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A lovely imperial stout that was a dark, opaque black clour with a coffee and cream head that spilled out of the bottle and over my glass! The head left excellent sheets of belgian lace, and had excellent retention. The aromas were all chocolate, caramel, dark roasted malts, alcohol, spices and more! The taste was a well blended one with all of the classic imp. stout flavors on board. The mouthfeel was thick and creamy and the drinkability was great for an imperial.

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Photo of beerphan
4.38/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle -> pint
2005 vintage (printed over the snowbank)

Pours oily black with a small dark brown head that fades to a thin film. Lacing is brown and ringed.

Nose: Currants, molasses, some mild earthy tones.

Rich deep flavors of roasted malt giving port and currant. Very roasty with a little smokiness. Hop presense in minimal, bitterness is low, but rich dark flavors are abundant with some creamy chocolate and burnt coffee tones.

Mouthfeel is thick, slick and creamy.

One good brew that balances out nice, but doesn't crush one over the head. Definately will be returning to this one. Very easy drinking on a cold Feb. night.

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Photo of linnymtu
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very solid imperial stout. It has a normal deep brown/black color with thin tan head. You can smell malt and coffee. The taste was dominated by coffee but some chocolate and malt. This wasn't too malty like some imperials are. The carbonation was about average and felt just right. Overall a quality brew.

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Photo of Chaz
4.37/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A medium-firm pour yields a two-fingered dark tan head which recedes at an average pace, leaving moderate lacing around the glass. Appears black to the naked eye.

The nose is impressive: light cocoa, a fresh espresso, and a sherry or liqueur-like fusel characteristic, and through all of this I detect a lighter note of vanilla and even lighter caramel.
Looking at this in my bulb I'm thinking "oily", but having enjoyed this lightly-chilled a day ago (while not taking notes) I know it's a lighter-bodied rendition of the style. Another thought is that the nose seems bigger than the ABV listed here.

Either way, this nose is very inviting and I'm glad I poured this one at room temperature for the review.

Soft, smooth, and sweet on the first sip this one immediately strikes me as a brew that has mellowed a bit, and there's hardly any bitterness to speak of. A lighter note of coffee and an espresso bitterness kicks in after the initial rush of sweet maltiness and light booziness (note: the chilled bottle I had poured had initially struck me as fairly 'hot').

There's a very nice roasted malt quality going on here, and it seems to blend surreptitiously an almost rum-and-cola liqueur flavor which again, makes me think this one is stronger than 8.4%, although that does nothing to diminish the drinkability or overall enjoyability of this one. Mouthfeel is very good: smooth and silky/creamy albeit no doubt a bit thinner than some would like.

A sipper, this one would pair well with a nice dark chocolate.
As this bottle has aged nicely, I look forward to acquiring a fresh sample, both for the sake of comparison and aging in the future.

(Bottled in 2006)

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Photo of CA2670
4.36/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For starters this is an imperial Stout of 9% not the listed 8.4%.
When poured into glass (traditional pint), poured slow and even. Jet black and a nice caramel-tan head about .5 inches.
The nose when opened was mellow roasty with malty back. few slight hints of licorice but very subtle.
Taste of this stout is sinfully delicious. malty roasty and strong. The 9%abv is however very well covered up.
mouth feel is smooth and silky with a nice light carbonation.
Overall this is a very enjoyable beer and a solid example of RIS. Would buy more and enjoy.

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Photo of Dogbrick
4.36/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Textbook pour for an Imperial Stout. Motor oil black with a head like you would see on a rootbeer float. Nice roasty malt aroma with a little alcohol as well. Flavor is big and bold, with coffee, chocolate, malt and raisin. Borderline great, the only thing that keeps it from perfection is a lack of complexity.

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Photo of beerluvr
4.35/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa! An absolute gusher once the cap was popped, luckily I had my trusty Duvel tulip near to catch the overflow. So, that being said it pours a very healthy oily-looking deep dark tan head that settles long and slow over opaque black liquid. The nose has components of charcoal, super roasted barley, light liquorice and fruit. The taste is of intense roasted barley, light espresso, underlying bittersweet chocolate then some tobacco sharpness and then a healthy hop bitterness is tasted. Finishes with long roasty notes and some potent alcohol warmth, a great Imperial Stout! Thanks to CRJMellor for this bad boy.

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Arcadia Imperial Stout from Arcadia Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 465 ratings.
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