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:
283
Ratings:
820
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.52%
 
 
Wants:
801
Gots:
277
For Trade:
22
User Reviews
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Reviews: 283 | Ratings: 820
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 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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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 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 brentk56
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Limited Edition: Bottle 1088 of 3000

Appearance: Pours a pitch black color with a frothy tan head; leaves a film with some spots

Smell: Boozy, but a lot of complexity; with dark fruit (prune and raisin), bourbon, vanilla, chocolate and molasses

Taste: Opens with dark fruit, black bread and Bourbon flavors, with a developing roasty char, chocolate and molasses aspect that arrives by mid-palate; much fruitier after the swallow, with the prune and raisin flavors dominant

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with low to moderate carbonation

Drinkability: One of the top Bourbon barrel aged stouts out there; great complexity and balance

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Photo of Jeffo
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The first trade I ever made. Thanks for hooking up a newbie NewGeneric.

From a 750 into a snifter
Vintage: 2009
Bottle 2624 of 3000

APPEARANCE: Pours out black and a small cascading effect produces a one finger, medium-looking, beige head with decent retention. Jet black body and a bit of carbonation evident. Head fades to a good wisp and ring. A slight wisp and ring remain but leave no real lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Roasted malts and a good dose of molasses in there as well. Some dark chocolate as well, and a subtle but well measured barrel. Oak, bourbon and vanilla notes accompany the molasses and dark chocolate. Bold and very well put together.

TASTE: Roasted malts and a bigger barrel presence, like the nose had suggested. Definite oak and bourbon with vanilla as well. Sweet molasses comes through with some dark, bitter chocolate at the swallow. Bold flavors, and a bold, lingering aftertaste of bourbon, sweet molasses, and bitter chocolate, with a bit of heat lingering on the palate. Definitely tasty and sweeter than some other barrel aged stouts, meaning the barrel, though very present, doesn't dominate the malt profile. Well put together; a real treat.

PALATE: Fuller body, heavy on the palate, but not quite as creamy or smooth as it could be. Goes down fine with a bit of a burn on the swallow and heat at the finish. A little mouth-coating, though not cloying. Could be a little creamier, but fits the bill otherwise.

OVERALL: Definitely good, and worth the effort to get a bottle. The barrel works well without dominating the base beer, letting the molasses and dark chocolate flavors play a role in the fun. A little hot still perhaps, which could be helped by a little more cellaring, and the thick, heavy palate could be a little creamier, but otherwise this is a real treat of a beer. Worth tracking down, and I definitely hope to see this one again. Thanks again NewGeneric.

EDIT: Just had the 2010 batch, bottle 3494 of 3800. Flavor and aroma were milder than I remembered, carbonation much higher, and, consequently, the body far too light for the style. Not nearly as solid as the 2009 batch. Disappointing for sure.

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Photo of airohead2001
4.1/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes. Huge thanks to glazeman for landing this monster - what a great beer!

A - Dark brown drink with a nice one finger head that resembles foamy, fluffy cappuccino topping. Looks very appetizing.

S - Just great. Vanilla, bourbon, melted butter, roasted almonds, booze, plums, and more booze. Mmmm.

T - Bourbon and dark chocolate covered oranges and lemons up front, with a nice, sugary malty finish.

M - Very smooth, especially considering the high ABV. Nice and thick as well.

D - This was a very fun beer to drink. I distinctly remember just having a good time with it, more than focusing on good descriptors and writing notes. The time of the evening, as well as my EtOH consumption, both truly shine through in any review when I start talking about dark chocolate covered lemons (wtf)...

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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 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.

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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 jera1350
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2009, bottle 41 of 3000.

Solid black color with a brown head of creamy suds. Some nice lacing to match.

The nose is a mouthwatering array of oaky bourbon, toasty malt and rich sweetness. The bourbon is amazing and the overall nose outstanding.

Reminds me of a less bourbony, but sweeter GI Bourbon County Stout. Oaked bourbon is moderately strong and adds a good dose of warmth. Sweet, sweet toasted malt goodness. Notes of vanilla bean, coffee, lightly smoked malt and molasses. Just wonderful.

Full bodied with a lightly syrupy slick feel. Soft and creamy smooth carbonation.

Drinks really well for a beer this big. Has to go into my list of favorite beers. If you like GIBCS, this will be right up your alley. I am only now regretting buying one last year. I highly recommend this one and will have no problem drinking this whole bottle with my wife. Awesome beer.

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

Popped the cork on this one to celebrate the successful presentation of my Senior Project this morning.

A: The pour is a very dark brown with a finger or two worth of khaki head that settles down to a thin layer.

S: The nose starts off with plenty of sweet chocolate and vanilla. The bourbon and oak definitely come through quite strongly as well, and as it warms, the alcohol becomes more noticeable.

T: Semi-sweet chocolate on the palate with some definite oak character, especially as the beer warms. Detectable bourbon and vanilla, but the beer itself really comes through. A mild roasted character, especially on the finish, but fairly sweet overall.

M: The body is medium with a smooth, low carbonation and a nice creamy mouthfeel overall.

D: For a -bal aged imperial stout, this is about as easy drinking as it gets. A nice beer to sip while enjoying today's earlier successes.

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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 dragonWhale
4.68/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the events of the Wood Age..

Darkness is spreading! If you look into this glass carefully, you can see your soul being sucked out of you. The foamy brown sits atop, as if its a comfortable place. But, tis a lie! Put not your nose in there!
Oh, shit, I did. Big roasted malts and chocolate, alcohol, sweet bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruits, sanctuary, lewdness.
The flavor is big and thick, burnt sugar and bourbon start off with the sweetness lingering before encountering some bitter dark grains, leveling off into a finish with the dates and more alcohol. My god it is outstanding. The flavors twist and turn as they play with each other, so drinkable, so terrible. Ivan, you are a man after my own heart!

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

Bottle into a Weyerbacher tulip. Sampled at a tasting.

A: Fully black body with a finger of dense brown foam. Solid retention and light lace. Great.

S: Holy. Shit. This is amazing. Bourbon, molasses, brown sugar, and roast. So rich, so deep, so amazing. One of the best-smelling beers I've ever encountered.

T: Super sweet, with all the molasses and brown sugar from the nose, plus some oaky vanilla and bourbon. Amazing, but maybe a trifle too sweet.

M: Full body with moderate, fine carbonation. Lovely.

D: The sweetness borders on cloyingness, but it...is...delicious.

Notes: Gigantic thanks to my new pal Warren for sharing this gem of a stout. I'd heard nothing but good things about Vlad, but I wasn't prepared for this. Even in a tasting that included Darkness '10, Abyss '06, IST '06, BA IST, and more, Ivan stood out as being the most delicious and memorable stout of the night. Now that's saying something.

Cheers!

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

big 750ml, split - served in a tulip/flute hybrid type glass

A - pours with half an inch of creamy khaki colored foam, settling within a few minutes to a thin film and ring. the beer is dead black.

S - nice mixture of dark fruits (plums and raisins), dark chocolate, molasses, oak, vanilla, bourbon. nothing stands out much more than the others.

T - sweet at first with dark fruits taking hold, plums and figs dance playfully before cut short by some strongly roasted and slightly bitter malts. wonderfully balanced bourbon and sweet oak. notes of dark chocolate and vanilla as well with a small kick of booze.

M - thick and sticky with moderate carbonation. lively alcohol burn through the swallow. slightly chewy finish with lingering sweet booze.

D - outstanding beer here. exceptional use of bourbon barrel aging in a stout, adding another dimension without detracting from the others. sipper due to big flavors (and alcohol) yet quite the enjoyable one.

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Photo of mothman
3.9/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

Pours 1/4 finger of tan head. Color is near black.

Aroma: Cocoa powder, bourbon, oak, vanilla, chocolate, dates, dried fruits. Warming and rich.

Taste: Big cocoa powder again. Light chocolate. The bourbon is warming, but somewhat subtle. Has molasses flavors. Some other dry fruits as well. It shows some vanilla and caramel.

Mouthfeel: A bit fizzy, creamy, and warming. Medium to full bodied, but a bit higher amount of carbonation is present. Ends a bit dry and boozy.

Overall, a decent beer. It is warming which I like. The barrels are a bit subtle. I dig it, but it could have used less cocoa notes.

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Photo of Mebuzzard
4.33/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Well, Ivan the Terrible is far from terrible, unless terrible has become the new "bad".

Dark black, glossy pour. Shines a bit. Dark brown, mellow, sticky head. A touch more density would give it a 5--although I am stubborn on giving 5s

A dark chocolate and light coffee aroma develops around soft vanilla and some caramel. Booze isn't noticed at all. Some smokiness too.

A clamoring of flavors kind of melt into one. Vanilla and caramel seem to make dark, smooth chocolate. The coffee and some hops give it a bit of earthiness. Smoked meat and some woodiness. These are all bold flavors without aggressiveness. Very easy drinking for the size and abv. Would be (is) a great winter beer.

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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 Huhzubendah
4.82/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle shared by mdfb79. Thanks Dan! I've wanted to try this beer for a long time.

2009 Vintage
Bottle 2223 of 3000.

A: Ivan the Terrible has an opaque black body. When held to the light, the beer is dark brown at the apex. There is about an inch of tan head that leaves a fair amount of lacing on the glass.

S: This aroma is world class. Roasted malt and bourbon, hints of chocolate and coffee. Incredibly inviting.

T: Though not as amazing as the aroma, this beer is a pleasure to drink. It's extremely well-balanced, and the flavor is outstanding. The bourbon component is very present, but doesn't overpower the roasted malt or any of the other more subtle flavors.

M: Nice, thick feel. The 10% is not entirely disguised per se, but I certainly would not describe the beer as hot.

D: A pleasure to drink. I'm thankful for the opportunity to try it for the first time. I hope to have it again.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.62/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From 09/25/10 notes. Brought to a small tasting.
2009 Vintage, bottle 2223 of 3000.

a - Pours a dark black color with one inch of light tan head and light carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, roasted malts, vanilla, cocoa, sweet chocolate, and dark fruits. Very complex yet balanced and very enjoyable. I was glad to see the bourbon didn't dominate the nose. One of the best smelling RIS's I've smelled.

t -Tastes of roasted malts, vanilla, bourbon, light coffee, chocolate, and dark fruits. Taste is very good, though a step down from the nose.

m - Full body and low carbonation. Smooth and thick, great feel. Not hot at all.

d - I thought this was a great RIS; one of the better ones I have had. It smelt amazing and taste and felt really good as well. I'm hoping they brew more of this because I'd love to get another bottle.

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

750 mL corked and caged bottle - hand-numbered 517 of 3000, 2009 edition - courtesy of a very generous trader up in Idaho. Many thanks! Poured in to a snifter for review #1100.

Appearance: This one was split between two snifters to accommodate the volume (and the other glass was given to a fellow BA). My snifter - the larger of the two, naturally - initially showcased a brilliant finger-tall crown, perfectly cocoa-hued, and with perfectly poor retention. On the other hand, my fellow merrymaker's snifter showcased a similarly constituted head that remained so constituted on in to the evening. A magnificent tall, dark, and creamy mass, the cap was consistently and quickly replenished by bullets of effervescence zipping upwards en masse up the sides of the snifter. My snifter showcased similar carbonation, but I suppose the quality of my pour (or the aperture of my vessel) was different enough to alter the retention pretty profoundly. Regardless, my snifter still showcased a thick, sudsy collar and a nearly uniform surface dusting. Lacing on the sides of the glass is what one would expect from a barrel aged beer of this style and abv%. We'll split the baby and call it a 4.5. Very nice.

Aroma: Waves of dark malts are absolutely decadent, but nonetheless heavily toasted. The malts are deep, showcasing flame-kissed toffee, toast, full roast coffee, bittersweet cocoa, and hints and kisses of char and smoke. The fruity notes are quintessential English RIS - cherries (both sweet and slightly tart), dates, and raisins, as well as a few spicy hop notes that mingle well with the slight but earthy bourbon notes here. The aroma reminds me of a slightly less fudgy (and less intense - duh) Black Tuesday. Splendid.

Taste: Intense and varied, but not without its drawbacks. Toast, caramel, bittersweet cocoa, and blackstrap molasses intermingle with a slew of dark fruits, as well as a few lighter and tarter notes, ranging from raisins on the heavy end to nectarines on the light end, and everything (cherries, peaches, grapes, a faint figgy tartness, and even a soupcon of berry). Hints of vanilla and leather emerge to meld with an ever-increasingly pungent bourbon presence. The bourbon is surprisingly mellow at the outset, and this beer isn't really about the bourbon - it merely adds a few spicy, rye-like, earthy, and lighter caramelized sugar notes.

Mouthfeel: Slight disagreement between my fellow imbiber and I here. Her snifter contained a rather flat, creamy beer, and mind a zippy, thinned-out beer. I can't split the baby here, unfortunately, as neither is the ideal, though - having tasted both - I liked mine a little more, even if it is lacking somewhat. A barrel aged beer will already be thinned out somewhat by aging and spirit additions, and an overcarbonated mouth can make it feel even lighter and less creamy - not what you want in a beer that's supposed to be showcasing flavor notes that are traditionally associated with adjectives like "creamy," "velvety," and "sleek." I'll revisit it as the carbonation dies down. And it does get a little better, but not terribly much. This beer's weakest component.

Drinkability: A pretty excellent beer, though not without its flaws. This tastes like a small craft brewery beer, though, and you gotta love that - an authentic RIS, made with American toasty malts and English hops, with a not-too-overpowering barrel presence ... what's not to like? This one's definitely a treat though (not that you could, Big Sky, but don't put it in 6-packs!) - it made a good #1100, and I'd be happy to have it again from time to time ... maybe paired with some robust, creamy cheese or some dark Belgian chocolate ... but not too often. I think this would be a true world class beer if it were tweaked ever so slightly, particularly the carbonation.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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    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.
  • Extreme Beer FestĀ® Cometh

    February 3-4, 2017. Boston, Mass. Limited tickets available. Prepare for epicness.

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