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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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 466 |  Reviews: 280
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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Photo of dsigmon
3.92/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark black with thin brown head. Not much staying power on the head and the beer is overall thin in appearance.

S: Slight smell of bitter cocoa and some spice's that I can't put my finger on.

T/M: Bitter cocoa with a slight bitter espresso aftertaste. Hops come through this one pretty well leaving a bitter after taste. Not much going on here and the mouthfeel is a little too thin for me. A little more carbonated than I like as well which adds to the thin mouthfeel.

D: A decent IS, nothing that I will seek out but will drink happily.

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

Poured into mini heffe glass by Phil Hughes of Manhattan Beverages at Spring 08 Long Island Craft Festival (just found my notes)

A: RIS was big and black. negligible carbonation that I asked if there was something wroing, was told about "open vessel fermentation"

S: Developed malty nose with earthy burnt toast, roasted grains dashes of coffee & chocolate that leads you nicely to the body.

T: Thin to my surprise but improved as it rolled around in my mouth. Initial moderate malty flavor, slightly caramely sweet followed by robust chocolate/coffee mixing impressively with burnt cereals whith prolonged ligering in aftertaste.

M: Respectable but somewhat too thin.

D: High ABV kept me going but only for the tried and true.

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Photo of joezak5
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Poured into a Duvel sniffter; black as night with a good brown head that was dense the bottom three quarters and broke up on top. OK retention, good lacing.

Smell: Deep, dirty/earth caramel malt, smoked not roasted.

Mouthfeel: Dry malty medium body with muted carbonation.

Taste: Smokey dry hops initially with earthy chocolaty malt following, caramelly malty finish. Very unique and complex.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for the variety, as close to a session RIS as you'll see. Well balanced and enjoyed.

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Photo of jeremyd365
3.5/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a dark black with just the hint of a tan-colored head. Felt thin in the mouth despite being so dark. Smelled and tasted of coffee. Went down pretty smooth, but felt weak on the palatte. A decent coffee stout, but not the best ever. Pretty drinkable beer.

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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.

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Photo of Yetiman420
4.2/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I poured this 2006 vintage from a 12 oz bottle into a Great Lakes Christmas Ale snifter at 40 degrees.

I drank this beer after preparing tortilla soup. Not a big deal until I worked the ribs and seeds of a Serrano chili and then rubbed my nostrils. I swear it gave my sinus a buzz and made me think that much more critically while consuming it.

The beer pours black with a brown ½ finger head that quickly dissipates to the edges revealing a black center. Black is black and "dark black" or "midnight black" are oxymoron's that really don't exist. Sorry - I'm now off my soapbox.

Back on track now - a minimal head and low carbonation is what I expect from an imperial stout. This one has both.

The aroma is rich. Coffee, liquorices, and mild alcohol are what I detect. The first sip is incredibly smooth with a little sweetness. Off the bat I'm thinking this beer has incredible drinkability for an imperial stout. It goes down a bit too easy.

After warming, I pick up the chocolate notes, low carbonation, and wonderfully rich aroma. This beer drinks very easy and I'm fortunate that it was a work/school night.

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

12 oz bottle with no freshness date

poured dark black with lots of carbonation bubbles and a mocha colored 3/4 inch head that was sticky with lacing

nose of alcohol, anise, raisins/plums

taste was initially alcohol up front which quickly gave way to sweet fruit/dark fruit, raisins/plums and the finish was rasted malts/coffee but that came after the swallow, snuck up on me.

mouthfeel was thick, chewy, and oily but quite smooth

Drinkability is good as it has many dimensions with sweet followed by roasty/dry finish. nice brew

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Photo of ultralarry2006
4.5/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle. Leaves one finger of an espresso foam colored head that quickly fades to a foam ring at the edge, and it leaves some isolated spots of lacing. Body is black.

Smell - chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, burnt crust malt bread, and hints of dark fruits like raisins, plums, prunes, and cherries.

Taste - exactly like the smell. Chocolate, roasted malt, burnt crust malt bread, and richly roasted coffee all flood the tongue. There are also hints of raisins, plums, prunes, and cherries on the finish, and on the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - full bodied.

Drinkability - this is very good, only the high abv limits sessionability.

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

This one pours a slick, oily black with a creamy dark nut colored cap. The nose is real nice even if it could use a bit of umph. Sweet dark chocolate, roasted nuts, toasted black malts, earthy and woodsy. Thick and oily smooth without much carbonation. sweet dark chocolate spiced with a couple beans of fresh coffe. I think I may have discerned some dark fruits, figs and raisins. Unfortunately my review must end here since my bottle is all gone. Guess this is a pretty dang good RIS.

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Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.18/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

thanks to TheBlackMallard for this extra.

2005 vintage.

Pours opaque black with a nice tan head that stays around for a little while. pretty good lace. The nose is good, but is slightly metallic, coppery, with a little alcohol on it and slight dark fruit smell. Taste is nice and thick, cream, some vanilla, and i want to say almost a dark cherry flavor (slight). some minor tobacco elements here as well. Decent hops on the end but nothing to write home about. Some alcohol on the finish, but overall very smooth. Mouthfeel is nice, good viscosity. Drinkability is the strong point of this brew, as it goes down very smooth and is one of the more sessionable imperial stouts I have had (this may have to do with the unusually weak 8.4% abv). But nonetheless a good sessionable imperial. Overall a good brew, one I would buy if it was available. Never had this one fresh, but it seems like it has done pretty well over time. Thanks again for this extra craig!

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Photo of ybnorml
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

An inky opaque black beer. Has a small brown head. There is a whiff of sweet malt to start the aroma. With a strong chocolate and spicy backbone and a hint of licorice and vanilla in the back. A powerful roasted malt bitterness grabs at your tongue. Followed by notes of vanilla and raisins. The finish has a nice piney note to it. About half way through the glass your ear start to warm up.

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Photo of SMark
3.8/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer was poured into an Imperial pint glass at 53° from a 12 ounce bottle with what appeared to be a coded date on the label. A head did not develop when I vigorously poured this beer. It was a dark brown and showed some lacing as I tilted it in the glass to see the coloring.

Dark roasted malts were sensed with the first smell. Slight vanilla aromas were displayed along with hops as I continued to observe the aromatics.

A slight bitterness was sensed with the first taste along with weak coffee. The bitterness carried through the subsequent sips without much malt.

The bitterness seemed to last longer on the tongue as I kept tasting. Smoothness started winning out over the bitter as the beer warmed to room temperature.

This beer developed while in the glass. It probably would have been better to start at a warmer temperature. The alcohol added to the warmth and bitterness making this a nice fireside winter sipping beverage.

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Photo of dsa7783
4.25/5  rDev +11%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz single bottle purchased from Buy Rite on Oak Tree in south Plainfield for $2.99...
Pours a jet-black, dark, ebony appearance with a red, tan, frothy, and foamy head that soon dissipated, revealing a generous amount of lacing around the glass...
Smell was complete with rich cocoa, roasted malts, and dark lattee essences...
Taste strongly complemented the aroma, with a flavor that was more thick than usual Russian Imperial Stouts, including burnt chocolate, cocoa, espresso, cappuccino, and Nestle nuances...
Extremely rich, thick, and creamy taste and mouthfeel with a good drinkability that only took a slight hit due to the hefty 8.4% ABV that slowly creeped up on you and the rich conglomeration of dark, chocolate flavors...
Otherwise, this was a top-notch depiction of the style... Awesome stuff... Recommended...

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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 gmfessen
4.28/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, beer is black, opaque with a thin, brown-caramel head that leaves just a wisp of carbonation on top. The smell is all malt, with chocolate and roasted notes coming to the forefront as well as a mildly fruity background. The taste is very much the same, with the fruitiness becoming more apparent - I get the sensation of dates - and finishes with a dry, roasted characteristic. The mouthfeel is full-bodied with a minimal carbonation. Overall, this is a very drinkable RIS; good example of the style.

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Photo of enfield249
3.99/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Pours very thick, dark black, no head. Small ring of tan foam around the edge.

S- WOW. Lots of dark fruit, sweet smelling.

T- Up front lots of that dark fruit and sweetness. Fades to roast, and then a burnt toast right in the middle of my tongue. Quite the taste trip.

M - About average. Not super thick, but not too thin.

D - A very good Imperial stout. I don't like a lot of hotness from alcohol and this beer delivers on that.

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

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

2007 vintage.

A: Pours a slippery looking pitch black. This is covered by a dark tan colored head, about 1 finger thick, that leaves a bit of lace in the glass.

S: Interesting mix of aromas. Dark roasted malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, brown sugar, cherry, cocoa, spicy hops, blueberry, espresso, molassas, and a hint of banana(?).

T: Pretty much just see above. The smell is lockstep with the taste. I also noticed an interesting earthy burn, almost like cigar tobacco. Major roasted malt and bitter coffee, and chocolate flavors in the finish.

M: Oily and sticky. Tangy, bitter, and creamy. A little on the thin side, although it becomes slightly thicker as it warms.

D: Pretty good for the style. I prefer RIS's to stick to my ribs a little more than this one did, but overall this is very good.

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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 Tilley4
3.66/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4


Jet black pour with no head on the pour which eventually leads to a smallish 1/2 head.

Smells really good. Dark and chocolatey and I actually smell a bit of banana in this. Surprising but not unpleasant.

Very complex tasting, this RIS is. Doesn't get the hype that lots of others does. Now it's not as good as the Ten Fidy or anything but it's still a really good brew. I like it a lot.

Drinkability is good with the 8 1/2% as well. I liked this one.

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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 redelephantdane
4.14/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle - very fresh might need some cellaring time

a - thick black, no head came from vigorous pour, after a few seconds some bubbles were roused from the depths of this dark brew. they dissipated leaving no lace. it almost looks like dark red wine.

s - sweet coffee, dark cherry at first, deep ether like finish.

t - dark fruit and cocoa, the hops come through in a big way with a bitter finish. lacks a deep malt taste

m- surprisingly smooth and light mouth feel, not as oily as one would expect in an imperial stout, does not exactly fit style but i like it none the less.

d- i could drink a few of these, dont feel stuffed as i usually do after an imperial stout. goes down smooth and silky.

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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 brantadid
3.77/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured black into a snifter. Next to no head. This beer is completely opaque. No light passes through.

Smelled of roasted malt and chocolate. I also detected some faint toffee notes. Also picked up some berries in the nose.

Tasted very malty with chocolate in the after taste. Nice toffee flavor is present, and some dark berries. Alcohol is totally masked. Slight bitterness on the back palate.

Low carbonation and creamy, coating mouthfeel make this a very drinkable beer.

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Photo of weeare138
4.07/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2005 bottle...
Appears a pitch black with a 1 finger, dark tan head that fades into a mild cap and thick, hearty collar. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of cocoa, molasses, brown sugar, rich cream, caramel, anise, and a hint of java.
Taste is that of the aroma with some bitter chocolate, chicory, and ripe fruit blasting it's way through the flavors.
Mouthfeel is bittersweet, syrupy, slick, with some charred nuts, bitter hops, and star anise all kicking in for an interesting kick on an Imperial Stout.

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