Dismiss Notice
Extreme Beer Fest:Los Angeles

Join us December 9th in Los Angeles for the ultimate throwdown of craft beer creativity!

Learn more...
Dismiss Notice
Introducing: Project Extreme Brewing (a Dogfish Head + BeerAdvocate project)

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

Your Rating: None

Want it   Got it 
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
BA SCORE
4.26/5
Outstanding
859 Ratings
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States
bigskybrew.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.00%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
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)

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

65 IBU

Added by Bitterbill on 11-10-2008

BEER STATS
Ranking:
#815
Reviews:
293
Ratings:
859
pDev:
10.33%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
793
Gots:
281
Trade:
22
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 859 |  Reviews: 293
Photo of harrymel
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2010

A: pours a dark maduro brown. Nice, two finger latte head loosely disspates and leaves a thick sheet of the same. Beer has excellent clarity around edges, otherwise SRM's prevent this. minimal lacing.

S: The bourbon is both the hilight and beautifully subdued. Never experienced appropriately blended BBA like this. Malty, anise, bourbon, sweetness, molasses. Very nice. Very pleasing.

T: This beer is fantastic fresh - I've had many BBA's that need aging, and then peak out. I'm not so sure this beer should be aged. It's great now, and struggle to see the Bourbon getting better. I think I prefer this to The Abyss.

M: Velvet, with moderate carbonation. I do, however, tend to stir my glass so frequently, that the carbonation dies out quite a bit. Leaves the the mouth slick and appreciating the bourbon barrels even longer.

D: This beer is outstanding. I can't see the beer having better presence beyond being fresh. I have about a case sitting around the house - I've already traded too much of it away. This beer is outstanding.

 1,052 characters

Photo of WeisGuy
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of spoony
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at the West End in Boulder during the November Big Sky tap takeover into a pint glass.

A-My glass arrived with a half-finger of dense mocha-colored foam. Retention was good as the foam lasted for quite a while. The head left some good lacing, too, which is surprising given the ABV. The brew was nearly black and opaque in the glass.

S-The aroma was rich with lots of heavily roasted malts, light char, some dark chocolate flavor, and a good bit of milk chocolate-y sweetness. It is not mind-blowing or terribly complex, but the balance is impressive here with all of the right stout flavors in the right amounts.

T-The taste follows the smell pretty closely with lots of heavily roasted malt flavors (some caramel peeks through), and a balancing dose of sweetness. Again, the balance is nice.

M-The feel is moderate for the style with bit of chewiness and average to below average carbonation.

O-This is a well-balanced and drinkable RIS. The alcohol is integrated nicely and the balance of flavors is pretty impressive. In a world of barrel-aged this and coffee-infused that, it is nice to drink a beer like this every now and again to remind you that an RIS that is put together correctly can be a pleasure to drink.

 1,232 characters

Photo of jvillefan
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of EyePeeAyBryan
4.02/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of Jas45678
4.13/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of deereless
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of dheldman
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Photo of South2NW
4.18/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into two pint glasses. Thanks to pops for the assist!

2009 Limited Edition
1221 of 3000

A: Pours a pure, evil black. Sitting on top is a about four fingers of dark mocha foam that features a lovely cascading effect. Those four fingers slowly settled down to about a fingers' worth of head that left a little bit of lace lingering on the glass.

S: Excellent balance in the nose. Equal parts bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, charred barrel, booze, and tangy chocolate covered cherries.

T: Bourbon, dark fruit, and dark chocolate are the main players with ample supporting assistance from charred barrel, espresso, chocolate covered tangy orchard fruit, and dark rum.

M: I was expecting this to be really hot and messy, but instead I was rewarded with a smooth, full, and fully realized barrel aged beer. Sweet, sticky, and thick but in no way syrupy. Fantastic.

D: I'm accustomed to nose hair curling booziness that seems to go hand in hand with this style. This, however, was an exercise in restraint and layers. I can't wait to try this again...

 1,092 characters

Photo of Floydster
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
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

 1,722 characters

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of thewimperoo
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Chaney
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one twice now, and when harrymel came out to visit, he layed one of these on me. Thanks Harry!

Vintage 2010; bottle # 2580 of 3800.

A: Almost pitch, abysmally black, with a beige, sawdust-like head that retained itself throughout the session. Nice looking, and looks bubbly and delectable!

S: Nice woody, bourbon character, with a delectable milk chocolate and coconut flair that frankly smelled like a liquified "Almond Joy" candy bar.

T: I think I was the only one at my tasting group to get this quality, but I got a HUGE coconut wallop out of this.... jeez. Seriously, there wasn't any sort of soy sauce-esque or intense bourbon-bomb character on this at all. Very oaky, classical, faint dark fruit notes, vanilla, Nestle's Quick, and once again.... raw, organic coconut. This goes down very easily... dangerous!

M: Very highly carbonated... the highest I've ever tried in this style even. Despite this fact, the excess bubble count worked wonders in cutting through the alcohol (which was undetectable), and the "Imperial" elements of this beer. I got kind of a semi-sweet, oaky, chocolate lingering on the palate that was fantastic!

O: I don't say this too much about a brew of this style and octane, but given the rather light and fluffy nature of this one, I could honestly drink an entire bottle of this stuff. I will most certainly have Ivan again....

 1,382 characters

Photo of Onenote81
4.15/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Vintage 2010. Bottle# 1581/3800. 10.00% ABV. Bottle courtesy of yeahnatenelson.

This one was cracked open for the fourth installment of "A Beer Observed" with ClarkPinnock. Poured my allotment into a standard snifter.

This beer pours slowly a dark black with a stunning thick tan head. Excellent retention with this one. Light lace left behind. The nose is sweet with notes of vanilla, pancake syrup, wet oak, toasted chocolate.

The mouth is weaker than I'd have hoped for such a big beer. Thin at times, and the carbonation becomes a little spritzy in the absence of a full body. I'd love this one to be a bit heavier. The bourbon is wonderfully integrated in this beer. Sweet vanilla tannins washed out with bitter dark chocolate and heavy roasted malts. Booze character is mild here. Surprising really. Wonderfully executed. I really dig this beer. A bit thicker and this one is one of the best.

 903 characters

Photo of CuriousMonk
4.63/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

We cracked open a 2010 vintage bottle (limited edition #3087 of 3800) poured into a tulip glass. What a special treat! Poured dark black-brown with a frothy medium creamy off-white head with sticky lacing that lasted throughout. The aroma and flavor balances well between esters of dried fruit and roasted cocoa with a slight oaky bourbon presence. There was subtle coffee notes throughout and some alcohol heat. Some vanilla was detected. Smooth and silky bodied beer with a nice finish. Excellent brew!

 504 characters

Photo of Narthax
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of emmasdad
4.17/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had this one at a tasting a while back at schmittymack's and never got around to entering it. Poured this one with a few other imperial stouts, including Darkness, Dark Lord and Black Tuesday. Even still, it more than held its own. Poured a deep, dark black color, with a bit of mocha colored foam. Big aromas of roasted malt, espresso, dark chocolate, toffee and vanilla. On the the palate, more roast, along with more of the bourbon character, vanilla and oak. A very good stout.

 481 characters

Photo of Jspriest
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 bottle
The beer pours a rich (but relatively thin looking) black with a thin tan head that laces. The nose is fruity and boozy, some bourbon vanilla, and relatively little sweetness or chocolate. The same fruitiness is present in the taste, but with a bit more grain, caramel sweetness and tobacco-y bitterness to help round things out. The mouthfeel is fruity, medium bodied, slightly dry, has adequate carbonation and caramelized sugars competing against the potent, burning booziness. This is an interesting beer, great flavors without a thick body, and it really highlights the bourbon stout without making it tough to drink.

 634 characters

Photo of thebigredone
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of AndyEdgar
4.23/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Photo of NickMunford
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of hoppymcgee
4.5/5  rDev +5.6%

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 859 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.