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

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States

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

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Reviews: 283 | Ratings: 820
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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Photo of Dakota_Homebrew
4.51/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

2013 Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout Barrel-Aged. Swifter. Celebratory beer after passing the Certified Beer Server Exam (it was long overdue, if anyone is having reservations about taking it, study the study guide and take it; you don't need much preparation, only a little.)

Growing up in Missoula, MT this beer was an automatic buy during a Big Sky takeover at Stuffed Sandwich in El Monte. After reading reviews, I was a little worried the Buffalo trace barrels were going to be too much. I am not a fan of any beers that taste remotely like a Jack and coke/rootbeer. Probably with a little help from the aging, i did not find the beer overwhelmingly over the top with Bourbon. It definitely played a part, but was much more complex and subdued than expected.

L- Black. No real head retention. Just a little lacing as I drank the first few sips. Kind of what I expected.

S- Molasses, dark fruits, and Bourbon. Bourbon probably stands out the most, but there was more going on too. Could have been mistaken for a Barrel_aged Barleywine.

T-Brown sugar, oak, vanilla, and Bourbon were the highlighted in the beginning. Nothing stood out over the other. It was a great mix that was easy to drink from the beginning. As it warmed up the dark fruits, prunes, dark candy, toasted coconut came into focus. A little heat from the beginning from the bourbon, but got much smoother throughout.

F-I found the beer to be chewy. Full bodied. Not thin. Not much carbonation(expected). That would be only complaint, but what do you expect from a beer after three years.

O- Glad I got the chance to try. From beginning until end it was enjoyable. I try not to be biased, but was probably a tad because of upbringing. Only reason it wasn't perfect 5 was because it wasn't exactly what I look for or want when buying big barrel aged stouts. Regardless it was an extremely well done and impressive imperial Russian stout. Ivan the terrible ain't so terrible after a few years. Cheers

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Photo of Scott17taylor
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

One of my favorite BA stouts. Tons of cocoa, some roastiness from the dark malts with a good amount of bourbon. This beer got the balance between bourbon and base beer well. I will be buying as much of this as I can next year.

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Photo of jrsqc7
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

The biggest knock against this one is the way the beautiful head dissipates to nothing and leaves no lacing. The bourbon flavor is subdued. The alcohol feel is moderate considering the content. Malt is great.

2015. Recommended.

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Photo of Ginagee68
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had it at JL Beers in a flight. Stood out strong and flavorful but quite high in alcohol so I'm not sure if I could do a full pint but definitely enjoyed. A must try for dark roasted flavor.

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Photo of rypkr
4.11/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2015 vintage #1986 of 3000.

A - poured into a snifter, looks a little watery. Super looking fizzy head however.

S - bourbon forward. Lots of sugar also, almost smells more like a quad or an old ale than it does a stout.

T - wow there's a lot of bourbon. It almost takes more like whisky than it does beer. Tons of oak and vanilla and an absurd amount of alcohol is present. I love beers that pick up this much barrel. However as this warms there is too much hip presence for my liking in a bb stout. I dropped my original 4.25 for taste and overall to 4's because of this.

M - tremendous mouthfeel despite its watery look. Carbonation is through the roof also.

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Photo of Lane_in_ID
4.67/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Jer Black, 1 finger tan head
Smell: Molasses, fruity
Taste: Follows the nose, nice bitterness, alcohol prevalent in the aftertaste
Feel: Medium to full mouthfeel
Overall: Very nice imperial stout, has been on my wish list for years. Was stoked to find it locally in SE Idaho, April 2016

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Photo of cindyjeffsmith
4.37/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

look: Dark as Ivan's soul i guess. Nearly opaque. Huge tan head that mostly sticks around. Beautiful.
smell: Sweet bourbon, vanilla and brown sugar.
taste: not quite up to the nose imo but damn good. Smooth as all hell. No sign of the high abv. a slightly spicy finish.

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Photo of hardysf
3.58/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

pours black with white head that leaves some lacing. Smokey aroma mixed with some oak and vanilla. The taste has some oak characterisitcs, some chocolate, and some dark fruit and some cardboard. I think it may be a little oxidized. Some sherry and wine notes in there too. Finishes with a touch of bourbon heat. Thin mouth feel.

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Photo of tlema1
3.59/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

L: jet black, thin tan head
S: dark fruit, booze
T: plums, figs, booze
F: full bodied, booze
O: booze dominated this from start to finish, it that's what they were going for, they got it

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.31/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Black pour, minimal lace, retention, head. But the color is impressive. Aroma was bitter chocolate, then some buffalo trace bourbon on the back end. Yummy.

Taste was decadent. Bourbon char, vanilla, coconut, chocolate. Smooth, not hot. Oak, low carbonation that fits the style and beer very well.

This is real good, hope to find it again at a decent price, its a tough find!

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Photo of sedotakj
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.25

A better than average stout with a somewhat light finish for an imperial stout. Smooth profile through the entire experience. Nothing stands out good nor bad. Definitely worth a try but expect a light experience for an imperial

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Photo of fredmugs
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.

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Photo of madelfonatree
4.45/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

In a pint glass September 26, 2015 2277 of 3600 2014 11.5%

Look - Dark brown with a lot of tan head. Thick bubbles. Lacing with the head. Lacing doesn't dissipate quickly. A lot of sediment in last pour.

Smell - Char. Bourbon. Cherry.

Taste - Bourbon. Chocolate. Char. Wine. Grape. Cherry.

Feel - Alcohol burn. Creamy. Not as carbonated as head hints at.

Overall - The wine taste surprised me and made it unique. Otherwise average.

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Photo of pagriley
3.99/5  rDev -6.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2014 750ml (~8 months bottle age)

L - Dark brown pour that settles to pitch black in the glass. Lighter than I was expecting, with a thick 3 inch caramel head
S - Soft chocolate and a touch of roast on the nose. Not really any barrel but a thwack of hot booze
T - Alcohol heat masks a lot of the flavor. As it warms chocolate and bitter roast come through
F - Lighter bodied for a big stout, a touch thin. Prickly and a bit over-carbed for my preference, and it took a few minutes of swirling in the glass to knock the excess out.

Overall an interesting barrel stout. Lighter bodied, and quite hot. For the price ($14 for a 750) it is a good deal, and worth trying, but given the limited bottle count, not worth hunting down - several year round shelf beers at a similar price (barrel aged Hoppn Frog BORIS comes to mind) are just as good, and much easier to find.

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Photo of scottbham
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.

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Photo of StoneTSR
3.76/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

APPEARANCE: A large, inch-thick, rocky, off-white head swells up as about six ounces of beer is poured into a tulip glass. Almost zero light gets through the beer itself. Some very subtle shades of reddish brown escape from the edges of the glass when held up to light. With a much larger and longer lasting head than I expected, there was, surprisingly, no lacing to speak of.

SMELL: Sweet, dark fruits dominate the aroma at first, but after a few sniffs big chocolate and vanilla flavors waft in.

TASTE: Cherry, raisins and dates are very strong in this beer while the vanilla, chocolate and oak notes serve to round out the flavor. A little balance comes in the form of some increasingly intense roasty notes as the beer warms along with a touch of hops.

MOUTHFEEL: Sweet start with a pretty dry finish. A subtle sparkle tickle the tongue, just enough to gives this otherwise silky beer a little bite.

OVERALL: The oak does not come through as strongly as I would like, and the fruit on
the nose was a bit of a turn off at first, but as I began taking in the subtleties of this beer it became much more enjoyable.

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Photo of Hop_God
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 vintage bottle 2235 of 3000

Enjoying 2-18-16for my 29th birthday

A: deep brown. Near black. Thinest khaki head. Large bubbles

S: booze. Bourbon. Chocolate. Molasses. Licorice. Roast malt.

T: smoky. Booze. Oak. Bark. Subtle bitter chocolate.

F: rather thin. Bitter aftertaste. Some raw alcohol feel on palate

O: lots of good with this but also some not so much. Overall a fine brew.

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

Appearance – The beer was jet black with only a few bubbles clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smell – The booze made the biggest impression in the aroma with hints of chocolate.

Taste – The booze is quite smooth and balanced with the base beer. The bourbon notes were a little lighter than I would have like. A modest chocolate impression also exists with dry malts. The aftertaste is modestly warming.

Mouthfeel – For the style, the beer seemed a little thin. Carbonation was virtually nonexistent.

Overall – I am glad I was finally able to have this one. It is a solid barrel aged stout, but not a great one.

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Photo of bowzer4birdie
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.

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Photo of strohme2
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

2010. I don't know why I was saving this, maybe the champagne bottle size was a bit intimidating for me. The beer was properly cellared for just over 4 years then placed in the fridge for the last 6 months or so of it's life. Ever since then, it's been staring at me with every opening of the fridge.

The beer pours a dark chestnut with some dull red highlights. A cappuccino colored head is fairly thick. At first taste, the beer is thin for a imperial stout. I've never had this beer fresh so I can't compare but after almost 5 years it's pretty impressive. Large smell of dark fruits, heavy on the oak, light on bourbon. Some cocoa at first that melts away the more I drink it. There is no heat, everything has blended so well together. Again, I don't know how it was when fresh, but the bourbon is almost nonexistent.

A great beer but I prefer my imperial stouts, especially aged in bourbon barrels, to have a better body and a bit more bourbon. Still very good.

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Photo of gatornation
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-pours a dark thick black color with a large mocha head with nice streaking lacing
S-bourbon,chocolate,vanilla,wood and chocolate
T-nice BA of bourbon and wood that compliments the base beer notes of vanilla and wood mix in with caramel chocolate
M-smooth a touch thin with above average carbonation
O-tasty BA stout was impressed with how tasty this was would buy this again for sure

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Photo of KYGunner
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Everything about this calls out as a classic barrel aged stout. The pour is thick and viscous and the nose is full of barrel, vanilla, coconut, chocolate and bourbon.

The barrel properties are prominent at first with woodsy oak and bourbon. The middle palate serves that barrel sweetness of coconut and vanilla while it ends with chocolate, caramel and toffee. This is truly decadent and absolutely delicious.

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Photo of Neorebel
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.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
4.28 out of 5 based on 820 ratings.
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