Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company

Raspberry Russian Imperial StoutRaspberry Russian Imperial Stout
Rate It
Beer Geek Stats | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - American Imperial
3.61 | pDev: 13.85%
Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Oregon, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Raspberry Russian Imperial StoutRaspberry Russian Imperial Stout
View: Beers
Reviews: 94 | Ratings: 393 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of wordemupg
wordemupg from Canada (AB)

3.74/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Had this one at a tasting a ways back…
Jammy as can be, raspberries are massive; I’m impressed by how much fruits shining through all the dark malty notes. 2012 bottles peaked at this point with a touch of oxidization but has held up fairly well

May 01, 2017
Photo of HopsAreDaMan
HopsAreDaMan from Missouri

3.83/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

I remember being unimpressed by this beer when I had it this past spring, as if it was just an ordinary imperial stout (it was a bit thin), with very little raspberry flavoring.

Sep 17, 2016
Photo of Svingjo
Svingjo from Canada (BC)

3.92/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours a dark black colour with a two finger thick tan head with great retention. The nose leads with a rich raspberry smell along with the usually stout aromas like roasted coffee, dark chocolate and maybe molasses. Honestly those second aromas are pretty hard to pick out through the sweetness. Now the flavour is a complete switch around with burnt coffee, bakers chocolate and that definite molasses taste almost hiding any raspberry flavour. As the beer warmed up the raspberry sweetness made a bit of an appearance through the otherwise bitter beer. The carbonation is quite mild and the body in the medium to full range. The high alcohol is hidden quite well with minimal burn but a nice warmness. Not as sweet as I expected based on the nose but tasty and pretty complex beer.

Jul 19, 2016
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: Poured a deep black color stout with a medium size foamy head with OK retention and some light lacing. Aroma of fresh raspberry juice with some chocolate and residual sugar notes is pretty enticing. Taste is a nice mix of fresh raspberry juice with some chocolate notes and some residual sugar. Body is thinner then I was expecting with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Interesting mix thought a little bit thinner then I was expecting.

Jul 04, 2016
Photo of DoctorZombies
DoctorZombies from Florida

4.31/5  rDev +19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

(2013 Release) Black with clarity under cap; lite tan foam that faded quickly; spotty lace. Raspberry and chocolate nose. Raspberry and bittersweet dark chocolate. Lite carbonation and medium mouthfeel. Chocolate covered berry linger. Overall a little lite, and sugary.

May 11, 2016
Photo of Dentist666
Dentist666 from Russian Federation

4.27/5  rDev +18.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into pint.
Opaque black with solid tan head, god retention.
Smell and taste - classic IS - roasted, coffee, chocolate, subtle raspberry.
Actually niсe beer, medium body, soft carbonation, well-balanced.
Raspberry stout as it has to be, no less.

May 09, 2016
Photo of rodbeermunch
rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.27/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Lighter color than most stouts, this one comes in solidy in brown territory. Aroma of burnt/roasted malt and fruity berry. A little bit of cocao.

Taste was minorly fruity/tart, alcohol too pungent. Coffee malt. Mouthfeel thin. Too much dark fruit bitterness, thought raspberry would sweeten it up, this just tastes bitter, dark etc. . .

Bomber format sucks. Then again, who wants to drink six of this marginal brew. No off flavors. Too much of what I don't want, not enough of what I do.

Dec 09, 2015
Photo of HalfFull
HalfFull from California

3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

From a bomber into a large wine glass, this pours a deep and dark brown though not quite black in color. Mostly clear, with a touch of blue in the light, and with a thin yet resilient cap of foam.

Nose is sweet and fruity and there is surely some raspberry there. Though more slick malts with a touch of roast and muddled berry present themselves. Taste follows with fruit and sweet malts, along with a touch of grainy texture. Not much as for roasted malts here or anything near 'dry'. But then I think that that's the point. Touch of ethanol on the nose at times after the cap settles.

Finish is lightly viscous and semi-sweet and offers more berry muddled malts and again some supporting texture to balance. Not overly complex in nature but pleasant across the board. I assumed this bottle had a couple years on it and I now see that it was a one-off bottled in Dec. 2012. New to me so not sure how it was stored.

Jun 16, 2015
Photo of Wes-Cat
Wes-Cat from California

3.36/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

First off I gotta say that for a beer I got for less than 4 bucks at a Grocery Outlet, this is surprisingly good. First sip, I hated it. Then I took a second. I won't copy everyone else and say that I taste hints of random fruit, but it has a bit of sweetness that fades into a light bitterness that sticks to you as you taste the alcohol involved. Oh, it's 9.3%. Yeah, that makes sense. There's this kinda floaty sourness that comes and goes too. How the hell do I describe this?

Anyway, it's been in my basement for 8 months or so. My first time tasting it didn't impress me but now it actually tastes good. Wish I'd picked up more.

This is less a gulp and more of a sip kinda beer. Don't drink a ton of it at once and throw it down your throat. I did that and didn't like it. Sipping it actually works pretty good. Oh, and I drank it from a big plastic cup. Cold. So there.

May 23, 2015
Photo of biboergosum
biboergosum from Canada (AB)

3.9/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle, still not clear whether or not this is retired, as we're getting the 2012 version just now up here in Alberta.

This beer pours a solid black hole (purplish tinge? hah!), with subtle basal cola highlights, and three fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and caked beige head, which leaves some sudsy chainlink lace around the glass as it gently subsides.

It smells of my mom's raspberry pie puree (fresh fruit, cream, and raspberry Jello), bready, slightly roasted caramel malt, bittersweet chocolate, weak latte coffee, and leafy, earthy, and mildly perfumed hops. The taste is bready, grainy caramel malt, a more subdued, but still duly fruity raspberry character (it's very much like this was 'dry-raspberried', which of course seems like an altogether different thing, but I digress), roasted coffee, a bit of isolated wet char, stale cocoa powder, a weak earthy anise note, and tame leafy, weedy hops, all informed by a surprisingly cutesy cold booziness.

The carbonation is fairly understated in its subjugated, barely tangible frothiness, the body an adequate medium weight, and pretty smooth, though any nascent creaminess is kiboshed by the lurking big-assed ABV. It finishes off-dry, the obvious fruity and malty essences not quite being allowed to run the table, as the metallic alcohol and earthy hops testily await their turn to deal.

A pleasant enough raspberry-tainted big stout, with a varying amount of fruitiness, depending on the particular sip, sniff, or swallow, but that's ok, it all turns out fine on that front. Otherwise, not the most complex imperialized version of the style that I've yet to come across, being the slavish base that it is, but again, worthy of tolerating if you're any sort of fan of the guest ingredient.

Jan 03, 2015
Photo of CHickman
CHickman from New York

3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 12/13/2012: Pours pitch black color with a creamy 1-2 finger tan head that was full of bubbles and faded quicker than I expected, leaving decent spotty lacing and a tan layer on top eventually fading to an oil slick looking trail of tan head.

Smells like raspberry up front with an initial sweetness that moves aside for the coffee, cocoa, roasted malt, charred wood, a hint of vanilla and some more fruity sweetness that is a cross between fruit, floral hops and dark chocolate. I'm very glad the nose was not dominated by raspberry with the fruit playing a nice part in the overall experience and helping to hide the ABV with the roasted and chocolate notes.

Tastes like it smells but the cocoa powder, chocolate, roasted malt and vanilla strike first before the raspberry hits the tastebuds. More coffee and burnt notes in the flavor, with other berry flavors, ashy notes, candied sugar, floral hops and orange peel that blend together for a slightly bitter finish that is dry with a tartness from the raspberry. The sweetness is kept at a moderate level by the charred grains and coffee/cocoa, and the alcohol is there only if you search for it. Aftertaste is actually like a blueberry but has the tart feel of the raspberry.

Mouthfeel is thin and watery for an imperial stout, with a medium body that has mild carbonation and as much charred grainy bitterness as it had fruity tart sweetness. I wish it was a bit thicker and more like a meal, but it was quite easy to drink.

I'm happy that this was as good as I hoped for when I purchased it in early 2013, especially after just suffering through the Founders Big Letdown (Big Lushious), which was the same style of stout but 100 times sweeter. It was an effort to get the wax and cap off, but this beer delivered what I expected and was a very tasty winter treat. Not the boldest RIS, but a nice hybrid with the rasberries added that went down smooth and easy.

Dec 28, 2014
Photo of Brutaltruth
Brutaltruth from Ohio

3.94/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed from a growler in a snifter, this fine RIP with raspberries pours a deep dense black with hints of brown and a moderate layer of tan foam that dies down to a thin ring and light lacing. Nose of raspberries (duh), heavily roasted grains, and dark chocolate. Flavors are sweet malts and heavily roasted malts up front, raspberry flavor is to the back and on the finish with chocolate lightly making itself known. Light carbonation and smooth mouthfeel and coating nature makes this a fine beverage for a finisher. A very nice RIP with fruit that is a nice collaboration of the sum of it's parts.

Nov 28, 2014
Photo of NSXAG
NSXAG from Arizona

4/5  rDev +10.8%

Widmer Brothers Brewing - Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout '12 [Stout ale brewed with raspberries with raspberries added] (220z ---> Dogfish Head Curved Pint Glass : 9.3% ABV)
With the Olympics having recently ended, I felt comfortable enjoying a new Russian stout without feeling it was overload, and on a windy, snowy day like today it felt appropriate to have myself a winter warmer... A semi-aggressive pour aided in a 3 finger sandy/khaki head with, dare I say, enormous bubbles, which faded at a moderately slow pace, leaving nice lacing on its' departure... A decent retentive cap sits atop this nearly pitch black brew, with the raspberry aromas already presenting themselves... So obviously, raspberry is prominent on the nose, but the alcohol seems to be presenting itself not far behind it, with traces of cocoa shining through from time to time... First taste is much like the aroma in it being extremely fruit forward, but a hop bitterness is also there which pair together quite nicely, but again the alcohol isn't far behind... As the tastes fade, there's some chocolate that becomes more pronounced and adds a touch of bitterness to the lasting raspberry flavors, with some bready notes in there also... The mouthfeel is quite nice, especially for a this style, as I find many stouts tend to be either too thin or far to chewy... The fruit flavors match the fullness in this beer very well, as it goes down smooth while retaining a nice "jammy" mouthfeel similar to a nice full bodied red, but enough carbonation so that it had some softness also... A classy representation of a very straight forward fruit based stout, though not extremely complex, the flavor profile is very pleasant... My only qualm with this beer is that the alcohol warmth was very prevalent, not to the point of displeasure, but it walked the thresholds of annoyance while I tried to enjoy this otherwise tasty ale... Another good brew - Cheers!!

Nov 19, 2014
Photo of seedyone
seedyone from New York

3.25/5  rDev -10%

03/10/13 On tap at Rattle n Hum, NYC. Not what I expected. Only the slightest hint of raspberry. A gentle taste of stout to say the least. This is a quirky drink that evades my description & I guess that's what lead to the confusing title.

Nov 13, 2014
Photo of DPJ3322
DPJ3322 from Louisiana

3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

I've been aging this Russian Imperial Stout since last year. It has held up quite well, I get a lot of raspberry in the smell, nice chocolate and oak flavors in the taste. The carbonation is light and appropriate for a robust stout. There is some astringency as it warms and that takes away from the beer, but that comes with the territory.

Sep 05, 2014
Photo of barczar
barczar from Kentucky

3.56/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark, roast malt, fairly harshly bitter, coffee aroma, with a touch of raspberry sweetness. Flavor is just too overly harsh to be enjoyable. Needs more specialty malt character to give it depth.

Sep 04, 2014
Photo of russpowell
russpowell from Arkansas

3.37/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Pours an effervescent black with 3 fingers of mocha colored head. Nice vicscious look to this, above average head retention & lacing

S: Raspberry juice, faint roasty notes

T: Raspberry, a little cola, roastyness & Baker's chocolate, plus faint smokeyness & a little boozeyness. Boozeyness, dryness, raspberry, roastyness & a little more carob. Finishes dry, a little roasty & with woody hop notes

MF: Medium bodied, firm carbonation, thins out a bit once warm

Okay, not one I would buy again. I doubt aging this longer is really going to improve this much. Widmer used to make some beers I really liked, not sure about that any more

Aug 13, 2014
Photo of brandonwnw
brandonwnw from Washington

4.95/5  rDev +37.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Raspberry RIS - I know I'm a bit an an outlier here, but this is one of my top 3 beers ever. Probably stems from my love of coffee, chocolate and childhood memories of homemade black raspberry jam. Last bomber was poured cellar temp into a Pinot noir wine glass. Color was near black with a half inch of purple tinged lace. Smell is raspberry up front with chocolate/malt/coffee on the back. Taste is all the smells plus some vanilla and a slight hint of hops. ABV also presents a touch of booze, but finishes back at the berries and chocolate malt. Think of this as a high alcohol chocolate mocha. Overall, this is one of my personal favorite beers and am cellaring a couple cases to get me to their next brew (hopefully in 2016).

Jul 03, 2014
Photo of avwrite
avwrite from California

3.08/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A - Nice appearance. Dark, smoky, little bit of froth, but inviting and pleasant.

S - Good smell. Hoppy and bitter, but no scents of Raspberries.

T - Disappointing. Was expecting a raspberry taste, but there was none. It tasted like any other run of the mill stout.

M - Smooth going down with a hint of bitterness. Easy to drink.

O - A bit pricey. The raspberry advertised never came through, thus it loses its uniqueness.

Jun 25, 2014
Photo of RickS95
RickS95 from Indiana

4.32/5  rDev +19.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours very dark. Not quite black, but very dark brown. Faint lighter notes around the edge. A thin head forms, a burnt beige color, but doesn't retain well. Props for the dark color, but deductions for the lame head/retention/lace.

The smell is decadent. Very chocolatey. The addition of raspberries lightens the darkness of the chocolate with a fruitiness. Smells like dessert.

I like chocolate, raspberries and alcohol, so this taste is right up my alley. Think chocolate covered raspberries or chocolate cake with raspberries on top. It's dessert in a bottle.

As you might guess, it's extremely smooth and creamy. There's just enough bitterness to temper the tart and sweet. High ABV provides a warming throughout the finish. Very full bodied and rich. Would be splendid with a chocolatey dessert.

There isn't much for me not to like about this. It's super easy to drink, takes the place of both a dessert and a nightcap after dinner. Well done.

Apr 19, 2014
Photo of gonzo000
gonzo000 from Massachusetts

3.66/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

a. Black with reddish huge. 1 finger foamy brown head

s. Malt and sweet raspberry. Alcohol sent is strong.

t. Alcohol is hidden well for 9.3 - surprisingly based on the smell. Do not get hit with the raspberry, more of a mild - easy drinking traditional stout.

m - OK. carbonation seems high for a stout - nothing to wright home about.

o. This is a nice stout - tasty, but not the taste I would have expected - not getting the raspberry. Smooth and easy.

Apr 09, 2014
Photo of ONUMello
ONUMello from Ohio

3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap poured into a pint glass
A: Pitch black with a 1/2-finger head
S: Raspberry with a hint of cocoa and roasted malt
T: Roasted malt, just a hint of raspberry, some burnt sugars, but a bit watery
M: Medium-bodied but thin
O: Not disappointed I tried it but this could be more than just 'okay' if there was more malt to provide structure (though the alcohol didn't come through as is) and somehow the raspberry aromas came more through on the palate

Apr 08, 2014
Photo of Axnjxn
Axnjxn from North Carolina

3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

bomber into a snifter.

pours a dark black with a nice inch thick beige head. smell is very raspberry-ie... nice! taste kind of falls short though... not too much raspberries and it ends with a not so pleasant bitter finish. not too drinkable. its definitely no lindley park. however, its still decent. medium to full bodied...mild carbonation.

overall good for the 3 bucks i paid. wouldnt seek it out again though

Feb 25, 2014
Photo of magictacosinus
magictacosinus from California

3.42/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3

A big thanks to my friend Dan for handing me a bottle of this. Poured out of a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. Split with a friend to help with the probable sweetness that's to come. Bottling date is "DEC 12 13," so pretty fresh.

Dark blackened in color, yet not completely opaque - casting this against the light showcases some dark reddish colors, as well as a light ruby (maybe violet or purple) color that must be from the addition of raspberries (although, how much, I've no clue). A generous frothy off-khaki head coats the top of the beer, with some rather impressive lacing from the foam sticking onto the walls of the glass in a way I've never seen from this brewery before. Lots and lots of sediment gathered to the bottom of my glass when I poured the dregs in. Again, unusual, but the entire thing looks like a home brew. And, from a brewery of this size, that deserves some mention on its own.

The aroma is, as expected, quite sweet, although it actually is relatively enjoyable for what it is. Big, milk chocolate notes meld with a raspberry, boysenberry, and blackberry jamminess and sweetness, to the sense where it resembles a sweet raspberry jam truffle of sorts. Some roasted coffee notes permeate, but they're definitely buried underneath the sugar and booze, which slightly stings. Licorice, vanilla, caramel, and light clove comes in, but it's for sure all about the chocolate/raspberry combo here. On the bright side, it never smells artificial, but it does get excessively sweet over time. Humorously enough, my friend and I were both seated at next to each other, chatting, while the beers were facing our opposite sides from where each of us were sitting. The effect clouded the entire nearby atmosphere with a sickly sweet aroma of raspberry and lavender, as if some scented candles were lit. A little too powerful for what it is, perhaps.

If the aroma wasn't enough of a warning sign, the flavor is even MORE sweet! Huge notes of sugar cream covered dark chocolate meld into a jammy, yet slightly sweet cascade of raspberries (much like a sweeter Zinfandel), as well as some blackcurrant, plum, and molasses. Finishes with a licorice-forward sensation, with some light bitterness from the roasted malts and high hop profile (for a RIS) resembling coffee. The finish is sweet, with vanilla, caramel, fudge, and some light heat from the booze clenching through. The aftertaste goes on for a very long time, even producing a little bit of the cocoa buttery sensation that I enjoy on these big beers. Still pretty cloying at times, and this is an undeniable sipper. Carbonation is good, although as it warmed up it started to get pretty syrupy, but never bad enough throughout. Definitely slightly sludgy, which further enhances the truffle profile this was going for. Not bad, but splitting a bottle was definitely way too much.

My friend and I could not finish our glasses due to the intense decadence and sweetness that this overall embodied. The raspberry flavor is a refreshing and fun addition to the RIS style but it became way too overpowering over time, and the loss of carbonation is to this beer's detriment throughout. I actually think it may be bottle conditioned, too, so no clue why this is happening. I'd happily take 3-4oz next time, but definitely no more than that, ever again.

Feb 24, 2014
Photo of KYGunner
KYGunner from Kentucky

3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This poured with a thick black body that supported a firmly set head of brown foam.

The aroma has a fruity tart sweetness with dry chocolate, lactose and raisin.

The flavors hold a tempered raspberry, supported by a roasted grain and coffee end. At the end the finish it does give up a slight raspberry sweetness.

The feel is dry, not chalky, with some viscous fullness.

One of the better fruit stouts I've had, nothing liberally complex but an easy drinking beer.

Jan 05, 2014
Raspberry Russian Imperial Stout from Widmer Brothers Brewing Company
Beer rating: 83 out of 100 with 393 ratings