Impending Descent
Tröegs Brewing Company

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #177
Ranked #3,120
4.17 | pDev: 9.59%
Tröegs Brewing Company
Pennsylvania, United States
Notes: This colossal, palate-numbing Imperial Stout is brewed with six different malt varieties to unleash a barrage of chocolate, vanilla, dark fruit and coffee on the tongue. Copious amounts of American hops impart a serious dose of grapefruit rind and pine resin, resulting in a labyrinth of complex flavors and aromas.

119 IBU
Reviews: 32 | Ratings: 182 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of BruChef
BruChef from New York

1.69/5  rDev -59.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

Bottled 2018
Pours thin but almost black with dark brown hues. Light does not penetrate.
Smells faintly of bourbon and vanilla, burnt raisins, scorched chocolate, tannic red wine.
Taste is ashy, dirt/earthy, roast/acrid coffee, over steeped black tea, bakers chocolate. Slight bourbon and burnt caramel. Outer layer of a Charred marshmallow. VERY astringent. Way too much dark specialty grains.

Medium thin body.

This beer is one of the worst BBA’d impy stouts I’ve ever had. Especially considering the price. Four months is just not enough time for a beer like this to spend in barrels but even then I’m not sure longer would’ve helped anyway. It’s entirely too bitter and astringent and it’s overall almost undrinkable.

Jan 30, 2021
Photo of MikeWard
MikeWard from Pennsylvania

3.92/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Growler picked up at the brewery this afternoon.

Initially a very lively pour. Jet black body, loose bubbly dark tan head. This dissipates to a ring and faint covering. Interesting lacing at the beginning.

Standard RIS aroma, molasses, dk fruit, a hint of soy.

On tasting, no soy, so that's a win. Licorice, bitter dark chocolate, roasty bitter hops, a little dark fruit, some molasses. For this palate, it's just a bit too bitter and aggressive. Some sweet for balance would have been nice.

Mouth full, finish bitter and roasty.

Overall, glad Troegs bought this one back, was an annoying gap in my Troegs beers. A little too bitter and roasty for me. Maybe Flying Mouflan next?

Nov 13, 2020
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stevoj from Idaho

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Small pour at Churhkey. Best beer of the trip so far. Dark, ruddy brown pour, scant beige head. Full, woody, boozy aroma. Taste brings in some chocolate and roast malts. Deceptively smooth and exceptionally tasty.

Feb 12, 2020
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EMV from Pennsylvania

4.27/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a cork'n'cage 12.7 oz bottle. 2017 vintage poured into a Dogfish Head tulip

L: Nearly black pour with 1.5 fingers of off-white head. Nice ring of lacing.

S: Roast, coffee, and dark chocolate.

T.F: Just like it smells. Rich and roasty... espresso, cocoa, and char. Caramel and vanilla and molassas. Sweet mixed with bitter... medium bodied and warming.

O: An above average RIS... great for the cooling weather. A slow sipper.

Nov 09, 2019
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BBThunderbolt from Kiribati

3.66/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Mikexw for this one from a ninja box during the Rookies BIF #2. 12oz cork and caged bottle poured into 14 oz teku. Poured a solid black color with just a thin cap of light brown head that had low retention and lacing, but did have good legs.

The aroma had a solid malt base supporting some chocolate, bourbon, vanilla, and alcohol. Pretty similar on the tongue, the beer was a touch hot, but was a solid sipper.

The body was pretty typical for the style, and a bit thinner than I prefer in the style. Drinkability was very good, I could easily knock off another bottle. Overall, a very nice take on the style. A must try if you see it.

Nov 11, 2018
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dafla67 from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The color is a dark black. The aroma is wonderfully sweet -- chocolate, vanilla, bourbon and malts. The taste is phenomenal and complex with all the smells plus brown sugar. Medium body with a touch too much carbonation for my tastes. I let it sit a while. Overall an incredible RIS.

Sep 24, 2018
Photo of Tony210
Tony210 from New Jersey

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

Pours pitch black with a finger of mocha head. Aromas of chocolate, anise, bourbon barrel, sweet vanilla. Dark bitter chocolate dominates the flavor, quite bitter. Vanilla and coffee intermingle, touch of brown sugar and caramel, ample blackstrap molasses. Pretty full bodied, rich and creamy. Overall I find this to be overly bitter. Not worth the $15 the bottle cost.

12.7 oz bottle, no date
4 rating

Jun 30, 2018
Photo of q33jeff
q33jeff from New Jersey

4.58/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle(corked/caged) to snifter. Sampling side by side with Weyerbacher Finally Legal. The Troegs is the superior beer.

LOOK: Awesome looking beer. Thick dark black.
AROMA: Aroma is vanilla, brown sugar, bourbon.
TASTE: Taste is a nice blend of roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, brown sugar; dark chocolate hits last, but it's bitterness mixes with the sweet sugar to really round this off nicely. Only small knock is a little tiny bit of a baking soda or aspartame kind of misdirection taste in the finish.
FEEL: full body. Carbonation is as lively as it can be for such a thick beer. Fudgy.



Mar 10, 2018
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MacMalt from New Jersey

4.19/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 12.7 oz. bottle into pint glass. It pours ink black with more than a finger of creamy head of a color between khaki and mocha, and silky lacing that lasted through the pour. The nose features roasted malt, cocoa, vanilla, plum, nuts, and subtle but noticeable bourbon. You can really taste the vanilla bean and oak up front and the bourbon is much more forward than its smell. As the glass warms the plum and raisin really stand out and there is a touch of hoppy bitterness at the finish.. There are also chocolate and licorice notes throughout. All of the flavors work well together; this is one tasty RIS. It has a rich, creamy, silky mouth feel with moderate carbonation and while it appears to drink below its 12% ABV you notice the alcohol by the end of the pour. The bourbon is nicely warming. Overall, Impending Descent is a fine Russian Imperial Stout that makes a nice sipper or dessert beer. About my only constructive criticism is that the taste would benefit from a little more chocolate. I'm glad to have finally tried it and will buy it when available.

Jan 21, 2018
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jdhilt from New Hampshire

4.24/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a five+ finger brown head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Black color, no highlights. Good carbonation and medium bodied. Bourbon nose. Flavor is bourbon, roasted chocolate and vanilla, nicely balanced. High ABV (12%) is hidden. Expensive - $15.49 for a caged & corked 375ml bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, MA.

Jan 21, 2018
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avalon07 from South Carolina

4.04/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

L: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a dark brown / black color and an opaque consistency. There was a quarter inch of creamy, tan-colored head that quickly dissipated. Pretty good lacing.

S: A nice aroma of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, vanilla, dark fruit, and some pine.

T: Tasted of a fair amount of roasted malt, a hint of vanilla, some dark fruit notes (plums, raisins), lots of chocolate up front, light pine resin, a little bourbon, and some citrus thrown in (grapefruit). Chocolate is the obvious star, making the flavor kind of uneven. Nonetheless, it's pretty tasty.

F: A good amount of carbonation with a super smooth finish. Medium- to full-bodied.

O: A solidly made RIS all around. Well worth a look.

Jan 11, 2018
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Jimmys from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

bottled on 11/18/17, from what i can read.

pours jet black with a small dark brown head. doesnt stick around long, but the lacing left behind is nice. aroma is a lot of dark chocolate, some bourbon, certainly get the vanilla as well. warming and inviting. not too much heat on the nose. flavor is very chocolate driven with a lot of bourbon sweetness. not too much else in the roast or coffee note game, mostly sweet bourbon soaked chocolates. similar to the aroma, this doesnt drink with a ton of heat. a few sips in, you can certainly tell it is high ABV, but drinks easier than the label number implies. there is also a lot more vanilla on the finish as this warms. a very good barrel aged stout. a bit pricey, but overall very nicely done.

Jan 05, 2018
Photo of archer1006
archer1006 from Pennsylvania

4.88/5  rDev +17%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

I'll disclaim off the bat that I'm a Stout guy. I love no beer more that a black imperial stout. I've had A LOT of them... on draft and in bottles. This one is top shelf. Black & just a little oily, this beer has a complex and delicious balance of flavors while delivering a potent punch with a smooth, delicious finish.

Dec 24, 2017
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StonedTrippin from Colorado

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

first of all, this drinks like 7% abv, i never would have guessed it was so strong. it doesnt show a trace of this kind of strength, so well done and look out! it also presents itself more as a black ipa than a russian imperial. it smells really hoppy, citrus and bitterness both, and not just from the gratuitous amount of dark roasted barley in here, but from the hops too. high alpha and pungent in the nose, with aromas of dark chocolate and ash pushing through the foamy tan head and jet black body. more balanced i think in the taste than in the smell, where its nowhere near is hoppy in the flavor as it is in the bitterness department. dark malts dominate, melted chocolate, spent coffee grounds, minerals, maybe some oats. its creamy and big feeling, almost too bitter for its gentle mouthfeel, palate coating and expansive, but on the dry side for what it is. maybe not the most true to style russian imperial due to all these hops in here, but the layers of flavor are tremendous and it ends up being stupidly drinkable because the alcohol or sugars normally present here never show up. i loved every drop of this.

edit: forgot about one of these in the cellar for a couple of years, and i was surprised at how goof it still is, and sure the hops have faded on it quite a bit, but there is still a lot going on, and it doesnt taste old and tired at all, whether or not it was meant for ageing. definitely a little more compelling fresh, but its still worthwhile even two or three years later...

May 14, 2016
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Immortale25 from North Carolina

4.3/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Comparing 2015 and 2014 vintages. New poured into Delirium Tremens snifter, old poured into Due South Brewing Co. snifter.


A- Pours a mostly opaque black color with a 1/4 inch dark tan head that retains a bit before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a small center patch of bubbly surface foam.

S- Rich nose of dark roasted malt brings notes of dark chocolate, maple and a bit of char.

T- Sweetness at first with more of the chocolate notes plus some raisin, then turning to a bitter charry finish. Definitely more sweet than the aged bottle with suggestions of caramel and vanilla.

M- Creamier than the aged bottle with medium carbonation and a fullish body.


A- Pours a 99% opaque black color with a 1/4 inch light brown head that retains decently before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a symmetrical pattern of sheer surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Dark roasted malt brings notes of dark fruit, dark chocolate and the slight oxidative qualities put forth a sherry-like sweetness.

T- Taste is stronger in the aged where there, somehow, is a more hoppy bitterness that combines with the roasty bitterness making it more intense. Has more of a booze bite than the fresh bottle.

M- Sharper than the fresh bottle with medium-low carbonation and a full body.

O- Two very different batches. You can tell as soon as you look at them both in the glass. The '14 vintage is much more assertive while the '15 is more subtle and smooth. Both are good but I prefer the fresher

Mar 02, 2016
Photo of Bierman9
Bierman9 from New Hampshire

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

Picked up a growler (only $15!) while visiting Tröegs on 28JAN16....

Today I filled a small tulip with about 16oz.... It is jet-black, like crude oil, with no light getting through at all. Head was initially about 1" thick, but it has ebbed down to about 1/8". It is fluffy and mocha-hued, gathering more at the edges than the center. Lacing left behind is solid all around. The nose has some inviting roasty choco and coffee notes, with intimations of dark fruit. The "Descent" is very smooth on the tongue, and the body is easily medium-plus.

Flavor has very tasty coffee and dark, bitter choco action. Has a hint of licorice and some tastes of cocoa nibs and molasses. At the finish it gets a bit floral, along with some earthy hopping. Solid in all respects! Zum Wohl!!

4.25/5 rDev +2.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25


Feb 02, 2016
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JohnGalt1 from Idaho

3.78/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Received as a great extra in another cool trade with slvrmon82.. Thanks Matt! Pours standard sorta thick looking black with an okay brown head with nice lacing. Surprisingly hoppy.. Bitter pine with dark malt char.. Very little malt sweetness to carry the aggressive flavors... A bit of smokey elements with warmth and something that I associate with barrel aging, but I don't believe this ever spent time in a barrel.. Very complex, but IMO could use a little more maltiness to help tie things together... Thanks again Matt!


Jan 07, 2016
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hardysf from Michigan

4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark black with a nice white head. Smell is of chocolate, coffee, and some hop aroma. I thought the smell was a little lacking. the flavor is very nice. I almost could be convinced this was a black ipa which is a style I enjoy. Nice roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee with some solid bitterness at the end. Probably the best Troegs beer I have had.

Jan 01, 2016
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justintcoons from Pennsylvania

4.15/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Black with a short tan head that dissipates quickly. No light penetration.

Roasted barley, caramel, coffee & cream, semi-sweet chocolate, cocoa nib, and vanilla.

Deep roasted barley and caramel along with light charcoal and smoke. Semi-sweet chocolate, medium roast coffee & cream, and cocoa nib. Light notes of vanilla, molasses, and black licorice. Finishes with an earthy bitterness.

Medium-plus bodied, silky, smooth, and creamy with a medium-light bitterness.

Dark, roasty, smooth, and bitter. Pretty easy drinking for the abv. Solid.

Dec 14, 2015
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VelvetExtract from Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Bottle. Poured very dark. Not an aroma I was impressed with. A big, dark beer with an uncomplimentary hop aroma. The flavor did not jive very well either. I got an odd anise flavor; that clashed with the hoppiness more than anything. I like Troegs but this was not their most stellar offering. Hey, it is one of their Scratch beers; gotta experiment to succeed! I would not have bottled this one though.

Dec 10, 2015
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gcasher from Pennsylvania

4.47/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My favorite Troegs beer by a wide margin. I look forward to picking up growlers every T-giving. This year they bottled it too, which is nice.

Pours a deep black, not much head. Heavy on the dark roasted malt, cocoa, and coffee. It is a complicated multi-layered flavor bomb that is worth sipping and savoring over a long period. They crushed it again in 2015.

Dec 07, 2015
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brentk56 from North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: An impressive bubble show produces a thick, tan head; great retention and a waterfall of lacing drapes slowly down after each sip

Smell: Roast, chocolate and char, all of which are subsumed by piney hop aromatics

Taste: The usual RIS flavors appear, up front, with chocolate, roast, dark fruit and, ultimately, char; into the middle and after the swallow, the piney hops overwhelm the the tastebuds, producing an American Black effect to the extreme

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation and some warmth in the gullet

Overall: A fascinating beer and quite extreme; the hops are just a bit too much for me in this particular style

Thanks, justanewby, for the opportunity

Oct 04, 2015
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brianmandell from California

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

On draft. Big, hoppy and roasty imperial stout. Chocolatey and moderately bitter with a medium velvety and creamy mouthfeel, this is an excellent and easy drinking imperial stout.

Mar 10, 2015
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GreesyFizeek from New York

4.5/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Blue Dust in Homestead, PA.

Pours a dark, deep black, with a small quarter inch mocha head, and a little bit of lacing.

Smells really nice, lots of chocolated and roasted malt, with some burnt pine, and a bit of grapefruit.

This is one of the hoppiest stouts I've ever had, almost feels an Imperial Black IPA. Doesn't matter though cuz it's awesome. So much roasted malt, chocolate, and roasted coffee piled on top of pine resin, burnt pine, and bitter grapefruit. This is a colossal beer in every way- huge dark roasty stout character along with a numbing level of hops.

This is fairly thick bodied, with a very creamy mouthfeel. The alcohol is barely noticeable here, which is nice given the ABV.

I've been waiting a while to try this one, really glad I got a chance to.

Feb 02, 2015
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WanderingFool from Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black beer with a small tan head. Moderate lacing. An aroma of chocolate, roast malt, and grass. This full bodied beer is creamy with flavors of roast malt, chocolate, dark fruit and nuts. It finishes moderately bitter and grassy with lingering chocolate and grassy bitterness. Overall, this is a delicious stout that should be sipped. The flavors really come out as it warms.

Jan 17, 2015
Impending Descent from Tröegs Brewing Company
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 182 ratings