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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: 111 | Ratings: 254
Photo of DIM
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This stout is a very dark brown, just shy of being black. It was served to me with a very thin mocha head.

s: Nice roasty aromas that border on burnt. Coffee, anise, and a surprisingly potent hop aroma are the most noticeable smells. As it warms, alcohol and some very faint cherries emerge.

t: This is a pretty bitter RIS, and I like it! Bitter elements include, coffee, anise, floral hops, and very well done, smokey pretzels. I'm not making that last one up, I swear I tasted almost burnt pretzels. And that's how I like my pretzels, super well-done. Some semi-sweet chocolate and a pleasant alcohol finish round things out.

m: I couldn't see much carbonation, but it asserted itself here; very nice and mouth-filling. The body had a great oily quality.

d: The perfect warmer on a snowy february day. I'm sorry I only had time for one.

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Photo of tgbljb
4.2/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served as a very deep brown beer with moderate tannish head.
Smell shows lots of roasted malt, toffee, coffee, and chocolate.
Taste is extremely impressive. he rich flavors of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate abound, a modest sweetnes is present, and the ending gives enough dryness to tie everything togesther.
Way too easy to drink for 9.5%.
Very teasty. Probably the best beer I've yet to have from an Iron Hill.

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Photo of Fish113d
4.23/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a nice, dark, brown with a burnt-sienna color coming through a bit. Body seems very thick, while a very sticky, thick, dense head the color of cork forms at the surface to about 3 fingers thickness and then dissipates to a nice 1/2 cm surface layer.

Aroma is slightly "boozy" with a robust amount of chocolate & caramel throughout. A sweet toffee smell maybe comes through as well. Faint oak barrels also seem to "pop" while a bit of floral hops underlines the nose. Very nice.

Sipping reveals a very thick, chewy body that starts with a lot of chocolate up front with a roasty almond flavor coming through after. A bit of bourbon flavor also comes through. Finish is fairly dry with a bit of the alcohol coming through to tingle my tongue. Overall, pretty smooth though to be honest for something near 10% abv; well-balanced.

Very warming brew. I'm glad I have a big bottle to share with a loved one (my wife) on a relatively "chill" evening. Sorry Sulldaddy, the next bottle is on me and for us!

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Photo of Biscuit033
4.26/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Very dark brown with a creamy tan head that has great retention and lacing.

S: Slight roast, some smoke, and a bit of chocolate.

T: Chocolate, smoke, espresso, caramel, cream, vanilla, and a touch of alcohol.

M: Full, creamy, and smooth, like a milkshake with a nice alcohol bitter finish.

D: Goes down very easy. This something that I look to see if it is on tap everytime I walk into an Iron Hill. I am very happy to have it from the cask.

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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 DrJay
4.5/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one poured very dark, nearly opaque, with dark brown edges. It was capped by a tan head that appeared slowly and thinned to a solid ring, leaving wisps of bubbles on the surface of the beer. The very fine bubbles showed some stickage too. The aroma was dominated by sweet malt, mostly caramel and toffee, but with significant roast, chocolate and licorice as well. Bitterness was low to moderate in strength, but present throughout. The flavour was English in character, balanced towards a rich, malty sweetness and accented by licorice early on, cocoa in the middle, and roast towards the finish. The roasted flavour was actually a lot like chewing on the roasted barley grain. The body was heavy and palate coating, and combined with low carbonation produced a very smooth and creamy texture. Even with all the residual sugar providing body, it didn't taste underattenuated at all. There was a slight dryness from tannins and no alcohol taste, but some warmth. Highly drinkable for a big beer. Definitely an interesting take on the style and certainly more in the English camp. Very tasty. Thanks Tim!

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Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.62/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours a dark black. My mag-lite struggles to register any color at all. The head consists of a chunky tan collar with irregular spots in the middle.

Smells of big sticky barley with lots of chocolate and a splash of coffee. Nice blend here. Rounds out with a touch of smoke and maple syrup.

The flavor is rather gentle with a dry rough barley with a slight brown sugar. A slight coffee again is followed by a thin maple syrup. There’s also a very subtle sour cherry and orange rind to balance things our.

Feels light and clean with a nice, gentle carbonation. It’s almost glassy with a nice thickening carbonation. I’ll go ahead and say this one feels ideal.

Tasty, light and clean. What more could you ask for?

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Photo of WesWes
4.35/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer pours a deep, dark black color with a thick frothy tan head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a warm roasted malt scent with a firm black and chocolate malt aroma as well. It seems sweet with a mild roasted character. The taste is great. It has a rich and creamy black and chocolate malt flavor. It goes down smooth and sweet and finishes warm and toastey. There is a mild earthy character that blends well with chocolate element. The mouthfeel is excellent. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a damn fine beer. It's full of malt character and highly drinkable. I love the chocolate presence the best. It's bold, but also adds a bit of balance to the regular black and roasted malts.

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

I think I received this from my Secret Bunny 2007 Mac300. The beer was served in a Imperial Nonic.

Appearance: The beer pours a perfect black pitch. The head is the color of burnt creamed coffee approximately 2 fingers high. The head resolves to a ring of foam. Whisp of lacing remain behind on my glass.

Smell: The beer has the usual suspects in terms of well roasted and burnt coffee, as well as, semi-sweet coffee. Fruity figs and dates combine with anise and spicey alcohol. This is dam near everything I would want in a Imperial Stout.

Taste: The beer captures my palate with well roasted coffee, semi-sweet chocolate, figs, raisins and dates. A pleasing pine hoppyness combines with alcohol for a spicey coda.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer has a big body. The carbonation is low but not problematic. The flavors and aroma are bold enough and very enjoyable. This is easily a first rate Imperial Stout. I would have this beer again. Sadly this beer is not available in my neck of the woods.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black, slight tan foaming head to about 1 finger.
Coffee and caramel are noticable in the nose, but a bit weak for a RIS. Dark soft fruit and banana are also present.
Taste follows the nose, a bit weak. Coffee battles the sweetness, almost like a porter or regular stout. Fruits come into play, very delicious, but not to style.
Very easy drinking. Smooth, some nice crispness to it. Again, a bit odd for the style, though.

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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 Zorro
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sampled due to the kindness of zrrbrrt and Double Trouble GIF.

This beer is a light proof black colored beer with a good brown colored head.

The smell is sweet and heavy with dark roasted malt aromas. Decent amount of chocolate in the scent with a fair amount of smoke to it. There are fruity aromas in this that tend to get a bit lost in the roast and malt. Fairly strong apple scent and almonds. To pick up the fruit you need to let this get fairly warm or warm it with your hands in a Brandy snifter. The fruit aromas are carried by the alcohol fumes.

The taste begins sweet and heavily roasted with lots of coffee taste. Mostly a sweet and mild flavored RIS this is really more of a milk stout on steroids. Sweet with mostly chocolate flavor and a very slight amount of coffee to it.

The mouthfeel is OK.

This is an extra easy to drink RIS. Some would call this dumbed down in fact. The flavors could be more complex and less sweet but this is by no means hard to drink. Really this is a beginners RIS for those not yet ready for the real stronger thing.

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Photo of jwc215
4.1/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

1 pt. 9.3 oz corked bottle. Brought up to me recently by some friends.

Pours almost pitch black with a thin tan head that soon becomes a lasting swirl of a patch.

The smell is of chocolate. Some mocha and dark fruits are also noticeable.

The taste is of dark fruits wrapped in sweet chocolate. The chocolate dominates throughout. A roasted character that hints at mocha is also there. There is a roasted character that peeks through, almost too much so, but acts as a balance to the chocolate sweetness.

Silky texture. Full-bodied, though the carbonation is just a slight too much. Still in all, it is smooth and leaves a pleasant chocolate/coffee aftertaste.

Not necessarily the fullest or most complex for style, but still delicious. Very easy to drink for style. Alcohol is almost completely covered. Just a touch of warming alcohol. Recommended if you have a chance to get some of this!

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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 meathookjones
4.3/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours out black with a good sized tan frothy head. Some oily lacing was coating the glass as it was consumed. Strong roasted malts and burnt notes in the aroma. Chocolate and some ripe dark fruits rounded it out. Roasty as hell flavor with burnt malts and fruits. Some dark chocolate adds a bit of bitterness. It is moderately sweet as well. Ends with a ridiculously long lasting dry chalky burnt note. Thick body with a silky slick feel to it. Really easy drinking for the style, though the burnt notes could have been turned down a notch. Very nice example of the style.

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Photo of SixpointJMH
4.03/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice seasonal find on tap @ Iron Hill.

It pours a deep deep brown to black colour with a nice creamy tan head.

The aromas are of roasted malt, coffee, some sweet chocolate and a hint of hops.

The flavour is basically more of the same. It starts sweet and velvety and moves into a more creamy/chewy coffee flavour with roasted malt mixed in nicely as well. Hop presence isn't as noticeable as in the aroma, but is still felt.

I've come to enjoy Russian Imperial Stouts more and more and while they still aren't at the top of my list of favourite styles, this is definitely a nice, enjoyable brew that I'd be happy to revisit.

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Photo of Birdiebeagle
4.13/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler pours a hazy dark brown with a frothy light brown head. Very good lacing and head is lasting. Aromais of heavy chocolate malt. Some coffee. A dry chocolate flavor. A soft medium beer with all the goodness I expected. I am pretty close to Iron Hill so I taste all thier stuff, and this is one of the best.

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Photo of goodbyeohio
4.27/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

750ml courtesy of larry.. kind of an "im sorry your experience at iron hill sucked monkey testicles" olive branch type offering.

pours a resinous, viscous shiny black with frothy tan topper. head becomes soapy with rest and leaves spotty lacing. surprisingly mild yet malty nose showing big hits of vanilla and toffee caramel. aroma balanced nicely by some faintly detectable juicy hops. slick mouthfeel.. goes right down with little/no carbonation interference.. doesn't need it, this beer has body and its allowed to shine thanks to low priming levels. hops tickle the back of my throat and the beer, with its upper-middle class abv, warms my tummy. hops are more noticeable in the flavor, but exist to accent not to dominate. the dark malts evoke creamed coffee and heath bars. those green buds add something fruity to the finish and this beer really packs a very underwhelming bitterness.. which is a refreshing change for a big RIS like this. maybe a bit too sugary for some- even seems to be approaching barleywine in its grand scheme. wonderful, nice beer.. thoroughly satisfying and more than makes up for any wrongdoing on the part of my iron hill waiter from last august.

(bottle cellared 6 months)

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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 francisweizen
4.32/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

A nice new seasonal on-tap now at the Iron Hill in Media, Pa. This is a very dark brown/black brew, but it is not quite opaque. The aromas are of roasted malts, alcohol, espresso, currants, other dark fruits, dark chocolate, and a bit of fresh hops. The taste is very roasty up front with some lovely complex malt flavors in the middle (chocolate, coffee) and a smooth finish that is very espresso-like and slightly hoppy at the same time. Ya know what? For Iron Hill, this is a damn good beer. Sure, it may be a bit light for an Imperial stout, but it is to style and the "lightness" of this version only adds to its imminent drinkability. Definately worthy a try when it is on tap....and perhaps my favorite brew from this brewpub so far.

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Photo of mophie
4.54/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another damn fine beer from my friends at Iron Hill. 1/2 gallon growler. Ruby-brown in color, with just a trace of light poking through. First pour produced a really appetizing cafe-au-lait head, but subsequent pourings were relatively flat. Regarding the smell: my kids thought it smelled great (they're 8 and 11 years old, so my wife pretty much freaked), but they're right -- really nice fragrance of chocolate, plums, raisins, roasted malts. As for taste: when I was at the brewpub, I watched a guy at another table try his first sip. Upon tasting, he got one of those looks on his face that indicated he had just experienced something really special. A really nice malt backbone, with just a hint of hop bitterness. Burnt toast qualities, with an ever-so-slight alcohol spiciness. Oh yeah, baby. Be it food or beer, Iron Hill puts out a first-rate product.

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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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