The Alchemist

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #16
Ranked #304
4.44 | pDev: 6.98%
The Alchemist
Vermont, United States
Reviews: 190 | Ratings: 869 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Holderness
Holderness from Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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
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SierraNevallagash from Maine

4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

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
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jrc1093 from Connecticut

4.48/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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
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Wxb1111 from Rhode Island

4.75/5  rDev +7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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
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Bartleby91 from Wisconsin

4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

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
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Siriusfisherman from Vermont

4.5/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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
Photo of Gripnrip207
Gripnrip207 from Vermont

4.76/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Listed as a “British imperial” as opposed to Russian. Assuming the sam, as per my understanding, Russian Imperials were brewed by the english, for the czars. Per any imperial stout, super heavy. Head retention did not keep up to the speed of drinking. This beer is quite heavy. This stout is very sweet, almost as sweet as the faystons. Smell is strongly of dark chocolate, with less coffee notes than other stouts. Alcohol taste is not precent, as expected for a sub 10% stout. This beer is kind of on the perfect level of heavy. Drank after alpine trout fishing in vermont, during mid august. This isn’t really a time one craves a stout, but the beer is great enough that that doesn’t matter. Prefer this exponentially to the goose island stout. Would need a side by side comparison with fayston from Lawson’s and old Rasputin. Cheers

Aug 17, 2020
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Lucular from Maryland

4.79/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can about 3 months old, poured into a snifter. Pours pitch black with a medium tan head. Minimal lacing. Aroma and flavor feature dark malts, coffee, vanilla, bitter chocolate, molasses, and a hint of rich tobacco and dark fruits. Not too sweet. The 9.2% alcohol is completely hidden. Impressively drinkable. Mouthfeel is thick and viscous with zero alcohol burn. Overall a delicious and complex RIS.

May 19, 2020
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Whyteboar from Michigan

4.79/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

For a non BA Imperial Stout, this one checks all the boxes. The aroma was almost molasses like, warm, malty. The appearance was black as used motor oil with little head and persistent lacing. The flavor though, that's what pushes this to the top of the pile, excellent balance of hops and malts with a discernible chocolate nuance to it. Left me wanting more, no doubt. The mouth feel - if I didn't know better, I would have guessed from this alone that it was BA. The viscosity was spot on, just excellent. I must again thank @Mikexw for sending me this very tasty stout. Thanks Mike!

Apr 08, 2020
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BeerBaronBear from New York

4.54/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite sweet stouts. Picked up a 4-pack from the brewery in late 2019. Planned to save a can or two to let it age, but it was so good I couldn't work up the patience to not drink it right away. Taste was the highlight, with rich balance of chocolate and roasty malts. The mouthfeel was great too - frothing it in your mouth a little bit released a lot of extra flavor and texture.

Apr 05, 2020
Photo of Johncnh
Johncnh from New Hampshire

4.81/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

800th beer.Excellent Stout, Very smooth mouthfeel. Alcohol is very well hidden,not overly sweet chocolate taste. Like a liquid brownie. Special thanks to my nephew Brian for picking this up for me.

Mar 29, 2020
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jbertsch from Massachusetts

3.67/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours like motor oil. An aggressive head gives you a khaki head. Aroma is fine, but a bit muted. Taste is rich but without much depth. Slick mouthfeel. I appreciate this is free of adjuncts but wish it was a bit drier and more earthy. Still drinks well enough overall and I'll enjoy the 4 pack but wouldn't buy again.

Mar 21, 2020
Photo of Dakin
Dakin from Utah

4.88/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Okay so this is a chocolate stout. First sip tastes like a velvety liquid chocolate river rushing over the side of a cliff. Insanely smooth. Heaps of chocolate. Dark cherry chocolate on the front transitions to smooth satisfying milk chocolate that fades into oblivion. Alcohol is extremely well hidden with no discernible bitterness even after swallowing. Aftertaste fades fast and gets sweeter as the sip fades. Massively bodied feel to this beer. This is definitely one of the best stouts I've ever had. It's basically a blended up brownie in beer form. If you're a fan of sweet stouts, you'll enjoy every sip of this. I'm probably going to hold on to one of these cans and see how it tastes in a year or two of cellaring.

Feb 06, 2020
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sulldaddy from Connecticut

4.3/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampling a cellar temp 16 oz can poured into my snifter. The beer is a gift from my friend Erik. Thank you!
Beer pours oil black color with a dense tan head of 2 cm foaming up, even after my gentle pour. the foam is slowly fading to a sturdy surface layer. These bubbles remain throughout the rest of my sampling.
The aroma is dark chocolate and roasted malt with a bit of burnt tobacco and some charred wood notes. there is a little bit of grassy hop character, but the ABV is hidden here and the nose basically says dark malt.
First sip reveals a fairly thick body and fine very tingly carbonation that bounces across my palate with each sip. texture is smooth and coating of my mouth after each mouthful. Pretty big and bold beer on the physical attributes.
Flavor is a good amount of roasted malt and charred notes up front, with also some dark chocolate, but this rolls to an unexpected molasses and raisin note in the middle, then this moves back to some roasted character and a bit of dark chocolate that lingers after each swallow. I dont get any hop notes and the booze is well hidden here as well. Im glad to have tried this one and would recommend, especially if you like big roasty stouts.

Jan 20, 2020
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Jesterr44 from Canada (ON)

4.24/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Generally speaking, Russian Imperial stout not among my favourite styles, but when the flavours are as mild as this & it just tastes like a flavourful stout, I'm ok with it. Rarely have I had a stout where the flavours shine through as exceptional & as much as I love the Alchemist, that holds true with Luscious. Still, quite enjoyable to drink, make sure you don't drink it cold to enjoy the full flavours.

Jan 10, 2020
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mushroomcloud from Texas

4.56/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz can purchased at the brewery mid-September 2019. Opened 1-7-20.
Dark as can, ha - just learned that one. Huge and dense 3 finger dark chocolate milk colored head. Amazing retention...moved about 1/8" in the last few minutes. Leaves some good lacing.
Sweet roasted malt and coffee with cream...the nose is unexpected initially. Some earthiness and nuttiness (almost peanut butter-like) and a hint of minerality. After 15 minutes there's a hint of Foreign Export Stout type of sour twang in the nose - appealing.
Roasted malt, light char, licorice, smoke, coffee...café au lait... Rich and flavorful.
Silky smooth mouthfeel. Low to medium carbonation. Full bodied and creamy. Long, rich roasted malt finish.
Very good to outstanding. Dang. Delicious...1 can left, planning to open at the 6 month mark.

Jan 08, 2020
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Gatch from Rhode Island

4.77/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

No canning date but a proper Christmas gift from my brother so it’s definitely fresh. An outstanding, easy-drinking, massively flavored imperial stout. Soooo much heavily roasted malt and dark chocolate and creamy, rich, charred feel and body. Simply incredible!

Dec 26, 2019
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DokiDokiLitFam from New Jersey

4.42/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours almost black. Two fingers of dark brown head. Medium lacing.

Nose is smoky malt, dark chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruit.

Taste follows the nose. Big smoky notes transitioning to sweet candied fruit and dark chocolate. This has a nice dessert quality to it. Rich flavors. Very nice. The sweetness slowly builds as you drink.

Medium bodied with medium carbonation. The carbonation keeps it from being too dense. A mildly sticky quality.

This is a fantastic adjunct free stout. Just the use of hops and malt to paint the picture. A nice brew to go alongside a meal.

Dec 01, 2019
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Crowheadhopper from New York

4.89/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Overall this is basically a 4.95! Extreeeeemely easy to drink and a smorgasbord for the senses. Drink with friends a wax poetic about this beer and the brewery. It's a fine time to be alive and be a beer drinker. I count my blessings with every beer.

Nov 15, 2019
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Bierman9 from New Hampshire

4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I snagged a 4-pack of this in mid-September at the brewery. Cost, I believe was $12.50 plus tax and deposit. Digging in now on a cold Veterans Day evening.

Poured most into a large snifter, it's an oily, dense black. Head is a creamy layer of mocha hued foam. The fine, tight bubbles leave a thin covering with some decent lacing. Aroma has dark choco, subtle roasty malts, molasses and some espresso. Nice! Body is medium to medium-plus, and it's exceedingly smooth.

Flavor has some lovely sweet choco as well as dark choco, a bit of vanilla, espresso, and light roasty notes. Am not finding any bitterness at all, just Bosco-like chocolatey sweetness. Hard to find the 9.2% ABV as well, which makes this scarily drinkable. Luscious indeed! Prosit!

4.4/5 rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5


Nov 11, 2019
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Benish from Wisconsin

4.4/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pitch black and highly viscous appearance. Nice thick beige head but disappeared quickly.

Aroma: desert-like and sweet with milk chocolate and vanilla. Slight smoked malts, off playing the chocolate, keeping it interesting.

Taste: very sweet and fudgey. It’s robust and rich with milk chocolate, burnt sugar and vanilla. While listed as a Russian Imperial Stout, contrary to its style, the beer does not have the slightest bitterness from the hops. It’s liquid desert, yet not too sweet, very easy to drink.

Mouthfeel: super thick and creamy. Almost chewy.

Overall: an imperial stout only at 9.2% abv, this packs a ton of flavor with a huge body. Well done!

Oct 25, 2019
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hoptheology from South Dakota

4.73/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can from egrandfield
Calusa Snifter

Deep, inky black with a creamy khaki head of 3 fingers, receding to 1/2 finger with a mossy beige top.

Aroma is general dark roastiness, dark chocolate, earth, lacquer, chopped wood, and espresso.

Flavor is slightly tannic and ethanol-y, but that's the only flaw. What follows is tons of dark chocolate, berry syrup, campfire, black cherry, molasses, cherry coke, earth, fudge brownie, marshmallow, graham, soy sauce, burnt brown sugar, slight perfume, and piney hop.

Super sticky, super thick, just tons of residual sugars on the flavor and feel, burning alcohol at a near perfect level, with tons of roastiness, cabernet-like smooth velvet puckering, and pleasant residual alcohol scrape.

Overall, easily my favorite from this brewery who is already renowned... this is just an incredible and enjoyable execution of the Russian Imperial Stout. Dare I say one of the top 5 to style of all time. It's sticky, it's dark, it's semi-sweet, it's slightly dank, it's earthy, it's motor-function-imparing. Doesn't need a barrel to flaunt its complexity in spades. Very good stuff.

Oct 03, 2019
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FFreak from Vermont

4.59/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From the looks of this in the glass you'd think its one of the heavy, viscous stouts, but it's really not. It's really drinkable and just delicious. Love this beer!

Sep 02, 2019
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5toutman75 from Illinois

4.36/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It looks amazing and heavy on the pour. I love these motor oil stouts! Things hangs up there with the best from Perennial, Surly, or Goose. Smell wise I’m getting a sweet milk stout scent. As you drink it, it’s bitter up front but finishes sweet. Not cloying at all, it’s very well balanced. There’s some more carbonation than normal for a heavy stout, but I really like the feel that lends to it. The 9.2%abv is well hidden for me. Overall this is up there for a regular Russian IMperial. I’d kill to taste this after sitting in some bourbon barrels for a year. Purchased a few days ago at the brewery in Stowe, but I don’t see a canning date. I shall age at least one to see what happens as well. Don’t miss this if you see it!

Aug 17, 2019
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gcasher from Pennsylvania

4.78/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

16 oz can from Stowe
It really doesn't get much better than this out of a can for an imperial stout.
It is black with a short khaki head that dissipates quickly.
It smells and tastes of dark roasted malt and lots of dark chocolate. The chocolate is sweet, but not overly.
There is definitely a hint of coffee as well.
The body is heavy, which I prefer for a stout.
The high abv works well with the strong flavors.

Jul 17, 2019
Luscious from The Alchemist
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 869 ratings