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Imperial Russian Stout | Wellington County Brewery

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Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery
Ontario, Canada

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
Imperial Stout is patterned after the highly fortified Russian Stouts that were exported from the U.K. to Russia in the 1800s.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 11-28-2001

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Reviews: 109 | Ratings: 190
Photo of Sammy
3.77/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Not the Iron Duke, rather an experimental template on cask at Volo Cafe Cask Day 2006. A good head, medium mouthfeel, and dry and roasty. Between a stout and a real thick Russian one. Worked on cask for stout fans. Had it on cask again 16 months later and it worked very well.
Four years later at C'est What and still very solid, upgraded mouthfeel.

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Photo of Absumaster
4.12/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours a pitch black color with a very thin head than disappears after a couple of minutes, leaving a black, thick liquid.

Smell is awesome, dark chocolate, molasses, burned notes and something what I would call stock, the stuff you make soup with you know? Also a good malty backbone to support all these heavy smells.This is all very mild and seems to be very balanced.

Taste is hopbitter and malt bitter, all of these "dark" taste like molasses, dark chocolate, burned malts. The tastes leans very heavy on the black/roasted part, and is supported by the malt. None of this comes across as sharp, it is rather mild and very drinkable. Body is pretty thick, but this goes very well with the style.

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Photo of Noxious26
3.87/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

341ml bottle poured in a pint glass. Very regal looking front label and a nice touch with the picture on the cap. Thanks to Viggo for the brew.

Ebony and opaque. Only a little cola colour shows through the edges when held to the light. Brown head is just a thin cap on the pour, but quickly disappears into a thin ring around the edges and is completely gone by mid-glass.

Aroma is malty, fruity and slightly sweet. Dried fruit, plummy and a little vinuous. Hints of dark roast coffee.

Roasted malt, burnt malt and dark roast coffee at the start with a hint of sweetness. Vinuous quality shows through at the finish with the burnt and bitterness. Aftertaste of bold dark roast coffee.

Mouthfeel isn't as full as I'd expected, but still medium-full bodied. Lightly carbonated. Creamy and very smooth.

Surprisingly drinkable. This brew goes down quite easily, although I don't see it exactly as a session beer. All around a good beer, but lacking some of the forcefulness I've come to expect from an Imperial Stout.

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Photo of crwills
4.33/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I've had a lot of these, but this is my last bottle of my current batch. Hope I can find some more, because it's great, and I'm so glad it's local!

Pours pitch black with a big chocolate milk head.

Aroma is chocolate, cappuccino, brown sugar, chocolate covered cherries, and some mild alcohol.

Flavour is excellent, if simple -- dry, bitter chocolate or cocoa, and some bitter hops that balance out the maltiness well.

Super-thick mouthfeel, ear-warming alcohol in there, making the aftertaste somewhat sweet (but mostly pleasant).

My only complaint about this beer is that, for the style, it's not as complex and out there as some of the big name ones from the US. That being said, it's easy to get, and I'll always keep some in stock. Definitely up there with my favourite beers!

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Photo of Orrshow
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Black as night with a small amount of light brown head. The head doesn’t retain for long falling into a ring.

Smell – Smells like strong dark chocolate and roasted coffee beans. I like what I’m smelling.

Taste – Well the smell just gave away the taste here. Again strong chocolate and coffee bean. So much roasted flavor here as well. It’s good. The finish is slightly bitter, which I like.

Mouthfeel – This beer is a bit thin for what I expect from an Imperial Stout. On top of that the carnonation felt a touch course despite not being that high.

Drinkability – It’s drinkable. There are nice flavors here but the feel it gives isn’t quite what I’m looking for.

I like this beer and because it’s not the best in its style it makes me more optimistic about tasting other Imperials.

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Photo of elricorico
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a bit of brown around the edges. Had a thin fizzy head that was light brown in colour and didn't stay around for long.

Smell is bitter chocolate with a bit of roasted barley. There is also a bit of liquor smell to it.

The taste has a fair amount of roasted coffee bean and bitter chocolate. Alcohol is apparent, but not strong. It does create a warmth though.

There is some body to this beer and the carbonation is light. I could see just a little more body making it better, though it isn't bad as it is.

Really I'd say this is a very good stout, but as far as an Imperial Stout it hasn't quite reached my hopes. Pretty good, and perhaps the best of the style we can get in Alberta right now, but I know there are better ones out there.

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Photo of Crosling
4.3/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I usually write and discuss what I think about the appearence and aroma before I even taste the beer, but this just looked so lovely and smelled so nice that I had to sneak a taste. Damn, this straight up rocks. Black with an overflowing, bubbly and rocky head of light tan foam. Liquid smores aromatics with hints of graham crackers, coffee, chocolate and roast along with a suggestion of soy sauce and blackberries. Very rich malts in the flavor with notes of coffee, chocolate, black licorice and dark fruits. Very rich and very flavorful and there are not any rough hops to ruin the lovely malt presence.

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Photo of funkengruven
4.58/5  rDev +17.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Black as night, Roasted malt and toffee to the nose that is also presented in the flavor, which is just amazing. As it warms it gets smoother, more pronounced but not overpowering, Very easy going for a strong stout. If you haven't already tried this, try it, you won't be disappointed.

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Photo of Cwrw
4.37/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Appreciation to 42ndtourist for sending me a bottle of this from Ontario. Classic looking label with the "Iron Duke" portrait on the cap as well. This is definitely one of the most revered beers in Ontario, so my anticipation was high. Poppping the cap gives that lovely malty-milky aroma. This poured impenetrably black, with a soft brown/dark beige head. The head churned very slowly, leaving some very sticky lacing that was lighter in colour. The beer's thickness is clearly evident when held closely to a light--this is extremely hard to see through: only hints of dark mollasses brown near the edges. The head went down to a thinnish layer, with almost red-tinges to the outer bubbles appearing. The carbonation and the foam gets better after a few gentle swirls, and it increased the head's retention; and the lacing then became big sheets screening the glass. Rich, meaty looking stout. The aroma is immediate seasoning salt maltiness, very meat-like, some wood, lactic creaminess, black licorice and mollasses. All in all it is expectedly malty-sweet, but with definining hopiness as well. Nostril-filling smells of pepper, brown sugar, fresh brown bread, root beer, tar, raisins and burt toast, dark bitter chocolate, a jot of charcoal, sweet maple syrup, and a nice lack of any strong alcohol notes. Delectable and appetising. The first characteristic I noticed when I sipped was a little less body than I expected. The taste is all licorice and spicy, leathery malt up front. Wonderful meat and toasted bread in the middle, and the substantial dryness from the hops leaves a definite bittering effect on the palate. There is a little milkiness in the taste, and the phenols can definitely be tasted in the middle of the tongue, albeit not as strongly as some Imperial Stouts. There is much salinity in the taste, especially at the back of the tongue, adding a very strong double-salted licorice flavour. Great sugar-and-butter toast aftertaste. Syrupy carbonation, very slick and oily. The mouthfeel is definitely full, but perhaps not as thick as some Imperials. The ease with which this goes down, with no biting alcohol and no overpowering qualities, renders it extremely drinkable. I paired this with three cheeses: Danish Havarti cheese was somewhat overpowered by the beer; French brie added a touch of metallic sourness; but 3-year Canadian aged cheddar could hold its own, and complemented the sweet maltiness with its sharp pungency. A perfect brew for this cold night, and I wish I had many more for the frost-bitten nights to come. This is one beer from Ontario I wish we could buy here in Alberta. This is a well-balanced Imperial Russian Stout--everything it should be. All the elements mix to create a beautiful alchemical concoction.

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

Came in a 341 ml brown bottle, portrait of the Iron Duke himself pouting up the label. Pours out opaque black, thin cola hues around the extremities when held to the light, thick, solid tan head which retains for about a minute before dropping to a thin cap. Roasted malt, flaky dark chocolate and coffee grounds greet the nose, dried figs also make an appearance, that's as close as the alcohol content comes to presenting itself. It's a bit boozy up front on the flavour and in the mouthfeel. Thin and vinuous at first, dates and currants, it quickly takes on espresso grounds and roasted malt, and builds up body in the mouthfeel as well, while the vinuous character doesn't disappear entirely, lagging along in the background. The finish is a bold finale of roasted malt and coffee with a thick creamy mouthfeel, it was building up to it all this time, with a denoument of dark chocolate and rum-soaked figs. This is very drinkable for an imperial stout, the alcohol is present but well contained, and the mouthfeel isn't too thin because of the alcohol, but simply builds momentum throughout the sip. Not an overly complex flavour, but robust where it needs to be, it definitely works with what it is. People of Ontario, consider yourselves very lucky to have this available regularly, and although you like to bitch about the selection at the gov't regulated beer outlets you have, this imperial stout is by far one less reason to complain. Big thanks to Phyl21ca for the trade.

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Photo of Viggo
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black, very opaque, big tan head, lots of lace. Smell is very roasty, coffee and chocolate, dark fruits, some alcohol. Taste is roast coffee, into a chocolate middle, some more dark fruits, dry roasty bitter finish. Medium bodied, carbonation is a little high for the style but its silky smooth and a great beer.

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Photo of 3Vandoo
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A thick black stout, with a nice brownish head that stays it course with the beer. Smell of roasted malt, caramel and chocolate with a tiny touch of coffe. Taste is well balanced, you dont feel that beer is 8%abv actually, some roasted malt aromas, some chocolate finish and a tiny touch of coffee comes tickles your palate. A very well balanced imperial stout.

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

Beautiful thick, creamy light brown head of fine to medium bubbles. Very good head retention. Completely covers the glass in a tan coloured lace.
Nearly black coloured liquid. Looking at the edges of the glass under a good light you can see that the beer is very clear and has nice a red colour too.
Smells malty sweet. There’s also molasses and some kind of dried fruit in the smell too. Also some mild chocolate and roasted and extremely light green hops smell.
Medium to heavy body. Creamy texture. Somewhat effervescent.
Malty sweetness dominates the taste. The maltiness is complex with the molasses and fruitiness. Although its not very noticeable in the smell, there is a good amount of green hops taste that balances it out. The chocolate and roasted is kind of subdued behind the maltiness. There’s also a slight astringency and alcoholic notes in the taste.

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Photo of Popsinc
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black pour with an enormous tan head. Looks the part of a great stout.

Smell: Roasted malts, black licorice, only a hint of unsweetened chocolate and light coffee notes.

Taste: Roasted malts right off the top accompanied with some smokiness. Hop bitterness down the middle followed by the black licorice and coffee notes towards the finish. Chalky, dry finish...and yet oily...is that possible? highlighted by bitter coffee bean.

Mouthfeel: Smooth and medium bodied. Creamy texture, quite pleasant.

Drinkability: A top of the line Stout. Not overpowering or having an over the top flavour profile, instead having great balance and adequate smell & taste. Not the best batch i've tried but still a great beer. Wellington's best.

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Photo of tatterdash
4.38/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours an ominous black with a dark brown head, very thick and syrupy looking. Aroma of dark chocolate and some coffee. Taste was a lovely roasted flavour, dark chocolate, burnt toast, black coffee, amazingly good roasted finish. Creamy mouthfeel, very syrupy as is warmed. This is one of my all time favourite beers, and definitely my favourite stout. I enjoy this as a nightcap and as this winter looks like it is going to be very cold, I think I should keep this on supply. I could drink this all day, all week, forever and ever. Amen.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a near opaque black color with some ruby glints. The tan head quickly dissipates to a ring around the glass, leaving a nice amount of lace behind. The aroma is of dark chocolate, espresso and some medicinal alcohol. The taste is of milk and dark chocolates, roasted barley, a little espresso and hops. A little alcohol is there as well. The mouthfeel is thin for an imperial stout with a prickly carbonation. The drinkability suffers from the prevelant alcohol solvency in the finish.

Despite the prominent alcohol presence, this a great beer that is well worth trying. The good flavors take control.

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Photo of ecoboy
4.23/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Exemplary, and very welcome.

Chocolate, coffee, sour and oiliness. Complex. Big. Do I really need to say more? Really?

Tar black with an off-white to toasty head. Mouthfeel of liquid and oil, with a chewy big malty middle. Almost meaty. Coats the tongue. Dark molasses sweet aroma to offset the tangy hops.

Wellington should be very proud. I'll say it again, an exemplary sample of a difficult style.

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Photo of baiser
4.16/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a wonderfully rich, dark, black colour with an extremely creamy (for a bottle) head with tonnes of lacing. Looked like the froth over a finely brewed cup of coffee.

Smelled of coffee, caramel, a little alcohol. Pretty subdued.

This is a very good tasting stout. Tonnes of burnt coffee, toast, and a little plum at the end. Gets quite bitter as you drink it, but during each sip, there is a kind of sweetness from the roasted malts. Very well crafted. Balanced and very drinkable. Don't notice the 8% at all.

Very smooth and creamy stout.

Glad I bought quite a few of these fresh from the brewery in Guelph.

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Photo of Beersignal
3.99/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This beer is as dark as I have ever seen. Black like tar, letting no light reflect through the glass. A timid head momentarily adorns the liquid but dissipates too quickly to be appreciated.

The aromas are all what I would expect from a beer of this style but are somehow so elegantly harmonized that it adds to the complexity. Up front you detect roasted coffee and a pleasantly rounded malt signature followed by hints of anise seed or black licorice and a nuanced vapour of peat near the back. All of this is supported by a lightly alcoholic and vinous quality. Very pleasant.

A fine effervescence is felt in the mouth and welcomes a harmonious and well rounded beer. Medium to full bodied beer with a soft, silky texture that carries tastes very much like its aromas. Coffee and full malt flavours are buttressed by sweet hints of licorice root, all rolled around warming alcohol.

Surprisingly pleasing even on a hot summer evening, Wellington Imperial Stout is a hearty and comforting nightcap

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Photo of DrJay
4.08/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a big, bold brew.

My pint came with a chocolately brown head that lingered for most of the pint and formed a nice lace down the sides of the glass. It's impossible to see through the beer, but if you catch some light at the edge of the pint you can see the rich reddish brown colour that produces blackness in the glass.

Strong malt and coffee notes in the aroma are complemented by similar flavours that also include chocolate and caramel. Hops offer some balance for the sweetness, but are definitely not prominent. Maltiness gives way to a complex aftertaste where more bitterness is encountered, along with a slight hint of the alcoholic strength of the beer. As it warms up in the glass, the flavour profile changes noticeably, with the flavours mellowing and blending together for a more balanced profile. Definitely a very full-bodied beer that can fill you up fast.

Rarely encountered on-tap, I found it at Phog Lounge in Windsor, ON.

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Photo of feloniousmonk
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: fully black, with a 1/4" roasty tan head.

Aroma: mild espresso notes, getting bolder as we go, becoming fulller and more bold, deep & heady, hints of coffee and cocoa.

Taste: sweet and creamy, rich and full, palate is tinged by an overflow and cocoa and cream.

Very nice stout, as it is, but far too meek and missing too many of the requisite flavors, not to mention the strength, to be an Imperial.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a jet black beer with a nice bubbly head with standard retention. Coffee smell is overpowering with some malts lingering in the background. Taste is a nice mix between coffee, chocolate and malts. A bit too much bitterness kicks in at the end. Medium full body with great carbonation for an Imperial Stout. Overall, a very decent drink but not the best Imperial I tasted.

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Photo of Rastacouere
2.98/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Blind Tasting, thanks CapFlu Deep dark brown with a beige film. Very restrained aroma for an imperial, light alcohol notes, dry altogether with dark chocolate and caramel tones and a weird steamy, milky touch. Taste is also unexpected, chalky, woddy (branches) with not too pronounced green hops that seem out of place. Milky overall with a lightly astringent finish and a thin-medium body that is actually a bit overcarbonated. Worst of show in the blind tasting, weird and off imo. It lacks some basic characteristics like intensity.

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Photo of pootz
4.75/5  rDev +22.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow!...wadda beer!!! What can I say...I lost my beloved Okocim porter but I found a new master...the Iron Duke! This beer was named after the right guy...anyone who can kick Napoleon's ass, invent the gum boot and set a brewing standard for British brewers that exists to this day has GOT to have a beer named after him.

Comes on a distinctive crown topped old style brown liter bottle with a trick looking label with a picture of the iron duke in full dress battle regalia circa 1815. Best before code on label dated from 6 months from production.

Pours a dark coffee color that won't let light through a porter glass.
(I poured an ounce into a brandy snifter and held it to bright light and this brew is crystal clear dark mahogany but in volume it's roasted richness makes it appear black)
The pour leaves a creamy mocha cap that stacks out of the glass then this reduces halfway through the drink to a delicate tan lace.

The brew gives definitive odors of coffee, spice, cocoa and sweet roasted maltyness, licorice and molasses to the nose (this is almost a perfect replication of the Okocim Baltic porter aroma....I'm twitching with anticipation at this point for the first quaff!

Starts big and rich with an oily-cream mouthfeel up front...melts into a delicious complex mix of toasted malt sweetness balanced with just the right stout-hop astringency and some complex mocha-spice tastes...then the finish is medium dry...just perfect (I personally dislike overly dry stouts)

This is MY beer!! I think I found something that is a rough equivalent to the world's best Baltic porters (which I love).

I don't know what Wellington was thinking when they named this a stout...it has many of the characteristics of a Russian imperial porter...and that's fine with me...it may also explain why many of the stout fanciers who try this brew (and are used to the dry Irish stout types) say it is too sweet. It may be.... by that frame of reference but I think it more aptly should be judged as a rich full strength Baltic porter. I love this thick rich heady brew call it imperial stout with a sweet twinge or a Canadian version of a good Baltic porter...I still love this beer!!

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Photo of TerryW
3.03/5  rDev -22.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark with a substantial caramel coloured head. Settles to a short layer, but doesn't give up any real lace.

Not too fussy on this one I'm afraid. I found that the alcohol was too dominant in both the smell and taste of the beer and the whole thing just came across as too harsh to properly enjoy. I've had other Wellington brews and quite enjoyed them, but this one is not for me.

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Imperial Russian Stout from Wellington County Brewery
3.89 out of 5 based on 190 ratings.
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