Whole Hog Russian Imperial Stout | Stevens Point Brewery

72 Reviews
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Whole Hog Russian Imperial StoutWhole Hog Russian Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Stevens Point Brewery
Wisconsin, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.60%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by cokes on 02-19-2010

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Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 162
Photo of zeff80
3.53/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Looks good. Jet-black with a small, tan head of foam. It smelled faintly of chocolate, roasted malt and toffee. It tasted a little too sweet for the style. Milk chocolate instead of dark chocolate.

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Photo of garymuchow
3.44/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.5

This isn't a great beer, but it also isn't a terrible one either. Looks good, except upon pouring it is clear that this isn't rich heavy beer. Pours as thin as it then feels - all 8.6% of it.
The aroma is thin too and resembles style with a mild hoppy character with a mild roast, some sweetness with a fruit quality.
The taste resembles what is should be with a decent roast character, some mild dark fruit and a blended hop taste. Seems like some licorice in there too.
The thinness and size take away. This if more of a RIS light, which maybe there is a time and place. Who knows.
Thanks John.

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Photo of ufellc
3.14/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.25

Got it at a festival on keg. A good caramel colored head, dark chocolate body. The smell wasn't anything special, the flavor had notes of chocolate, caramel. It didn't have a heavy mouth feel. Left a lingering bitterness in the mouth

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Photo of MacMalt
3.59/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into snifter. Dark brown/black with cream-colored head and minimal lacing. Not a strong smell but can detect chocolate and a little burnt coffee. Nothing really jumps out in the taste. As expected, there is some chocolate and coffee but not much else; no vanilla and no fruitiness. There is definitely some hoppy bitterness throughout. Medium-bodied with decent carbonation. Not as thick as some of my favorites. At 8.6, the ABV is lower than many other RIS's and there is no alcohol burn. Overall, while this isn't a bad stout, it pales by comparison to some of my favorites. I prefer FIS, Ten Fidy, and Wake Up Dead.

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Photo of Stevedore
3/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

On tap. Served in a goblet 3/8/2015.

A- Dark black body, two finger brown head that retains quite nicely, leaving a thick collar that sticks around a while. No lacing.

S- A bit of bitter dark chocolate, cocoa, a little bit of malt sweetness, earthy bitterness. Not much else.

F- Mildly bitter charred malt, cocoa, milk chocolate sweetness, a bit of coffee, some dark chocolate. Altogether this is a very boring profile that doesn't seem to come together quite right here.

M- Medium bodied, good carbonation, decent bitterness, but I didn't find the flavour or depth to be interesting enough to finish the whole glass.

O- Meh.

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Photo of JPowell712
2.69/5  rDev -21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

I have to be honest, I expected a better product than this. The pour and look to the beer was about the best part. It looked nice and dark as an imperial stout should. The aroma was not very strong and smelled of sweet prunes. That's exactly what the taste also put forth... Prunes. I don't know why, but I caught a lot of sweet prunes and almost nothing more. The taste is rather boring. I did get the big warming character of a higher alcohol beer, but I just thought overall it lacked some of the much needed elements to be a good imperial stout.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
3.75/5  rDev +9.3%

An excellent imperial stout from Stevens Point. Pours dark as midnight with medium tan head
and lots of nice lacing. Aroma of fudge, roasted grains, toffee, and light coffee. Taste is sweet
malts up front with almost a milk stout like quality. Lot's of chocolate and a light bittering
taste to the back as well as the aftertaste. An excellent sipper with alcoholic warmth coming
through on the finish with a smooth almost thick buttery mouthfeel. Almost a milk stout by
sweetness, but still VERY nice.

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Photo of Misanthropy_Sipping
3.54/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Had the choice of a four pack of this... or a small bottle of Chimay Premiere... almost the exact same price and I felt like a stout. Wasn't expecting much, but was pleasantly surprised.

Pours a thin black brown with ruby shades in the light. Not dense... but wasn't expecting oil for the price either.

Smells pretty good, the smell is what I enjoy most. Really nice burning autumn leaf smell, charred wood maybe. A little sweet molasses sugar cookie. Some burnt coffee entwined. Has almost a Baltic porter scent to it. And I like Baltic Porters. Has that odd astringent smell. Maybe a tad boozy, but pretty coated by the char smell.

Pretty upfront sweetness. Sweet coffee and molasses... both with that charred taste to it. Kind of off tasting. Swings into roast malt with a bit of hop bitterness and a alcohol sort of taste that lingers... kind of like when you sip a little vodka and sit for a bit... kind of has that taste. The more I think of it and taste more, I do catch on to a lot more vodka like characteristics throughout this beer. The sweetness, the twang Baltic porter thing going on, and the finish. Which I guess is suiting... Russian, right?

Mouthfeel is kind of thick, kind of sticky on the end, and kind of... I don't know... rubbery. It's slick. I guess I like my RIS's a little thicker and more chewy. But for the below $7.00 price mark, how can I complain much about the mouthfeel?

I'm pretty happy with this purchase and will keep this in mind for later days when I am a bit low on cash but want something higher in ABV and a good stout for the price. Also when I am feeling like a Baltic porter... opts for both a little! That's cool! Overall, the one thing I can say is that this is overly complex. But that's alright. I think this may be a bit more committed to maybe what was once the original English style. I would say that I would buy this over Sam Smith's.

Good thing I shot down that Chimay...

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Photo of rhoadsrage
2.98/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a bowtie glass)
A- This beer pours a jet black body with a thin cinnamon head that is soon gone before the first sip. There are big bubbles the pop up the side of the glass.

S- The deep toffee takes on some soy sauce qualities with a slight sweetness in the finish with a gentle graham hint coming through as it warm. There is a shampoo quality to the whole aroma that is a bit off.

T- The deep toffee flavor is mellow and a bit lagered clean with an artificial caramel flavor in the finish and some dark nougat flavors lingering.

M- The medium mouthfeel has a gentle fizz and no alcohol heat noticed.

O- This beer is light and smooth with a few qualities of a stout but then it has lots of odd and artificial flavors that are really off putting.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.07/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whole Hog Imperial Stout
Pours deep black with tan finger head that recedes to minimal foam.
Smells barely of faint cocoa, but more of dark fruit and finished hide/ leathery/ alcohol.
This taste I like. As far as RIS's go this suits my preference. There's a milky start and malt/ milky upfront taste, and a curiously bitter cocoa/ coffee character, and a bitter biting finish that does not dry off in any hurry. In fact, it isn't dry whatsoever. Nice flavors, hints of dates or figs in there too. If anything I wish it were a little thicker in the mouthfeel; still a smooth brew. Highly drinkable.
Overall I'd say if you're into stouts of any kind this one's worth a try. If you like your RIS's more hoppy and less sweet, you may not like this as much as i did.

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Photo of barczar
3.76/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Pours an opaque deep brown/black with a frothy half inch light mocha head that dissipates fairly slowly, leaving spotty lacing.

Chocolate leaps from the bottle, reminiscent of brownies. There's a bit of a smoky phenolic note and booze. Nutty toasted malt and hints of bruised dark cherries and figs add complexity. Decidedly sweet. Tar and tobacco emerge late.

Dark fruit dominates the initial sip, with raisins, prunes, and dark cherries giving way to dry, almost burnt roast malt at the finish. Further investigation reveals a bit of acrid character, booze, and substantial chocolatey sweetness that eventually dries out.

Body is fairly watery and smooth, with more carbonation than anticipated, and substantial alcohol warmth.

The phenolic aroma, coupled with the burnt malt character detract from the experience, and the malt could be richer, but it's a fairly interesting beer to drink. If alcohol were tamed a bit, would help. I enjoy drinking it, though.

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Photo of jbphoto88
3.25/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This stout pours like a flat root beer with the same soda brown and caramel edges. The head is a total let down with almost none to speak of. So far only the color is impressive.

The nose is mostly bread yeast and roasted grains. Far more grains show up after it warms a but but never as much as I'd hope.

Molasses right from the start in this flavor profile, thick, coating and sweet. There are some rich caramelized grains that go more toasted cereal then anything coffee or chocolate. Really nice dark flavors that's so far my favorite part of this beer.

The mouthfeel is thick and syrup like and almost over sweetened. Light carbonation supports that feel and leaves you with a coated mouth and a slick finish. Not the best stout in the world but a solid average one. Tasty in parts but lacking in others.

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Photo of TrappistJohnMD
3.65/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours black with slightly off-white head that dissipates quickly.

Smell is very good with tons of molasses and toasted malts. Some ripe fruits come through slightly as well.

Taste is sweet malts, caramel and molasses. Pretty sweet with little bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thick and chewy for me. Oily but not as much as others in this style.

Overall this was pretty decent. Would drink it again.

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Photo of Mora2000
3.21/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a black color with a brown head. The aroma has a lot of roasted malt in it, as well as some chocolate. The flavor is very similar. There are huge chocolate and roasted malt notes coming through, with some bitterness from the hops and a hint of grass coming through as well. I also get a little bit of pine from the hops. Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.7/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter

A: Motor oil black with a tan half finger head that leaves the party in a hurry.

S: Dark fruit, leather, malts, cloves

T: Coffee arrives with licorice in its pocket. Bready malts. Rich, robust. Sweet. Hearty without being overwhelming.

M: Medium with low carbonation. A bit dry.

O: Better than I was expecting. Stevens Point has a pretty good RIS on its hands, at a decent price. The warmer the better. A good stepping stone RIS before one becomes acquainted with Stone and Old Raspy.

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Photo of metter98
3.41/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with a finger high dense and creamy tan head that gradually died down, leaving a thin layer of bubbles on the surface and a collar around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of roasted malts in the nose. As the beer begins to warm up, these begin to get a bit stronger and hints of chocolate also become perceptible.
T: The taste is similar to the smell and isn’t that complex but has some flavors of roasted malts and notes of chocolate.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation. There is a bit of warmth from the alcohol in the finish, but no dryness is evident.
O: This beer doesn’t have a very interesting taste, but could be classified as an “entry level” Russian Imperial Stout for craft beer novices as it’s not too difficult to drink.

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Photo of TheHoppiest
3.38/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into an oversized snifter. Pours a dark, dark, brown, almost black, with a fizzy tan head that quickly reduces to a thin ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell has a fair amount of alcohol bite, with bready malt, sweet caramel, and a cola aroma.

Tastes better than it smells; doughy bread, coffee, chocolate and cardamon start, with an alcohol wamth and mild hop bitters to finish. More sweet than hoppy, which is a little surprising for a RIS.

Mouthfeel is medium to full, slightly tangy, and drying upon the tongue.

There's a smokiness that creeps in as you get further into the brew. I served it warm, which was a good thing, as this might have been more difficult to drink if cold.

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Photo of WesM63
3.23/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a Deschutes tulip

A: Pours a dark brown with a 1finger mocha head.

S: Smells sweet chocolate and some roasted malts.

T: Sweet cholocate up front roasted malts then small acholohol finish.

M: Medium body, medium carbonation.

O: Not a terrible RIS, but not fantastic either.

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Photo of Ryan011235
3.26/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter on 4/11/12

Pours a medium-dark brown and settles pretty close to black. Sandy brown foam rises to just over two fingers before slowly dissipating. thin wisp of retention. A few globs of lace dot the glass.

Prune is heavy in the aroma, mixing with notes of molasses, burnt sugars and scorched chocolate. Perhaps a touch of tobacco and earth. While the aroma left me a bit apprehensive (I'm not a fan of sugar bombs) the flavor is more forgiving. Sure, there is some sweetness a la roasted chocolate, but there is also a pleasant coffee bitterness and earthen hop notion to keep the sugars in check. Heck, the finish is actually pretty dry. The body hovers around medium territory for a RIS, with a subtle, viscous feel underpinned by a granular notion. Carbonation is moderate and appropriately suited for the overall feel of the beer. Mild alcohol heat builds on the finish

Whole Hog isn't the most outstanding or memorable RIS. Regardless, it's not too shabby, especially considering it's rockin' an 8.6% abv.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.15/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A - Looks like your standard RIS maybe a touch lighter since I see a bit of hazy red at the base of all this darkness. Head is fairly sticky so it looks nice.

S - Mild roast, some chocolate, molasses, a touch of anise.

T - Kind of bland and lacking any complexity of the RIS style. Old coffee mild roasts, some chalky chocolate, and a touch of aged hops. Even the finish isn't sweet if it was I would give it some forgiveness. Reminds me of watery Guinness only double and not even close to the Foreign export stout.

M - Worst part its watery and thin which is not what I want in this style.

Overall I should have listened to the reviews it's a very average (at best) RIS.

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Photo of jsulko
3.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle poured into a snifter glass

Dark with a hint of reddish hue. Hint of a chocolate head.

Smell is slightly sweet, molasses type smell.

Taste is slightly sweet with some roasted malt on the finish. Alcohol hidden well.

One of the few value RIS I have had. Not much to notice on this one.

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Photo of Pintofbrown
3.7/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

I went whole hog with a nonic pint.

Appearance- There is a little width of caramel foam, smooth on top and dense. Retention is decent since it hasn't devolved into a ring that leaves most of the head exposed.

The beer is a dark brown and completely opaque. The RIS looks good so far.

Smell- Sweet malts that fail to be roasty are the main attraction on the nose. They are a little leathery with some hint of molasses and brown sugar. There is definitely some fig and bread-like malt wafting around too. I like the subtle and sweet nature of this nose.

Taste- It comes out a sweet and smokey. The higher abv, although nothing outlandish as far as RIS's are concerned, is noticed more on the finish and gives it that smokey and leathery kick.

There is a sense of bread malt and fig that really pervades the drink overall that I have not experienced in an imperial stout before. There is even the impression of dark cherries and dates mid-drink. I am impressed by the complexity of Whole Hog.

Mouth feel- This is where the beer trips up. It is not nearly as big, or as slick, or even as creamy as it could be. What is here is a medium to light bodied brew that has enough carbonation to make it filmy.

Overall- Whole Hog Russian Imperial Stout is lacking in body, but the flavors are pretty solid. It is the strong fig and bread malts that set it apart from other imperial stouts. Although, I will say, for an RIS, it is not a "big" one. It is a subtle beer that is easy to sip and enjoy for what it is.

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Photo of blackcompg
3.28/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from their 12oz bottle from their 4-pak:

Appearance - Poured 3 fingers of tight mocha colored head. Color of the beer is a barely translucent dark mahogany red black. The head recedes to a solid mocha cap that leaves some pretty nice lacing.

Smell - Dark fruits, raisins, molasses, and some nice dark roasted grains.

Taste - Starts roasted grains and semi-sweet licorice, then some dark roast coffee, then some semi-sweet dark fruits and a touch of tart plum skins and a touch of tart cherries. Finishes with more roasted grains and astringent black coffee, and more tart dark fruit peels. Alcohol is hidden at the beginning but can be felt half way through the glass.

Mouthfeel - Light to medium, a little watery, smooth but not creamy, medium carb keeps this on the lighter side, and helps give more of a crisp and dry finish, but not overly so.

Overall - Not bad, there are some nice flavors here but they seem to come more in punches vs. a nice complex balance. This gets steadily hotter as you work through the glass. The price was low for a RIS, but I would pay more for a better quality one vs. purchasing this one again. Not bad, but can't quite recommend it either.

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Photo of hosehead83
3.88/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass.
Deep, dark, pitch-black pour, with a nice, two-inch head of tan foam.
Aroma-Big whiff of chocolate, some roasted malt
Taste-Dark roasted malt, chocolate malt.
Overall, a bit of a "lighter weight" Russian Imperial without all the big hard hitting flavors that some hit you over the head with. A nice "first time" RIS.

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Photo of BB1313
3.82/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12oz bottle poured into a snifter. Pours black with barely any light getting through, off white head that fades but nice retention and decent lacing. I'm picking up raspberry right off the bat, not what I was expecting but pleasant. I'm also picking up a ton of wood/oak. It kind of smells barrel aged. There's some butterscotch, maple, caramel, and chocolate in the mix as well. All of those wonderful aromas don't quite match up in the flavors. Well they match, it's just dialed down and more subtle. The mouthfeel is very nice, heavy, creamy, syrupy, but good amount of carbonation. Pretty silky and velvety; finishes slick and lingers. There's some alcohol present, but nothing out of line.

This is a pretty unique stout and different, so I like it for that. I'll be honest, my expectations weren't too high, but this is a pleasant surprise. There's alot of things I like about this beer, I just wish the flavors were refined just a tad and we'd really have something here. Unique take on the style.

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Whole Hog Russian Imperial Stout from Stevens Point Brewery
3.43 out of 5 based on 162 ratings.
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