Arcadia Imperial Stout | Arcadia Brewing Company

very good
466 Ratings
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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Ratings: 466 |  Reviews: 280
Photo of homebrew311
3.32/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Notes: Vintage 2007, poured in snifter

A: Jet black viscous pour. A nice tan head forms and slowly goes away. Nice lacing around the glass.

S: Smell of chocolate malty sweetness, licorice, and some subtle hops.

T: This has an assertive alcohol burn immediately, followed by the roasty notes with some dark chocolate and a hint of sweetness. The alcohol cools down on the finish and leaves some nice flavors of hops and chocolate.

M: Very sharp on the tongue, medium to thick body, chewy texture

D: A bit hot on the alcohol, has a very nice finish but this does not stand up to many other offerings of the style. Average for an imperial stout, would not seek out again. The rest of these are going in the cellar to hopefully mellow out the burn.

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Photo of damienblack
3.72/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours thick, syrupy jet black. Seems kind of dull and lifeless, low carbonation, not much of a head at all. Smells sweet and boozey, not much of a roasty aroma.

Bottom line, this is a very sweet imperial stout. Pretty light for the style, low in carbonation. Tastes toasty and a little burnt without tasting roasty. This was on discount, so I suspect it might have been stock being cleared. This would mean it's got some time on it, which might explain why it tastes a lot smoother to me than to others. It hardly tastes boozey at all. It almost tastes like your standard dry stout, just a good bit sweeter. Mouth is a bit thin and watery. Extremely drinkable, light for the style. It seems this would make a good RIS introduction. It has some nice sweet flavors, but lacks a lot of the roastiness and heartiness from some of the bigger & better RISes.

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Photo of alovesupreme
3.33/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter but may be past its prime.
Pours a pitch black with extremely little light penetrating the body.
Smells of black licorice with a slightly sour smell
Black licorice with a malty finish. A slightly sour taste is also present.
A good viscosity but lacking good carbonation.
A pretty good imp. I will not seek out but will drink if available.

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Photo of Jwale73
3.67/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle served in my Old Stock snifter (glassware courtesy of Mauerhan). Poured black with no light penetration. Quarter inch head immediately dispersed into a soapy slick with a thin band around the perimeter of the glass; no lacing on this one. Not a huge nose, but a respectable presence nonetheless - cocoa, coffee, black licorice and dark fruit (perhaps a little vinous). Taste follows nose, but much more muted than anticipated - some acidity is detected and lingers between quaffs, coupled with the coffee/cocoa/dark fruit. Mouthfeel is somewhat light and watery for the style - minimal carbonation is evident. Drinkability is decent - alcohol is well-hidden and flavors aren't particularly cloying; however, there are much better examples of the style out there.

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Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
3.45/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle served in a snifter.

L - black with a tan head that thinned to a wall-clinging ring leaving spots of lacing.

S - black licorice and dark fruits.

T - burnt coffee, alcohol and black licorice/black jelly beans (since it's the Easter season at the time of this review).

F - medium/full bodied with a chewy feel.

D - a bit much to sip more than one of these in a sitting.

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Photo of danielharper
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Jet-black, completely opaque body with a thin brown head that sticks around.

Smell: Dark malt, some hints of red grapes, very bready, sweet. Perhaps some chocolate-covered cherries? Very complex, very inviting.

Taste: Ooh, a bit of a misfire. Very "hot" with alcohol, pretty much overpowers the palate. Underneath are some nice dry bready malts, some nice bittering hops, and a sweet (but astringent) aftertaste. If the alcohol was a bit less prominent this would get a much higher rating.

Mouthfeel: Not as thick as you'd expect for an RIS. Still heavy, but not exactly super-thick. Coats the palate well.

Drinkability: I may buy a couple of these and try them in six months or so. It's a good beer, but there are much better examples of an RIS out there -- anyplace that has this should also have Bell's Expedition.

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Photo of PirateUlf73
3.9/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass.

A: Very dark, opaque black color. Small tan head died to a layer quite quickly.

S: Dark roasted malts mingled with bittersweet chocolate and coffee aromas. There is also an earthy hop presence in the smell.

T: Lots of the aforementioned roasted chocolate and earthy hop bitterness. Very bitter in fact. The malty bitterness of a stout and the hoppy bitterness of a good ESB blended quite well.

M: Full, heavy and slick feel. Pretty low carbonation and the finish is of bitter chocolate and roast.

D: A decent sipper and an interesting choice for a digestif.

Lots of complex and interesting flavors going on. The assertive bitterness and full body made this an adventure to finish the whole 12 ounces, but it was definitely worth it. Take it slow. This beer gets more and more intriguing as it opens up.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.82/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle. The label states this is a 2006 vintage. From a shaker glass, the beer appears a deep brown color with about an inch of creamy ecru foam. The foam dissipates within a few minutes to a thin layer. The alcohol is still pretty evident in the nose even after a few years in the bottle. Along with that are notes of licorice (dominant), molasses, and caramel. The taste is full of richly roasted grains, caramelized malt, bitter mocha, and brown sugar. There is still a noticeable alcohol burn that presents itself in the finish and continues to warm the throat for a few minutes. Moderate in body with medium carbonation. A pretty tasty IS. Time was good to this one.

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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. ΒΌ 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 ATLbeerDog
3.95/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with some red highlights bleeding through. Not much carbonation. Smells of bitter coffee and dark chocolate with some tobacco notes present in the nose. First sip is all smoke that I did not detect at all in the aroma. There is coffee, and bitter dark chocolate under the smoke.

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Photo of GRPunk
4.09/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle poured into a tulip glass.

A- After a normal pour, there's a near black body with deep brown at the edges. The head is nearly nonexistent, but there are some little sticky spots on the side of the glass.

S- Very complex. There's a lot of sweet going on. I picked up raisin, dark chocolate, roasty coffee, and something of a black licorice. A slightly citrus aroma from the hops counteracts the sweet qualities.

T- I'm initially surprised by a very smoky flavor. Roasted malts come through right after the smoke subsides. There's also a sweetness, something like the raisin and chocolate tones described in the scent. It finishes with a bit of an alcohol bite.

M- It's fairly viscus with a warming alcohol feel. Carbonation is light to medium.

D- It's definitely a slow sipper. The alcohol isn't as well hidden as some other examples. However, that just adds to the "nightcap" quality of the beer. The smokiness is a neat addition. I haven't experienced this in an Imperial Stout that hasn't been designated as "Smoked" before. I'd drink it again.

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Photo of sholland119
4/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this one from bort11 in Black Booty! Thanks!

A-Pours dark brown, almost but not quite black, with a little bit of head.

S-Sweet chocolate at first; another swirl brings in some oak and molasses. Nice.

T-Boozier than expected but quite tasty. Chocolaty and malty in the front, some oaky and roatsed malt notes in the finish.

M-Medium bodied, moderate carbonation, perhaps a bit thin.

D-A very nice beer. Tasty with moderate ABV for the style.


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Photo of Beertracker
3.65/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Arcadia's Imperial Stout pours up a bit heavy, but with enough carbonation to create a modest tan colored head that tops the nearly opaque deep brown-blackish body. The aroma is slightly woody with a hugely roasted, burnt espresso, chicory character with a hint of herbal (minty) hops hidden in the background. Slightly phenolic with some vinous alcohol warmth & oxidation detected. The flavor starts off quite fruity with some blackstrap molasses, burnt sugary sweetness that rolls into a heavily roasted, charred finish marked with a moderate bitterness & alcohol warmth. This full-bodied stout is more reminiscent of an export-style or "extra" stout rather than an imperial stout. A solid offering from the crew at ABC that's worth tracking down.

CHEERS! Beertracker

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Photo of armock
3.58/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Poured a jet black color with a brown head that took a very aggressive pour to form that leaves slight lacing

S - Is of roasted malt chocolate and some alcohol in the nose

T - Follows the nose roasted malt chocolate with a good bit of alcohol taste for an 8% beer

M - This beer has a fuller body with light carbonation to it

D - I think I could really only drink one of these in a sitting this isn't a bad beer its just that the alcohol came out a little too much for my liking

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

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a 1/2" tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a rich chocolate malt scent with a bit of earthy black malt aroma. There is a slight warming smell to it. The taste is decent. It has a very rich and alcohol filled taste that boasts of black and chocolate malts. It goes down slow with a very earthy edge to it. It finishes dry and quite warm. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with a bit too much CO2. This is a pretty good beer, although I'd like to see more chocolate malt taste. Also, the alcohol is too pronounced. It makes this one a slow drinker.

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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 shivtim
4.15/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this while in Kzoo a month and half ago. Somehow hadn't tried this one yet.

Poured into a pint glass. Beautiful deep dark russet brown mixed with black ash. Nice billowy fallow/khaki head casually settled into a 1/8" cap with great retention. Nose is dark chocolate and sugar plums, fire-roasted malts, with a hint of more tangy dark fruit. Very good.

Taste is heavily roasted malts, powdered bitter cocoa,
There's a sweet lingering aftertaste that transitions into a slight alcohol warming, and more roasted malts.

Mouthfeel is quite good, but leaves some room for improvement. Solid drinkability except for the ABV. Probably one of the best from Arcadia.

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Photo of wiseguy142
3.83/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Had the pleasure of pouring this beer at the CNY Brewfest this weekend. Was very popular and I drank more than enough of it there but still want to take a bit of a closer look at it.

Pours completely, impenetrably black into my Arcadia Ales pint glass. The rich light brown head has the texture of freshly made whipped cream, leaving patches of lace around the cup. Head is gone within a couple minutes of the pour leaving an attractive thin layer of espresso-looking film on the top of the beer.

Aroma is very unique for an Imperial Stout. The "darker" aromas of roasted barley etc are displaced by something lighter.. like spiced iced coffee.. with hops. Actually it's very strong on the hop aroma, which I don't distinctly remember from the above mentioned festival. Strong, nose clearing, minty hops with a heavy hint of alcohol.

Whereas the aroma is all about the hops, this beer is definitely all about the malt in taste. The first part of the sip is straight up coffee followed by a big alcohol burst. A little creaminess is hiding in there, like a little super bitter alcoholic Oreo cookie. The beer definitely has a chocolate cake like character in it if you discount the alcohol and the hops. Makes for a very interesting malt base, not as outrageously dark and bitter as other RIS's, but with a strong emphasis on creaminess and mouthfeel.

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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 rmmm16
3.57/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque black with a thin tan head. Mainly malt smell with cranberry and black licorice notes. Taste is a little sour with a bitter finish, alcohol is hidden well. There is a little thickness and creaminess to the mouthfeel, little carbonation, finishes thin. Fairly drinkable compared to most other RIS's.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of number1bum
3.97/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black, pretty thick looking with about a finger and a half of dark tan head. Keeps a decent lace and leaves a splash of stick here and there.

Smell is quite roasty but is also quite fruity. Some citrus and other fruit and a pretty hoppy nose overall. Also some chocolate.

Taste is also quite hoppy with some citrus and leafy hop flavor. Plenty of roasted malt, as well with some chocolate and molasses sweetness. Maybe just a bit of coffee but it's hard to distinguish from roasted malt and hop bitterness. It becomes apparent with each sip just how hoppy this is. Lots of hop flavor but it manages to stay pretty well balanced.

Mouthfeel is close to full bodied, pretty creamy and smooth. Some lingering leafy hop and roasted flavor is left on the palate into the finish.

This is a very hoppy, and overall pretty solid imperial stout. Solid brew at a reasonable price; I would certainly consider picking this up again.

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

Poured black with a miniscule brown head. Some lacing. Roasted malt, red fruit and mocha aromas. Very full bodied. Molasses, slight chocolate, slight coffee. Clean finish, but definetely not bitter at all. Pretty solid imperial stout. Not sure if I like this or the Starboard better.

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Arcadia Imperial Stout from Arcadia Brewing Company
3.83 out of 5 based on 466 ratings.
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