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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Style:
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #57
ABV:
11.6%
Score:
95
Ranked #1,009
Avg:
4.28 | pDev: 10.28%
Reviews:
308
Ratings:
894
From:
Big Sky Brewing Company
 
Montana, United States
Avail:
Rotating/Seasonal
Wants
  779
Gots
  276
SCORE
95
World-Class
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)
2015 - 11.9% (750ml cork and cage - 3000 bottles)
2017 - 11.6%

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

65 IBU
Reviews: 308 | Ratings: 894 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by SirElton:
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SirElton from California

3.5/5  rDev -18.2%

Apr 12, 2014
More User Reviews:
Photo of bowzer4birdie
bowzer4birdie from Illinois

4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a great head and let it warm up, gets better and better as it comes closer to room temp. I would have liked more time spent in the barrel, however. Bourbon influence is minimal.

May 01, 2015
Photo of Neorebel
Neorebel from New Jersey

4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I received a bottle of Ivan the Terrible 2013 as a gift, and finally finding a worthy night to open it, I found it had a near perfect appearance... It's color, the deepest brown, and a thin layer of froth over top of it as if it were espresso, it's a Russian Imperial Stout through and through.

The aroma is rich with the scents of baker's chocolate, molasses, vanilla, bourbon, and cinnamon. A truly enticing bouquet indeed! After a healthy taste, I found the beverage to feel smooth, yet it was a little spicy as well. The bourbon barrel aspect was appropriately present in the foreground and meshing well with the finely crafted stout. The most remarkable thing about this beer I found in the finish. It had a very pleasing 'mineral water' hint, accompanied by a very slight anise element.

Ultimately, I would place this in the upper echelon of barrel aged stouts, and that is really saying something, considering the fine examples of such I have already experienced and reviewed.

Oct 15, 2014
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larryarms847 from Illinois

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.

Nov 21, 2017
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MarvinSnyder from West Virginia

4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2009 Limited Edition - 767 of 3000. Barrel aged & bottle conditioned. Cellared for a time !

Jun 14, 2015
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scottbham from Washington

1.35/5  rDev -68.5%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 1 | overall: 1.25

Bad bottle.

2013 #2655 of 3000. Purchased off dry shelf in October of 2014 within days of distribution (I work there). Kept ~60 deg after. Opened today (July 18).

No carbonation on pull. None on pour save for a dozen bubbles on the sizes of the glass. Chocolate and caramel color. Smells of alcoholic stone fruit and fruity chocolate. Flat and syrupy on the tongue. Sour like early blackberries and then sour like cheap candy. Finishes tongue curdling.
You get a bad bottle every once in a while. This is the 2nd from Big Sky iI have gotten after their Kriek. I've had some great ones from them, too: Ivan the Terrible (not aged) and Moose Drool. Just FYI to all the BAs.

Jul 19, 2015
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nrbw23 from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours pretty much a black color with a nice brown head. Head became a pretty nice cap and left behind a bit of spotty lacing at best.

S- Smell is of oak, bourbon, and vanilla. Roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits and chocolate are here as well. Nothing really dominates the aroma they just all work well together.

T- Taste really follows the nose well. Bourbon is here but does not take over. Vanilla, oak and chocolate. Nice little alcohol warmth.

M- Full in body and carbonation was faily low.

O- A very solid brew that I'd recommend to everyone to try.

Apr 17, 2011
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zekeman17 from Pennsylvania

4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

May 23, 2016
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fredmugs from Indiana

4.13/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 bottle poured into a snifter. I traded for this when it was on the old Beers of Fame list and now I don't know if I waited to long to drink it. The aroma is amazing and reminds me of a FW offering. The moth feel, however, is incredibly lacking. Very thin. Prior to this I drink a non BA version and it was better.

Oct 03, 2015
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callmemickey from Pennsylvania

4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 release

A: Pitch black body. Large, frothy dark khaki colored head. Good retention and nice lacing left behind after each sip. A damn good looking beer.

S: A light, smooth, refined bourbon highlights the malty base. Light vanilla, molasses, chocolate, and warmed caramel.

T: Delicious. Bourbon, oak and vanilla are present from the barrels. Not hot, abrasive or overwhelming. Well integrated with the roasty sweet malt backbone. Caramel, molasses, chocolate, and a general roasted vibe.

M: Medium-full bodied. Good even carbonation throughout. No excessive heat. Lingering roasted sweetness in the finish.

D: A very nice beer that epitomizes subtlety in bourbon barrel treatment. A real find that people should try to seek out.

Jun 06, 2010
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kdown from California

3.84/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Mar 30, 2015
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Jwale73 from Rhode Island

4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jedwards for breaking this one out. 750ml bottle. 2009 vintage, bottle 2264 of 3000. Pours an inky black with a quarter inch, khaki-colored head embedded with ringlets. Head eventually settles into a creamy cap; arcs and spots of lacing are exposed during the tasting. Great nose - dark malt dominates; however, buttery bourbon notes are revealed as the brew warms. The flavor profile really opens up as the glass warmed between my hands - milk chocolate, a little wood, brown sugar and a slight roasted/charred character. Mouthfeel is medium-light, albeit a bit thin, with an easy, even carbonation. There's also a slight acidic tang as well as some residual heat. Overall, this is an exceptional RIS with a great balance. I actually think this beer might be better with a little less time on it, but age didn't really negatively impact it as whole.

Nov 13, 2011
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misinformed from California

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle, reviewed 5/28, tulip glass.

Very secure cork. I managed to break it off halfway while pulling it out, but a corkscrew soon set that right. Huge, vigorous pop; a sign of this beer's awesome carbonation.

A- Beautiful onyx black beer poured with 4" of vigorous cocoa brown head. The head eventually dropped down to a thick cloud that left behind some mild lacing.

S- Smells amazing. The aroma was apparent right after bottle was opened. Bourbon/alcohol. Sweet dark malt with some dark fruit notes. Oak and vanilla. The bourbon really becomes dominant as it warms.

T- Even richer than the nose lets on. Smooth cocoa/dark chocolate, sweet dark fruits, dark roasted malt, bourbon and alcohol. Oak and light vanilla show up more in the long finish.

M- Velvety smooth. Awesome high amount of carbonation and the perfect amount of alcohol burn.

O- Nice deep range of flavors. Great balance as well. It's sweet, but with enough bitterness to balance it out. Very active carbonation, which I found to be a plus. The alcohol becomes more assertive as it warms up. An excellent beer all around. Easily one of my favorites.

May 31, 2011
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mnphish from Minnesota

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Mar 25, 2013
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sendsilk from Florida

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Sep 01, 2012
Photo of CooperEllis
CooperEllis from New York

5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I had the 2009, 2010 and 2012. This is the review from the 2012: Bottle # 1472/4200

I genuinely love this beer in every incarnation that I've been able to sample - and I've had several bottles of each of the above listed years. I haven't noticed any bottle variation, this is great fresh and it ages (for at least 3 years) very well when properly cellared.

Nose has a good amount of wood and booze when fresh and more of the malt comes to the front the longer it sits. The pour looks thin going into the glass, but there is a full tan head and robust lacing. The mouthfeel also does not reflect a 'thin' feel at all.

Taste and mouthfeel compliment each other perfectly, a well-balanced stout that benefits from the barrel treatment and is in no way overpowered by the bourbon notes. A smooth, velvety entrance with no bitterness or booze at the end. This reminds me more of a Kate, subtle complexity and lighter, than a big in-your face -bal STOUT that is ever so popular. Perhaps one for the less-is-more file.

A damn fine glass of beer. Big thanks to azaaron for the hook-up. I hope you enjoy your end of the trade as much.

5/5 across the board.

(199th)

Feb 08, 2013
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KlayWey from Idaho

4.2/5  rDev -1.9%

Nov 22, 2014
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birchstick from Colorado

4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 vintage, bottle 37 of 3800

A - pours a deep, dark black color with a minimal head that forms a light taupe color around the glass

S - nose is lots of nice vanilla, some molasses, cola, milk to dark chocolates

T - taste starts off with milk chocolates that moves to a nice vanilla flavor imparted from the barrel aging. Moves on to a nice spicy bourbon flavor with some more vanilla in the mix. Ends spicy and a little hot.

M - mouth is medium to light bodied with a nice amount of carbonation - goes down really nicely

D - overall, this is a pretty nice barrel aged RIS. Personally, I think this is a nice example of barrel aged beer, however due to the bottle count being low I think this demands a little more than its worth. That being sad, I am glad I landed a bottle and would try to get again off the shelf if the opportunity presents itself in the future.

Jul 14, 2012
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IdrinkGas from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Mar 01, 2013
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xdtfx from Illinois

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

May 08, 2016
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pest from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +5.1%

Nov 17, 2011
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Ish1 from Minnesota

3.75/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Feb 04, 2015
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HKUSPC40 from Washington

2/5  rDev -53.3%

Nov 30, 2012
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Floydster from California

4.23/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 ml bottle purchased from Liquid Solutions for around twelve dollars, bottle #245 of 1152, split with my dad tonight, poured into my Oerbier tulip glass

A-Black, could not find any light going through, one inch creamy light tan head that lasts around ten minutes, some lacing
S-Bourbon, sweetness, milk chocolate, light vanilla, oak, roasted maltiness, hint of coffee beans, and also mild booze
T-Begins with sweet milk chocolate, light vanilla and roasted malts in the middle, finish has more chocolate and also some sweetness mixed with whiskey in the aftertaste, not much oak in this beer like you expect from these big barrel aged stouts, mellows out and becomes more rounded with sweetness as it warms, not as roasty as the aroma leans toward either, nicely balanced with malt character but maybe a little too much sweetness at times, would have gotten a perfect score in this category from me if it was not for that, still enjoyable flavor with a nice cocoa presence
M-Warming, roasty, and slightly sweet mouthfeel, medium to full bodied, on the lighter side for carbonation, taste lingered for a few minutes
D-Could have drank this whole bottle but glad I shared it, it is deceivingly heavy at times because it is so smooth, alcohol is hidden well, only thing really hurting its drinkability is the mild sweet component

This was a great imperial stout, my bottle said 8.75% ABV but that could have been a typo, it took me a while to track this down and after being unsuccessful in trading for it, I found for sale online happily, now I just wish I would have bought more than one bottle, would like to drink again, especially with some age, curious to see how the bottle conditioning alters things, recommended

Jun 07, 2009
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glazeman from Pennsylvania

4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Huge thanks goes out jcnd9803 for hooking me up with this in a recent trade. Split with airohead2001. Poured into a snifter. Hmmm...a stout that is corked and caged...interesting

A: Pours black in color with a 1.5 finger mocha head that has excellent retention and lacing.

S: Nice notes of chocolate and bourbon that are blended well, interesting and balanced. Deeper down there is some espresso and vanilla.

T: Lots of vanilla in the taste. A little sweeter than I had expected. Nice amount of bourbon at the finish. I didn't taste as much chocolate as I thought I would based on the smell.

M: Pretty good, though not quite as viscous as I would like in a big stout.

D: I would defiantly have this beer again. It was a very soothing drink on a cooler night outdoors at the start of fall. With that being said, I feel the drinkability is somewhat limited by the sweetness.

Sep 09, 2010
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
Beer rating: 95 out of 100 with 894 ratings