Michigan Brewing Russian Imperial Stout | Michigan Brewing Company

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27 Ratings

Brewed by:
Michigan Brewing Company
Michigan, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 12.90%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by plaztikjezuz on 01-10-2006

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 27 |  Reviews: 22
Photo of jaidenjb
2.5/5  rDev -37.8%

Photo of koopa
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of imperialking
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of westonhood
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%

Photo of Amalak
4/5  rDev -0.5%

Photo of Mora2000
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to jjfoodie for sharing this bottle.

The beer pours black with a tan head. The beer has red highlights. The aroma is roasted malt with some smoke and teriyaki sauce. The flavor is roasted malt, soy and teriyaki sauces as well as some alcohol and chocolate. Thick mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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Photo of metter98
3.51/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very dark amber (near black) and has a thin ring of bubbles on the surface around the edge of the glass.
S: A sharp aroma of alcohol (very similar to rubbing alcohol) fills the nose, although this scent becomes somewhat more subdued as the beer warms up.
T: The taste mainly consists of dark, roasted malts, along with some notes of alcohol.
M: It feels medium-bodied and smooth on the palate with a fair amount of alcohol heat. There is some dryness in the finish.
D: It's relatively drinkable given the alcohol content.

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Photo of corby112
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber received as an extra in a trade with iceicebaby. Thanks again man!

Pours a very dark brown, almost black color with dark ruby/mahogany edges when held to a light source. Completely opaque but this beer is pretty much still with very little head that immediately dissipates. No lacing at all.

Deep roasted chocolate malt aroma with hints of roasted coffee, silky bitter dark chocolate, toffee, oatmeal, nut, coffee and espresso bean. There's a slight alcohol presence in the nose along with some very faint earthy hops.

Chewy, viscous full body with a lot of roasted malt character. There's a nice silky dark chocolate malt flavor that is slightly bitter accompanied by a strong roasted malt/espresso bean presence. I'm also picking up some oatmeal, toffee, nut and surprisingly, a nice dry bitter hop presence in the finish. There is some slight alcohol warmth but overall the ABV of this beer is excellently masked making it deceptively drinkable. I never would have guessed that this beer was 13%. Complex and flavorful interpretation of the style.

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Photo of brentk56
4.14/5  rDev +3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a midnight brown that fades to tawny at the edges with a very modest head that manages to hang around as a film and leaves just a few spots of lace

Smell: Roasty, almost charred, with fudgy chocolate and coffee elements

Taste: Opens with a dark chocolate flavor that moves in a variety of directions by mid-palate - roasty, bitter/piney and boozy; after the swallow, the sweeter chocolate elements tend to dominate, but the finish is laden with coffee roast

Mouthfeel: Medium to full body with low carbonation and a hint of warmth

Drinkability: This is a really nice RIS that suffers just a little from the ultra low levels of carbonation

Thanks, Hoppymeal(?), for the opportunity

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Photo of MasterSki
3.62/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Joe for sharing this at the mini-stout tasting. Served in a FoBAB taster. This vintage is labelled ~ 10%.

A - A late, late rising dime of dark tan foam that dissipates almost immediately to a very thing ring (Joe's super hard pour got maybe a half-finger). Super dark brown that is as close to black as you can get - some nice ruby red highlights at the fringes.

S - Smell has a lot of chocolate, cola, a bit of marshmallow, some harsh booze, and a touch of smoke. It's a solid smelling RIS, but nothing special.

T - Taste is a little more authentic cola/sarsaparilla flavor, some dark chocolate, with some dark roast in the finish. There's a bit of plastic/char flavor that I'm not digging so much. Well-hidden booze.

M - This is a little lighter in body than I like, and the texture is a little grittier than I prefer. It just seems a little burnt. The low level carbonation is nice, and not Lost Abbey level non-existent.

D - 8oz was more than enough of this one, although the light body and low-carbonation made it pretty easy to pound down.

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Photo of rye726
4.13/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours near black with shades of brown. Tan head has nice lacing and retention.

Nose has dark fruity malts, sweet caramel, cocoa, coffee and molasses.

Taste has roasty malts, chocolate fudge, espresso, subtle hops and ripe fruits.

Creamy body is thick over the palate and well carbonated. Impressive offering from Michigan Brewing.

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Photo of grub
4.47/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

got this one in a trade with plaztikjezuz a while back. thanks scotto!

12oz bottle, 2007 vintage. sampled sept 20/09.

pours opaque black, no trace of light coming through. a small dense dark brown head forms, quickly dropping to a ring around the glass and leaving a few spots of lace.

aroma is great. rich dark and milk chocolate. espresso. light alcohol. caramel and toffee. earthy and woody. toasted multi-grain bread and biscuit. bit of cracker.

taste is great. bittersweet and dark chocolate. espresso and dark roast coffee. light alcohol. dark toasted multi-grain bread. biscuit. caramel and toffee. earthy.

mouthfeel is great. nice big body. silky smooth medium-low carbonation.

drinkability is great. silky smooth. great balance, hiding most of its alcohol. excellent depth and complexity. the age has probably mellowed this out, but it's damn fine now.

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Photo of Viggo
4.15/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle, batch from 2007, thanks to grub for sharing!

Pours a very dark brown, black, no light gets through, pretty thin tan head forms, settles to a thin ring around the glass, some lace spots stick to the glass. Smell is real nice, lots of dark fruit, chocolate, roast, vanilla, alcohol, raisin, cherries, very earthy, caramel and brown sugar, pretty intense. Taste is similar, big chocolate and brown sugar, lots of dark fruit, cherries and raisins, caramel sweetness, earthy, light alcohol, but just super smooth and drinkable, chocolate milkiness in the finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation, goes down like butter, no trace of the ABV. Thanks Russ!

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Photo of CoolJosh
4.02/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Included as an extra in my trade with Hoppymeal. Derrick, you are one of the most generous people that I have traded with.

Poured into a tulip, this beer yields absolutely no head. It's not completely flat as a few very small carbonation bubbles rise throughout the glass. The body is a vicious dark black, with some slight translucency around the edges. Still I would have liked to have seen some head.

The beer smells good. Really roasted and burnt. A little bit subdued but what my nose is picking out is pleasing. Coffee lies underneath some heavy sweet malts. Again, I wish more was coming out here, but I like what I'm getting.

The taste is awesome. Really robust roasted and burnt malts flavors. Some great bitter chocolate, and roasted caramel malts. A really decent roasted coffee flavor and a little bit of licorice. Some light dark fruits as well, mostly plum and cherry. Very full of flavor, and very aggressive. Match all of the above with a nice creamy mouthfeel and you've got one hell of a brew.

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Photo of gordavidson
3.09/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22oz bomber with no label.

A- Kind of odd... very viscous looking on the pour, but not pitch black, more of a clearish dark brown. Even with a hard pour, I can barely get any head out of this. Pretty bland and unexciting.

S- Some tootsie roll chocolate aroma, a bit of nuttiness, some roastiness, and a touch of alcohol.

T- Roasty, nutty, and slightly boozy. There isn't a lot of depth to this, and the chocolate flavors don't really come through in the mouth. This isn't gross, but just boring as hell.

M- Very smooth due to the lack of carbonation, which actually seems to work for this. Slightly harsh on the finish though.

D- Well, it is a sipper and it will get you drunk. Boring, but not bad.

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Photo of Floydster
4.08/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 ounce blank bottles with very tiny handwritten labels, thanks to hoppymeal and OHLRangers, thanks Derek and Ed, both were 2007 vintages from November, one went to Woodshop Quad and one is currently being consumed out of my Delerium Tremens snifter, color is a deep brown, nearly black, one inch of tan foam settles and sticks for close to five minutes, nice lacing, aroma is mostly roasted malts up front, dark chocolate, hint of fruit and pepper, also black licorice and some mild smoke, taste is rather strong, which can be expected with a beer that is nearly thirteen percent, starts off roasty, slightly chewy malt in the middle, cocoa in the finish mixed with a bit of dryness that seems like they could be from hops, also pick up a bit of an olive flavor later on, mostly roasted once it warms though, roasty, warming, and dry mouthfeel, thick body, low to moderate level of carbonation, drank the bottle pretty easily, alcohol would catch up eventually and it is not exactly hidden, still pretty good drinkability, first beer from this brewery and it was a doozy, look forward to trying a bourbon barrel version of it someday, would drink again, recommended

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Photo of Crosling
4.67/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours brown out of the bottle, but appears black in the glass. Unfortunately is a bit lighter in color than I prefer, and it doesn't appear to be bottle conditioned. Dark red fruit and chocolate in the nose, but it doesn't have the vibrancy I'd prefer. Flavor has some serious concentration and depth to it. Very flavorful and complex from start to finish. Anise, chocolate, dark roast, fudge, bitter hop. Wow, a beauty. Great recipe. Well executed.

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Photo of prototypic
3.93/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to hoppymeal for this fine beer. The chance to drink such a rarity is truly appreciated.

Appearance: It pours a very dark, nearly jet black color. No light getting through, even around the edges. Carbonation must be really dialed down as a hard pour yielded a minute head. Retention was extremely short and little to no lacing lined the glass. Extra points for the color though.

Smell: It's very malty up front. It features a load of chocolate malt that sweet smelling and extremely inviting. Roasted malts are a little more subdued, but obviously play a big role. There's a very distinct roasted coffee aroma. All three nicely complement each other. Alcohol is noteable, but doesn't smell overly strong. Edit: A glance at Derek's review indicates the abv is 14.1%. Blending that in to a degree where it's not distinct is quite the feat. It's not overly complex, but it is a nice smelling RIS that features all of the earmarks of a nice stout.

Taste: The nose obviously is a nice representation of the flavor profile since it's nearly a mirror image. Chocolate malts are sweet and dominant. Roasted malts follow and complement the chocolate well. The chocolate flavor is easily the strongest flavor here. Roasted coffee really rounds it out and adds some depth. I like it quite a bit. Much to my surprise (and pleasure), hops have been added with a generous hand. It's got a nice little bitter pine bite. Alcohol is clearly strong here. It's very noticeable and a little boozy. Finishes sweet and a little bitter.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: It features a body that's on the lighter side of thick. It carbonation is dialed way down and gives it a nice, smooth feel. I think I'd like a tad more carbonation, but it's got a nice smooth feel. Drinkability is limited if the abv is indeed 14.1%. I believe it. Alcohol is clearly strong in this one.

What a great first experience with Michigan Brewing Company this has been. This is a very impressive RIS that's got a lot of flavor. I think the carbonation is a little low and it could stand to be a few percentage points lower on the abv. I think this would be an excellent beer at 9%. The extra 5% doesn't add a whole lot. Well...it does add a nice buzz. On second thought, I like it. Big, bold, and kick ass. Thanks, Derek.

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Photo of FrognutUnl
4.25/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poors jet black with a small creamy brown head. Smells of coffee and roasted oats. Tastes of roasted oats, coffee, burnt molasses and hints of berries and the 12.9% alcohol creaping in the back ground. Leaves a nice sticky feeling in the mouth that leaves one thirsty for more. Overall this is one damn good RIS and I wish I had more than 1 bottle left.

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Photo of brdc
3.87/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks hoppymeal for this one; small, unmarked capped bottle poured into a snifter.

Pitch black, small head that does not hold very well, leaving average lacing.
Aroma is mostly of roasted malts, with a predominance of coffee. Good but not overly complex.
Full bodied, drinkability is limited by a somewhat excessive alcohol presence; flavors include unsweetened coffee and chocolate, more on the bitter side than the average. This one would probably improve with a bit more aging, but could also use a bit less "heat".

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Photo of Gehrig
4.73/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I grabbed this on tap at the Blind Pig in Champaign, a great beer and buy. RIS pours two fingers of tan froth on a deep black body, with dense lacing on the way down, outstanding presentation. The smell is rife with coffee, caramel, and fruit, bold and complex. The taste is incredible--lots more than coffee, especially berry, grape, orange, caramel and brown sugar--dense and complex. Well hopped and fruity, this is a terrific RIS, heavy on the ABV (12.9%) but still definitely very drinkable.


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Photo of hoppymeal
4.05/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a case of unmarked 12oz bottles on a recent trip to the brewery. Was on tap as well at the time and listed at 14.1%
Pours black with a small dark tan head that quickly fades to a ring. Smell is roasty and bourbony. Roasted malts are somewhat earthy and grainy, tangy bourbon aroma as well that makes the nose hairs rise. Taste is a nutty roastiness, some sweet chocolate is evident but very much in the backseat to the roasted flavor. An acidic tanginess comes in towards the middle to end, and the taste finishes with a good sized drying hoppy bitterness of pine and grass and a bite of the alcohol as well. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy, a good burn at the back of the throat from the hops and alcohol in the finish is powerful, but not overpowering. A very nice stout, appears to be bottle conditioned, look forward to sampling again with some age on it.

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Photo of KeggerKen
4.11/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sweet nectar of the gods! I sat in pure enjoyment as this black syrup poored from the tap and into my tulip glassware at the Michigan Brewing Company! It looked like some body was changing the oil on my car. A thin dark head hovered of the beer and a sweet odor permeated the air space above it. A nice viscous drink that's major drawback is it only can go down so fast and two drinks make it illegal to drive. A nice mix flavors...cocoa,caramel,a light coffe taste and just a nice thick feel in the mouth and throat. $4 a glass and $5 a bottle...a little pricy but I think I'll up a sixer next time I'm in the area.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at the Oak Cafe in Wyandotte, MI. The beer poured a pitch black color with a dark tan foam. The aroma was strong and rich, mostly chocolate with some roasted malts. The flavor was very chocolaty, probably the strongest flavor of chocolate I've had in a beer to date. Really thick mouthfeel, this is delicious and addictive. Very good RIS.

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Photo of GRPunk
4/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at Michigan Brewing Company.

A- Poured almost black. I could make out brown coloring near the edges and as I got to the bottom of the glass. Very little head but a lot of lacing.

S- Mostly roasty malts.

T- Again a lot of roasty flavor. There was a touch chocolate in there.

M- Light carbonation and good thick feel coats the mouth.

D- The Russian Imperial Stout comes with a 2 beer limit. This limit really isn't necessary because it would be hard to put down more than two in a sitting at 12.9% ABV. The Michigan Brewery represents the RIS style really well, but doesn't do a lot to set itself apart from other great Imperial Stouts. It is, however, a very solid beer that I'd like to drink again.

On a side note, the Pub's new digs are pretty nice. It misses some of the intimacy from the old location, but makes up for it with more seating and the homebrew store being right down the hall. I'll look to do a review of the pub in the near future.

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Michigan Brewing Russian Imperial Stout from Michigan Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.02 out of 5 with 27 ratings