Russian Imperial Stout | Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant

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Russian Imperial StoutRussian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
United States

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

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Reviews: 112 | Ratings: 262
Photo of thebeers
4.14/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mahogany black with thin chocolate milk-colored head. Nice roasted malts in the nose with a touch of coffee and some chocolate. Similar tasting, but somewhat creamier and less toasty. Thick creamy mouthfeel. Solid.

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Photo of unclekeith
4.49/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2014 750 into a snifter

L: Black as sin, 1-finger khaki head going quickly to a collar
S: Roasted malt, smokiness, chocolate, coffee
T: Following the nose, nice bitterness, no hops, and almost no sweetness
F: Creamy, full bodied, nice carb
O: Feels stripped down in this age of barrels and adjuncts - very well done, nowhere to hide any imperfections - excellent!

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Photo of tone77
3.68/5  rDev -11.8%
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 JJKBeerLvr
4.46/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 23oz bottle into pint glass in December 2015.

Appearance: Dark black with a thick tan/brown head. Head is thick, and sticks to the glass.

Smell: Strong aroma of roasted malts and coffee. There is some hopiness and a hint of sweetness like chocolate as well, but overall the roasted coffee dominate the others.

Taste: There is a nice balance between the malts and roasted coffee flavors. There is some chocolate and hop flavors to enhance the taste and add some complexity. There is a strong alcohol presence as with other RISs. Great aftertaste.

Mouth-feel: Very thick, but with a smooth creamy bodied.

This is a typically strong RIS, but it has a variety of flavors that adds a nice complexity to the beer. Although this is a big beer, it is smooth and really enjoyable to drink. Overall one of my favorite RIS, and one I want to drink again.

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Photo of corby112
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Draft at the Voorhees, NJ location.

Pours pitch black and nearly opaque with only faint mahogany edges and a two finger frothy beige head that slowly settles into a thick, lasting ring. Very good retention for the style and ABV taking a while to settle and leaving streaks of soapy lacing in its path.

Deeply roasted robust dark malt aroma with hints of gourmet coffee bean, burnt sugar, toast and dark chocolate countered by lighter malt sweetness. Hints of caramel, toffee, silky dessert-like chocolate, licorice and dark fruit.

Chewy and viscous full with robust dark malt flavor that's perfectly balanced by sweeter dark malt notes. Very nice roast with tasting burnt or acrid. Gourmet coffee bean flavor along with, burnt toast bittersweet dark chocolate, oatmeal and liquid smoke. This is countered by slight lactic creaminess, sweet chocolate, licorice and hazelnut. Very smooth and easy drinking considering the complexity and high ABV. One of Iron Hill's best beers.

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Photo of KTCamm
4.17/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

9/11/15...pours pitch black , thick brown foam with long retention. 1/4 inch lid. Hearty roasted coffee nose. Toasty. Strong roasted coffee flavor. Dry finish. Sweet malty background buried in a bitter coffee avalanche. Can sense the 9.5% but not overt.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.16/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a richly dark brown and sits next to black in the glass with a fair amount of light khaki foam.

Sweet milk chocolate and bitter dark chocolate, vanilla, roast, citrus, and earthy tones.

Huge citrus and earthy hop flavor lends balance to the huge bitter roast, chocolate, and creamy vanilla notes.

Heavy-bodied, medium carbonation, roasty, sweet then bitter balance.

Overall, being my first sampling from Iron Hill, this did not disappoint. A great example of the style with a hefty dosing of American hops.

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Photo of richj1970
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 16 oz can into pint glass. No visible date.

A: Pitch black with two finger light tan head that lasted a couple of minutes with plenty of sticky lacing.

S: Roasted malts, coffee, vanilla, and chocolate.

T: Lots of rich roasted malts combined with subtle milk chocolate, vanilla, and coffee notes.

M: Full bodied but not thick. Finish is slightly dry and lightly bitter but in a good way.

O: This is a really nice RIS. If this was in my regular distribution area, I would be crushing these regularly.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the Iron Hill in Ardmore, PA.

Pours a very dark brown color with almost one inch of light tan head and moderate carbonation evident. Lots of chocolate, cream, vanilla, roasted malts, light coffee, milk chocolate, and light dark fruits. Medium body and low carbonation, super smooth and creamy.

Overall a very good RIS; the best beer I've had from them so far. Not very strong, worth checking out if you go for sure.

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Photo of fourstringer
3.84/5  rDev -7.9%
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.


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Photo of BeerImmediately
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a 4 pack of pounder cans at the Phoenixville location - $22. Seemingly ouch, but when compared to 750ml's, it's a bargain. Very cool orange cans, and love that they put a RIS in a 16oz.

Pours with only minimal beige head, and very little lacing. Roasty, toasty aromas. Some unsweetened cocoa, raw dough, and cardboard finish it out. Flavors carry the aromas, and add a nice barky bitterness. Some coffee grinds, honey, citrus hops (esp lime), and dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is fairly light going down (for the style), but the aftertaste leaves a bitter film on the tongue. Normal carbonation for a big RIS.

Pretty happy with this one - it's not over the top in flavor or mouthfeel, but is simply well crafted. And love the can approach!

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Photo of jwhancher
4.81/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Provided by WC brewer last fall. No bottled on date observed. Poured into a Duvel glass for review. Doesn't absolute black, almost opaque dark brown. Nice rocky tan head. Not much lacing on the glass. Smells of light roast, chocolate, chalk, brown malt and citrus hops all harmoniously gelled together. Upfront roast and chocolate in the taste with firm bitterness and nice lucious, creamy mouthfeel. Nice vanilla presence and virtually no alcohol notes in either aroma or taste. Could mistake this beer as 5% ABV. Overall, a superbly done beer.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.8/5  rDev -8.9%
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 John_M
4/5  rDev -4.1%
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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Photo of Stevedore
4.25/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

750ml bottle. Poured into a snifter glass 10/2/2014.

A- Dark brown, nearly black, opaque body with a nice two finger mocha head that dissipates slowly. Nice thick film on top, with a little bit of lacing. [4.25]

S- Milk chocolate, lactose, cocoa, earthy hops. This is excellent, almost like an imperial milk stout. [4.25]

F- Smooth milk chocolate, dark cocoa, espresso, earthy hops, some lactose. Very flavourful, lots of sweet lactose and milk chocolate. If you like milk chocolate, this is your thing. Less of the dark fruits that some Russian Imperial Stouts come with. [4.25]

M- Medium, on the edge of full bodied, smooth, just enough carbonation. Again, smooth and rich body that is just balanced out by the earthy hop bitterness. [4.25]

O- Excellent RIS that is less on the dark fruits and heavier on the milk chocolate and roast. I really enjoyed this one a lot. As I understand it, its an old school RIS that has historically done well and I can see it here. [4.25]

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Photo of Jeffo
3.98/5  rDev -4.6%
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 RblWthACoz
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a great beer. And it's just dying to be aged out. Great malt tones, nice chocolate, very mild roasted tones. Extremely thick, but not obnoxiously so. Great feel. This is really a spectacular beer. Hits exactly what an ris should be. I wouldn't mind having more of this to age.

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.41/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Shared by Megan. Thanks!

The beer is a deep dark brown with minimal head. Big chocolate roast and char aroma. The flavor follows suit. Rich and viscous with fairly low carbonation. Alcohol content hidden gracefully. Overall, a splendid beer and terrific example of the style. I would relish the opportunity to have this again.

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Photo of micromaniac129
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Came out jet black with a good size mocha head with lots of lacing in it.s wake. A wonderful aroma of roasted malts and coffee and dark chocolates greeted me. Taste was as in the nose with a deeply roasted taste followed with some coffee and espresso notes.
Easy drinking and smooth despite the heavy ashen feel.

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Photo of claspada
3.88/5  rDev -7%
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 inlimbo77
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750ml bottle. 2011 version. Enjoyed back in Oct. at the West Chester Restaurant, and video reviewed. Served in a Iron Hill tasting chalice glass, about 12oz.

A: Poured out basically pitch black, aside from some reddish hues around the edges. It's thick, but not the thickest brew I have seen. I got about a quarter finger of light tan head initially that faded pretty quickly. It left some nice lacing sheeting and bits. I got some alcohol feet as well.

S: Lots of coffee and chocolate. Roasted malts. Bittersweet dark chocolate for sure. Maybe a touch of dark fruitiness behind it all. Primarily the chocolate and roasted coffee.

T: Right up front you get that dark chocolate and coffee bitterness that you took from the nose. In the middle of the mouth you are getting a lot of that roasted malt character, coupling with the chocolate. Coats the mouth nicely. It's bitter but not overly bitter.

M: Full mouthfeel. Not overly chewy and viscous.

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Photo of kawilliams81
4/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750 ml bottle into a Surly Darkness snifter.

A- pours black with a 1 finger tan head. Small bubbles cling to the glass.

S- big dark chocolate and roast aromas.

T- roast, dark chocolate, bitter coffee, and some slight sour dark fruits at the finish.

M- medium body and carbonation. Slightly dry and chalky.

O- good RIS. Has nice chocolate and roast notes.

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Photo of Ultraman9000
4.2/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml corked and caged bottle (Wilmington, DE), from late 2010/early 2011 trade, poured into my Great Divide snifter. Bottle notes: 2003 GABF Gold Medal, 2006 World Beer Cup Bronze; 1.095 OG; 75 IBU.

A: Gentle pour yields a thin layer of cream-colored head, which quickly dissipates to leave a ring of bubbles and nice lacing around the edge. Very dark in my snifter, with slight brown highlights appearing when held close to a light.

S: Slightly toasty. Caramel, brown sugar, possibly blackstrap molasses. I also get a hint of dark fruits, for a subdued but pleasant aroma overall.

T: Initial flavors of sweet dark chocolate and vanilla/caramel are followed by the dark and toasty notes evidenced in the nose. Makes me think of tree bark, in a good way (perhaps the roast is tricking my senses). As it warms, a bit of biscuit and coffee emerge as well.

M: Light and prickly carbonation, with medium+ body. The small bubbles dissipate quickly on my tongue, leaving a slight bitterness that hints at the hops that were undoubtedly once more present than they are now.

O: A well-balanced, dark 'n roasty RIS that incorporates sweet malty notes without becoming cloying. Excellent mouthfeel and flavor balance makes it especially drinkable for almost 10%, and I had no problem finishing off the bottle by myself.

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of stakem
4.08/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I could have swore I reviewed this 2 years ago from a bottle. Oh well, here we are again but this time on draft at the Lancaster location.

The brew pours black in color with a thick brown head. When held to the light, it displays some ruby clarity faintly around the edges. The dark brown head holds strong across the top leaving frothy pathy lacing effect on the glass.

The smell is dark and roasted. The char of the grain imparts a fresh scent of coffee and chocolate through the nose. A bit of citrus inclusion from the hops as well as an earthy layering that includes some licorice. A minor dark fruity alcohol note brings up the back smelling of plums, raisons and other dark almost burnt over-ripe fruits.

The taste is roasty and bitter from a combination of the dark grains and citrus-like hops. There is a fruity alcohol inclusion that rounds things out. This brew has a lot of flavor that blends together nicely and is well balanced between roasty, bitter and fruity. The aftertaste displays a hint of raisiny sweetness coupled with a darker sort of molasses flavoring.

This is a medium to full bodied brew with a modest level of carbonation. Well balanced and fairly easy drinking for over 9%. This one is worth seeking out. I enjoyed the mix of flavor despite usually not fully enjoying the fruity side of some RIS offerings. I wouldnt mind getting a bottle or two of this to age for a few years but the price tag on Iron Hill bottles keep me from buying them frequently.

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Photo of BARFLYB
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On Tap at The new Chestnut Hill location, before getting physically assulted.

Iron Hill Russian Imperial Stout is a dark monster. It's pretty damn black and has a thick looking coat to it. A nice beige tannish foam on top leaving small notches.

Smell is very bold and pungent and layered. Bold is all about the roasted malt. Roasty as all hell in the nose with some smoke/peat. Bitter chocolate scent with cocco and some vanilla. I don't pick up any alcohol.

What I do pick up is a kick ass stout that has depth. Depth of flavor going forward with cocco, chocolate, vanilla, MAD ROASTY MALT, some smoke and a hint of black coffee. Layered is a understatement.

Feel, like mentioned below is pretty big, I would say approaching full, aw hell, it's full and bold and busty. A nice subtle carb is felt with each sip, yet barely makes a whimper. Clean RIZZZZ here.

I cant drink a ton of it, in fact a glass is fine. Maybe two growlers to go, one to share with 5 friends, one to lay down.

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Russian Imperial Stout from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
4.17 out of 5 based on 262 ratings.
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