Imperial Stout
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #177
Ranked #3,438
4.19 | pDev: 7.64%
Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
England, United Kingdom
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
View: Beers
Reviews: 33 | Ratings: 97 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of TheBierdimpfe
4.41/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Opacity: Deep opaque.
Color: Deep black.
Head: Creamy and bubbly brown 2 fingers.
Legs: Poor but strong lacing.
Smell: Burned coffee beans/Smoke/Wood/Plums.
Taste: Dark chocolate/Roasted barley and oatmeal/Prunes/Vanilla/Herbal.
Feel: Roasted/Earthy/Spicy/Dark esters/Barrel aged.
Body: Medium silky and creamy, superb roundness and smoothness.
Carbonation: Light soft crisp, just the right feel.
Overall: Low alcohol feel, just a bit in the smell. Slightly chalky and dry. Excellent aging process. Real easy to drink yet still bold and quite warming. Superb quality Imperial stout, impressive classic representation of the style.

Visual 7/10 - Flavors 9/10 - Sensations 9.5/10 - Balance 9.5/10 -
Freshness 4/10 - Intensity 7.5/10 - Complexity 9.5/10 - Appreciation 9.5/10

 774 characters

Photo of JonnoWillsteed
3.73/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I'm beginning to feel rather cynical about all these 'special' beers, esp. how they're branded, packaged, and marketed around Christmas. £6 a pint in a pretty box? £8 (this one), £what will you spend - they'll test it a la Diageo's Johnnie Walker Red > Black > Double-Black > Green > Gold > Blue labels. Where next?
L- Inky black, glints of deep ruby through the corner of the glass when held up to a light. Pours with thin fine-bubble tan head.
S- Toasty, smokey, high ABV%
T- Pungent, oily, smokey, bonfires, then all of those again. Like something pumped out of an old car engine; in a good way, mostly.
F- Thick and heavy intense flavour and feel, I can't see anyone rushing this one.
O- Like a big smokey malt whisky you perhaps need to be well into black beer and deep/heavy variants to get this one. Interesting to try but a bit of a bludgeoning experience on both the wallet and taste-buds.
500ml bottle. BB: 31/12/2029. £8 from a Waitrose in London.

 963 characters

Photo of thehyperduck
4.44/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

500 mL bottle-in-a-carton purchased at the LCBO long ago. A prime candidate for the oldest bottle in the cellar: it's at least 5 years old, but also bottle-conditioned and 'Best Before 2023', so I'm sure it's in fine shape. Served barely chilled.

Pours totally black, with a deliberately aggressive pour producing one finger of soapy, beige-coloured head that doesn't stick around for more than a few minutes. A bubbly collar of froth and a patchy, filmy cap live on, with minimal lace flung about in the process; looks as expected for the style. Lots of roasted malts on the nose - I'm getting coffee grounds and dark chocolate, with tobacco, leather, earthiness, flowery hops and an herbal anise note, as well as a fair bit of raisin and fig fruitiness. Moderately boozy, but nothing out of the ordinary for nearly 11%.

An exquisite beer: mellow yet intense, rich yet somehow balanced in nearly every respect. Brownie, dark chocolate, molasses and espresso coffee hit the taste buds immediately, with delectable dark fruit flavours of fig, raisin and cherry carried closely in tow. Earthy and herbal towards the back end, with anise, floral hops, vanilla and coffee grounds preceding a warming, roasty aftertaste with suggestions of burnt grains and Turkish delight. Full-bodied, with minimal carbonation and a silky-smooth, slick mouthfeel that allows this beer to slide down the gullet with ease. One of those beers that makes me feel bad for not splitting it with someone... sure, I can finish it off, but a half litre is more than I need.

Final Grade: 4.44, an A grade. I've been clearing out my cellar recently, which means that I have also been reviewing some pretty darn good stouts - for example, this here bottle of Fuller's Imperial Stout, which might well be the best thing I've pulled out of there so far. A fantastic, must-try stout that I emphatically recommend to all BAs; exactly what I'd expect from my favourite English brewer. I'd like to try it fresh at least once, but my gut feels as if this is a beast which benefits from some time being tamed. I can only thank my lucky stars that this seems to come back to Ontario on a yearly basis.

 2,165 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma of black chocolate notes with light dry roasted malt notes is quite enticing. Taste is nice mix of black chocolate notes, dry roasted malt notes, and subtle residual sugar notes with some nice cocoa notes. Body is full with nice texture and good carbonation with no real apparent alcohol notes. Enjoyable and I enjoyed the balance level of residual sugar.

 472 characters

Photo of josanguapo
4.46/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

From Hopt. In Teku glass. Playing Avernum 2. Superbly balanced,with delicious roasty notes, raisins, some minerality and a complete smoothness that makes it very drinkable in spite its abv

 188 characters

Photo of rex_4539
4.38/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L: Drank from bottle but appears to be jet black.

S: Raisins, alcohol. Very light aroma.

T: Raisins, wine, alcohol, oats, super smooth.

F: Smooth and silky, yet full bodied. Out of this world.

O: This is a world class beer.

 227 characters

Photo of Bruno74200
4.25/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Seems like drinking history in a glass. Nowhere but near the American vision of the style, this Imperial Russian Stout brings elegance to the table. The yeast presence reminds you this is clearly a Fuller's beer. The big malt roasted notes of the American ones are replaced by more subtle cocoa and licorice notes. The hops bring balance with floral and spicy notes. Rose buds addition is very subtle to not really present.
Very drinkable despite the abv. A nice beer

 468 characters

Photo of snaotheus
4.06/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle served in a tulip. Best Before end of 2024. Bought at the Hung, Drawn, and Quartered in London and brought home in my suitcase.

Pours black with a medium to small head and a fair amount of fine, small carbonation. Smell is chocolate and anise, rich and nice.

Taste is bittersweet and strong, rich anise and coffee. Lots of coffee after the second sip.

Mouthfeel is thick and rich. Overall, this is a quite tasty beer.

 444 characters

Photo of byronic
4.19/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Black as night, low carbonation but nice lacing. Nothing much on the nose. Chocolate and lots of dark cherry with a touch of bitterness in the finish nicely masked by the cherry. Smooth and velvety but still a nice kick of booze after a couple of years.

 253 characters

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
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.

 638 characters

Photo of ludachris
4.27/5  rDev +1.9%
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.

 1,274 characters

Photo of taxandbeerguy
4.11/5  rDev -1.9%
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.

 1,402 characters

Photo of drmeto
4.94/5  rDev +17.9%
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

 325 characters

Photo of captaincoffee
4.02/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 307 characters

Photo of CrazyDavros
4.29/5  rDev +2.4%
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.

 238 characters

Photo of Cheeseboo
3.4/5  rDev -18.9%
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.

 271 characters

Photo of ChrisCage
4.4/5  rDev +5%
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!

 1,492 characters

Photo of biegaman
4.13/5  rDev -1.4%
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.

 1,835 characters

Photo of vinicole
4.37/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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. Initial score = 4

Bottle. Very dark brown. Diminishing tan head.
Heady fruit aroma. Extra dark chocolate and espresso.
Rich complexity of flavours reflecting the aroma and more. Rum and raisin. Genoa cake and rose water. Lightly charred toast.
Tannic feel that smooths out nicely. Balanced as can be.
The 3 year maturation in my cellar has done the job nicely thank you very much.

 550 characters

Photo of LampertLand
4.16/5  rDev -0.7%
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

 546 characters

Photo of kevinlater
4.03/5  rDev -3.8%
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

 654 characters

Photo of Jeffo
3.1/5  rDev -26%
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!

 1,413 characters

Photo of Shadman
4.74/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

 574 characters

Photo of polloenfuego
4.24/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

 408 characters

Photo of spinrsx
4/5  rDev -4.5%
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.

 784 characters

Imperial Stout from Fuller Smith & Turner PLC
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 97 ratings