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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.

7,189 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,189
Reviews: 2,596
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 559
Gots: 1,609 | FT: 91
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: 7,189 | Reviews: 2,596 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of herrorara
2.5/5  rDev -42.4%

herrorara, Jan 31, 2012
Photo of hattrick95
2.5/5  rDev -42.4%

hattrick95, Apr 03, 2014
Photo of Nutwood
2.5/5  rDev -42.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap in a shaker pint after work.

The appearance is striking and maybe a bit strange. Pours a drk, seemingly purplish black. The head came to one finger and was dense, with a bit of an odd buised purplish dark brown hue.

Aroma was agressively boozey, to the point of overpowering the faint roasted malt and a bit of vinous fruit note. I did not get much in the way of chocolate or coffee. There was a hint of hops present.

Flavor here was a bit off for me, more like a burnt barleywine with some molasses and caramel. I found the alcohol to be pushy and distracting, and I was put off by a presence of what seemed to be some fusel heat in there.

The mouthfeel was again all alcohol, along with some decent body and moderately low carbonation.

Overall I would not cite this as a good example of Russian Imperial Stout style. I get the impression that Stone was trying to push the envelope and sacrificed flavor for alcohol content. It's missing the roasty malt goodness and full flavor, balance, and body that smooths out the alcohol. If you want to try this beer, do it early in your session and consider making it a one beer session.

Nutwood, Nov 27, 2012
Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -42.4%

jophish17, Dec 24, 2011
Photo of spouse
2.5/5  rDev -42.4%

spouse, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of GraduatedCashew
2.5/5  rDev -42.4%

GraduatedCashew, Apr 26, 2013
Photo of mikeal1917
2.7/5  rDev -37.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I spotted this number at my local Beer store.

Appearance: Amazing dark chocolately brown color with small head

Smell: Quick pungent, with a chocolate definitely pronounced initially

Taste: Unless your a fan of strong brews, think beer is quite bitter, and the chocolate doesn't match it very well in my opinion, and that was gently chilling it as the guy at the store advised.

Mouthfeel: thick brew rolls down your palette, feel a lot like milk, nice and smooth

Drinkability: Both the price and thickness will keep this beer as a once in awhile beer in small amounts

given the average of the beer, I'll probably end up trying it again just to be sure, but as of now not that impressed

mikeal1917, May 23, 2009
Photo of Shafaegalo
2.75/5  rDev -36.6%

Shafaegalo, May 20, 2014
Photo of Liquids
2.75/5  rDev -36.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

On vacation in NYC, treated myself to a bottle of this over everything else available at Whole Foods in NYC, especially as no Stone over the border in CT, and it should be amazing. I let it warm to room temperature to get the full experience in the evening when I'm back in the room.

Great looking bottle, pours a thick and syrupy (for a liquid) pitch black. Head is creamy and darker brown hue. Aroma is sweetish molasses, charred malts, and alcohol.

Taste - a disappointment. Sure I like big beers too, but this is just straight up boozy. Everything else is an afterthought to my tongue. Plenty of malt flavor behind the booze, and some hops which are more so dominated by the alcohol. Trying it later after chilling it, the booze is present but less so, with more hop flavor, but still boozy. It's hard to imagine anyone likes this so much except that they like the *idea* of drinking bigger darker thicker beer and enjoy the sensation of alcohol burning the tongue and nose.

Mouthfeel is good and thick. Drinkable? This has to be the least drinkable beer I've tried for those that I could get down...no one I know who likes drinking good beers would think this was worth any amount of money but to get drunker faster. I drink for the flavor, so this is a disaster. I finished it as cold as I could get it over a few days, a small glass a day--all I could stand. Surprisingly, Victory Imperial Stout is hands down better in my book...this wouldn't make it into my glass again unless it were free. Stone is not for me.

Liquids, Jun 28, 2009
Photo of RoyFokker
2.75/5  rDev -36.6%

RoyFokker, Aug 16, 2014
Photo of backslide311
2.75/5  rDev -36.6%

backslide311, Jun 22, 2014
Photo of shade13
2.75/5  rDev -36.6%

shade13, Jul 25, 2012
Photo of phishbone23
2.75/5  rDev -36.6%

phishbone23, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of gjoker321
2.75/5  rDev -36.6%

gjoker321, Apr 01, 2013
Photo of Stebow1289
2.84/5  rDev -34.6%

Stebow1289, Oct 29, 2014
Photo of Dijeriduster
2.85/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2010 version in a one liter growler to a tulip

A - Very dark to black with a dirty head that is thick. Maybe one finger in my tulip. Looks mean.

S - Something is missing here. Its very robust but the booze comes thru a little and its not as roasty as I've had in the past. Smells sweeter as well...

T - Eh not up to my par for Stone IRS. Keeping in mind that I loved '09 I just don't think this one has it as much. It was rather sweet and boozy, again lacking the roasty flavours I love in IRS.

M - Was thinner then usual, still felt thick upon quaffing but faded to thin as it went down. Didn't have the slight creaminess I've had in the past.

D - I know there was controversy over the change this year to belgian yeast. Clearly they also changed the base recipe as well. While I am stoked to try the belgian one, I don't think I'll be aging this years version.

Dijeriduster, Feb 11, 2011
Photo of HopDamn
2.93/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

LIMITED SPRING RELEASE 2008 bottle purchased at once upon a vine for about 4$ a 12 oz.

A- Pours black and thick, tall head in begining, decent carbonation, looks like a wonderful brew, Although i find the Appearance to be sort of a trivial category, The bottle looks very impressive on the other hand.

S- Smells of malts and chocolates, The alcohol smell is present, and also i almost smell a sort of metalic aroma like aluminum, not sure why this is

taste- Very rich and similar to the smell, alcohol is present, leaving a roasted metalic after taste in my mouth, taste stays with you for a moment, and packs a powerful wallop, perhaps a hint of black coffees in the mix

Mouthfeel- A little intense at first and the feeling coats your mouth, Wouldn't want to drink this as a session beer

Drinkability- One is plenty for me

HopDamn, Mar 15, 2009
Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.94/5  rDev -32.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 scores (4.5/3.5/4/4/4.5)

After having the 2013 vintage (and the Espresso version), I can now safely say this isn't quite for me. While it looks good and has a big feel, I just don't care for all the licorice in the flavor profile. And that's the problem here - it's too licorice dominant with no real complexity, depth, or even bold flavor. The thick, viscous mouthfeel means little if it doesn't have a great taste to prop it up.

I've got another bottle, and that one won't be cracked open until after tax season...in 2014. Right now, I can think of quite a few readily available imperial stouts that wipe the floor with this one.


Poured into a Williamsburg Winery wine glass.

A: Pours a damn near pitch black body with good thickness and viscosity. The head is a two finger light tan color with excellent texture, decent retention, and solid lacing.

S: All the usual RIS notes are here; slight soy, dry baker's chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, leather, and tobacco nicely mingle on the nose. While it's a nice melange, it's too subdued, much to its detriment.

T: The flavor starts off with some dark fruit notes (raisins, currants, plums) along side some leather and licorice. Afterward, it progresses toward dark chocolate and roast notes, and it finishes salty and slightly boozy. There are hints of tobacco and piny hops throughout the flavor progression. Balance is decent, but not impeccable, as it slightly leans towards fruitiness. On the plus side, it featured the kind of complexity I was expecting from a beer of this caliber.

M: Decently heavy with good viscosity and low carbonation, with a dry finish, almost to the point of causing the mouth to water. The aftertaste lingers nicely with dried dark fruits. Touches of alcohol can be felt on the tongue, throat, and stomach.

O: A tough beer to digest at first - but one that rewards its drinker with good complexity and a breadth of flavor storytelling. It isn't immensely drinkable, but then again, something like this should be savored slowly. Given its price point, it's one I can heartily recommend.

ThisWangsChung, May 06, 2013
Photo of jdoolin
2.95/5  rDev -32%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Presentation: 22oz bomber poured into a wine glass in front of a fireplace in a cabin in the Smoky Mountains.

Appearance: Completely black with a thick, luxurious light brown head. Very nice looking beer in a great setting.

Aroma: Hmm... I smell the typical roastiness of a stout, but I get a lot more malt than anything. Strong caramel and molasses aromas, a lot more like a barleywine. Also a very strong alcohol aroma.

Taste and Mouthfeel: Very thick and syrupy. Much like the description of the aroma, I could taste the roastiness and light hints of chocolate and coffee, but it was overpowered by the malt sweetness and the associated flavors of caramel and molasses. Alongside the malt sweetness is the strong flavor of alcohol. Once again, more like a barleywine. No way I could have more than one of these in a sitting.

Notes: I find myself describing this beer much like I did Speedway Stout. It tastes like they mixed a stout with a barleywine. Not enough stout flavors and too much malt and alcohol for my tastes. I can see why this beer is so well liked, but personally, I prefer a roastier, dark malt flavor. I won't be reaching for this if I'm in the mood for an Imperial Stout.

jdoolin, Oct 22, 2006
Photo of mobyfann
2.98/5  rDev -31.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Paid $4.75 for a 22oz. bottle labeled, "Limited Spring 2003 Release"

The apperence is a nice thick stout with a deep dark brown body and a chocolate-mocha colored head that retains low but the thick lacing proved to be quite nice. The aroma is also nice, full dark coffee smell and hints of fruit, molasses and some other small stuff. So far a solid start... but

The taste wasn't all too spectacular, it was very thick, as thick as Bell's Expedition Stout, but not as strong. Absolutely no carbonation! The flavors in the taste were pretty good, but that's it. Too much syrup flavor as well. Mouthfeel was way too heavy for this, as I had problems wanting to finish up. The drinkability is non-existent as well; feels like it would be more suitable in taking shots of this and having a decent if that aftertaste.

Final Thought: This is the second strong beer I've had that has been too heavy, and really shouldn't be classified as a beer. I'll try it again but as of now I prefer Victory Storm King and Great Lakes Blackout over this any day...

mobyfann, Jul 10, 2004
Photo of JFresh21
2.99/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2013 vintage edition

This beer tastes like oak. The booze is well masked for 10% but its lacking the depth and flavors that make a stout great, chocolate and coffee. Stick with breakfast stout.

Not great but a well crafted beer if you dig the oak flavor.

JFresh21, May 09, 2013
Photo of Dave11899
3/5  rDev -30.9%

Dave11899, Jun 19, 2014
Photo of atlbravsrno1
3/5  rDev -30.9%

atlbravsrno1, Jan 02, 2014
Photo of hopsbreath
3/5  rDev -30.9%

hopsbreath, Nov 14, 2011
Photo of Loogs
3/5  rDev -30.9%

Loogs, Jan 22, 2012
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 7,189 ratings.