Imperial Stout

Imperial StoutImperial Stout
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #181
Ranked #3,395
4.2 | pDev: 7.38%
England, United Kingdom
Imperial StoutImperial Stout
View: Beers
Reviews: 35 | Ratings: 101 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by arzt:
Photo of arzt
arzt from Russian Federation

4.55/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Mar 01, 2019
More User Reviews:
Photo of Jeffo
Jeffo from Netherlands

3.1/5  rDev -26.2%
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!

Dec 30, 2014
Photo of Kanutasan
Kanutasan from Sweden

4.49/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Oct 10, 2016
Photo of BeiZero
BeiZero from Russian Federation

5/5  rDev +19%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Nov 27, 2016
Photo of AreSoms
AreSoms from Sweden

3.65/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Oct 30, 2016
Photo of Sigmund
Sigmund from Norway

4.29/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle in cardboard box, as Fuller’s Bottle Conditioned Imperial Stout Limited Edition. ABV is 10.7%. From the Fuller’s Brewery store, also available at Cardinal Pub & Bar, Stavanger. Pitch black colour, moderate tan head. Lovely aroma, roasty and floral notes, hints of coffee, chocolate, leather and rosebuds. Distinctly roasty flavour, notes of strong coffee, dark chocolate and liquorice, floral notes in the background. Decent hops (Centennial).

May 15, 2021
Photo of JonnoWillsteed
JonnoWillsteed from England

3.73/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

Edit to add: 13/Nov/2020 - I see that this week this beer has been restocked in our local Waitrose, same price. I suspect it's a seasonal beer pitched as an Xmas gift.

Nov 09, 2019
Photo of clarknova
clarknova from Germany

4.48/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Mar 18, 2020
Photo of TheBierdimpfe
TheBierdimpfe from Canada (QC)

4.41/5  rDev +5%
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

Dec 20, 2019
Photo of -steve-
-steve- from Canada (ON)

4.19/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Lovely. Dark black beer with a brown head. Smells of roasted malts, chocolate and cherry. I am reminded of Turkish Delight as is mentioned on the label. Tastes of chocolate, cherry, plums. Oily on the tongue. Superb hop bitterness to finish the initial sweet cherry flavours. Almost 11% but the alcohol is well hidden. A gem.

Apr 12, 2020
Photo of thehyperduck
thehyperduck from Canada (ON)

4.44/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

Oct 02, 2019
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
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.

Jan 25, 2019
Photo of CAMRAhardliner
CAMRAhardliner from Canada (ON)

4.03/5  rDev -4%
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.

Feb 16, 2017
Photo of bark
bark from Sweden

3.56/5  rDev -15.2%
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.

Feb 10, 2014
Photo of Derek
Derek from Canada (BC)

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Apr 05, 2014
Photo of JMBSH
JMBSH from Colorado

3.88/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Feb 06, 2015
Photo of biegaman
biegaman from Canada (ON)

4.13/5  rDev -1.7%
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.

Mar 05, 2015
Photo of vinicole
vinicole from England

4.39/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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

Feb 01, 2015
Photo of BlackHaddock
BlackHaddock from England

4.43/5  rDev +5.5%
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.

Oct 31, 2013
Photo of Shadman
Shadman from Canada (AB)

4.74/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

Dec 27, 2014
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki from Canada (ON)

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%
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!

Dec 08, 2014
Photo of ChrisCage
ChrisCage from Canada (AB)

4.4/5  rDev +4.8%
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!

Apr 06, 2015
Photo of Walu
Walu from Taiwan

4.88/5  rDev +16.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Jan 13, 2015
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum from Canada (AB)

4.09/5  rDev -2.6%
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!

Dec 10, 2013
Photo of spointon
spointon from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev +1.2%

Jul 16, 2014
Imperial Stout from Fuller's
Beer rating: 92 out of 100 with 101 ratings