"Old Yeltsin" Imperial Stout | Hoptown Brewing Company

very good
55 Ratings
no score
Send samples
"Old Yeltsin" Imperial Stout"Old Yeltsin" Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Hoptown Brewing Company
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by xlperro on 07-09-2002

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
View: Beers | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 55 |  Reviews: 53
Photo of poluti
3.36/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

It pours a dark muddied black with a very dark tan head. It is a great looking imperial stout. The smell is a muddled chocolate with a hint of nut and alcohol. It's sensation is a little bit above average for the style. I was missing the minor hop notes associated with my favorite beers of this style. However, all in all, a decent nose. The taste was pleasant. Very malty with minor bitterness for the style. It was a tinge sour on the sides of the tongue. It had a decent body but a little too thin for an Imperial Stout. There didn't seem to be a sound balance between sweet and bitterness as the sweet malty flavors do an overload on the taste buds. It is a very drinkable beer. Just be weary of the alcohol content. It could be the equivalent of a night-cap if you don't watch yourself.

 792 characters

Photo of goschool
4.35/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The black pour is topped by a small dark tan head which leaves a nice amount of lacing. The aroma is largely roasted malts with coffee, molasses chocolate, and a bit of citrus from the dry hopping. Dark chocolate with a smidgen of liqueur is the predominant taste. There is some bitterness, but not as much as the nose would lead you to believe. The mouthfeel is surprisingly smooth and creamy. This seems very easy to drink for the first 4/5's of the bottle until the 9% abv sneaks up on you. This stout deserves more attention.

 529 characters

Photo of czechsaaz
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big sweet treacle aroma with underliying roast malt. Pretty fantastic. Some vinuous fermentation aromas too.

Pours darker than coal at midnight with a smallish brown head that quickly fades.

Initial flavor is intense roast malt with good bitterness from hops. But that gives way mid-palate to really complex sweet malty finish. I get some dried prune and chocolate flavor too.

The body seems a little thin for something with this much flavor. I want it to be huge and chewy and it's big.

Really nice sipping beer.

 525 characters

Photo of meathookjones
4.3/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber. Pours out an opaque black color with a smallish tan head that left some sticky strings of lace decorating the glass. Dark chocolate and vinous fruit notes seem most prevalent in the aroma. A bit more dark fruit and light roastiness come out the more it warmed. Flavor kicks off with some ripe fruity sweetness with a bit of bitter sweet dark chocolate following that. Very light roasty notes in the back. More sweetness comes on towards the end with some plums and figs. Lightly bitter dark chocolate finish. Very tasty with lots going on in the flavor. Pretty slick feel to it with a good thickness though a little more body would have been nice. Greatly drinkable brew. No sign of alcohol plus a great flavor makes this go down quickly and leave me wanting more. Recommended.

 790 characters

Photo of tavernjef
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ebony tinted brown with an immense brown head of foam on top. Keeps its top for a stint. Lace is very minimal, as most drips or fades off leaving only specks to decorate the glass. A thin collar always stays at the edges.

Nice aroma of dry hopping and deep dark roasted malts. Touches of rye, molasses, and dark fruitified alcoholic heat feather about the edges.

Taste is semi tangy, moderately roasted, fairly dark, and nicely drying. Flavors begin with a light dry rye sweep then dips right in with tangy dark fruit toasted fruits with dates, figs, and raisin. Partial chocolate makes a base under the fruity tangyness. Finishes with a tangy left over roast of grains and malts with an easy fading dryness of light, dry, leafy hops. Perhaps a smidgeon of coffee and chocolate creeps across the finish but tends to stay towards a sweeter, fruitier rendition of molasses and malts, yet maintaining a dry tone. Pretty cool finish.

Feel is pretty big and juicy. Respectfully clean and bold with a well rounded medium/full character wrapped up in darkened malty tang and dry hopped noting all across its general nature. Goes down without much hassle. Perhaps a bit too much tangy, but as soon as I type that statement the dryness flows right in taking care of that notion with one favorable turn of dark, bold roasty stuff and drying of chocolate and hops. Nice. Glad I picked it up. A solid Impy Stout.

 1,409 characters

Photo of Troyone
4.47/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black with a possible slight amber hue, can not see if there is carb action, and there is definitely no head.

The smell is sweat and kind of bready, maybe a cookie dough molasses malt background with some chocolate and an orange hop aroma.

The best part about these evaluations (for the most part), at least moderately sweet, lightly acidic, and close to moderately bitter with lots of twangy chocolate and roasted molasses malt also has some orange hops.

Full bodied, syrupy and almost creamy texture, soft almost flat carbonation, and a smooth almost moderately alcoholic finish (hate when that happens).

If one likes the change up of Stouts in the mix this is a potent session Stout.

 704 characters

Photo of donnebaby
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Very dark tan brown head full of large bubbles. Nice and thick, lasting spontaneous haze. Pitch black heavy-looking brew, viscous on the pour. Before too much warming, nose is wet and mild, with obvious black cherry sweetness, coffee and sharp vanilla but very little in breadth to cover the lurking alcohol.

Tastes super bitter, lots of blackened malt in this. Charred meat and carbon dominate the palate, and it becomes hard to figure out what role hops play in the brew. Alcohol takes even stepping with the cherry sweetness that makes up the remainder of taste left behind by the carbon.

As could be expected, alcohol eases off a bit and the bitterness mellows out to give old yeltsin some much needed thick malt body and buttery smoothness -- and more touches of coffee and vanilla. Fruity.

Not overly drinkable or exciting, but good and stylistic -- makes an impact as well.

 890 characters

Photo of NeroFiddled
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rough pour brings up a decent-sized head of creamy dark-tan foam atop an opaque black body; but it fails to hold for very long and leaves only minor spotty lace about the glass. Of course it is 9% abv, which cuts down on the head retention a little.... The nose delivers sweet cocoa, toffee, sugar, day-old coffee, a thick drizzle of molasses, and a pinch of citrus rind. It's delicate, seemingly natural (bottle-conditioned?), and exceptionally fine-bubbled carbonation leaves smooth across the palate. The flavor is more intense than the flavor suggests, with notes of burnt sugar, molasses, caramel, dark toffee, poorly made espresso, dark fruit, dark wine, citrus, and berries. It finishes dry and lingering with a splash of alcohol, a burnt/carbon note, and juicy citrus fruits. Interesting!

 798 characters

Photo of blitheringidiot
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Colorful pastoral cartoon motif that explains unfiltered.

Buh-lack black with brown head collar quickly disapating zero carbonation thick.

Scents are obvious and huge. Albeit of unexpected candy brown sugar. Molasses & cake icing sweet.

First swigs: Burnt torched carmelized sugar. Syrupy oatmeal powdery aftertaste. Some doughy characters and prune or fig taste. Bisquick in the dry lingering finish. Not detecting hops in particular.

Mouthfeel is thick as all get out. Too thick?

Last swigs: Burnt malts with citrous aftertaste. End is a bit fusel. Thanks to Shapudding for dplitting the bottle. Sipper!

 622 characters

Photo of alexgash
3.93/5  rDev -1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Black as an eight ball with a dense layer of beautifully brown head. Lacing coats the over-sized tulip glass nicely. Nose is made up of roasted coffee, sweet alcoholic raisins and plums, soy sauce, dark chocolate, and maybe some hop bitterness. Not bad, if maybe a little [too] reserved.
Solid, rather raw, roasted grains and sweetish malt up front. Sweet, dark fruit and alcohol pick up in the middle, with notes of astringent hops sneaking in. Astringent bitterness swells into the finish, as the alcohol does a little burning. Finish is bitter, with a sweet roasted malt skeleton. Big, full body, with a thick, chewy feel. Not a bad beer, but I think it could use some tinkering, as the hops are too astringent, not enough flavor.

 734 characters

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.38/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled at the Pizza Port Strong Ale Fest, Dec. 2005.

This imperial stout poured black with red-brown near the edges with tall, creamy, persistent, brown foam. The smell was redolent with coffee and malt with a touch of sweetness and a hint of licorice. The taste was very malt: dark, roasty malt, with flavors of coffee, cocoa, and licorice, and an overall light sweetness. The mouthfeel was very smooth and creamy with full body and medium carbonation. The aftertaste was very malty and lingered nicely. This was a very, very good beer, and I wish I could get more.

 570 characters

Photo of OStrungT
4.22/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours almost black. It looks inky. The dark brown head fades quickly leaving thick laces. This beer is very thick. It smells malty. Also, there is an alcohol smell as well as coffee and carmel. It tastes of coffee and chocolate. The alcohol taste is apparent. This is a smooth beer. Quite malty. It is carbonated just right. Due to the somewhat high alcohol content, this beer might not be the best choice for a night of drinking, but one or two is quite nice. This beer is, in my opinion, quite good. Definately worth buying a few bottles.

 550 characters

Photo of winomark
4/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice deep dark brown with soem slight deep reddish hues. A tiny, light brown head sticks around for a while. Sweet alcohol tones dominate with good coffee and roasted malts noticable. Chocolate and toasted malt control the palate, with alcohol sweetness and a good bitterness take hold of the finish. Dry, ligering finsih. A coating mouthfeel, wiht a slight syrupy component. A nice drinkable imperial stout. Alcohol is in check, with good toasty character. Well done. A beer I would like to have a few of. Definately worth a try.

 538 characters

Photo of shapudding
4.45/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thick, luscious, creamy, black-brown, with a reddish-brown and thick head that reduced down to a ring and nice dusting swirl. Lovely! Amazing scents of darkness! Piney hoppiness, chocolate, red wine... yummm... Surprisingly vineous taste in there. Hearty red wine flavors, roasted malts, chocolate. Dark coffee in the after taste. Body is not as thick as it looks like it would be. Flows easily and smoothly over your tongue. Don't get me wrong, there is a TON of flavor going on here! This is great for sipping or relaxing, but maybe not as a session. Very good stuff!

 569 characters

Photo of mzwolinski
3.67/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Black in color with no head at all -- just a thin swirl of minute bubbles lacing the top. Roasty malt aroma with notes of tobacco.

The malt starts of dominant and fairly sweet, with the roastiness waiting to emerge until the aftertaste, and growing stronger as the beer warms. Finishes with hints of anise and a surprisingly strong hop flavor profile for the style. Alcohol is unobtrusive.

Mouthfeel is a bit thinnish. Very smooth, but still, all-in-all, this is a bit thin and uncomplicated for the style.

 512 characters

Photo of Zorro
2.26/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

Pours a black brew impervious to light.

Smell is sweet and fruity with the expected coffee and chocolate aroma. Grain sneaks in under the stronger aromas.

Taste is very metallic! BLAH! Tastes like nails! I try but all I get is an Iron Taste.

Mouthfeel is thin.

Maybe I got a bad bottle but this was some bad stuff. I tried to like this but I had to pour it out, rusty nails brau.

 391 characters

Photo of beergeek279
4.32/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in the 22 oz. bomber, into a pint glass. The color is black, with a bubbly tan head. The smell is chocolate and anise. The taste is strongly chocolatey, with hints of the roasted malts and just a bit of bittering hops, and a noticable but not overwhelming alcohol. Mouthfeel is average. As for drinkability, could have a few.

Not a bad imperial stout. Though this one doesn't quite reach the jaw-dropping stage, it's still a damn good one, and one that I'd have again if I saw it around.

 497 characters

Photo of Wildman
4.42/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer was as black as the night with no light getting through it's dark mass. It formed a small medium tan bubbly head that left circular lace as it subsided. An aroma of malt, chocolate, expresso and raisins is present. A flavor of malt, chocolate and coffee with some of the alcohol present in the background. The finish was a little lighter than others with a touch of sourness to add to the overall bitter sweet finish. Not as over the top as say a Stone or Bell's, but a good stout. My thanks again to lou91.

 517 characters

Photo of aracauna
3.78/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not perfectly black, you can see brown light around the extreme edges, but it's dark enough not to count off for. The head is a nice medium brown soup foam, but thin and quick to fade into a weather pattern. A very rich malty aroma with some fruit aroma. Low hop presence. There's a lot of fig in the flavor. I can almost feel the tiny seeds in the fig preserves my mom makes from the fig tree in our yard next to the cannaa lillies. It's sweet, almost a little too sweet as it edges on cloying. This mild bitterness in the back keeps it just on this side of the line, though. Still, that figgy flavor makes it pretty interesting.

 630 characters

Photo of rkhaze
4.8/5  rDev +20.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a thick black with cola colors trying to escape the edges. Quickly disappearing creamy brown head. Aromas of coffee, sweet chocolate, roasted malt, red fruits and hints of licorice and hops.
Complex bittersweet taste. Deep roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, and creamy raspberry. Finished dry with a tangy hop bitterness, cocoa, a bit of smokiness and a hint of licorice that lingered nicely on the palate. The alcohol, while definitly present, was more complimentary than distracting. Like all Imperials, this one gets better as it warms.
Moderatly viscous mouthfeel. Rich, creamy and a little sticky with good carbonation. I found this scary drinkable for a 9% abv beer. Definitly warmed the stomach.
Not in the upper-upper echelon of Imperial Stouts, but certainly the leader of the followers. Just a great job and worth seeking out!

 850 characters

Photo of beerguy101
3.32/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark brown color. Large tan foamy head. Aroma is chocolate and coffee. A medium bodied Imperial Stout. Malts are chocolate with a hint of caramel and coffee. Hops are slightly spicy. Nicely balanced. Perhaps a little thin for an Imperial Stout. No alcohol bite. Mouthfeel is thin. Finish is clean and smooth. Aftertaste is slightly bitter.

 339 characters

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
4.5/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: 22 ounce Bomber with a 3/4 plastic wrap label that has the generic Hoptown Brewery bottle label, with only the words ‘“Old Yeltsin” Imperial Stout’ to distinguish it from the rest of the range.

I recently tried this fine elixir at the 7th Annual San Diego Strong Ale Festival held at the Pizza Port, Carlsbad. There it was served on Tap, maybe even Nitro if memory serves me right, but the PP program listed it as “only” 8.4%, but it was a favorite. So how great to sit down and dissect this fine IS and review it properly.

Appearance: Imperiously dark. Viscous pour, vitriolic, thick, dark and dangerous – it is absolutely ebonious black and devoid of all reflective properties, not even a hint of dark brown at the edges, nothing. It absorbs all forms of light and wavelengths. This is a true “Black Body”. As I pour it forms a nice ½” dark brown head that lasts. No wimpish lame covering for this Imperial Stout.

Nose: Lots of freshly roasted malts, deeply burnt roasted malts – am I on fire? The burnt roastness leaps over to the hop bitterness in the back end. This is like smelling burnt paper that has been drenched in Malt Vinegar. It's working its way towards me and taking over.

Taste: Roasted malts, pungently bitter coffee middle, hops in the back end. Rich thick and dangerous. The vinous tingle only rises in the middle and leaves that scathing acetic vinegar feel in the latter third of the beer, all the while burnt roasted malts still linger at the back of the pitch waiting to launch an invasion like mad Soccer Hooligans after England have yet again beaten Scotland at Wembley. The vinous lick at the end gives this beer a real Imperial stout kick that I love. Wow, this is some beer. I did not detect the vinous aspect on draft, it was too smooth. I prefer the bottled version for this reason.

Mouthfeel: It starts with, and leaves, a deep thick rich feel in the mouth that coats the tongue and cheeks with a velvety rich bitter chocolate taste. The ending has an astringent vinous hygroscopic finish that puckers the cheeks a little. Marvelous.

Drinkability: I’m going back to Hi-Times in Costa-Mesa to get some more of this beauty, its just waaay too good for anyone else to drink it. Even given the alcohol, this beer just slips down way too easily.

Overall: This is good shit. No wonder Boris was permanently pissed!

 2,390 characters

Photo of Boilermaker88
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Sampled at the 7th Annual San Diego Strong Ale Festival at the Carlsbad Pizza Port. Listed at 8.4% ABV, Old Yeltsin Imp. Stout was served via nitro-tap and had an onyx hue throughout and a creamy espresso-colored head, thanks to the nitro. Thin sheet lace coated the inside of the glass. A wide range of aromas presented themselves with each sniff – burnt coffee, roasted malt, cocoa, and dark fruits like plums, dates, and dark berries. The initial taste left a predominantly espresso-and-baker’s chocolate flavor on the tongue. Subsequent sips revealed much more; a burnt maltiness, a fruity sweetness, and some light hoppy spiciness. After each taste, a warming alcoholic bite washed across the throat and settled in the chest. The feel was full, rich and creamy.
Old Yeltsin Imperial Stout was quite enjoyable. The creamy feel and complex flavor profile made it quite easy to knock back. The alcohol was detectable which probably was a good thing or I’d have been on my ass from drinking it too fast! A nice offering from Hoptown Brewing, one worth picking up if you see it.

 1,082 characters

Photo of Rumrunner
4.04/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pint glass

This stout drinks very well and is pretty intense.
It is extremely dark brown. Very dense. The head is a cinnamon brown color. Good lacing. The scent is a roasted espresso and not much else. Alcohol is also present.

The flavors are a roasted burnt espresso. A chocolate flavor like flourless chocolate cake. Also a hint of anise. I drank this very slowly and as the time went on it mellowed and the anise stood out a bit more. There are some hops but this stout has a nice balance. The flavors are very powerful. There is also a sour finish to this stout. Many stouts have it. I usually am put off by a sour finish but on this stout I did not mind it. There is also an alcohol flavor present but it does not interfere with the enjoyment of this stout.

It drinks well. It has a slight syrup feel to it. A more dense liquid than usual, but it does not feel heavy in the stomache as I first thought it would. Despite this and the high ABV it is a well crafted and enjoyable stout and I will definately order another one.

 1,039 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4.57/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On first cracking the crown of this 22oz SuperSize helping of Imperial Stout, I know that the goods are being delivered. All the right notes are wafting out, before I have a chance to get a close look, even.
Appearance: black as pitch, with a good, toasted tan head.
I stir it up a bit, swirl the snifter some, and the familiar burnt flavors of any IS worth it's roasted barley malt creep evermore into my senses. But let's get more intimate...
Aroma: deep, bitter espresso, molasses, dark rum, thick, rich, sinfully indulgent, wickedly stong, just drinking in this smell may inebriate me! But it's a dark and twisted treat, and everything an IS should be!
Hops are here, when we taste, but it's that thick, dark, roasted malt that makes the biggest impression on the palate, and the booze, glorious booze. You don't get a sip out of this beer, without getting a full helping of the stong stuff.. More flavorful connotations arise in the taste profile occur, a bit hit of anise, some chocolate, a little raisin...
This is most impressive, and I feel that the fine folks in Pleaston, CA seem to have nailed the style, and then some.
Big alcohol, but big flavor, too. I wonder what Boris would think of his namesake brew? Oh, he'd love it, of course, much tastier than vodka, with plenty of kick!
thanks to BierRiese for this one!

 1,337 characters

firstprev| 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
"Old Yeltsin" Imperial Stout from Hoptown Brewing Company
3.97 out of 5 based on 55 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.