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: 261
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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Photo of oline73
4.51/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Once I decided to bring home a growler of the Chokolad, I had to get this one to compare it as well. Poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours black with a layer of tan head. The head takes a while to get to the top of the pour because the body is thick and it wants to keep the bubbles in. The head then fades to a ring around the edge of the glass and leaves some lacing.

Smell: Lots of roasted malt here. Some sweetness from the grain. Also picking up some dark chocolate and alcohol warmth.

Taste: This beer is extremely smooth and incredibly well balanced. Roast with dark chocolate, alcohol, and some hop bitterness. Everything works together so amazingly well. I'd love to have another.

Mouthfeel: Thick body with some of the smoothest carbonation I have ever had. Tingly carbonation with a slight dryness.

Overall: Everything about this beer works. Nothing is over the top, but there is so much going on. I would have this again in a heartbeat.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.36/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Mrvonzipper for sharing this one

Look: Black and totally opaque with brown rings around the edges and absolutely no head a bit surprising

Smell: The nose is very bright with lots of roasted malt and chocolate greating you right away with hints of coffee and some alcohol in the backdrop

Taste: The flavor is just as good as the nose with the same notes greeting you right away. roasted malt and chocolate blend extreme well and create a wonderful balance of flavor. The background carries some roasted coffee dark fruits and a whiff of vanilla

Mouthfeel: Full body and low carbonation

Overall: Great beer I am glad I got the chance to try this one. After trying the Iron Hill bourbon barrel quad which was an infected mess I was a bit hesitant about the brewery but held back judgement and this one delivered big time

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Photo of pitasoup
4.07/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

from blind bif 6, thanks to hophead101 for the bottle.

A: pours slow like molasses, black, rolling brown carbonation that fades up into creamy brown head. dark and murky, edges leak out some brown when held up and tilted, but otherwise no light is coming through. 4

S: chocolate, lots of chocolate, toffee, molasses, very small hints of whiskey, vanilla, willamette, and burnt grains. 4.5

T: similar to the smells but not very sweet. in fact, the first flavors are black-patent like burnt malts. the chocolate, molasses, whiskey blowup that i was expecting wasn't there at all. what's happening here? vanilla comes out as it sits 4

M: medium to medium-full, lighter than the pour and color would have suggested though. slightly astringent/tart from darker/burnt grains. warming after the swallow and ever so slightly solvent on the tongue. 3.5

O: a big ass chocolate stout? the smells are fantastic, but the taste doesn't deliver, overall a pretty solid beer but it use some more pop in the flavors. after letting it warm up for 30mins or so, smooth and delicious vanilla begins to mix nicely. bumping up a few points for great balance and drinkability at room temp, wow i wont even bother chilling this next time 4

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Photo of ehammond1
4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5


Thanks for opening this, MrVonzipper!

Deep black in color with a thin brown head. Looks thick and substantial in the glass.

Big, complex aroma of roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, a bit of dark fruit, and a bit of candy sugar sweetness as well. Complete.

This is simply a marvelous example of the style. Big, bold flavors of roasted malt, coffee, dark fruits, chocolate, and just a bit of sweetness. Big flavors, bold and assertive, yet balanced and drinkable.

Medium to full bodied with moderate carbonation.

A great example of a favorite style.

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Photo of tobelerone
3.95/5  rDev -5.3%
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 larryi86
4.55/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

750 mL bottle from the Newark location poured into a tulip

A- Black with a three finger tan head.

S- Dark chocolate, roasted malts, caramel malts, faint coffee, some piney hops.

T- Dark chocolate, caramel mats, roasted coffee, some hops in the finish, very well balanced.

M- Medium to full body, smooth, nice creaminess.

O- A nice RIS, 9.5% ABV is very well hidden. Not the most complex beer and I little on the pricey side, but worth trying of you get the chance!

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Photo of rtaps
4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pours black with a nice tan head, decent retention leaving minimal lacing, and slightly viscous looking
very nice nose on it, nutty chocolate, some coffee and roasted malts.

taste is great kind of fallows the nose. nutty chocolate, roasted malts, with some coffee there all blended nicely

medium bodied and carbonation.

overall its a good RIS wouldn't mind getting another one

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.39/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to MrVonzipper for sharing this one during his tasting!

Pours an almost opaque super dark brown with a khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small dots of lace form on the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa powder, slight dark fruits, and alcohol. Taste is of dark roasted malt and cocoa powder. There is a nice roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good RIS with some solid aromas and flavors.

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

Tap (Growler from Wilmington) Pours a rich black with a thick tan head that left a solid coat of lacing on the glass. Aroma is strong of coffee and chocolate, and the taste is very strong of the same. It is sweet without being over powering, and no hint at all of hops or strong malts. Very well balances and the 9.5% is also well hidden in this very creamy drink. Definitely a beer for sipping -- take your time with this one!!

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Photo of keanex
4.31/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this on nitro last night at Iron Hill Brewery in Maple Shade, New Jersey.

A: Huge creamy thick tan head, expected from the nitro. Body is pitch black. This looks wonderful, especially through nitro.

S: A bit faint, possibly because of the nitro (first nitro beer), but there's roasted coffee notes with some dark chocolate. A bit mellow compared to what I was expecting, but inviting.

T: Absolutely wonderful. Very mellow, again I'm assuming due to the nitro, but there's the roasted coffee with the dark chocolate very mellow but very balanced throughout. Wonderful beer.

M: Thick and creamy, absolutely wonderful.

O: A great beer on nitro, I'll be trying it on normal tap next, but this is wonderful.

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Russian Imperial Stout from Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant
4.17 out of 5 based on 261 ratings.
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