Who's brewing the best non-barrel-aged Imperial Stouts/Porters right now?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Dupage25, Nov 20, 2014.

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  1. Dupage25

    Dupage25 Initiate (0) Jul 4, 2013 Antarctica

    I'm curious to get people's views on this. There's always talk of which brewery makes the best barrel-aged imperial stouts/porters, and it usually seems to come down to some argument in favor of Goose Island, Cigar City, Firestone Walker or Founders.

    But who do you think is making the best barrel-free version(s)? Is it a readily-available staple like Brooklyn with their Black Chocolate Stout, Ballast Point with their Victory at Sea or North Coast with their Old Rasputin? Is it a brewery with frequent one-offs?

    I'm leaning towards Evil Twin right now.
  2. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Initiate (0) Jun 18, 2002 Arizona

    Founders Porter
    Founders Imperial Stout

    Alaskan Baltic Porter, when available
  3. riotontheroad

    riotontheroad Devotee (431) Apr 7, 2010 California

    Old Raspy will always be at the top for me. Victory at Sea is a damn good beer though!!! Also, modern times has some good offerings (black house and monsters park).
  4. msscott1973

    msscott1973 Devotee (428) Dec 28, 2013 North Carolina

    Ten FIDY is damn delicious but pretty pricey for a 4-pack.
  5. AdmiralOzone

    AdmiralOzone Poo-Bah (2,146) Jun 26, 2014 Minnesota
    Society Trader

    Agree with OP in that Evil Twin putting out some nice stouts. Would also add Dark Horse Plead the 5th, Old Raspy, FIS, Ten Fidy, and Sierra Nevada Narwhal.
  6. mcomben

    mcomben Initiate (0) Dec 2, 2008 Michigan


    Founders' other limited release offerings get a lot more attention than their imperial stout, but this is easily one of my favorite beers they produce. It certainly gets a lot of love around here, so I'm not saying its a sleeper, but you can usually find bottles of it on shelves for a LONG time and when Founders does a tap takeover this beer seems to be most likely to still be going strong for days after.

    Perhaps part of my love for this beer is its relative ease to acquire.
  7. kbuzz

    kbuzz Initiate (0) Jan 22, 2011 North Carolina

    FIS recently came in second place in a blind non-BA imperial stout tasting my group had recently...MZ was first.

    Other that came in places behind them?? Kate the Great, Baller, Darkness...
  8. markdrinksbeer

    markdrinksbeer Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2013 Massachusetts

    Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.
    If you can find this, grab a 4 pack and enjoy the hell out of it. It is delicious.
  9. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Poo-Bah (1,804) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado
    Society Trader

    If you break it down to $/oz its cheaper than most imperial stouts.
    I'm throwing odell in the ring with lugene and seconding ten fidy. Sooo good.
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  10. Hoppsbabo

    Hoppsbabo Initiate (0) Jan 29, 2012 England

    Samuel Smiths of course. Best Impy stout outright.
  11. Davepoolesque

    Davepoolesque Initiate (0) Aug 25, 2012 Massachusetts

    The best non BA stout for me is probably Pretty Things Barbapapa.
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  12. robear

    robear Initiate (0) May 24, 2014 Wisconsin

    FIS is hard to beat. Pt5, when you can find it, is awesome. Central Waters Satin Solitude is quite nice and a touch lower on ABV than most Imperial Stouts @ 7.5%

    I think every market has a few really good local stouts. Black Husky Twelve-Dog is very good.

    Societe in San Diego makes my all-time favorite Imperial Stout, the Butcher.
  13. Benish

    Benish Meyvn (1,171) Mar 13, 2013 Wisconsin

    Either Ten Fidy or Plead the Fifth. I just simply can't pick one.
  14. Benish

    Benish Meyvn (1,171) Mar 13, 2013 Wisconsin

    Man I want to try the Twelve-Dog.
  15. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (5,486) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    Founders Imperial Stout, Alesmith Speedway Stout, Oskar Blues TenFIDY are my "Big Three" of non-BA imperial stouts.

    Others that are noteworthy:
    Evil Twin imperial stouts - a lot of them. Imperial Doughnut Break was divine; Lil' B is fantastic (for an imperial porter, *cough*).
    Prairie Bomb! - spiced stout, but not BA. One of my favorite beers.
    SN Narwhal
    Clown Shoes - again, a bunch of them. Blaecorn Unidragon might be my favorite of their non-BA offerings.
    Bell's Expedition Stout
    Dark Horse Plead the 5th
    DFH World Wide Stout

    That's probably enough. :wink:
  16. Ohsdrummer08

    Ohsdrummer08 Initiate (0) Sep 2, 2014 California

    I've always like the stout/ porter offerings of both Avery and Deschutes (although they were priced a bit lower a year ago). But aside from those mentioned already on the thread, I like Green Flash's Double Stout. Reasonable price if I recall, and definitely worth a try.
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  17. FutureJack

    FutureJack Initiate (0) Oct 30, 2007 California

    My personal favorites that are distributed in my area:

    Year round - Old Viscosity by Port/Lost Abbey, Speedway, Green Flash Double Stout, El Segundo Standard Crude
    Seasonal - Stone IRS, Santa's Little Helper

    I love Breakfast Stout, Brooklyn Black and several others, but they don't have distro where I live.
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  18. FaradayUncaged

    FaradayUncaged Initiate (0) Oct 24, 2014 Michigan

    GLBC Black Out
    Founder's Porter
    Bell's Special Double Cream

    Regular Narwhal's some good stuff as well.
  19. kbuzz

    kbuzz Initiate (0) Jan 22, 2011 North Carolina

    damn...forgot about blackout...that's a nice beer.
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  20. nick0417

    nick0417 Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2014 Illinois

    Founders Breakfast Stout
    Sierra Nevada Narwhal
    Victory Storm King Stout
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  21. EricTKole

    EricTKole Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2014 Michigan

    I second Great Lakes Blackout Stout.
  22. fredmugs

    fredmugs Initiate (0) Aug 11, 2012 Indiana

    Marshall Zhukov (by a landslide)
    Bell's Expedition
    Peche Mortel
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    THANAT0PSIS Initiate (0) Aug 3, 2010 Wisconsin

    As far as which breweries are doing the best non-BA stouts/porters overall I'd have to give nods to Cigar City, Founders, Bells, Great Lakes, Sierra Nevada, and Deschutes, in that order. I chose not to just pick a single beer from an otherwise mediocre brewer (Dark Horse comes to mind) but rather a brewer that has at least two high quality porters/stouts. I also ignored the "imperial" qualifier since it seems to be unfortunately quite rare that an imperial stout isn't barrel-aged these days. Hill Farmstead could be in this conversation, too, even though I think that's Mr. Hill's weakest style.
  24. gibgink

    gibgink Champion (871) Oct 27, 2014 Missouri

    For stouts, I would say that Ten Fidy sets the bar. There are better, but it will give a lot of stouts a run for their money.

    For porter, I have a preference for Fuller's London Porter.
  25. gopens44

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

    I'd round out the Michigan non-BA goodness with Expedition and Plead the 5th as well.
  26. ABW

    ABW Initiate (0) May 26, 2014 Texas

    I love Victory at sea and any stout by Prairie. FBS and Ten Fiddy are delicious as well.
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  27. bluehende

    bluehende Poo-Bah (2,164) Dec 10, 2010 Delaware

    Best I have had recently


    And a 1 yr aged keg of Gonzo from flying dog. Sorry this one is a bit rough to get.
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  28. Buschyfor3

    Buschyfor3 Initiate (0) Jan 4, 2009 Kentucky

    Ten Fidy
    Pretty much anything Evil Twin - Imperial Biscotti Break, Imperial Doughnut Break, Even More Jesus, Love You With My Stout
    ST Choklat/Mokah
    Brooklyn BCS
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  29. Roguer

    Roguer Poo-Bah (5,486) Mar 25, 2013 Georgia
    Moderator Society Trader

    ...or Narwhal for under $10 per 4-pack. Your prices are all a couple bucks more than mine, except FIS, which is often a bit more.

    But that's neither here nor there. OP was what are some of the best non-BA stouts. The Evil Twin stouts are too expensive, but they're also damn good.
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  30. Dupage25

    Dupage25 Initiate (0) Jul 4, 2013 Antarctica

    Eh, I rarely see FIS for less than $14.99, and FBS ranges from $10.99 to $14.99. I can get Lil B and I Love You With My Stout for $15.99 a four-pack pretty easily. Then again, FIS just doesn't do it for me at all.
  31. Young_John

    Young_John Initiate (0) Sep 22, 2014 New York

    Here are my fav's from most to least:
    Founders Imperial Stout (hard to find, for me anyway)
    Sierra Nevada Narwhal
    Green Flash American Double Stout
    North Coast Old Rasputin
    Lagunitas Imperial Stout - too bad this one only comes in a bomber or I'd have it more often

    I should include Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout as well (I'm cellaring a case of that and the Narwhal right now), but I count it separately in an "extra chocolaty" category.

    Evil Twin's "Even More Jesus" gets a nod from me too, but too $$ for me to consider against every thing above.
    #31 Young_John, Nov 20, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2014
  32. SeanBond

    SeanBond Meyvn (1,092) Jul 30, 2013 Illinois

    My personal list is:

    1)Darkness (not this year's, though)
    2)Dark Lord (way too sweet for some)
    3)Founders Imperial Stout

    Other awesome, usually easier to get a hold of stouts:

    Ten Fidy
    Old Rasputin
    Ivan the Terrible
    Black Chocolate Stout (great deal)
    Dark Truth Stout
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  33. Beer_4_Me

    Beer_4_Me Initiate (0) May 15, 2014 Texas

    I'm in Dallas and am lucky to have 2 really solid stouts available. Popular one is Lakewood Temptress, but this last September or so Community released their RIS, Legion which is amazeballs as well! If you guys have access to either, they are both worth picking up a 4-pk!
  34. BearsOnAcid

    BearsOnAcid Initiate (0) Mar 17, 2009 Washington

    Twilight, Earl, and Everett are some of his best beers. Im not sure how much better you can make those.
  35. Wolfhead

    Wolfhead Initiate (0) Sep 1, 2009 Illinois

    Founders Imperial is #1 for me followed by Ten Fidy, Storm King, Narwhal and Ivan the Terrible

    Love Breakfast Stout too but I don't drink that as a Stout, it's more of a breakfast food group to me in the chilly months
  36. TongoRad

    TongoRad Poo-Bah (2,852) Jun 3, 2004 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    That would be on my list, too. I prefer a nice yeast signature/dark fruit component, and not overly roastiness. I'd also add Sinebrychoff Porter and Nogne O (Porter and Imperial Stout) to my list.

    For American style I'm also going with Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, the first-runnings technique gives it a pretty unique malt profile; and Narwhal, for its great synergy with the hops and its lean yet silky mouthfeel.
  37. SCbrewpubfan

    SCbrewpubfan Initiate (148) May 27, 2010 South Carolina

    Rogue Imperial Stout
    Nitro Wake Up Dead
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  38. MisSigsFan

    MisSigsFan Initiate (0) Mar 2, 2013 California

    Old Raspy, Ten FIDY, V@S, Narwhal, Speedway
  39. Fox82791

    Fox82791 Initiate (0) Jun 20, 2014 New York

    Well the question was what BREWERY is making the best stoutS so evil twin definitely takes it with 3 imperial stouts and 2 imperial porters
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  40. charlzm

    charlzm Initiate (0) Sep 3, 2007 California

    Alesmith Speedway Stout.
    Stone Imperial Russian Stout.
    North Coast Old Rasputin
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