Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
Big Sky Brewing Company

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #56
Ranked #993
4.28 | pDev: 10.28%
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
Notes: 2006 - 8.75% (draft only)
2007 - 8.75% (500ml flip top bottles ~ very limited)
2008 - 9.5% (750ml - capped - 1152 bottles)
2009 - 10% (750ml cork and cage)
2010 - 10% (750ml - cork and cage)
2011 - not brewed
2012 - 12.2% (750ml cork and cage)
2013 - 13.8%
2014 - 11.5% (750ml cork and cage)
2017 - 11.6%

Imperial stout aged 4 months in freshly dumped American oak Buffalo Trace bourbon barrels.

65 IBU
Reviews: 307 | Ratings: 892 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 Vintage
750ml cork and cage bottle poured into a snifter

A- big pop of the cork, pours black in color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that quickly reduces to a ring around the edge

S- surprisingly plenty of barrel notes on the nose, given that it states that it's only aged for at least 3 months. Peppery wet oak, bourbon, caramel and vanilla up front, followed by molasses, brown sugar, chocolate, fudge brownies & walnuts

T- sharp oaky note up front, followed by barrel juice, caramel, vanilla and cracked pepper. Mid-palate gives notes of molasses, prunes, raisins and chocolate. The finish gives more barrel character and lingers of oak and bourbon

M- medium-heavy body with moderate-low carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel that turns into a creamy warming finish

O- a solid, straight up BA RIS, no fancy extra adjuncts needed

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Photo of Darkmagus82
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Served on tap in a snifter glass
Appearance- The beer is served a pitch black tar like color with a one finger head of brown foam. The head has a great level of retention, slowly fading over time to leave a ton of spider web lacing on the sides of the glass.
Smell – The aroma of the brew is massive of a roasted malt small that is matched by copious amount of bourbon and sweet cocoa. Along with these smells comes other notes of dark fruit of cherry and plum as well as a little bit of a molasses and light oaky aroma. The alcohol can be sensed as well leaving one with a dark and rich warming smell.
Taste – The taste begins as the nose would suggest with a huge roasted malt flavor that was backed by a large amount of sweeter cocoa. Right from the start there is a rather strong showing of bourbon with some nice oaky notes. The bourbon grows stronger and stronger as the taste advances, being joined by some light vanilla and molasses flavors. Toward the end the booziness starts creeping its way in, with it matching the increase in the bourbon rather nicely. Some flavors of char and smoke develop at the very end, and with the dark, sweet, and boozy tastes, one is left with a very satisfyingly warming flavor to linger on the tongue.
Mouthfeel – The body of the brew is thick and robust with a lower carbonation level. For the big dark, sweet, and boozy tastes the feel is fantastic coating the mouth in all the rich flavors and making this one slow sipping warmer.
Overall – A very tasty and bourbon barrel flavored ale. Quite robust and warming!!

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Photo of superspak
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

8500th review! 750 ml bottle into snifter, 2015 vintage. Bottle #2566/3000. Pours opaque dark brown/black color with a 1-2 finger fairly dense and rocky khaki head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Nice dense foamy lacing clings on the glass, with a fair amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, oak char, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of molasses, licorice, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, smoke, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, peppercorn, pine, and yeast/roast/toast/oak earthiness. Slight booze in the aromas as it warms, but not overwhelming. Damn nice aromas with great balance and complexity of dark/black/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop notes; with great strength. Taste of big milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, oak char, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, and dark bread/crust; with lighter notes of molasses, licorice, raisin, prune, cherry, fig, date, smoke, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, peppercorn, pine, and yeast/roast/toast/oak earthiness. Light-moderate pine, herbal, grassy, peppery, roast, charred bitterness; and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness on the finish. Lingering notes of milk/dark chocolate, cocoa, coffee, caramel, brown sugar, toffee, vanilla, bourbon, coconut, oak char, roasted nuts, toasted biscuit, dark bread/crust, molasses, licorice, dark fruit, smoke, leather, tobacco, herbal, grass, peppercorn, pine, and yeast/roast/toast/oak earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; with a great roast/hop bitter/sweet and bourbon/oak spiciness balance; with no cloying, acrid, astringent flavors after the finish. Light-moderate increasing dryness from lingering hop/char bitterness and bourbon/oak tannin spiciness. Medium carbonation and medium-full body; with a very smooth, creamy/silky/bready, and fairly sticky/chalky/tannic mouthfeel that is great. Mild increasing warmth of 11.9%, with minimal lingering barrel booze after the finish. Overall this is a fantastic barrel aged Russian imperial stout. All around fantastic complexity, robustness, and balance of dark/black/roast/bready malts, bourbon barrels, and light-moderate fruity yeast/earthy hop flavors; very smooth and dangerously easy to sip on for the big ABV, with the mellowly bitter/tannic/drying finish. Fantastic balance between rich malt complexity and bourbon barrel presence/integration; with balancing earthy hops and restrained fruity yeast. Light residual sweetness with lingering bitter/tannic dryness. A highly enjoyable offering, and spot on style example. A lot more charred/tannic barrel presence than I expected, but it doesn't get overly boozy/drying.

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Photo of Ri0
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured 750 bottle into chalice. vintage 2017. Color is obsidian black with a thin 1 finger tan hear. Quick retention that leaves a collar and a few spots of lacing. The aroma is sensational with very soft bourbon, coffee roast, vanilla, dark chocolate, cocoa, marshmallow and thick caramel. The flavor begins with a hints of bitter coffee, rich caramel and moves into some chocolate. It evolves with a faint vanilla and bourbon with a bit of oak or wood. Medium body with creamy, smooth feel. Carbonation is spot on. Really enjoyed this bottle and found it similar to some local offerings.

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Photo of csmrx7
4.44/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an incredible BA Stout that really sticks to the basics (no adjuncts). Great rich nose that has a hotter smell than come out in the beer. When cold there is a unique nuttiness from the malt that I quite enjoyed. As it cools the boosy bourbon character really comes out and does not disappoint.

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Photo of hman43
4.65/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Look: This is the 2017 addition which comes in at 11.6%. It pours dark brown with a brown head. Head retention is moderately good.

Smell: It has a fair amount of fruity esters with the rich malts. As it begins to warm a bit, the malts become more pronounced. It has roasted malt aromas with a touch of coffee. The fruit aromas are fairly strong with plums and raisins. There is a slight herbal quality in the background.

Taste: It has aggressive bitterness and deep roast flavors with a slight burnt element. The herbal flavors are still low, but more evident in the flavors than in the aroma. The raisins and plums are moderate. The bourbon flavoring is subtle as it enhances all the flavors without overwhelming them.

Feel: It is full bodied with a velvet like texture. The alcohol warming is smooth without any harsh edges. The carbonation is moderately low.

Overall, this is a very well done imperial stout with an excellent mix of malt and esters working with the hops. The bourbon enhances the flavors along with the smooth finish.

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Photo of Franziskaner
3.72/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Black in color with no light seeping through whatsoever. There's a wisp of brown in the the center about the size of a half dollar. The aroma is comprised of sweet bourbon and bitter, dark roasted barley. I'm tasting a very bourbon forward beer with the roasted barley showing in the back of the palate. The mouth is thick, chewy, and lightly sticky.

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Photo of SomethingClever
3.74/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

2017 corked and caged 750ml bottle poured into snifter.

A: Nice slightly off white chunky head that settles to a film. Body is your ubiquitous black.

S: Light whiskey a little licorice some roasted malts, oak, a little alcohol.

T: Lots of whiskey, oak, and some nice roasted malts nice bit of sweetness. Alcohol is fairly well hidden.

M: Medium bodied to fuller a little thin from the barrel aging.

O: It’s not a bad beer but it’s not amazing either. It’s a well put together BA beer, but not something I would look out for.

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Photo of sulldaddy
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Sampling a cellar temp 750ml bottle poured into a snifter. This is a 2017 vintage bottle 11.6%.
Beer was part of a trade for mt_griz99.
The beer pours a dark chocolate brown color with a creamy beige head of 2 cm foaming up even with a gentle pour. The foam fades slowly but leaves a dense edge layer and a large sturdy island in the center of my glass.
The beer gives a sweet bourbon and vanilla aroma with some caramel and brown sugar too. A bit of a molasses note too on the nose. Hops dont really make a presence here.
First sip reveals an average body with average carbonation. Texture is very smooth and this beer is easy to drink.
Flavor is similar to nose with malt forward and booze. I get dark chocolate and bourbon mixing with brown sugar. There is some black licorice on the finish here that I didnt get on the nose. Again the hops dont really make an appearance and the booze is only a faint warming on the finish.
I enjoy this beer and find the flavors to be appropriate for an Imp Stout and I enjoy it, even though I dont like black licorice / anice flavor in my beers.
Worth a shot if you are in able to procure this beer. I dont find it to be amazing but it is good.

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Photo of mactrail
3.46/5  rDev -19.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

I'm tasting the 2017 Barrel Aged edition, 11.6% ABV. It certainly tastes powerful enough, and leaves you with a hot rush of alcohol when you exhale. whoof! Bourbon is the aroma, carried on waves of alcohol. Some sweetness in the initial mouthful of malt, but there's a dry edge to it.

Quite bitter and overwhelmingly licorice tasting. There is something like booze but it's not much of a Bourbon flavor. Seems mostly bitter and hot with some oakey astringency and a woody after-feel. From the 750 ml bottle purchased at Haggen Market.

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Photo of Beersnake1
4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured from fridge temp. Pours jet black with nice tan head. Nose is full of roasted malts, caramel, licorice, and some coffee. Only a hint of bourbon. Taste is really good. Sweet bourbon upfront, but not too heavy. Lots of licorice to me, and I like my stouts with a lot of licorice. A good amount of smoky notes, coffee grinds, and molasses. Really nicely done, and a nice compliment to the base stout (which I also really like). Mouthfeel is medium to thick with a nice creamy texture. Overall, not my favorite BA stout, but certainly good.

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
3.19/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

750 ml bottle from 2016, bottle 1885 of 4250.
L: Pours an almost black with a big frothy khaki head with excellent lacing.
S: Barely noticeable barrel, licorice and tart cherries.
T: Cherries.
F: Too thin for the style, overcarbonated.
O: I didn't think much of this last year and as a BA stout I thought it would improve with a year on it. I love the base beer for this, it's similar to Ol' Raspy', but something went wrong here, reminds me of BCBS from 2015. Disappointing.

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Photo of bbtkd
4.29/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big Sky 2017 Barrel Aged Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout, 11.6% ABV. Pours black with a two finger tan head, which left real nice foamy lacing. Aroma is bourbon, roast malt, and chocolate. Taste is roast malt, licorice, strong cocoa/chocolate, roast malt, slight bourbon, oak, slightly sweet, with a slight bitter close. Excellent mouthfeel, overall outstanding. I've wanted to try this for two years, since trying and liking the regular Ivan, and I'm not disappointed.

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Photo of brenn79
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

750 ml corked and caged bottle, 2016 vintage- Pours black with a medium tan head that reduces leaving a collar and some islands. Aroma is toffee, chocolate, caramel, dark roasted malts, malt balls, licorice. The taste is caramel, roasted malts, milk duds, licorice and tobacco, the oak is minimal in this variety, and the alcohol is well hidden, thinking that's from the year age on it. Very good world class BA stout.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a rich dark brown and sits black in the glass with a very fizzy head of light tan carbonation that deteriorates to a thin lacy ring.

Deeply roasted malt with notes of oak, bourbon, and chocolate.

Strong woody oak character, with notes of bourbon, vanilla, chocolate, and heavily roasted malt.

Way too carbonated for a BA stout.

Overall, this was quite the let down, smells nice but overcarbed and underwhelming in every manner.

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Photo of ArkyVaughan
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 edition purchased in Seattle. My first beer from Montana and it is pretty solid. Nothing incredible here, but very well done. I liked that the barrel character was a bit subdued.

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Photo of Parmesan
3.32/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

L: Pours a pitch black color with a very large brown head with no lacing on the glass.

S: Strong notes of cherry, roasted dark malt, notes of vanilla and Bourbon, but cherry is forefront. Not as decadent smelling as some Bourbon barrel beers.

T: Strong note of tart cherry, Bourbon is very overwhelming in the cherry department, with some Roast. Very one deminsion for a barrel aged stout. Alcohol is very noticeable.

F: Thick body but carbonation is way too high.

O: This beer is almost all cherry from the bourbon and not a lot of other complexity.

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Photo of FBarber
3.54/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

The cage blew off the bottle when the cork shot off ... and it went downhill from there. Not infected, but not very good at all. Melon fruity aroma and in the flavor that seems off. Way overcarbonated. Meh.

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Photo of Chuckdiesel24
2.82/5  rDev -34.1%
look: 2.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.75

2016 vintage (I think - purchased in 2017). The carbonation level is extremely high - I've never seen a BA stout with so much head. It tastes thin with no barrel and it's very difficult to distinguish the carbonation from the taste of the beer.

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Photo of MuFugga
3.34/5  rDev -22%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

2015 vintage. Bottle 2305 of 3000

This sure is one mediocre ass barrel aged stout. Not much barrel character at all. I have no clue how this has a world class rating.

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Photo of laketang
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

25 oz bottle 2016 version

poured like hot motor oil
tan head reduces to a rim
bourbon chocolate and licorice
definite bourbon on the nose
more of a chocolate edge tastewise
medium mouthfeel,barrel did this well.
overall an enjoyable stout.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
3.91/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle # 789 of 3600. 2014 vintage; drank 3/7/15 @ the Palace.

Black/brown appearance.

Tan head; almost no lace.

Banana, smoke, milk chocolate & booze heat in the nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Cinnamon, milk chocolate & booze heat flavors up front; mild pepper heat on the finish. Oak notes emerged as this warmed. Good but a bit too spicy for me; I won't seek it out but I wouldn't turn it down.

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Photo of Suds
4.69/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This is an utterly black beer with a thick tan foam. The aroma is huge....malty, roasted, fruit aroma. Dark, ripe fruit...molasses and malt. The flavor is bitter and intense...sweet in the front and hoppy in mid-taste and finish. The body is incredibly full...Heavy and creamy. This one is standard-setting for the style.

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Photo of stevoj
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Bottle from Albertsons. 2015 vintage. Big, sticky black pour, small beige head. Boozy aroma, lots of wood barrel character. Maybe because I hadn't had one in awhile, but this was extremely tasty. Really hit all of the marks.

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Photo of DrinkThemAll
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage. Poured from a 1 pint 9.3oz bottle, into a snifter.

A-pours an opaque black, with a huge 3 finger tan had, that dissipates to a slight ring, that stays around for the remainder. Spotty lacing. Nice looking beer.

S-Oak and bourbon, all the way up front. Smells like a fine wine, with chocolate malt, maybe some plum and raisins. Very slight burn from the alcohol.

T-very sweet chocolate, oak, bourbon, maybe some brown sugar. Very creamy and easy to drink. On the lighter side for 12% and barrel aged. Very sweet and light beer.

M-Boozy mouth, with chocolate bitterness and medium carbonation. Liked the mouth a lot actually.

O-Actually a bit surprised with this one. It's a great beer, but falls a little short when compared to others of the style. Especially being so limited.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 892 ratings