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
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:
814
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.52%
 
 
Wants:
802
Gots:
277
For Trade:
22
User Reviews
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Reviews: 280 | Ratings: 814
Photo of jcnd9803
5/5  rDev +16.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Completely dark black body with two solid fingers of coffee colored head.

S - The smell on this thing is special. Sweet malts, chocolate, and molasses. Plus, a definite pronounced bourbon and vanilla smell.

T - And the smell continues into the taste. Delicious. WOW! It is like melted chocolate with bourbon, with an aftertaste of vanilla.

M - Medium body with slight creaminess.

D - Unbelievably drinkable. I am stocking up to see how this ages. Not many beers get this kind of rating from me, but this does. This stuff is delicious!

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Photo of jjayjaye
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque darkness with an absolutely HUGE stiff tan head that fades slowly in 3D, like an ice cream sundae. The smell is AMAZING...primarily bourbon over malted chocolate and dark fruits. The mouth feel is adequately carbonated, moderately thin..meaning that there isn't a true coating texture, ULTRA-smooth sipping qualities kicking major butt!! I NEED MORE! Full flavored, the bourbon barrel aging has the leading role supported nicely by raisins and fig over a more subtle chocolate character. Calling all bourbon enthusiasts..you NEED this! The 10% ABV is showcased really well. Many thanks Pops!! Highly recommended!

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Photo of KeefD
4.75/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2009 - Bottle 167 of 3000. Pours a dark brown which becomes absolutely black in the glass, small tan head that was gone quickly but kept a nice cap for some time. Great aroma wafting up from the glass! Chocolate dominates the nose, followed by some dark fruits (raisins), charred grains, and just a hint of woody barrel and bourbon. Wow! This beer tastes amazing. Chocolaty deliciousness through and through, hints of coffee in the background, and wonderfully sweet, but nowhere near cloying, inviting dark caramel/burnt sugar middle, rounded out by barrel-aged vanilla goodness. Bourbon is there, but not in huge amounts. So perfectly balanced between the sweetness and the roast, and the alcohol is barely noticeable. Silky, smooth, low carbonation. I just can't get enough of this beer. I don't know how long this sat in the barrels, but Big Sky somehow found the sweet spot when aging this delectable brew for us. I'm very impressed as Big Sky typically doesn't do it for me. But this beer just blew me away. The balance is incredible, and I can't believe how easy it is to drink at 10%. Well done, Big Sky. Well done indeed.

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Photo of Bighuge
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pitch black beer with a dense, tightly packed brown head. Hefty amounts of lace are dropped down as I drink. This smells really good. Chocolate, java, roast, coffee bean, bourbon, oak, vanilla bean.... Easy 5.0 here. Body is medium to medium-full. Beer is quite smooth and luxurious. Definite alcohol presence and the spiciness associated with it. Flavor is a lot of roast and chocolate and bourbon. Great combo. The alcohol smooths out a little as it warms, but is evident throughout the whole drink. Awesome beer overall.

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Photo of tavernjef
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Deep brown pour to lay inky black in the glass with a huge towering cap of dark tanned foam thats' all lathery and thick. The foam shifts down slowly to a whispy skimming as it coats the glass with a drippy sheeting of lace around the glass.

Aroma is soft but quite nice when taken in as it boasts some nice bourbonyness mixing with chocolate and vanilla. Deep maple hints and dark fruity sweetness pulls thru as it warms as does some slight warmth.

Ooohh yah...this is nice. Smooth subtle tones and a full body carry lovely creamy infused chocolate cream pie with a huge amount of deep, dark maple syrup, vanilla, bourbony warmth and some smokey cedar woodyness and tinge. A tipping of roasty coffee bits and some figgyness emerge late under the bourbon warming and chocolate. Drys off ghostly under the warmth with dusty cocoa. Nice!

Mega smooth full body, creamy, silky, warm, with a slight bourbon tinge on the back of the palate. The smoothness is incredibly palatable! It's not as girthy as Goose Island BCS or other top notch RIS's and Dbl stouts, but its pretty damn full and very smooth.

Drinkable by gallons! So damn smooth and easy going its gone before ya know it. But that 10% would meet you before half way and destroy many brain cells. But yummyness sometimes supersedes responsibiliy...

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

big thanks to tytoanderso for this beauty a few months back, been waiting to crack it for a while!! bottle #307 of 3000.

a- totally jet black with a little brown head that dissipates fast. decent lacing.

s- bourbon, chocolate, coffee, raisins, prunes, cocoa powder and butter?

t&m- surprisingly im not getting much on the bourbon taste as i expected, lots of woody and oaky notes followed by lots of bitter hersheys dark chocolate. faint hops and faint brown sugar. the swallow is easy on the throat and doesnt burn like most beers that bourbon barreled. good stuff.

d- this one is a sipper for sure, but definitely a real treat. not overpowering and not boring, very complex and interesting.

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Photo of wagenvolks
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

750ml bottle shared by midaszero at a tasting.

Ivan pours with a Terrible pitch black body, opaque as limousine windows. A fluffy cookie dough-colored head rests comfortably atop the blackness, superbly retained and mottled with large bubbles. Viscous brown liquid cascades downward through the foam with each sip. The aroma brings a spicy hop profile balanced by milk chocolate candies, caramel toffee, and a slight hint of peppery, oaken funk.

On the first taste, the palate is coated with dark Baker's chocolate and vinous, port-like tannins. Lots of fudge and vanilla bean with a hint of heat from the barrel-aging. Incredibly smooth and subtle for a 10% Russian Imperial Stout. Mouthfeel is creamy and chewy, with a viscously thick finish. Never syrupy, and packs just the right amount of roast and bitterness from earthy hops to keep it drinkable. An overall fantastic beer. After being completely "wow-ed" by Ivan two times straight, my mission is clear: I need more!

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Photo of aerozeppl
4.6/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Thanks to dmeadows for the share on this 2008 bottle a little while ago.

A: Mostly jet black with a touch of cola around the edges of the glass. About a inger and a half of mocha colored head with some lacing.

S: Nice bourbon note. Big oak component. Vanilla and chocolate. Really quite nice. Not so much roasty but a little bit.

T: The bourbon and vanilla/oak are really done well in this beer. The chocolate is a nice touch but always stays in the background. The bourbon is so clean. Really well done. Curious as to how much time this had in the barrels because it got everything good without the heat and booziness.

M: Creamy. Little bit on the heavier side without ever becomming overbearing.

D: I really enjoyed my nip of this. Would have this again in a heartbeat. One of the best examples of a bourbon aged stout I have ever had hands down.

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

about 12oz of the 750 into a chalice. bottle # 2249/3000

A- pours completely black with minimal brown head that leaves a spotty film and color of head. decent lacing but great legs.

S- not extremely robust but a nice blend of chocolate and oak barrel with light roasted notes. little to no bourbon on the nose, surprisingly. some of my favorite IRS aromas but I'm expecting everything to come out a little more clear in the taste.

T- this thing really opens up here. the mass of 2-row malt and chocolate malts mix with a heavy dose of vanilla oak and stays on the sweet side almost the whole time. some light roasted character and bitterness mixes in but it's definitely more in the backround. the bourbon finally shows its face in the finish but it's not too heavy. it's plays in well though and manages not to be too hot.

M- full in body but not quite as thick as some of the big RIS's. nice subtle carbonation. nothing standout but it drinks very well.

D- the bottle was shared between three and it didn't take anybody especially long to finish their glass. I say a great $15 dollars well spent. a great beer from one of my favorite places to do some snowboarding. I'd jump at any bottles I see again, either to drink or spread the love.

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Photo of maximum12
4.49/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle 1054 of 1152 from the first batch, 2008. Picked up a bottle at a local shop & they vanished in a heartbeat. The current version is now in stores, so I wanted to finally break this one open to see if it's worth another investment.

Pours black & vigorous. Smell is in the 'wow' stratosphere, with the promise of nutty chocolate & deep, real vanilla. This is a beer to hand to non-craft beer drinkers & say "take a whiff of this". If they don't want a drink after that, they're probably hopeless.

Ivan the Terrible comes out with a robe full of bourbon, but also with an armful of malts that keep it from reaching BCS territory & overwhelming the base brew. Bourbon, sweet malts, & vanilla pour into the palate. Chocolate runs to show, & there's an almost sherry, port-like fruit flavor that kicks into high gear as the liquid vanishes down my throat.

Paired up with the bourbon, it's an intriguing, delicious mess of a beer, & I mean that as a compliment. It's a sipper, but a rapid one, as I try to figure out what the hell is in my glass, & why.

Excellent beer that takes the notion of a barrel-aged RIS & does some cool things with it. Guess I'll be getting at least one more of the 2009 version, I'd like to try this fresh now!

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Photo of jsh420
4.47/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 #389/3000

pours dark dark brown with a 2 finger tan head that had good retention and left spotted lacing

smell is sweet bourbon vanilla dark fruits

taste much like nose sweet bourbon dark fruits vanilla then roasted malts chocolate some booze - no flavors overpower the others which make this a very enjoyable beer

mouthfeel is medium/heavy good carbonation very smooth and creamy with a very dry finish

drinkability is great this 750ml bottle went down prety fast

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Photo of kels
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Not sure who brought this to the Holiday Inn, but thanks:) Cheers, unclejedi, Joan, ftownthrowdown, RoyMunson and pwoods. Next time remind me to write this stuff down.

Pours a nice, super-dark brown, totally opaque. There's a little skim of brown bubbles with a bit of swirly brown skim on the top of the beer. There's really no lace to speak of.

The smell is full of nice, cracked coffee beans with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. A bit of the alcohol creeps through in the nose.

Taste is full of sweet chocolatiness and a little dry coffee grounds. The alcohol has a huge presence, but isn't overwhelming in a distracting or disappointing kind of way. The sweetness is added to by flavors of vanilla and sweet cream. The feel is moderately full and creamy, and the aftertaste is exceptionally dry for the style. The alcohol is present in the taste, and it adds a nicely warming dimension.

Drinkability is moderate at best. It is quite tasty, but the alcohol is also quite notable.

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Photo of paco1029384756
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours black with a short creamy tan head.

Scent of sweet bourbon, dark fruit, wet oak, molasses, and some spice. Very good, balanced very well, and not overbearing.

Taste of bourbon, vanilla, oak, caramel, dark fruit, molasses and the faintest hint of alcohol. One of the most balanced Barrel Aged Imperial Stout, and definitely worth the price.

Mouthfeel is medium heavy bodied, smooth and oily with a touch of carbonation, wonderful.

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Photo of Pigwings6
4.9/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into DFH Signature Glass. 2009 Vintage 1033 out of 3000

A- Pours pitch black with a beautiful tan head, leaves beautiful lacing all around the glass. Looks like a globe haha.

S- Superb smell, a lot of bourbon barrel tones of vanilla and light booze. Very sweet, very much like a lighter BCS.

T- Follows the nose very closely. Vanilla bourbon barrel on the front with mild booze following. Then bitter dark chocolate and the end with a mild carbonation tingle. Very smooth. Again, to me it's like a much lighter, less hot version of BCS.

M- Here's the only downfall in my opinion, it's very thin for a russian imperial stout. Not to say it's like water, but more like a middle mouthfeel between water and heavy RIS. The mild carbonation seems to be perfect for the style.

D- Polished of a 750ml to myself without any hesitation. This thing is very smooth tasty brew. It's very balanced with enough bourbon to get the flavors, but not too much that it's like licking a barrel.

All in all this is my favorite Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stout, I have other stouts that I think are better, but this in my opinion is the epitome of balance between the aging in the barrel, and the stout itself.

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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.

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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 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 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 WYVYRN527
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the 750 ml. bottle. 2009 release, bottle #13 of 3000.

A: Pours black, with a cream colored head that settles rather quickly. Boozy as it is, the lacing is minimal, but retains a good head, given proper treatment.

S: Aroma is of chocolate, toast, vanilla, and oak, also with fig, prune, and coffee.

T: At first, vanilla and coconut show, followed by toasty oak, chocolate, espresso, and dried dark fruits. Hops linger in the backround, drying out the finish of the brew. The alcohol is there upon swallowing, giving it a warming feeling.

M: Mouthfeel is good, and full bodied. At the same time, for this style, it is a bit lighter than other barrel aged beers of this style.

D: This beer is very good, but one bottle is enough. Have it with dessert, as it is sweet and will accompany just about anything after dinner.

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Photo of rudylaw
4.48/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

2009, corked & caged 750cl, poured into a snifter.

Pours a soul-sucking black with a lucious head. As pretty looking an RIS as there is.

Lots of vanilla in the nose. A little heat but this is very inviting!

Vanilla, chocolate pudding, bourbon, heat, dark fruit... oh man. This is a great example of a barrel aged stout. Not trying to kill you with complexity... just giving you what you want.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy... velvety and silky. Perfect. Good on you Big Sky... you made an affordable, delicious and near perfect BA RIS!

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

This is my new favorite RIS. The color is pitch black, and there's a lasting thick mousse of a tan head.

The texture is wonderfully creamy which adds the sensation of more fullness to a body that's just a smidge on the light side, and makes it ideal.

The taste is incredibly rich and layered with esters of dark chocolate, marzipan, pecan praline, coffee, toasted coconut, macadamia, port, bourbon, amaretto, hazelnut, Kahlua and Cream, plum pudding, dates, figs, and mandarin oranges.

The palate is on the sweet side, overall, but never crosses over into the cloying, and the finish definitely dries out the overall experience with some aromatic English hops, of which I suspect the delightful fuggles, and East Kent Goldings play a role.

I just ordered a case through my local Terra Organica, and I really hope they come through for me, because not having a few of these to cellar would be very sad, indeed.

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Photo of BarrytheBear
4.7/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

cork and caged bottle into a snifter

nice dark pour with a half inch head that sits gallantly upon the surface

pleasant nose of powdered cocoa, vanilla and bourbon

kapow....what a harmonious beer. Vanilla, milk chocolate, vaporous bourbon that lingers throughout but never over powers, and a touch of licorice slapped with a sweet malty finish. Really an enjoyable experience; well blended without the bruising experience that some Impy/bourbon stouts impart.
Barrel lays major tannins along the back.

Carbonation is quite high. While surprising, it works well. Great body: a bit oily and thick.

Each sip begs for another. Ten percent hidden well in the taste. This is an extremely well executed bourbon stout, and one that encourages drinking rather than limits with overpowering alcohol content.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4.92/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Bottle number 320 of 3000. This beer pours a thick used motor oil black color. The head is one inch of dark tan colored foam that recedes slowly into nice lacing. The aroma is of is very strong. Roasted malt, alcohol, bitter chocolate, burnt malt, graham cracker, wood, and licorice. It is a very interesting aroma. The taste is full of all the things the aroma is, but everything is magnified a bit. The mouthfeel is full bodied with appropriately low carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is one of the best RIS I have had I a long while. I will certainly go out of my way to drink this beer again.

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