Imperial Russian Stout – Brouwerij Emelisse (Netherlands)

Imperial Russian Stout – Brouwerij Emelisse, 11% ABV, 33 cl., (Kamperland, Netherlands)

  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Superbly hidden ABV smooth thick composed sweet roasted barley malt cocoa bittersweet finish
  • Where I got it : Bainbridge Liquor / Vancouver
  • How much: $5.70 CAD (after 10% off) – 33 cl., February 2016
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: worth a try

Visual: Pours jet black with a small slowly dissipating head, micro fine ringed retention with a medium island, barely visible far scattered super slow micro streams.

Nose: sweet medium roast barley malt, molasses, hints of vanilla. (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: half thick-slick, subtle crisp

Mid-palate: medium-heavy thick barley malts, (lvl-7-sweetness), medium woody roast, cocoa,

Finish: background alcohol tangy on the tongue, soft burnt bittersweet, half licorice notes, vanilla, lingering roasted barley notes

Summary: 11% ABV nowhere to be seen –  almost completely hidden alcohol unless you look for it. Impressively balanced sip from start to finish. It doesn’t have particularly bold flavours but what is noticeable about this one is its agreeable entry and its firm body. Great composure.

Russian Imperial Stout – Parallel 49 Brewery (Vancouver, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: B

Russian Imperial Stout – Parallel 49 Brewery, 10.9% ABV – 750ml., (Vancouver, BC, Canada)

on the front left-side label:

“In the 18th century, this bold, strong stout was brewed in London for the long and treacherous trip to the Imperial courts of Russia. In keeping with this stoic tradition, this whiskey-barrel aged imperial stout is warm, full bodied and fit for a Czar. Ingredients: Roasted Barley, Pale, Chocolate, Munich & Crystal Malts, Magnum & Fuggles Hops, Yeast.”

  • Style: (Whiskey-Oak) Barrel-Aged Russian Imperial Stout
  • Taste: Alcoholic caramel-chocolate sweet malts w/ oaked whiskey backdrop
  • Where I got it : Brewery Creek
  • How much: $12 (after 10% off) – 650ml., January 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Yay! Finally a review of a local beer. Sealed with wax and a cap. Pours inkjet black with a smallish creamy head, a thin layer of retention, some lacing, active streams visible near the surface.

Nose: rich caramel malts (lvl-7)-pungency

Attack: light fizzy-creamy, incoming heavy malts

Mid-palate: alcohol heaviness, (lvl-6)-sweetness, (MAIN) caramel malts, subtle roast, chocolate, soy sauce, cola, sweet oaked whiskey

Finish: tingly, medium boozy, sweet chocolate malt finish with light hopped bitterness.

Summary: Solid flavours, body, and drinkability. It could be a bit creamier but overall the texture is pleasant.

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout – North Coast Brewing (Fort Bragg, California, USA)


  • My Rating: B

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout – North Coast Brewing, 9% ABV – 12 fl.oz., (Fort Bragg, CA, USA)

on the neck, front label:

“Brewed in the tradition of the 18th century English brewers who supplied the Russian court of Catherine the Great, Old Rasputin develops a cult following wherever it goes. It’s a rich, intense brew with big, complex flavours & a warming finish.”

  • Style: (Russian-style) Imperial Stout
  • Taste: creamy bitter -> burnt malts/dark roast/chocolate -> lingering bittersweet hopped finish.
  • Where I got it : Firefly
  • How much: $3 (after 10% off) – 12 fl.oz., February 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes, definitely for stout fans

Visual: Good ‘ol Rasputin on the front label. Makes me wanna sing “Ra, Ra, Rasputin, lover of the Russian queen…” Love the 70s jams. Nonetheless, this pours almost pitch black with some brown in there, a large sized dissipating creamy head, lots of sticky lacing, decent retention, lots of activity.

Nose: roasted malts, cacao, burnt coffee. (6/10)-pungency

Attack: cream-foamy, incoming biting bitter-sweetness

Mid-palate: (6/10)-sweetness, high bitterness, light sourness, (MAIN) burnt malts, bitter roast, dark chocolate

Finish: long roasted bitterness, bittersweet light-medium-hopped finish.

Summary: This one is all about dark roast with extremely well-hidden alcoholic background. It’s quite smooth and a touch lighter than other Russian Imperial Stouts I’ve tried.

Stoutnik Russian Imperial Stout – Longwood Brewery (Nanaimo, BC, Canada)


  • My Rating: B-

Stoutnik Russian Imperial Stout, 7.5% ABV –650ml., (Nanaimo, BC, Canada)

from the Longwood website:

“Launch your tastebuds into the stratosphere with Stoutnik, Longwood Brewery’s innovative Russian Imperial Stout. A combination of roasted barley, chocolate and black barley gives this beer a rich, complex malty flavour that withstands orbital re-entry at any velocity. Stay ahead of the curve–rocket your way to the bold taste of Stoutnik.”

  • Style: Imperial Stout
  • Taste: sweet/sour/syrupy/creamy -> ROASTED MALTS/coffee/chocolate -> roasted bitterness/sour/hoppy bitter malted finish.
  • Where I got it : Legacy Liquor
  • How much: $6 (after 10% off) – 650ml., August 2013
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: no
  • Would I recommend this to beer aficionados: yes

Visual: Careful… this one is a gusher, even if you just tilt it briefly past 45°. Pours with deep brown-black with a gigantic long-lasting foamy head, tons of lacing, good retention, some micro bubbly activity along the side of the glass.

Nose: roasted burnt malts, coffee and wood. (8)-aromatic strength.

Attack: sweet-sour sensation, syrupy-creamy texture

Mid-palate: (6)-sweetness, (MAIN) roasted malts, roast coffee, dark chocolate

Finish: roasted bitterness, mild sourness, medium hoppy bitter malted finish.

Summary: A decent brew for a good price. It even drinks okay when at room temp. (Note: numbers above are on a 10-point weak-strong scale)

Special Reserve St-Ambroise (Bourbon Wood-Aged) 2011 (Quebec, Canada)

Special Reserve St-Ambroise (Bourbon Wood-Aged) 2011, 9.2% ABV, (Montreal, Quebec)

On the tin:

“St-Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout is Quebec’s tribute to the late 1700’s English Imperial Stouts, brewed for the Russian courts of Catherine the Great.

Made from a blend of barley malts, St-Ambroise Russian Imperial Stout is infused with Cascade, Goldings and Willamette hops, resulting in an outstanding hop-character with a smooth finish. Bourbon wood aged, this full-bodied ale has a rich, smoky aroma with hints of of vanilla, espresso and chocolate.

Ratings: A

Notes: pours ink black, nice creamy head. Roasted coffee on the nose. Extremely creamy silky mouth feel, a burst of bittersweet coffee up front, milky chocolate, vanilla, burnt oak, smokiness, light alcohol. Medium-high complexity, high depth, great transitions, great carry, excellent drinkability.

Old Rasputin XII (12th Anniv.) – North Coast Brewing (USA)

Old Rasputin XII (12th Anniversary) – North Coast Brewing, 11.2% ABV, (Fort Bragg, CA, USA)


Seems hard to believe that we’ve been making Old Rasputin for 10 years now, but that’s what’s happened. And, to celebrate the occasion, we’ve brewed a special small batch that’s been aged for 9 months in some 12 year-old bourbon barrels. It’s bottled in 500 ml bottles with a cork and wired finish and a special commemorative label —— and it’s amazing. The depth, intensity and complexity of the flavor profile make it a worthy tribute to this fine beer.”

My Notes:

  • My Rating: A
  • Why I like it: Rich, deep, smooth, creamy
  • Where I got it: Brewery Creek (?), 2011
  • How much: $24, 16.9 fl.oz.
  • Do I love this enough to drink it again: Yes
  • Would I recommend this to beer afficianados: Yes

Tasting Notes: pours plasma TV black, small head, nano CO2 foam, ringed retention, sticky lacing. Light coffee malts on the nose. Delightfully creamy at the start, medium thick viscosity, mild & gentle roasted coffee throughout, 5/10 sweetness, transitions beautifully into a soft bitter chocolaty finish. Notes of vanilla, almond, and cherries. High complexity, med-high length, fabulous transitions, high depth, long length. Almost perfect but a bit of ethyl alcohol detection at the 2/3 mark; probably can’t be helped but still detracts from the tasting experience. Be careful with this one, 1/2 bottle through and it is on.