Black Rat Imperial Stout

Review Date 10/1/2013  Last Updated 9/8/2022 By John Staradumsky


Yet another first for me, my friends, a first beer from Madison, Ohio’s Cellar Rats brewery. Cellar Rats beers are not sold here in Georgia, but I was lucky enough to get my hands on their Black Rat Imperial Stout in a beer trade with legendary Cleveland beer reviewer Dave Coulter. Dave does some fantastic beer reviews on Youtube, and you can link to them here.

Anyway, back to the brewery, which at the very least deserves kudos for its very cool name, and perhaps even cooler motto: “We’ll infest you”. Black Rat Imperial Stout features a hammer-and-sickle emblazoned red rat on the label, which I find rather curious. To be sure, Cellar Rats is not the first brewery to associate an imperial stout with Soviet Russia. Considering that imperial stout has its origins in Czarist Russia though, and the communists overthrew the Czars, I find this a bit historically inaccurate.

On their website, Cellar Rats qualifies this beer slightly as an “imperial milk stout.” The beer has an alcohol conent of 9.2% by volume. Let’s give it a whirl, shall we?

Cellar Rats Black Rat Imperial Stout pours to a jet black color with a thick creamy tan head and a licorice and soy sauce nose. Taking a sip, the beer seems a bit thinner in body than I like for the style, strange for the alcohol content as well, though not unprecedented. But then the flavors hit: roasty espresso, black licorice, dark roasty chocolate, and soy sauce. The latter is the one flaw in the beer for me, but the deliciously quenching sourness and roasty bitterness in the finish make up for it. Toss in a big alcohol warmth and you have a very tasty beer indeed.

I think a bit more creaminess and sweetness would be in order to make this seem more like an imperial milk stout to me, but I enjoyed it all the same. Were this beer sold in my area, I would definitely buy it again.

Update 9/8/2022: Cellar Rats is no more! Well, the brewery still exists, but they have changed their name to Double Wing Brewing, for whatever reason. Hence, this is probably the last Cellar Rats beer I wille ver drink. It is 84 degrees and cloudy with 55% humidity and very comfortable in the shade. Perfect weather for a cold, crisp beer-so I am drinking an imperial stout with 6 years on it. It is delicious with chocolate, roast, caramel, coffee and a slight sweet finish

Glad I tried it?  T

Would I rebuy it??


*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.

(B)=Bottled, Canned