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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

5,972 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5972
Reviews: 2530
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%


Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,972 | Reviews: 2,530 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of hyuga
hyuga

North Carolina

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2003 vintage:

All I have to say is that collectively, Stone's imperial stout is my favorite of all imperial stouts.

2002 vintage:

Much more hoppy than the 2001, the roasted and caramel malts are both more up-front. Less complexity in the fruitiness. This one definitely benefits from more aging, but this vintage is still absolutely wonderful!

2001 vintage:

This one has been waiting for me since last year. This is the Spring 2001 release, which is labeled as "Stone Imperial Russian Stout". Pours almost like the bottle jokingly suggests, like used motor oil! This is the darkest black I've ever seen in a beer (if varying degrees of darkness in black are even possible. They seem to be, when used in describing beer, so I'll go with that). It just refuses to let light through. Creamy dark brown head, but not much of one. Still leaves some lace. What a delicious aroma! I am thoroughly impressed. Very sweet chocolate, vanilla, coffee cream, even a bit of cherry, along with underlying roasted coffee character. In one word, the aroma says "cream". Makes you want to jump right into tasting this, however, you still can't help but savor the aroma between each sip. On to the palate, very sweet malt with spicy alcohol accompaniment appears first, coating your mouth with a caramel sweetness. Roasted grain and chocolate with some hints of coffee come next. Some of what I'll call "dark fruit" flavor as well, including more cherry character. Hops don't come around much, which surprises me, this having come from Stone. This could be due to the aging. Of course, that's not at all a bad thing! As I expected, a very creamy mouthfeel. What an experience this beer is! Definitely a must-try for anyone who can get it! Great one to cellar, too.

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2002 01:52:50 | More by hyuga
Photo of aaronh
aaronh

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer totally blew my mind! Ok, now that that's out of the way:

This beer is black, and pours with a minimal, but dense brown head. No color can be seen through this beer, it is so ominously dark. This may be to foreshadow the evil effects it will have upon your opinions of other beers. The aroma smacks you hard with chocolate, malt, hops, and some plum fruit. All distinct, but yet one aroma. It's as if this beer transforms it's smell continously to mesmerize it's victims. Upon sipping this silky smooth liquid satin (or is it Satan), intense plum, chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt flavors bind your tastebuds. Assertive but well balanced hops secure the knots as this deliciously evil brew takes you hostage. You are assaulted by such intense flavors that it is impossible to distinguish the beginning of one from the end of another. Now completely given in to the power of this beer, you have no choice but to drink every drop of it, and immediately search out some more. Beer may never be the same. I'm not even sure this was beer. It has a power over me now. I must find more. I must find more. I must find more.......

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2003 18:29:49 | More by aaronh
Photo of jcalabre
jcalabre

California

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow! Beautiful aroma, great flavor, everything is exceptional with this beer. Another world class beer from Stone. If you enjoy your Russian Imperial Stouts with more "chocolatey" than "coffee flavor, this one is for you. Originally sampled 24 May 2002

Serving type: bottle

05-18-2003 17:00:44 | More by jcalabre
Photo of Naerhu
Naerhu

Japan

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the most fantastic beer I have ever had. It was like being reborn into a world of velvet smooth, soft as silk, juicey heaven.

This was jet black. Could not see throught it with mag light next to it. The brown head was so intense you could land a harrier jet on it and not disturb it.

The smell was aromatic and intense and came at you like a charging clydsdale. Coffee and dried fruit.

If there was a drinkable version of a feline jaguar, this would be it. Powerful roasted malt, silky slick on the palate. Soft but prominent hop betterness. No harshness at all.

The mouthfeel was smooth almost sexual. The alcohol was like transparent silk wrapping on the blockbuster body.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2003 20:26:30 | More by Naerhu
Photo of dmarch
dmarch

Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was a very tough decision to make. Should any beer be worthy of perfect 5's? Finally, I decided that it wasn't fair to Stone to deduct a point somewhere just because there should be no such thing as a perfect beer. After tasting this, I think I may have been wrong. I honestly don't think any imperial stout could top this. Jet black in color with a thin tan head that just seems to hang around for an eternity. Roasted coffee is dominant in both the aroma and the taste. There are also traces of plums and raisins. What more can I say? As far as this particular style goes, I don't think you can top this.

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2003 21:59:05 | More by dmarch
Photo of Winter
Winter

Wisconsin

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle. "Late Spring 2003 Limited Release". Pours black with a thin dark brown head. Thick lacing. The aroma consists of chocolate, coffee, dark fruit and has a pleasant overall sweetness to it. Full-bodied mouthfeel is very thick and syrupy. Almost chewy. Flavors of molasses and honey covered chocolate roll ever-so-sweetly over the tongue. Taste turns a bit vinous at times with flavors of plum and raisin. Finishes up with a mildly balanced hop bitterness that adds another delightful level of complexity. Behind all this goodness, veiled in the shadows of the blackness, lurks an ass-kicking 9.47% alcohol. By the time you notice it, it's too late.

There are very few beers that linger in my mind days after consumption begging to be had again. Stone Imperial is one that's been tough to get out of my head. This could quite possibly be the ultimate Imperial Stout.

Serving type: bottle

09-12-2003 17:50:41 | More by Winter
Photo of sideshowrob
sideshowrob

Maryland

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2004 release, sampled as soon as the bottle had chilled.

Wow. To paraphrase Homer, this is a groin-grabbingly good Imperial Stout. Despite it being summer, a lot of breweries seem to be releaseing IRS's right now. While I haven't had a bad one from anyplace, the wide sample size really allowed the Stone example to shine through. Stone has very limited distibution on the right coast, but this puppy was worth the effort to find.

Appearance - none more black. Pure ink, with a golden brown head, reminicient of the burnt topping on a good creme-brulee. Smell was fantastic, lots of complex and well balanced notes waifting through; a slightly sweet overall note. Taste and mouthfeel were nearly transcendental. Again, the complexity and balance of this brew are what set it apart from other IRS's, all the coffee, roasted/smoky, currant and buttery notes are there, but none domminate. The zen-like qualities of this brew add to the enjoyment - despite it's high ABV, this brew does not go down like a five course meal. It's very easy to sip all night long.

All in all, I can't imagine how one could improve upon this beer, other than to make it a year-round, and have more cases cross the Rockies.

Serving type: bottle

06-19-2004 14:52:06 | More by sideshowrob
Photo of oxmasterscream
oxmasterscream

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy of mrpicklerelish, big up.

Appearance: Dark, dark, opaque black-brown with a cocoa-brown head that fell to just a ring.

Smell: Wow. First, full-on raisins and spice. Then intermingling aromas of unidentifiable dark fruits, molasses, chocolate, burnt brown sugar, burnt sticky buns. Unbelievable. Very similar to an aged Storm King Stout. The benchmark for what an imperial stout should smell like. Perfect.

Taste: Yow. I can barely put this into words. Bittersweet dark chocolate, sweet but burnt raisins, prunes and other dark, ripe fruits, wickedly spicy, burnt syrupy pastries, with a mouth-drying, bitter finish that's preceded by an enormous burn from the hops and high ABV. Like its smell, perfect. I feel privileged to have tried this.

Mouth: Full, silky and smooth. Light carbonation keeps the tongue awake. ABV warms the tongue nicely and gradually. Exactly how one of the best should feel.

Drinkability: So amazing that I was in a constant battle with myself over whether or not I should keep taking massive gulps or sip it quietly. It's the kind of beer that grabs your attention and blocks out the rest of the world for you. I had but bottle and now it's gone. I want to cry.

Serving type: bottle

11-29-2004 19:59:45 | More by oxmasterscream
Photo of guinnessman
guinnessman

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours with a nice thick soapy brown head. It's dark as night and beautiful. Smells very sweet with little alcohol smell. Has a very thick, very smooth mouthfeel, with a rich chocolate taste. You would never know that this one is 9.7%. Very drinkable!!!

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2005 00:24:56 | More by guinnessman
Photo of JackStraw22
JackStraw22

Virginia

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 edition, sampled in a St. Bernard goblet.
Appearance: Thick syrupy, pitchblackness. Dark caramel head. Head retention could've been better, but I hate to take off much for that since it could always be the glass.

Smell: Deep roasted barley aroma. Huge dark chocolate smell, mocha and coffee in there too. Wonderful.

Taste/Feel: Holy crap. Freakin' good. Tastes even more like dark chocolate than it smells. It's not too sweet, though, nice and balanced. Roasted barley and and decent amount of hop bitterness in there too. Hops are certainly present, but they're balanced. Can't imagine a better tasting Impy stout. Creamy and full mouthfeel, just enough carbonation.

Drinkability: What can I say. If I could buy ten cases I would.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 02:21:56 | More by JackStraw22
Photo of beefytee
beefytee

New York

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yup, a perfect score. 2005 Issue

This beer was amazing. I have to admit, not being much of a stout drinker, I was a bit intimidated. But it welcomed me with big, black warm open arms.

Poured opaque black and thick, like pouring vegetable oil.
Head resembled chocolate mousse
Lacing stuck around, used a pint glass, tonight I will use a goblet.
Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy coating my toungue and teeth
The drinkibility was what I was really surprised by.
To go into the complexity of the flavors is a bit daunting. In no particular order, chocolate, coffee, fig, currant, prune.

Malty but not too sweet, hops are there for a bit of a bitter finish, but definitely not a stand out characteristic. Warmed me all over. If I could give it a 4.995 I would, because I can't wait to taste this after I cellar it for a few years.

Serving type: bottle

07-08-2005 16:51:55 | More by beefytee
Photo of DogFood11
DogFood11

California

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Motor Oil appearance and pour with dark tan head that takes a while to develope and quickly fades with a bit of lacing.

The smell is outstanding. malty rich flavors, chocolatey with a touch of coffee ....mostly sweet but not overpowering. Alcohol is evident to balance the sweetness.

Taste was Oh OH sooo good...The best imperial stout I've ever tasted. while the only slight ding could be in appearance ( I personally loved the appearance but to some it may be a bit lacking in (head/retention) Syrup mouthfeel is perfect for a big stout and alcohol warming is off the charts nothing overbearing and well hidden but wow a nice cheek warming drink. God DAMN!!! every once in a while a beer is so good all I can do is cuss and emberass myself with excitement. Hey its an Imperial and lets you know all along the way. Loved this beer...Greatness from STONE.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2005 07:12:28 | More by DogFood11
Photo of BuckeyeNation
BuckeyeNation

Iowa

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Late Spring 2003 release. Glossy sable. No highlights, no edges, no nothing. It isn't possible for a beer to be more light nullifying than this one is. The head is one of the darkest that I've ever seen. It's a menacing shade of cocoa brown, the perfect color compliment to the beer on which it rests. It also puts the lie to the notion that high-ABV beer tends not to have large, persistent heads. Even though there isn't a glass smothering amount of lace, there's more than enough not to spoil a world-class appearance.

The nose is outstanding. It practically oozes heavily roasted black malt with all of the aromas that go along with it. Bittersweet chocolate fudge swirls around chunks of crushed coffee bean with generous lashings of molasses. The faintest hint of alcohol is more than welcome since it gives the aroma a seriousness that all good RISs possess. Perhaps nearly three years in the bottle is a bit too long to expect hops to persevere. However, I still have hope that they'll make a cameo on the palate.

Stone RIS is phenomenal! It's everything that I had hoped for and so much more. I have never experienced a more mind-blowing, darkly delicious, megaton malt bomb in my life. First and foremost, it possesses a monolithic malt backbone that gives granite an inferiority complex. Rivulets of melted chocolate, espresso, blackstrap molasses and the finest ouzo combine to create a raging river of mouthfilling (and belly warming) bliss.

The hops haven't completely faded, although I'm sure they're a shadow of their former 2003 selves. As is usually the case, they make an appearance on the finish when the malt deluge has finally begun to abate. I'd love to taste this beer fresh, but I have to say that it's an ass kicker of the highest order when aged. It's amazing how long the flavor lingers. The licorice/anise/ouzo hangs on seemingly forever.

This particular vintage clocks in at 9.47% and it feels every bit of that (even if it doesn't taste like it). This is a beer that is brewed to be sipped. It's doing an admirable job of warming me up, which I needed since I just came in from snowblowing half a foot of snow off my driveway. Each mouthful leads me to thank the boys at Stone for such an incredible beer. Although I don't usually buy in cases, this is a 'case beer' if there ever was one.

The mouthfeel is, in a word, perfection. It's as if the brewers read my mind and designed it especially for me. I've had thicker Imperial Stouts, but none that possessed this degree of heavy silkiness. Try as I might, I cannot find a flaw. Perfect mouth presence, perfect coating finish, just... plain... perfect.

SIRS is Stone's finest creation and is infinitely deserving of a place in the pantheon of the greatest beers ever created. I've run out of adjectives for 'great', but I haven't quite run out of beer. So if you'll excuse me, it's time to savor the final few swallows. Stone Russian Imperial Stout is a tour de force and is the finest stout in existence, bar none.

Serving type: bottle

12-03-2005 23:17:04 | More by BuckeyeNation
Photo of nlmartin
nlmartin

Ohio

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from the bottle into a oversized wine goblet. Vintage 2005

Appearance: The beer pours almost a perfect black. The head was a fantastic creamed coffee coloration. Great head retention noted on the beer. The lacing is heavy tan webs down the glass.

Smell: This beer is almost perfect. The smell has loads of darkly roasted coffee and chocolates. Fruity smells float throughout the beer. There is the smell of curants, raisins soaked in rum. There is a very nice spicyness floating in the back of the smell.

Taste: This beer is true to smell. There is massive amounts of chocolatey sweetness. This sweetness is offset by loads and loads of dark char roasted coffee. Dam this is great stuff. There is a nice assortment of fruity goodness floating on all the other great stuff.

Mouthfeel: This beer is very chewy. There is just layer upon layer of great tasting stuff here. This beer is very full bodied. Thanks Stones this is a Imperial Stout that does not fuck the drinker around. I could not ask for anything else in a stout.

Drinkability: Dam this is a good beer. This is a very full bodied, very big balanced treat. Gods of Beer I love this brew!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2005 05:15:44 | More by nlmartin
Photo of BigDaddyWil
BigDaddyWil

Michigan

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Acquired in a beer trade.
Bottle states limited early summer 2005 release.
Poured from a bomber into snifter glass at almost room temperature.
Stone bombers are the coolest looking bottles I've seen, their gargoyle kicks ass!!!!

Appearance: O.K., here we go!!! First off, this beer is deep, dark black color, with a one inch thick creamy tan head. It has an inviting look about it. Some delicate tan lacing clings to my glass, but disappears after a few minutes.

Smell: Very balanced aromas of coffee, chocolate and dark fruits, like raisins or plums. Smells like what an Imperial stout should be.

Taste: Holy Crap!!! What an awesome taste!!! I already cannot wait to get more of this brew!!! So well balanced, it taste like it smells, coffee, chocolate and dark fruits. Roasted malts and hops are blended perfectly!! I wouldn't know this has an abv of 10.8%.

Mouthfeel: I must say this stout has the best mouthfeel of any beer I've tasted. Very creamy, not too heavy, not too thin, absolutely perfect!!!

Drinkablility: Even though this brew is 10.8% alcohol, it doesn't hit you too hard. It's hidden very well and the taste leaves you wanting more!!! Also, I've drank about half the bomber already, and I do not feel full at all!!!

Overall this beer lives up to its hipe!!!! This is the first beer that I can honestly say is worthy of a perfect score!! The only downfall is that Stone is not sold in MIchigan yet. So, I'll keep trading or make many trips to Toledo to pick my new favorite beer!

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2006 19:23:15 | More by BigDaddyWil
Photo of JayTheFinn
JayTheFinn

California

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

With well over 400 reviews on this one, I'm not adding anything I'm sure hasn't already been said. But after drinking Stone's Imperial Russian Stout I had to in the very least say that this is the very best stout I've ever had. The look, the smell, the taste, everything was heavenly. It poured out like coffee syrup with a scent so intense I swear smelled soy sauce. The head was thick and nearly as black as the beer. The feel was creamy soft. The taste...oh my...so many favors danced on my tongue, I'm not good enough a writer to express them all in words...

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2006 05:03:33 | More by JayTheFinn
Photo of UberWasser
UberWasser

Arizona

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz brown bomber served, bit by bit, in a snifter. 2006 Vintage.

I usually say that a beer "pours" from the bottle...but that is an understatement for a beer of this magnitude. I would say that this beer...well, disembogues from the bottle as thick Russian crude oil would from a pipeline. Coming to rest in the glass, it sits thicker and blacker than any beer I have laid eyes upon...the minimal head is a dark coffee color. As it sits in my snifter, it actually bubbles and churns as would the brew in a witch's cauldron. I'm almost afraid to take a sip.

So, for the moment, I take a sniff instead. Holy moly. Coffee, dark chocolate, prunes, molasses, brown sugar, bread dough, some earthy tones, a clean sweetness and slight but sharp background alcohol scent...it actually tingles the inside of my nose when I take a deep sniff.

How can I refuse a sip after this nasal fiesta? The first thing that rushes across my tongue is a rich creamy sweetness, which is rapidly followed by a building of molasses and semi-sweet chocolate bitter sweetness on the middle tongue. As the beer settles across the back of the tongue an intense coffee and dark chocolate bitterness flows forward to envelope the palate and rises upwards to fill the nose. Upon swallow, a slow and long lasting alcohol warmth fills the throat and the bitterness rolls back to a semi-bitter dark chocolate that plays with the back of the tongue for many minutes. The mouthfeel of this beer is thick and syrupy, with just enough tingle of carbonation, both of which do nothing but accentuate the flavors.

All in all...easily the best Imperial Stout I have ever had. The best beer ever? Well, I do like a balanced brew, and on that end this could use some cellar time to mellow, but honestly, I also love a big, in your face brew from time to time, and I have never, ever, never, ever had a brew this big and in your face. I loved every sip of it and would open more, if I weren't saving it for future tasting. Yeah, fantastic beer...it definitely belongs where it is on the Best of BA list, and recognition as my first every solid 5 rating.

Serving type: bottle

04-24-2006 05:32:21 | More by UberWasser
Photo of Foxman
Foxman

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It pours an impassably dark, inky celestial black, no light escaping, not even a glint, maybe even capturing neutrinos. A figner of brown mousse foam slides up, then down to froth on a pool of crude. Twisty lacing dances along the inside of the glass.


The aroma is almost as dark as the hue, with an edge of charred malt, Turkish coffee, black cherry, glove leather, and port. The merest hint of a hoppy bite is quickly inundated by a muscular current of alcohol.

Upon sipping, there charges a crispy bitter scarp of darkly roasted malt, the sugars deeply caramelized to an earthy snap. Still, a curl of dark fruit sweetness drifts through, along with an alcohol-driven vinous character. Coffee and dark chocolate come about, as well as a slight biscuit note. Residual malt and late-arriving hops combine to deliver a long and memorable bitter legacy. Complex and fundamental, blended and revealing, earthy and rich, it's all that, and a bit more.

Full bodied, it caresses the palate, thick and coating, bordering on chewy, a sinewy and soft glaze for the tongue.

If the finest, plushest velvet was a beer, it may just be this one. Big, full, rich, lustrous, sumptuous-if I enjoyed this any more, the experience might become sexual. Wonderfully complex, it's so artfully blended that it's never a challenge, or too busy. The ABV is a kick, but it's too damned hard to care about that, at least until morning. If I had enough, I'd fill a tub with this beer and bathe in it, and then drink the tub dry. Well, ok...enough of that...let's just say, this is real close to as good as it gets.

Serving type: bottle

05-22-2006 17:58:31 | More by Foxman
Photo of Freshie
Freshie

Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

The 2006 Release. Been trying to get my hands on this for some time now. Been to a few liquor stores, a few resturants, with no luck. Finally found this at Cork's in Mansfield (which is a pretty awesome store, review to follow). After all it's chalked up to be on this site, and it's apparent ellusiveness, I wasn't sure if it would live up to expectations. Like with many Stone brews, it taught me the error of my ways.

Pours an amzingly dark colour, with tan, caramel like head.

Smells of fruit, molasses, and a kind of floral/pine. Very inviting.

Tastes reflect the aroma, with rich roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and a bit of sweet fruits, like raisins or currants. Very good.

The taste can be a whallop, but it goes down smooth. Very Drinkable.

Wow. My first perfect 5. I look forward to aging this one.

[edit] 11/11/07- True to my original review I have aged this one. And over a year since purchase it still is deserved of my only perfect 5. The aging process has made this one very smooth, with a bit more of a alcohol burn. My original review still stands, since I can't give it a 5+.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2006 15:54:39 | More by Freshie
Photo of mitchfor3
mitchfor3

California

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 Vintage.

Damn. Near. Perfect.

What a beer. The 11% is at once devastatingly present, yet highly drinkable. This beer took the greatest aspects of my favorite RISs and put them into one. Part Old Rasputin, part Storm King, the list goes on, but none of the other fantastic beers in this category combine such incredible depth and complexity with such amazing drinkability. I really can't wait to see how this one tastes in a year or two.

My first perfect score, and a well deserved one.

Side note: This beer caused me to reflect on Stone's lineup and really grasp how incredible of a brewery it is. Stone just overtook the top spot in my book. RIS, Oaked Bastard, Old Guardian, Smoked Porter, IPA, Ruination, Levitation, Pale Ale. Every one of them outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2006 01:51:21 | More by mitchfor3
Photo of nortmand
nortmand

Virginia

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours black black black. Half inch of mocha brown head lingers for a long while.

Chocolate roast dominates the smell. Some winey raisin scents as well. Incredible.

Dominating flavor. Sweet chocolate, bitter roast. Caramel, raisins, alcohol. Huge, yet so damn refined. Better than the best wine hands down. Absolutely fantastic.

Smooth and silky on the tongue, incedibly tasty and very drinkable. A finely crafted ale.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2006 00:02:12 | More by nortmand
Photo of Jaynuze
Jaynuze

District of Columbia

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is nothing short of an incredible Imperial. I've been reading about it for quite some time and finally had the fortune of grabbing two 22 oz. bottles from my local shop. My only regret is that I didn't buy the entire stock. It pours a very thick and leaves a lovely mocha colored lace across the top. Unlike some of the Imperials I've had lately, this one is B-L-A-C-K ... tar black, with a tinge of chocolate brown towards the top of the glass just below it's mocha head. Some have mentioned that carbonation cannot be seen ... it's because this baby is like a lunar eclipse ... no light is getting through this one.
It's notes are of coffee, toffee, chocolate, and a smooth tinge of alcohol to round out its robust finish. It's malty alright ... but not overpoweringly sweet. Some may be dismayed when they hear coffee, but this one was even enjoyed by my coffee hating buddy.
Though opaque in color, the alcohol and malts give this a smooth finish with a hint of sweetness. It warms the palate and fills the mouth with a myriad of flavors ... each complementing the other ... no one true flavor coming through unlike some of the Imperials I've tried that seem to have one defining note.
The mouthfeel is smooth with a light carbonation. It wraps itself around your tongue and holds on for dear life. The taste lingers even after you have had your last sip.
This was incredible. I'm really ticked that I didn't buy more since it's such a phenomenal beer. I'm hanging on to my second one for next winter as I've heard this baby only gets better with age. If you find the 2006, grab it fast. It's definitely worth it!

Serving type: bottle

08-15-2006 12:54:12 | More by Jaynuze
Photo of zuggy9
zuggy9

California

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a stunner, and seriously changing my opinions of Russian imperial stouts! The beer pours black with a thick brown head. Dark but clean. The smell is strong with a nice array of sweet maltiness, earthy honey and chocolate and fruit notes, a bit of grain too. It drinks smooth, with chocolate, roasted malts and a bit of fruit. I can only describe the mouthfeel as silky. I could drink this all night!

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2007 19:04:15 | More by zuggy9
Photo of Morris729
Morris729

Texas

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours thick ink-black with only a short creamy head at first, but the head continues to grow long after the initial pour before finally settling into a heavy lace. Nose is dark chocolate and espresso along with a bit of rum-raisin alcohol. Quite “sniffable.” Taste is heavy on the black malt with notes of black currant, prune, and anise along with some dark molasses. This is followed by some dark coffee and semi-sweet dark chocolate flavors followed by a dry and spicy alcohol note. Simply delicious. This beer is exceptional in every way. Thanks to beerdiablo for the sample!

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2007 06:39:22 | More by Morris729
Photo of david131
david131

California

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Stone IRS is absolutely stunning- worthy of the hype and my first 5.0. I cannot think of anything to make this beer better than it is.

Spring 2006 bottling.

A- Poured a black as night, thick black liquid. When held to a light, I could see no light peeking through on the edges. The head that formed was a beautiful brown head that slowly settled to a nice marbling on the surface of the liquid. Even at the very end, there was still some remnants to the head. Gorgeous.

S- Wow. I could smell this as soon as I cracked open the top. Sweet, roasted malts, chocolate, black licorice, and some cinnamon are present. Could not find any hint of alcohol in the nose.

T- Perfect balance of sweet and roastiness. Brown sugar, vanilla, oak, smokiness, chocolate, black licorice, raisin, cinnamon. There is a lot going on here. Amazing. Everything blends so well together. This is a great beer to let wander your palate. Again, no alcohol presence.

M- The carbonation level in this is perfect. Not too much to make it feel light, but just enough to enhance the flavor. Very very smooth.

D- For such a big beer in a bomber, I found myself wanting more as I polished off the bottle. This is a remarkable beer that I was very skeptical of before I cracked it open- but damn... this is liquid gold.

Serving type: bottle

02-27-2007 20:05:32 | More by david131
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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 5,972 ratings.