1. Don't miss our 7th annual American Craft Beer Fest featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers this May 30 & 31 in Boston, MA! Buy your tickets now!
  2. BeerAdvocate on your phone?! True story. Try the beta now.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

5,972 Ratings

(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
Ratings: 5,972 | Reviews: 2,530 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of kscaldef


4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting 2012 vintage in Mar 2014.

A: unchanged, S: predominantly dark chocolate, which some dark fruit. T: Deliciously chocolatey, alcohol burn is gone. M: whatever bothered me 2 years ago is completely gone, mouthfeel now is near perfect. O: aging seems to have done wonders for this.

Original review follows:

2012 Vintage

A: Extremely dark, no more than a millimeter of beer on the edge permits any light through. Decent sized, dark mocha head. Leaves no lacing on the glass. (4)

S: Chocolate and overripe banana. Prunes and raisins. Heavily-roasted coffee beans come out as it sits and warms (4)

T: Tons of rich chocolate, with supporting notes of nuts, cherries, dates, and figs. Some alcohol apparent, but not excessive. Little hop character, some alcohol bitterness in the finish. (4)

M: Very smooth and unctuous in the mouth. However, it leaves an unpleasant grainy sensation that lingers for quite a while and really detracts from the beer. (2)

O: This beer is a miniature tragedy. So good, up to the finish which is really unpleasant. I could just drink faster, so as to experience more taste and less aftertaste, but that's probably a poor choice with a 10.5% beer. So, I'm torn. Half of the time I like this beer, half of the time I dislike it. Unfortunate. (3)

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 04:08:11 | More by kscaldef
Photo of sully11277


4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A- Jet black with a nice dark brown head that stays around for awhile.

S- Very strong roast and sweetness with a nice burn that lets you know before you drink it that it is pretty high. A good chocolate, dark fruit, and brown sugar.

T/M- It is very sweet and a nice smooth finish. A lot of chocolate, roast, and very sweet. It is really smooth and thick.

O- A great beer that I was sitting on for a year wish I would of bought more of this 2013 version.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 03:22:18 | More by sully11277
Photo of Gryphon69


3.43/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

bottled on 2-21-2014

A- Black, no light coming thru, light mocha head that fades fast, nice sticky lacing all over the glass.

S- Jumbled...dark roast, chocolate, brown sugar, dark fruit, it has all the right smells, but its all jumbled togather like one big mess, the longer I let it breath the cleaner it gets but still hard to separate.

T- Dark Fruit up front, some roast, alcohol, cocoas.

M- Full bodied, thick, syrupy, heavy. good

O- The highlight is the mouth with the thick and syrupy textures, the smell is lacking and the taste I would put a ok / average. The alcohol is not hidden and starts from start to finish. Worth trying but wont spend much to keep it on my shelfs.

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 02:54:44 | More by Gryphon69
Photo of Stevedore


4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle from the 2013 release. It's been in my fridge for about a year, decided to finally sit down and review a bottle.. have had this on two different occasions, but apparently just never got around to writing a review on it.

App- Dark black body, opaque with a nice one finger mocha head that retains fairly well, really nice thin lacing that sinks into the beer. Nice mocha collar and thin film. Looks the part.

Smell- Even at room temp, all I get is a bit of dark fruit and chocolate. No coffee, no roast, no brown sugar, nothing else to tell me this is a true RIS. I would like a lot more that I get here.

Flavour- What it doesn't deliver in the nose, it does deliver on the palate. Charred malts, dark fruit, dark chocolate, a bit of espresso and a slick syrupy sweet molasses finish. Robust, complex with a lot going on.

Mouthfeel- Full bodied, perfectly carbonated. Slick, coating my mouth in bitter chocolate with sweet molasses; it's definitely a sipper due to the intensity of the flavour and its slick nature; there isn't a ton of heat or anything like that.

Overall- Probably one of the best deals out there in terms of Russian Imperial Stouts in bombers at $6.99. Founders Imperial Stout is a better beer and a better value, but for our friends in California who don't get Founders or Dark Horse, this is an excellent and overlooked option.

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2014 03:25:55 | More by Stevedore
Photo of gueuzedreg


4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

09 bottle

A- Pretty black, minimal coffee lacing. Must have some carb, because little fishes are biting insects at the surface.

S- charred dark fruits, molasses, toffee, burnt caramel

T- More dark fruit. This one is probably aged perfectly. No oxidation present. Some chocolate and molasses. Some biting black liquorice at the end

M- Pretty thick for a stout, nothing major. Some carb

O- A great stout. Very well done; simple and to the point

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 00:25:27 | More by gueuzedreg
Photo of TreyIsWilson


4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a midnight black with a two-finger tan foamy head. Light amount of lacing.

S - Aroma of dark roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee.

T - Taste is awesome. Starts off with sweet chocolate followed by flavors of coffee and roasted nuts. Finish has a nice earthy bitterness.

M - Full body with medium carbonation. Nice creamy mouthfeel with a sticky finish.

O - This is one of the best RISs i've ever had. Lots of big rich flavors. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2014 03:23:37 | More by TreyIsWilson
Photo of reebtaerG


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 22oz bottle dated 3/15/13 into New Belgium globe

A-Pours jet black, one finger beige mocha head and leaves ring around the glass.

S-Awesome aromas of dark chocolate and coffee.

T-wonderful taste is loaded with silky chocolate , coffee grounds, some roasted nuts, caramel...hint of vanilla and slight warming alcohol.

M-Very smooth mouthfeel. Booze hidden almost completely. Just a great balance of flavor. Finish is rich.

O-So glad to have this again it's been 4 yrs and it's awesome as I remembered!

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2014 21:27:35 | More by reebtaerG
Photo of JimiO


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I grew up drinking Guinness... Ohhh man this looks good

Looks like deep-dark chocolate... with a thin dark carmel head

Smells like rich-bitter molasses... a bit of musk... slight coffee and chocolate

Carbonation is very fine... creamy... coats the mouth well

Bitter and well balanced on the tongue... very rich in flavor... Yummmo... bitter chocolate... molasses... coffee... just sweet enough to keep it all in balance

This is right up there with my favorite beers and is the best stout I have tasted thus far

Highly recommend... most excellent

Serving type: bottle

03-05-2014 00:46:47 | More by JimiO
Photo of RonaldTheriot


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Imperial Russian Stout has a thin, beige head, a very dark brown appearance (with reddish-brown highlights in direct sunlight), and decent, but not heavy, lacing left on the glass. The aroma is rich and pronounced- rich, sharp, brown bread crust, sweetness, coffee, cream, chocolate powder, and maybe even dark cherries. Taste is of those elements, with a fairly strong hop bitterness rounding it out. Mouthfeel is velvety and pretty heavy, and Stone Imperial Russian Stout finishes mostly dry, rich, dessert-like, and sip-able. Overall, this is wonderful, and I think everyone should try it!


Serving type: bottle

03-01-2014 20:32:28 | More by RonaldTheriot
Photo of chinchill

South Carolina

4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz 2011 bottle served in a Belgian snifter.

Pours clear, dark brown but sit near black and opaque in the glass. Little head or lacing;
Aroma:sweet and a bit boozy with a hint of molasses.

Flavor: robust, rich, refined and well-balanced. Leans slightly towards sweet. Very good mix of dark fruit and roasted grain flavors with a touch of coffee and earthy spices.

Feel: full body with excellent, soft, medium-low carbonation.

O: excellent

Serving type: bottle

02-25-2014 00:25:11 | More by chinchill
Photo of facundoCNB

New Jersey

4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a deep dark brown with a finger of head. Smells of dark roasted grains, coffee, dark chocolate, licorice. The flavor is on point with the aroma. Lots of dark charred notes, coffee, and licorice.
Full body with a hint of carbonation to liven the feel. Creamy with a chalky finish.
Overall this is a solid RIS. One of the first of the style I ever got to try. I had a 2009 a few nights ago and I have to say it was perfect. This is the 2012 and feels like it still needs some more time. I'd recommend holding on to a few bottles for a long time.

Serving type: bottle

02-15-2014 02:40:44 | More by facundoCNB
Photo of papat444

Quebec (Canada)

4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Had this a while back, just getting to putting up a review now.

Poured from a bomber.

A classic in its own right. Delicious roasted malt, coffee, chocolate make this a rich and decadent treat. Easy to drink a bomber by oneself. In the crowd of RIS ales, this one still holds its own.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2014 14:06:24 | More by papat444
Photo of McStagger


4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 3/22/13.

A: Black as night. Forget about it. Half finger of very dark tannish head. Tight bubbles, very creamy looking. Beer is sticky, leaving lots of lacing in the glass.

S: Monster of a RIS. I'm getting leather, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, creme brule, toffee, dark fruit, gaminess.

T: Lots of dark fruit in the onset; cassis, dark berry, etc. The mid palate opens up to a sort of oaky/leathery taste. Also are big roasted qualities, along with lots of burnt sugar. Aftertaste is caramelized sugar, more dark fruit. Traces of herbal quality.

M: Perfect. Big, thick and chewy without being over the top or flabby. Carbonation is enough to support the massive malt bill and hide the alcohol. Great stuff.

O: Pure RIS goodness here. No barrels, no flavor infusions, and yet still a ton of flavor. One of the best "base" Imperial stouts on the market.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2014 07:11:11 | More by McStagger
Photo of Beer_Singh


3.6/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Although beer industry professionals (owners or employees) are welcome to join and participate on BeerAdvocate.com, we do not allow them to review their own beers and/or establishments. Reviewing the so-called competition is also highly frowned upon. All reviews and/or accounts that fail to follow this will be subject to deletion.

Do not chastise other users in your comments for their opinions.

Blatant score altering, good or bad, will get your review and/or account deleted.
Everyone swears, but excessive profanity is not wanted.

Typing in useless characters to meet the required minimum is also frowned upon.

Serving type: on-tap

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

4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Classic 2013 release. Poured from a 22oz. bottle. Smell is black liquorice, dark chocolate, hints of roasted coffee, even soy sauce. Taste is malty up front. Lots of roasted flavors going on. It finishes with a very slight alcohol burn that lingers for quite some time. Not in a bad way. It's amazing how smooth it finishes for what it is. As the beer warms I almost pick up hints of peanut butter on the finish. Mouthfeel is perfect for the brew. This is a must try. It was the #1 beer in the world for some time. If you ever come across it I highly recommend giving it a try

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2014 19:10:09 | More by bryangb
Photo of rangerred


4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter out of a 22oz bomber.

Pours pitch black with the consistency of motor oil with a smallish half finger dark tan head. I was surprised at the lacing which is pretty thick.

The aroma is a little weaker than I was expecxting but has notes of licorice and dark fruits with hints of smoke and coffee.

The flavor has strong notes of coffee and roast with a hefty dose of dark chocolate thrown in for good measure. The dark fruit is much more restrained allowing the coffee and roast to take center stage. Bitterness is on the higher side but it helps to balance out the sweetness. Thick, silky mouthfeel with just a whiff of alcohol to go along with the slightly sticky, warming finish.

Overall, an above-average RIS. Stone never seems to disappoint with their brews and this one is no different. A great stout at a pretty good price.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2014 02:57:03 | More by rangerred
Photo of Tonerelia

New Jersey

1.58/5  rDev -63.7%
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,

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2013 20:35:59 | More by Tonerelia
Photo of schoolboy


4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

How can I criticize something as sublime as this brew? It's too easy to drink. There you go. They should not have made it so good.

It pours a creamy lush head and a beautiful black. The aroma is sweet and sticky, just like when you get it on your lips. The taste is mild - nothing harsh. A perfect balance of sweetness and hops. And the aftertaste is totally mellow, and it lingers a nice bitter.

This brew makes you think that you could have 10 pints of it when in fact three will get you wasted and more will do you in. I'm going to have two today, and I may go get another growler very soon.

Serving type: growler

12-14-2013 22:49:27 | More by schoolboy
Photo of scotorum


4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 22 oz. bottle into a Samuel Smith English nonick pint

a: Black with the faintest hint of peripheral clear ruby when seen through light. Inch tall tan head receded to heavy surface foam and dense lacing.

s: Dark malt.

t: Smoke and hops bite. Dry finish for an Imperial stout, with slight alcohol throat burn, bitterness builds at the sides of the tongue.

m: Medium and smooth.

o: An excellent imperial stout! Remarkably easy drinking for this high ABV, certainly easier than the Oak Aged Yeti I had last night. Even difficult to say it is not as good as FIS or Rasputin, my favorites to now. All in all a top flight brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2013 04:53:04 | More by scotorum
Photo of shacawgo24


4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-Eyes closed shut black. Dirty khaki head that is few finger thick and fades at a nice rate. Not too fast. Creamy foam. Meets the standard for stout looks.

S-Roasted malt. Burnt chocolate. Prunes. Dark nuts like walnut. Astringency. Later warmed I smelled cinnamon. Chocolate baked bread as well, say brownie.

T-Bitter dark chocolate. Fig. Warming as all stouts should get to be, more dark fruits jump up. Prune, raisin. Iced dark coffee with little cream refreshes the palate as well. As it warmed I detected honey-bread tastes. Reminiscent of graham cracker. I implore you to explore your own taste world with this quality brew.

M-Good medium carbonation. Doesn't go down like thick sludge. Fluid. WHEN WARMED. This will become black syrupy-cream. Surprised me. Thought the feel would remain a watery-to-light-thick beer. You can slow-sip this like a fine spirit.

O-One is not a beer drinker until they hit Stone's Imperial Stout. A great gateway for novices in the style. A nice throwback/personal favorite for seasoned vets. The ABV is well concealed. You get buzzed without tasting the booze. This didn't blow me away, but didn't disappoint. I would rather drink North Coast-Old Rasputin. Shameless plug but still. This is a great beer! Beautiful texture and aromatic wonders. Wish the taste was more exciting. Stone will remain a top five brewery in America though. They deliver on any and every style easily.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2013 16:26:29 | More by shacawgo24
Photo of Beer-A-Lot


4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Pitch black, lots of lacing. Black gold.

S - Nice bitter coffee and chocolate smell.

T - Bittersweet chocolate. Wonderful complexity.

M - Nice rich, medium/medium full body.

O - Very smooth and while alcohol is not overpowering, it does grow as beer warms and goes down. Potent by end. But I like it a lot.

Serving type: bottle

12-07-2013 01:54:25 | More by Beer-A-Lot
Photo of drmcleod10


4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bomber served into a christmas snifter
Wish I had an aged bottle of this.. have several so will be aging multiple

A - Dark as night with a good amount of lacing. Pour left a quarter inch light khaki foam head. Pours very thick and looks menacing. Oh boy.. drinking this by myself after backwoods, brown shugga, and prairie ale.

S - Smell is irresistible, with roasted black malt, dark chocolate, dark fruit, roasted bitterness, coffee, fudge, and even hints of molasses. Why is this beer not rarer than it is? Has to be the best smelling readily available RIS.

T - Going to wait a few while this warms. Would rather drink it at 55 than 48-50 degrees. Wow as it warm what delicious flavors that emerge, dark chocolate, roasted coffee malt, plum is prevelant in the taste as well as licorice while the booze remains well hidden. There is a slight amount of hops but not over powering in any way. Wish I tackled this beer sooner.

M - massive body with a syrupy texture. nearly perfect for an imperial stout. This happens to be my favorite style and for how readily available this beer is, I might as well stock up and drink one a year to age for years to come. I'll I have been told is that this ages amazing.

O - As easy as it is to get this RIS I am surprised at the quality, stone makes some lovely beers. (currently stocked up on Enjoy By) this is refreshing in the category. Will be seeking this out again.

Tackling this guy after several strong beers and hitting it by myself. It may win the battle.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2013 04:54:11 | More by drmcleod10
Photo of lordofstarside


4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber of the 2013 vintage, roughly 8 months old. Given a few minutes in the fridge out of the cellar 10.6% abv

Pours jet black with two and a half finger of khaki tinged foam (I was a little aggressive with the pour.) Retention has died down to a half finger then to a frothy ring, pretty good lacing on the sides

Edit- second pour was much more amiable. A finger and a half of head with an improved retention rate

Smell is nice and strong, I catch notes just moving around the glass. Putting my nose in it- rich roasted dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, figs, cherry, and a little bit of alcohol. Everything comes together well

Taste is with the nose, strength is in a different order though- toasted dark chocolate, dark fruits, coffee, vanilla, a little hoppiness, and some alcohol on the end. Like the aroma, everything comes together really well, delicious beer

Feel is thick and creamy, heavy and sticky. Alcohol is concealed well, should disappeared all together pretty soon. Dangerously drinkable

Overall one of the better RIS available on a wide scale. These always give me a reason to look forward to spring

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2013 01:18:37 | More by lordofstarside
Photo of AlCaponeJunior


4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Quite typical of the style, this brew is jet black, black as the ace of spades. A small tan head tops it off, leaving nice sheets of lacing.

Smell is of rich dark roasted malts, along with some raisins and figs and dark fruits. Cocoa and coffee make their obligatory appearances too.

Taste is bold, rich, and wonderful. Heavily malted with roasty character, this beer incorporates the chocolate and coffee in the usual manner for the style. Easy going prunes and a nice caramel flavor round out the bold flavor of this brew.

Feel starts off medium and becomes heavier as the beer breathes and warms. It's great for the style and all-around a nice beer to drink.

Overall this RIS meets the standard, and then goes typically higher, as per the name Stone. Another winner in my book.

Serving type: bottle

11-26-2013 22:57:58 | More by AlCaponeJunior
Photo of MCain04


4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle 2013 vintage poured into a Darkness Tulip.

Almost-black body with a mocha head with great retention and lacing.

Smell is roasty with a ton of chocolate, some coffee, not too complex but great flavor profile.

Taste is of roasted malts and dark chocolate. Anise is present but not as heavy as I've seen it described before. Bitter throughout with an aftertaste lingering. Not overly sweet. No alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy, rich, mild-moderate carbonation, sticky dry, very nice.

Overall, well-deserving of the praise it receives. Not the most exciting stout but it does what it tries to do and does it very well. Not hard to come by, not expensive, and delicious. Great bottle to pick up.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2013 21:40:46 | More by MCain04
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 5,972 ratings.