Beginner Imperial Stout Recommendations

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by BeerGuy8315, Aug 31, 2016.

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  1. BeerGuy8315

    BeerGuy8315 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2016 Iowa

    Hey guys, I've always been a hoppy IPA/DIPA guy, but I want to start getting into Stouts. Obviously there are some great, highly sought after stouts, but I'm looking for some that are good, readily available, and on the cheaper end of the spectrum. I just want something where I can start to "get used" to the flavors and appreciate the style. Also, I live in MN, so they'd have to be available here in the Midwest. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!
    archiebunkerjr and dcotom like this.
  2. SFNC

    SFNC Zealot (514) Apr 7, 2013 North Carolina

    Pull up a seat, this could take a while.
  3. johnnybgood1999

    johnnybgood1999 Disciple (346) Oct 31, 2008 Virginia

    If you want to start out real light founders porter is a very meaty and somewhat hoppy porter that could put you on track. Not an imperial, but no lightweight at 6.5% abv.

    Old Rasputin and yeti are actual imperials that have your basic flavors. They weigh in around 9% and aren't overwhelming for the style. Of course, founders breakfast stout is an American double, yet should fit the bill.
  4. drunkenmess

    drunkenmess Savant (924) Mar 27, 2015 Michigan

    Lagunitas Imperial Stout. Cheap and readily available. Also very delicious.
  5. moonbrews

    moonbrews Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2010 Virginia

    New Holland Dragon's Milk
  6. Ranbot

    Ranbot Defender (644) Nov 27, 2006 Pennsylvania

    Gemini6, mikeinportc and Jacobier10 like this.
  7. zid

    zid Meyvn (1,241) Feb 15, 2010 New York

    Why do you want to "get into" them?
  8. Crim122

    Crim122 Initiate (0) Aug 4, 2014 North Carolina

    I can only tell you what I did, and I jumped right into a can of TEN Fidy. It was agonizing but I loved every moment of it.

    Sounds like they're where I was at. After drinking nothing but IPA/DIPA for years it was time to expand.
  9. PJ_

    PJ_ Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2014 North Carolina

    Traders Joe's - Stockyard

    It's only $7 for the 6pack (here in Ohio) and it's not that bad for what it is.

    Then look for Founder's and Bell's stuff.

    Still going? Move to Oskar Blues Ten Fidy
    jvgoor3786, dmgallag, Gemini6 and 2 others like this.
  10. BeerGuy8315

    BeerGuy8315 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2016 Iowa

    I've only ever really drank pale ales, IPAs, and the like and I'm just looking to branch out and try something new. Stouts seem like a fun style to get into with all the variants, etc. The whole cellaring aspect and seeing how flavors develop and change seems kinda interesting too.
    PSU_Mike, jrnyc, GuyFawkes and 2 others like this.
  11. Jacobier10

    Jacobier10 Poo-Bah (2,370) Feb 23, 2004 New Jersey

    If you've never had a stout and want to start "getting used to" the flavors, I recommend trying some porters and non-imperial stouts first.

    If you'd rather just dive in head first to the imperials, here are some good, affordable, and available starting points:
    Samuel Smith's Imperial Stout
    Great Divide Yeti
    Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
    Sierra Nevada Narwhal
  12. fehrminator

    fehrminator Devotee (410) Jan 26, 2008 North Carolina

    Founders imperial stout
    Old Rasputin
    Ten fidy
    Brooklyn black chocolate
    Victory Storm King

    Enjoy. You're headed down a very deep and delicious rabbit hole.
  13. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (12,926) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Big Sky Ivan The Terrible. Really excellent regional beer, available in Minnesota. Real thick "chewy" beer. I've had a lot of different stouts, and this is one of my favorites.

  14. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (3,052) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts

    North Coast - Old Rasputin
    Founders - Breakfast Stout

    Maybe even a Black Ale/IPA for a smooth hop to stout transition.
  15. Invinciblejets

    Invinciblejets Devotee (467) Sep 29, 2014 South Carolina

    For me it was spiced stouts.
    Like BOMB!, xocoveza..Mexican cake and such that really got me into stouts.
    chrismann65, Jmorey, IannG and 3 others like this.
  16. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,625) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    If you get Tallgrass in your neck of the woods, try Buffalo Sweat and its variants. I also recommend New Holland (MI) The Poet (oatmeal stout) and Breckenridge 72 Imperial (milk stout). Ten FIDY and Lagunitas Imperial Stout, as others have recommended, are excellent. You'd probably like Mikkeller Beer Geek Vanilla Shake, but it's rather expensive compared to most of the other recommendations here. Good luck!
    TonyLema1 likes this.
  17. lester619

    lester619 Initiate (0) Apr 17, 2009 Wisconsin

    A beginner imperial stout is kind of like Cartman's diet double dew from the zip-lining episode.
    #17 lester619, Aug 31, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
  18. deford

    deford Initiate (0) Nov 11, 2013 California

    Don't know that I'd start with an "Imperial"....just saying'....maybe something a bit more accessible...
  19. Junior

    Junior Crusader (744) May 23, 2015 Michigan
    Society Trader

    MA_hops and StoutElk_92 like this.
  20. skleice

    skleice Aspirant (274) Aug 6, 2015 Connecticut

    I agree that Founders Porter would be a great start.
  21. jneff33

    jneff33 Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2010 Michigan

    Love my Michigan imperial stouts, but Great Lakes Blackout stout is a great gateway RIS.
    Metalsnota likes this.
  22. Codyiii420

    Codyiii420 Initiate (42) Mar 15, 2011 Wisconsin

    You should have Liftbridge Imperial there, it's a winner in my book.
  23. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (12,926) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Prairie Pirate Bomb. Wow, much better than regular Bomb!

    Jangoon24 likes this.
  24. Codyiii420

    Codyiii420 Initiate (42) Mar 15, 2011 Wisconsin

    Another not mentioned,
    Silhouette Russian Imperial is the real name, sorry.
  25. Hoos78

    Hoos78 Aspirant (271) Mar 3, 2015 Ohio

    I have to agree with those that have suggested starting wth porters or non-imperial stouts. New Holland The Poet is a really nice oatmeal stout with a low abv. Deschutes' Black Butte and Obsidian are worth a look too.

    If you are dead set on wading into Imperials, the previous suggestion of Brooklyn Black Chocolate is ideal. Cheap, easy to find, and delicious.
  26. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,242) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    I'll echo what @Jacobob10 said and suggest that maybe you start with some porters and lighter stouts and work up to Imperial Stouts.

    Heres a few suggestions:
    • Founders Porter (Founders is limited in distribution to MN, but hopefully you can get it near you) shouldn't run you more than $10 for a six pack.
    • Guiness Foreign Extra Stout is a good "lighter" lower ABV stout to start on - it also is hoppier than most stouts. Its a bit pricier at $9 for a 4 pack, but its good.
    • Samuel Smith's Oatmeal Stout - nice basic style stout. Again a bit pricier at $10 for a 4-pack.
    • Old Rasputin Imperial Stout - a real classic, inexpensive for the style and a very good example.
    • Founders Breakfast stout is coming out now and is incredible.
    • Founders Imperial Stout comes out in the winter (Jan/Feb) and is excellent.
    • Big Sky's Ivan the Terrible is also good.
    • Bells Expedition Stout is killer - its an Imperial stout - but this one is pricy, so maybe pick it up after you've had some experience within the style.
    Most of all, have fun! try new stuff and see what grabs your taste.
  27. magilldm

    magilldm Initiate (56) May 2, 2015 Pennsylvania

    Can't believe nobody has said Deschutes Blacke Butte Porter & Obsidian Stout, both classic offerings readily available (maybe?)

    *edit: Hoos78 beat me to it
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  28. MikeyBadnews

    MikeyBadnews Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2013 Massachusetts

    The best answer is Founders Breakfast, it's readily available, and really REALLY good.

    You can delve deeper afterwards.
  29. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (12,926) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Some people think that the season that follows Fall is Winter, but we know it is really Stout season...

    Too many good choices.
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  30. FBarber

    FBarber Poo-Bah (4,242) Mar 5, 2016 Illinois
    Moderator Society Trader

    False, its always stout season :wink:
    Pilgrim, bluejacket74, jrnyc and 9 others like this.
  31. DrumKid003

    DrumKid003 Initiate (0) Aug 10, 2013 Oklahoma

    Great Divide Yeti (and variants)
    Tallgrass Buffalo Sweat Stout
    Guinness Extra Stout & Foreign Extra Stout (none of that 4% Guinness Draught)
    Founders Breakfast Stout
    Sierra Nevada Narwhal
    Mikkeller Beer Geek Breakfast
    Boulevard Imperial Stout
    Stone Xocoveza
    New Holland The Poet
    bbtkd and FBarber like this.
  32. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (2,630) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    Yep, had a nice sipping Kbs last night.
    NizzleEGizzle, bbtkd and FBarber like this.
  33. flaskman

    flaskman Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2015 New York

    Any of the Evil Twin stouts are great. Not too expensive and in my opinion very good. Siberian Nights, Yeti, I love them all.
    MusicBeer_1961, gibgink and bbtkd like this.
  34. donspublic

    donspublic Poo-Bah (1,983) Aug 4, 2014 Texas
    Society Trader

    Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro, took one six pack to wake me up to the dark side. I recommend this because the nitro dumbs down some of the malt bitterness. I am not a nitro fan, but at the time I had this beer I wasn't a stout fan. Now I like stouts and don't like nitro. Conundrum.
  35. Fordcoyote15

    Fordcoyote15 Savant (977) Nov 19, 2011 Kentucky

    A lot of good stouts mentioned in here but not necessarily "entry" imo. I wouldn't suggest ones like narwhal or storm king simply for how bitter with roastyness they can come off initially.

    Imo more palatable ones for someone new to the style could be ... Even more jesus and blackout stout. Imperial biscotti break and breakfast stout if he wants to go the coffee route. Dragons milk for barrel aged.

    Honorable mentions to dark apparition and stoudts fat dog.
    #35 Fordcoyote15, Aug 31, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
    FBarber likes this.
  36. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (7,866) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Society Trader

    You like hoppy beers and so do I. Do you have access to Victory Brewing - Storm King? (IMO, the hoppiest Imperial Stout I've ever had.)
    #36 jzeilinger, Aug 31, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2016
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  37. dutesanch

    dutesanch Initiate (0) Apr 22, 2014 California

    Big bad Baptist from Epic. Love it
  38. beermeplz

    beermeplz Aspirant (270) Feb 13, 2015 California

    skip the mediocre stuff, go straight for some classics.

    easy picks for me: ten fidy, expedition, founders imperial
    chrismann65 likes this.
  39. gopens44

    gopens44 Poo-Bah (2,349) Aug 9, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    Old Rasputin broke me in. In fact, I was so moved by it's awesomeness that I ended up mail ordering an Old Rasputin tee shirt, and that was back when ordering off of a number on the carrier was the only option. Ya, that's commitment. My other recommendations would be Siberian Knights from Thirsty Dog if it's available in your area and Narwhal when it hits. All three of those stouts are IMO complex enough to hold your interest without being overhyped and priced to match. All three are bargains for what you are getting.
    Crim122 likes this.
  40. michman

    michman Initiate (0) Oct 14, 2005 Illinois

    Bells Kalamazoo(vastly underappreciated beer), bells double cream, Young's chocolate, Shakespeare stout, hell even Guinness, left hand milk Stout, Sierra Nevada stout, Sam Smith oatmeal stout...all good places to start. I'd also recommend some good porters to begin with. Founders, great lakes Eddy fitz, fullers Porter, Sam Smith's taddy Porter...too many to list
    DiUr likes this.
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