John By Imperial Stout | Scotch Irish Brewing Company

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John By Imperial StoutJohn By Imperial Stout
Very Good
84 Ratings
John By Imperial StoutJohn By Imperial Stout

Brewed by:
Scotch Irish Brewing Company
Ontario, Canada

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 8.70%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by CanuckRover on 12-18-2007

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

Bros Score:
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Ratings: 84 |  Reviews: 82
Photo of SingleCell
4.8/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter at cellar temp out of a stubby bottle.

A: Pours BLACK. Held this one up to the light from every angle possible and could not find a single tint of amber or red. Very full chunky and creamy looking one and a half inch tan head which sticks around for a while.

S: Fine dark chocolate, nutmeg, roasted malts, buttermilk pancakes, black coffee, espresso. A very complex array of scents.

T: Big roasted malt presence, espresso, dark chocolate, black pepper, bitter hops, alcohol. Long bitter finish in which I continue to detect the espresso flavour.

M: Creamy mouthfeel, medium carbonation that delivers the taste of this beer to every part of my tongue, medium to heavy body.

D: This is truly a great sipper. As it says on the bottle "Just the thing to ward off the cold of a Canadian winter" (were getting a little bit of a cold spell here as winter comes to a close and this quote is fitting).

I would buy this beer again. John By Imperial Stout is a very tasty beer which doesn't burn a hole in your wallet. If your on the fence as to whether or not you should pick this one up I suggest you pick one (or two) up to enjoy on a cold winters night. You won't be disappointed.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.5/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I bought this bottle in Toronto 1 month ago, something like $2-3 CAD. Odd-sized 341mL bottle with a carboy shape. The beer is really appetizing, roasted malts, sweet chocolate and maybe toffee, a little dark fruits, everything you could want in an RIS aroma. The beer tastes real sweet, rich and roasty, a meal. And at only 6.7% ABV this is extremely drinkable, an unexpectedly fine RIS.

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Photo of BigBry
4.47/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341 ml stubby bottle, thanks bobsy for this top notch Canadian-made RIS.
Poured inky black, no light can penetrate this one. Chocolate milk colored foam, good retention and smooth lace sheets. Awesome smell of milk chocolate and cocoa beans and just a whiff of coffee. The taste has coffee and chocolate, but more on the bitter side. Full body and flavorful, finishes with a good dose of hoppy bitterness. Thick, creamy mouthfeel, but could be even more robust.
Disappeared wat too quickly, thanks again.

Note to Self: Ranked #10/25 Top Beers in Canada when I tried it.

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Photo of Derek
4.45/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Brewers specs: OG=1.092 & FG=1.017.

That's roughly 10% abv and over 80% apparent attenuation! (Though it clocked in at 6.7% in LCBO lab).

This awesome stout blurs the style guidelines, leaning towards a foreign/export stout. I'd like to find a Guinness FES (7.5%) to try back-to-back.

A: Pure black with a tan head; plenty of head from the pour; some retention & lacing.

S: Dark roasted malt/coffee aroma; molasses, grain, dark chocolate.

T: Pleasant roast flavours, coffee, nut, molasses, dark chocolate, dark bread, smoke, chewy malt, piney, touch of tar, good bitterness, slight roasted acidity.

M: Really well-attenuated with a nice body. It's fairly full, smooth, slightly acidic & chalky. Moderate carbonation.

D: Dangerously drinkable.

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Photo of CAMRAhardliner
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I was pleased to find this at my local LCBO. With beers like this, Scotch Irish is fast becoming my favorite Canadian brewery.

John By pours perfect black, without even glints of ruby. A rocky tan head turns to a ring pretty quickly, leaving plenty of lace patches on the glass. heavy roasted malt. chocolatey and slightly astringent, fill the nose. The taste is a symphonic plethora of stout flavors, richness to excess. Thick, dark, chocolatey cocoa and fresh espresso mixes with a heavy dose of licorice and a pleasant amount of soy sauce (read: a small amount). A vigorous hopping schedule imparts lots of bitterness and hop verve. Booze is warming and never distracting. The mouthfeel is thick and full, unusually so, especially for the ABV. The finish is roasty, and bitter from hops and coffee-like malts.

Another winner from Perry and Co. Super rich and decedant.

This beer belongs in the Ontario Beer Hall of Fame among many other Scotch Irish brews.

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Photo of beerbuddah
4.43/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this brew from the LCBO in Niagara Falls.The stubby bottle cost like 2.60. pretty good bargain. New to this whole beer-reviewing, so be patient.

a- Poured this out into a mug and thought it had gone bad or something. my first impression was that of coffee, a strong brew that had been left out all day on the burner. I let it settle and it looked like a watery-ish version of liquid chocolate. The head disappeared pretty quick, but left a ring close to the sides, with a tiny white chocolate island floating in the middle.

s- smells of rich chocolate, caramelly, malty, sweet.

T - whoa man. strong flavor of maltiness, kinda sweet to start, i taste a bit of coffee, but it could be my subconscious. it pretty bitter near the finish, but i'm into it. 6.7 ABV but i cant taste it due to the awesomeness.

M - the best part. it's got the perfect carbonation, feels smooth, and sticks around for a bit everywhere with a delicious coating

D - at first, hard to get used to the bitterness, by the second sip, i regretted that i didn't get two or three of these guys.

final thoughts - couldn't have had a more exciting new style for my first review. that was fun.

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Photo of irishkyle21
4.42/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Finally got to reviewing this flavourful brew. I am so happy I got a case of this. It pours with a medium light brown head, decent retention and lacing. Has a deep dark brownish color.

The nose is full of roasted malt, dark chocolate, coffee, molasses and alcohol soaked fruits. The smell was not that complex at first but once the beer warmed it just started to unravel (the chocolate especially).

Tastes of thick chewy roasted malts, coffee, a good strong hop bitterness, chocolate and dark fruits. This is in my top 3 Canadian beers this year.

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Photo of Mindsquall
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Saw this was available, went and bought a bunch. This poured beautifuly into my pint glass with a nice tan head and a bit of lacing. Smell was very nice and very complex, coffee, chocolate, maraschino cherries, campfire, amongst other things. The flavor of this great brew stands out, very bold coffee with a hint of chocolate and some smoke. A bitter and sweet finish follows. Mouthfeel was thick and smooth, very nice, very enjoyable. Pretty drinkable, alcohol is noticeable but not dominating.

A very fine brew. I actually enjoyed this one a bit more than Tsarina Katarina. Scotch Irish has done it again.

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Photo of GodOfBeer
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours black with a thin brown tan head, I almost didn't catch it cause it dissapeared quickly. A bit of lacing.

Smells of coffee, burnt sweet malt, some slight piney hops, chocolate and caramel.

Tastes wonderful, coffee, chocolate, caramel, some dark fruit, kind of sweet, but finishes off with some nice bitterness.

Very smooth mouthfeel, this is by far one of my favourite stouts, I can't wait until I try there other beers.

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Photo of MMansfield
4.37/5  rDev +13.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

200th review had to be something special... Acquired through trade with Viggo. Thanks Eric! Stubby bottle with red cap poured into a goblet.

Appearance: Pours a sticky dark dark brown, might as well call it black. Creamy dark tan cap settes to a thick ring with an island floating in the centre. Leaves some scant lacing.

Aroma: Bittersweet & milk chocolate waffs out of the glass as it's being poured. Very lovely earthy aromas, roasted malt, fresh baked molasses bread. Dark ripened fruit with a small amount of roasted nuts in there as well.

Taste: A lot of the sweet chocolate from the nose is missing in the taste, which is very much appreciated. Heavy roasted flavours with a dry, lingering and bitter finish. Peanut flavour in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, creamy & sticky. High drinkability.

Final Statement: Beautiful beer. Reminds me why imperial stouts are my favourite style. One of the best Imp. Stouts I've had.

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Photo of matt7215
4.36/5  rDev +13%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bottle from the LCBO

the 2008 vintage has held its own agaist the 2007.

black with a lovely tan head. what more can you ask for.

lovely coffee and chocolate aromas with fresh hops also present

flavour of heavy roasted barley with hops in the finish. heavy on chocolate and coffee notes.

age this one for added complexity. the 2007 aged like a champ in proper cellars.

drinks like a top 5 impy stout. enjoy while you can.

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Photo of bassmantin
4.35/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to iconoklaztor for letting me sample this one.

Pours a very dark brown with good thick light brown head that escapes quickly.

Smells very roasty, thick and rich. A strong coffee flavor persists throughout, with thick roasted malts striking at the end. This is an incredible experience. Could stand to be a little more intense, but the flavors are amazing. Extremely well-balanced and infused with all the coffee and roastiness that I love in a stout.

Highly recommended if you can find it.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4.32/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a huge brown color head with good retention and lacing. Aroma of black chocolate is quite intense with some subtle notes of coffee. Taste consists of a well balance mix between some black chocolate, coffee notes and some light sweetness to balance the mix. Body is full with some great carbonation and no alcohol was noticeable. I thought this was a very well balance example of the style and was easily drinkable.

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Photo of Sammy
4.3/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Excellent. Thick dark chocolate with tons of brown head and lacing.Delicious chocolate aroma. Thick milkshake choking infusion of bittersweet chocolate, as it is so drinkable. coffee in the background. Bittersweet aftertaste, I could drink this all night. The real thing.

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Photo of BrewSomerville
4.23/5  rDev +9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Aroma: Dark chocolate & espresso. Roastiness, and a little smoke.

Looks: Black. Cream/biege coloured head, slightly larger than average. Good head retention. Good lace.

Taste: Delicious. Roasty coffee. Molasses. Dark chocolate. I thought that I had tasted something smokey, but then it was gone. It has NONE of that black liqorice taste that you sometimes find in an R.I.S., for me that is a great thing because I hate black liqorice! It has a long coffee-like and chocolaty finish.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, chewy, sticky. Carbonation is just right for this Beer. Creamy, smooth, and silky mouthfeel.

Overall, this is a great Beer, if at all possible, you must try it... or John By will get you!

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Photo of CanuckRover
4.21/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This replaced the Tsarina from last year. I put it under Russian Imperial rather than American because it's malt heavy, moderately high in alcohol and generally I think the brewer goes for more old-world styles.

This pours deepest darkest brown, like mollasses, but in the glass it's close to black. Thinnish head, slightly soapy and brownish-white in colour.

Aroma is pretty strong. Alot of alcohol from it at first and then some fairly strong vinous fruits, almost like a port.

Taste is surprising after the aroma. Big, dark roasted malt. There is certainly dark fruit in there, but the emphasis here is on bitter roastiness, coffee beans and dark chocolate. A few sips and your tongue thinks you've been smoking a cuban, great tobacco character. Like so many scotch-Irish beers this is well-balanced, no strong alcohol taste at all.

Mouthfeel is right, good carbonation, possibly a little thin in the finish.

Drinkability... well, usually I wouldn't drink too many, but it's -30 outside.

An appropriate name for this one. John By is Ottawa's most important historical figure and I can just imagine navvies sitting in a tavern in old bytown with a few of these, it would certainly take the chill off. This is a warmer in the truest sense. Good on Scotch-Irish for referencing the Bytown Museum (Ottawa's civic museum) on the label. Another winner from Scotch-Irish.

EDIT: I think Perry wrote on one of the beer boards that he had measured the beer 3.3% higher. After letting it sit for a few minutes, I believe him. Wowza.

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Photo of francisweizen
4.2/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Review from notes: Bottle drank in Ottawa.

Dark brown with a tan head of foam that rises nicely and is reviveable. Red edges as well. Aromas of toffee, caramel, sugar, cocoa powder, caramello, and roasted malts. Taste is roasted malt mixed with sweet milky cocoa and heath. Mouthfeel is kind of thin, as is the flavor for this one. Drinkability is HIGH. An exceptional daily drinker for those Canadians lucky enough to have it as a daily option.


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Photo of wjimson
4.17/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Somehow this beer gave no head at all from the pour, but it still looked really good. Similar to aged soy sauce by appearance. The smell is pleasant and the malt and coffee notes are evident. Upon initial tasting, I was caught off guard to the flavours that I was about to experience. Vaguely, the first sip was slightly sweet, malty, bitter, toffee like, all at once. After a few more sips and gulps, the hop aroma became very evident. This is a very hoppy beer, despite the chocolaty, malty, and roasted design. The roast coffee and malt served as the back bone, but the hop is highly aromatic. I admit that I cannot pinpoint the type of hop used, but I will hazard to guess that there is a high alpha acid hop variety used in the aroma development. Very nice. IMHP, this is one of the best stouts I have had.

PS, this beer is bottled conditioned. The yeast tasted nice.

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Photo of clockwerk
4.15/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 5

Served from that bad ass stubby into a wine glass.

A- Produces a dense mocha foam that recedes into a nice cap, and eventually ring, and then like, nothing by the end, but whatever. It's nice and dark. Held up to the light it produced mahogany edges, if only barely.

S- Nice strong notes of coffee and chocolate. Very pleasant. Didn't blow my mind, but solid. But then again, my sense of smell sucks. If you ever see me give anything a 5 for smell, you can trust it's pungent.

T- Right off the bat it's a kick in the mouth of coffee and chocolate. Really strong and nicely balanced. A hint of dark fruit kicks in mid palate, and gives way to a mildly vinous finish. The alcohol gets a little hot in the finish. But I actually like that, so it's good by me. It's not too far off Peche Mortel in terms of intensity, and more complex. Chocolate, Coffee, Dark Fruit and Wine.

M - Carbonation has a nice spritzy feel that hits and recedes wonderfully. Feels maybe a touch thin, but nothing that reduced my enjoyment of it.

D - I'm using this as a tilt. It's an 8.5% beer. How drinkable do YOU think it is? I'm tossing it a 5 here because I think this stuff will age well and reward the patient. It's also light enough I can down a couple without feeling full.

Overall, I'm really impressed. I'll flat out say for LCBO selection, I'll take this over BCS and Diabetes Brulee anyday. I hope people see how good this beer really is. I'm going to store a few bottles and see what happens.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.13/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to BA Derek for the sample.

Appearance: Damn near black with a thick chocolate milk head that lasts and lasts. Very attractive.

Aroma: Heath bars, roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate, and touches of molasses.

Taste: On the sweet side with a surprising amount of cherry like dark fruit flavors, although overall dominated by the expected coffee/dark roasted malt notes. Some chocolate breadiness with a nutty finish. Well bittered with slight fruity/boozy tartness.

Mouthfeel: Slightly acidic, balanced, a touch thin on body, chalky. Feels (and tastes when warmed) a little more boozy than the 6.7% stated on the label.

Drinkability: Outstanding. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of pootz
4.12/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

341ml Canuck "stubbie" bottle.

Small package for such a big beer...

Pores a deep black which defies light, rich 3 finger sticky mocha colored cap that lasts and laces.

Aroma is distinctly mocha aroma with light sweetness and a soft hint of dried fruit and hops.

Rich oily mouth feel, thick malt spine and deep dark roasty character.

Flavors: roast husks, coffee, pipe tobacco, bitter cocoa, chicory root, charred toast...and a lightly salty bittering finish.

Hides the alcohol well and is very drinkable...but its strength is a charred grains from the black patent malt creating an astringent affinity with the hops used...never had a stout that did this so well in such great balance.

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Photo of paxkey
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Love the stubby. Love that it comes from Ottawa where I spent 3 years at Carleton University.

This beer smacks you in the face as soon as the cap is pried. Thick complex malt aroma. It's well below freezing outside so this should do the trick.

After the pour the aroma remarkbly changes to brown apples , a bit sickly sweet, it wafts up from the head.

This stuff sure looks interesting ni the glass. It is very dark brown, close to black as described on bottle. The head is 3 or 4 fingers poured in a chalice. fluffy mocha head. lots of sticky lacing.

I'm past the rotting apples smell and again its pure malt coming through. whiskey, lots of bakers chocolate coming through. and roasty coffee smells.

The booze is present in the sip but it is mostly masked with very burnt tasting malts. tastes like coffee grounds. There is some hops spice and floweriness.

creamy mouthfeel with a long long finish. the beer stays in your mouth for awhile.

a nice imperial stout.

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Photo of iconoklaztor
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice black liquid with a rich tan head. The smell is phenomenal! Hops, chocolate, and coffee are the root of this evil. The taste is....

The taste is hoppy and coffee ridden. I really enjoy this. This brew is mighty tasty.

The mouth is creamy and complex. A little dry on the finish but a lovely imperial.

Overall, this is a nice beer. I like the taste and smell. I would certainly try this again!! Thanks to Phyl21ca for this brew!! Cheers!

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Photo of cratez
4.1/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008: Another superb Canadian stout. Pours ink black with a paper-thin tan head and grainy, sugary lacing on the snifter. Smell consists of dark bitter chocolate and sulfur. Taste is roasted malt, espresso, licorice, and pine nuts with a pronounced alcoholic finish. There's an underlying barley flavour. Mouthfeel is lush and velvety - in a word, perfect. I could certainly drink many of these despite the high ABV. Smooth, strong, and balanced. You need to try this brew!

2009: Heritage has stripped John By of its rich body, and the beer now emits a bizarre, burnt plastic aroma. So the rating reflects my 2008/2009 scores. To the brewer: go back to the old recipe.

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Photo of slitherySOB
4.04/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Another stubby bottle, and my second beer from this brewery. The beer doesn't pour as black as I expected. I expect imperial stouts to be black as motor oil. This was a very dark brown, almost black colour. Decent, thick, cloud white head sits atop. Very nice, but not what I was expecting. Strong smell of bitter coffee and espresso. Some malts as well, almost like burnt toast, but pleasing. Heavy, bittersweet taste. Lots of chocolates, black coffee, and dark bread, with a fig and plum aftertaste. Mouthfeel is a little heavy and slick. A good imperial stout, and perhaps a good crossover beer as it's not extremely bitter.

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John By Imperial Stout from Scotch Irish Brewing Company
Beer rating: 3.86 out of 5 with 84 ratings
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