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

For Trade:
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 280 | Ratings: 464
Photo of DavoleBomb
1.56/5  rDev -59.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Poured into a snifter.

3.25 A: Black color. One finger of frothy light brown head. Retention is a touch below average and leaves no lacing.

1.5 S: This is quite disappointing. Got some major nail polish going on here. Otherwise, roasty and boozy.

1.25 T: Taste is even worse. Boozy, astringent, chemical. That's all I need to say. This sucks.

3.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation with a light creaminess.

1.0 D: Couldn't make it through. Drain poured at least half the glass. Shame on you Arcadia.

 512 characters

Photo of Mitchster
2.32/5  rDev -39.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

Pours out to a nearly black brew, with hints of ruby at the edges, forming a medium, but not dark, tan head that is peaking, full, and whipped cream in consistency. Big chunks of yeast bob up and down. Lacing is pretty good. Head sits atop small to medium sized bubbles and the brew has moderate carbonation. The aroma is quite a different picture...somewhat disgusting, with notes of stale, oxidized olive oil, soy sauce, black walnuts, and espresso. My girlfriend notices nail polish remover (acetone). Ugh. Bad start. Mouthfeel is oily, somewhat soft, with a firm, and mildly vinous body. Taste starts nicely with chocolate tones, but then becomes vulgar quickly with lots of scorched malt, rubbery, gummy, oxidized hop resin, rancid fusels, and rotting broccoli. The acetones mellow as the beer warms and is swirled, making it somewhat tolerable. This beer has some definite fermentation problems. The finish is slightly dry with roasted barley, a subtle graininess, fruity, ethereal acetones, and a lingering, oxidized hop bitterness. Not impressed at all, and a terrible example of the style. Boooooooo.

 1,109 characters

Photo of mrasskicktastic
2.39/5  rDev -37.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Very dark brwon with a tad less then one finger of frothy brown head. Decent amount of scattered speck of lacing.

S - Very faint. A touch of molasses. Extremely faint notes of chocolate and coffee. Strong alcohol.

T - A bit of coffee, molasses and alcohol along with some general "dark" flavor that has a bit of a sour chemical taste. The aftertaste is of cheap coffee - maybe with a bit of lemon rind in it. Alcohol throughout.

M - Smooth, thin, only a little refreshing.

D - Alright. I don't think I will have this again. It's taste is too high in abv and chemical flavors to really be enjoyable. But the non-convention chemical flavors aren't too terrible mix really. The alcohol just dominates throughout. Okay for food. Not sessionable.

 757 characters

Photo of lurpy1
2.46/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Acadia makes some underrated beers but this was not one of them. The finish on the taste was an unpleasant burnt chemical sensation. This of course created some related burn going down. I was able to power through the bottle, but I really mean I had to power through it. Not an easy beer to finish. Not recommended.

 315 characters

Photo of Crosling
2.78/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Dark brown, small, quickly diminishing foam. Sparse nose of fudge, cocoa and black licorice, but it's a stretch. Really light body, with little texture. Flavor shows some chocolate, but the flavors are really light and a bit of a stretch. As an Imperial Stout, this is disappointing.

 283 characters

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
2.78/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Bottle, 2007 vintage. Pours black, somewhat thin, with no head at all just some bubbles. Aroma of alcohol and super sweet malt. Flavor initially sickly sweet with a slight roast in the finish. There is a vegetal quality to the taste as well. Ick. The beer improves with warming but it's still quite boozy. This is not a very good beer.
Aroma: 5/10
Appearance: 3/5
Flavor: 6/10
Palate: 3/5
Overall: 13/20

 409 characters

Photo of BMoney575
2.91/5  rDev -24%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Sampled on 1-24-09
2008 Vintage

Pours completely black and opaque. A tan head sits on top and settles to a ring around the glass, leaving thick lacing.

Smell is huge malt, with hints of vanilla and molasses. Bitter near the end, and just the slightest bit of age.

Taste is thin, lots of beef jerky smoke flavor, and not much else. Watery, bland, and really disappointing.

Mouthfeel is thin with very little carbonation.

Drinkability is decent, if only because the alcohol is well masked.

Overall, I've had this beer before, and didn't think it was that bad. Maybe I'll try it again some other time.

 604 characters

Photo of nrbw23
2.95/5  rDev -23%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a black with thin tan head. A handful bubbles remain on top and leaves pretty much no lacing.

S- Roasted malt, chocolate and dark fruits. Everything here was pretty faint.

T- Pretty malty here, chocolate, touch of coffee and alcohol is covered well.

M- Thought this one was pretty thin almost watery and low carbonation.

D- Easy to drink but its not something I'd search out for.

 392 characters

Photo of TongoRad
2.95/5  rDev -23%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I admit that I have a soft spot for beers that are what they say they are, pure and unadorned; I'm an Imperial Stout, dammit!. That being said, ultimately the experience has to speak for itself.

This one presents a lot of what you'd expect- bitter chocolatey mocha, dark fruits, blackstrap molasses-type flavors, licorice, warming alcohol, and plenty of bitterness to keep it all in check. Unfortunately, it comes across as being disjointed and out of whack- and the alcohol and blackstrap (which should be supporting players at best) are leading the pack. It winds up being an OK beer that should be better; but sometimes it's not what you say, it's how you say it.

 667 characters

Photo of winomark
2.98/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours pitch black with a 2 inch thick medium brown head. Very inviting.

Lots of rich malt and alcohol sweetness. Some chocolate and coffee noticable.

Good dark malt character. Alcohol is in check. Slightly dry finish. Good balance overall.

Suprisingly light; much different than I expected. Flavorful, but with a dry, somewhat short finish.

Not as rich and coating as I would have liked. Acts more like a normal stout than an Imperial. Worth a try if you come across it.

 483 characters

Photo of Brent
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

In tiny print on the label the vintage is a couple of years old, so it appears I may have gotten some "store aged" beer, which, for this style, should be no problem. Overall, lackluster - rather bland roasted malt and indifferent hopping. Finish was slighlty sour and thin.

 273 characters

Photo of jrob21
3/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

No head. The aroma is incredibly pungent like rotten plums. Taste is a little thin and all that it gives me is a big sweetness at the end. Not much else going on here. Appreciate the chance to try it though.

 207 characters

Photo of AngryNucleus
3.09/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage poured into a pint glass. States 9% ABV.

A - Brownish red hue, kind of surprised by the color of this beer. I was expecting darker. Produces a thin layer of light brown head that dissipates rapidly. This definitely appears to be different from normal imperial stouts.

S - Faint and almost sour chocolate smell. Strong malty aromas. Maybe a faint hint of alcohol.

T - Initial taste is pretty aggressive. Carbonated pretty highly given the style. A caramel and almost reddish malt aftertaste. It has a roasty aftertaste that hangs around for a while and fades out with a bitter-sweetness. This beer tastes very light for an imperial stout. Flavors are not as bold as I would like. Alcohol somewhat present in the back end.

M - Carbonated a little to much for the style in my opinion. Thin and coarse mouthfeel. Leaves a lot to be desired.

O - I was expecting a lot more for this beer. Looking at the last inch that remains in the glass it would be difficult to call this a stout (much less imperial) without seeing the bottle it came from. On the whole I feel that this beer is not a good representation of the style. Can't recommend this one.

 1,159 characters

Photo of TheStove
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured out of a 12oz bottle labeled "2007 Vintage" into a snifter.

Appearance is good with stout appearing to be dark black but some observation in light reveals more of a deep mahogany color. Consistent finger of foam sits near the top for at least a few minutes.

Smell is good too. Chocolate and malt coming through on placement of snifter near nose. A few more samples reveal more malt and light coffee.

Unfortunately that is the end of the good. Light malty flavor on initial sip which quickly gives way to fading chocolate, cream and (to quote another reviewer) Kahlua flavors. Another sip reveals similar notes with the flavors seeming in a hurry to leave the palette. No noticeable hops or bite near the end. No flavors really seem to remain on tongue between sips except for a light malty dryness. Lacks any bold or outstanding flavor to make this truly seem imperial.

Wondering if I got a skunked bottle or just have different tastes. Also wondering if maybe 2 - 3 years was a bit much to hold onto this one especially since it only comes in around 8%. Was pretty disappointed to have paid $13 for a 4 pack of this but will force myself to pull another bottle out to see if this one was a fluke.

 1,210 characters

Photo of Brewster40
3.13/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2010 vintage served into a Horney Devil snifter

A - Dark, with a thin light brown layer of foam. Translucent at the edges.

S - Smell is sweet, molasses, dark chocolate, licorice(?)...

T - Not nearly as sweet as the smell. Still, molasses, bitter chocolate, some coffee. Aftertaste lingers and is bitter on the back and sides of the tongue.

M - Medium bodied. Not sure if I have a coating on the tongue or if the aftertaste is overwhelming the feel.

O - Frankly, not my favorite. The bitter aftertaste is distracting, not pleasant. I had high hopes for this one. Unfortunately, it is just not working for me.

 612 characters

Photo of birchstick
3.14/5  rDev -18%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

A - stout black with absolutely no head after a very aggressive pour

S - smells of a lot of milk chocolates and some coffee

T - The taste follows the nose. There are some chocolates and dark fruits upfront. There is also a weird metallic taste that is subtle, but noticeable throughout. There was also a lot of roasted malt on the finish. There was also a little bit of some dry fruitiness and herbal hops left on the palate.

M - this was a little thin and had practically no carbonation. I think the taste suffered a little bit because of this.

D - This was an okay Imperial Stout. It wasn't flashy or too bold, and went down easy. Given the price point on it, I will probably pass on this next time, but I wouldn't say no if offered.

 739 characters

Photo of JizackFH
3.17/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A - This beer pours a deep black color, and has a very small chocolate head on it. The head had poor retention, and left no lacing on the glass.

S - Smells of deep roasted malts and bittersweet chocolate. I am also getting notes of dark fruits, molasses, and alcohol.

T - The taste is of sweet malts and a roasty bitterness. There is a smokiness to it too. Also, there are notes of dark fruits, alcohol, coffee, cherries, and a touch of hop bitterness.

M - It has a medium-full body and low carbonation. It is smooth and goes down pretty easy. There is also a bit of an alcohol warmth.

D - This has decent drinkability. It goes down pretty easy and the flavor is pretty good. I was expecting some more complex here. It'd pretty much your average RIS. There are many better ones out there.

 792 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a pleasing black that took on some red when held to the light with a touch of chocolate pudding colored head in a collar.

Smelled faint and thin, but of heavily roasted coffee with a slight medicinal astringent sting.

Tasted like an over-the-top roasted porter with a smooth and slick toasted barley and a bit of campfire. The roastiness of this was nice, but odd for the style. Again, in the finish the astringentness came through reminding me of Robatusin.

Felt big but clean with a wimpy carbonation that just strolled by.

I didn't finish this one. Not because it was repulsive, but that I was eating dinner and wanted something that I would actually enjoy.

 684 characters

Photo of Sixpack595
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours like used motor oil, and only gives a bit more head. The taste is about the same as 3 day old coffee. Toffee, coffee, and a bit of chocolate to finish. I wasn't impressed. If you are a big fan of Imperial Stouts you may enjoy it, but to anyone else I would not recomend it.

 279 characters

Photo of hopgoddess76
3.18/5  rDev -17%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured a 12 oz. bottle of Vintage 07 into a snifter.

Appearance: Jet black and opaque with a small tan head and low retention.

Smell: Hints of coffee, raisins, and figs

Taste: Strong raisin and prune taste up front and a dry coffee finish.

Mouthfeel: Light bodied and almost effervescent.

Drinkability: The strong prune taste and light body are conflicting, but after the first few drinks it goes down very quickly, to quickly for a RIS. This beer may be past its prime so I'd be interested in trying a more recent release for comparison.

 546 characters

Photo of AlexFields
3.19/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Pours dark black but with no head at all. I like the color but it looks flat.

Smells strongly of vanilla. Some booze. Overall a very light smell, not getting any dark roasty notes, maybe some chocolate or coffee though.

Taste is similar. Lots of vanilla, a little booze, some dark sweet candy (orange maybe) that gives it a bit of tanginess. This actually reminds me a bit of Vanilla Bean Rum Barrel Dark Apparition, although not as extreme in flavor and not as good.

Mouthfeel is weak, it's almost flat.

Overall a decent beer, unfortunately the carbonation is too screwed up to fully enjoy the nice flavor.


 619 characters

Photo of srv33
3.2/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Review is for a 2007 bottle reviewed in 2012.

Near black pour, strong herbal scent, with a hint of chocolate and soy. Little to no head. Quite strong and bitter kick on the palate, though it fades quickly. Almost no carbonation, as expected for a bottle of this vintage. Tastes much the same as the smell, rich herbal taste with a bit of licorice and soy.

 356 characters

Photo of shbobdb
3.21/5  rDev -16.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

This Imperial Stout focuses on one particular aspect of Stouts: the burnt flavor. Now, I'm not saying that burnt is a bad flavor; however, I tend to like my beers a little more balanced than that. Nice mouthfeel though, not as thick as some, but very good. Overall, good but not amazing.

 287 characters

Photo of Zorro
3.22/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12 Oz bottle sampled through the efforts of dirtylou and The No BS BIF.

Pours a somewhat flat looking beer with no head formation. Jet black beer that doesn't pass light.

Smell is sweet and sugary. Aromas of raisins and brown sugar and some black licorice.

Taste is sweet and bitter with a trace of acid in the taste. Standard RIS flavors here mostly coffee and licorice. Nothing to exciting here.

Mouthfeel is good.

Forgettable RIS here. No real reason to recommend it.

 485 characters

Photo of mattcrill
3.22/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: pours thick and black with a small brown/ruby head

Smell: Oxidized. I hardly smelled much at all. Quite a disappointment. All I smelled was alcohol and water. Very unappealing. Maybe I got a bum batch.

Taste: Pleasant cocoa with a spicy finish. It reminded me of mincemeat pie. There was hints of licorice and a beefy background. It finished up with a nice alcohol nip.

Mouthfeel: Thick and syrupy. Just what I would expect for this style.

Drinkability and overall: I can't see myself drinking more than one in a session. Not a bad offering. Still, that smell has to go. It was most unappealing. That was the biggest bummer. Other than that, a pretty good beer.

 685 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Arcadia Imperial Stout from Arcadia Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 464 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • Subscribe to BeerAdvocate Magazine

    No fake news here. Get real beer content delivered to your doorstep every month.