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

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
95
world-class
280 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States | website

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
Reviews:
280
Ratings:
815
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.52%
 
 
Wants:
801
Gots:
277
For Trade:
22
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 280 | Ratings: 815
Photo of ffejherb
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Many thanks to akorsak for breaking out this hard-to-find 750ml bottle at a recent tasting on 11/15/09.

A - Poured a deep-brown-bordering-black body with reddish and copper highlights and about a finger's worth of burnt tan head that settled into a patchy retention.

S - Quite an aromatic and complex nose combining milky lactic sweetness, roasted malt, toasted coconut and plenty of chocolate notes. Malt takes on an almost crisp, rice-like character reminiscent of a candy bar. There is also plenty of vanilla sweetness present.

T - Vanilla sweetness paired with a bourbon tang up front, followed by hints of chocolate and coffee, as well as some woody notes. A dried, dark fruit character emerges in the backend, giving the flavor an almost leathery aspect.

M - Full bodied with a slick, oily texture and soft carbonation, resulting in a very smooth mouthfeel. Finishes with slight alcohol warmth and moderate dryness on the palate.

D - Woosh! Ivan the Terrible is anything but. I found this to be an amazing RIS full of complex flavors and aromas while simultaneously retaining its drinkability.

 1,105 characters

Photo of oberon
4.24/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 edition,bottle #945 of 3800
10%ABvV.

Poured into an imperial nonic near jet black,you had to hold it up to bright light to get a little ruddy hue at the bottom of the glass to get thru the pitch blackness.Toasted bourbon barrel hits upfront in the nose than some vanilla and alcohol dipped dark fruit,the roast is a bit subdued but its rich in the nose.Toasty with big bourbon notes on the palate but it doesnt overpower,lingering dark fruit and dark roast coffee does show thru.A little sharp in the mouthfeel,this beer would be off the charts with a fuller feel.A really good if not great imperial stout,so close...so close.

 632 characters

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.

 230 characters

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

2009 Limited edition; Bottle 780 of 3000. Courtesy of hoppymcgee, a gentleman and a scholar.

Man that cork was really in there. Pours a Coca Cola dark dark brown with no visible light what so ever. A small brown inch of head that slowly recedes leaving thick soapy lacing.

Aromas begin with dark bitter bakers cocoa and some lesser milk cocoa chocolate bar. After the initial cacao smells I get the barrel; vanilla, bourbon, light nuttiness and generic wood. Roasted, mildly charred dark malts intermingle with the barrel and some lesser sweet chocolate/dark fruit.

The tastes explode with so much flavor I am at a loss for words initially. First I get loads of dark chocolate, then vanilla and light bourbon, then some dark dark dried fruit (prunes/raisins), then some sweeter milk chocolate and the light oak rounds out the flavor profile. Barrel flavors become more predominant as it warms as expected. No boozy or alcohol flavors at all. Barrel flavors perfectly balance the viscous stout flavors. The base stout isn't too roasty or bitter as some Russian Imperial Stouts can tend to be.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy bodied with medium to low carbonation. Surprisingly drinkable with the above mouthfeel characteristics, the beer drinks rather light (for the style); I am attributing that to this being only (only...) 10%ABV compared to the higher ABV-ed monsters that exist today.

Overall, this is definitely top 5 Stouts/Barrel-aged stouts I have ever had. This beer is once again a winner for me because it fits the criteria that I love which is balance. The barrel doesn't overpower but is definitely still a strong presence. The drinkability is off the charts in that I could finish the whole 750ml if I wanted/had to. Highly recommended and worth seeking out.

 1,779 characters

Photo of Floydster
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

 1,722 characters

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

2010 Vintage. Shared with my friends Nikolai, Sergei, and Svetlana. One more complex oak bourbon-barrel aged beer in the coffers of what I've tried. Another one knocked off the Top100. This one is from Big Sky in Montana, and took some doing to get. But after I called on my Russian friends, everyone seemed to want to help me just a bit more. Faaantastic.

The appearance... this beer is sexy as hell. Beautiful head that bubbles on the initial popping of the cork. Deep and rich and dark, vicious and viscous, Ivan has a full finger or more of head on a tiny pour into my glass and sustains thorough lacing that clings all over. The smell is oak, bourbon, booze, and hints of dark fruits, hops, and mean caramel roasty malts. It tastes primarily of bourbon up front, but has a hop forward character at the lips. As it goes through the bourbon presents itself more strongly, and despite the sweetness, booze heat finishes the taste. Minus the heat, this might be a Storm King Stout type of feel. But the heat is good for some, like my friend Nikolai who noted that in Mother Russia this beer would keep the cold Siberian winters warm.

Its thick and full bodied, with tons of carbonation. Best stored standing up, it seems like there's some goopy sediment that I mistakenly got in the brew because I had it on its side like a dumbass. Discounting for my error, this is a drinkable brew for the folks that are in to 10% alcohol by volume Bourbony beers. Sergei was giving me high fives and even called his friend Marshal Zhukov to tell him about it.

As for me, I don't plan on a St. Petersburg visit anytime soon, and I probably won't see Montana too soon either. So I'll take it as a lukewarm appreciation. I'm a little over bourbon-barrel aging, and I'd love to keep this one to cellar it and see how it develops. Until then, give me a good ol' brown anytime.

But don't let the Russians see this. I told them it was exceptional (and truthfully, it kind of is...)

 1,967 characters

Photo of GilGarp
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage. Corked and caged 750ml green glass bottle. #2263 of 3800.

Served slightly cooler than cellar temperature in a tulip glass.

Ivan the terrible is a deep brown color, black in the glass, with thick off white head. It has good retention for an aged strong ale.

Aroma is evident from a distance. It is a combination of dark malts, bourbon, vanilla, and red wine.

Flavor is bold too with a balanced combination of the elements mentioned above. The stout is actually the most forward flavor which is unusal for a barrel aged beer. Many times the bourbon overwhelms.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and nicely carbonated.

It may be slightly oxidized but is still enjoyable. A well made barrel aged stout from a small Montana brewery. An unexpected surprise.

 762 characters

Photo of dbossman
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a 2010 bottle.

A: Black hue with a large and steady, chocolate colored hue and really nice lacing

S: Lots of bourbon up front; followed by oak; there is a caramel and vanilla undertone; lots of booze up front but it calms down and smells pretty darn good

T: Roasty, chocolate and coffee malts; this beer is still surprisingly hot (it's nearly 3 years old) but not as much bourbon as I expected but lots of oak--especially in the finish

F: Creamy and viscous and pretty chewy in the finish but also pretty dry from the wood

O: A nice beer but still pretty hot for a '10

 581 characters

Photo of fear025
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 release, bottle number 1581 of 3800.

Aroma:Dark fruits , sweet malt, and bourbon in the nose.

Appearance:Black in color. Head is thick, long lasting and light tan in color.

Taste:The smooth bourbon is the dominant flavor in the foretaste, followed by dark fruits, and sweetness. This fades to a more harsh bourbon flavor in the mid to aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:The mouthfeel has a ton of hot alcohol. The body is thick, and there is a nice creaminess. Good carbonation.

Drinkability:This is a very tasty beer, and I'm looking forward to getting one with some age on it to smooth out the hot alcohol.

 605 characters

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.2/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage. Bottle #1430/3000. Poured from a 750ml corked and caged bottle into a Darkness snifter.

A: Standard pour yields a thin barely-there layer of light mocha that dissipates quickly. Beer is an appropriate opaque black. Lacing is minimal with no stick. Nice legs though. Head and lacing lose points that the legs make up for a touch. Slightly below average. Hardly carbonated.

S: Aroma is surprisingly subtle. Some light booziness tickles the nose while layers of chocolate, molasses, honey, maple, and vanilla linger in the background, barely detectable. Not much else going on here.

T: Opens chocolate, molasses, honey, brown sugar, and caramel. More molasses and brown sugar in the middle with some sweet prunes and toffee. Barrel aging comes through with vanilla and a bit of woodiness at the end. The most subtle touch of booziness rounds this one out. Sweet, chocolate and brownie finish with a sticky maple finish. Absolutely phenomenal. Competes for the best barrel-aged imperial stout out there.

M: Medium to full bodied with low to moderate carbonation. Lighter than usual in the mouth but silky smooth and warming without being boozy. Goes down oily and slick. Finish is messy and viscous with a sticky aftertaste. Alcohol is hidden extremely well here and the feel is almost perfect.

O: Ivan has always been a well received beer on BA, but I never thought it’d be nearly as good as it was. Incredible balance, the flavors complement each other perfectly, and the barrel aging is subtle yet adds an incredible depth that I’ve never experienced with any other beer. Unbelievably good. I personally couldn’t care what this one looked and smelled like after tasting it.

 1,700 characters

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

Poured from 750ml bottle. Thanks to VinnieVanGogh for splitting this bottle with me. I cant't believe you just found this in some random store.

A- Pours a pretty much black color. Hints of darker brown when held to the light. Two finger dark mocha colored head shows medium retention. Head caps the beer and leaving some light streaks of lace on the sides of the glass.

S- Chocolate notes in the front of the aroma blend with a straight-forward vanilla scent. Hints of oak barrel come through next with some charred coffee notes. Bourbon only really sneaks up in the ending aroma. Licorice and light darker fruits come up in the ending with a light alcohol heat to tingle the nose.

T- Darker fruits start off this wonder beer. Plum, fig and light darker cherry come through and mix with a hint of vanilla. The vanilla gets bigger toward the middle of the beer. Barrel notes in the middle with a light caramel sweetness. The middle also shows a light coffee roast as well. The ending shows chocolate with a light vanilla hint to it. Roasted malt does show in the ending along with a warming bourbon alcohol flavor.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is a little on the light side I thought for the beer. Darker fruits, chocolate, oak, and hints of coffee are left on the palate. Aftertaste is bourbon like alcohol heat, oak, roasted malts and light chocolate. Flavors were blended very well with the style in mind. No off flavors were present while drinking this one. Medium alcohol drying on the palate.

O- This beer was a beast. By the end of the my part of the beer it seemed like my palate was hurting. A little more lively carbonation would have done wonders for this beer. The ABV does show a little in the front of the beer and by the ending it was crushing. The alcohol heat warmed the belly making this beer a nice wintertime drink. I will be looking for this beer in the future but want to make sure I let this one sit a bit before cracking open.

 1,961 characters

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

Bottle very generously shared by Unclejedi. Always a pleasure!

Pours a very dark brown in color. This is as near to black as you can get. No light gets through, especially around the edges.
Smell is nice dark cocoa, some light coffee. The bourbon is very well integrated into the beer. Very balanced and complimentary, not too dominant.
This beer is pretty damn viscous as well. And that's the way I prefer them, so that's good. A touch of prickly carbonation to liven up the mouthfeel as well.
Pretty nice beer.

 513 characters

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

podunkparte was generous enough to send me a couple of bottles of the 2009 vintage of this. I shared one, bottle #1947/3000 , with John last night.

Pouring jet black with a dense, dark brown head with excellent retention and lacing, this is an attractive imperial stout. The nose is unique in the pantheon of imperial stouts. There's plenty of dark fruit and an almost port-like character. Very fruity with plums and raisins, there's a moderate milk chocolate, some vanilla and licorice. That port character brings to mind one of my favorite stouts, Kate the Great. Bourboon is rather light, there's just a little bourbon and vanilla present. Pretty excellent.

The palate opens moderately sweet with a little caramel, a little sugar, some licorice. A little vanilla is present as well. Again, a port-like sweetness and fruitiness is present, there's raisins and a little oxidation is present. Roasted malt character is low. Mildly sweet on the finish with also a little cola, there's a rather low but perceptible bourbon and oak character. Soft and creamy carbonation is present, this feels wonderful on the palate. Excellent stuff, I do wish there were a little more roast present.

 1,184 characters

Photo of Damian
4.19/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 1 pint 9.3 fl. oz. (750ml) corked and caged bottle
2010
Limited edition 1916 of 3800
Served in a snifter

Big thanks to Fclfcs for sharing this bottle.

The beer poured dark brown and slightly thin for the style. An inch-tall crown of tan colored foam topped the liquid and faded to a lasting collar. Odd shaped patches of lacing trickled down the glass.

The nose was solid. Strong roasted malt and powdered cocoa notes were apparent. Noticeable boozy, bourbon-like presence. Semi-sweet with indications of brown sugar and raisins. Overall, not super complex but smooth and well balanced.

Boozy, bourbon notes came through strong in the flavor profile. Initially, the beer seemed a bit hot, but it settled down with time. Roasted malts appeared on the front end. Dark fruit notes came through in the center. Raisins were most noticeable. Moderately sweet. Lots of brown sugar and dark chocolate as well. Good amount of whiskey/bourbon. Hint of vanilla. The finish was boozy, woody and slightly tannic with a noticeable ashy flavor.

For the style, the beer was surprisingly effervescent and felt quite thin on the palate. Almost champagne-like. Once the liquid settled, it turned creamy and smooth.

With its balanced flavor profile and lighter bodied mouthfeel, this 2010 vintage of Ivan the Terrible may not have been one of the more extreme imperial stouts I have ever sampled, but it was tasty, drinkable and quite enjoyable nonetheless. I would love to see how the more recent vintages with higher ABVs compare to this.

 1,539 characters

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.

 396 characters

Photo of glazeman
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.

 877 characters

Photo of scottfrie
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2010 vintage poured into snifter.

A: Pours black with an unexpected huge foamy light brown head that really frothed up despite an easy pour.
S: Very smooth and integrated notes of bourbon, rich dark chocolate, light vanilla and light oak. I get mild caramel and brown sugar in there as well.
T: Richer than the nose. Definitely a potent sipper. Rich chocolate and fudge dominate with smooth flavors of bourbon, caramel, and slight vanilla and oak tannins in the finish.
M: Mellow flavors but the mouth still has a rough edge to it. Sharp kick of bourbon. Fluffy carbonation, tingly alcohol (but not hot). Thick body.
O: Very very solid. One of the richest and most potent out there. Very good.

 695 characters

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

'10 bottle #3207/3800 poured into a snifter. The brew appears dark brown to black with a solid finger and a half of dark tan froth. The cap slowly recedes leaving fingers and string-like patches of lacing on the glass. Constantly rising bubbles support the cap. A light swirl revives a finger of froth back to the surface. Very visually appearing brew with some solid head retention for a brew of 10% strength. When held to the light, some brown clarity is seen around the edges.

The initial smell of this brew is pungent with dark fruits. Raisiny alcohol is the first thing I think of with more sniffs bringing out some notes of chocolate and tobacco. Oak is present along with a whiskey accent that really plays off of the fruity alcohol notes in the nose. Towards the back are some mellow vanilla scents that really draw you back into this. This is a fine smelling brew right here.

The taste has just as much dark fruited alcohol character as you would expect based off of the aroma. Raisins, dates, plums, prunes.. it all is here initially. As more sips are taking, a bit more focus draws away from the fruity alcohol and back to the dark roast of the grain. A flavor of semi-sweet chocolate mixes with some notes of coffee, oak, whiskey tobacco, earth and roasted grain. The aftertaste is lightly nutty that draws back into the flavoring of chocolate and whiskey infused dark fruits.

This is a medium to full bodied brew that really boasts a lively level of carbonation. It flirts with having just a bit too much fizz in the mouth. If you try to swirl it around, it quickly turns to nothing but froth in the mouth. Luckily, I would rather have it over-carbed than under since some swirling can help ease the bubbles out of solution. Regardless, this was a solid brew. It is something I would certainly enjoy again. Really no complaints here other than it really focuses a lot on the dark fruity aspects which I think for my taste was a bit much. The alcohol is masterfully integrated for 10%. It is there totally in flavor but does not carry with it the expected burn. Really well done offering.

 2,103 characters

Photo of tut2528
4.18/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

First and foremost a huge thanks to Match1112 for this one!

A: the body resembles a black hole with no light penetration whatsoever. It creates a fingers worth of s tan colored head formation that has moderate density and thus moderate lacing. Nice carbonation as it takes very little to re-create the head.

S: oh wow. A huge oaky/barrel character, grassy hops, alcohol soaked dark fruits, big bourbon, leather, lactose/vanilla. Decently balanced, but not a huge fan of the hoppy presence.

T: again, big oaky, bourbon barrel character right at the front of this one. Slight chocolate and raisin presence. There is more of a smoked wood, presence here that was detectable in the nose. The hops are still present but definitely tamed back and actually adds a nice touch of complexity (really didn’t care for its presence in the nose). the finish consists of a quick blast of alcohol heat and a slight tough of vanilla sweetness that tries to tone the alcohol down but there simply not enough to do so.

M: on the heavier side of medium body. Has a higher carbonation that I’m used to in a barrel aged stout. Alcohol tends to linger on the palate with a slight touch of bourbon and oak.

O: solid bourbon barrel aged stout and thoroughly enjoyable. Cannot thank Match1112 enough for this one. truly a terrific BA.

 1,320 characters

Photo of emmasdad
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
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 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.

 631 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
4.17/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Beachwood I,

A: Pours an inpenetrable black with a soft finger of mocha head. Good lace left behind.

S: Heavy dark chocolate and coffee grinds. Fragrant classic RIS nose.

T: As with the nose, heavy on dark chocolate and coffee. Some sweet brown sugar as well. Hops are there, but this is really dominated by the strong malt profile.

M: Rich, full-bodied, creamy, soft carboanation.

O: This is classic American RIS to a T. Very well made, not mind-blowing, but I can see why it's highly regarded.

 510 characters

Photo of homebrew311
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into tulip, served at Binnys south loop. Apperance is inky black with dark brown head. Opaque. The nose is full of rich chocolate and delicate vanilla. The bourbon is much tamer than the bottled version, mellow vanilla with sturdy oak coming through. Taste is full of rich dark chocolate and mellow vanilla. The mouthfeel is hefty with mild carbonation. Overall, the tap version is a step down from the bottled version, the barrel character is tough to pick up. Great stout nonetheless.

 493 characters

Photo of afausser
4.15/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: pours (into a snifter) a dark, rapidly moving chocolate brown with two fingers of head. Carbonation appears to be tiny and voluminous at once; tiny bubbles move in a wave to the top of the glass creating a head that almost appears to be on nitro-tap. The head itself is fluffy and a color slightly darker than a mocha-latte--a touch of caramel added in. Drank this one on a particularly hot day (who says it's the end of summer?) so the glass quickly has a large amount of condensation on the outside, creating a somewhat glittering effect/illusion. The head glistens like soap bubbles on its own. An extremely consistent and good looking beer with a lot of movement. Very nice (and fairly long-lasting) lacing as well.

Smell: Very earthy, with berry, dark fruit, and a slight hint of chocolate. Some vanilla notes as well, blending with the slightest hint of bourbon notes, though both of these are an undercurrent to the bright berry notes. Very well-balanced.

Taste: More dark fruits than in the nose, with a nice caramel twist added in. Slightly milky as well, and very smooth. Slightly tangy, with a bit of charcoal bitterness thrown in as well which carries through into the aftertaste. The bitterness provides an interesting element to the taste--when you first take a drink, (or at least when I do) you notice first the sour cherry notes, but almost instantly are hit by a blast of syrupy--something--which comes across at times also as cherry cough syrup, though if it were exactly that I wouldn't be drinking it. Then, shortly thereafter, the bitterness hits. It's probably better than I'm making it sound...but it's definitely strange.

Mouthfeel is sub-par for what otherwise is an excellent beer. Very little heat, but the carbonation doesn't hold up the way I would have hoped (or expected from the appearance). There is very little carbonation, in fact, the beer seems rather flat save for an unpleasant foaminess at the end of the sip indicating, as the appearance did, that indeed there was once carbonation somehow present in this beer. Looking back a few minutes later, the carbonation is in fact there but sort of just _sits_ on your tongue.

Drinkability: Very smooth and low heat--wouldn't expect it to be this good at this ABV--though at the same time it is also very obvious that it is a 10%. The fact that I can drink this on such an oppressively hot day speaks volumes.

 2,409 characters

Photo of Onenote81
4.15/5  rDev -3%
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

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
95 out of 100 based on 280 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe