1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

6,664 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,664
Reviews: 2,568
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 485
Gots: 1,420 | FT: 79
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 6,664 | Reviews: 2,568 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeerImmediately
BeerImmediately

Pennsylvania

4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle into tulip.

Pours with a very short brown head that fades to a ring over the obligatory opaque black body.

Aromas of licorice root, roasted peanuts, molasses and milk chocolate sweetness. Vinous qualities pounce thru after it warmed a bit.

Good roastiness on the palate, with charred malt, dark chocolate nibs, vanilla bean, and a solid load of hop bitterness in the very finish.

MF is fairly creamy for a RIS, but certainly enough carbonation to cut thru the thickness.

Ferocious drinkability for a 10.5% RIS. One less touch of bitter makes it a 5.

Serving type: bottle

01-26-2011 02:31:47 | More by BeerImmediately
Photo of tbonevig
tbonevig

New York

4.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved this beer. I first got onto the Imperial Stout scene with Great Divide's Yeti.

As far as Stone's brew, I think I almost enjoy smelling this beer more than I enjoy drinking it. That big wallop of roasted barley is just amazing. I would like to get my hands on an oaked version.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2011 20:20:47 | More by tbonevig
Photo of PDXHops
PDXHops

South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2010 growler (catching up on backlogged review notes) poured into a Duvel tulip. A slow pour reveals only an oily body at first, but a tan skim slowly emerges and eventualy becomes a dense 2-finger cap. Great retention with plentiful streaks of lacing that are alternately creamy and sticky.

Nose is chock full of cocoa and roasted malts. Vanilla and dark fruits are definitely background players. A little boozy.

Taste is intense. A hoppiness that went largely undetected in the nose snowballs throughout the swallow, ending up with a pungent piney bitterness that stops just short of scorching. Similarly, the mild chocolate aromas suddenly are blooming into a flavor reminiscent of fresh chocolate muffins. Burnt and roasted malts aplenty. The body is thick and smooth, yet does little to tame this beast. The warming booze is not at all out of place. Hints of vanilla weave in and out.

Overall impression: This beer ages like a champ, but it's damned good fresh as well. Top notch.

Serving type: growler

01-24-2011 01:25:54 | More by PDXHops
Photo of goldbot
goldbot

District of Columbia

4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spring 2010 release.

Pours pitch black. As black as any beer I've seen. Medium, fizzy brown head that is lively while it lasts but doesn't last long, although the beer remains bubbly much longer. Intense chocolate aroma mixed with raisin and dark, fruity notes. Some booziness in there too, especially as it all warms. Lots of chocolate flavor here too; thick and sweet but not cloying. Raisin and plum fruit. Some roasted barley but mostly this is smooth and sweet not bitter or rough at all. Medium booziness here too although it adds to the experience. Full body; on the high side of viscosity.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 19:21:41 | More by goldbot
Photo of beerpirates
beerpirates

Belgium

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

22 oz bottel poured into my de molen tasting glass

a - Pours a dark black color with one to two inches of off white head and light carbonation evident. Looks great.

s - Smells of chocolate, roasted malts, vanilla, and coffee. Light dark fruits as well. No alcohol in the smell, very balanced and smells great.

t - Tastes of bitter chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, vanilla, and hint of alcohol.

m - Medium to full body and low carbonation. Very easy to drink

d - This is a great RIS. it is one of the best easily available RIS's out there. will definitely have again.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 15:03:05 | More by beerpirates
Photo of sisuspeed
sisuspeed

New Hampshire

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

2008 Vintage
10.8% ABV

Poured into a Foothills tasting glass. Starts out with about two fingers of foamy tan head and eventually reduces to just under a fingers-worth. Leaves a nice web of lacing down the glass. Body is black as night.

Chocolate, molasses, and light anise on the nose. Dark, roasty malts and a bit of vinous character lurk in the background. Seems a little more fruity, with less anise, than it does fresh. Alcohol is almost non-existent at this age.

The taste is great, like usual. Dark, somewhat bitter malts, with black currants and red grapes. A hint of faded coffee, but lots of smooth dark chocolate. A pinch of hop juice leaves just a bit of grassy bitterness on the finish, but for the most part, the hops have fallen out of the flavor. Almost starting to taste milkshake-like, and the alcohol has mellowed nicely. A touch of licorice, but not too much.

Mouthfeel is smooth and creamy. Low carbonation, but spot on for the style. Some warming alcohol, but much less than you would think. Almost perfect.

Drinkability is very good. This is a classic RIS along with Old Rasputin and a few others that are reasonably priced, easy to get and always tasty. With almost 3 years on this beer the heat has dropped out and the overall feel is super smooth. The flavors have melded together nicely, but may be slightly muted. I've still got another '08, and based on this one, I think this beer can still go a few more years. That being said, I'm not sure if I like an aged version of this beer anymore than I do fresh, but if you're looking for something that drinks a little more easily and isn't in your face with intense flavors, then definitely lay a few down for 2-3 years, or more. Cheers Stone for making this awesome brew each year. It's one brew that I always look forward to.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2011 02:52:21 | More by sisuspeed
Photo of THECPJ
THECPJ

Delaware

4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes: 1/20/2011

A: toasty, malts, caramel, coffee and chocolate

Ap: black with a 2 finger mocha colored head, decent lacing

B/T: mild carbonation, thick, well balanced

Af: coffee, toffee, burnt caramel, get a slight alcohol burn on the back end

O: if the ABV was slightly lower, this would be a great everyday beer

Cheers!
The CPJ

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2011 02:35:17 | More by THECPJ
Photo of matthewfox79
matthewfox79

Massachusetts

4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A- Very dark pour with a one finger caramel colored head

S- strong scent of chocolate caramel and coffee. The alcohol content was also pretty noticeable too(my girlfriend could smell it across the table)

T- it tasted just like it smelled, all of the flavors came together for a well balanced taste.

M- Smooth drinking if not a little warming due to the high ABV.

D- I enjoyed this beer in good company with some food, but would probably put a 2 beer limit on myself with this one.

I wanted an above average beer all day and to go to a local spot I haven't been to in a while that has a great draft and bottle list. I got what I came for and stone didn't disappoint.

Serving type: on-tap

01-20-2011 15:35:08 | More by matthewfox79
Photo of FosterJM
FosterJM

California

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

194th review on BA
bottle to snifter

2009 Vintage

App- This is the picture of a stout in my opinion. It was black with some lighter brown/dark brown edges. Aggressive pour led to a nice one finger head. Some decent lacing on the glass.

Smell- Typical stout smells, coffee, chocolate and malt. Nice smells though, just not a shocker

Taste- A very good stout. The roast is there with a little faint coffee. Some decent booze flavor and the dryness leads to a nice finish

Mouth- A full bodied stout. Really well done with the low carb to match the body and give it the perfect balance.

Drink- Well done stout that is as it was for the easiest stout to start with being from Stone and having that name behind it.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2011 05:54:34 | More by FosterJM
Photo of mwrecording
mwrecording

Maryland

4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a typical black with a little bit more head than I've come to expected from bigger stouts.
Smells like roasted chocolate/malt, smells great!
I've gotten a different taste from this with almost every sip. Its some sort of combination of what you love in an RIS(or IRS?!)...bittersweet soft chocolate notes, roasted malty notes and a little bit of a boozy kick to it.

Mouthfeel - this is something that does make me say "OH, this is why I'm not drinking an Old Raspy or Brooklyn BCS"...the mouthfeel here is thick and maybe slightly chewy. It adds to the beer, not detracts.

Drinkability - I guess if I really wanted to do I'd have more than one of these a night but it being a powerful bomber(and you can slightly taste the booze)...I don't know why I would.

Good beer and its the first Stone beer I've been impressed by.

Now that I've had 6-8 sips since typing this review...it has just gotten better and better. I don't like drinking my beers warm, so I poured this at what I guessed what 50ish degree's if not warmer...its more mellow and fun to sip.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2011 18:39:42 | More by mwrecording
Photo of Mancer
Mancer

New York

4.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a jet black color with a two finger high medium brown head. The fine bubbles of the head eventually dissipated to a thick and sticky lace that clung to the glass. The initial smell of the beer was roast, followed by dark chocolate, roasted/burnt caramel malts and subtle hints of coffee. The initial taste of the beer was that of dark chocolate, roasted caramel, roasted barley, lightly roasted coffee and a (go figure) roasty aftertaste with alcohol on the nose. This brew had a full body with light carbonation.

I have waited one year to try this beer. So upon finding this beer I was excited and boy did this beer not let me down. Fantastic! This is one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts that I have tried. The full on roast flavor is so rich that this beer is a dessert to any pallet. Another great beer by Stone!

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2011 20:41:00 | More by Mancer
Photo of CuriousMonk
CuriousMonk

Virginia

3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

10.50% ABV. Poured from 750ml bottle into a pint glass. I've had this one quite a few times, just now getting around to rating it. Pours an inky black color with a rocky tan head absolutely beautiful. Aroma of chocolate and roasted coffee, with some alcohol. Flavor follows the aroma, with a nice chocolate backbone that holds flavors of roasted malts and coffee, as well as hints of dark fruits. A good RIS for those who shy away from it. Insane beer indeed.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 16:56:49 | More by CuriousMonk
Photo of dcsoke
dcsoke

Arkansas

4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A - Dark smooth pour with an oily appearance. This stout clung to the sides of the glass as it was drank. Thin solid head throughout session.

S - Chocolate, coffee, roastiness all in one... a bit overwhelming but unbleiveable at the same time.

T - Wow from first taste, this brew is potent with flavors and everything you could want from an imperial russian stout. Dry roastiness with a slight hop bitterness followed by the warming alcohol that's the perfect finish to a cold winter night.

M - Thick and full bodied with low carbonation.

D - Well it's +10% so after the first don't try getting another bomber, but it's a very drinkable brew and if my liver was larger I'd keep going.

Serving type: bottle

01-14-2011 02:34:36 | More by dcsoke
Photo of KickInTheChalice
KickInTheChalice

Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip. 2010 release.

Appearance: IRS is an extremely dark mahogany color, nearly black. I can work to tilt the glass and create a walnut edge, but for all intents and purposes, nothing will get through. A foamy, very dark brown head exists at first, slowly and menacingly fading to a thin ring. Spotty lace exists on the glass.

Smell: Burnt roasted malts, roast coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, and vanilla. A faint hint of alcohol in the background.

Taste: The best part about this beer is how well the flavors blend together. Heavily roasted malt and coffee blend together well to start. This is everything I want in a dark RIS and it is delicious. A touch of dark chocolate and vanilla, followed by a warming alcohol presence before some light earthy hops carry it home. A lingering coffee bitterness is the only thing I would like cleaned up a bit.

Mouthfeel: Not syrupy, a tough feat for a viscious stout. There is enough carbonation to keep it out of that range. Obviously full bodied, with medium carbonation. A bit sticky, and alcohol warms the stomach.

Drinkability: Ultimately smooth, and the flavors blend really well together. The only issue is really the strong coffee aftertaste. I will definitely look out for this every Spring.

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2011 16:15:46 | More by KickInTheChalice
Photo of DrewZ926
DrewZ926

New York

4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

a- deep brown bordering on pitch black. some mahogany highlights. nice 1 finger khaki head.

s- damn. lots of spice, anise, chocolate, and roasted malt. a little espresso bean and booze too.

t- damn. so complex. more anise, roast, pepper, and chocolate. burnt sugar and vanilla come through on the finish. very dry and so flavorful.

m- begins and looks a little thin but finishes so creamy

d- booze is definitely there, a tinge of heat as it warms. that being said, the taste makes this dangerously drinkable

Serving type: bottle

01-12-2011 01:40:07 | More by DrewZ926
Photo of birderbeerer
birderbeerer

Virginia

4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours near black with a tan head. No lace. The head retreats to the rim fairly quickly.

Smells of a rich roast with some malt sweetness. The alcohol comes through in the aroma as well.

Very evenly balanced. Strong roast with flavors of coffee and toffee and caramel. Drinks exceptionally smooth. Mellow but strong flavors. The carbonation and alcohol give it a slight bite.

Creamy. No one aspect of stouts (roast/richness/sweetness) overwhelms the others. Medium body.

Excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2011 02:03:04 | More by birderbeerer
Photo of JDFish
JDFish

Ohio

3.2/5  rDev -26.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Big bottle poured into a S.A. modified pint:

A: Very dark and rich. You can tell by the head that this is quality.

S: Decent, but I knew I wouldn't rate this as high as others as it hinted at that gagging molasses smell

T: Sure enough, a good solid brew, but like some others it has that molassses sickening sweetness to it..along with other flavors of course. Not as sickening as some of the Bell's stouts or S.A. I.R.S., but its still there.

M: Huge, deluxe, definite quality brew here
D: Not very drinkable for me, I'm afraid

Overall, a high quality sipping brew. Just a tad too much of that molasses sweetness. I prefer the Old Rasputin, same thick quality, but more roasty than sweet

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2011 01:33:39 | More by JDFish
Photo of oreo
oreo

Illinois

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

2004 Vintage poured on tap at Finnegan's Irish Pub in Plainfield IL

Poured a deep black with very little head.

Aroma was heavy on the dark fruit and booze.

This went down very smooth. I am not much a fan of dark fruit stouts, but this one was very good. Almost a syrup like texture with lots of roasty malt flavors with a lot of dark fruit. Some booze on the finish.

Easy drinking, but a sipper.

2005 Vintage poured on tap at Finnegan's Irish Pub in Plainfield IL

Pours a deep black with a half finger tan head.

Smells like dark fruits but with more booze than the 2004.

Deep roasty malts with a lot of dark fruit in the taste. A more harsh boozey flavor comes through on this one.

A better mouthfeel than the 04, syrupy but lighter.

Drinkable. Most certainly a sipper.

Serving type: on-tap

01-08-2011 19:44:18 | More by oreo
Photo of boomer31
boomer31

Minnesota

4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a few last year and never got around to sitting down and enjoying one.
2009 Vintage

A - Pours black with deep brown shades around the edges when held to light. Thin dark beige head fizzles to a few bubbles around the edges. Some stick

S - Big roasted malt, not doffee, then fig and leather. Faint hints of smoke.

T - Roast again, but not coffee, dark malts, some bitterness in the back, lots more dark fruits and a lingering dtyness. Very nice! Almost no sweetness just dry roast with touches of bitterness and alcohol

M - Much more full than the appearance would have you think. Low carb, perfect.

D - This is a great beer. Very complex but very easy to drink. You only get a hint of alcohol but it blends so well with the bitterness.

This lives up to the ratings its been getting for years. Very approachable yet complex.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2011 17:56:27 | More by boomer31
Photo of zoso1967
zoso1967

Michigan

4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For all intents and purposes, this stout pours completely black and is opaque. It is capped off with a beautiful mocha head that has superb retention and slightly above average lace. If the artwork and marketing on the bottle were not enough, after pouring one of these bad boys you can tell it means business.

The aroma is wonderfully rich and complex with a solid molasses like sweet malt backbone that holds up a cornucopia of roasty and toasty treasures. Coffee, charred wood, smoke, burnt sugar, leather and a touch of anise all come out of this beer. One can also detect a bit of a sharpness that is probably a cross between roasty astringency, alcohol and some piney hops. This is one of those beers that every time you smell it you get something different.

The flavor is much like the aroma and possesses the same chameleon like tendency to change as you make your way through the glass. Coffee, smoke, leather, rich dark chocolate, soot and a punch of hoppy bitterness all make their way to my taste buds.

I would say that the body on this is not quite full, but it does have a very smooth and coating sort of texture. The finish can be a bit harsh as this beer warms, but given the crazy amount of roasted and bitter stuff going on in this brew, it is not bad at all.

This is a pretty darn drinkable American RIS, and it is no wonder it is so popular. While it is a big beer and I often end up drinking it quite slowly, I feel like I need to bump up the drinkability a bit because this is a beer that I seem to end up picking up from time to time because I know it will be an enjoyable drinking experience. This is a classic beer and highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2011 16:49:11 | More by zoso1967
Photo of jds1469
jds1469

Indiana

4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not a perfect beer, but pretty good.

Purchased a 2009 bottle today and popped it open once I got home. The appearance was some of the best looking beer I have seen recently. HEAVY black color with a dark brown head. The beer sticks to the glass as you drink it very well and creates a nice lacing down the glass.

The taste is very bold, but not overpowering, sweet but not overly sweet. The flavors mesh together to well it is hard to pick out individual ingredients.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Has the feel of heavy cream almost but go away pretty quickly after a few seconds.

Of course the drinkability is a 4.9, but this is not an option so it deserves a 5.0.

Very easy beer to find where I live and I will pick up several 2010 bottles to enjoy next year.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2011 02:02:22 | More by jds1469
Photo of welldigger888
welldigger888

South Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from growler into a chimay chalice, opaque black elixer with a nice creamy tan head that laces down glass well.
Vintage jan. 2009 on the keg, mmmhah! WOW !!!
Very subdued aromas of an exceptional grain bill with chocolate and coffee coming through.
Intense creamy coffee chocolate grainy notes. WOW again!!!
This brew is outstanding with a soft carbonation and creamy roasty mouthfeel! WOW!!!
I could drink this all night, well until I fell down at least! the abv is a bit intimadating.

Serving type: growler

01-08-2011 01:13:24 | More by welldigger888
Photo of SAxDRC5
SAxDRC5

Michigan

4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I drank half of the 22oz bottle cold and the other half at room temperature. I will rate it on the room temperature version.

A: Dark black with a creamy tan head that slides down the glass and leaves a beautiful lacing

S: Dark chocolate and coffee. a bit of alcohol scent.

A: bittersweet chocolate, coffee isn't as strong a flavor as it is on the nose. Dark fruits, raisings and plums maybe. A bit of earthy oak flavor. Very good balance but not perfec, a bit too sweet and not enough hops to get a 5 from me.

M: heavy, creamy, perfect carbonation slight alcohol warmth on the finish. honestly could not be any more perfect.

D: Quite good. 10.5%abv does not try to hide itself though. Pretty strong presence of alcohol, and a really heavy beer.

I could not believe that I hadn't rated this yet, as it's one of the best RIS that I have had. I will definitely buy this again and again.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2011 05:55:51 | More by SAxDRC5
Photo of PhageLab
PhageLab

Virginia

4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a chalice.

A - Dark and soulless. Like an ominous shadow or a dying star. Nice fluff at the top that stuck around for the duration. Thick coating of lace.

S - Grapes, plum, wood chips, cedar, chocolate, and perhaps a tinge of roasted malt. Very complicated aroma, you could spend as much time smelling this one as you could drinking it.

T - Fruity and smoky. Sweet malty body. Dry slightly bitter finish. Absolutely delicious.

M - Full bodied, nice and thick, yet smooth.

D - Great RIS, great brew period. Sip and sip well, because this one will sneak up on you.

Serving type: on-tap

01-05-2011 23:18:01 | More by PhageLab
Photo of trecker
trecker

Georgia

4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Stone IRS tulip.

Looked good. Dark black. Call me a rookie, but aren't most Russian Imperial Stouts basically the same black? Small amount of whitish tan head that fades to lacing.

Smells of a sweet chocolate but not overpowering.

Has a chocolate taste possibly with a little warmth.

Drinks very well for the 10.5%. I've had quite a few RIS's lately and this is definitely one of my favorites. (P.S.- why they gotta be different and be an IRS instead of an RIS?)

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2011 21:23:00 | More by trecker
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 6,664 ratings.