Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout
Big Sky Brewing Company

Ivan The Terrible Imperial StoutIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout
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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #626
Ranked #6,849
4 | pDev: 8.5%
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States
Ivan The Terrible Imperial StoutIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout
Reviews: 123 | Ratings: 581 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Treyliff
Treyliff from West Virginia

4.03/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2014 Vintage
12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours deep black color with a one-finger foamy khaki head that reduces to a ring

S- dark chocolate and charred malt aroma, followed by notes of caramel, molasses, raisins, leather, blueberries and brown sugar

T- dark chocolate and char, followed by black licorice, molasses, figs, raisins and a hint of vanilla. The finish gives bitter char and chocolate

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel and a slightly warming finish

O- big and bold, but how’s the abv pretty well

Jan 30, 2020
Photo of TheGent
TheGent from New Jersey

4.18/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Big Sky Brewing

Ivan the Terrible Imperial Stout (2017)

Note: I’ve never had the beer fresh.

Look: Black and opaque with a light brown, densely packed head. No visible carbonation. A curtain of lacing is left behind as the two finger head from the initial pour disappears. As I drink the beer down there is no lacing left.

Smell: Milk chocolate sweetness and cocoa powder. Earthy and roasty malt aroma. Soft bourbon aroma with some vanilla. Faint meat. As the beer warms up a hint of alcohol shows up, but pleasantly.

Taste: Up front notes of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and slightly sweetened black coffee. Mid palate the beer turns dry with toasted bread and some pithy citrus bitterness. Delicious.

Feel: Low carbonation and dry. Smooth and soft feel. Very light on the palate.

Overall: For 9.5% this beer is insanely drinkable. It’s a really excellent stout. No flavor additions, but chock full of flavor!

Sep 08, 2019
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beertunes from Montenegro

3.55/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, 2014 version, poured into 14oz teku. Poured the expected solid blac color, wit about 1/4 inch of tan head that had low retention and lacing.

Lots of big grain, and alcohol in the nose. Faint hints of licorice and coffee.

Same on the tongue, big malts, licorice in the middle, coffee and alcohol on the finish.

The body was a bit lighter than I expect in the style, but was still fairly full,and had a finish that was a bit drier than anticipated.

Drinkability was very good. I've had this beer repeatedly over the years, and have always enjoyed it.

Overall, a nice brew. Buy you some, and drink some now, and save some for a few years.

Sep 05, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
GuyFawkes from Illinois

3.75/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 vintage; drank 11/17/14 @ the Yarchives.

Black hue.

Dark tan head; strong lace.

Creamy oats & black licorice nose.

Medium thick mouthfeel.

Black licorice & fresh earth flavors; hints of banana emerge as this warms.

A justly brutal RIS, with the banana twist adding a bit of intrigue. Good not great.

Apr 24, 2019
Photo of Mindcrime1000
Mindcrime1000 from South Dakota

3.85/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a single-serve bottle into a stout glass.

Pours a somewhat-thin, but still (remarkably) opaque almost-black. Very little head or lacing.

The nose is heavy on molasses and other dark-sugar-driven aromas. Hints of dark fruit, herbs, and booze peek through. Smells a bit sweet for the style.

The flavor is also a little sweet for the style, but not cloyingly. Otherwise, this has a unique flavor. Toasted malts and char, which weren't really present on the nose, are rather forward on the palate. The middle of the palate gives way to dark fruit, herb, and molasses. Finishes with booze and astringent dryness, thankfully, otherwise this might have been a sticky mess.

The mouthfeel is interesting. Rather light for the style, but not thin. Medium-full body. The dry finish of the flavor is there in the mouthfeel. It keeps the sticky molasses note from overwhelming the brew.

I can't believe I've passed this brew over time and time again, as I enjoy other Big Sky offerings. It's shaded rather sweet for an RIS, but it's tasty. It's particularly good within its price point.

Jan 05, 2019
Photo of Drak-Nib
Drak-Nib from Nebraska

3/5  rDev -25%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Interesting flavor in a very good way. Smooth and strong. Be careful with this, but enjoy it. This will kick you to the curb, but it's worth a second run. From a taster. 2018/11/25

Nov 28, 2018
Photo of smcolw
smcolw from Massachusetts

4.06/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Small head, spotty lace. Dark brown color.

Strong molasses aroma. A bit medicinal.

Sweeter than most stouts but the body doesn't reflect this. The flavor is mostly semisweet chocolate. I still get a light medicinal touch.

Sep 02, 2018
Photo of jdbigsky
jdbigsky from Montana

3.88/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Wonderful RIS. Black opaque pour. Dark fruit aroma with molasses. Small licorice taste and then the alcohol bomb hits but not unpleasant. Great to sip and savor.

Jun 03, 2018
Photo of Lahey
Lahey from Michigan

3.81/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this on tap (nitro) nice and roasty, some dark fruit flavor. Not much burn for the alcohol content. Nitro creaminess made it way too easy drinking. Solid attempt at the style. Reminded me of a pumped up guiness.

Jan 02, 2018
Photo of Radcpa
Radcpa from Washington

4.25/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very dark appearance with significant tannhead that disipat s quickly. Aroma is slightly sweet caramel. Taste is also a slightly sweet caramel without any aftertaste.

Dec 14, 2017
Photo of VashonGuy
VashonGuy from Washington

3.95/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Serving: on nitro, in a tulip.

The beer is totally dark, with a really foamy nitro head, and a ton of long lasting lacing. The aroma is somewhat understated, especially for a big RIS. The taste is dark roasted malts, some cocoa, a little dark fruit, and some mild bitterness. The mouthfeel is super creamy (again, there's the nitro).

Overall, it's a solid Russian Imperial Stout, very enjoyable, but not quite up there with the classics.

Dec 04, 2017
Photo of Casey3236
Casey3236 from Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 2015 12oz bottle. Pours jet black. Aroma is molasses and subdued coffe, chocolate and a hint of booze. Very smooth taste, subtle chocolate and coffee. Very underated IMO

Oct 30, 2017
Photo of Suds
Suds from Missouri

3.97/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

This brew is a dark black liquid...thick and dense. The head is a medium-brown colored foam. The aroma is dominated with over-ripe fruit and roasted malt. The taste is a bit drier than expected, with firm mid-taste bitterness and plenty of warmth. The fruit notes continue through the taste. Flavorful finish.

Aug 06, 2017
Photo of garymuchow
garymuchow from Minnesota

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Any "easy drinking" RIS? This goes down smoothly and nicely. It's a 2016 so I'm sure how old it is but it has no sharpness or bite, but it's not aged tasting either. Nice mix in the aroma with a mild richness and hints of candied dark fruit sweetness. Flavor has a little more straight dark malt taste. Dryness on the finish and that's a hop character shows with a lingering grass like taste on the balancing bitterness. Not a heavy feel but a bit more than moderate.
No big objections here. A nice "everyday" RIS.
Thanks Bro.

Jun 04, 2017
Photo of Kirock
Kirock from Nevada

4.33/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Very balanced stout which is a respectable offering in its class. There is an almost fruity smell. Not heavily carbonated but a smooth texture. The taste hints of chocolate and coffee. Slightly bitter finish. I'd drink this again.

Mar 13, 2017
Photo of TreyIsWilson
TreyIsWilson from Michigan

3.79/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours pitch black with a one finger tan head.

S - Aroma is roasted malts, dark fruits and black licorice.

T - The taste is dark roasted malts, dark chocolate, coffee and dark fruits. Finishes with a nice amount of lingering char.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel with a soft dry finish.

O - This is a decent imperial stout. The flavors are dark and roasty with the alcohol hardly noticeable.

Mar 05, 2017
Photo of ZebulonXZogg
ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours like dirty oil with a nice head that leaves some nice lacing and a brow film on the glass.
Smells like stale coffee, burnt malts, licorice and dried plum.
Taste follows the aromas.
A very nice, thick chewy beer. No gimmicks here. Would love to try the barrel aged version.
As a side note, after enjoying Ivan, I poured another next to Old Rasputin, they are birds of a feather.

Feb 05, 2017
Photo of AustinWadkins
AustinWadkins from Iowa

4.05/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours thick black with a froathy mocha head

Smells of chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, roasted malts, nutty and slightly boozy

Taste is bits of coffee, little boozy, chocolate, and malts

Overall this is a really good beer! Great balanced beer. I love the creamy mouthfeel. Will for sure get another

Dec 20, 2016
Photo of Gobearswalter34
Gobearswalter34 from Illinois

4.46/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

L- Pours motor oil black, with a thin, creamy, brown head.
S- Baker's Chocolate and caramel malt, black licorice, slight hop.
T- Big baker's chocolate taste up front. A nutty taste accompanying it to make very enjoyable. The slight hop combines very well. The combination of all tastes linger for quite a while. Pronounced vanilla.
F- Very thick mouthfeel. Very smooth with the bitter bite in the end. Causes warming.
O- quite a complex beer in which all flows well with a slap on the ass on the way out. Best beer Big Sky makes.

Dec 10, 2016
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.27/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance: Pours fudge brown, slightly translucent, with a nice khaki head that is very leggy

Smell: Char and dark chocolate, with licorice and a hint of coffee

Taste: Chocolate fudge with a licorice and char character building; some coffee bitterness, through the middle, with vanilla appearing through the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation

Overall: A very enjoyable brew though it lacks the dark fruit character that I look for in a RIS; still, I give it good marks as I really like the flavor profile

Dec 02, 2016
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Impetuous from Montana

3.7/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Light khaki head leaves little lacing on a perfectly opaque body.

Alcohol certainly comes thru, especially on big gulps! As it warms the malts and alcohol merge for a warm dark bread flavor.... the hops lend a bit of fruity flavors. While colder it has a rather distinct nuttiness. The smoke flavor is eternal.

The hops lend a not insignificant amount of oil and turbulence to the feel. The malts are rather drying overall, which leads to a not insignificant mouthfeel.

Overall good but not great. It is, however, a fresh unaged batch.

Nov 17, 2016
Photo of SargeMcCluck
SargeMcCluck from Texas

3.99/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours opaque black with a creamy, dark khaki head. Comfy.

The aroma is toast, earth, and chocolate-covered currents. Umami malts and smoke comes through on the palette.

Carbonation permeates the otherwise smooth mouthfeel - a little too much, considering the subdued nature of the flavours on display. Would definitely like to try the barrel-aged version. There's a big backbone missing here that could propel it into something exceptional.

Nov 13, 2016
Photo of SamuelMiller
SamuelMiller from Montana

4.43/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a 12oz glass. The look is very dark and with a nice delicious looking glassy foam on top. The taste is great. Lots of smokiness and maltyness. It tastes like coffe beans and malt thrown into a campfire. The feel is smooth and milky but with a nice lingering tang. Overall this beer was very impressive, and one of the best big sky brewing beers I have had, and I would definitely reccomend trying it.

Oct 30, 2016
Photo of SHODriver
SHODriver from North Carolina

4/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a snifter to a deep black topped by a finger of dense tan head that fades to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: Smells of dark chocolate with some coffee and roasted malts
T: Taste is smooth dark chocolate and espresso beans with some roasted malt and some slight dark fruits. Hints of smoke and charred wood as well. Swallow is more roasted malts, dark chocolate and coffee,
M: This one is big and velvety in body with soft carbonation that is perfect for the style with a dry finish.
O: Overall this is a really nice beer with good flavors and complexity. This one has a year or two on it which really helped to smooth things out. Definitely one to try if you like big stouts.

Oct 15, 2016
Photo of TH28
TH28 from Florida

3.84/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle. 12/17/14 bottle date. Appearance: Black, opaque, low lying khaki colored head. Aroma: Light roast, a hint of chocolate, with a touch of raisin. Taste: Starts with rich malt sweetness with some raisin and fig dark fruitiness, turning to a sharp roasted malt and coffee character. Bitterness is strong for the style. Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy body with some creaminess and a light carbonation. Fairly high alcohol warmth. Finish: Heavy roasted malt with a light chocolate. Dry. Roast and bitterness leave a slight astringency. Overall: Surprised at the aggressive edge of roasted malt, bitterness, and alcohol warmth on a beer with 20 mths of age on it. For the style this is definitely higher in roast and bitterness, lower on the fruitiness. Good beer, but there are more balanced versions out there

Sep 05, 2016
Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
Beer rating: 90 out of 100 with 581 ratings