Imperial Stout | Legend Brewing Co.

very good
54 Ratings
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Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Legend Brewing Co.
Virginia, United States

Style: Oatmeal Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by ppoitras on 12-10-2005

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Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 47
Photo of ppoitras
4.97/5  rDev +30.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bottle from pentathlete as part of the OneBox BIF. Thanks for the opportunity.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, formed a solid 1" dark brown head above the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head isn't going anywhere fast, with sporadic foamy lacing. Aroma is piney cake batter, I know, I know, but that's what it smells like to me, and I like it. Taste is roasted oatmeal upfront, giving way to piney hops character, with a mutual aftertaste that is just right. Mouthfeel and drinkability are both superb, and I highly suggest finding this beer before it's all gone...

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Photo of khiasmus
4.55/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours pitch black with as much dark tan head as you could want (I had 2 1/2 inches) and beautiful lacing.
Aroma is amazing. Coffee, chocolate, soy sauce. Reminds me of all the good parts of a sam adams triple bock. Just a hint more roastiness and chocolate.
Flavor is much the same as the nose... the soy sauce is there, along with the burnt grains and sweet malt, as well as a bit of alcohol in the finish.
The mouthfeel is a bit disappointing. A bit light, high carbonation, a bit thin, and dry in the finish. If this beer had the mouthfeel of Dark Lord and its own flavor profile... it would probably be just as sought after as Dark Lord is.
I could drink a ton of this. That's one thing the light mouthfeel gives it, but in so doing sacrifices an absolutely world class beer. You should certainly try this. I'll have it again, it's wonderful. But I just wish the flavor and mouthfeel were as good as the aroma and appearance... this beer would be unstoppable.

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Photo of avalon07
4.5/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was a huge, brown-colored, long-lasting head and excellent lacing.

S: Smelled of roasted malts and chocolate more than anything else.

T: A well done taste of roasted malt, dark chocolate and a bit of coffee. Complex and robust.

M: Well-carbonated with a dry finish. Full-bodied.

D: This is a drinkable version of an imperial stout. Not exactly what I expected, but I like surprises.

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Photo of Brewfan
4.41/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to OldFrothingSlosh, my Secret Santa, for this beer.

Poured into my Ommegang chalace.
Poured a deep dark chocolate brown, bordering on black. Couldn't see though this bad boy. Huge cappucino-tan head that had tons of staying power and decent lacing.
Incredibly surprised by the hoppy nose on this beer. Never had a stout that smelled this hoppy before. Quite grassy with some pine and sage undertones.
Nice big burnt caramel taste with plenty of roasted oatmeal and coffee thrown in, but the hoppyness doesn't end with the nose. This is definately a hophead's stout.
Very creamy and smooth, medium heavy mouthfeel. Quite quaffable.
Quite the departure from your average stout, or even you average double stout. The hoppyness really added a level of complexity to this beer. Nice change of pace, LBC.

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Photo of timtim
4.38/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this might be the first review for this year's batch. I noticed that the last review was 3/07, so it must be. i was scared to try this year's because i was told by someone affiliated w/ their crew that they couldn't obtain the same hops this year, and it might not be like last year's. if you ask me, it is better. black black with a chocolate milk colored head that doesn't ever go away, but diminishes fairly quickly. beautiful lace. smell is chocolate choc choc. hint of coffee and some caramel. hops are faint, but there. wonderful. taste exhibits all the same as nose. chocolate chocolate chocolate and roasty. finish is like a caramel mochiato. delicious. full body. creamy. velvety. an absolutly great stout. wow. go virginia. warning... the chocolate taste i am referring to is a very bittersweet adult style, or like cooking style chocolate. not candy chocolate. i love the taste, but i can see where others who don't like unsweetened super dark chocolate not enjoying this. go va.

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Photo of rudolphjacksonm
4.33/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Opaque black with a coffee colored head. Minimal lacing but great head retention. 4.5

S - Smokey malt and molasses, with a hint of fig or some other dark fruit. 4.0

T - Wow. Tastes absolutely wonderful. Starts off smooth and slightly sweet with a burst of malt, then follows up with a nice subtle bitterness and hefty smoke flavor. Dissolves into slight hop bitters with some residual smoked malt. It's hard to put this aspect into words as the transition from start to finish is almost seamless and incredibly well done. 4.5

M - Smooth and medium-bodied. Feels a little light on the back of the tongue for some reason, but otherwise everything seems to be as it should. 4.0

O - I think from now on I'll rate Legend beers based on whether they are light or dark. I find that their dark beers (Brown Ale, Porter, Imperial Stout) are outta the park, while their light beers (Lager, Pilsener, Golden IPA) are....not so much. Anyway this beer is awesome, you'd be a fool not to try it. 4.5

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Photo of auxiliary
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

appearance - It pours a dark brown color, but in the glass looks pitch black. Nice mocha color head that formed, and stood around for awhile. Did leave some lace on the glass too.

smell - Roasted malts, chocolate smells here.

taste - Has a roasted chocoloate tate, with some roasted flavor here. Some hops present here at the finish, just a tad. Alcohol present

mouthfeel - Kinda heavy feel.

drinkability - mmmm yummy, enjoyed this one.Fresh beer on the side, so i had to drink it fast or it would go bad LOL. I rasied my glass since this made me a Disciple on BA.

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Photo of dmamiano
4.3/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Black as the starless night would describe the looks of this one. Huge tan head that wanted to stay forever.
Smells of deep, dark malts. Chocolate, roasted grains and an almost milky sweetness.
Taste was in a word, huge. Thick, creamy, viscous liquid that was milky, chocolatey and roasty. Bitter hops biting for balance and lingering through the sip.
Big on taste, and big on feel. Nice.

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Photo of chilly460
4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A very inky black with a darker brown head, nice two finger pour that dissipated but hung on. Great lacing.

S - Lots of coffee and chocolate in this one.

T - Very surprised, got full roasted coffee, dark chocolate, and a bit of a licorice or heavy dark fruit.

M - Excellent, almost chewy to me. Felt thick like a chocolate milk.

D - Excellent for the type, just too heavy for more then one.

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Photo of joe1510
4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz Bomber

'08 Vintage

This RIS is another brew sent my way courtesy of Hoppymeal, thanks Derek! Legend's RIS has a thick dark chocolate body and a head that'd darker than any I've seen in a long time. The body of this brew actually swallows the light. The mocha head is tall, creamy, and super sticky leaving lace plastered all down the glass. This is what RIS's aspire to look like.

As soon as I popped the top I could smell the dark berries. Underripe, green blackberries and cooked down, softened blueberries make their roles known immediately. Powdery cocoa and rich dark chocolate come along next and bring rich notes. A rich roastiness lends a sturdy backbone with hints of hazelnut. A touch of booze comes forward with some warming. I could keep my nose in this snifter all night long.

This is a well put together stout if I do say so myself. The roastiness is perfectly integrated with the dark berriness. Cocoa and dark chocolate are incredibly rich and dominate this brew in the best way possible. Notes of hazelnut come through again with a hint of lactic sweetness on the back end. Each drink is dizzyingly complex and those complexities all mesh perfectly.

The body leans to the heavier side of the spectrum but the carbonation lends an excellent creaminess on the backend. The roast brings a touch of bitter on the tongue and a whisper of heat rises up through my nose with each drink.

This RIS is a sipper. One that should be sat with and enjoyed as it opens up. The flavors are so well melded that this one never gets too intense for long drinking.

I'm blown away at how good this RIS really is. As a matter of fact it is one of the best I've had in awhile and would pick up numerous bottles if it was available in this area. Thanks for the treat Derek!

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Photo of InsolublePancake
4.27/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Very dark brown, almost black, but some light does get through. Huge dark tan head leaves a good amount of lacing as it slowly subsides.

S- Holy crap! Is this an IPA? This is literally one of the hoppiest noses I've gotten from a beer, and it comes from a stout! Big pine and floral aromas are the first to hit the nostrils, but they are backed up by some coffee-like roasted malt aromas.

T- Hops dominate the taste, too. Tons of pine. The hops are joined by flavors of unsweetened baker's chocolate and earth. It finishes with an earthy flavor as well, dirt-like, and a strong bitterness. I definitely like it, though.

M- Nice and thick, almost chewy, yet smooth. Very solid.

D- A definite sipper, I wouldn't have more than one in a sitting. Even though the alcohol isn't too high for the style (8%), this is a rich and complex beer and I wouldn't want too much of it at a time.

Well, this is definitely unique among the stouts that I've tried. Extremely raw and almost over-the-top hoppy, I can see why some people wouldn't like it. Personally, I loved it, but that's just me. It would definitely benefit from some aging, though. If you don't like hops (and lots of 'em) in your stouts, then give this one a pass. Otherwise it's definitely recommended.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.26/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Missed out on last year's version; bought two bottles this time around. As per the website, the 2006 version is an "imperial oatmeal stout" brewed with pale, roasted, chocolate, debittered black malts, flaked oats, and hopped with Tomahawk and Amarillo; unfiltered and bottle-conditioned, 80-105 IBUs. It pours deep black with a two finger, frothy brown head that leaves decent lacing. The aroma is, as other BAs have noted, quite hoppy for a stout (or any style for that matter), comprising juicy grapefruit and orange, other tropical fruits, and a minty/herbal character. Very nice, but not near enough burnt/roasted malts - more like a double IPA than a stout. The flavor mimics the bouquet nicely, but adds green/piney and oily/resiny hops, coffee, blackberry?, currant?, yeast, and strong, quite bitter, white grapefruit. Again, more like a DIPA than anything. The body is light and silky (for the style, thanks to the oats), drying, and it leaves a very, very long finish. A blind tasting would suggest a double IPA, and, although tasty, because they were aiming for a big stout, I have to rate it a bit lower than how much I actually liked it. Overall, a big, HOPPY stout that could use more body and some of the bitterness they removed from the black malts, however, it has tasty enough hops to make me want to revisit at least once.

N.B.: decant carefully, as the last few ounces plus the dregs (hop particles and yeast) combine to create the most bitter concoction that has ever passed my lips, almost stinging the back of my throat (I'm guessing 200+ IBUs).

Update: I came across an on-tap version at the Tap House and Grill in Norfolk and decided to try their "Chocolate Truffle" (Legend RIS + Lindemans Framboise) and they went together quite nicely, complementing each other almost perfectly.

Re-review on 12/12/07, 2007 version. A: 4, S: 4.5, T: 4, M: 4, D: 4

This year's is still an imperial oatmeal stout, but is hopped with magnum for bitterness, flavor and aroma; fermented on Scottish ale yeast. Unfiltered and bottle-conditioned, this beer has a deep black body, with an inch of cappuccino-colored head that becomes maroonish. Nice fruitiness in the nose that consists of strawberry yogurt, blueberries and raspberries. A little sweet, with chocolate, hints of coffee, butterscotch, spiciness (anise, spruce), and a hoppiness that progressively increases. Tastes of roasted and bitter malts, with caramel, fruity esters, yeast and some oats. There are spicy and near piney hops that impart a medium bitterness, and they increase their presence in the second pour. The body is dry, tingly and surprisingly light, with a nice silkiness from the oats and a long, roasted/bitter finish. A tasty stout - the first glass tastes like an oatmeal or dry stout, while the second glass tastes more like a big American stout - and the bouquet is so close to five, though overall maybe not as good as last year's. However, this is a beer I will continue to look for every winter.

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Photo of PhageLab
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a tulip glass.

A - Deep, mysterious coffee coloration that produced a thin, light brown layer of froth. Laced fairly well.

S - Roasted malts, brown sugar, toffee, and a few other sweet notes.

T - Dark fruits and coffee flavors come out up front, backed by a nice smack of chocolate malts. Hops are present but take the back seat here, and that's not a bad thing.

M - Light to medium body, surprisingly, low carbonation level, nice oily feel.

D - Too drinkable, if that is possible. A well constructed and very tasty stout by any means, and certainly one worth seeking out.

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Photo of blackie
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

a: pretty dark mocha head, respectable retention, the beer is a deep black in color

s: Did Legend take a cue from Shenandoah's Chocolate Donut? They're not the same of course, but the donut aroma is strikingly similar though less cloying as there's more complexity here. Immediate aromas of dark chocolate cake donut and chunky brownies greet the nose. Further sniffing reveals dark coffee with sweet cream and dark chocolate candies with cherry and plum liquid centers. Piny hops add a sappy note, but leave the malty chocolates as the focus. Can't wait to taste...

m: carbonation on the low end of medium, body full...quite creamy overall

t: Delicious, with chocolate cake and espresso grounds as the dominant flavors. Plenty of dark chocolates, roasted malts, and cream. As in the aroma, hops are low. Finishes roasty and lingering with dusty cocoa and a mild bitterness. Good, just not quite as complex as the aroma.

d: a gem from a brewery I hear little about...worth seeking out

22 oz. from Sam's in Alexandria, VA

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Photo of sinistrsam
4.15/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a very dark brown/black with a slightly tan head and good lacing.
Smell was burnt sugar and caramel malts. Chocolate and raisin in there as well.
Same in the taste, with alcohol caramel, chocolate, dark fruits and molasses. Very enjoyable.
The feel was semi-sweet up front but fades to bitter and dry in the aftertaste. Very heavy and full-bodied.
Overall a very good IS.

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Photo of weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to whaleman for breaking open this bottle...
Appears black with a small tan head and scattered lacing.
Smell is of pine hops, caramel, bitter and creamy chocolate notes.
Taste is of the same aromas with plenty of bitter and hop filled flavors.
Mouthfeel is crisp, bitter, rich, and full bodied.
Drinkability...hops need to settle a bit. Not as warming as I had hoped.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glossy sable with no light penetration whatsoever. The half-a-glass head is dark golden brown and looks great sitting atop the beer. It's richly creamy and is sticky enough to lay down fat streamers of lace as it falls. A classic American double stout look.

The aroma is out of this world. Very little reached my nose until I got it over the glass, but man oh man, am I ever impressed. There's a dizzying array of aromas that includes dark chocolate fudge, ground espresso bean, molasses, citrus zest and spruce. That's no exaggeration, this is a humdinger of a complex stout.

For some strange reason, the flavor doesn't quite measure up. I think it's because what was complex in the nose is cacophonous on the palate. Some elements of the flavor profile are too prominent (grapefruit peel) and some aren't prominent enough (chocolate and coffee).

I'm pretty sure this is the 2005 bottling, so it's amazing that the hops are still kicking to this degree. Actually, the beer tastes more sour fruity than it does bitter fruity. I've said very little that's positive about the flavor so far, but I do like it. While it is on the sweet and hoppy side (almost like a DIPA-double stout combination), that's rarely a problem for me.

I hope the brewers don't consider Imperial Stout to be a Russian Imperial Stout because it's nothing of the sort. Actually, they consider it to be an 'Imperial Oatmeal Stout' since flaked oats are added to the kettle; along with pale, chocolate, roasted and black malts. Tomahawk hops provide the bittering and 50% of the dry hopping; Amarillo hops provide the other 50%.

The mouthfeel started out on the disappointing side and hasn't completely gotten into my good graces as I enter the second half of the bomber. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with it, it's just too light for the style. It is silky smooth though and is appropriately carbonated. Note: I'm happy to report that the mouthfeel has thickened enough by the final third of the bottle to be considered good.

My only other exposure to Legend beer was their Imperial IPA, a fantastic version of that style. I had hoped that Imperial Stout would be equally as good. A simple shift in emphasis would do wonders for this beer, as would a whole lot more chocolate and/or black malt. It's worth a look though. Thanks to hopsaplenty for the bottle.

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Photo of jwc215
4.07/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to jcwattsrugger for bringing this back for me from Virginia:
Poured into a snifter:

Pours black with a thin, light brown head that recedes to a bubbly patch, then a lovely, lasting swirl.

The smell is of molasses, citric fruitiness and some chocolate/coffee. The nose tells you that there's a good amount of hops here...

The taste is sweet - molasses-like with resiny and citric notes. The hoppy fruitiness seems to lend more sourness than bitterness. Some acidity comes through, especially in the finish, with a nod of alcohol. I like hoppy brews, and it works well enough here - but, I wonder if it masks the potential maltiness associated with, and desired for, the style. Well, in any case, it is certainly an American Imperial, and the hops show forth nicely.

It has a medium-body that reaches the threshold of full towards the end of the slowly sipped bottle. Just a bit fuller from the start and it would really bring it to a whole new level. As it is though, it is quite drinkable. And enjoyable. A nicely done, tasty, American Imp. Stout!

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Photo of arguemaniac
4.06/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a viscous, oily black with a tall, creamy brown head that sticks around. Intense American hops in the aroma. The sharp bitterness and rich flavor of the hops comes through in the palate as well, but it competes with powerful burnt flavors such as bitter coffee and baker’s chocolate. Creamy mouthfeel with tangy carbonation.

A bitter but tasty mixture of hops and burnt flavors. Until now, Storm King stout was the hoppiest Imperial stout that I had tried, but Legend’s Imperial stout is hoppier even than most IPAs I run across. But, all that aside, it’s rich and quite delicious. Highly recommended.

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Photo of phisig137
4.05/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- 2007 vintage, pours an absolute pitch black letting in no light whatsoever. Menacing deep brown mocha colored head has great retention, and leaves behind a good amount of lace.

S- Lots of roasted malts, massive dark chocolate aroma, rum soaked raisins, a touch of grassy hops and a little solvent like alcohol.

T- Loads of chocolate overtones, roasted malts, and a surprising burst of piney hop flavor on the finish. Chocolate definitely dominates the flavor though. It almost tastes like a rich chocolate fondue, made with Drambuie. mmmm, Fondue stout... I think that will have to be my next homebrew. Anyways, great depth of flavor, and quite well balanced. Only a hint of alcohol burn on the finish.

M- Thick, heavy, and sticky.

D- not bad at all for an Impy stout, but the alcohol is detectable. Surprising for a beer of only 8%.

Overall, I think this is FAR superior to last year's version, which was way to hoppy and astringent. This is quite well made, and well worth picking up. Should age pretty nicely. I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Legend's year round line up is almost worthless, but their seasonal beers are fantastic. This is no exception, and I'll be buying a few more while they're around.

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

The aroma is quite sharp and features raisin, burnt malt and gobs of strong black licorice. There are mild strong chemical notes that are best described as bitter, but they have a mild sweet note as well. I’m assuming this aroma comes from the Tomahawk hops used in the beer. The body is deep black and supports a tan head that is equal parts creamy and bubbly. The head started off two fingers thick, but settled into a thumb thick affair that left excellent lacing. The fore is full of the black licorice noted in the aroma. It is also quite burnt tasting from the malt and there are very mild chocolate notes, but no coffee. The flavor profile here is very different than most Imperials I have had of late. An intense bittersweet finish that screams with those unusually flavored Tomahawk hops continues the parallel of the flavor matching the aroma. This is a breath of fresh air just by being so different flavor wise from everything else. I personally like black licorice so that element also earns points for the beer. The Oatmeal used in the malt bill adds smoothness, but overall the beer could stand a little more thickness. Still this is a beer worth seeking.

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Photo of onetodave
4/5  rDev +5%

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

Tried the 2006. It poured an angry almond colored head that devoured my whole glass. The smells were of chocolate, roast and hops. This is the hoppiest imperial stout I've tasted, and it works so well. The earthy bitterness of the hops compliments the bitter/ burnt roast quality of the malt. I caught some additional vanilla notes as well - both on the aroma and flavor.

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Photo of ncaudle
4/5  rDev +5%

Photo of joegard
4/5  rDev +5%

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Imperial Stout from Legend Brewing Co.
3.81 out of 5 based on 54 ratings.
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