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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,048 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,048
Reviews: 2,591
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 538
Gots: 1,559 | FT: 88
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.60% 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: 7,048 | Reviews: 2,591 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of MattCarlock
1/5  rDev -77%

MattCarlock, May 19, 2012
Photo of oaktree42
1/5  rDev -77%

oaktree42, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of sallmadsen
1/5  rDev -77%

sallmadsen, May 21, 2012
Photo of sonicgrub
1/5  rDev -77%

sonicgrub, Jul 13, 2012
Photo of paulmr1968
1.5/5  rDev -65.4%

paulmr1968, May 18, 2014
Photo of Tonerelia
1.58/5  rDev -63.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2

Poured into snifter looked like motor oil with the same consistency, low if any carbonation even when poured more aggressively than normal.

Smell was strong and of sheer alcohol, there was almost no smell of anything else present.

taste was so hoppy, I do understand that, that is Stone's style but jeeze for a stout to be the hoppy good lord.

Overall I certainly will not be purchasing this again,

Tonerelia, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of sfprint
1.75/5  rDev -59.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bought from Ledgers in Berkeley, CA.

A: It looks quite frightening actually. It poured more like tar or molasses than a beer. Little carbonation. Looks like a super dark, dense, flat cola, tar pit.

S: Unique smell, having problems identifying it exactly. Very strange. Although the bottle cap states that its 100% natural,part of the smell it has i would associate with chemicals, the other part with rubber, or rubber cement.

T: Wow, quite different from other Russian Imperial Stouts I've had. The alcohol is very strong in the taste, and it unfortunately doesn't taste very natural to me. The aftertaste is unpleasant, very bitter, like a some kind of garden weed. In the body, I do taste coffee, but it's not good coffee. Somewhat sweet.

M: Initially it goes down very smooth, but then the aftertaste creates this bizarre, mouth puckering sensation like you've consumed something potentially poisonous.

O: Bleh. Maybe I've drank this beer too soon. On the back it recommends trying it every 5-6 months, and since it was "released" this spring, and it's only June, maybe it wasn't the right time to drink? I will go read the other reviews now and try to see what everyone else see's in it. It's definitely disconcerting that my experience is so far different from the other reviewers here.

sfprint, Jun 18, 2010
Photo of kendellmarie
1.75/5  rDev -59.7%

kendellmarie, Aug 11, 2012
Photo of philipquarles
1.83/5  rDev -57.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Spring 2009 release. Pours a used-motor-oil black with a creamy dark beige/light brown head that disappears to leave a bit of lacing. Smells of Drambuie-soaked raisins, dates, and other dark fruits, as well as a load of chocolate and some brown sugar. It would be pleasant if it weren't overpoweringly boozy. The more it warms, the worse it gets. More cocoa and dark fruits in the taste, and again, loads of alcohol. The initial chocolaty sweetness turns to intense bitterness from heavy hopping. Slightly astringent as well. Warming alcohol-laden finish. Thick body with nice carbonation. Too intensely boozy to be very drinkable. This might have the potential to be nice after a couple of years, but a fresh bottle tastes like chocolate macerated in port with a few dabs of soy sauce added for good measure. Poured half the bomber down the drain.

philipquarles, Jun 14, 2009
Photo of mrasskicktastic
1.88/5  rDev -56.7%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Spring 2007 release

A - Black brew with an excellent cascade. A bit of lacing is left on the sides.

S - Molasses, licorice and a hint of fresh pitch. Burnt pith and alcohol. As the beer warms, only slightly. A pretty unpleasant smell.

T - Molasses, soy sauce, sour, licorice, black pepper, alcohol. Aftertaste is a bitter scorched malt and some sourness.

M - Thick, syrupy, smooth, a bit refreshing.

D - This beer is not very good at all. I neither hate nor love Stone beers, and I neither hate nor love extreme beers - but, objectively, this is just bad. A little short of drain pour. Truthfully, I don't think age will make a worthwhile difference in this one. I'll let it sit for a few years I think and then crack it open. I am really sad that I bought two when I saw it. Very few times that I say this, but "at least it is strong." Barring the one I bought synchronously (which I might just trade), I won't have this again.

mrasskicktastic, Oct 29, 2007
Photo of Ecliptica
1.88/5  rDev -56.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

When I finally saw this for the first time at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA I was excited - one of the highest rated beers on BA and not available in Louisiana where I usually am and usually purchase beer. It was an automatic purchase, even at $8.00 a bottle.

Poured the brew in a pint glass that I brought back with me from my favorite bar in New Orleans and the beer poured as expected, a completely opaque black that absolutely refuses to let light pass through it, no ruby tints as with most other Imperial Stouts. This is as black as black can be. The beautiful tan head leaves zero lacing behind.

The smell can best be described as a licorice-laced espresso. There is a hint of fruity esters somewhere in there and it's actually quite complex and quite leading. I don't know why it doesn't taste like it smells.

Although the beer is 10.80% ABV, the only distinguishable taste is the alcohol. I'm getting very little fruit and NO chocolate whatsoever. It tastes almost like soy sauce, leaving the mouth dry and wanting more. . .but certainly not more of this beer.

The beer is nowhere near as thick or as smooth as it should be considering the vigorous pour, and as I mentioned above, there is a quite bitter and sour aftertaste that leaves the palate desiring more liquid and I continued to drink the brew even though I knew I wasn't enjoying it.

Drinkability. . .::sigh::. . .I don't even know. This is probably the second beer I've had in the last couple of months that almost resulted in a drain pour. I'm just left wondering why it's rated so high. . .is it because it's a Russian Imperial Stout? Is it because of the high ABV? Is because the brewery itself is known for producing quality beers (this is the first one that has let me down, FWIW)? I'm just confused, I don't recommend this at all, and between this and the Harviestoun Old Engine Oil (Aged in Malt Whiskey Casks) that I had last week, I've been having pretty bad luck with choosing my beers lately.

Ecliptica, May 13, 2008
Photo of chugalug06
1.93/5  rDev -55.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

2011 bottle aged 1 year; update: This brew has soured horribly... Much worse then 2009 Abyss... I won't touch any of my previous scoring, this was a drain pour.

For the record, this is not the Belgo Anise version

A - Awesome big fluffy tan head. Some lacing. Head quickly recedes. Brew is thin oil black.

S - Weird. Not sure how I feel about this scent... Very weird chocolate scent, some licorice too.

T - Not impressive. Weird dark malt with over amounts of chocolate. also, some cheep Folgers taste.

M - Carbonation is a little too high. Bitterness is nonexistent. Dryness/sweetness is too high, doesn't fit style. Brew is was too thin, too.

O - Not impressed with this Stone offering. I hope it flattens out with age, I still have two more... If anyone would like a Belgo Anise version, please let me know!!! What happened to Stone brews setting the pace for the rest of the West Coast? Close to a drain pour...

chugalug06, Oct 20, 2011
Photo of WritersBlock
2/5  rDev -53.9%

WritersBlock, Jul 14, 2012
Photo of MChristian
2/5  rDev -53.9%

MChristian, Aug 27, 2012
Photo of Erdinger2003
2.17/5  rDev -50%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2006, cellared for one year. In proper storage conditions.

This beer pours out a good head, soft and tan/brown. The color is dark brown with a black color in the middle. The head falls very fast and leaves a slight lacing. The smell is boozy and harsh with some off flavors, I have had these off flavors before I just can't put my finger on it. The taste is slightly roasty, alcohol presence is noticable. Their are off flavors again. Mouthfeel isn't very good, it leaves my mouth dry and want of more, not more of the beer, but something. Overall, this was a bad experience. If the 2007 is like this I will not buy this again.

Erdinger2003, Apr 08, 2007
Photo of Kudashov
2.2/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This brew was going to be enjoyed while watching my beloved Boston Red Sox . I got neither . The Sox game was called off and this beer was not enjoyable . When poured , the color and the crusty bubbled head was nice and very impressive . The head reminded me of the inside of a Crunchie Bar that my folks would bring back to the States from Ireland . The aroma is coffee and boozy . Burnt and overwhelmingly bitter . I have enjoyed the Storm King and Brooklyn Black Chocolate stout . The latter is one of my favs . Stone makes some very tasty brews but this was a mess . It was not a drain pour but it will not be bought again .

Kudashov, Aug 24, 2007
Photo of Bejogle
2.2/5  rDev -49.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter.

This beer is opaque black in every sense of the word, with a really impressive, pillowy tan head. The head subsides very quickly, however, and leaves only slight lacing.

The smell was not very interesting really, smelled pretty much like a Guinness if Guinness made malt liquor, lots of hints of fusel alcohol.

The taste was worse than the smell, unfortunately. There is no presence of chocolate or coffee flavors at all in this beer as there are in other RIS'. It tasted pretty much like a mixture of cough syrup and the fusel alcohol i mentioned before. I don't understand where people are getting the complexity.

Mouthfeel was good, thick and oily like a RIS should be, but the taste ruined the experience and therefore the drinkability.

I was hoping it was just a bad bottle but I bought another one and it had the same exact problems. I really really wanted to enjoy this beer because of its high rating, but I'm starting to think it's rated so highly simply because its a seasonal from a reputable brewery and because its so high in ABV. I won't be buying this again, sticking to Old Rasputin.

Bejogle, Apr 24, 2008
Photo of KISSFR33K
2.25/5  rDev -48.2%

KISSFR33K, Oct 04, 2013
Photo of kustard
2.25/5  rDev -48.2%

kustard, Apr 22, 2013
Photo of julielynndubee
2.25/5  rDev -48.2%

julielynndubee, Jul 11, 2014
Photo of DerBayer
2.35/5  rDev -45.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

The aftertaste of creamsoda

A - Nice tar colour but the off-brounish brackish head ruins it for me

S - Complex smell of aniseed, caramel and spice

T - At firt quite good you taste the spice then some faint chocolate then ... American cream soda - OUCH

M - Too flat flat flat I m afraid

D - At first this is slightly moorish then quickly creamsoda overkill and you dont know if you re in 21st century London or a 1950s american movie

DerBayer, Jul 21, 2009
Photo of DoctorDog
2.38/5  rDev -45.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle into a mug. Labeled as "Limited Spring 2008 Release."

A- Black, completely opaque in appearance. Pours with massive, cascading brown/tan head, which fades slowly to a thin ring, leaving moderate lacing.

S- Hoppy burned alcohol.

T- Hoppy burned alcohol. No coffee or chocolate notes to be found. The astringent equivalent of letting an aspirin sit on your tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. Excessively drying.

M- Thin and watery.

D- Between the alcohol content, poor taste, and excessive drying, this one gets low marks in my book.

Future outlook: Very disappointed in this one. Doesn't look like this one is my cup of meat.

DoctorDog, Nov 13, 2008
Photo of dwarvenspirits
2.42/5  rDev -44.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

This was the 2005 limited early summer release editon of this beer.

KAA-POW! That's the first thing that came to my mind, then "WOW!" This beer is a one beer per night drink. Definitely sip this monster beer because it's so thick and syrupy that you can only sip it. The worst part about this beer was the overpowering taste of alcohol. You can smell it when you pour it when you drink it, even when it's just sitting there. This definitely needs another year or two to age just to mellow out the alcohol in it. The color is rich and black and there is a roasted smell with the complements of coffee. The flavor is chocolate, at least what I could tell throught the hot alcohol flavor. Drinking this beer is like putting vodka in a stout and ruining the flavors of the stout. And I also think this definitely needs more hops added to it for bitterness just to balance out the sweet malty taste of it and the incredible alcohol flavor. I was really disappointed with this beer. The Stone Ruination IPA was fantastic but this RIS is horrible.

dwarvenspirits, Aug 02, 2006
Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -42.4%

jophish17, Dec 24, 2011
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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,048 ratings.