I’ve been looking out for this beer for a bit, as I heard it was coming down the pipeline a couple months ago.  I ended up buying a four-pack of bombers in order to get my first taste, though that wasn’t exactly a hardship since the other three beers were Sleigh’r (dark double alt), Believer (double red), and Total Domination (IPA).  I’m also definitely a Ninkasi fan; their Tricerahops is one of the most drinkable Imperial IPAs out there, and their Maiden the Shade “Summer IPA” is one of my favorite seasonals from any brewery in any season.

The Commander is a Pounder

The Commander is a Pounder

The Commander is a Pounder.



NOTES: 2011 vintage from a bomber poured into a Young’s imperial pint glass

STYLE: Imperial Stout

ABV: 9.1%

APPEARANCE: Opaque and just one shade of brown away from dead black

HEAD: One finger of head that looks like the foam on a good cappuccino

LACING: Chunky.  There’s no other word for it.

NOSE: A boozy bite shows up quickly, with roasted malt and an almost fermented plum note.  A bit of hop bitterness and more alcoholic astringency finishes things off. 

TASTE: This is about as far from a dry Irish stout as you can get.  There is lots of thick, dark roasted malt present, but you get plenty of light malt sweetness as well.  I get a bit of that dark plum note from the nose, the tiniest bit of coffee (no chocolate though), some tannins at the end and more booze at the finish.  It’s not unpleasantly alcoholic at all, but the booze isn’t stealthy for a 9.1% imperial stout.  There really is some fruit note in there that I can’t figure out. 

MOUTHFEEL: Medium-heavy body, but without the stickiness I expected for a beer as sweet as this one.  Drinks like a stout, though it’s sweet enough to be an imperial porter.

DRINKABILITY: One of the few imperial stouts I’d want a couple-three of.  It’s malty-sweet without being cloying or syrupy, it’s roasty-toasty, it has enough hops and dark roasted malt to balance the sweetness, and it finishes tannic enough so that you’re left wanting another sip.

Ninkasi did a kick-ass job with their first imperial stout.  This is a damn good beer, and somehow ends up being more balanced than I expect it to be.  The front of every sip makes me think it’s going to be too sweet, but the end of each swallow saves it every time.  3.5 hops for a great new beer that I hope makes it into their long-term line up (as of now it’s a one-off release).

The Commander is a Pounder

The Commander is a Pounder


The Commander is a Pounder

The Commander is an enormous fucking Pounder

4 thoughts on “NINKASI IMPERIALE

  1. From one Ninkazi fan to another…nice work Beerford. I will be out today looking for my first taste of this new offering. Thanks for the heads up! (6:00 am posting- Saturday? Impressive.)

    Mom McBrewin’

  2. That is quite the impressive sampler pack… you Oregonians with your embarrassment of riches make me jealous.

    Don’t let him fool you Mrs. McB, fairly certain he scheduled this to post in advance.

  3. Definitely, that post scheduling function is pretty great. Much as I love Ninkasi, I’m generally not up at 5:00 a.m. with an imperial stout in hand writing up tasting notes. Though now that I think about it, I’m not really sure why I shouldn’t be.

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