Imperial Stout | Silver City Brewing Co.

very good
40 Reviews
Imperial StoutImperial Stout

Brewed by:
Silver City Brewing Co.
Washington, United States

Style: American Double / Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.25%

Availability: Winter

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 03-31-2005

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User Reviews
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Reviews: 40 | Ratings: 74
Reviews by Knuckles:
Photo of Knuckles
5/5  rDev +26.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Well, I have to admit I'm a little embarrassed by this review. I realize that I am a Silver City homer of the highest order, but in this case my ridiculously stellar review is absolutely warranted. Don Spencer introduced his eponymous Imperial Stout last fall, with little fanfare. The monthly email came out informing those of us on the mailing list that he was taking it to the GABF, and those of us that had no idea he was brewing one (which would basically be everyone not either related to Don or employed by Silver City) were left in eager anticipation. The goddam thing didn't release until NOVEMBER. Yeah, that's right, one entire month after the GABF. Damn Don Spencer, damn him straight to hell (but please, please, please leave hundreds of barrels of Fat and Imperial Stout before you go - and some La Fat would be a nice touch as well). Anyway, as soon as he got his lazy ass around to bottling that imperial stout (post-release of course), I bought a few bottles. They've been sitting in my cellar ever since.

Today, the Seattle area got what we like to call a "Winter Storm". Generally, this consists of reporters standing in areas like Issaquah or Shelton (where a few flakes might be coming down), issuing proclamations of weather doom while the rest of us continue working and just generally ignore them. However, the last time we had a "Winter Storm", most of the Puget Sound ignored the warnings and we got nailed. It wasn't like getting screwed by your grade school teacher named Katrina (that is one badass current events crack right there my friends), but it was annoying as hell for most people. So today, when snow fell for longer than two hours, all hell broke loose and everyone left work early to go home (primarily because no one in my office other than people on the CEO team can afford to live in Seattle proper). When I got home, I decided that this would be a perfect time to bust out one of my precious imperial stouts. The short version of the review would read like this: I SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT MORE, GODDAMMIT!!!

Appearance: Breaking from tradition, I poured it into my Allagash tulip (thanks again to BeerPanther for hooking me up with this). Looks cool, and makes me feel fancy. This beer is dark like my soul, dark like my coffee, and 180 degrees from my son's white, white belly. To put this in physics terms: consider a BMC lager to be matter, and this Imperial Stout to be antimatter. If the two were to collide at light speed, however, no energy would be released because that pussyass lager would be eaten by this beer. It's a black hole, muthafucka, and ready to take you to another beer dimension.

Smell: I haven't actually been to a winery since I was a kid. Growing up on the West Coast, my parents idea of a vacation was a road trip to California. We'd get the obligatory Disneyland stop, and then have to endure four days in the Napa Valley. However, I imagine that if I were to stick my incredibly large freaking nose into a just emptied Petite Sirah barrel, this beer is precisely how it would smell. Shorter version: Ohmyfuckingod.

Taste: There are words to describe just how spectacular a beer drinking experience this cellared imperial stout is, but "off tha hizzle" seems to be somewhat inadequate. So I will be derivative of myself. I've oft compared beers to Salma Hayek and/or Salma Hayek's pants. This beer is neither. This beer is Famke Janssen. Not the lameass "Jean Grey" Famke from the "X-Men" movies, but the leather pants and lingerie wearing, cigar smoking "Xenia Onatopp" Famke from whateverthehell James Bond movie that was. It's mysterious, it's smoky, it's sweet. It's a beer that is so complex, my wife gave it back to me. "It's too port-y," she said. That's ok, honey, I'll drink Famke til I can't see (which shouldn't be too long from now).

Mouthfeel: Like the inside of Famke Janssen's mythical leather pants. Soft, bold and perfect.

Drinkability: It's goddam good for my liver that I,
A) Only have one remaining swing cap and one remaining bomber of this and,
B) my kids are home.

If the two above requirements hadn't been met, I wouldn't be going to work tomorrow. This beer is incredible.

Fresh, this beer is damn good in my opinion (as you can see from my previous "on tap" review). But bottle conditioned and cellared, this beer is absolutely phenomenal. This is, hands down, the finest imperial stout I've ever had cross my lips. And the bottle is almost gone. Sigh...

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More User Reviews:
Photo of RoyalT
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance – Well, so far skyhand is the only one to get a head from this stout. I got zilcho. No cabeza on this cervesa. The body though was (overused cliché to follow) thick as motor oil. It was so black it almost glowed like radioactive coffee.

Smell – Let’s see, coffee, coffee grounds, coffee beans, old shirt with coffee stain, and kissing a really sexy coffee-addicted co-ed that works at Starbucks.

Besides that, there’s thick, roasted malt. This malt is roasty and burnt. That’s OK, because it’s mixed with some super high-powered sugar. This is like “12 lumps or 13?” in a cup of thick Joe. The sugar is raw sugar mixed with cane, which are two of my favorites.

In addition to all that, there are hops in here. It’s hard to tell exactly which kind, sense my olfactory nose gets kind of lazy post-orgasm, but they are there for sure. It’s like porn. I might not be able to describe it, but I know it when I smell it (aack – sorry).

Taste – Well, this Stout has alcohol in it. Lots and lots of alcohol. This boozy brethren brings all the “nuances” of the nose (read, “sludgehammer”) to the taste plus a bottle of Kettle 1.

Mouthfeel – This is as full-bodied as Dolly Parton wearing Allie McBeal’s bra (hey, cross-generational gratuitous sexist jokes). The alcohol doesn’t sting but is heavy in the throat. The huge sugars and bitter roasty malts send the saliva glands on an American Double Stout roller coaster. The beer itself is a bit flat but Silver City just changed bottlers so I’m guessing that it’s a quality control issue that they will eventually work through.

Drinkability – Drink this alone and it will go fast. Drink this with chocolate and it will disappear. Drink this with skyhand and don’t take your eyes off the bottle.

Update – I wrote this review off of an ’05 vintage so thought I’d tackle a new 2006. I like the head much better. Although it almost seemed flat as a popped the cap off the carbonation was good and the dead was dark and mysterious. Otherwise it’s “as advertised” in my original review. It’s one hell of an ADS, and really embodies the characteristics that differentiate the style from, say, the RIP or Baltic Porter.

 2,214 characters

Photo of BeerAdvocate
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from BeerAdvocate Magazine Issue #47 (Dec 2010):

Massive billow of cascading brown bubbles. After the pitch-black liquid settles, the head left is a beaut to look at. Iced espresso and dark chocolate make for a mouthwatering, rich nose. Slightly viscous, slightly silky, but very creamy full body. Grain character is dominant, with softer charcoal but more aggressive dark chocolate flavors. Warming alcohol lends black currant fruitiness. Hop bitterness really helps to balance and leaves a lingering of herbal piney flavor. Sweet, mildly roasty finish. It's refreshing to run into an Impy Stout that doesn't rely on excessive amounts of hops and alcohol.

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Photo of masikon
3.62/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick and syrupy with little carbonation, my bottle had little pop when opened and unfortunately little head, what was there was creamy and mocha in appearance. Nose was coffee and alcohol with an emphasis on crisp alcohol rather than earthy malts. Taste I thought was a bit overly peppery with a thinish mouthfeel, the expected chocolate malts and coffee notes stayed in the background rather than being in the forefront, I can't say I agree with many of the other me this is an average attempt at the style which falls short especially in mouthfeel.

 570 characters

Photo of kevwcamp
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of IntriqKen
4.45/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Vintage 2007
Many, many thanks to Skyhand for this offering.
Pours jet black with a half finger brown head that melts to a brownish tan ring of lacing.
Aromas are sweet toasted malts, dark candied fruits, dark brown sugar and a little alcohol.
Taste is dark, dark brown sugar, toasted malts, dark raisins and plums, a little touch of vanilla, and a bourbon kind of alcohol.
Aftertaste is sweet and warm with the alcohol burning slightly all the way down.
Mouthfeel finishes clean and not cloying.
This is an excellent Imperial Stout. I doubt I could ever get tired of it. There is a wonderful balance between the sweet start and drying finish.
Thanks Kim.

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Photo of mdaschaf
3.94/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Sammy
3.98/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

very smooth drinking stout, not overly sweet but certainly well malted and some chocolate malt there. Little bitterness, and so on a hot night we cleaned this 750 out quickly. A medium or lighter mouthfeel. Black as night. Significant and appropriate carbonation. Thanks Thebungyo.

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Photo of dirtylou
3.97/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bomber, sent by blackie in the form of interest income

appearance: pours a syrupy/slightly oily dark chocolate brown, bordering on black...a slightly foamy tan head that recedes to only minimal lacing. nice looking body, head/retention is merely average though

smell: cocoa powder, dark bittersweet chocolate, strong hop presence pokes its head out right away, strong coffee aromas, licorice, a touch of alcohol coming through, very roasty malts

taste: pretty impressive...licorice is heavy up front, bittersweet chocolate syrup, dark roast coffee, alcohol is delicately placed and not abrasive...roasted malt, tangy hop presence that does wonders for this one...smooth espresso

mouthfeel: medium body, moderately creamy, nice and bitter

drinkability: quite drinkable fo the style

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Photo of jmccraney
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of Alieniloquium
3.53/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

650 mL bottle poured into a snifter.

Appearance - Black body. Decent khaki head. Wispy.

Smell - Caramel and chocolate. Roasty malt. Some bright dark fruit, almost acidic.

Taste - Really chocolatey. Dries out quickly with a fair amount of caramel malt. Bitter in the back.

Mouthfeel - Thick. Medium carbonation.

Overall - Pretty good. Nothing spectacular.

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Photo of DOCRW
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of xxcarpxx
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of rfreed
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of CRJMellor
4.35/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark, ink black color with a deep, rich light brown colored head.
Aroma of coffee beans and some nuttiness come through first followed by a subtle yet powerful , resiny hop note.
Mouthfeel is very bitter floating over the top of a melted chocolate bar is my best description. Just the right amount of carbonation to make enjoyable and compliment the flavor profile. Some “hot” alcohol as it finishes but this adds to the meat of the brew and makes enjoyable.
Drinkability is top-notch. 2nd or 3rd offering from this establishment and all have been really exceptional. Thanks to Skyhand for this beautiful beer.

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Photo of Docer
3.65/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: (3.5)
- Super dark and somewhat clear brown brew. Very robust looking brown at the edges of the liquid. A heavy pour really didn't yield very much head, but a finger of light tan foam which quickly dissipated to a small ring, and some scattered traces in the middle.

Smell: (3.5)
- A rather sweet stout with quite the caramel scent really. Light roasted coffee flare, a bit of oatmeal chocolate, and quite the caramel flare. Little alcohol and grassy hop touch.

Taste: (4.0)
- Grainy, some oats and barley flare, perhaps a little roasted bready character.. overall some nice coffee flavors, and chocolate. Bitter coffee and grass hop flare. Little tart, perhaps a slight aceto edge to it, but overall it has a great balanced flavor and unique coffee-like touch to it.

Mouth Feel: (3.0)
- This is where I think this stout falls a bit short. It is a rather thin and watery stout. I expected a heavier body and a bit more foamy carbonation. It's well carbonated, but has the body of a bubbly pale ale.

Overall: (3.5)
- This stout has a great flavor, and shows promise. I just feel it can be refined a little more, and perhaps use a little more grain and build up some body. I wonder if some heavy adjunct usage occurred to boost the alcohol in this one. Just a little too home-brewy to me. Like the coffee/carmel flare though.

 1,341 characters

Photo of hannaho
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of waldowin
3.61/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

FINALLY snagged some of this stuff. Found out six months ago that it existed, and had to wait until a week ago to try some. Had it on tap, and it was excellent. Hopefully the bottled won't disappoint. This is labeled as an "Imperial Stout", and is very much in line with other RIS's I've had in the past, it should possibly be moved.

Pours a roasty smooth black, no light penetrates at all. A very dense brown head forms quickly, and is extremely slow to fade. Lacing is opaque.

Smells of hazelnuts, roasted coffee, and a bit of alcohol. Some nuttiness in the finish.

The start is all roast and alcohol, with a hint of hops to break the flavor. As it fades away it fills your mouth with a mix of raisins and a heavily-roasted espresso flavor. Tasty, smooth, and not too complex.

Mouthfeel is silky smooth, and just carbonated enough to cut the body. Not as "big" as I was hoping for, and the high ABV and heavy espresso finish makes it hard to go more than one bottle on this, but a very good brew from Silver City!

If you can get it on tap, definitely try some. It seemed a bit fresher, and more complex from the tap.

(note): As this brew warmed up, it lost a lot of character, and in fact became mostly an exercise in drinking bitter coffee beer. I definitely prefer the on-tap version.

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Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%

Photo of LiquidAmber
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Review from 11/2010 notes. Poured into a Gulden Draak tulip. Pours black with no tint. Nice medium tan head leaves lacing. Light malt and roasty malt aroma. Roasted and dark malt, chocolate, somewhat full flavored, but subdued. Finishes mildly with a bit of hops and roasted malt. A somewhat different RIS, but perhaps a little too reserved. No off notes, but nothing outstanding either.

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Photo of blackie
3.83/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

appearance: The our from the bomber creates a very nice dark mocha colored .5" head That slowly recedes. The beer is, well, pretty much black.

smell: Up front is a sweet, almost milk-chocolatey type smell, and a smoky aroma. It even seems that there is a hint of mint in there, almost smells like mint chocolate chip ice cream. Light hop aroma that I have trouble even picking out. Not much else to it...pleasing aroma, but not exciting, and kinda tame for an imperial.

mouthfeel: The carbonation is a lighter medium, and the body the same. Maybe a little thin, but okay.

taste: Good flavor for a stout, weak flavor for an RIS. Up front light roast and dark chocolate flavors. Light hop flavor and bitterness. Finishes with the aformentioned touch of bitterness and a lingering roasted astringency. A little of the smokiness, almost peat like.

drinkability: Easy drinking for the ABV, but not as bold in character as I would like an RIS to be.

Recieved in a trade with waldowin, and cellared for about two and a half months.

 1,039 characters

Photo of bespin15
4/5  rDev +1%

Photo of weeare138
3.95/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to dickinsonbeer for sharing this...
Appears a dark brown, nearing black with chestnut edges when held to the light. A small, dark tan head fades into a mild film and collar. Speckles of lacing are left like holes in a target after buck-shot penetrates it from a short distance.
Smell is of roasted nuts, cocoa, brownies, vanilla, black grapes, and mild oxidation.
Taste is of the same aromas with a touch of roasted grains and mild tartness.
Mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, chewy, roasty, and a bit thin on the finish.

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Photo of Birdlegs
4/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Photo of Braz
3.75/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Purchased at 99 Bottles.
Appearance: Beautiful almost black color with frothy tan head.
Smell: Sweet yet herby aromatics. Sounds strange but almost picked up a little bit of dryer sheet.
Taste: Good balance of bitter and sweet. Some dark chocolate and coffee notes followed up with some milk like sweetness. Roasted quality. Ever so slight metallic aftertaste, think it's hops.
Mouthfeel: Very velvetty. Smooth and creamy. Lightly carbonated.
Overall: Very decent. Solid choice. I like the slightly hoppy aftertaste, it grew on me after a while.

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Imperial Stout from Silver City Brewing Co.
3.96 out of 5 based on 74 ratings.
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