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Russian Imperial Stout | Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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111 Reviews
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Russian Imperial StoutRussian Imperial Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
United States
ironhillbrewery.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Full-bodied stout that starts with a complex, malty sweet and high-roasted character that is wonderfully balanced with the use of citrusy American hops.

75 IBU

Added by mophie on 12-13-2002

BEER STATS
Reviews:
111
Ratings:
254
Avg:
4.18
pDev:
11.96%
 
 
Wants:
64
Gots:
49
For Trade:
4
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Reviews: 111 | Ratings: 254
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.2/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I don't know where Iron Hill got the tall, rounded-edged, inverted cone design for that glass they serve many of their stronger brews in, but I hate it! It's like an extraterrestrial frozen cocktail vessel. Serve this beer in anything other than that glass, please!

This stout is dark. Black even. With deep ruby highlights. Had the bartender poured this "properly", could've got some more head. Just saying. It looks like a stout. Points!

Smells desserty(?), like you could reduce this slightly and pour it over my sundae, drizzle my cheeselog. Light roast and chocolate, but an edge more black licorice, cookie malt, and some piney hop. Not bad, but not refined. Something's up here. Suspicious of the next step.

Sorry, but this tasted like it was brewed from a kit or it was rushed out of the fermenter. There seemed to be an off-balance between the sweetish fruit flavors and the roasted characters, with the sugar-sweet malt really outweighing the roast much more than in most RISs I've had. I almost want to declare the malts syrupy, or at least in a light-moderately-diluted molasses type of consistency and, well, I suppose flavor, too. Even at 9.?%, the alcohol, though nicely woven in (or muted out) should've/could've cut through the borderline viscous feel to help instill(?) some order.

Just a tad too much slickness. Couple tads more too much sugar concentration. Not enough burnt or roasty/toasty flavor. Little more burn would've been nice. This can be improved.

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Photo of PSUDREW
3.3/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

HMMMmmmm, another interseting offer from IH. Well, the nose and taste wreak of cofe. Buth the tase is a solid, roasted, coffee tase, mixed with a hoppy bitter sweetness and a solid malt base. The coffee doinance is matched by a burn undertone and a malt base. Solid ABV taste to mtach it. Overall, a nice brew to end the night one.

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Photo of pepsican
3.38/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

black pour with a thin tan head. Aroma has plenty of chocolate and molasses, some caramel. Heavy roasted malt flavor, more chocolate, caramel, paper bag, cream, nuts. Finishes lightly oxidized with low carbonation. Would have been great if I drank it a bit sooner I think...

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Photo of Rifugium
3.41/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Iron Hill, Media, PA

Pours like a typical stout: dark black color, toasty dark brown perhaps around the edges, with a small, patchy, tan head. Not overly aromatic, with scents of roasted malts and coffee coming through. Big roast in the taste, but not overly flavorful or smooth, dark malts, coffee, and grains. Decent. Alcohol is felt before it is tasted. Heavier-medium mouthfeel, dry, and drinkable. Good, but not the most memorable of stouts.

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Photo of beerthulhu
3.46/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a flute style glass. On location 2/20/10.

A: Poured a flat black with a very thin dark khaki colored head that dissipated almost immediately after the pour. A slight ring lacing was all that remained. It is hard to judge this by style appearance wise, its black, dark, so pretty hard to go off key here. I'll be generous and give this good regards.

S: The nose was lighter then expected, a clean roasted nature that lacked intimidation. Was more in line with a Schwarz style then a Russian imperial.

T: The flavor was smooth with a freshly roasted nature of coffee that was eloquently done. Dark chocolate with a smooth earthy bitterness with a finish that was clean with a mixture of dark chocolate sweetness and creamer laced coffee. Fairly clean per style and easy to handle flavor wise. Sweet dark grains ensures on the finishing swallow.

M: The mouthful had a bit of creaminess, but otherwise was very smooth in character with very little carbonation detected. The alcohol is perhaps the only hindrance here,

D: The flavor is exceptionally smooth per style making you almost forget its 9.5 %abv nature. A very clean approach to the style and easy to consume interpretation.

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Photo of tigernipples
3.55/5  rDev -15.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Growler, Listening to Radiohead - King Of Limbs.

My brother stopped by Iron Hill and picked up a growler. This is the first time drinking Iron Hill. poured into a snifter. Pretty Black with decent size head and carbonation. I smell roasted malts and some dark fruits.
A nice bitter finish in the taste that dries up the mouth. Roasted malts are there. I'm not picking up alot of coffee notes. Mouthfeel is a bit thin, I'd say this is medium bodied. Overall I'm liking this alot. Recently I've had a few RIS that just didn't hit the spot, this has. Going down pretty smooth. i could easily drink another glass.

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Photo of Gueuzedude
3.6/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A hand bottling is poured carefully (to preserve carbonation) and summons up a thin dusting of a brownish tan colored head. The beer is quite black in appearance, but showed a chocolate brown hue as I was pouring it. Rich chocolate aromatics are quite evident and they are backed by a substantial toasted malt note, with lots of darkly toasted whole grain bread aromas, a touch of coffee notes . Thankfully this is lacking in the sharp, acrid acidity often found in this style of beer, though there is a touch of roast derived tartness here. A dark fruitiness is also evident with notes of burnt cherries, blackened prunes, roast raisins and even a bit of brandy-like notes when the alcohol is noticeable.

Soft and creamy feeling up front, but it picks up a nice level of carbonation. The carbonation provides a carbonic bite and a bit more texture to the brew and is at just about the perfect level for an Imperial Stout. Huge flavors of toasted malt are found here. It is interesting that the dark, roasted grain notes are not the main think I notice, instead the toasted malt flavors play the leading role with the roast / burnt malt notes adding some sharpness up front and in the finish. A slight roast acidity in the finish and a bitter, burnt-grain flavor at the fore provide an offset / balance to the toasted, darkly sweet, chocolate rich malt middle that is found in this brew. A slight, burnt vegetal note is found in the finish (something I have been noticing more lately in heavily roasted beers). Hops play a minimal role here, but do contribute to a substantial bitterness as does a dark-roast-coffee note.

This is a good beer and it would be great if not for that nagging, burnt-vegetal note in the finish (something a bit like burnt cabbage). The long, lingering finish of this beer tends to get quite roasted / burnt, though in a flavorful way (especially once it shakes the vegetal note).

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Photo of tone77
3.68/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A thanks goes out to the captain of the canquest, woodychandler, for this beer. Poured from a 16 oz. can. Has a black color with a 1/2 inch head. Smell is of roasted malts, light coffee. Taste is roasted malts, coffee, some citrus, light chocolate, faint hints of alcohol. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and overall is a quality beer.

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Photo of sholland119
3.78/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at North Wales.

A-Pours a deep black with a thin, creamy tan head and some good lacing.

S-Pretty much roasted malt and little else.

T-Nice blend of bourbon and vanilla with some pine hops in the finish. A bit of alcohol warmth in the finish as well.

M-Rich and creamy.

D-A little more alcohol than I would prefer so less drinkable than others of the style.

Hv

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Photo of HopHead84
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at O'Brien's, a remnant from the Strong Ale Fest.

Dark brown, almost black with a one finger, light brown head and little lacing. Aroma is of roasted malt and coffee. I can't detect much else. Taste is of coffee and molasses, with a low level of hop bitterness. Alcohol is faint, definitely on the light side for a RIS. The beer is full bodied with good carbonation and a viscous mouth feel.

This is an easy drinking, relatively tame RIS.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.8/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle. Poured not black but a very dark brown. Tan head. Laces randomly. Nose is strong with roast, char and bitterness from the robust, dark malt. A bit of dark fruits. The flavor is also robust and dry. Not very thick or creamy in both feel and flavor. Roast, chalky yeast, coffee, powdered dark chocolate. Dark, dried out fruit. A bit of cola. Body is somewhat full but not decadent and thick. Ends pretty bitterly. Alcohol is not much of a factor. A rather unique Russian Imperial Stout. Leaner than some but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

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Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.82/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage (not noted but I knew when I bought it and it was fresh at that time). Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into a Darkness snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a .5 finger fine light mocha head with good retention. Beer is an opaque black. Lacing is stringy and sparse with little cling, small legs too. The nice head and lack of lacing cancel each other out in scoring. Average.

S: Nose is moderately aromatic. Raisins, roasted malt, rich molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, liquorice, and prunes. Solid, but nothing really sets this apart.

T: Opens with some boozy spiciness. Notes of raisin, chocolate, roasted malt, cocoa, and brownie along with a subtle hop bitterness that fades quickly. Sweet and robust. Middle is more liquified dark fruit and milk chocoalte. Finish is molasses sweetness with some coffee in the back. Aftertaste is molasses and liquorice. Complex and very balanced. Nice.

M: Medium bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Oily and slick in the mouth. Warm and silky going down with the slightest bit of heat at the end. Finish is messy with an aftertaste that lingers. Pretty standard but the way the alcohol is hidden is nice.

O: This is solidly in the upper tier of Russian Imperial Stouts that I've tried. No overwhelming flavors are present. Instead, there's a real nice balance of dark fruit, hop bitterness, and Imperial Stout characteristics. Those GABF medals were well deserved.

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Photo of fourstringer
3.84/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 16 oz can into a Brewer's Art goblet. Moderate to aggressive hand. No identifiable date.

A: Dark, reddish-brown body with 1/2 finger of dense, tan-colored head. Ok retention. Scant lacing.

S: Dark chocolate with flourishes of vanilla bean. Dark roast coffee. Toasted nuts. Nice roasty sweetness.

T: Roasted malts open, intermingled with well-blended hop notes. Sweetness peaks and slowly, but incompletely, yields to a dark chocolate cum American hops bitterness. Just barely semi-dry finish. Lingering hops and roasted notes in the aftertaste with undercurrents of grapefruit and citrus. Alcohol presence is middle-of-the-road for 9.5% ABV.

M: Low to moderate carbonation with a medium to full body. Soft and smooth on the palate. Slightly sticky. Faintly grainy in the last few sips.

O: Drinkable and tasty, if not ever so slightly cloying. Average depth of flavor. Dig the can.

Prost!

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Photo of WorldWideStout
3.86/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown, oily and thick. A small mocha-colored head dissolved after about a minute.

S: Coffee, chocolate, and a bit of sourness at the end.

T: First I get chocolate, which is followed by espresso. The two tastes meld for a chocolate-covered espresso bean flavor at the end. I taste coffee with the espresso more and more as I become acclimated to the beer.

M: Oily and slick with minimal carbonation. I would've liked it to be a bit thicker.

D: Par for most bigger stouts. I wouldn't have more than one in a sitting.

A tasty stout, but not quite as good as Old Rasputin or Ten Fidy, and for the price ($15-20 for a 750), it's not worth it. I would like to try it on tap for a more reasonable price at some point.

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Photo of claspada
3.88/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitchblack colored topped by a full, bubbly, khaki-colored head that leaves some minimal lacing as the head recedes.

Aromas begin with roasted, acrid dark malts with notes of baker's chocolate, stale licorice, burnt bread crusts and emerging alcohol notes..

The tastes begin with melted milk and dark chocolate followed by some caramel sweetness. Hints of toasted bread crusts, espresso roast and licorice. Mild, roasty, earthy bitterness.

The mouthfeel is medium to full-bodied with mild carbonation. Finish is dry and roasty from the ample dark malts.

Overall a very solid beer from an unknown local brewpub chain. A bit one noted and straight-forward in the flavor profile but enjoyable none-the-less. Not sure what it cost to acquire but I enjoyed my pour. Do I need to have it again, no, but I wouldn't turn it away in the future.

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Photo of Sammy
3.9/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with only minimla head. Last year vintage purchased at the brewpub, and Expensive. Roasty malty aroma. First sip is good balance of roast and malt, but a few more gulps finds it satisfying though not complex. More medium mouthfeel, than the thickness expected. Above average carbonation.A good drink but only an average candidate in this style.

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Photo of Kegatron
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On nitro-tap @ Iron Hill Phoenixville on 9/4/10. Served in an oversized mug. ABV was listed as 8.0%, which according to our bartender, came in a bit under what they were shooting for.

Pours black, with a deep brown, almost milk chocolate colored head. This retains with a smooth creaminess from the nitro-pour, leaving back a rich cascade of lacing. The aroma is very smoky smelling (and even a little acrid), with a big backing tang of sweet cocoa and toffee tones. Some floral and herbal hop character mixes in as well, as I'm also getting a little bit of a mineral feel in the back of the nostrils. Not quite off-putting but you can definitely pick it up.

The taste starts with a thick base of bitter chocolate and some sweeter toffee flavors, before a big blast of dark roast, coffee, and hop bitterness (a good bit of citric and herbal textures are present here). The smoke really kicks it into high gear in the back end, spreading a good bit of acrid bitterness out into the mouth. The mouthfeel is full bodied, with a mouth filling creaminess to it. That 8% is mostly felt as some thick chewiness underneath and light warmth that aids in brining out those deep roasty flavors. It's mostly well hid though and is helped along by the smoothness of the nitro-pour.

Good depth of character here, even if that roasted nature was a bit overdone, and I thought that the 8% ABV actually felt about spot on for the flavors that were present. This was one of the better takes on the RIS style that I've had at the different Iron Hill locations.

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Photo of kernalklink
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this brew on reserve at their Wilmington location. Poured a velvety pitch black with a slight tan head that quickly fizzled itself out. Aromas were slightly fruity, almost berry-like with a strong roasted coffee malt backbone. The taste was very complex- warming bittersweet chocolate at first, replaced by a warming whiskey alcohol presence but it was tasty. As the brew warmed the black coffee flavors came through strong and the stout finished on a bittersweet cherry note- very nice. Very tame brew, I ould hardly detect the alcohol. The mouthfeel was amazing- it almost felt nitro-tapped with a great tingling tongue sensation from what carbonation was present. Very satisfying and an accessible intro to the style.

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Photo of Phelps
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Received from Hophead101 in the Blind Beers BIF, this big 750 was poured into my Bruery tulip and reviewed blind.

Pours a syrupy brown that coalesces in the glass to extreme ebony. This is dark magic. It's topped by a fuzzy one-finger head of oak that descends slowly, becoming a rather filmy top layer.

Smells green. Lots of pine, oak and a backbone of dark roast, with smoke, maple and molasses. It's pretty subdued.

The flavor: smoked cedar, powdery cocoa, some black molasses. In the back is a very subtle burnt flavor, with additional flavors of licorice and bubble gum.

Nice body. Pillow-soft medium, silky across the tongue. Very low, tickly carbonation, subtle fizziness. Some alcohol comes through the nose.

I downed the entire 750 in an hour, if that says anything about this beer's drinkability. Nice, though I could use a bit more roasty flavor.

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Photo of Floydster
3.93/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle acquired in a trade over a year ago, sorry I do not remember who it is from but thanks if you see this, split with my dad a few nights ago, poured into my Dogfish Head snifter, color was black, very impressive appearance, small 1/2 inch creamy light brown head that lasted about five minutes, good retention, minimal lacing, aroma was made up of dark chocolate, light vanilla, espresso, molasses, and burned sugar, taste was similar but the roasted malt component was the thing that stood out the most, starts off slightly sweet with chocolate, malts in the middle, and finishes somewhat boozy and dry with coffee and roastiness, mouthfeel was full, rosty, dry, slightly sweet, and chewy at time as well, full bodied, carbonation was probably a little low, taste lingered, could not drink this whole big bottle by myself but probably get close, pretty filling stuff, alcohol is hidden fairly well, not overpowering or anything, first beer I have tried from this brewery, really look forward to the four lambics I have coming from them though, would drink this again too, recommended

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Photo of tobelerone
3.95/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

App: Very deep and dark brown, nearly black color, with a small tan head that settles slowly. Fair lacing but not a lot of it.

Smell: Roastiness predominantly, with bittersweet chocolate, coffee, and a touch of booze.

Taste: Minimal hop character; any bitterness seems to come from its dark chocolate flavor; good roastiness, faint coffee undertones. Very slight booziness in the finish.

Mf: Smooth and a little creamy but I felt the body could have been even fuller than it was and that it lacked much in the way of the chewiness or stickiness I really enjoy in many of the better examples of this style. Medium carbonation that gives the body life but possibly detracts from the mouthfeel in that it takes away from the fullness and creaminess.

Overall: Definitely a well made RIS but not all that big in flavor or body. Balanced and pretty drinkable for the style but didn’t quite make the overall impact I’d hoped for.

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Photo of prototypic
3.97/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks to csmiley for sharing the growler!

This one pours a dark mahogany color. It's nowhere near opaque. It has burgundy highlights throughout. Unfortunately, there's not really any head. Just a few bubbles on the surface. They look to be tan in color. Lacing was very, very light. Not bad, but where's the head? C'mon now!

The nose is good. It kicks off with an excellent mix of chocolate and roasted malts. Roasted coffee is rather strong in the mix, and complements the malty notes very well. Secondary scents include molasses, caramel, and anise. Alcohol is a little more pronounced than I expected. It doesn't quite rise boozy, but it's not too far from that territory. Good smellin' stuff.

The flavor is very similar to the nose. The malt base is very flavorful and strong. Roasted and chocolate malts anchor things down very nicely. Roasted coffee is prominent and adds quite a bit to the overall flavorful. I'm a coffee fan, so that works perfectly for me. The secondary molasses and anise flavors add nice depth and complexity. Alcohol is a little better integrated here. Given its strength on the nose, I was anticipating some heat. It's not here though. Good stuff.

The body is best described as medium. Carbonation is very light, and it does feel smooth. Nonetheless, it could stand a little more body. Bottom line...big stouts need big bodies. This one isn't quite there. Drinkability is good. I like the flavor, and it's rather easy drinking for just under 10% abv.

Iron Hill did a nice job with Russian Imperial Stout. It includes all the bells and whistles of the style and doesn't make any huge missteps. It's not perfect. Its biggest needs are more body and maybe a little less alcohol. The alcohol isn't so apparent in flavor, but certainly is on the nose. Those are small gripes. It's pretty impressive overall. Easy recommendation.

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Photo of Jeffo
3.98/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to spdyfire83 for this long, long time want. Cheers!

From a 750 corked and caged bottle into a snifter
OG: 1.095
IBU: 75

APPEARANCE: Pours out clear brown and yields a one finger, fizzy, light tan head with lousy retention. Bistre brown, almost black, clear body with lower levels of carbonation. Head quickly fizzes down to a splotchy wisp and ring. No real wisp or ring remain at all. Looks a bit flat by the end. Not ugly, but certainly below par.

SMELL: Roasted notes, nice dark baker's chocolate, brownies, light licorice and coffee cream notes. Bold and very nice.

TASTE: Roasted barley and caramel sweetness up front, then a big finish of bitter dark chocolate and coffee with a roasted backbone. Bold and lingering finish is roasted, slightly burnt, with dark baker's chocolate, bitter coffee, notes of cream and some bitter citrus hops. Really nice. My style of stout for sure. A bit of alcohol there and some heat after the swallow hold it back a bit, but this is minor.

PALATE: Medium body and medium levels of carbonation. A little prickly on the palate, creamy enough though, goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: This was really good. Excellent nose and a very nice flavor profile for sure. The look and head were weak and there was a bit too much unnecessary alcohol in there for the ABV, but overall, this was right up my alley. Thanks again spdyfire83. Enjoyed this one.

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Photo of akorsak
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap as part of the Winter Warmer tasting at IH Lancaster. From the North Wales location.

A: The imperial stout is a dark black color that absorbs the rest of the spectrum. Carboonation appears to be at a minimum, adding to the still beauty of the stout.

S: The nose is roasted, dark with burnt toast, chocolate and coffee. The nose seems muted, as compared to some of the bottles that I've had.

T: Warming, the stout is rich and malty. Layers of chocolate, nuts, coffee, burnt toast and char wash over the tastebuds. No one flavor is stronger than another, rather they all work in tandem to produce a full flavor. The hops are an afterthought, allowing the British side of the stout come through. A nice beer to finally have on tap.

M: Full and thick, this RIS isn't a pounder. The malt focus is a nice reminder of the stout's origin.

D: This version tips the scales at 9%, so it is not a pounding stout. The smaller pour that I had was a perfect size to reveal the intricate strength of the stout.

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Photo of John_M
4/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Brought this beer to a recent bottle share in Portland. While this showed pretty well, obviously, it was hard to appreciate it, drinking it side by side some of the BA coffee speedway variations, aged BCBS and other barrel aged stouts on offer. Nevertheless, the beer had an impressive soft, fairly full mouthfeel (this bottles was at least two years old I believe), and there was plenty of coffee, light vanilla, licorice, burnt toast and roasty malt on both the nose and palate. Alcohol was pretty well integrated into the flavor profile.

A nice enough beer, but it was just out of its class at the bottle share I attended.

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Russian Imperial Stout from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
4.18 out of 5 based on 254 ratings.
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