The Alchemist

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The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #25
Ranked #373
4.43 | pDev: 7%
Feb 24, 2022
Oct 09, 2011
Notes: None
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Photo of Pivopijak
4.5/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by Pivopijak from Washington

can into glass
Can label states that this is a British style imperial stout.
Bought this at the brewery, so it is very likely, fresh.
Thin, quickly dissipating, tan head. Black, with no light transmission. The aroma is abundant, and has a full, very dark roasted grain aroma. When swirling in glass, it leaves a viscous film on glass that slowly drains down. The taste really grabs oneself, full, rounded. lots of non-bitey, very dark roasted grains, espresso, some slight molasses and toffee accents. Initial, frothy, creamy mouthfeel, that brings on the grain, toffee, etcetera, flavors. Finish has nearly a dark chocolate, with roasted, mixed grain flavors and a fair bite. A needed editorial here. This brewery is famous for its Heady Topper, followed by the Focal Banger. In my non-humble opinion, this libation is clearly more enjoyable. For one, Heady Topper and Focal Banger, both have severe hop bites that over power some of the subtle flavors and last for hours, which is too long.

Feb 24, 2022
4.66 by gkrishnan704 from Connecticut on Jan 29, 2022
4.58 by Mdez from Virginia on Jan 27, 2022
Photo of Sparty1224
4.91/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Sparty1224 from Michigan

Serving: 1 pint can poured into a Cigar City snifter. No canned on date, but says best by 05/2023. So I'm assuming May 2021 bottling, so maybe 8 months old at this point?

A: Has a pitch black, motor oil look to it. Great legs up the glass. Almost looks like it could be a barrel-aged beer.

S: Oh wow. Fig, raisin, very dark chocolate, vanilla. Some cocoa powder or brownie notes in there too.

T: Very nice balance of chocolate, vanilla, fig, prunes. Even a slight touch of chocolate-covered raspberry on the back. Maybe a dash of cinnamon in there too.

M: Extremely thick, chewy, and slick beer here. Amazing how it's only 9.2%. Love that you can taste a slight hop addition for balance, but by no means is this hoppy.

O: Wow, I am truly impressed by this beer. For the style, it's really one of the best I've ever had. Great beers that are just as thick and chewy with that right touch of hop balance that come to mind are Founder's Imperial Stout, Bell's Expedition Reserve and Kuhnhenn's American Imperial Stout. Granted, this is more in the British-style which I don't have a ton of experience it, but it just seems so true to the Imperial Stout style. It's so refreshing to have a non-BA stout and have it be done this well. Especially when Alchemist is know for their hoppy beers and IPAs. I didn't intend to sit on this til the 8 month mark, but glad I did, and wonder what it can do in a year or so.

Recommendation: Truly one of the best non-BA Imperial Stouts I've had, this is a must-try if you can get it.

Jan 26, 2022
4.27 by The_Kriek_Freak from Pennsylvania on Dec 02, 2021
5 by rdoggg from Pennsylvania on Nov 27, 2021
Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.22/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by JerzDevl2000 from New Jersey

Traded for this last week with a friend who made a run up to Vermont, as I hadn't had a beer from the Alchemist in ages. This was the first Stout that I had from them and it was a doozy, as there was so much richness to take in from the get-go. No doubt that it was easy to see why it's rated so highly on here!

Of course, this poured dark and viscous with a thin tan head topping this off. A moderate amount of lacing was left behind although there weren't any discernible rings to be seen in the thick, layered suds. Loads of dark chocolate in the nose along with some cocoa, tart raspberry, and espresso as the taste nicely followed suit. Some fresh-roasted coffee, powder, and chocolate chips entered the fray once this fully warmed up as this was as inviting as a Russian Imperial Stout could be, with a moderately chewy mouthfeel and just enough carbonation to keep this from being too weighed down. A hint of oats and dank hops stuck around in the aftertaste as there was plenty of booze to be had here, with the tail end containing just a bit of cloying creaminess to proverbially chew on!

Sure, this was strong but if you didn't know that going in, then this probably wouldn't be the beer for you. A whiff of vanilla and coffee bean stuck around once this fully went down as the fresh, roasted undertone of this beer outlasted all of it's other traits. This only had a "BEST BY" date of 5/23 on the bottom but when you get something right off of the line, it's apparent as was the case with this brew that felt like spiked coffee. Get a can now and enjoy it during a cold night such as the current one - it's just as good as The Alchemist's more popular offerings!

Nov 16, 2021
Photo of smcolw
4.36/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25
by smcolw from Massachusetts

Dark tan, two-finger head. Steadily recedes, leaving smaller spots in its wake. The liquid is nearly black--no light shines through.

Lightly sweet initially. Second smell shows some chalk, semisweet chocolate, darker cherry.

Unbelievably rich in both body and flavor. It's a bit like doubling up on the chocolate sauce in a chocolate milk. Closer to milk than semisweet chocolate. Lots of cocoa. The black cherry is a bit more muted on the tongue. The alcohol is present but also very subtle. The aftertaste slowly fades.

Oct 31, 2021
3.5 by nelsonracite from New Jersey on Oct 14, 2021
4.36 by cjgiant from District of Columbia on Sep 25, 2021
4 by atlbravsrno1 from New Hampshire on Sep 11, 2021
5 by chiefz1 from New York on Sep 04, 2021
Photo of 1009
4.41/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by 1009 from Massachusetts

One of the best stouts I’ve ever had and that’s coming from a Guinness guy. This beer pours into a deep dark black color with a brown foamy froth. Nutty and chocolate aromas enter my nostrils as I lift to my nose. On a sip I get dark chocolate notes with some raspberry hints as well. A nice bittersweet after taste like a chocolate chip. And oh so smooth. Like drinking milk. The froth sticks to the glass as you move through the beer and retains a decent head. Something new and different from the people at the Alchemist.

Aug 12, 2021
4.5 by Stengelfoot from California on Aug 12, 2021
Photo of AmeriCanadian
4.52/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by AmeriCanadian from Tennessee

Pretty close to perfection in appearance. Deepest black and viscous, but not disconcertingly thick and sticky. Amazing head of mocha bubbles that cascades like Guinness or a nitro stout into a soapy mass. Remarkable retention and layers of lacing film down the entirety of the glass.

Pure and luscious (pun intended) and truly British on the nose and tongue. Stripping away all Americanized ways of amping up a big stout, and ignoring the world of adjuncts and barrel-aged influences, it’s hard to picture a better large, traditional stout. The dark, roasted malts, the deep chocolate and refined espresso notes, the subtle but complementary berry and earthy qualities, the genuine hop bitterness and perfect complimentary semi-sweetness? It all comes together (on both the nose and tongue) so remarkably and uniquely well. I’m not sure I’ve ever had a stout like this before. Incredibly well crafted.

Smooth and lush in terms of feel, not sticky or chewy but still silky and creamy.

Overall, pretty close to what an American stout drinker would dream of in terms of a big stout experience in a small pub in a coastal UK village on a stormy fall or winter afternoon, at least in poetic terms. One of the best grounded dark beer experiences I’ve had in recent memory, and I was honestly prepared to be disappointed given the hype.

Aug 07, 2021
4.49 by AirBob from Massachusetts on Aug 04, 2021
Photo of erosier
5/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by erosier from Connecticut

Deep brown/black colored pour with a medium bodied tan colored head that laces the glass nicely as it fades to a thin film over the beer. Rich coffee, chocolate, and roasted malts fill the nose. Tastes of thick roasted malts, coffee, chocolate and then toffee at the end of it. It's smooth, thick, silky, and warming - probably everything you need after spending the day out on the slopes in the cold. Excellent beer.

Jul 24, 2021
4.37 by wafers from New York on Jul 23, 2021
4 by avisong from Virginia on Jul 18, 2021
4.44 by cd34 from Illinois on Jul 09, 2021
4.5 by FLBeerGuy from Florida on Jul 06, 2021
Photo of ANIMOUL
4.38/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5
by ANIMOUL from Vermont

Poured from a 16 oz can purchased directly from the brewery. Sweet, chocolate smell & taste with corresponding notes of coffee. Very strong on the ABV but very well done. Seek this out.

Jun 20, 2021
4.59 by zachary_snackery from Massachusetts on Mar 28, 2021
4.44 by saymike32 from New Jersey on Mar 11, 2021
4.92 by rmp5458 from Pennsylvania on Feb 05, 2021
Photo of Holderness
4.45/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5
by Holderness from Massachusetts

L -- Pours pitch black in the glass with a noticeable (almost unsettling) viscosity and 3+ fingers of deep tan head with moderate pour. Great retention and lacing
S -- Baker's chocolate, herbal hop, char, pipe tobacco, leather
T -- Largely follows the nose. This is a Russian imperial stout all right! Fairly dry with tons of hop bitterness and chewy chocolate character
F -- Thick, viscous, and mouth-coating. Not overly bitter on the finish
O -- Solid RIS right here. Great winter beer, and great price at the usual $12/4-pack from the brewery


Jan 16, 2021
5 by JohnG190 from New York on Jan 06, 2021
Photo of SierraNevallagash
4.42/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25
by SierraNevallagash from Maine

Pint can - courtesy of jrc1093 (thank you!) - poured into a Snörkel tulip at 45°F.

Pours a visible thick, rich, dense oily black, sitting like pitch in the glass, topped with half-a-finger of saddle-brown head, receding toa thick frothy collar, with a wisp of lacing. Micro streams of bubbles can be seen feeding the collar.

Nose: Very interesting. Roasted malts, with a very distinct English-style Black Patent char to it. Over-toasted dark bread, cacao nib, smoked vanilla beans, super dark espresso, dried red berries, a touch of raw sugar cane, and an undercurrent of earthy English bittering hops.

Palate: Right out of the gate, a colourful and complex malt backbone lends rich caramel, English toffee, chocolate fudge, baker's chocolate, vanilla bean, and malted milk, with a rich, but respectful backdrop of sweetness. Rather quickly, the roasty and blackened malt notes swell, cutting into the malty sweetness - avoiding bitterness, but lending a nice moderate roastiness, and suggesting a hint of smoky maple. The hops come into focus - earthy, almost rustic, with leafy hop cone, a bit of spiciness, and just a whisper of fir sap, with a slight resinous bite, and ultimately finishing with cacao nib, blackened malt, and earthy hop resin.

Mouthfeel/Body: The aptly-named "Luscious" is absolutely silky - soft, plush, and rich, like liquid velvet. Full-bodied, decadent, and weighty, while retaining remarkable drinkability. Coats and clings to the palate, with the roastiness providing enough dryness to pull it away and wash it down. A slight lingering roasty and resinous bite, and just enough fine, soft effervescence to push through and lift it up.

Overall: This is an absolute homerun from The Alchemist. True craft examples of Russian and British-style imperial stouts are a dying breed, and this breathes fresh life into it. It finds masterful balance between rich malty decadence, classic dark roastiness, and a perfectly integrated hop presence. One of the finest of its kind on the market today.

Jan 05, 2021
4.5 by Quarantinehobby from Massachusetts on Dec 30, 2020
4.33 by qqq from Rhode Island on Dec 26, 2020
Photo of jrc1093
4.48/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by jrc1093 from Connecticut

No canning date (picked up at brewery on 10/7/20, so presumably canned within a few days of that date); consumed on 12/9/20

Pours a velvety black body capped with two fingers of rich, creamy, mocha foam; solid head retention leaves a slight layer of cap, a moderate, frothy collar, and a broad array of lacing encompassing the walls of the glass nearly entirely.

Aroma brings forth heavily roasty dark chocolate softened slightly with flambéed vanilla and steady anise undertones; smoked toffee offers a bittersweet turn over the middle as a mixed (dark) berry brightness proceeds toward ashy roast and fresh bakers chocolate into the close.

Taste coats the palate in dark chocolate fudge balanced with moderately roasted malts as nutty cocoa bookends a mid-palate deepening with notes of toffee, caramel brittle, and butterscotch candies; charred maple bark on the back end meshes with steadily encroaching grassy hops, delicate on the finish.

Mouthfeel brings a full body with a silky texture and persistent hint of charry edge, and subtle, moderate carbonation working through the overall density; a soft, creamy texture lightens the building char across the mid-palate while an even, roasty grit and subtle bitterness spark in sync from the back end into the finish.

A stunner of a stout, rich in character and wholly uncompromised in style as it weaves simultaneously through layers of decadent bittersweetness countered by established malty roast and deft touches of hop undertones; a fully formed, exhaustive display of the finer points of the British (Russian) imperial stout, executed with equal parts poise and vigor.

Dec 10, 2020
4.41 by Pinz412 from Pennsylvania on Nov 22, 2020
Photo of LennyLove
4.67/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by LennyLove from Maryland

A beautiful black color. A chocolate malt nose. High alcohol content is not overwhelming. A delicious imperial stout.

Nov 16, 2020
4.35 by Thorfinn960 from Ohio on Nov 12, 2020
4.5 by tdm168 from Pennsylvania on Oct 03, 2020
Photo of Wxb1111
4.75/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Wxb1111 from Rhode Island

One of my favorite imperial stouts. Properly called British because they brewed this stout for the trip in the boats to Russia.Picked up a Several 4-packs from the brewery in Stowe.Taste was the highlight, with rich balance of chocolate and hops released a lot of extra flavor and texture.

Sep 27, 2020
Photo of Bartleby91
4.59/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5
by Bartleby91 from Wisconsin

This is another really excellent beer from The Alchemist. The first three I've had so far are damn good. And this one is no exception.
A: Poured pitch black with a tan head that lingered nicely and left a good amount of lacing. Looks like oil it's so thick.
A: Very rich and sweet like chocolate syrup. Maybe some fudge as well. Also has some alcohol spice that tickles the nostrils.
T: Very rich with chocolate fudge, sweet dark maltiness, a bit of roast along with some bitterness to balance it out a bit. Lots of flavor for a non barrel aged stout.
F: Lingers very well with an almost chalky finish. Has some umami as well.
O: This is a most exceptional beer that definitely lives up to its name.

Sep 26, 2020
4.32 by unclekeith from Alaska on Sep 13, 2020
4.46 by j37geogaddi from Massachusetts on Sep 09, 2020
Photo of Siriusfisherman
4.21/5  rDev -5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Siriusfisherman from Vermont

L: Deep black with a thick brownish tan head that fades leaving behind some lacing.

S: Rich dark chocolate, dark fruits, caramel, and a subtle alcoholic spice.

T: Firm bitterness upfront, moves into robust dark chocolate and coffee flavor, caramel, and dark fruits. Very subtle alcohol presence. Sweet.

F: Full bodied and "luscious"

Overall: A fantastic Imperial Stout. This goes up there with the likes of Old Rasputin.

Sep 01, 2020
Luscious from The Alchemist
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 891 ratings