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 Boilermaker88
4.03/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presented in a 12oz bottle. Poured into one of my tasting glasses, this imperial stout had a murky blackish-brown color topped by a large creamy mocha colored head. The head had nice retention but left little lace.
The nose was full of bittersweet chocolate, espresso coffee, and dark fruit notes with a vinous alcohol quality, especially as it warmed. The taste started off with a sweet date-and-prune flavor quickly followed up with the flavors of baker's chocolate and espresso, slowly ratcheting up a bitterness through the finish. The alcohol was note all that well disguised but at 9%ABV I don't necessarily expect it to be. The feel was full, rich and creamy.
Overall, this was a likeable imperial stout; easy drinking and satisfying. No complaints here, mate.

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

The bad thing about this beer is that I got a gusher. I lost half of the bottle within 30 seconds of opening and big chunks of yeast were mixed up in the beer...which is a huge bummer. Had to let it sit for a while then transferred what I could to a fresh glass...conserved about 4 ounces of beer. What a freakin shame.

Ok, now that its more or less settled, the head is still quick to rise up in resistance. Maybe this beer was overprimed or something. But nice color to the beer. I tihnk the head is a little too much for this beer. Nose is really nice on this beer. Very rich. Some nice mellow ethanol and buttery (?) and chocolate notes.

I don't think the beer was infected because it still tastes clean and smooth. Very smooth beer. Just a touch of roasty flavor to my palette, but some nice chocolate notes. Got some nice yeast flavors too. A touch of hops evens this beer out nicely.

A pretty drinkable beer for being so big.

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Photo of Bighuge
3.93/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Inky black appearance with no signs of light penetration. Good sized creamy brown head sits on top. Retention is adequate and lacing is actually quite full. Aromas of burnt malts, chocolate and molasses bless my nose. The flavor profile has a unique dark fruitiness to it to blend in with the smoke and char of the burnt malts and bittersweet chocolate. Overall though, the flavors are a bit subdued for an Imperial Stout. Body is not quite as full as I'd like. Maybe a little better than medium. Seems just a little too spritzy in its carbonation as well. So, I guess it's got an average mouthfeel. Everything else is good in my book though.

Thanks Evan.

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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.

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Photo of CortexBomb
3.46/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Talk about a pour! Deep brown to near blackish colour and an ungodly amount of head, even though I wasn't pouring it hard the head took up over half my pint and I had to wait for it to settle before pouring the remainder of the beer into it! The head also, as is chracteristic for imperials, grips the sides of the glass and refuses to let go.

A roasty yet alcohol tinged smell which doesn't particularly overwhelm. The taste has some of that roast but is mainly malt, and alcohol, lots of alcohol, not entirely surprising given the percentage but the least well hidden of the imperials that I've tried to date. This one has the lovely characteristic mouth coating aspect going for it in any case, though I would only rate the drinkability as decent, it goes down thick.

Overall a middling stout in my estimation.

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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 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 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 ManekiNeko
3.63/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle served at cellarish temps in a Brewer's Art chalice.

Appearance: Jet black topped by a huge brown head. I almost lost a few drops of this when the beer started gushing after opening. Thankfully, my first beer of the night - so my reaction time wasn't dulled. As I expected from the pour, there was some incredible head retention on this puppy. A small layer of foam was retained until the very end of the glass. Decent lacing, too.

Smell: Intense dark and bitter coffee aromas with a nice hearty snap of alcohol on the end. Fruits like apples and cherries lurk in the background. A nice sniffer.

Taste: Harsh alcohol taste initially, followed by black pepper spiciness. Lingering notes of bitter coffee and roasted malts.

Mouthfeel: Goes down like a flame. A not unpleasant warming sensation in the throat and mouth. Massive body.

Drinkability: This is not a subtle or refined imperial stout, fer shure. At least not in comparison to some others of this style I've had (BCS, SK, and Bell's Expy). Still quite a nice beer overall. I think I might have had this one a wee bit too young.

Thanks to CRJMellor for including this as a little extra in a recent trade.

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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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Photo of AtLagerHeads
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A very nice Imperial stout that has a somewhat different taste than many stouts. This dark brew gives a nice sense of chocolate covered dark cherries. Quite a nice flavor that is surprising to the palate and lingers in a pleasant manner.

The thick body supports lots of alcohol which is decently covered by the rich flavor. The feel is a bit oily but not overly so. Drinkability is good but limited by the apparently high ABV.

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

Pours very frothy and almost jet black with a brown head with big bubbles. Head clings to the side of the glass. Aroma is very "peaty" with a hint of malt whiskey to it. Taste is not as thick as aroma would indicate. You are hit on the front end by malt and a touch of alcohol. Finishes very dry and somewhat bitter with a very roasted malt flavor prevalent. Mouthfeel is not as syrupy as other Imperials I've had but very drinkable and enjoyable.
This beer won a silver medal at the 2002 Chicago Real Ale Festival.

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Photo of beergeek279
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in the 12 oz. bottle. The color is jet-black, with a foamy white head. The smell is a sweet malt. The taste is a bit drier; nice hops, with a coffee taste and a slight smokiness. Mouthfeel is nice and thick. As for drinkability, could have a few.

Not a bad Imperial Stout, though not the best either. Sill, glad to find this offering from Arcadia, and if I saw it again, I'd probably have one.

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Photo of aaronh
3.85/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Almost black beer pours with a moderate chocolate brown head. Sweet milk chocolate aromas tinged with roasted malts greet the nose. A slight sweetness is evident wafting from the glass as the beer is poured. The flavor is very chocolatey, with a nice dark fruitiness. Coffee, charred malt, and molasses all chime in as well. A strong bitterness is present on the finish, which gives way to a lingering strong coffee aftertaste with just a touch of sweetness. Mouthfeel is good, but perhaps just a bit thin for all the robust flavors. Drinakbility is also pretty good, but the roasted notes get a bit on the astringent side after a while. All in all, an enjoyable brew.

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Photo of Bierman9
3.62/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I snagged a single, 12oz bottle of this in January at the Georgetown Deli in Wilkes-Barre, not realizing I had already had it... Quaffed it yesterday (08JUN12) out in the 'Zebo... Noticed it was a 2007 Vintage.

Using a small tulip, the bier poured a thick, deep, dark brown. Even with a fairly hard pour there was little head to be found, just a few fine, tan bubbles at the rim and little else. The aroma smelled of molasses and dark choco, with hints of woody, bourbon-like notes. Medium bodied, I thought it could (should?) be a lt thicker. It was mostly smooth, though really more on the flattish side. Some choco was present in the flavor, with light sweetness and a bit of mocha. Had a little fig and raisin action, and maybe some cherry, too. The bottle held a good amount of sediment, though swirling it in didn't change the flavor at all. There was some subtle hopping at the finish, though all-in-all this version lacked complexity. Quite simple and meh, actually.

3.6/5 rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

*** *** ***

Original review from 14NOV03:
This Imperial pours an inky, black color. Head was creamy and tan, thinning rapidly to a fine layer, with some decent lacing around the glass. Aroma displays some roasty, coffeeish notes, as well as some dark fruit and a lightly citrus-like hop tinge. Feel on the tongue was fairly smooth, and though medium in body, I felt it could have been thicker. Flavor is also roasty, with more coffee, but more heavily leaning into the realm of dark fruit such as currants and raisins. Has a light, burnt aspect to it, and adds a nice warmth to the innards. The hops at the finish are tasty and welcome, with nary a smidge of bitterness. Quite a tasty brew. Thnx to trbeer for a fine Midwest Bier! Zum Wohl!!!

overall: 4.25
appearance: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | mouthfeel: 4 | drinkability: 4.5


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Photo of aracauna
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I really enjoyed this beer, although as an imperial stout it fell short in a couple of categories. The appearance was nice. It was black, but not opaque and a reddish-brown glow could be seen around the edges. Despite being fizzy during the pour, the head was thick, longlasting and a good coffee and cream color. The aroma was nicely malty with a bit of a twang. I'd almost describe it as an aroma I've noticed on a lot of belgian strong ales, but since it didn't carry over into the flavor, maybe I imagined it. The flavor was dominated by charcoal and maybe a little smoke under that, but was supported nicely by chocolate. This one didn't fall into the trap that some imperial stouts do in not supporting the burned and heavy roasted flavors with chocolate or other softer malt flavors to flesh out the body of the flavor. In with all this malt was that cherry flavor that's common in a lot of the imperials mixed with apple peels (and a bit of apple cider). The hops come across a little thin and even a tiny bit salty. Despite the huge nose and big flavor, the beer came across a little thin for style. Of course this made it easier to drink. All in all a tasty beer, but on the light side of the style.

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

12oz brown bottle. Freshness area on the label, but it's not marked.

Pours a pitch black beer, crowned with a creamy coffee coloured head; good retention. Molasses, ground dark roasted coffee, earth, chocolate and notes of smoke in the nose.

Smooth, creamy, full-bodied with a chewy mouthfeel. Immediate twang of roasted malts, with a bit of astringency and cider notes (just a bit, with apple esters) backed by salty and lime-like hop bitterness. Light herbal notes and some spice. More malt flavours of smoke and char (pretty pronounced actually), burnt raisin, dark-roasted coffee, familiar soy sauce flavours, black-strap molasses, hints of toffee and nuts, and dark unsweetened chocolate. Finish is a bit dry, bitty and bitter with roasted flavours lingering for some time.

This a solid, good Imperial Stout. Very robust and I loved the complex upfront and smoke characters. Tasty stuff.

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Photo of granger10
4.16/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just a wonderful pour to this one. Very thick with a solid taste. Chocolate and coffee dominate with a little toffee, raisin and plum. The chocolate and coffee tastes are by far the most dominate and the other flavors just provide a background. I don't notice too much hops which this beer could maybe use to deter some of the sweetness. But I'm nitpicking because this was a great beer. Excellent for the price ($9/6 pack).

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Photo of fattychubs
4.23/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep oil black with thickness to match. A darker tan head grew out of the glass and would not die, so I had to sit and let the head die and the beer warm, it actually got a little better as it warmed though. Very burnt malt aroma, with a little alcohol and espresso tones, taunted me as I waited. The consistency was thick and chewey and the taste diverse. Malt, thick coffee, licorice, and some type of dark fruit, lead to a slight bitter wine taste, and finishes flavorful and smooth.

One bottle was enough for the sitting, but would drink again as it was enjoyable.

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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 jcalabre
4.05/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Orignally sampled 29 November 2002. Jet black w/ a frothy tan head. Wonderfully velvetty mouthfeel. Nice tastes of cocoa & malt. An exceptionally well done Imperial. Arcadia isn't available in my area, I had to trade for it. If you can get it locally, do it.

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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 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.

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