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RATINGS: 501   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.13/5   SEASONAL: Winter   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
Our rich, roasted black ale inspired by the strong stouts exported by Great Britain in the 1800's to the Russian Czar's court.

Editor's Note: ABV changed to 10.5% in 2008 (was previously 9.5%).

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Pailhead (6143) - Plymouth, Michigan, USA - OCT 16, 2005
Bottle: Courtesy of Crosling via trade. Excellent aroma of coffee, dark chocolate, vanilla cream, and roasted grain. Pours a dark brown, no transparency, with a nice tan head that lasts a minute or so. Initial flavors of dark chocolate, vanilla, and roasted grain. Finishes with a roasted coffee bitterness. Mostly creamy mouthfeel with a touch of fizziness. Cafe mocha aftertaste. Gets a tad more maltier as you get to the bottom of the bottle.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 15/20
JohnC (3004) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - SEP 9, 2005
2005 Bottle Pours blackish with a thin cocoa-puff colored head. The aroma is a bit subdued: a hint of malt & chocolate When I took a sip, I initially got a tart taste on the tip of my tongue, which I didnít like. Otherwise, it was dry, roasty w/ a clean finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ClarkVV (4841) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - AUG 29, 2005
UPDATED: AUG 25, 2006 2005 bottle generously opened by Eyedrinkale on 8/19/05 and drank by me the next morning for breakfast. Thick, inky black-brown colored beer, highly unfiltered and still pours a lovely tan head, well-retained and full of lacing. Smells quite restrained, dosent blow you away with hops or coffeeish roasted malt. Light anise, spanish coffee, prunes, raisins and a light milk chocolate. A bit of dry, earthy yeast in there too, with dry peanut brittle and green hops (herbal-floral, with just a touch of minty bitterness). Pleasant but dosent make me jump out of my seat and scream. First thing I notice upon drinking it, is how soft, milky-smooth and drinkable it is. Oily, rich fudgey chocolate and light roastiness. Hops come out on the end, with a green bitterness and flavorful, leafy, almost fruity and lightly herbal (mint, wintergreen). Towards the bottom of the bottle, gets a bit gritty, which I love, due to how unfiltered it is. A bit dulled towards the bottom of the bottle too, no doubt from the sediment. Only light fruit flavors emerge in this one, much less than in most other popular examples of the style. I really like that this is not overdone with hops bitterness and has more than just roast and dark chocolate. Itís a refreshing and drinkable take on the style. As the flavors build up on the palate, light black coffee from the salty roast really get intriguing, adding a touch of smokiness. Alcohol is well-concealed throughout the entire bottle. Moderate carbonation, perhaps too much for my liking. Itís wonderful that it isnít overdone, but just being not overdone does not a top50 beer make, in my book, anyways. Thanks again Mike.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
Sammy (10327) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - AUG 14, 2005
2004 bottle laid in cellar for a few months. Coca-cola dark colour and strong Southampton carbonation. Mellowed taste, and medium mouthfeel not a thick Russian porter. Easy drink, but its like a Coca-Cola in strong caramel, though some grais of cocoa, I am sorry fans, please donít flame me. Enjoyable but overated.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Suttree (5767) - Knoxville, Tennessee, USA - JUL 17, 2005
This one was very impressive. Black, of course, with a huge brown head. Great aroma of chocolate and cherry, with hints of prune and port. Milky palate. Big list of flavors - chocolate and coffee, as one might expect from an imperial, plus rasin, cherry, port, and plums. My deScription doesnít really do it justice - simply listing flavors and smells doesnít truly convey how well blended and complex this one is. Big thanks to Springslicker for this one!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
arjoseph (642) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUN 30, 2005
22 oz. bottle into tulip glass, The Friday imperial stout tasting (beer #36). Smack dab in the middle of the Murdererís Row at the end of The Friday, this deserved the company around it. Following Peche Mortel, this had a huge mountain to climb, and it didnít suffer for the placement. Coffee roast in the aroma was less than the Peche, but of a more subtle character. Roasty coffee flavor was a nice intensity for the less-full body, I was amazed that it could pack that much of a punch. Unfortunately, the flavor took on a bit of a tang that Iím never a fan of, but in this beer it seemed more of a complement than a detraction. Standard looking in the glass, nothing of note. As solid as solid can be, with some superlatives in the flavor; I felt that the sum was better than any of the individual parts.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
DarkElf (3050) - La Jolla, California, USA - JUN 23, 2005
UPDATED: JUN 26, 2005 (22 oz bottle: Obtained in trade with footbalm, thanks Eric!) Usually I build up to a final summary by the end of the review, but Iím just come right out and say it. Despite a lot of stiff competition, this is one of the finest Imperial Stouts Iíve tasted. Starting with the visuals, this is an amazingly beautiful beer that is practically perfect. Pouring out of the bottle down the side of the glass (to prevent a glass filled with a billowing head), it runs down with tremedous viscosity, leaving a mini oil slick behind to coat the glass. Despite the careful pour, close to two inches of head builds up. It slowly drops to about half an inch, but holds that level for the duration of the session. The moderately aromatic nose is dominated by roast and chocolate, but doesnít smell especially sweet. Of all the aspects, Iíd rate the nose as the least impressive, but itís still pretty inviting. The roast and chocolate that are present in the nose just explode in my mouth right from the first sip, especially the ashtray roastiness, which is the dominant force in the beer. Wow, this is impressive! Itís quite sweet, but that is balanced by a strong bitterness from start to finish, with a long bitter aftertaste. Alcohol is quite evident, but seems in line with such an immense flavor. Big and beefy mouthfeel, full bodied to be sure, viscous and somewhat sticky, this is a beer that coats the palate and stays there. In my opinion, the only thing that keeps this offering from rivaling the best Imperial Stouts is the lack of a cherry undertone. Otherwise, a sterling effort from a great brewery.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 17/20
lilannie (384) - Adamstown, Maryland, USA - JUN 18, 2005
Aroma: french roast coffee, roasted coffee beans, some cream, some bittersweet chocolate, and some smokiness
Appearance: very dark brown, light brown head, some lacing
Flavor: bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, some milk, some smokiness
Palate: a little thin--not as thick as some I?ve had--didn?t pour like motor oil, also lacking a little robustness
Overall: though this beer ranks up there next to Rogue?s, I think Rogue?s imperial stout is still a bit better--more robust, complex, and thick

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
3fourths (8879) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - JUN 18, 2005
UPDATED: APR 13, 2007 22oz bottle. Acidic, bitter campfire and toasted, burnt hops in the nose. Palate is thinner than expected up front and over the middle... flavors gravitate towards a sort of simple milky charred malt, with some light wood smoke and mocha. Not as complex as I was expecting, and overall a let down while still being a very decent imperial stout.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
BBB63 (6507) - La Porte, Indiana, USA - JUN 18, 2005
Bottle and rating #1900

Pours nearly opaque with coppery highlights, an initial creamy tan head and good lace. The aroma has notes of black patent malt and chocolate malt, raisin, prune, molasses, floral hops, and a hint of espresso. The taste starts with a nice balance of bittersweetness heavy malt notes finished off with coffee and mild bitters. Additional undertones of mocha, prune, and a touch of sea salt. The feel is a bit underwhelming all things considered. Seemed to be oily and lively enough, but thinner than I expected. Quite good but does not rank in my top 10 impyís which is hard list to break anyway. Beer geek worthy

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