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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.

5,935 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5935
Reviews: 2528
rAvg: 4.36
pDev: 9.4%

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: 5,935 | Reviews: 2,528 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Beer_Singh


3.6/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

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Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2014 05:07:27 | More by Beer_Singh
Photo of Nicholas_Vronksy


5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I love this beer!

I generally enjoy stouts, but this one is a cut above. The color is jet black with a frothy chocolate head. The feel is thick and smooth though not overly heavy. There is significant presence of espresso, cacao beans, and roasted malts in both the aroma and flavor; this rich malty flavor balances perfectly with the hint of bitterness on the back end (and unlike with many other bitter beers I really do mean well balanced).

If this beer has a drawback it's only that it's seasonal and when I do see it sold it's mostly in giant 22oz bottles. Honestly sometimes I just don't fee like drinking 22oz. of 10% alcohol beer in one sitting.

Nice job Stone!

Serving type: on-tap

10-30-2013 21:49:54 | More by Nicholas_Vronksy
Photo of Smurf2055


4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 vintage on draft at Uber.

Pours black as night with about a finger of tan head.

Smell was amazing chocolate and hints of coffee.

Taste was much the same, very rich and full bodied, complex and luxurious.

I had tried this early on in my craft beer adventure. It was a current vintage, and I remember it being bold, rich, and super thick. Either my palate has expanded or a year of aging mellows it quite a bit, because this beer can go tooth and nail with any other RIS I’ve tried.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2013 04:02:42 | More by Smurf2055
Photo of GreesyFizeek

New York

4.31/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

2011 vintage on tap at The Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, VT.

Pours the thickest and darkest of blacks. 2 inch dark brown head, with good lacing down the glass.

Smells include dark, almost burnt, roasted malt, rich chocolate, and coffee.

The taste is similar. Insanely roasty beer, they must have put a ton of roasted malt in here, as the beer is very bitter with roastiness. Some rich dark chocolate flavors as well, along with coffee and slightly overpowering smoke/ash flavors.

Thick, thick, thick body and mouthfeel- creamy and sticky all in a good way. Low carbonation.

A great stout from Stone, although I like the espresso variant better.

Serving type: on-tap

03-29-2013 20:23:24 | More by GreesyFizeek
Photo of ThePaleRider


4.49/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at the Stone tap room in South Park.


A - Pitch black with a milk chocolate head and thick brown lacing on the glass. No light is passing through the glass. Soooo pretty.

S - Lots of chocolate and roasted malts. Really reminds me of an oak aged stout. Lots of vanilla hiding in there as well.

T - Lots of chocolate and smooth malts. Even after being aged there's still a little booze hiding in there, but it's the good kind, if that makes any sense. This brew is just getting better and better and I feel all the flavors are really complimenting each other.

M - Very rich and dry. Not a lot of carbonation. Heavy and really leaves you wanting another sip.

O - So glad I was able to get this when I did. Having a brewery tap room close by is such an amazing privilege. Thanks for this amazing brew Stone!!!

Serving type: on-tap

03-20-2013 03:55:55 | More by ThePaleRider
Photo of illuminutteh

5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This was very dark, heavy, and thick. Probably the BEST stout I have ever tasted. I had this with a prime rib dinner and it totally made the meal for me, complimenting my rare prime rib and horseradish. This is probably not for everyone, but for stout lovers, this is definitely one to try. This one surprised me. After Drinking Beamish and Guinness for years, this one was a rare treat. lager drinkers would probably not like this. It also makes a hell of a "black and tan" for those into that sort of thing. Cheers!

Serving type: on-tap

12-19-2012 23:59:54 | More by illuminutteh
Photo of Nutwood


2.5/5  rDev -42.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

11-27-2012 15:33:46 | More by Nutwood
Photo of martyl1000


4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4


The aroma ia the best thing avouttap at Amsterdam Cafe, San Francisco. Absolutely beautiful in a tulip glass. Jet black with a dark brown choco- meringue-like head. Chocolate syrup, black coffee, raisin, and an asteongency tjat keeps it from being cloying..

Serving type: on-tap

10-29-2012 05:24:15 | More by martyl1000
Photo of SGDJosh

3.95/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From notes taken on 9/13 at Proof Brewing in Tallahassee, FL:

A - Black as night with a frothy half finger head. Slowly dissipating head.

S - roasted malts, espresso, loads of dark chocolate.

T - deep, dark flavors. Cold bitter coffee with lots of cacao. Little bit of hoppy bitterness on the finish.

M - Full bodied, choppy carbonation that leads to more flavors

O - Great example of the style. Big, bold and in your face flavors

Serving type: on-tap

09-14-2012 13:51:23 | More by SGDJosh
Photo of TwelveOunces


4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap into a pint glass

This beer pours pitch black as you would expect from a stout this size. It has the aroma of roasted malts ans well as some chocolate. The flavor matches the nose and really has a nice big bitterness to help keep the beer drinkable. There an alcohol presence but it isn't too much and the beer is about as drinkable as it needs to be. An IRS that really holds the standard.

Serving type: on-tap

08-05-2012 03:42:43 | More by TwelveOunces
Photo of VanillaHeat


4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very dark stout served in a scooner. Smells and tastes like expresso with a hint of chocolate. Hard to find on tap - the place I visited multiple times ran out. $6 a pint, but easily my current favorite beer. Drinks slow because it is thick, but not bitter.

Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2012 02:40:08 | More by VanillaHeat
Photo of rodlavers


4.53/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on tap at Ernest & Scott in Wilmington, DE, the First State.

Black, or very very dark reddish brown, lacks head, thin dark mocha ring around edge. Thick, syrupy, black coffee maybe even espresso. Smell is smokey roasted coffee chocolate and just a bit of bacon. Chocolate frosting cake. Smoke is prominent at any rate. Taste is a bit different, with molasses coming through. Roasted, smokey coffee and bitter chocolate also present with brown sugar. Some carbonation, not creamy, but smooth. Somewhat bitter aftertaste. Overall this is awesome. Having this for desert tonight, very much recommend.

Serving type: on-tap

07-26-2012 23:24:21 | More by rodlavers
Photo of Lordquackingstic

New York

4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Deciccos in Brewster.

A: Motor oil black with a big milk chocolate head. Considerable lacing.

S: Dark malty chocolate and coffee roasts.

T: Huge on dark chocolate flavors, some notes of roasted coffee and black currants.

M: Thick like molasses with little carbonation.

O: Very nice stout for a stormy summer day!

Serving type: on-tap

07-18-2012 20:36:21 | More by Lordquackingstic
Photo of abrethanson


4.4/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from the tap at Sidedoor.

Appearance - As Rick James said, "Darkness everybody!" This beer is a viscous oil brown bottomless abyss. Its thick and meaty body came with a 2 finger fluffy tan head. Nothing else to see here folks.

Smell - rich coffee and chocolate demons and that signature Stone smokiness.

Taste - creamy dark chocolate, smokey, and a bitter burnt coffee which punches you in gut. Hints of plum and vanilla. Extremely malty and chewy with the booziness coming through in the end. Very well balanced with the alcohol and dark flavors.

Overall - Delicious. As noted by everyone else this is one of the best imperial stouts around. Hits you with the best and robust flavors a stout has to offer, well-balanced booziness, and sips like a neat bourbon.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2012 16:08:15 | More by abrethanson
Photo of 57md


4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance is dark brown to black with surprisingly little head for an RIS. Slightly roast in the nose. Solid flavor combination of roasted malt, creaminess and residual sweetness. A complex offering with a subtle, but certainly present alcohol finish.

Serving type: on-tap

07-15-2012 03:59:30 | More by 57md
Photo of Stinkypuss


4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Brewing Co.
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.50 %

LOOK: Pours the darkest of browns more or less black, with no sediment and cannot see through. Small wisp of light brown head forms and recedes the edges of the glass.

SMELL: Roasted malts, coffee, smoke, cocoa and dark fruits are all present in the aroma. There is also a detection of alcohol, which is to be expected of a stout of Imperial Russian strength.

TASTE: Deeply roasted malts kick things off, with subtle notes of chocolate, coffee, black licorice and vanilla. There is a hint of plum and date as well, and alcohol is quite tame. Pretty tasty and remains roasted and flavorful the whole way through.

FEEL: Full bodied, silky smooth on the palate, medium carbonation, lingering stout flavor sticks with you.

OVERALL: A delicious stout sporting great strength, feel, flavor and general outcome. A stout that does its job and is proud of it. A salud' to Stone for a job well done!

Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2012 17:20:38 | More by Stinkypuss
Photo of linkin22luke


4.9/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served on tap at the Mercury Lounge in Goleta, CA.

A - Black as night, with a mocha colored head. Looks like motor oil in a beer glass. Absolutely beautiful.

S - Chocolate, espresso, alcohol, nut.

T - Thick milk chocolate, which is quickly countered by bitter strong coffee notes.

M - Incredibly thick, coats the mouth, and has an impressively long finish

O - My favorite RIS of all time, but it is a strong one, so I wouldn't wanted it for any or all occasions, perfect right before bedtime.

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2012 22:57:46 | More by linkin22luke
Photo of DrinkSlurm


4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from tap at gingerman SONO. Poured into oversized snifter. It feels a bit cold so I have to wait a bit for it to warm up. Pours a deep black brown with tan head. Very roasted malty aroma with lots of coffee notes.
Its a bit bitter and surprisingly boozey. Some milkey sugar heavy malt flavors mixed with roasted coffee and a slight bit of chocolate. Its a very good RIS but I like them with a bit more pizazz. I know this is such a highly rated brew, but I'm just not sure it has the complexity I like.
Overall, a great, don't get me wrong, brew. But not as mind blowing as I hoped.

Serving type: on-tap

06-02-2012 01:02:33 | More by DrinkSlurm
Photo of kojevergas


3.35/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a stem-goblet at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, California. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were above average; Stone is direly overrated but I heard good things about this brew in particular, and I like the style.

Paired with sweet potato fries.

A: Pours a half finger head of khaki colour, nice cream, okay thickness, and bad retention. Colour of the body is a nontransparent solid opaque black. I prefer the head colour of beers in this style to be more of a tan - the darker the better - but khaki does alright. I'm not anticipating a great beer, though. Due to the nontransparency, no yeast particles are visible (if they're there).

Sm: Vanilla, cream, chocolate, caramel, and hints of roast. A mild strength aroma. Roast should be more present given the style. I'm alerted.

T: Generic chocolate and tame cream over a dark malt (chocolate malt inclusive) foundation with underlying caramel. Some vanilla hints that don't amount to much. No real layering here. Not at all complex for the style. Stone played this beer surprisingly safe. Why is it they pick this style to do that on? They seem to force unwelcome flavours into most otherwise simple styles. Decently balanced but built without boldness, experimentation, or inspiration. As Imperial Stouts come, this is pretty generic.

Mf: Silky smooth and wet. Completely wrong for the style; a stout demands dryness and coarseness (from roast) overcome masterfully by cream. That isn't the case here. Too thin. Adequate carbonation.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. Russian Imperial stouts like this one are a dime a dozen nowadays. There are far better beers in the style, even at the same or lesser price. It's decent, and I might pick it up in bottled form at a good price, but don't expect masterful brewing. I wouldn't recommend it to friends. In fairness, it'd be a pretty good beginner's Russian Imperial Stout. My main problem with it surrounds its lack of inspiration or specialization; as a generic example of the style it'd be a good introduction for people new to the style.

A decent candidate for aging, but I wouldn't do it meself.

Would pair okay with chocolate. Not real suitable to barbecue.


Serving type: on-tap

05-20-2012 21:59:08 | More by kojevergas
Photo of Gatch


4.58/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Taste of Tops in Tempe, AZ.

A: Pitch, tar black but blood red up to light. Good looking legs.

S: Molasses, dark raisins, heavily roasted malt and coffee, and dark cocoa. Smoked meats. Beef jerky. Caramelized brown sugar. Obviously a very complex nose.

T: Wow, I forgot how good this is. Huge roasted malt, dark bittersweet chocolate, espresso beans. Smoky, peaty, just delicious. Some booze at the end but it's welcomed.

M: Massive flavor profile. Palate becomes saturated with sweet, deeply roasted malt and coffee. Way too easy to drink for what this beer is. Nothing becomes cloying or overwhelming.

O: How can this so cheap relative to all other beers of its ilk? It's a benchmark for the style. Such a great beer.

Serving type: on-tap

05-05-2012 18:35:53 | More by Gatch
Photo of ThePorterSorter


3.9/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012 just released.

served ice cold unfortunately, which majorly stunts the beer's aroma. It appears jet black and oily with tight tan bubbles that hold the glass tightly. The taste is a bold rich coffee roastiness and chocolate sweetness. It's definitely a potent stout with an extra chewy mouthfeel. Overall this stout is quite the bang for your buck and worth trying once.

Serving type: on-tap

04-26-2012 00:28:20 | More by ThePorterSorter
Photo of b3shine


4.38/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 on draft at Dutch's. Looks good; black with a little head that quickly dissipates into lacing. Smells good too; deep and malty. Tastes great! One of the best RIS I've ever had. The age does wonders to an already great beer. Mouthfeel is great too, especially for such a big beer (11%). Overall, an excellent brew that I hope to have aged again.

Serving type: on-tap

02-19-2012 21:36:39 | More by b3shine
Photo of Jerone


3.58/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Very dark brown, can see a tiny bit through the edges, chocolate colored one finger head that fades quickly, can't get much head out of this one, no lacing.

S - Dark roasted malts, some chocolate and liqorice and quite a bit of tobacco that I don't enjoy but that many may love.

T - Lots of very dark roasted malt, chocolate/coffee and liqorice, all very nice flavor... but then I get some of that tobacco again and just don't enjoy it.

M - Great mouthfeel, full bodied and completely coats the mouth low to medium carbonation.

O - I will try this beer again but for me I just don't like the tobacco flavor, it doesn't ruin it for me but doesn't allow me to enjoy it as much.

Serving type: on-tap

02-14-2012 00:17:33 | More by Jerone
Photo of RBassSFHOPit2ME


4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2007 Vintage on tap last night at City Beer SF

I'll note, I'm not at all a fan of this beer fresh, however 5 years has turned this beer into something truly beautiful.

The nose is straight port wine and dark fruits with a tiny hint of vanilla. Although there is no bourbon component to this beer, you'd swear in the nose that there is a mild bourbon barrel hint going on in there as well. The smell was absolutely sublime. I've never come across a better nose on a standard RIS.

The taste was much of the same minus the bourbon. Just shy of what the nose gave off. Not too heavy and not at all light. The mouthfeel was nice, however I prefer my stouts creamier, similair to The Abyss after a year of age or Velvetier, similair to a Parabola. That's just getting knit-picky though.

I feel very fortunate to have randomly stumbled across this vintage. Get it if you can!

Serving type: on-tap

02-11-2012 22:38:56 | More by RBassSFHOPit2ME
Photo of MBrausen


4.72/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes.

A. Pours a pitch black color, thick 1 finger head, mocha head, long lasting with lots of good lacing.

S. Smells of lots of chocolate, oates and malt

T. Tastes of strong chocolate, light lactose, and malty rich grains.

M Thick bodied, very chewy and long lasting bold mouth flavor.

O. A great beer time and time again. I have a few bottles of this same vintage aging in the cellar. I can't wait to open them in a year or two.

Serving type: on-tap

02-01-2012 21:07:25 | More by MBrausen
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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 5,935 ratings.