Imperial Stout | Legend Brewing Co.

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Liked This Beer
3.82 w/ 54 ratings
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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 54 |  Reviews: 47
Photo of khiasmus
4.55/5  rDev +19.1%
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 blackie
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
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 PhageLab
4.25/5  rDev +11.3%
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 RonfromJersey
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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 jwc215
4.07/5  rDev +6.5%
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 IBUnit63
3.41/5  rDev -10.7%
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 asabreed
3.95/5  rDev +3.4%
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 hchinaski
3.06/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Enjoyed on tap at the legend brewpub 02/06/08

Nice, dark pour into a pint glass. Not a great deal of smell.

Heavy body, lots of carbonation, with a bitter chocolatey taste at the end. I enjoyed a bomber of this nearly 6weeks ago and liked it much better. maybe my tastebuds are having a bad day.

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Photo of auxiliary
4.3/5  rDev +12.6%
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 sinistrsam
4.15/5  rDev +8.6%
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 phisig137
4.05/5  rDev +6%
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 timtim
4.38/5  rDev +14.7%
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 gpcollen1
3.9/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark black yet very fluid into my Troubadour Tulip. Head rises quickly and falls the same. Smells of dark roast and licorice followed by hints of those chocolate covered alcohol cherry candies. Hints of a sticky skunky sweetness waafts in and out , if ya know what I mean, that is a first for me!!

Taste is a ride; dark roast and chocolate, molasses and licorice. Moves on to some hops in the middle there then on to some alcohol presence and finishing back with some hops. Dry and a bit bitter on the tongue. Finish is nice.

Pretty solid and interesting - I would like to try this on tap. Thanks Phisig137 for the opportunity.

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Photo of roughsax
3.53/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on tap @ CAH a while back. This review is of a 22oz bottle, purchased @ Wine & Beer Westpark. Served in a stemless wine glass and shared w/ a macro drinking friend (she really liked it).

A: Darkness. Oily pour, good bark beige head that faded to a thin layer that remained. Nice lacing.

S: Coffee/espresso, HOPS.

T: HOPPY. Very resiny/oily/piney hops. Coffee or even espresso as the bitter taste is strong with this one. Dark baker's chocolate (maybe left over from the choco porter?). Roasted.

M: Smooth, oily.

D: Gets better as it warms. The higher alcohol is no problem. Loooong, bitter coffee/espresso finish that stays with you for a while, almost stuck in the back of the throat.

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Photo of arguemaniac
4.06/5  rDev +6.3%
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 guinnessdoc
2.99/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance: Deep, dark, and black. Completely opaque. Toffee colored head that falls to a thin layer. Decent lacing left on my snifter.

Smell: Lots and lots of piney, resiny hops - way more than I expected from an Imperial Stout. Coffee and burnt grains comprise the rest.

Taste: The hops come through quite a bit here too, perhaps too much. As does the coffee and some bitter dark chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Sleek and smooth. Lots of residuals as it clings to the tongue and teeth.

Drinkability: I was really in the mood for an RIS so this was a surprise. I'm not a coffee drinker so I didn't enjoy the burnt/roasted grains as much as others might. Someone else said it and I have to agree - it seems raw. I definitely enjoyed it more at the end than the beginning as it had warmed up and the flavors had mellowed some.

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Photo of mmmbeer
4.26/5  rDev +11.5%
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 nriech
3.8/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Legends 12-24-06

Appearance: Very dark, nice dark tan head. Good lacing, nice and sticky.

Smell: Roasted barley, dark chocolate, coffee, sort of hops but not quite maybe its chocolate covered hops. :-)

Taste: Very bold in flavors. Hops are pretty intense as well as the roasty toasty malt. I actually liked it as I was drinking it and went well with the strong flavors of Legends buffalo meat nachos. Leaves a funny taste at the back of the pallate thats a bit of a put off but doesnt linger too much. Medium body.

Drinkability: Its ok for a seasonal but will never be a year round brew. Another good one to enjoy on the deck if its cool outside. Drink with other strongly flavored foods or else you might never get the after taste out.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
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 InsolublePancake
4.27/5  rDev +11.8%
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 dedrinker
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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 hopsaplenty
2.99/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

22oz brown bottle, no date info

Pours vibrantly forming a mile high head of fine bubbles. Thick and creamy, it looks like a scoop of coffee ice cream. Slow to settle, but as it does it leaves thick lacing. Perfect obsidian, infinitely black. The smell is of citrusy and piney hops, with light coffee, but restrained. Completely unexpected. The taste is filled with citrusy hops up front and roasty sweetness kicking in towards the end before the citrus rind resurfaces. A deep roasted coffee smokiness flits in at the extreme end of the finish. There is a sweet/sour back and forth going on. I was expecting more (some?) roasted tones as well as some oatmeal smoothness, but none was to be had. Medium body and light spry mouthfeel, this reminds me more of an IPA than an Imperial Stout. This is dominated by a citrus/pine flavor that overtakes any roastiness that may be present. Perhaps some time will mellow the hops, but this was a drain pour in its present state.

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Photo of warriorsoul
3.58/5  rDev -6.3%
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 Jredner
4/5  rDev +4.7%
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 weeare138
4.12/5  rDev +7.9%
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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Imperial Stout from Legend Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 64.8% out of 100 with 54 ratings
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