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: 464
Photo of Sammy
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black with lace, decent aroma of chocolate. Good bittersweet. Bittersweet chocolate, roast, malts, medium-full taste. Anise, coffee, molasses edge. Better than other imperial stouts i've tried. Could use better hopping.
Hoppy to get this top rate, thanks Wohlfs.

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Photo of metter98
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a thin mocha head that died down quickly but left some delicate lacing and a narrow ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: There are light to moderate aromas of licorice, roasted malts and raisins in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but slightly more complex with additional hints of coffee beans and molasses. The finish has a slight amount of bitterness along with some hints of alcohol.
M: It feels medium-bodied and relatively smooth on the palate with a light amount of carbonation.
O: The beer is easy to drink for the style, but would be more interesting if it had a fuller bodied.

Note: 2008 Vintage

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Photo of BEERchitect
3.98/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

06/18/08: After stepping away from this beer for a while, I get to taste with a fresh palate. I notice a high ester character that hinge on cherries, blackberries, and raspberries. These combined with moderately high fusal alcohol gives a cough-syrup flavor and harshness that proves a bit too much. However, the chocolate notes bring a chocolate brownie flavor that is very pleasant. Equally an attribute is the strong, nutty coffee notes that don't quite make it to espresso notes, but come close. This is a good beer that could probably handle a year of cellering.

3/27/06: A high quality brew that is not based on it's 'shock' value. Solid and strong in all catagories, but without a single overwhelming quality. Big stout qualities: roasted, chocolatey, lightly fruity, and with enough of a coffee quality to add complexity without distraction. Nearly perfect opaque black with a dense foamstand that keeps you company until the glass is empty. Big body with creaminess and thickness, and with no real harshness from alcohols or grain. A mild metalic flavor finishes the beer. Very sweet and moderately dry in the finish. Glad I bought more than one. I'll be wanting another very soon.

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Photo of brentk56
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2006 bottling - tasted 11/13/2009

Appearance: Espresso black color with a rocky tan head; not the greatest retention and hardly any lace

Smell: Sweetened chocolate, molasses, dark fruit and a vinous character

Taste: Sweet chocolate, up front, with a developing vinous, dark fruit flavor that takes over by mid-palate; after the swallow, the sweeter chocolate re-asserts itself and dominates the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Interesting, but a bit too sweet; perhaps the age has dissipated the balancing power of the hops

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of Hogtownharry (2005 vintage drank in 2008): Poured a pitch-black color stout with a medium size light brown foamy head with good retention but no lacing. Aroma of vanilla and raisins with some vinous notes is really interesting. Taste is a complex mix between some sweet malt, vanilla, some dry raisins with some interesting vinous notes. Full body with some great carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Definitely more complex then I was expecting and very well balance overall.

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Photo of emerge077
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Oily, viscous pour...resulting in a thin collar of foam. A skim remains with a ring around the edge. Served in an Arcadia tulip around 45º. Spotty lace is left behind in the glass.

Fried plantains, roasty malt, no alcohol detected in the nose.

Banana, almond, with a twinge of alcohol in the first sips. Chalky residual feel, with some vague leafy hops and dried dates in the aftertaste. Chewy without approaching syrupy. Fits nicely into the 'imperial' category, but is still easy to casually finish a glass.

One or two in a sitting, thankfully not too over the top. I'll be looking for more of this, since I only have one left from the 4-pack.

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Photo of zeff80
4.17/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Vintage at Sycamore in Columbia, MO.

A - Poured out an opaque, jet-black color with a small, tan head of foam. It left sudsy trails of lace on the glass.

S - Very nice roasty aroma with notes of dark chocolate, toffee and malt.

T - It tasted of dark chocolate and burnt molasses with some toffee flavors. Very tasty.

M - It was crisp, sharp and smooth. A medium bodied ale with a dry, clean finish.

O - This is a really nice beer. Curious to try a fresher one.

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Photo of mothman
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage into goblet.

Pours a small layer of tan head. Black in color.

Aroma: Roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, raisins, plums, molasses. Very rich.

Taste: Odd sour cherry like flavor to it. Not infected though. Tons of roasted malts, molasses, chocolate, and dark fruits.

Mouthfeel: Roasted and rich. Full bodied with a low to medium amount of carbonation. Ends dry and chocolaty.

Overall, a decent imp stout but nothing crazy. Fairly average to me. Decent drinkability. The only part I wasn't a big fan of was the sour cherry notes.

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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 NeroFiddled
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A short head of dark, almost orange-brown froth rises above an opaque black body as you pour. The head retention is limited and it leaves little lacing. Some of that may be due to its higher alcohol content, but for the style it should be better.

The aroma is surprisingly hoppy, leafy and lightly grassy, over notes of roasty dark malt and a berry-like fruitiness. It's roastiness is pretty solid, and it's more espresso-ish than standard coffee-ish or nutty, although there is a bit of both (regular coffee and nuts), and some sweetish caramel underneath as well. Mainly, however, it's dark malt roastiness.

In the mouth it's medium-full, and very smooth with a moderate, very fine-bubbled carbonation. A little more creaminess, via body and a just-slightly higher carbonation level would be nice, but it's oily and silky body is fairly nice as is.

The flavor delivers everything that the nose expresses with no extra nuances added, but it's quite enjoyable as is. It's roasty without being acidic, and it has a beautiful note of very dark bittersweet chocolate that resonates in the finish! The yeasty fruitiness becomes more apparent as you progress through the glass; and it's superbly balanced between malt and bitterness. To top it off, there are some clearly leafy and grassy hops as well! A bit more complexity withiin the depth of the malt would be nice, but as it is, it's very drinkable.

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Photo of Kegatron
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Pours black with 1 1/2 fingers of thick, burnt looking tan head. Solid 1/2 finger of retention that stays strong, flaring up magnificently when swirled, and leaving a big, creamy, cascade of lacing behind. The aroma is thick with zippy coffee character that dominates but keeping the pace as well are additional notes of chocolate, roasted malts, and the thick scent of dark fruits.

The taste is a thick yet silky mix of chocolate and tart cherry character with roast and coffee kicking up the back and evening out the profile. The finish is straight up sweet tang the whole way. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied with a slick and viscous feel but still seems a touch light in the mouth. I'm picking up a touch of alcohol in the body but for the most part it is pretty well hidden.

This one kind of took me a bit by suprise. Nicely full and well balanced Imperial Stout flavors and although the body could have used a touch more beef, the nearly hidden alcohol content makes up for it. I took my time with this (and am glad I did as this really opened up towards room temp) and really enjoyed it.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.12/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2006 vintage, acquired via trade from jpm30, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep dark brown color, with a thin brown head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is loaded with chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and roasted malts along with a touch of hops.

T: The taste is very rich and malty with creamy flavors of milk chocolate and coffee up front and background flavors of dark fruits. There's a slight hint of alcohol and a mild but 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: Tasty, goes down easily, not too filling for the style, good kick, nice representation of style, this is a very flavorful big stout that is worth drinking for a long time if you're in the mood for the style.

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours an opaque, dark brown, near black body with a wispy, khaki-colored head.

Smell: Richly scented, roasty maltiness, full of notes smelling of chocolate, roasted coffee, black licorice, and a very small puff of smoke. Splash of prune juice. Also, a bit of soy detected.

Taste: Dark roasted malts, medium sweet, with tastes of dark chocolate, instant espresso, and licorice. Hint of dark fruit buried within. ¼ teaspoon of soy sauce. Roasty, earthy bitterness. Lasting roastiness on the semi-dry finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth mouthfeel.

Drinkability: All soy aside, it was still a fairly enjoyable stout. It's certainly one of the better Arcadia beers I've had to date. Worth a try.

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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 mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

jet black, completely opaque, and black as night, thick looking liquid into my glass, exactly the way it should have. A nice two inch high head of chocolate colored foam rose up out of the depths to come over the top of it.

burnt malt smells. Hints of some light smokiness came over me first and were not at all unwelcome. I let it sit to let the flavor come out and some nice dark fruits then began to emerge. Lots of sweet aromas in here too, with hints of molasses and sugar all over it, Rich molasses soaked burnt coffee coming into the picture, offering just the slightest touch of bitterness to it as it starts to finish up. Nice sweet creamy finish to it now with a good touches of smokiness to it as well.

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Photo of Slatetank
3.88/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I purchased this at Shawan Liquors in Hunt Valley, MD. Poured from the chilled brown 12oz into a Boddington's glass.

A - Pours like used motor oil, the color is midnight opaque w/ a rocky beige head. The beading is super fine and the lacing is minimal

S - Ultra roasty notes of french roast coffee, lightly smoky and odors of pine in the hop smell.The nose has subtle anise notes the accent the malt aroma

M - A rich viscous feel and almost syrupy texture w/ rich smooth maltiness. Moderately low carbonation and subtle spice w/ a resinous slick texture and slight medicinal alcohol warmth

T - A deep roasted malt and pine flavored hop combo makes for rich blend with anise notes pretty forward in the flavor. The aroma follows the smell with spice and dark fruit flavor similar to plum w/ currant and coffee tastes. Hints of tobacco and chocolate fudge, rich and cherry-like in places with mild acidity from the PNW hops w/ green pepper vegetal spice. The coffee (frech roast) w/ hints of smoke come forward as it warms to cellar temp.

D - An interesting and rich brew I would definitely return to. This has great english malt flavor w/ an American intensity in the hops. I found this stout to come of a little hotter than the listed abv, so I would probably cellar for a year. This is a drinkable beer fresh, though and was a good example of the style.

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Photo of smcolw
3.47/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

This pours like oil--no head in the begining--a thin layer of bubbles emerge a full second after the pour. There is a thin level of lace. This is near black where no light shines through.

Some coffee notes along with a slight amount of alcohol present.

The flavor is coffee like in the begining of the sip but it becomes spicy. The body is thin and the carbonation is high. The aftertaste is mostly mocha.

This is pleasant Stout, but I'm not sure if it matches the profile of an Imperial. It does not have the oiliness that I would expect not does it have the dark malt bitterness either. It is easy to finish.

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Photo of TMoney2591
3.73/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Dogfish Head snifter.

Another random single from Binny's. It pours a straight obsidian, with minor ruby highlights when held in just the right way against some light, topped by a half-finger of tan foam. The nose comprises oats, very light roasted malts, biscuits, and light toffee. The taste holds notes of roasted malts, dark chocolate, molasses, light charcoal, light maple syrup, and oak. The body is a hefty-yearning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a thinly syrupy feel. Overall, a bit on the thin side for its power and a tad too oily for my liking. These, combined with a slightly weak smell, make for a decent, but not great, stout.

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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 WVbeergeek
3.96/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Another pitch black creation with a massive foamy tan head leaving collared lacing nice and thick. Aroma: Alcohol infused slightly burnt and caramelized tones this is massive with big dark roasts, it brings it to the table with massive brandy like depth. Taste: Strong alcohol notes massive with huge waves of seared fruit and chocolate and coffee crescendoes this beer is crazy big. A ton of malt making this one beer that is just straight up warming and bad ass. Mouthfeel: Chewy oil like thick full bodied smooth carbonation incredible. Drinkabiltiy: Wow, just becareful no idea alcohol content but drinking more than one of these means one of three things trying to be tough, way too high of a tolerance, or stupidity. So, massive this beer is meant to be enjoyed one glass at a time it's that massive folks big brew, but oh so flavorful and big that is has to be enjoyed.

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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.


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Photo of RblWthACoz
4.1/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with very little tan head. Nose is thick molasses and malts. Flavor is reminiscent of BCS. Bit of an alcohol hit, and mostly a thick molasses character. Feel has a lowe carbonation and the liquid is fairly thick bodied. Even though this one has a lot of thick character, it's very easy to drink. A nice RIS.

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Photo of jwc215
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, poured into a snifter:

Pours pitch/opaque black with almost no head - just a thin ring that leaves some vanishing lace.

The smell is of roasted chocolate and coffee with a vague fruitiness in the back.

The taste is of chocolate with some coffee. Some sweetened berry-like fruitiness in the back. Peppery alcohol in the sweetish finish.

Full-bodied and pretty creamy with a lingering chocolate aftertaste.

Rich in chocolate with a nice roasty touch. A nice pairing with chocolate ice cream (had it with and without - good both ways.)

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Photo of feloniousmonk
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark, near-black body, with a full, lush, very fizzy head, toasty-brown, and effervescent.
Aroma, dark, with notes of anise and pepper right off, maple, treacle, motor oil and more, as we drink it in...molasses and tar...quite an accomplishment, already!
Taste: thick coating on the palate, dark, but bubbly, rich, and roasted, but ultimately thinnish compared to others that I like.Loaded with taste, but not enough to match the robust royalty among this style.
A bit underwhelming. Chocolatey, too, a touch, and it's good, but not as good as we'd like. Nice work, anyway, Arcadia, and thanks to CRJMellor for the gift!

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Photo of Billolick
4.29/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ouncer, with some sort of info on the label, which I can make no sense of.comes in an expensive ($15) four pack. Pours inky black, very dark fine bubble head, and leaving moderate sticky lace. Rich nose of dark malts and mocha. Full flavor, full enjoyment, RIS, allowed to warm in the glass, tiny bubble film in all its glory, easy drinking, lots of soft, sweet cafe au lait/mocha notes, medium body, complex with some sweetness early, roasty middle then mild drying hops late. Nicely done, stout lovers rejoice, go get some

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Arcadia Imperial Stout from Arcadia Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 464 ratings.
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