Whole Hog Russian Imperial Stout | Stevens Point Brewery

164 Ratings
Read the review
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

For Trade:
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 164 |  Reviews: 73
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.

 1,035 characters

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.

 676 characters

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.

 295 characters

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.

 1,513 characters

Photo of Tyrawlings
3.5/5  rDev +2%

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.

 1,190 characters

Photo of Sooch222
4.25/5  rDev +23.9%

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.

 371 characters

Photo of imperialking
3/5  rDev -12.5%

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.

 1,005 characters

Photo of OWSLEY069
3.08/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours jet black with a light chocolate brown. In the aroma, a sweet oatmeal and cocoa. In the taste, a sweet chocolate roast, a nice sweetness and roast. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a sweet and small chocolate like aftertaste. Not so much an imperial stout, more a chocolate stout.

 306 characters

Photo of RobertJBeer
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of secondtooth
3.49/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Impenetrably black in complexion, with a rich 2.5 finger head. Thin but attractive lacing.

Nose is roasty malts, but almost astringent somehow. Odd and a little off-putting.

Taste is bittersweet chocolate malts up front, with an earthy and dry finish. The 8.6% ABV is fairly well-masked.

Not a standout for the style, but certainly not bad, either.

 351 characters

Photo of Paul68
2.5/5  rDev -27.1%

Photo of Brushkanna
4.5/5  rDev +31.2%

Photo of jmponder
1.5/5  rDev -56.3%

Photo of josefnewsong
4/5  rDev +16.6%

Photo of FreshmanPour77
3/5  rDev -12.5%

Photo of barnzy78
3.5/5  rDev +2%

Photo of brentk56
3.22/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Pours a fudge brown color with an inch of rocky, beige foam; while it fades rather quickly, it does leave a few dots and squiggles of lace behind

Smell: Chocolate and licorice

Taste: Chocolate, up front, with tart bitterness developing by mid-palate; not much flavor remains after the swallow other than a tart metallic character with a hint of chocolate underneath

Mouthfeel: Light to medium body with moderate carbonation; somewhat aqueous

Overall: Rather unusual for the style as it doesn't have the fruity bold flavors or the full body that one would expect

 577 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
3.47/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Served in a Walter Payton shaker pint glass.

Another random Whole Hog single found at a local store. Right on. This one pours a very dark black-brown (just south of a soft onyx) topped by a finger of dusty tan foam. The nose comprises light roasted malts, dark toffee, mild cocoa, very light coffee, and a twinge of roasted oats. The taste brings in more of the same, everything coming through softly, mildly, smoothly. It's as though they were trying to make a very n00b-friendly impy stout or something, afraid the bold flavors would be considered offensive. Instead, it results in an overly soft, almost muted stout. The body is a light-leaning medium, with a very light moderate carbonation and a pretty smooth feel. Overall, what could have been a generally nice stout suffers from too much restraint (such is my theory, anyway), leading to a mediocre one. Shame, really.

 877 characters

Photo of cnally
3.3/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

The appearance is very blackened--dark and deep. A nice tan head stays long, but is not as sticky as you would want.

The aroma is super sweet for the style, less influenced by the licorice and anise--those aromas are still there, but it's like licorice candy as opposed to the real thing.

The flavor stays on the sweet bend with mild burnt flavors--the malt is reliant on the chocolate as opposed to the black. The bitterness comes in toward the end, but the overriding quality is the raisin-chocolate sweetness.

The mouthfeel is massively disappointing for the syle, runny and such a low body it may as well be a mild ale.

Listen, it ain't great but it is a sweet excursion in the world of imperial stouts. You expect a massively flavored, aggressive beer when you sip on a RIS, and this is the opposite of that. It's sweet, low bitterness, and very thin. So, for RIS standards, not very good.

 898 characters

Photo of beer2day
3.03/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark black pour with just a hint of red around the edges. 1-finger deep tan head. Faint lace.

Nose has a metallic twang to it. Getting light roast malt and weak sweet cherries. Needs more depth and strength.

Fairly light in body for an impy stout. More like a porter. Getting light chocolate, virtually no coffee, and a bit more of that metal that was in the nose. Light sweet finish, with a touch of roasted malts. Not very complex.

A bit disappointing for what looked like a nice glass of beer.

 500 characters

Photo of CaptJackHarkness
3.42/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First thing I have to say is it's not quite a Russian Imperial, it needs more of a bite to it for that. It's got the rich dark color, but the head is almost not there and does not last long. I think it's too sweet and could use a bit more bittering from hops! Still, it's not the worst I've had!

 295 characters

Photo of Brent
3.03/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Shooting for this as a Russian Imperial Stout falls well short of the mark, unfortunately. Moderate roasted malt character, with some brown sugar and unsweetened cocoa in the background. A bit sweet-ish, and far too timid to rub elbows with other beers in this category. An average stout, somewhere between the English and American interpretations.

 348 characters

Whole Hog Russian Imperial Stout from Stevens Point Brewery
3.43 out of 5 based on 164 ratings.
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.