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

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-AgedIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged
BA SCORE
4.26/5
855 Ratings
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
Ranking:
#812
Reviews:
292
Ratings:
855
pDev:
10.33%
Bros Score:
0
 
 
Wants:
794
Gots:
282
Trade:
22
HISTOGRAM
 
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 855 |  Reviews: 292
Photo of mothman
3.9/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

 633 characters

Photo of olradetbalder
4.42/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle of the 2009 vintage.
No bourbon feel at all but still a great beer

73 characters

Photo of jlindros
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to tai4ji2x, by way of johngalt1, cracked at the Central NE BA Meetup.

Pours a huge creamy darker head with some nice lacing and fades at a medium pace over a pitch black colored beer.

Nose is loaded with dark malts and roast, chocolate malts, light fluffy nougat, baker's chocolate, pure dark malts, a light marshmellow, light caramel and vanilla, touch of oak and wood, bit of oats.

Taste is loaded with dark malts as well, creamy dark malts, chocolate both dark and baker's, some light smoke, toasted oak and buttered oak, chewy oats, dark roast, touch of earthy malts and light earthy hops, smooth and a bit creaminess, bit of toffee, hint of minerality. Finishes with some bitter hops, lots of dark malts still, more toffee and minerality, dark earthy malts and some hops, bourbon, vanilla, very well balanced.

Mouth is heavier bodied, fairly rich and thick, with decent carbonation.

Drink is decent, drinks well, a bit creamy and a bit sticky, and light booze.

 978 characters

Photo of oberon
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

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

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

 632 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
4.57/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Shared with bmanning, Azurelimits, amyliz4, and hhanson at a recent tasting.

A: Pours a deep chestnut brown, bordering on black. Slight hints of crimson in the light.

S: Bourbon, oak, roasted malt, vanilla, and a bit of dark fruit.

T: The bourbon and oak really explode here atop the roasted malt. Excellent taste and much more than I expected. Nice undertons of vanilla and brown sugar.

M: Pretty full body with good carbonation and not much of any alcohol heat, especially considering all the wonderful flavors that came out of the barrel aging.

D: Incredibly drinkable. I don't know when the last time was that I had a barrel-aged beer drink so smoothly. Almost reminds me of BA Speedway in that regard. Something I'd love to get my hands on more of.

 760 characters

Photo of Rifugium
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of Kegatron
4.24/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of billab914
3.99/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

2008 vintage bottle #636 out of 1152. Poured from a 750ml bottle into a tasting glass. It poured a dark brown, pretty close to black in color with very little signs of carbonation or head.

The aroma has a big dark chocolate presence to it. It's very rich with a chocolate brownie like quality to it. I get some lighter bourbon qualities to it with some very nice vanilla notes to it. Some sweeter dark fruits seemed to come out a little more as it warmed. Great aroma, I loved how rich chocolate and vanilla notes came together.

The taste is very smooth with with some nice notes of dark chocolate, vanilla and bourbon all coming out. I get a little more of a woody oak presence in the finish. The bourbon is a little more reserved at this point but it still adds some very good complimenting flavors to it.

The mouthfeel feels thin with very low carbonation. The low carbonation hurts it and makes it feel a little watery and thin. I'm sure this is attributed at least partially to it's age.

Overall I thought it had some really great flavors to it. The bold chocolate was complimented very well with the bourbon and vanilla. The thin mouthfeel and lower carbonation hurts it some, but overall I thought it was a very smooth and flavorful beer.

 1,253 characters

Photo of XmnwildX12
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of russpowell
4.4/5  rDev +3.3%
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

 639 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle #125 (of 1152).

Appearance: Pours a dark brown, near black body with a thin, off-white head.

Smell: Rich, fragrant melange of roasted maltiness and downright delectable bourbon aromas. The Yankee Candle Co. needs to knock it off with candle fragrances like Plumeria and Blue Hydrangea and release a Bourbon Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout series of votive and jar candles.

Taste: Sweet, roasted malt flavors of dark chocolate, caramel, Breakfast Blend coffee (with cream and sugar, natch), and licorice sticks. Oh, but here come the bourbon tastes: brown sugar, vanilla beans, wood, coconut. Mmm-mm! Round and round the flavors go, my friends. A light, earthy bitterness peeks out through the heavy layers of malt and bourbon flavors. No more than a minor hint of booze. Finishes with a pleasant mixture of bourbon barrel hints and sweet roastiness.

Mouthfeel: Medium-full body. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: There was a time, if you can scarcely believe it, that I had little faith in Big Sky's offerings. In fact, it was any day prior to 3/28/09. But I was blown away by this one, it is one very tasty, highly enjoyable barrel-aged Imperial Stout that would pair remarkably well with Sergei Eisenstein's films on the subject, provided you have those Criterion disks conveniently lying around.

 1,313 characters

Photo of ZEB89
4.59/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of duceswild
3.75/5  rDev -12%

Photo of mdaschaf
3.8/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes. Thanks to ShanePB for bringing this down to share with me. 2009 Vintage.

A: Poured a dark brown/black with a slight reddish tint when held up to the light. A small tan head formed on top with little retention and spotty lacing.

S: Lots of cherry and oak, the oak intensifies as the beer warms. There is a hint of cocoa and vanilla. The strongest aroma reminds me of sherry/port though, I could smell it immediately.

T: Heavy dark fruit flavors with cherry, plum, and some dates. There is a mixture of oak and vanilla, the sherry/port flavors are present. This beer, more than any other I can remember, reminds me of wine. As the beer opens up there is a slight tartness on the finish.

M: Medium to full bodied with a nice level of carbonation for a bottle form 2009.

O: A bit of a let down based on the hype. Its good, but the fruit flavor and wine like qualities aren't typically what I am looking for in the style. Would love to try it again to see if there was just something a little off about this bottle.

 1,039 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.47/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

"Money is a bottomless sea, in which honor, conscience, and truth may be drowned."

--Ivan Kozlof

Bottle #342 of 1152. Chimney soot black with slivers of reddish copper along the borders. The chocolate milkshake-like crown is a reverse cascading monster that filled most of the pint glass on the pour. It looks fantastic as it melts and is beginning to lay down better than decent lace.

The nose is everything that I look for in a bourbon barrel-aged Russian Imperial stout. The label doesn't say, but I've read that Jim Beam barrels were used. The roasted maltiness is perfectly complemented by vanilla-soaked whiskey and even a little dark fruitiness. Hopes are now (Big) Sky high.

Ivan The Terrible may not be the biggest baddest bully on the style block, but it's definitely delicious beer if you're a fan of malty stouts and bourbon whiskey. Forget the words 'slight bourbon presence' on the label. It's much more than slight, though far from boozy.

I'm glad the brewers didn't jack the ABV up to 12.0% or so. Especially since this is a 750 ml bottle. There's no heat or rawness whatsover, just a throat and belly warming that is one of the pleasures of drinking both big beer and spirits. In the end, three months in oak was pretty much perfect as far as flavor transfer is concerned.

Specifics include melted bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, a surprising amount of black licorice, vanilla, coconut shavings and a stave (or two) of American oak. English hops provide some bitterness, but what flavor they might have added is obliterated by everything else that's going on. Fine by me.

A mouthfeel that was sufficient early on is becoming much more impressive as the ounces pass and the temperature rises. This isn't a viscous or chewy RIS, but it's so softly creamy that it deserves the above score with no questions asked.

Big Sky Brewing doesn't get enough love. Their IPA is all kinds of delicious and is the single best beer available locally. Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout is outstanding as well and is one of the best (and most drinkable) bourbon barrel stouts to have crossed my path.

 2,119 characters

Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of mdfb79
4.62/5  rDev +8.5%
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.

 840 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.85/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I have to say this was really a tremendous RIS. I really did not think this one was really going to be as good as it was. Rich, and served chilled into an oversixed pint glass, this one was consumed on 01/06/2009. Bottle 216/1125

The pour was perfect. Rich dark black in color, no light coming through on this one at all. Lots of tan colored foam on top that just would not fade at all. Lots of side glass lacing here, really intense i have to say, this could not have looked better and I was psyched to get started.]

The aroma was loaded down with coffee, chocolate malts, hints of oak and whiskey, and a really nice touch of roasted touches. As I reach in for the first sip, ahh, this is what it is all about. Smooth, subtle, full bodied profile. Wonderful flavor of coffee and chocolate, dark prune like fruit notes and a very nicely balanced sweetness that was reminiscent of molasses really provided a very solid flavor here. I went back and forth with a score here, but ultimitaly I could not think of what i would do to improve the taste of this, so seriously this was that good ofr me.

Overall really, go find this one. One of the best RIS I have had ever, let alone lately. I would say you have to find this one.

 1,224 characters

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.95/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks to MarcatGSB for this bottle!

Appearance - Not jet black. Dark, but it looks like a light stout. Huge head with lots of carbonation. Good lacing and retention. Lots of sediment, too. Chunks of nastiness floating about.

Smell - Sweet bourbon and some coffee. Really, not a lot of the stout character comes through. It's a lot of coffee and bourbon.

Taste - Bourbon up front. Again, not a lot of stout character until the finish. Some coffee and roasted malts in the background. Hefty grassy bitterness in the finish that reminds you it's an RIS.

Mouthfeel - Not heavy. Very light in body in fact. Bitterness is nice and adds to the stout's feel. The carbonation is quite high and is not really appealing for the style.

Overall - Disappointing, considering the ratings. Tastes good, but not up to the standards of the best stouts. Either other reviewers are tasting other flavors I'm missing or they're tasting the bottle count.

 973 characters

Photo of Zaphog
4/5  rDev -6.1%

Photo of orangesol
4.3/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

 979 characters

Photo of womencantsail
4.35/5  rDev +2.1%
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.

 889 characters

Photo of atlbravsrno1
3.5/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Photo of PA-Michigander
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of MarkyMOD
4.25/5  rDev -0.2%

Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout - Barrel-Aged from Big Sky Brewing Company
Beer rating: 4.26 out of 5 with 855 ratings
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