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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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 283 | Ratings: 820
Photo of Sean9689
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks, Chris! 2009 vintage poured into Narke tulip.

A - Pours black, nice mocha-colored head, spotty lace, thin collar.

S - Smooth booze, chocolate brownies, toffee, light roast. Really smooth and extremely dessert-like, which is how I like my Stouts. The chocolate is excellent and with two years of age, the booze is just about perfect.

T - Similar the nose. Smooth bourbon, light oak, chocolate, burnt caramel notes, and roast. Everything is right on target for me, as the booze works perfectly with the chocolate and light roast. Hard to find anything bad to say here, in fact, there isn't.

M - Full, rich and smooth, viscous, creamy finish.

O - An excellent RIS that is drinking perfectly with two years of age on it. I'm glad I waited to review this one until now, because this one surpassed my expectations. Recommend!

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Photo of pwoods
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to unclejedi for sharing.

A: Pitch black and thick. Good head on the pour with some decent retention. Some good lacing.

S: Deep molasses and dark fruits. Some good mellowed roastiness. Nice vanilla sweetness. Nice barrel and light bourbon.

T/M: Very nicebourbon and some dank, woody barrel. Very nice dark fruits and light but nice roastiness. Very good alcohol light. Body is full and very smooth.

D: Lower ABV and reasonably easy drinking.

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Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Cheers to Bitterbill for this one!

Pours an effervescent mahogany with a finger of cocoa colored head. A bit of booze & head retention

S: Bourbon & dark fruit, a bit of booze as this warms, plus pralines

T: Rich bourbon & vanilla notes up front, plus oaky dryness, leafy hops & raisins.
Sourmash & vanilla dominate as this warms, some figgyness, plus a bit of booze on the edges. Finishes dry with much bourbon, cherry, vanilla & figs

MF: Medium bodied with smooth carbonation, a bit of stickyness & some warming

Drinks very easy for the style & ABV. Ivan isn't terrible at all, but needs to grow some more depth to achieve greatness

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Photo of emerge077
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Oily black, constant skim of tan foam. On par for a barrel-aged RIS, even better that it has good head retention.

Huge vanilla and toasted coconut notes in the aroma. Sweet and chocolatey. Very sweet and rich, but not to a cloying degree. Light bodied yet rich with a long lingering aftertaste. Sweetish vanilla & chocolate, perfectly blended with a mellow bourbon. Never a harsh alcohol element, very smooth and integrated. Woody tobacco, mellow bourbon finish. The best part is the long aftertaste that has savory elements of bourbon and RIS. Super creamy feel, one to savor over a long time.

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Photo of n2185
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle

A: pours black with three fingers of dark tan head that recedes into a thin cap with decent lacing.

S: roasted malts up front with some coffe notes. Vanilla, oak, and bourbon aromas bring up the finish, but aren't overwhelming.

T: again, roasted malts up front with some light robust coffee flavors. Creamy vanilla flavors follow along with oak and sweet bourbon. It's surprsingly smooth with no real alcohol presence. The finish has some more roasted malt characters with a light bitterness.

M: thick body with a good amount of carbonation. It manages to be creamy at first with a nice bit of carbonation that goes surprisingly well with all of the flavors.

O: a very good beer. This beer was better than I expected. The bourbon is present, but not overwhelming. It still tastes like a stout after the barrel treatment. I love the body of this beer, too. It's creamy, but has a surprising amount of carbonation that somehow works very well with everything else. Definitely one of the better bbal beers out there.

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Photo of Flashsp2
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big Sky Ivan the Terrible into Stone IRS tulip

Pours with an impossibly black body covered by a dense mocha head that is creamy and soft looking. Leaves delicate lace and lingers forever.

Nose is abundant with dark roasted grains, rich oak notes, sweet grainy bourbon, booze, dark caramels, earthy hops, dark fruits, heavy malty sweetness, vanilla, breakfast blend coffee, black cherries, and toasted almonds.

Chocolate fudge brownies, iced black coffee, lots of rich dark grains and intensely thick base malts, more of the black cherry tang, earth, soft oak tannins, delicious bourbon whiskey, iced black coffee, big roastiness, some alcohol heat, burnt caramels. Mmmmm, good stuff.

Body is super dense with a low level carbonation that is finely bubbled and smoothly caresses across the palette.

This is a seriously big beer, one that you can't just chug down without caution. That being said, it's easy to drink for a beer of this magnitude, certainly better than most beers of this alcohol content. One of the best bourbon stouts I've had to date, with everything in perfect harmony. Bourbon, roast, fruits, earth, booze all integrated very, very well together.


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Photo of oline73
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

We opened up this bad boy at an imperial stout tasting this past weekend. Poured into my Colossus snifter.

Appearance: Pours a very dark brown with a hint of red at the edges when the light hits it. There is a half finger of tan head and it has good retention.

Smell: Sweet and smooth with notes of dark fruit and cocoa. Some brown sugar in the sweetness. Really nice.

Taste: Sweet but really smooth and easy to drink. I picked up the roasted malt, vanilla, and some cocoa. There is some warm alcohol in the finish but the taste fades a bit.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with tingly carbonation and a dry finish.

Overall: This is a really nice beer. It held up well against several of the more hyped offerings we opened up. The sweetness and vanilla notes were just at the right level. I would definitely have another.

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Photo of gumballhead1
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from 2012, bottle 1344 of 4200
Poured into a snifter, really smooth chocolate, rich oak, and plenty of bourbon boozy taste. I love this beer from big sky its hard to find bombers of stuff in Illinois. My first review so sorry if its unorganized. Overall a good bourbon imperial stout I would definitely recommend to others. I would say its comparable to our goose island bcs.

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Photo of jlindros
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to tai4ji2x, by way of johngalt1, cracked at the Central NE BA Meetup.

Pours a huge creamy darker head with some nice lacing and fades at a medium pace over a pitch black colored beer.

Nose is loaded with dark malts and roast, chocolate malts, light fluffy nougat, baker's chocolate, pure dark malts, a light marshmellow, light caramel and vanilla, touch of oak and wood, bit of oats.

Taste is loaded with dark malts as well, creamy dark malts, chocolate both dark and baker's, some light smoke, toasted oak and buttered oak, chewy oats, dark roast, touch of earthy malts and light earthy hops, smooth and a bit creaminess, bit of toffee, hint of minerality. Finishes with some bitter hops, lots of dark malts still, more toffee and minerality, dark earthy malts and some hops, bourbon, vanilla, very well balanced.

Mouth is heavier bodied, fairly rich and thick, with decent carbonation.

Drink is decent, drinks well, a bit creamy and a bit sticky, and light booze.

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Photo of mataelbata
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

But this one on the morning before my wedding. bottle number 145 out of 3000. Been waiting for a good time to drink it and I can't think of a better moment than monday night pakcers vs. bears. So here goes!! Great head retention and pours jet black. Aroma hints of the bourbon casking. Alcohol apparent on the tail end of the swig. All in all a beautifully balanced oak aged ris.

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Photo of John_M
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Graciously shared by Dyan tonight.

The beer pours a blackish brown with very good head retention and lacing. The nose is pretty incredible, showcasing dark chocolate, licorise, vanilla, light coffee and malt balls. The flavor profile replicates the nose pretty closely, but with some licorise and a touch of hoppy bitterness on the finish. Mouthfeel is long, soft and creamy, with almost a cask condtioning softness. Drinkability is pretty good, though you can tell the abv. is up there a bit. Regardless, this is very well made RIS from Big Sky brewing. Impressive.

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Photo of corby112
4.4/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to piclee for sending this in a past trade.

2009 vintage 2319/3000

Pours pitch black and completely opaque without a trace of lighter color when held to a light source. Two finger frothy mocha head with good retetion, slowly fading into a lasting ring. Sporadic spots of lacing.

Beautiful comlex aroma with an almost perfect blend of bourbon, oak, vanilla and luscious dark malt. Hints of cocoa, lacto and subtle dark fruit. The bourbon presence smells amazing without overpowering the other characteristics.

Viscou chewy body that is surprisingly hop forward that adds a very slight bitterness and depth to this already incredibly complex beer. There is a very prominent bourbon presence up front but it is slowly countered mid-palate by a viscous, silky, luscious chocolate malt presence. Hints if dark chooclate, licorice, roasted coffee bean and toffee. The barrel adds a good bit of earthy oak and a prominent vanilla flavor. There is some slight heat toward the end of the sip and warmth in the chest but overall the ABav is excellent masked makng this complex, flavorful beer very quaffable.

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Photo of GatorBeer
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage, poured into Bruery tulip.

A: Pours a deep, dark black that is so inviting of the style. Not the most opaque beer that I've ever poured and there seems to be a slight amount of light dancing around in the beer. A small head forms with a vigorous pour and quickly fades, leaving behind little lacing.

A: Sweet, wonderful bourbon upfront, but not overpowering of off-putting, it's quite a pleasant experience and my nose keeps returning to the glass. There are some nice roasty malts backing the bourbon and a hint of chocolate. The nose is very sweet, but not sickly or overwhelming at all.

T: Bourbon hits up-front, letting you know it's in the beer, but it's not an alcoholic taste. Something that seems unique is that the bourbon hits hard first, then fades away where as other BBA stouts seem to have the opposite effect. The finish is smooth and has little hints of alcohol, which is impressive for this 10% beer.

M: Mouthfeel is a little thin, not in a bad way. It's not a chewy or creamy stout, but the carbonation seems to really work welll with this one.

O: I'm really enjoying how well the bourbon plays off the sweetness of the beer. I would dare to call this a good introductory bourbon aged stout because it doesn't punch you in the face like some do (which isn't a bad thing either). I was very pleased with this offering from Big Sky and look forward to it in the future.

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Photo of arizcards
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up the 2013 edition bottle # 2313 of 3000 from Total Wine in early December for $13.99.

Beer poured black with very little head.

Nose is booze, vanilla, roasted malts.

Taste is light bourbon, vanilla, dark fruits, some cocoa.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall for a brew that is nearly 14% this is one of the easiest drinking high octane BBS that i have experienced. This is my first time trying it as i was never able to find it in the past. Glad i picked up two of them!

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

2009 bottle (2272 of 3000) opened 05/2011. Poured a deep cola black into a tulip with a finger of extremely dark mocha head. Sweet, roasty aroma of cocoa, oaky vanilla, and molasses.

Moderate carbonation and a thick, slightly syrupy mouthfeel. Sweet molasses up front followed by vanilla bourbon notes and slightly bitter dark cocoa and licorice on the finish. Reminded me quite a bit of The Abyss from Deschutes (which is not a bad thing!) with just a little more sweetness. Maybe not as complex as some other imperial stouts, but really enjoyable nonetheless.

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

750 picked up locally for a very reasonable $10.... poured into my New Belgium snifter.. bottle 108 of 1152.

beautiful 3 finger head that has been sticking around for about 5 minutes ... dark tan.. looks like a really thick espresso cap... great lacing and a huge cap..

The nose is thick and very complex... not boozy at all.. big milk chocolate with dark cherry essence and vanilla.. bourbon isn't as pronounced as expected... yet the smell is fantastic.

wow.. this is like a liquid brownie.. big roasty chocolate.. some sweetened coffee notes.. more vanilla.. and the bourbon is more of a component that is throughout and never becoming too large.. complex with a great semi-dry finish that lingers forever.. dried fruit esters lend another layer of complexity.

I had high hopes for this one, but sorta was expecting to be let down... but I am very happy to report, I was wrong.. not as viscous most of it's more famous brothers .. the carbonation may be a touch on the high side.. but it is small bubble carbonation that helps lend a very lush mouthfeel.. This is a great beer... I wish we would have gotten more of it... I have a very good feeling that this is going to age like a real champion.

Huge thanks to Matt and the people at Big Sky who listened to me bitch about not getting this in... and a huge props to jjanega08 for appeasing an over aggressive trader :-) gracias Jozef.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.38/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got in a beertrade, bottle number 2906/3800 from 2010
Update-Had '12 and '10 side by side

A-Jet black, one finger of creamy brown head that leaves some lacing.

S-Bourbon, chocolate, roasted malts.

T-Chocolate, bourbon, coffee, roasted malts with some bitterness, great balance. In the '10 there was perfect balance and some vanilla as well

M-Smooth, medium bodied, some carbonation.

O-Another great barrel aged beer. Glad I got the chance to try this one. Fresh it was a tad hot bourbon did not dominate but was stronger, the '10 had mellowed out and thus had perfect balance.

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

Thanks to Santa for this one.
Bottle # 177 split three ways amongst friends into tulip glasses it had a two finger tan head that went off to nothing but with a swirl of he glass would reappear. The body of the brew was a typical black stout with brown highlights.

Initially I got a huge hit of alcohol from the nose but then it turned wonderfully to bourbon and vanilla. The flavor was sweet bourbon and vanilla, with a touch of roasted malts at the end. It had a great feel in my mouth with proper carbonation for the style.

This is a great beer, easy to sit back and relax with. The flavors were perfect for savoring with some great conversation I would grab a bottle of this If I saw it again without thinking

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Photo of callmemickey
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.

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

Silver wrapped and capped 750ML bottle(number 280 of 1152) purchased from LiquorMax in Loveland Colorado.

This pours a near pitch black with just the lightest reddish hues shining through. The head of tannish foam is about 1 finger in size and there's some nice lacing here.

The smell has big notes of the bourbon with lots of dark chocolate and some dark fruit. The alcohol is there as well.

The taste...there's the chocolate, more of a cocoa taste actually, lots of sweet malty tones, a nice dose of dark fruitness most noticeable when I swish the beer in my mouth, a light but right amount of hop bitterness and, a light presence of bourbon; much less so than I figured there would be judging from the smell but it works nicely. Oh, except it *does* dominate in the finish. Perfect place for it, me thinks. Ok, the barrel aging becomes more of a factor as the brew warms up but it still isn't overpowering. The alcohol is there with some warming after the swallow but otherwise, I think it's hidden pretty well.

The mouthfeel is full, the carbonation is on the low side of medium, and it finishes, like I said, with a nice burst of bourbon and dark fruity goodness.

Drinkability? I put this one on the "dangerously drinkable" department. I can't believe how easy this one goes down and all I'm doing is taking small sips but they're very frequent sips. Delicious! Awesome job here Big Sky Brewing!

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

Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle. 2009 Limited Edition. #190 of 3000.

A- pours dark black with a dark brown color around the edges. Dark Tan colored head. Good head retention. Very little lacing.

S-Tons of Vanilla, chocolate, and lots of Bourbon!

T- Tastes like it smells. Vanilla and Bourbon with some Roasty malts and oak flavors. Some sweetness and chocolate come through as well.

M-Very smooth and viscous. Nice oily texture. Medium carbonation. Very nice mouthfeel on this barrel aged RIS.

D- at 10%, this tasty beer went down very easily!

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

A: poured a dark as night black in color with a thin dark brown bubbly head that left some good creamy frothy lacing sticking to the glass.

S: definitely had some a lovely chocolatey aroma with a bit of roast, tobacco blunt wrap notes, signs of bourbon barrel booze with hints of dark fruits, molasses, toffee, and brown sugar sweetness.

T: It had a nice dark chocolatey base with good roastiness, good bourbon barrel character but well balanced booze heat, a touch of dark fruitiness, tobacco blunt wrap accents alongside toffee, molasses and vanilla sweetness.

M: the brew was full in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a roasty, mild dark fruity, slightly boozy, bourbon wood barrel, sweet, rich and creamy finish.

O: definitely good as I thought it was going to be, a bit surprised on the tobacco character in it but it was still very good. Finally conquered this elusive beer.

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

1pt 9.3oz Bottle poured into a New Belgium Tulip.

Appearance: Oily black, tan long lasting head.

Aroma: Malty, bourbon, caramel, molasses.

Taste: Rich, sweet. Caramel & molasses. Bourbon on the finish.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth, little syrupy, more carbonated than you might expect, but it works.

Overall: Very very good. Smooth, easy, tasty. Bit of a kick with the alcohol, but it works. Nice.

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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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