Imperial Stout | Legend Brewing Co.

very good
47 Reviews
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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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Reviews: 47 | Ratings: 54
Photo of Kegatron
3.83/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz into a tulip glass. I believe that this was from the '09 release.

Pours black with 2 tight fingers of rich chocolate colored head. Extremely rich look to the retention and lacing here. The aroma is roast and coffee, with a silky sweet underpining of chocolate and toffee. There's a bit of a floral feel as well that adds some dank herbal fruitiness to the proceedings.

The taste is VERY burnt tasting with a dark mix of malts and roasted coffee. Tones of chocolate, molasses, and fruit gives this a dark sweetness that rolls across the tongue. Hops give this some extra sharpness, while the finish is very charred and burnt tasting, with a lingering feel that seems to go on and on. The mouthfeel is fuller bodied with a big prickly creaminess to it that really blows up in the mouth. Pretty good drinkibility to this as well for 8%, with not much alcohol showing itself at all.

Except for coming off as too burnt and bitter in parts, this was overall pretty solid stuff. Roasty and dark, with some deep balancing sweetness, and a good drinkibility for its' size. I would visit this again.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
2.49/5  rDev -34.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Acquired from dsigmon courtesy of the Ugly Duckling BIF, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 22oz. bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep black color with a short dense light brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of roasted malts, dark chocolate, molasses, some dark fruit and a touch of hops, but there's an odd scent to it that's I find difficult to place and throws everything off.

T: The taste is malty up front with flavors of dark chocolate and dark fruit. Just like in the smell, there's an odd bite to the taste. The hops presence is mild but decent for the style and brings a little bit of balance. The after-taste is slightly sweet.

M: Crisp but not very smooth, medium-to-heavy body, medium carbonation, finish is dry and slightly sticky.

D: Not very tasty, does not go down too well, slightly filling, good kick, decent representation of style, although I think I might have let this one sit for too long, it doesn't seem like there had been much there to being with. There are easily many other big stouts that I would pick before this one.

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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 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 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 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 argock
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from 22oz brown bottle into a clear pint glass. No freshness date.

A: Rich black with 1-2 finger tan head with average retention and a few clumps of lace.

S: Strong on coffee, chocolate, and roasted dark malts with some licorice too

T: Initial coffee and chocolate are met by dry and acrid flavor toasted and burned black malt and some drying hops and a bit of black licorice

M: Creamy mouthfeel with a very long, acrid, bitter aftertaste

D: A solid RIS with plenty going for it with a variety of different flavors, but it's a bit too burnt-tasting for me

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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 RonfromJersey
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jet black body, little if any highlights, topped by a beautifully cascading dark tan head of immeasurable microbubbles. Very good lacing.

Aroma mixes deeply roasted coffee, chocolate, and a host of dark fruits, especially plum.

Taste begins with a mocha mix, which quickly veers to the coffee side, heavy on the roast. Undercurrent of dark fruits. No sensation of alcohol or heat.

Mouthfeel is smooth, slick, but not quite rich.

Actually goes down a little too easy for the style.

Not bad by any means, but lacks the depth and intensity of the great Imperial Stouts.

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Photo of lackenhauser
2.81/5  rDev -26.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Jet black color with a very dark, tan head on top. Sizeable head that seems to last. Inky and metallic like aroma. Somewhat sweet, anise like. Perfumey. Malty enough flavor-not a lot of roasted taste comes thru, nor does a significant amount of bitterness. Anise and perfumey flavored. Somewhat soy sauce tasting. A lot of residual sweetness-almost comes off as an under attenuated homebrew. Metallic and cloying. Decent enough mouthfeel-very creamy. Just not up to par as far as a double stout for me. Too many other flavors then "stout". I would pass if offered again.

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Photo of ClockworkOrange
3.1/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

A 22 ounce bomber bottle poured into my standard shaker glass. The stout appears a dark chestnut color with about a finger of ecru foam. The head settles to a thin layer in less than a minute. Nose and flavor are of dark roasted grains, mocha, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, figs. A bit thin bodied with not much of an aftertaste. No lingering bitterness. Light carbonation. This was a gift from a friend of mine in VA. Glad it didn't cost me anything.

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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 CrellMoset
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle courtesy of and split w/ proteus93 - thanks! Poured my portion into a 10 oz. brandy snifter.

Appearance: Pours out thick, oily, black, viscous, snot-like, with a clingy, foamy, cocoa, meringue-like head with good staying power. It leaves huge, thick clumps of lacing, sheet-like. Good start.

Aroma: The predominance of hops is the most striking feature of this aroma. Nondescript citrus and pine, a little solventy but still nice. The hop notes actually come across a little tart, almost like strawberries. Anise, as well. Chocolate covered berries in places?

Taste: Well-layered and fairly complex. Toasty malts, medium-roast coffee, faint chocolate, a good deal of spicy, citrusy hoppiness, lots of dirty earthiness, mineral notes. It's not too flavorful or intense in any one department, but it's a fairly balanced, pleasant stout across the board.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, with lots of milky creaminess. Largely even, but a little rocky and foamy in places.

Drinkability: This one's pretty good. I've tried a bottle before, but it was infected to high hell, and I'm glad I gave it a second chance. 8.00% isn't too high, and it's well hidden, and everything else here is in place. Not the most flavorful or complex beer, but this one's definitely worth a shot. One of Legend's better beers.

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Photo of BeerSox
3.53/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into 8oz snifter.

Pitch black with a two finger dense and fine-bubbled brown head that slowly settles to a thin smooth cap.

Large amounts of highly roasted malts along with a good amount of a grassy herbal hop aroma.

One immediately noticeable characteristic is a bit of a smokey flavor, which I don't find very often in this style of beer. More of the roasty malts that impart some of the bitterness, but overall this is a very smooth tasting Imperial Stout. Not much coming from the hops in the flavor. Full bodied.

A decent RIS, but it's a hard style to mess up. It certainly presents itself well, and has some good flavors. I just can't get too excited about this one though.

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Photo of SaCkErZ9
2.91/5  rDev -23.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours from the 22oz bottle into a tulip glass a pitch black color with a cappucino colored head of decent size. About two fingers in size and a great deal of lacing.

Aroma was a bit weird. A touch nutty, acidic, some dms, slightly sweet and alcoholic.

Flavor was not very good. Kind of nutty and grainy and, I cant relate the actual taste (maybe unsweetened cocoa powder?), but it is different and not typical and not altogether pleasant.

I didnt like this one. It seems as though all of the Legend beers have the same sort of weird, nutty, grainy, musty flavors: perhaps its the yeast or the water or the brewer. Whatever it is, Im not convinced it is anything desirable. Ill pass on this one.

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Photo of Proteus93
3.56/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Black, viscous. Shimmering brown head. Awesome.

S: Roated malt, chocolate (light), anise,

T: Roasted malt, bittersweet chocolate, a fair bitterness of hops, especially on the finish.

M + D: Not as creamy as hoped... decent, but not something I'd pick up anytime soon.

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Photo of asabreed
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Oh that Imperial Stout with it's deep an impenetrably opaque body. Nice mocha-colored head that dissipates slowly and leaves so chunky lacing.

Smell: A lot of burnt and roasted characteristics here, which leads to a tad bit of astringency or solvent aromas, though that dies down as it warms, letting the sweeter malt characteristics come through with some cream, dark bitter chocolate, molasses, and vanilla, and nice hints of dark berries.

Taste: There seems to be more hops in this for my taste usually with the style, but it seemed to be fairly balanced. I wonder what would happen with less, possibly too rich or too sweet. Hints of alcohol, dark cherries, tree bark, charcoal, woodiness, dark brown sugar, and dark chocolate. Pretty complex stuff, and again especially as it warms, so give it a bit of time.

Mouthfeel: A bit more watery than I'd like initially, as the carbonation could be thicker and richer and lend itself to the flavors coming out even better.

Drinkability: I'd like to snag a bottle or two if I can find it anywhere around here. A solid version of the style all around and one I'd like to try again in the future.

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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 FtownThrowDown
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by PWoods.
Very dark brown, near black in color with a lively, bubbly tan head. Smell is heavily roasted malts, some "green" hops and some light cocoa.
Taste is where those hops really shine and come through. Very piney and grassy. Not near enough cocoa to help out.
Mouthfeel is very nice. Pillowy soft and velvety.
Very good beer, just a bit too much hops for me.

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Photo of IBUnit63
3.41/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from bomber into glass

Average head - body opaque espresso in color.

Smell is a little off-putting - this may not be as fresh as we'd like. A little phenol overpowers typical roasted malt and slightly soapy/floral hop character.

Despite the off-scent and corresponding flavor, tastes otherwise decently made. Nice malt component, good hop bitterness on the floral side.

Feels a little clammier than it should - a little light on depth.

May want to try this on tap @ Legend but wouldn't seek out bottle in retail stores.

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Photo of joepais
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Big thanks to Bboyshatter for sending this one along in the under 100 BIF. Bottle poured into a snifter produced a finger worth of tan colored head that trailed of to a respectable lace. The body of the brew was the obligatory black in color.

The aroma is that of roasted malts molasses' and coco.
The flavor is a little bitter and strong roasted malt, which is what I expect from and IMP Stout. I didn't notice the 8% alcohol at all. The feel in my mouth is medium to full with light carbonation.

A solid Imperial stout, nothing to spectacular; but represents the style well. I think the bomber was quite enough in one sitting. I would drink it again if I saw it

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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 warriorsoul
3.58/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to guidotorpedog for this hookup...
Thick black pour with visible carbonation...produces a full finger and a half of brown head with half of it going nowhere...the rest leaving behind some thick lacing.
Buttery toffee in the nose, dark chocolate, an almost fruit-like scent in the mix too...alcohol is hidden well.
The taste is very unique from others I have tried in the style...a very robust coffee flavor with a huge dark chocolate profile and although some diacetyl hits me, it is definitely more toffee than butterscotch.
Mouthfeel is fairly thick and the carbonation is nice.
Not my favorite Imperial Stout by any means, but a fine offering from Legend...would love the chance to try it on tap.

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