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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:
User Reviews
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Reviews: 283 | Ratings: 820
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.

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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

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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...)

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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

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.

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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 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.

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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 trxxpaxxs
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Pours a pitch black with one full finger of khaki colored head. The foam fades fairly quickly Nice puffy top on the beer, really nice lacing as it drinks.

S: The nose is raisin, dark chocolate, caramel, bread, and yeast. I get a touch of soy, but the other scents dominate. Mostly raisin and chocolate.

T: It starts of sweet with raisin, bred, and mild caramel. The middle is dark chocolate, yeast, and malt. This beer is legit solid. Milky sweet, chocolaty, nice flavors.

M: Full bodied beer. It's velvety smooth from start to finish. The flavor transitions are nice, and it's a bit chewy in the finish.

O: Really nice beer. I'd drink this again if given the opportunity.

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

2010 release. Bottle 2569/3800. 750 mL bottle poured into a tulip. Thanks to readbaron for sharing this.

Appearance: This pours almost black, with walnut brown edges. Thick and viscous, with a small mocha head that recedes

Smell: Bourbon, raisins, and figs, roasted malt, and a little bit of toffee, molasses, and peat.

Taste: The malt flavor is definitely heavy here, with a surprisingly strong and noticeable peat flavor. Bourbon soaked raisins and figs combine with smooth toffee to provide a nice sweetness. A little bit of smoke and tobacco step in on the back end.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, with medium carbonation. A sticky residue is left after each sip, and it has a sort of buttery smoothness to it.

Drinkability: A very enjoyable beer, it is a shame this is only released in small quantities.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

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Photo of claaark13
4.27/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle, 2503/3800 from black13. Right on man, Big Sky was the first non-Indiana craft beer I tried and it is nice to finally try their big man on campus. Poured into a Founders snifter.

A - Fairly dark, just less than pitch black, not all that thick looking. Nice looking tan head with good retention. Actually, it is a very nice looking head. Looks nice, but nothing special.

S - Dark fruits mixed with some vanilla and oak. Bourbon really starts to come through after a few whiffs. This actually smells quite nice. The bourbon is delicately laid above the dark fruits and is just fantastic. As it warms, it just gets better.

T - The dark fruits come out and then comes the bourbon. It isn't too overpowering, but I do get some esters towards the end. After the sip, some oak and then a nice vanilla/toffee flavor remains. This is a very interesting beer for me. I really enjoy this after flavor, and as I sip on it more I want to drink more. The slightly hot flavor goes away after a small number of sips. Whatever hotness in there really just dissipates into the vanilla/toffee after flavors.

M - It is just a little too carbonated and light for me at first. The body carries the flavor well though and allows for the flavor to stick on the tongue for a bit.

O - This is a great beer. The biggest thing holding it back is the bubbly mouthfeel at the beginning of each sip. That aside, I'm liking this beer a lot and will give it a shot in the future.

"A-" despite what the weighted score gives.

6/23/12 Update on 2010 bottle:

Appearance is great. Still a nice, thick, creamy head. Good legs, issue is that the color could pour a bit more black. The aroma difference is that the malts seem to be a bit more aggressive than the last review. Based on my previous description of the taste, it should have been a 4.0. The current taste shows some bready malts mixed with the dark fruit, vanilla, light oak on the finish. I taste a little cork, which may be my fault for laying it down. There is no booze. It is incredibly smooth and pleasant. It is a 4.5 at this point. Mouthfeel has improved as well. Thicker feel on the palate. Upgrade to 4.0 going on 4.5. Overall, it is just shy of a 4.5. Updated review would be 4.5/4.0/4.5/4.0/4.0.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from the bottle into nonic pint glass. This beer followed a 2012 Bourbon County Stout which made for a tough act to follow, but it held its own, despite not being quite as good.

The pour produces a cream-colored head that quickly dissipates into a thin lace atop the liquid. Below is an opaque, pitch black liquid that looks like a winter walk in a deep forest. It's almost intimidating.

I was expecting more from the smell, especially after the BCBS, so I had to ding some points here. The bourbon notes aren't nearly as potent, nor is the oak, although I detect both.

I was pleasantly surprised by the taste on this brew, as I found a lot of the good notes that I had enjoyed in the BCBS. The bourbon and oak remained, but the beer's sweet malts showed up, as did vanilla, toffee and coffee. I enjoyed it.

The drinkability was there too, as this was really smooth and creamy. The body was much lighter than BCBS, but like that beer, there was no booze presence.

I would certainly drink this again, although we followed this beer with the Oak-Aged Yeti which costs about six bucks less and is a bit better, so for the price, this beer may not make the cut despite being damn good.

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Photo of billyshears
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

a: Lots of dense dark tan head. Black body with great lacing and head retention.
s: Dark fruits that come off quite sweet (almost sour); coffee roast and cocoa.
t: Starts off with a dark fruit sweetness and finishes with chocolate roast and char with some bourbon notes; all well integrated and comes together nicely.
m: Medium carbonation and medium mouthfeel (though maybe a bit light for a RIS); goes down smooth.
d: a sipper but actually quite easy to drink keeps your interest through; glad I got to try this. Solid brew.

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Photo of Spider889
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Schwaeh for this one. Almost got popped at the First Central OH tasting, then again at another get together I believe, before finally reappearing at the 2nd Central OH tasting. Glad I got to partake in some of this.

Pours with a super tall head with excellent retention and lacing. Very thick and black.

Smelled super mellow and sweet. Light bourbon notes and the tang of vanilla. Milk chocolate as well.

Very tasty, lots of complex malt flavors and bitter char.

Smooth and soft like there might be some oats in there.

Overall this is one that lived up to the hype. I'd love to try this again sometime.

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Photo of Dope
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2012 vintage from Daniel, thanks!

A: Not-quite-pitch black pour with an enormous and dense medium brown head. Fades extremely slowly. Top notch head retention as the head never seems to disappear fully, and revives easily. Moderate splashes of lacing here and there.

S: Big bold bourbon aroma. Burnt sugars including brown sugar along with some toffee and oaky vanilla. Some dark fruits. Notable stinging alcohol. Very fresh indeed. A little roasted malt character, mainly chocolate. Mostly covered by the boozy bourbon.

T: Lots of bourbon up front but not as overpowering as the aroma. Loaded with caramel, brown sugar, toffee and vanilla. A boatload of chocolate mingles in, making for a great combination. Get a little char and anise in the middle, but mainly chocolate. Finish is a little bit chalky with some charred wood, bitter chocolate and burnt sugar. Decently boozy too. Lingering oak and alcohol sting between sips.

M: Pretty heavy and boozy. Not as thick as you'd expect some big ABV RISes to be, the bourbon seems to cut it a bit.

O: Awesome RIS. Huge variety of flavors making this one very complex. Surprisingly good balance of flavors though the bourbon and chocolate dominate overall - which I don't mind. Quite fresh and boozy, bordering on harsh but what do you expect from a just-bottled 12.2% bourbon barreled RIS? I bet this would be amazing if it mellowed for a few years in the basement. Not to say that it's not already amazing, it's just the nature of the beast.

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Photo of bsuedekum
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally landed after tracking this one for a bit and shared with 4 other friends tonight in a mini-tasting.

A - The look of this one is the best feature of this beer. This beer was poured into 5 different snifters and the head was an inch thick in all five glasses and the beer is jet black like a RIS should be. Makes a person water at the mout just looking at it.

S - I get a good bourbon touch to it without overwheliming the nose with bourbon like some other barrel aged beers tend to. Maybe that's the benefit of only spending 3 months in a barrel. The sweet sugar smell of a BCS hides in there along with a slight vanilla wift hitting the nose.

T - An overall solid RIS with a bourbon profile. It's not an amazingly complex beer to me or one that absolutely electrifies the taste buds, but it's certainly delicious. Bourbon and chocolate are the two tastes that I get out of this one most.

M - Medium bodied and an average carbonation

O - Certainly a quality beer. This review was for a 2010 vintage and this was bottle number 2250 out of just 3800 so Ivan is not abundantly available to all. I'm glad I had this and was by no means disappointed... it's just not that common of a beer and so for the difficulty in obtaining I'm not necessarily wanting to spend the effort/costs in obtaining another one. For all that "want" this beer I suggest in continuing your search for landing it as it was certainly worth having, but don't expect to be floored by it as many RISs out there are equally as good.

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

A: Poured in low light, so I cannot tell how dark this beer actually is. An aggressive pour yields a nice espresso head. Carbonation looks scant, lacing is pretty spotty.

S: Bourbon is plentiful and the barrel aging is evident in the nose - vanilla and oaky alcohol. Underneath the bourbon barrels is dark lasted malts and a bunch of sweetness. There is an element of alcohol soaked figs in the finish.

T: The taste is very akin to the nose, bourbon is the primary taste activating the pleasure centers of my brain. The sweetness and dark lasted compete with alcohol blasting through.

M: Nice and creamy with minimum carbonation. The alcohol thins this out.

D: Sweet sweet warmth from the high abv. There is tons of snow outside and freezing temperatures, give me another bottle.

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

Thanks to akorsak for bringing this one to Imminent Liquidation II.

A - Pours pitch black with a dense one finger tall tan head leaving light lace down parts of the glass.

S - Smells of charred oak, dark roasted malt, vanilla, caramel, chocolate and plenty of warm bourbon. The booze does grow a little bit as it sits in the glass.

T - Starts off with some chocolaty sweetness and some dark charred wood slowly giving way to hints of dark roasted malt, vanilla and warm bourbon. The booze is pretty consistent from start to finish. Finish has more roast than sweetness, combining with a little booze burn to linger on the pallet long after consumption.

M - Smooth body with plenty of dark roasted flavors and moderate carbonation. Light booze burn at the end of each sip with plenty of lingering roast.

O - All things considered this one is very good. It has plenty of flavor, good overall balance and is pretty easy to drink. One of the better stouts I have had on the day.

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

Bottle of 890 of 3000. 2009 edition.

Looks pitch black and inky, topped by a one-finger head of creamy foam the color of wet sand. Later recedes to a bubbly ring, some film. Jagged forks of lace.

Well, this is definitely sweet and boozy. There's lots of bourbon, ripe melon, honey, oak and vanilla extract.

The flavor is full of roasted marshmallows, prunes, cocoa, red wine, raisins and molasses. The bourbon is smooth, subdued and nicely integrated. It's sweet coming in, but everything balances out upon the swallow. The only detractor is that I don't feel the alcohol as much as I taste it. There's a lot of ethanol in here.

My tongue is tickled by a light carbonation while my nose is warmed by some alcohol heat. The feel is smooth and velvety, and fizzes up only slightly as it moves about.

Too easy to drink. It's definitely boozy, but the sweetness makes it go down easy. I could probably finish an entire bottle myself. That said, I have a second bottle for aging, but I can't imagine this beer improving much. I'll drink the second bottle soon, this time paired with some vanilla ice cream. Yum.

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

2008 Vintage on-tap at Hamiltons in San Diego.

Dark brown body with an opaque, black core. Just a slim line of brown head, but it does leave a little bit of lacing.

Ivan the terrible has aromas of dark fruit, chocolate, coffee and roasted malt. Smells pretty good.

I had no idea that Ivan was barrel aged, but the flavor suggests that it is. Up front there is a lot of dark fruits, which I would guess have intensified with age. Black cherry and dates are especially powerful. A long with those fruits is a boozy bourbon flavor which was not extremely strong, but was very well integrated. Next comes a big dose of coffee and some roasted malt. The finish is all chocolate.

Good body, full and creamy.

This beer really impressed me. Normally I prefer everything except for barleywines fresh, but this aged beer is great the way it is. 4 bucks a glass? Yes please.

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Photo of Jwale73
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to jedwards for breaking this one out. 750ml bottle. 2009 vintage, bottle 2264 of 3000. Pours an inky black with a quarter inch, khaki-colored head embedded with ringlets. Head eventually settles into a creamy cap; arcs and spots of lacing are exposed during the tasting. Great nose - dark malt dominates; however, buttery bourbon notes are revealed as the brew warms. The flavor profile really opens up as the glass warmed between my hands - milk chocolate, a little wood, brown sugar and a slight roasted/charred character. Mouthfeel is medium-light, albeit a bit thin, with an easy, even carbonation. There's also a slight acidic tang as well as some residual heat. Overall, this is an exceptional RIS with a great balance. I actually think this beer might be better with a little less time on it, but age didn't really negatively impact it as whole.

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

2010 Vintage
750ml bottle poured into a duvel tulip

A: A very very very very VERY dark black? Oh yes. Pure used motor oil thickness coming out of the bottle that poured a fingers worth of faily dark tan head that lingered for some time.

S: Oak and bourbon really dominate the nose but not over powering. There is small waves of vanilla and caramel pushing through as well that really complements the oak and bourbon. There is a small amount of coffee there but barely which is nice to see for a change. Roasted chocolate malts present as well.

T: Vanilla, oak and bourbon really dominate the platate wave after wave. Bourbon isn't over powering but just at the right amount making this beer very enjoyable. The alcohol is there complementing the beer but not over done - nicely done. Chocolate malts are in the background really helping the overall flavor of this beer.

M: A very smooth beer, one of the smoothest i have had. A very thick beer that isn't over the top. Carbonation is more then you would expect from such a big beer but i think it really helps improve the over all quality and drinkability. Alcohol was there, but plays a good role in the taste and really helps.

D: A damn fine RIS that was very pleasent to drink. Wasn't over the top but just good good good. The mouth feel was excellant, loved the amount of carbonation present.

My first beer from big sky brewing but i can say it wont be my last. Great job and excellant beer.

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Photo of mikeyv35
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sampled: 03/04/10
Sample Type: 750ml. Bottle
Vintage: 2009
Glassware: Portsmouth Tulip

Shared this brew w/ a BA buddy beerloco. Poured a charcoal opaque black in color w/ a one finger tan head that dissapated gently. Nice lacing hangs on the glass. Aromas of roasted malts, oak, and subtle bourbon and vanilla. In the taste, the bourbon rears it's head in the forefront, but does not overwhelm. The finish and is of darkfruit and burnt chocolate. Medium bodied and creamy, but not too heavy. Pretty drinkable for the style, but te 10% ABV would catch up to most BAs in a hurry.

Overall, I really enjoyed this brew! If this had been a touch more viscose it would be world-class. Will be seeking out more bottles of this brew.

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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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