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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
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States
bigskybrew.com

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:
284
Ratings:
824
Avg:
4.28
pDev:
17.52%
 
 
Wants:
800
Gots:
280
For Trade:
22
User Reviews
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Reviews: 284 | Ratings: 824
Photo of GbVDave
4.5/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a corked and caged 750ml bottle into two pint glasses. Thanks to pops for the assist!

2009 Limited Edition
1221 of 3000

A: Pours a pure, evil black. Sitting on top is a about four fingers of dark mocha foam that features a lovely cascading effect. Those four fingers slowly settled down to about a fingers' worth of head that left a little bit of lace lingering on the glass.

S: Excellent balance in the nose. Equal parts bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit, charred barrel, booze, and tangy chocolate covered cherries.

T: Bourbon, dark fruit, and dark chocolate are the main players with ample supporting assistance from charred barrel, espresso, chocolate covered tangy orchard fruit, and dark rum.

M: I was expecting this to be really hot and messy, but instead I was rewarded with a smooth, full, and fully realized barrel aged beer. Sweet, sticky, and thick but in no way syrupy. Fantastic.

D: I'm accustomed to nose hair curling booziness that seems to go hand in hand with this style. This, however, was an exercise in restraint and layers. I can't wait to try this again...

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Photo of nrbw23
4.3/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours pretty much a black color with a nice brown head. Head became a pretty nice cap and left behind a bit of spotty lacing at best.

S- Smell is of oak, bourbon, and vanilla. Roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits and chocolate are here as well. Nothing really dominates the aroma they just all work well together.

T- Taste really follows the nose well. Bourbon is here but does not take over. Vanilla, oak and chocolate. Nice little alcohol warmth.

M- Full in body and carbonation was faily low.

O- A very solid brew that I'd recommend to everyone to try.

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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.

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

I've had this one twice now, and when harrymel came out to visit, he layed one of these on me. Thanks Harry!

Vintage 2010; bottle # 2580 of 3800.

A: Almost pitch, abysmally black, with a beige, sawdust-like head that retained itself throughout the session. Nice looking, and looks bubbly and delectable!

S: Nice woody, bourbon character, with a delectable milk chocolate and coconut flair that frankly smelled like a liquified "Almond Joy" candy bar.

T: I think I was the only one at my tasting group to get this quality, but I got a HUGE coconut wallop out of this.... jeez. Seriously, there wasn't any sort of soy sauce-esque or intense bourbon-bomb character on this at all. Very oaky, classical, faint dark fruit notes, vanilla, Nestle's Quick, and once again.... raw, organic coconut. This goes down very easily... dangerous!

M: Very highly carbonated... the highest I've ever tried in this style even. Despite this fact, the excess bubble count worked wonders in cutting through the alcohol (which was undetectable), and the "Imperial" elements of this beer. I got kind of a semi-sweet, oaky, chocolate lingering on the palate that was fantastic!

O: I don't say this too much about a brew of this style and octane, but given the rather light and fluffy nature of this one, I could honestly drink an entire bottle of this stuff. I will most certainly have Ivan again....

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Photo of gatornation
4.35/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A-pours a dark thick black color with a large mocha head with nice streaking lacing
S-bourbon,chocolate,vanilla,wood and chocolate
T-nice BA of bourbon and wood that compliments the base beer notes of vanilla and wood mix in with caramel chocolate
M-smooth a touch thin with above average carbonation
O-tasty BA stout was impressed with how tasty this was would buy this again for sure

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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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Photo of ThePorterSorter
3.95/5  rDev -7.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2012 bottle
The beer pours a rich (but relatively thin looking) black with a thin tan head that laces. The nose is fruity and boozy, some bourbon vanilla, and relatively little sweetness or chocolate. The same fruitiness is present in the taste, but with a bit more grain, caramel sweetness and tobacco-y bitterness to help round things out. The mouthfeel is fruity, medium bodied, slightly dry, has adequate carbonation and caramelized sugars competing against the potent, burning booziness. This is an interesting beer, great flavors without a thick body, and it really highlights the bourbon stout without making it tough to drink.

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Photo of CuriousMonk
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

We cracked open a 2010 vintage bottle (limited edition #3087 of 3800) poured into a tulip glass. What a special treat! Poured dark black-brown with a frothy medium creamy off-white head with sticky lacing that lasted throughout. The aroma and flavor balances well between esters of dried fruit and roasted cocoa with a slight oaky bourbon presence. There was subtle coffee notes throughout and some alcohol heat. Some vanilla was detected. Smooth and silky bodied beer with a nice finish. Excellent brew!

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

Oddly enough, very similar to the Parabola I had just an hour or so before.

Pours black, with dark foam edging. No real head at all.

Smells like vanilla, bourbon, dark roasted chocolate, and caramel. INteresting.

Tastes surprisingly bourbon-y, with rich vanilla, and a kind of oatmeal/roasted malt background. The aftertaste has some sort of dark fruit, but just a bit. Really more of a double stout than a RIS in its flavor profile.

Pretty darn good. Mouthfeel could use just a tad more body, but nicely viscous.

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Photo of mcallister
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nearly black in color not completely opaque. Large mocha head fades quickly leaving little lace.

Great nose with thick toasty oak and vanilla riddle with light traces of bourbon. Black fuits and roasted malts with hints of milk chocolate and cocoa powder.

Nice bourbon and oak flavors. Vanilla woodiness really comes through. Wood tannins linger on the finish. Cocoa, slightly roasty quality, hints of leather and blackberry. Mouth is a little thin for my liking which actually helps drinkability. A very nice beer.

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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 nickd717
4.12/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottle shared at a BeerAdvocate gathering a few months back. Reviewing this from notes I took back then now that it's cracked the top 100.

Very dark brown in color, not quite pitch black but pretty near it, with a small tan head, leaving swirls on the beer.

Aroma is roasted malt, coffee, chocolate, and strong bourbon. -Bal aged, this was, and you can tell.

Flavor is roast, chocolate, caramel, and coffee - a well balanced imperial stout - with Jim Beam really evident on the finish. Some oak and vanilla from the barrel also.

Smooth palate with a medium-full body. Just a tiny bit boozy.

This is a very solid -bal aged RIS. I'm trying not to pump this style (which is my favorite) up too much these days though, and while this was a very good example, it wasn't quite an outstanding one, so an A- sounds about right.

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Photo of Crosling
3.98/5  rDev -7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a solid black body in the glass. Natural carbonation adds to the appearance of the ale, producing a long lasting foamy tan head. Snickers bar aroma with notes of chocolate, caramel, nougat, nuts, bourbon, vanilla, coconut and wood. Flavor is well balanced, sweet, richly flavored. Finish is a touch short though. A nice ale all around.

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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.

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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 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.

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Photo of seeswo
3.7/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 2 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a Bruery snifter. I'll comment on the appearance at the end. Smell is dark fruit, roasted malts, vanilla, oak, and a touch of coffee/chocolate. The flavor is the big combination of the dark fruit, bourbon and the roasted flavor of the malts and coffee. Lesser so is the specific vanilla and oak. The nose and the flavor come together pretty well to make a quite nice -bal imperial stout. The mouthfeel and appearance will be bundled together in failure. Slurping its way out of the bottle was something that could be best described as a beer oyster, plopping its way into the glass. The shape and texture were of an oyster, with a brownish color. After snagging and poking this thing, I decided to give it a taste - sugarless chocolate and bland cocoa, basically. It was really gross to see this thing plop into a glass and it was relieving to find out that it was an ingredient in the beer and not something else. Either way, it is impossible to positively rank the mouthfeel and appearance given the cocoa oyster we received.

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Photo of Arbitrator
4.01/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Chilled bottle into a glass. 2009 vintage, 2398 out of 3000.

An uber-generous extra from inflatablechair. Thanks, Sam.

A: Pours a pitch black body. I'm wearing a white shirt (this is relevant), so I pour it gently to avoid splashing. Even so, the pour produces a finger of mocha colored head that neatly caps the brew for half a minute. As it dissolves, it leaves swirls of bubbles on top of the beer, with a nice, medium collar around the edge.

S: Caramelly bourbon and vanilla. A touch of smoked oak and dark fruit. The base beer's chocolate is most evident in the nose; roasted grain and coffee are less evident. Great aroma; really a strong point of this beer.

T: The flavor isn't quite as great as the nose. It has a nice interplay of bourbon, caramel, and chocolate without being too dominant in any one flavor. I pick up touches of anise and dark fruits. Vanilla, tannins, and char on the finish, with an undercurrent of earth. While the variety is there, the flavors aren't quite in balance and I find myself wishing that caramel and vanilla were played up more.

M: Low carbonation; it's just a little light to be velvety, especially by the end of my first glass. There's a mild heat in the finish. My major complaint is that the beer is a little thin (as in, with a watery finish), and with the low carbonation that makes it feel like a flat cola.

D: In both the nose and taste, this beer reminded me of the 50/50 Eclipse (Elijah Craig) and even BA Blackout. I prefer both to this beer, but it's in the same conversation. As far as barrel-aged imperial stouts go, this one is solid but not top-tier.

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Photo of thekevlarkid
4.63/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Out of hand-numbered bottle # 356 of 1152 this RIS was an opaque black color. The head was a full three-fingers of dark tan foam that retained excellently as a cap and left lacing in sticky curtains. Impressive looking! The aroma was dry and complex, wood, nuts, roasted malt, chocolate malt. The flavors were equally complex and on-point, a notable sweetness of molasses, lots of chocolate, toffee, brown sugar, dark fruit esters, hints of smoke and a pleasant bitterness on the finish. As it warmed the dark fruit esters became better pronounced and really paired nicely with all the chocolate it presented. I was actually blown away by how enjoyable the palate was; if I'd known what a gem it was I would have mined more out of Santa Fe where I found it! The mouthfeel was rich and silky, the body full and the carbonation delicate. One of the best RISs I've had and a joy to drink one of the first bottles of this ever produced.

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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 rye726
4/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks Bill for the chance to try this one. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a oint glass at room temp. Pours dark brown, near black with atan head. Nose is roasty with some very faint barrel notes. Needs more barrels. Medium body. Not quite what I was expecting, but a decent stout.

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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.

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Photo of hardy008
4.73/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Limited Edition 338 of 3000.

Dark black with a 3 finger head which looks like a chocolate milk shake. Very nice retention and lacing. The aroma has bourbon, vanilla, cocoa, dark fruit, and roasted coffee, Very nice.

The flavor is just like the aroma. Bourbon, vanilla, cocoa, dark fruit, roasted coffee blend together beautifully, and make for an outstanding beer. A very nice sweet beer.

The mouth feel on this is very nice. Proper carbonation, smooth, almost like velvet. Sweet, medium bodied, and a pleasure to drink. The alcohol is detectable, but not overbearing. A very nice beer.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
4.28 out of 5 based on 824 ratings.
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