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 dbl_delta
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Undated bottle into pint glass. Pours an extremely dark reddish-black, with a persistent tan head. Initial impression is dark chocolate, molasses, charred oak, and coffee. Mouthfeel is a tiny bit on the thin side for a true RIS; carbonation is about perfect. Finish is dry and bittersweet. A competent but not outstanding RIS.

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Photo of jzlyo
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Aroma is chocolate, dark malts and mild dark fruit/tobacco. The flavor is dark malts, chocolate, dark fruit/cherries, mild tobacco and a mix of acidity and slight sweetness in the finish.

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Photo of alarmclock314
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, no date. Pours mostly black with a medium sized khaki head. Smells of roasted malt, molasses, earthy hops, dark fruit, cocoa, and some char; below average intensity. The taste follows with roasted malt, molasses, cocoa, earthy hops, dark fruit, and char; below average intensity again but only a little alcohol comes though. Moderate bitterness and dryness with subtle sweetness. Average carbonation and body for the style. Overall, the smell/flavor has a somewhat complex and lightly bitter profile, but really needs more intensity. Worth a try, but don't expect a 'big beer.'

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Photo of 57md
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown color with over a finger of fluffy tan head. This offering would make for a really decent stout considering its body and roasted flavor. However, it simply lacks the extra punch that I expect to find in a impy.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.86/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Purchased a 6pk from Champagne's in Livonia MI for around the $10.00 in 12oz bottles. Served at 10deg C in a tulip

A- Opens well and pours a 1/2" high brown head that lasts for 4-5mins before film out. Very dark brown colour

S- Lots of heat here. WAY too much heat.

T- This one had a year on it in the cellar so it mellowed out and blended up nicely. Good coffee and chocolate hints. Has good bittering hops.

M- Watery

O- Ok brew but not that great. Will not buy again. Just so watery and weak on the flavor department.

Food Pairing

This pretty good brew went well with........ Lamb chops with chocolate sauce and mint


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Photo of braker649er
3.49/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Blackish with reddish hue, not a very thick head for me--pretty, but not as dark as I was thinking for the stout.

In the smell and taste, I picked up some vaguely tart maltiness. Others have said like cherry or red wine. Honestly, I didn't see that coming. Not much chocolateyness or dry roastiness that I've come to look for in stouts and milk stouts. I couldn't help wonder if accolades came early and this stout has since been eclipsed. Drinkable, but not the flavors I was looking for.

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Photo of barczar
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A year and a half old.

Aroma is very cough syrup cherry laden, with underlying roast and dark chocolate malt trying to detract.

Flavor reveals similar cherry/vinous presence throughout, with a roasty malt backbone that finishes fairly bitter and charred.Lacks depth of malt flavor, and that cherry/vinous presence is not pleasant.

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Photo of 98green
3.53/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

For some reason, I taste wine notes in this one. If I had blind tasted it, I'd swear it was aged in red wine barrels (which would be an odd choice for a stout).

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Photo of bushbeer75
4.02/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz brown bottle

Arcadia Imperial Stout poured a opaque black hue into my snifter. A very thin tan head was produced that dissipated to a narrow foamy collar with almost no lacing. The aroma is of mild chocolate, roasted malt, and a slight whiff of hops. The taste follows the nose with coffee and dark fruit noted. The finish has a light hop 'bite' that keeps the ale balanced. Medium-full body, with a smooth mouth feel.

Imperial Stout is a tasty, not too filling and easy drinking for the style.

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Photo of mchegash
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance - 4.25/5
Pours an extremely dark brown, almost black, several fingers of dark tan head.

Smell - 4.25/5
Rich, chocolatey and roasty malts, faint hops. Boozy, almost bourbon-like.

Taste - 4.25/5
Again, rich chocolate and roasty malts, hints of smoke. Faints hops taste. A good amount of dark booziness.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Medium bodied. Creamy. Light amount of carbonation.

Overall - 4/5
Overall this is a tasty imperial stout, one that I would probably buy again.

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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.

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Photo of Ohiovania
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%

2009 VIntage. Held up really well. Lots of burnt coffee and dark chocolate. Never had it fresh but was impressed by the way this one held up after 5 years. Cap had eatin up quite a bit of oxygen too.

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Photo of MDDMD
3.79/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A-brown black color with a decent tan head and good lacing

S-chocolate, licorice, coffee, dark malt, dark fruit

T-dark roasted malt, molasses, licorice, chocolate, little coffee

F-medium body with light to moderate carbonation, smooth

O-decent imperial stout, pleasant sipping

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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.

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Photo of SerialTicker
4.16/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

$4 single that I've seen at my bottle shop for quite awhile (recognized its scratched cap). The price seemed a bit high, especially considering I'm generally not TOO impressed with Arcadia's offerings, but I went for it anyway. Label says 2010 vintage, but bottled 10/24/11, so since it has quite a lot of age on it (2.5 years), I'm looking forward to it -- I haven't had many beers aged for long because I tend to drink them soon after I buy them. Strange to think that this beer was bottled before I even started drinking beer.

Appearance: Pouring aggressively as possible without splashing it all outside of my glass, I got a two finger, creamy mocha colored head that died down to half a finger pretty quickly. The beer is completely pitch black as well.

Smell: Dark chocolate, cocoa powder, roasted malts, coffee, a fair amount of dark fruits, and also a bit of alcohol? If there is, it's really just an essence. Really smells outstanding to me, and I figure the aging has something to do with that. Maybe a little less pungent than it would smell if it were fresh though.

Taste/feel: Really quite nice and actually quite a bit different than some other Imperial Stouts I've had. First thing I noticed was a bit of a disappointing feel on this. It felt about medium bodied at first, but then somehow seemed to get a bit watery mid-sip? Very strange. The mouthfeel's a bit of a downer, considering I expected my Imperial Stouts to drink almost like a meal, but I can live with it if the beer tastes good -- and this one does. No doubt the aging added some complexity, and this one has quite a bit of it. Right off, I get dark fruity flavors first and foremost. Rest of the way, it's extremely awesomely tasty dark chocolate, roasty notes with coffee, and a slight char. The aftertaste is almost oaky? I like to liken it to a plain cake doughnut sort of flavor. It's a flavor I tend to get in BBA'd stouts, but I get it faintly in this one. I'm surprised the bottle lists this at 90 IBUs, because it's very slightly bitter... probably even less bitter or equally as bitter as a standard cup of black coffee. The thing I still can't get over is the fantastic, lingering roasty aftertaste that has the slightest bit of oaky/doughnut flavor in it... it gives the sensation that it was maybe partially aged in bourbon barrels, even though it wasn't.

This is a very, very good beer. My one knock on it is the mouthfeel, as I really wish it was a bit more beefed up. I cant argue with the rest of what's here though, this is a damn fine Imperial Stout from Arcadia. I have no idea how it tastes fresh, but it's pretty impressive with 2.5 years on it.

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Photo of lochef81
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've been sitting on this one for about a year, excited to see how it goes down. The pour is a handsome black with a generous tan head that quickly gives way to a nice film and lacing. The nose is overwhelmed by vanilla and coffee. Lots of roasted malt notes as well. The aroma seems like it should be good but something is off in it. The off notes ease off as the stout sits and settles. The mouthfeel is nice and rich. Just the right body for the style. The flavor is quite sweet and malty. An abundance of coffee, caramel, and vanilla dominate. Unfortunately the chemically off note of the nose continues to rear its ugly head in the mouth. This RIS is good but not great. I'd gladly enjoy one here or there but definitely not seek it out.

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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.

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Photo of twiggamortis420
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle courtesy of fthomasl pours a nice black color with a bubbly tan head. Retention is just ok, but lacing is quite nice.

Nose is dark fruits galore with some cocoa dust and alcohol.

Taste is a nice treat, flows from fruit to chalk to licorice/chocolate malt and finishes with a leafy hop dryness. Its pretty decent, I didnt think I would like it from the smell, but it is not a bad little quaffer. Mouthfeel is thin and it has very little sweetness to buoy the richness factor. Id buy this in a sixer at a good price....not bad...not bat at all.

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Photo of Jimmys
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into tulip. 2010 vintage. Holy shit, I just noticed that on the label now. bought this bottle about a month ago. no clue it was this old. excited to see how it held up.

A: pours very dark. almost black. head is coffee hued. good retention, reasonable lacing.

S: smells sweet and fruity. almost a little soy-like, reminiscent of autolyzed yeast, but I don't think that's it.

T: a little bit of black licorice. kind of autolyzed? roast, more chocolate though. dark and rich. finish is slightly bitter, but mostly sweet.

M: moderate carb on a full body.

D: the more I drink it, the more I like it. really smooth and rich. what you want a stout of this size to do after 3 or 4 years.

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Photo of CFHMagnet
3.75/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2010 Vintage listed on the bottle

I got a thin, mocha colored head. Body a deep brown bordering on black. Funny how imperial stouts can do that.

Smells bold and roasty. Dark fruit sits in there too. A little vanilla and alcohol on the end.

Roasty malt with dark fruit up front. This beer is subdued and smooth. A little vanilla with a coffee finish.

Smooth from start to finish.

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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.

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Photo of superspak
3.68/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, bottled on 10/24/2011. Pours fairly pitch black color with a 2 finger dense and fluffy tan head with great retention, that reduces to a nice cap that lingers. Dense foamy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of dark chocolate, cocoa, roasted malt, molasses, light char, light smoke, toast, licorice, light raisin, and roasted earthiness. Pretty nice aromas with good balance and complexity of roasted/dark malt notes; with decent strength. Taste of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, char, light smoke, molasses, toast, raisin, and roasted earthiness. Moderate amount of roasted coffee bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, roasted malt, molasses, toast, char, light smoke, raisin, and roasted earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Nice balance and complexity of dark and roasted malt flavors with a light amount of fruitiness; with a solid bitterness/sweetness balance and no cloying flavors after the finish. Medium-high carbonation and medium-full body; with a creamy, slick, and lightly prickly mouthfeel that is good. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is a nice imperial stout. Good balance and complexity of flavors; and smooth to sip on. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of mdfb79
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Picked this up about three weeks ago at The Beer Shoppe in Ardmore, PA for about $3.99. 12 oz. bottle poured into my Cigar City snifter.

a - Pours a very dark brown, almost black color, with two inches of dark tan head that leaves quickly and light carbonation evident. Looks pretty nice.

s - Smells of roasted malts, dark chocolate, some cream, burnt malts, and some light dark fruits. Nose isn't too complex, but it is nice with a lot of roasted and chocolate malts to it.

t - Tastes of roasted malts, dark fruits, dark and bitter chocolate, light bitter coffe, light cream, and burnt malts. More dark fruits here and a little more bitterness than I was expecting. I think I like it slightly better than the nose.

m - Thick, full bodied stout with low to moderate carbonation. Thick and chewy, not a lot of alcohol heat, pretty nice mouthfeel.

o - Overall a very nice RIS. Nice looking and a very nice mouthfeel to it. The nose is pretty one dimensional, though it is still nice. The taste is better, with some dark fruits to it; it also gets better as it warms up. Liked the BBA version a little better, though this is definitely nice.

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Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.59/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Really black color, almost 3/4" of brown head on it. Looks professional. Lacing is kind of hodgepodge, a spot here, a spot there, lacks uniformity or coherence. Dark roasted malt aroma, we're two for two in terms of this beer being what it should be with no frills or surprises.

Taste is a little less RIS and a little more double stout, which is a good thing. Less dark fruit, less bitterness, more roastiness, more thickness, more viscosity. Pleasant, not challenging, while being plenty sturdy and demanding respect, you aren't going to pound this one, but its not a super hot sipper either.

Usual notes of coffee and chocolate malt, neither one being massive, throw a little bit of toffee flavors underneath it all. Mouthfeel is chewy without getting too thick and syrup like. Really is like almost every Arcadia brew I've ever had: Better than average, a solid 'good' but doesn't do anything 'great'. More oily than hoppy, more sweet than bitter. Thankfully smoother than most RIS beers. Would drink again.

Thanks to jh1982 for bringing this to a tailgate a year or so ago.

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Photo of akronzipfan
3.84/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured into an imperial pint glass, the resulting 2-fingerd head was frothy but short lived. Nose is a bit like cough syrup and the first flavor notes are cocoa and smoke. Mouthfeel is decent. There's a bit of an astringent aftertaste. Overall, this is a good, not great, Russian Imperial Stout.

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