Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout | Big Sky Brewing Company

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial StoutIvan The Terrible Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company
Montana, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by jegross2 on 05-23-2012

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Reviews: 108 | Ratings: 535
Photo of goochpunch
2.54/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Pitch black body with a moderately sized frothy khaki head. Smells of loads of ethanol with fruity cherry coming from the yeast (?). Light roasted grain. Tastes of chocolate, fruity esters, lots of booze, and sugar sweetness. Body is thin, considering the size. Mild carbonation. The name is right: this is terrible.

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Photo of deford
3/5  rDev -25.2%

Simple review....Poured into a DFH snifter from a 12 oz bottle. Pretty nice 1/2 in cream colored head. Maybe a little berry on the nose...strange. Not really much nose at all. Taste is roast coffee and slightly tart?? Not bad, jut odd. It feels fine on the tongue...nothing stands out. Overall its blah...

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Photo of colingaiser
3.28/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Poured from a 12oz bottle at cellar temperature into a shaker glass.

L: The beer was a beautiful deep black and produced a lovely hazelnut-brown, two-finger head with a slow pour.

S: Robust scents of alcohol, espresso, and licorice, with a light underlying smokiness, were all present. It's an inviting aroma and it's quite amazing how it fills up a room.

T: The alcohol is especially prominent here, threatening to mask the beer's more nuanced flavors. However, I still detected a nuttiness from the malts, subtle coffee notes (though not as apparent as expected), and black licorice. There's a residual smokiness that leaves this beer with a bitter finish, while the alcohol gives it a slight warming burn, especially in the throat. This is a real winter warmer.

F: It has the mouthfeel of a dessert beer, with a thick body that becomes surprisingly creamy as you swish it around in your mouth -- almost the viscosity of milk. With the low amount of carbonation, it makes it Ivan the beer as hefty and daunting as Ivan the mascot.

O: Unfortunately, the presence of the alcohol distracts from the complex, malt-forward flavors of the beer, though not enough to completely sabotage the drinking experience. There's a lot to like about this beer if you make the effort. However, it's probably too expensive for me to consider buying again.

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Photo of CrazyDavros
3.42/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with a tan head.
Nose shows dry roast, sweet bready malt, toasty notes, soft coffee and liquorice.
Aggressive flavours, loads of roast, liquorice and booze. Almost abrasive.

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Photo of hotmailmsn
3.43/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

9.5% ABV, 39 ibu, 355 ml bottle.
A - dark brown almost black with half finger brown head.
S - coffee, brown sugar, berry candy, little chocolate, smoky, jujube, liquorice.
T - moderate carbonation. smooth, dark chocolate milk flavor, bourbon vanilla sweetness hint coating the tongue, liquorice, roasted coco chip like.
O - picked up single bottle randomly, not much expectation, but this surprised me!!

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3.5/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Black pour with a one-finger dark brown head. Aroma of light bourbon and roasted malt. Taste has a bit of bourbon and cocoa upfront backed by slightly bitter roasted malt.

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Photo of rodbeermunch
3.59/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark black pour, dark brown head. Aroma of entirely roast.

Taste, leaned a little dark fruit bitter bdsa/ris for me. This is definitely an example of me wondering how they made the base beer so good when it went into barrels. Its better than average, but it really takes off when barreled. Too bitter, too much like an export stout for me.

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Photo of stevoj
3.6/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice and smooth RIS, does not come off as heavy and boozy as others in this category. Lots of cocoa, roast grains, mild sweetness, masks the ABV completely.

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Photo of woemad
3.65/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz ceramic(?) bottle of the 2014 vintage purchased at Huckleberry’s in Spokane for $2.99. I’ve been meaning to try this for years, but always wound up walking out with something else – probably because they used to be in 22oz bottles for high prices and I’ve sometimes found Big Sky to be a bit inconsistent.

Poured the color of my mood at the end of the Seahawk game. Big, bubbly tan head. Spotty lace.

Boozy nose to this, along with some sweet chocolate, bitter coffee and brown sugar. There was also a lactic acidity present.

More bitter in the taste than in the nose. Roasty dark malt flavor, a lactic sourness, some subordinate brown sugary sweetness. Ends on a dry note.

Velvety, coating mouthfeel.

A little too one dimensional tasting. Seems like it’s close to being an enjoyable RIS, but doesn’t seem to quite go the distance. THe elements are there, but they don't meld together.

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Photo of biboergosum
3.68/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle, 2014 edition - nice to see another of this brewery's stronger offerings make it across the border.

This beer pours a solid, light-absorbing black, with rather spare basal cola edges, and two fingers of wanly puffy, tightly foamy, and duly creamy chocolate milk brown head, which leaves some crumbling ski hill snow mass lace around the glass as it slowly abates.

It smells of bready, meaty caramel malt, bittersweet cocoa powder, syrupy dark sugar, muddled black dried fruit, Nordic liquorice, sugary root beer, and a stultifying whiff of aggressive alcohol. The taste is semi-sweet, gritty chocolate, bready caramel malt, a bit of dank and fleshy ash, still indistinct, but surely present black fruit, subtle dry coffee grounds, Zellers-quality black liquorice, tame earthy, weedy hops, and a well-restrained (for now) metallic booziness.

The bubbles are fairly understated in their tempered frothiness, the body an adequate medium-heavy weight for the style, and more or less smooth, a trite, kind of pithy creaminess straining to be noticed. It finishes surprisingly dry, the cocoa turning as such, while the malt maintains its disaffected posture, and the other sundry characters play out their guest fees.

A generally engaging, but not particularly world-beating version of the style - lots going on, but a certain dissociative nature starts to become evident early on, and that clamminess just carries on and on, once it sticks to your palate. Yeah, ok, but not something I care to immediately revisit, well-integrated ABV considerations aside.

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Photo of 10Crumra
3.69/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a snifter glass.

Dark black in color with a thin layer of foam. Some lacing.

Strong smells of coffee and chocolate with some slight licorice and toffee scents.

Nice toffe and caramel flavors. Slightly metallic tasting. Chocolate undertones.

Light to medium bodied. Surprisingly oily.

Overall an OK beer. Nothing stood out to me as interesting with this beer.

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Photo of jrsqc7
3.7/5  rDev -7.7%
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.

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Photo of zeledonia
3.71/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours very dark, brown, nearly black, with a little light making it through only at the edges. Half a finger of medium tan head, good retention and lacing.

Smell is full of chocolate. Quite sweet, with an almost milky character, though it hollows out after that into a nutty emptiness.

Taste also has lots of chocolate, then it tilts to a very soft charred-grain bitter. On occasions, it comes through very flavorful, when that chocolatey character dominates. At other times, I get very little flavor. On the whole it's pretty good.

Feel is just okay. It's strangely slick, like a milk stout, but more oily. That combines with the low carbonation into something that's not awful, but definitely brings the beer down.

This is a pretty good stout. Chocolatey, and quite tasty when the flavors actually come through. But the feel is weird, and there are much better ones out there, so I'm unlikely to buy this again.

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Photo of Ri0
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into chalice. Dark coffee brown with a cocoa colored 1.5 finger head. Retention is decent and the lacing is very fine webs and coats the glass. Rich, dark, intense maltiness with both bitter and sweet aromas of bakers chocolate and hints of coffee. Not quite as good as the nose, but enjoyable. Bitter malts and coffee flavor up front. I pick up some bakers chocolate in the middle. Finish is bitter with a big roasted malt flavor. It is medium bodied, smooth, somewhat creamy with a dry finish. A good RIS for the price.

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Photo of TX-Badger
3.75/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a very dark brown almost black with tan head. Coffee, roasted malt, and a little raw cocoa on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with alcohol and roasted malt.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours black with cola brown edging and a dark tan half finger's worth of head. displays fair retention before breaking down to a thin, silky layer of surface suds. Small, sporadic spots of lace can be found around the glass.

Smell - Chocolatey aroma with hints of earth and lesser raisin notes.

Taste - Follows the nose. Cocoa-like earthy chocolate flavor with distant notes of malt roast and dark fruit character. Finishes is much the same as the start, with earthy chocolate flavors.

Mouthfeel - Medium in body with moderate carbonation and a slightly chalky, dry texture in the finish. Smooth drinker though, especially considering the ABV.

Overall - Not a bad Impy Stout by any means, but the list of better ones is significant and so by default it's not great. Think Old Raspy that's a bit more simple and mellow, and you've got Ivan.

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Photo of mfnmbvp
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle, with no apparent bottled on date present, vintage 2014 printed on the label. Surprisingly, my first review of a beer from Big Sky Brewing Co., acquired a single bottle of this stuff from the local beer store.

Poured into a clear balloon snifter.

A - It pours a dark inky black, with a good fat fingers worth of creamy mocha head. Leaves lots of good sticky lacing behind. Looks good for what it is.

S - The aroma is pleasant enough: chocolate, cream, burnt, roast, a hint of smoke, and a touch of alcohol.

T - Taste follows the nose: chocolate, cream, burnt malt, roast, and a slightly pervasive liquid smoke flavor.

M - The feel is smooth & creamy. Very easy drinking for the high 9.50% abv.

Overall, a nice example of the style from Big Sky. A little rough around the edges, but a good sipper nonetheless.

Big Sky Brewing Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout -----3.5/5

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Photo of barnzy78
3.78/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle, 2014 release, 9.5% ABV
A - dark brown colored ale, nice creamy light brown head holds great retention
S - sweeter aroma with cocoa, molasses, brown sugar, and some mild roasted barley
T - roasted barley, bittersweet chocolate, a bit herbal and earthy, molasses, brown sugar
M - full body, ample carbonation, finishes bitter and semi-dry with roast and a bit of pine lingering
O - not my favorite RIS, but it's pretty good. I doubt I'd get it again with so many good ones out there.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Short Review. This is a pretty solid RIS, it had just about everything that I look for in the style, i wish it was a little more robust, but I thought the alcohol was hidden well. I wouldn't mind finding a bottle to review and maybe one to cellar.

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Photo of TreyIsWilson
3.79/5  rDev -5.5%
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.

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Photo of zoober911
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L - Pours a deep dark brown, almost black. A small tan head forms...half a finger. Minimal lacing and head dissipates back into the glass leaving a small outer ring behind.

S - Roasted notes. Chocolate. Some burnt notes, malt. A small amount of alcohol on the nose peaks through the roasted chocolate character.

T - Roasted malt. Malt backbone prominent. Drier finish than expected. Alcohol on the end.

F - Thinner than most. Noticed this was the case with the pour. A bit high for carb. Not a heavy or thicker mouthfeel.

O - This beer is okay. I'd be interested to see how the BA version holds up against this one. Middle of the road for me compared to some of the others I have had.

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Photo of mothman
3.81/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2014 Vintage

Tan head. Color is black.

Flavor profile: Cocoa, chocolate, caramel, molasses, raisins, figs, plums, brown sugar. Has a burnt roasted malt flavor to it. Coffee roast. Some vanilla.

Overall, a solid beer for the price. $3 a bottle. I thought this was going to be the same recipe as the 750s (i.e. barrel aged), but it isn't which is kind of a let down.

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Photo of Zorro
3.82/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Black colored beer with a momentary brown head that promptly goes poof!

Smells fruity and strongly of grapes from a distance. Fairly boozy scent and t5he smell of brandy. Scents of chocolate and coconut, but not super strongly. Faint scent of licorice.

Starts out tasting of grapes and patent malt. Taste of brandy and a little chocolate. Slight berry flavor.

Mouthfeel is OK.

Overall an OK RIS.

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Photo of orcrist_cleaver
3.83/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Very dark brown, near black. Deep mocha head. OK retention, bubbles remain on edges.

S: Coffee and chocolate; slightly burnt. Hint of dark plums and figs. Pleasantly straightforward.

M: Med-full;not chewy nor overly viscous. Low carbonation. Notable lack of alcohol appeals to some.

T: Sweet fruit notes of raisin and fig. Followed by wood char notes; hints of chocolate cherry. Slight bourbon notes-vanilla mostly-offer some really nice balance if you let it warm enough.

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Photo of MartzMimic
3.84/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

On tap at McNellie's OKC. Pours deep brown with a finger or foamy mocha head. The aroma is minimal, but typical: chocolate, vanilla and a touch of coffee. The taste is bigger. Slightly dark chocolate, roasted coffee and dark cherries. The alcohol isn't hidden, but blends well and adds warmth. Medium mouth with decent carbonation. This is a solid stout that I've enjoyed drinking.

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Ivan The Terrible Imperial Stout from Big Sky Brewing Company
4.01 out of 5 based on 535 ratings.
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