Imperial Stout | Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

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Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.70%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BlackHaddock on 10-31-2013

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Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 84
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black with plenty of ruby glints around the edges of the glass. Chunky tan foam leaves plenty of lace trails on the glass. Prunes, figs, fresh ground coffee, rum booziness in the nose. The taste is dominated by a big roastyness, with chocolate, caramel, prunes, tobacco and leather in toe. Alchohol is present throughout, but warming and pleasant, never distracting. Very thick mouthfeel with light carbonation. Medium bitterness, smokiness and christmas pudding in the long finish.

A fantastic example of a British RIS. Not very dry and full of fruit flavor to balance out the roastyness. Worth seeking out for stout fans.

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Photo of ludachris
4.27/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

The inch of creamy tan head that caps the top could be placed on any type of stout. Its pitch black body, however, gives it an imperial look.

The nose starts tame and really benefits from warming up. Raisins, plums, and booze soaked cherries gradually seep out of the glass. Dark, unsweetened chocolate adds to its base. The Turkish Delight descriptor on the back label proves to be a good one. Whiffs of straight ethanol peak through as well. It's far from the big, bold, in your face aromas that define so many imperial stouts but it is rich and complex in its own right.

Layers of chocolate saturate the palate. Dark chocolate, cocoa powder, fudge; the works. Raisins and dates make for a sticky center with cherries on top. Dry, decadent milk chocolate comes through on the finish with a thin streak of alcohol accompanying it. Sticky toffee shows up as it nears room temperature.

The body is creamy and rich with a silky texture. The addition of oats works wonders for its feel. Its 10.7% ABV elevates its richness and flavors without showing itself.

I would serve this at 12C-15C next time to drink it at its best. It really opens up as it warms, both in aroma and taste. I did enjoy how it unfolded. Its silky, creamy, and rounded feel is what I enjoyed most.

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Photo of DenisKolkin
4.11/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle served cold into a tulip. Purchased this special edition for $7.95 CDN from the LCBO. Best before the end of 2024.

Appearance - Pours an ominous near black and a gentle pour yields a thin layer of tan foam with good staying power but burns off within a couple of minutes. Not much in the way of lacing either. Menacing beer at its finest.

Smell - A little dark chocolate and booze soaked cherries initially, the nose isn't terribly bold when the beer is cold. Molasses and a hint of licorice for added malt presence. The 10.7% ABV isn't hidden on the nose either. Coffee is increasingly part of the mix as the beer warms

Taste - Big and bold, again the dark chocolate and cherries come through. More molasses here than on the nose, with a heavy dose of alcohol. Not as bitter as I'd expected, this is on the sweet (and boozy) side for a RIS. Surprisingly subtle for such a big beer. Coffee shows up as the beer warms and the nose becomes significantly more aromatic.

Mouthfeel - Smooth and slick with a chewy body, exactly what you'd love to see out of a malt bomb like this. Turns to velvet with just a little prickly carbonation to keep you on your toes. Near perfection.

Overall - Fuller's Imperial Stout is a bad ass big-bodied stout that leans heavily towards the malt flavors and isn't terribly bitter despite it's presence. A fine beer and a different take on a classic style.

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Photo of drmeto
4.94/5  rDev +20.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

-pours the darkest of brown with no light coming through and a medium to big,frothy,khaki head
-coffee,molasses,cappucino,sweet chocolate,nutty,bready,tobacco,vanilla,nougat,toasty finish
-Full body
-low to medium carbonation
-alcohol noticeable
Rich and perfect

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Photo of captaincoffee
4.02/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Near black, full tan head, only minimal lacing. Nose is sweet and boozy...molasses and some nutty roasted notes. Flavor is also sweet and boozy...dark dried fruits and roasted malt. Full mouthfeel. Overall, very good, but too sweet and too hot. I've got two more that I'll wait a year before trying again.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
4.29/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black with a large off-white head.
Nose shows heavy roast, liquorice, soft booze, faint rose-like perfumous notes.
Falvours include dry roast and cocoa followed by some sweet chocolate liqueur and a subtle Turkish delight sweetness.

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Photo of Cheeseboo
3.4/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

If I had to pick a word to describe this beer, it would be bitey. Considering how much I paid for a bottle of this (around $15 in Shanghai, China) I was expecting better. Again, I'm not a fan of the imperial stouts, so please try it yourself and don't follow my advice.

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Photo of ChrisCage
4.4/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

My 400th Review!! A collaboration review with my beer loving cousin!

A- Midnight black and light does not pass through this one....motor oil appearance! The head is very rich caramel color and starts out about two fingers thick, before settling into a thick layer that creates shapes, such as a crescent moon in my particular glass! Lacing is moderate with several small patches that slowly running back down into the beer itself! A fine looking stout!

S- The aromas are very rich and lush, with smells of charred oak, leather, burnt toffee, french roast coffee, pure cocoa, and hints of booziness, even though it is rather well hidden. Toasted soil and/or bitter hop presence is noted as well!

T- This is an amazingly full flavored brew! Flavors of straight espresso, huge heavy dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses, licorice , smoked grains and Earthy roots....superb! The alcohol quality is very well hidden and has a raisin like quality about it. Hop bitterness is muted due to the sheer richness! I can't put into words fully how tasty this is!

M/O- Full bodied for sure, and super mellow carbonation make this an incredibly velvety beer that is liqueur like. I feel like this isn't really a beer and belongs in it's own class of beverage. Thick and oily too, I could really enjoy many more of these as a fine sipping drink or with a bar of 90% or higher chocolate, which I have complimented with this during the review. Not for the light of heart, but highly recommended!

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Photo of biegaman
4.13/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

We tend to associate light coloured beers with summer and dark beers with winter. In that case Russian Imperial Stouts relate to the coldest places on this planet and this one would qualify as Siberia. One main difference, however, is that this has no white whatsoever (what little foam is there is brown). Still, that tar black liquid looks thick enough to be a solid.

This is brewed according to a traditional English recipe, one purportedly much beloved by the royal Russian court, but it smells more like it were inspired by Italian bitters the likes of Sambuca or Fernet (not to mention that ultimate of Italian beverages: espresso). It has spiced, herbal black licorice notes and plenty of charred coffee roast as well as a distinctively mocha-like quality.

One needs little imagination to describe the flavours of a good RIS; even a weak, inexperienced palate shouldn't have trouble recognizing tastes that are so dark (chocolate) and black (licorice) as well as both (black dark-roast coffee). Few styles are so intense and impactful yet drink with such delightful ease.

I love the idea of adding rose buds to an imperial stout, but in reality what chance to delicate flower petals have going up against such big and bold flavours? Good luck tasting them. The hops, however, fare somewhat better and manage to impart an earthy pungency on the finish, a welcome chaser to such rich and heavily roasted malts as well as the raisiny, dried fruit notes.

Fuller's has more know-how than arguably any brewer on this planet; virtually everything they release is spot-on and worthy of picking up. They have a decorated history and an integrity pretty much beyond reproach. Hence I expected great things from their Imperial Stout. Fortunately - unsurprisingly - it delivered. Another winner. The price is steep but worth it.

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Photo of vinicole
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Four bought as part of a mixed case.
Rather young at the moment (2014).
Very good - consistent high score.
I will review properly after some cellaring time.

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Photo of LampertLand
4.16/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Fueller's 'Imperial Stout' @ 10.7% , 500 ml bottle , 2013 vintage , cellared for a year
purchased for $8
A-pour is a dark brown/black from the bottle to almost black in the glass with a medium size tan head leaving a lace film along the snifter after every sip
S-surprisingly boozey
T-sweet raisin start , smooth & crisp , boozey finish
MF-decent carbonation , big full body , real big
Ov- wow , I love cellared beers , a must if you can find one
(and let it sit for at least a year) , patience , you will appreciate it later
prost LampertLand

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Photo of kevinlater
4.03/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle into small snifter glass. "BEST BEFORE END 2023". enjoyed on january 11, 2015

a: pitch black with a finger of coffee-looking head

s: heavy roast and licorice presence in the front with sharp smoky-woody accents. blackcurrant, leather, and raisin afterwards

t: roasted/burnt malt, somewhat similar to toast. wood, licorice, raisin, smoke, leather, and bitter cocoa follow. the fruit flavours come forward as the beer warms, reminiscent of a grape jelly

m: medium-plus body, somewhat thick. mild carbonation

o: i like my imperial stouts to have more chocolate and coffee presence in them, but this is still a great and flavourful beer

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Photo of Jeffo
3.1/5  rDev -24.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Got this one at De Bierkoning in Amsterdam.

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
Centennial hops and rose buds

APPEARANCE: Clear brown pour yields a two finger, medium looking, slightly foamy, light tan head with good retention. Head slowly fades to a full wisp cap. Dark bistre brown body, clear, with lower levels of carbonation evident. A splotchy wisp remains leaving no lacing on the glass.

SMELL: Dark fruits, dark cherries, grapes, chocolate aromas, molasses and leather on the nose. Unique combination for the style and not sure if I like it or not.

TASTE: Leather, dark fruits, molasses and char up front, then a big and lingering finish of dark fruits, grapes, burnt grain, leather and sweet molasses. Some bitter chocolate provides some balance over a bed of spicy booze. Flavorful and unique, though not quite sure if it’s my thing.

PALATE: Medium body and medium carbonation. Enough weight and creamy on the palate, goes down smooth and finishes slightly sticky. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: I can imagine that this is a rather accurate representation of the style in a historical sense. It has a lot of the aromas and flavors that seem to go with descriptions of original brews many moons ago. If I’m honest, I must say that these characteristics don’t always thrill me, but I can certainly say that this is a quality, well made, flavorful brew. Give it a chance if you see it. Cheers!

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Photo of Shadman
4.74/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Sampling this one after cellaring for one year. Can't think of a better Boxing Day treat.
Dark as night with no light able to penetrate the inky depths. Rich, creamy head and massive rings of tan lace.
Aroma consists mostly of dark molasses and rum. Very pleasing though.
Oh the taste. Absolute heaven. Dark toast coffee, dark chocolate in a oh so slightly rum like marinade. Not a single moment from sip to next sip that isn't an absolute joy.
Full feel without being too sweet and syrupy. Virtually no hint of the high Abv.

A fantastic beer that cellars extremely well.

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Photo of polloenfuego
4.24/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a deep brown/black with ruby tinges. Minimal head and not much lacing. Smell is strong roasts and licorice. Also present are dark fruits, molasses and a touch of leather. Taste follows the nose with more molasses present. Also the booze is quite noticable. The feel is medium with medium carbonation. The finish is a little sticky. A nice beer, does well with a little time and is great on a cool day.

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Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml Bottle from the Ottawa LCBO for $8 or so

Appearance - Dark brown colour with an average size frothy/fizzy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 5 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, coffee, vanilla

Taste & Mouth - There is an average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and coffee. There is also some charred notes, some hops and I can taste the floral/roses notes quite a bit.. I'm on the fence about it.

Overall - I could go either way with this beer. While I appreciate that it is a little different from the rest of the pack due to the floral notes, I kind of wish they hadn't included them. Either way, a very good beer that is worth picking up.

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Photo of DaveBar
3.92/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at the LCBO for just over $7.00 for a 500ml bottle. Served at 7deg in a tulip.

A- Opens super well pouring a dynamite head that is gone pretty quick. Super dark black.
RIS all the way

S- Lots of caramel, fig, malt, chocolate.

T- This is a good blend. The first snap is not so great but like a good mate it grows on you.

F- Not great but not bad. Enjoyable

O- Pretty good. Have a few for the cellar but may return a couple as this brew will not age at all. It is what it is and that is pretty good but not great. Can get $2.50/341ml brews better here in Canada for nice flavor.

Food Pairing

This nice little beer went well with..... Any desert you can make with chocolate in it


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Photo of MasterSki
4.25/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from the LCBO.

A - Two fingers of tan foam settles to a thick cap, thicker collar, and splotches of lace. Jet black body. Pretty impressive and vaguely ominous.

S - Surprisingly hop-forward, with good notes of smoke, roast, dark bread, dark fruits and vague umami. As it warms there's more cake and icing sugar flavors. Gets increasingly plummy as it warms, with a touch of alcohol coming out.

T - Chocolate, dark fruits, jammy. It's on the fruitier, British side of things, but it has a sweetness that is more American; less attenuated than other British RIS offerings. Some dark bread and soy linger into the finish, mingling with a touch of espresso. Not overly boozy.

M - Medium-full bodied, chewy, viscous, with light alcohol warming in the finish. Lingering stickiness on the palate.

D - Quite enjoyable. I easily finished the 500ml bottle over the course of an hour or so. Always nice to see a bigger brewery step up their game a notch. Reasonably priced too!

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Photo of Marius
4.5/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review from memory. Dark fruits, roasted malt, chocolate and some cocoa. The taste follows the same note, a very good balance between dark chocolate and dark cherries.

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Photo of craftbeersweden
4.05/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Released at Systembolaget, Sweden in november 2013. Best before end 2013.
Pich black beer that fills the glass like motoroil. The beigebrown head is two fingers high.

Nose: Vanilla, roasted malt, coffee, dark chocolate, milk, butter, soy sauce, molasses and some alcohol.

Taste: Licorice, red berries, molasses, caramel, roasted malt, chocolate and coffee.

Medium carbonation and a full body.

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Photo of tmzl
3.71/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: Pours with thick, creamy, average sized mocha head. Has good retention; creamy, thick layer stays on top. Leaves fair amount of lacing. Clear, very dark brown (light amber hue), some carbonation noticed. Fair.

Smell: Some fresh dark fruity esters, bitter chocolate and light coffee. Booze - makes it a bit metallic. Earthy, herbal undertone that goes into a weird soy sauce-like salty character. Bit of sourness. Roast sweetness gets bigger and more pleasant as it warms up.

Taste: Medium burnt caramel and molasses sweetness that goes into chocolate, coffee and bitter booze notes. Still some esters play in the background. Ends with pleasant medium roasted coffee bitterness with some tingling booziness.

Mouthfeel: Full creamy body with the right amount of smooth carbonation. Soft but ends a bit spicy because of the alcohol sticking out.

Overall: As a fellow BA said: "still a bit young and hot". The booze will probably tune down in time and make this good beer a great one.

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Photo of bark
3.56/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The colour is black (110 EBC), the liquid clear (I think). The two finger head is airy and brown, it sinks slowly leaving some lacing on the glass.

The smell is smooth with some alcohol, roasted malts and notes of oatmeal porridge and fresh dark rye bread. Some red berries and fruits, molasses and mild bitter flavours. It is quite mild, I think.

The taste is considerably more powerful: Smooth alcohol, salt liquorice, molasses, red berries, burned malt and soy sauce. The flavours goes well together. Full body. The aftertaste got hot almost burning alcohol, more salt liquorice, rubber, and some semi-sweet bread flavours, mostly pumpernickel and other German black bread. The finish is rather smooth and balanced with burned flavours, butterscotch and sour fruit candy.

The carbonation is medium strong, the many small short-lived bubbles are a bit sharp. The liquid is thick and creamy.

Not bad at all, lots of interesting flavours here. It is still a bit young and hot, though.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.09/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle, dubbed 'Fuller's Imperial Stout' in bottle conditioned format overseas, i.e. here in Alberta. At any rate, it's awesome to see this available here, so quickly upon release.

This beer pours a solid black, with ever so slight basal cola highlights, and three fingers of weakly puffy, and densely foamy 'dark' beige head, which leaves a few instances of porous continental drift lace around the glass as it slowly recedes.

It smells of musty bittersweet cocoa, black licorice drops, red wine must, weirdly understated caramel malt, a subdued treacle/toffee sweetness, besotted black raisins, earthy noble hops, and a bristling, sharp booziness. The taste is rather large all around, starting with a big baker's chocolate sweetness, followed closely by a musty caramel malt, more semi-sweet salty anise, well-creamed workaday coffee, restrained earthy dark fruit, and a pleasant floral, somewhat spicy hoppiness.

The carbonation is well rendered, a bit frothy at best (worst?), the body a fairly rare full weight, and damned proud of it, with a lilting smoothness, the kind that challenges any and all to dare its provenance. It finishes on the sweet side, some Cadbury's chocolate, multifaceted caramel malt, and game licorice candy notes filling out the winning column nicely, aided by a threatening, but hardly scary booze warming.

A stellar example of the origin of the style, with a more New World idea of ABV, but that's neither here nor there at the present moment. Well-rounded, fruity, chocolaty, and not as hot as the north of 20-proof booze might have you expect. A pleasant surprise to gently sup during this early winter deep freeze we here up north are currently enduring with a stiff upper lip, all in advance of the yearly Christmas tree decorating event - the leftovers from this ensure that I don't have to drink any bloody eggnog, so extra points for that!

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Photo of BlackHaddock
4.43/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Hand-pulled half-pint into a bulbous 'Fullers' glass in The Old Joint Stock, Birmingham on 30th Oct 2013.

A thin wisp and collar sat on top of a dark, heavy looking body.

The nose confirmed this was going to be a heavy, rich brew. Port like esters hit my nose, slightly over roasted malts also appeared in the aroma: this has a great smell.

The taste was a mixture of sweet malty molasses that gave hints of chocolate, dark fruits, old red wine, Port and root liquorice sticks (remember those?).

The body was rich and heavy: did I already mention that?

Very sweet, very unhealthy, very alcoholic, very nice.

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Imperial Stout from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
4.11 out of 5 based on 84 ratings.
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