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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

2,660 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,660
Hads: 7,816
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 5.06%
Wants: 699
Gots: 2,021 | FT: 114
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,660 | Hads: 7,816
Photo of Gorilla_Biscuits
4.52/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 edition. Tastes like dark chocolate and coffee mostly. You also get a tangy taste afterward from the black currant. Super good, grab these while you can. (158 characters)

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

A: Color is dark brown, and may even look black, which will take away its transparency, as one wouldn't be able to see any light shine through the glass. Clarity is black, and head is a very light tan color, which may even come off as beige.

S: The aroma comes off as coffee, or even dark chocolate, with a possible hint of nuts. Not very hoppy, nor were there any really "off odors"

T: Taste is a bit on the sweeter side with a bit of a smokey flavor. It tastes like roasted grains. Didn't really notice any "off flavors". There was a bit of a coffee, dark chocolate, and nutty taste in the beer.

M: The beer felt full bodied, and the aftertaste was strong, though did not last too long. There wasn't much CO2 or fizziness in the beer, though the beer seemed to have a stronger alcohol presence.

O: Overall, it was a solid stout. Tastes good, and was just what I expected from a stout. I enjoyed it with a good taste of coffee, dark chocolate, and maybe even dark fruits, but the nuttiness was definitely apparent. (1,020 characters)

Photo of ajm5108
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing stands out about this beer...yet, there really isn't anything to criticize. It checks all the boxes for the style, but just doesn't do anything with it. Solid, under-the-radar standby. (194 characters)

Photo of Stoutanddark
4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 Imperial Russian classic release.

Stone has created another massive brew with highlight s of anise,currant,coffee, roasted malt with just enough bottle conditioning carefully hidden in one heavy weight contender coming in on the scales at just under 11 percent %.

Bargain to find at the grocery outlet store for $7.50+ tax for a 22 oz bomber.

Huge booming rich and so satisfying did not need or even think about opening a second bottle. Classic warming shared with chocolate lava cake for dessert.

I have tasted a few better but also paid steeply for the privelege such as Ale Smith speedway stout coming in at $75.00 and all the sub varieties of the coffees and bourbon barrel aging etc did not impress me to the point Ale smith was worth the &5 bucks +.

Stone another San Diego brewer should be proud of their hard work following old school authentic methods to create this heavenly brew .

Stone claims no sins committed in the bottling or brewing that's up to the person enjoying however drink in moderation with the keys to the car secured for the night. (1,079 characters)

Photo of EMV
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at World of Beer in Orlando, FL - poured into a snifter.

L: Pours a pitch black with a small amount of white head. No light is penetrating this beer.

S: Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate.

T/F: Roasted malts and alcohol dominate, with tones of chocolate and almost a spicy flavor comes through. Warming, with a pretty strong alcohol punch. Minimal carbonation and smooth.

O: I wanted to like this beer more, as I'm a big fan of the Gargoyle and their arrogant brews. Big time roasted malts and coffee flavors, but the spiciness put me off a bit. This may be on account of the tap not having been properly cleaned. I'll be picking up a bomber and doing a re-sample at the earliest opportunity. (718 characters)

Photo of dmgeng
4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've had this in 2013 but didn't get a bottle last year and with so many beer since then I knew this was good but could exactly pin down where this ranked until I'm reviewing and drinking a 2015 (2 months in bottle.)

A - Deep dark brown that settles into a dark black. It pours thick with a medium brown rocky head and good lacing.

S - Tons of of sweet malt smell with roast, chocolate, caramel, some smoke, and some coffee notes radiating out. There is not a single aroma that is overpowering but blends nicely. Not the strongest smelling RIS but has everything it should.

T - This beer evolves in the mouth with a rich malt character that is sweet and chocolaty on the front then quickly goes into more caramel, coffee, and light smoke. Towards the end there is the bitterness you would expect and desire with roast, bitter coffee, bitter chocolate, and some herbal bitterness. Again nothing is over the top and is quite balanced for the depth of flavor. This beer rolls across the palate and you can discern it all, which to me is the hallmark of a great beer.

M - High mouth-feel with perfect carbonation. Good balance between sweet and bitter and overall mouth-feel which again makes this beer a terrific representation of the style.

Overall, this is one of the best examples of a Russian Imperial Stout you can find. Great breadth of flavor, great balance, and low cost make this one a seasonal that you should get at least once a year. I know that there are more unique, richer, and overall tastier version of the style but yet again Stone was one of the forefathers of the craft beer movement and for years this was the best representation of great beer that could be found coast-to-coast.

Glass- Snifter (1,718 characters)

Photo of dutesanch
3.52/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured a 2015 from the bottle into my 16oz Stone logo snifter. Not for me I guess. A little watery and lacked the taste I expected considering how highly regarded it was. Maybe age helps. Smells great though. (208 characters)

Photo of hail_seitan
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 22 oz. bottle of 2014 vintage into brandy snifter

A - Pours viscous and oily. The body is a virtually opaque dark, dark brown. The only real head to speak of is a thin rim of frothy cappuccino-colored foam along the sides of the glass. Tiny bubbles form an oil slick across the top of the beer. Scattered speckles of lacing with accompanying legs.

S - The odor is strongly reminiscent of dark dried fruits - a menagerie of figs, prunes, and raisins. These fruity esters are supplemented with a hearty dose of caramel and cold-brew coffee. A touch of grain alcohol sweetness, too.

A - A specter of smokey coffee teases the tongue before dissolving into a full blown manifestation of caramel and fig sweetness. The sweetness borders on cloying, but is delightfully balanced by tobacco, dark chocolate, and vanilla notes. The sweetness slow burns to the finish along with a mild burn from the alcohol.

M - Sticky, chewy, and oily with minimal carbonation. Nearly perfect.

O - A great Russian Imperial Stout. I honestly think I preferred it without a year of aging - the raw intensity of the sweetness is offset by more coffee and chocolate notes in a fresh version of this beer. Nonetheless, a real treat! (1,214 characters)

Photo of CTbrew32
3.7/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 2014

Appearance- Black with a slight brown color as well. Pours a very thin mocha colored head.

Aroma- Roasted malts and sweet dark chocolate

Taste- Bitter roasted malts are big at first. The bitterness subsides a little as chocolate takes over the flavor in the finish. As it warms up a citrus hop flavor is noticeable in the middle.

Feel- Full bodied, low carbonation, and a creamy texture.

Overall- Pretty straightforward beer with roasted malt and dark chocolate dominating the flavor. Overall, its a solid IRS but nothing spectacular. Maybe a year isn't doing this any favors. (598 characters)

Photo of teromous
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Oil black body with a thin khaki head that fades quickly to a ring and a few rafts of bubbles. Some minor spots but no real lacing.

Aroma: There isn't much aroma here. I am picking up a light charred scent like the inside of a coffee pot that has been left on the burner. I also pick up a strong alcohol aroma, which isn't a surprise given the 10.6% ABV.

Taste: I want to point out first that this beer doesn't have any overwhelmingly strong flavors, which really is its strong point. It is very enjoyable to drink because of this. I pick up some faint sweet caramel and roasted coffee, then there is a bit of pine and a woody character like a strong tea. I do get an alcohol flavor in this beer but it marries well with the flavor. Everything is mellowed out without feeling washed out.

Mouthfeel: It has a really good mouthfeel. It's thick when I start drinking the beer, but it doesn't feel sticky or linger on the palate too long. It does a good job of delivering flavor on a nice thick tide that ebbs away leaving pure aftertaste.

Overall: It is a very good Russian Imperial Stout, especially if you're not looking for something over the top. It delivers a wealth of flavors without crushing your palate to the point that you get tired of the beer. It is definitely a beer that you can sit back and enjoy an entire bomber of. I do wish it had more aroma, but there's no doubt that I enjoyed this beer. (1,422 characters)

Photo of TBonez477
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Nearly black with two fingers of beautiful mocha head.

S: Molasses and fig, slight booze.

T: Drinks similar to aroma, more chocolate and coffee on the finish.

M: Smooth and creamy.

O: Delicious and worth the acclaim. (223 characters)

Photo of Gear54
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber into a snifter

Pitch black with 1/2 finger of thick kaki head. Foam fades quick and notice lace left on the glass.

Smell is the best part of this beer in my opinion. Initial aroma is dark roast coffee and hazelnut. Also coco and toasted malts to give some grain aroma to the scent.

Taste is very rich coffee and dark chocolate. Really no bitterness at all with this beer. Malts add a nice grain flavor. I'm also getting a nice sweetness like raspberry and mango. The sweetness gives it really good balance.

Feel is string as well. Flavors coat the mouth and stick to the palate for several min. Each sip is smooth and full flavor. No boozy flavor or scent makes it easy to enjoy which is nice considering the high ABV (738 characters)

Photo of Apellonious
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bomber bottled 3/5/15, poured into a tulip.

A - Jet black with tan half finger head that moves quickly to a thin lace.

S - Chocolate, cocoa, coffee, and some faint raspberry. Not picking up much heat.

T- Roasted grains, cocoa and chocolate, mild bitterness and some alcohol heat on the finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel, carbonation low, slightly creamy and sticky when it warms up.

O - A solid RIS, one of the better ones I have tried. (447 characters)

Photo of coltonbrimhall
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

-thick black with thick brown foam
- mellow dark grain scent very mellow
- thick big alcohol warm but almost burnt grains very big flavor
-thick and chew able
- top notch take on a Russian imperial stout (206 characters)

Photo of oldn00b
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great look, flavor, nose - just felt a little lighter than I'd like or expect. There are a lot of really great stouts available that this one doesn't quite stand out but it's still a really great and enjoyable beer. (216 characters)

Photo of Bone53
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 3/26/15

Appearance: Completely black in the glass with zero light shining through. Aggressive pour results in an enormous brown head

Smell: Heavily roasted malt, bakers chocolate, caramel, slight smoke. I dont pick up any of the alcohol

Taste: I get that roasted malt and bakers chocolate upfront with a smoky finish. Undertone of hops as well

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy medium body; Goes down amazing considering the abv. I dont get the alcohol at all. However, it is a bit more bitter than i prefer in the style

Overall: This is a good but not great RIS. Whatever lacks in flavor and robustness is made up in drinkability. This is one of the easiest drinking imperial stouts iv had fresh, or any beer iv had over 10% for that matter. This really reminds me of GL Blackout Stout in that regard. A little too hoppy and smoky for me, but that would mellow with age. All in all worth picking up and cellaring, but i once again find Stone very overrated (963 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured very dark black, with a two finger bubbly brown head that receded to a quarter inch thick foam, great lacing. Aroma was coffee, dark roast malt and booze. The dark roast malts really stood forward in the flavor, with some coffee, dark fruits, and of course the alcohol. The mouthfeel was thick and creamy smooth - very nice. Overall, Stone hardly ever disappoints, and this beer is no exception. (403 characters)

Photo of Oldlogin
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The after taste is harsh, though not totally unpleasant ..There are other higher end stouts that I would recommend . Completely a matter of subjective taste. (157 characters)

Photo of FaradayUncaged
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours an amazing black with brown head but quickly downhill from there. Smells of burnt malts and boozy alcohol that carries through the taste and finish. Mouthful is a plus but overall seems like maybe some age is a good idea. The burnt flavor and smell is all too powerful and dampers what seems like an otherwise pleasurable experience. (342 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one's a whopper!

Opaque, deep black, and strong as an ox.

As with the best of the Imperial Russian Stouts, this one's got a burnt taste, less coffee or chocolate here, which gives way to a jagged alcoholic aftertaste/followthrough (it is 10.8%, after all).

Not one for the timid (or light beer fans), this is definitely one to sip slowly and savor. (359 characters)

Photo of mchegash
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tried a 4oz sample at Pasadena (Liberty Station) store

Appearance - 4.5/5
Very dark, probably black, 2 fingers of delicious medium brown head.

Smell - 5/5
Sweet, dark delicious brown sugar malts with hints of alcohol. Smell is mellow rather than sharp.

Taste - 4.5/5
Delicious, dark slightly-fruity malts. Tastes like it smells. Sweet, honey-like.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Smooth, medium-full body.

Overall - 4.25/5
I only sampled 4oz of this when I was in CA, but I absolutely loved it. It might be my favorite Russian Imperial. I've been trying to get my hands on a full bomber of this so I can give in a review with a proper amount of beer, but I haven't been able to find one in MI. (685 characters)

Photo of funjack5150
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just picked up three bottles today of the 2014 release, super surprised to find it at the beer store. I hear the 2015 release comes out tomorrow. Went home chilled two bottles and put one in the cellar. I get a lot of chocolate its kind of nice. Sipping on a glass of it right now, well watching March Madness, what could be better? (332 characters)

Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 4.75 - Poured jet black in color. Formed about a finger of medium/dark tan colored head. Head subsides down to a film. Impressive head potential and retention for the ABV and the viscosity. Spotty, almost nonexistent lacing.
S - 4.75 - Bitter chocolate, sweet chocolate, light touches of vanilla and coffee. The nose to me is dominated by licorice, anise and a medicinal, herbal aroma. This is what I've found to be traditional of the style and as such, it smells amazing.
T - 5 - I can't believe how well balanced this is for how potent it is. The malty sweetness, and the bitterness at the end are balanced perfectly. Has lots of malt, chocolate, some raisin, licorice and that slight medicinal herbal twang all good Russian's have. Surprisingly, the alcohol in this is WELL hidden.
F - 4.25 - Definitely a decent, thicker creamy mouthfeel, but not the viscosity of crude oil that was promised on the bottle. Have definitely had thicker before.
O - 4.75 - This is a damned fine imperial Russian stout. Probably the most balanced I've ever had and one of the best in general. Reminds me A LOT of Oskar Blue's Ten Fidy. Is it the best ever? No. Is it worth buying, stocking up on and cellaring? Hell yes. This is a stout lover's dream beer and I HIGHLY recommend it to fans of the style. (1,327 characters)

Photo of infinitebruner
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

March 5, 2015

22 oz bomber, snifter

A – Jet black and fairly viscous/oily, very dark brown lacing on top, just a thin layer that disappears quickly.

S – Very high roasted component with some vanilla and alcohol warmth on the nose. Hops seem to be earthy, and somewhat piney. A good dose of bitterness at the end.

T – High vanilla component, with only moderate roast flavors, and some bittersweet chocolate. Hops provide bitterness mostly, with a piney, woodsy flavor underneath.

M – Moderately low carbonation and medium-bodied, a moderate amount of residual sweetness but balanced hard towards bitterness, both from roasted malt and from hops. Mild alcohol warmth, very subdued.

O – Not as heavy as I expected, and a nice combination of roasty and sweet components. Solid. (795 characters)

Photo of marieli
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Draft. A very pretty beer, close to black with a nice tan head. Dark chocolate ruled smell and taste with underlying coffee and roasted malts. Not much fruit. Slight bitterness. At 11% the alcohol makes itself known, but okay. Not as thick or creamy as expected or hoping. A good beer but some creaminess and smoothing out would definitely kick it up a notch for my taste. (379 characters)

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 2,660 ratings.