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Imperial Russian Stout | Wellington County Brewery

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Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
BA SCORE
3.89/5
Very Good
193 Ratings
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Wellington County Brewery
Ontario, Canada
wellingtonbrewery.ca

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

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#9,281
Reviews:
109
Ratings:
193
pDev:
10.03%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
11
Gots:
19
Trade:
1
HISTOGRAM
 
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Ratings: 193 |  Reviews: 109
Photo of deonreds
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

Photo of jrenihan
3.48/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black, with a very thin layer of dark tan head.

Maybe it was a function of the glass, maybe not, but I could smell almost nothing from the beer. Just a hint of fairly typical stout smell. Not bad, but not distinctive at all.

Taste was decent. Burnt caramel and a fair does of bitterness. Enjoyable, but not a particularly complex taste. Alcohol was more hidden than expected.

The beer was much lighter than expected. Particularly for an imperial stout, it was quite thin. However, carbonation was wonderful, perhaps partly as a function of the fact that it is from a cask.

Drinkability is good. Despite the strength, it goes down very smoothly, and is an enjoyable but not exciting beer.

Overall, I would be happy to have another of these, but would not go out of my way for it.

 798 characters

Photo of papat444
3.57/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to grub for this one.

Poured from a 473ml. can (code A2012 on it so i presume this was canned Jan. 2012).

Appearance: Brown-black body, thick and oily, with about 2 fingers of creamy foam. Not much legs on it but does coat the glass when swirled.

Smell: Cocoa powder, chunks of chocolate. milky chocolate, mild coffee but aroma dominated by various chocolates.

Taste: Decadent chocolate chunks mixed with good bitter coffee and roasted overtones.

Mouthfeel: Weak point. Carbonation a bit higher than expected and the body is fairly average, barely reaching medium strength.

Overall: A decent stout but not one that i would drive out to the brewery for. There are better stouts that are more easily attainable.

 723 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.6/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Got a few of these in trades last summer. Thanks for the cans guys!

From a 16oz can into a snifter.
Canned in 2011

Note: Pitted this one against Grand River's Russian Gun Imperial Stout in an All-Ontario stout showdown!

APPEARANCE: Clear black pour yields a one finger, looser looking, tan head with decent retention. Black body with higher levels of carbonation evident. Head fades to a good, full wisp, though only splotches remain leaving some dots of lacing down the glass. Didn't start out that well, but finishes strong.

SMELL: Mild nose with some roasted malts, licorice and cocoa powder. Touches of caramel too. A little too mild to be memorable.

TASTE: Roasted malts and some caramel sweetness up front, then some licorice notes and dark chocolate at the swallow. Decent lingering aftertaste of roasted malts, dark chocolate and sweet molasses. Pretty nice after the swallow, and more impressive than the nose had led on.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. A touch watery perhaps, but still creamy enough. Goes down fine and finishes slightly mouth-coating.

OVERALL: This was pretty good, as the flavor after the swallow saved it from being mediocre. Though it is nothing to write home about, I would gladly drink it again, and especially fresh on-tap. This one actually kicked the Grand River brew around the playground. Give this one a go if you find it. Cheers!

 1,396 characters

Photo of francisweizen
4.06/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pint at C'est What?

Dark ruby brown/black with red edges and a small off-white/beige/tan cappa foam. Aromas are a bit weak/watery, but the roasetd malts are there along with slight burnt toast and mission fig. Taste is all sweet cocoa and roasted malt. Mouthfeel is creamy smooth, but thin, but awesome as this is on cask. Drinkability=killer.

solid effort

 358 characters

Photo of peensteen
3.97/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Haven't had this in a while. Thanks to Helen at Wellington for sending me a few cans.

Near jet black, minimal soapy tan head, no lace to speak of really. Smell is of roasted malt, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, light alcohol followed by more chocolate. Taste is of bitter chocolate, coffee comes through, good balance, roast malt, light hops, dry bitter finish. Light to medium body, lightish carbonation, smooth and silky feel. Solid all the way, ABV hidden and drinks quickly and well.

 488 characters

Photo of DaPan
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of kwjd
4.1/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up at the brewery yesterday. Pours an opaque extremely dark brown with thin mocha head and lots of lacing. Smell is tons of roasted malt and some chocolate. Taste has lots of roasted flavour, burnt chocolate, sweet molasses and a mild hop bite. Very good carbonation. My favourite beer from the Wellington line up.

 321 characters

Photo of tommyguz
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of ZachT
4.03/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of EgadBananas
4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to cattersley for the can!

Pours black, with a medium tan finger of head. Low retention and no lacing. The aroma is roasted malts, chocolate sweetness and a touch of coffee. Not a bold aroma, but good. The taste is quite nice! Chocolate, big roasted notes, some coffee and a hint of bitterness. The feel is definitely creamy, though a bit thinner than most RIS's. Solid medium/upper medium body with moderate carbonation.

A good, well made RIS. Not too filling and not the most robust, but very well drinkable!

 520 characters

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

Dark as hell with an ok coffeeish nose this is a well made RIS that works on the subtle approach. The finish is long lasting and the roasty stout flavours show up as part of the blended whole.( My thought might be that this beer shouldn't be cellared longer than a year as it doesn't have a lot of jagged edges to come off through aging.) I did enjoy the drinakbility of the beer as it warmed up. Not a huge RIS but very nice and well made

 439 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
3.85/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

473 mL can from the LCBO; best before May 28 2013. I've heard from various sources over the years that this RIS is one of Wellington's best brews, and have always wanted to try it - so I was particularly pleased to see these cans appear on shelves in Sarnia. Served in a pint glass, only slightly chilled.

Pours an opaque black colour, with some deep chestnut tinges under a light. Seated atop is a modest, single finger of foamy, tan-coloured head that is mostly gone before a minute's time has passed. The aroma is pleasant, comprised of a blend of roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, molasses and herbal hops. Starts off with a good blend of sweetness and earthiness, but leans a little too heavy on the sweet as it warms.

I've been a little nitpicky so far, but I feel no need to keep it up when it comes to analyzing the flavour - this is a tasty stout, with lots of big, roasted malt flavours. Chocolate sweetness, weak coffee and some herbal, licorice-like notes are the main features, with an earthy, herbal finish. The abv/heat is mildly apparent, and works perfectly with the flavour profile. Medium-bodied - too thin for my tastes, although this does contribute to its high drinkability for the style. The carbonation gives a good bite, but in general the beer seems to improve as this facet weakens in intensity (while the beer settles and warms).

Wellington's Russian Imperial Stout is easily one of their top beers, right up there with Iron Duke and maybe a few others. This is a style I am rarely able to sample from due to a dearth of locally available examples. While I still think this particular stout is very good as far as big, drinkable dark beers go... when I think of an 'RIS' I just think of something with more body. This is definitely worth a try as a particularly quaffable, fairly tasty, stout with some heft, not to mention increasingly wide distribution.

[Updated Apr. 5 2015]

I picked up another tallboy can, the latest of several I've cracked open since my last review. I'm sorry to say it, but this RIS just doesn't impress me like it used to. It's still pretty good, though - it's more drinkable than the average example of the style, but that fact owes mostly to the low-ish abv and lack of any intense flavours to intrigue or tire the palate. It's nice to see beers like this finally becoming commonplace, though! Give it a shot; it's a good beer and at 3 bucks a can you won't find a more affordable imperial stout in this province.

Final Grade: 3.85, a B+.

 2,505 characters

Photo of yancot
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of Danielr26
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of bobsy
3.93/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is the closest local imperial stout, and isn't too shabby either. I've had it in can, on tap and on cask, and while I prefer the cask format slightly, there's not a huge variation between the different serving types.

Wellington's RIS pours a very dark brown with a reddish tinge, and a medium mocha head. On cask thge head retention and lacing is excellent, whereas the canned version leaves something to be desired. The aroma is has vanilla notes complimenting a deep roastiness, with hints of oatmeal in the background. In fact its very reminiscent of a rich oatmeal stout, especially considering the alcohol is nowhere to be seen.

The flavour exhibits the superb balance that's sometimes lacking in bigger beers, and there are pleasant notes of rich chocolate, caramel and molasses, with a hit of coffee in the finish. As noticed in the nose, some oatmeal stout flavours come through, and this brings a light touch of tobacco. Hopping is kept to a minimum, and the alcohol is skillfully concealed. A medium body and carbonation suit this beer fairly well, though I do feel that something slightly thicker would have helped it out more, and made it feel more like an RIS rather than an export stout.

This is certainly a well-made beer, but there are moments when I wonder if its really an imperial stout. The alcohol presence seems to fall a bit short, and the roast profile suggests something closer to an oatmeal or export stout than anything. Its almost like a lighter version of Stone's RIS. Nonetheless, a decent beer, and very drinkable for its weight.

 1,568 characters

Photo of Electros
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

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.

 1,484 characters

Photo of grub
3.78/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

sampled on cask as part of the volo cask days 2006. thanks to ralph and all involved for putting together an awesome fest.

pours an opaque black colour with a nice dark moderate head.

the aroma is nice. great roastyness balanced with a nice slightly sweet malt background.

taste is good. fairly bitter start. nice malty body. notes of bittersweet chocolate.

mouthfeel is good. a little thinner than expected. slightly astringent.

drinkability is ok. it's nice, but does feel a little off its usual self.

 518 characters

Photo of groleau
3.83/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of polloenfuego
3.73/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer starts strong with a really nice pour producing a deep brown/black color beer with a one inch brownish head that lasts a few sips before breaking. What is left behind is a few islands of bubbles. The smell is roasts, coffee, dark fruits and a touch of alcohol. I found the aroma remarkably mild. The taste is a parallel of the nose with the addition of a caramel flavor. Mouth feel is quite pleasant, smooth and almost creamy. Carbonation is moderate and that alcohol smell does not translate to any burn.

Not a bad RIS all in all. Not one I would jump up and down waiting for, but I'd certainly consider having one were it on the tap list at my local.

 666 characters

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.

 608 characters

Photo of taxandbeerguy
3.79/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

473 ml can from LCBO into a pint glass.

Appearance - Black as night in color, nice 1.5 finger head with good retention. Head looks creamy and thick in its tan colored glory and almost seems to sparkle given the lighting conditions. Some lacing is left in the glass.

Smell - Coffee hints as well as some vague chocolaty-ness. Earthy scents also are prevalent.

Taste - Coffee and Earthiness are strongest here, strong bitter aftertaste from the coffee but does not linger too much.

Mouthfeel - Definitely stout, there's nothing thin about this brew, taste is rich and filling with a superior creaminess to it as well. Definitely a fine fall or winter brew, but is not so heavy that you wouldn't consider a second (or a third for that matter).

Overall - This was my introduction to Russian imperial Stouts and as such I will always have a special place for it. It's not the best one out out there but is certainly delicious and worth drinking again.

 951 characters

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.

 383 characters

Photo of LampertLand
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Imperial Russian Stout from Wellington County Brewery
Beer rating: 3.89 out of 5 with 193 ratings
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