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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.

6,841 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,841
Reviews: 2,578
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 508
Gots: 1,485 | FT: 85
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: 6,841 | Reviews: 2,578 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bishopdc0


3.85/5  rDev -11.3%

Shared a this beer with my wife. It poured black and a tan head forms. As it settles a thick head forms and floats on top.

The aroma is wonderful, fresh cocoa with almost creamy sweetness like melted chocolate icecream. Very nice. In the end is a hint of spice likly some hops.

The taste is almost like an imperial black ale it starts with a mouthfull of soft carbonation, as the carbonation dissipates the chocolate taste presents with hints of a roasted barley. The roasts mixes with a hop flavor slight spicy and a mix of alcohol the back.

I will have to age as the alcohol was a bit much.

07-11-2011 23:35:39 | More by bishopdc0
Photo of mattmuck11


4.93/5  rDev +13.6%

Appearance: Pours a thick, rich brown-black with two fingers of mocha-brown head. Slight carbonation is visible rising from the bottom of pint glass to the middle before dying. Head is resilient and rocky developing slight lace that sticks around after head dissipates.

Smell: Chocolate and coffee are the main actors in this drama of complexity. Heavy alcohol tones with some spice (currant, pepper?) Just a hint of hops present foreshadowing the slightest bitterness. Caramel finishes off the syrupy feel.

Taste: Roastiness and coffee come to mind immediately before giving way to a chocolaty smooth, syrupy slide down the back of the palate and down the throat. The spice is there too, hinting of black pepper. Again, just the right amount of hoppy bitterness present in the taste as it was present in the nose. The flavor is dynamic and remains with you all the way through the palate, finishing with a perfect bitterness for a stout, giving a long aftertaste sweet and malty yet well-balanced.

Overall: For one of my first intrusions into the world of stout brews, this one is delightfully complex, bold and infinitely better than the common Stout. The flavor is complex and dynamic and left me wanting more. Well carbonated and easy-drinking for a stout, despite the presence of alcohol in the nose and taste. Pleasant to the finish. I would definitely recommend this to someone interested in knowing what an American-style stout can taste like.

07-11-2011 02:21:05 | More by mattmuck11
Photo of angelogarcia3

New York

4.63/5  rDev +6.7%

This excellent stout has a great rich looking blackness with a dark rich head that slowly dissipates. The aromas of bittersweet chocolate hit you as you take your first sip. The mouthfeel is thick though not strongly overpowering. The taste is a full bodied dark chocolate with hints of cocoa, with a slight bitterness on the finish that works well with the loaded fries at Sapsuckers in Huntington, NY.

07-10-2011 20:52:02 | More by angelogarcia3
Photo of obywan59


4.38/5  rDev +0.9%

The brew pours black as night into my pint glass with an initial 4 finger head that needs time to settle before I can get half of the bottle into my glass. The second pour, of the now much warmer beer yielded nearly a 5 finger head with 3 fingers of beer left in the bottle.

The aroma is rich with coffee and a bit of near metallic funkiness at first that may contain a bit of anise. As the beer warms, the funkiness disappears and the coffee aroma diminishes a bit, and I get more dark chocolate instead. The aroma mellows into more like milk chocolate or a hoppy ripe-citrus as the beer warms even further.

This beer is very sweet for the style with some anise-like flavor followed up by some light bitterness and a taste of alcohol in the end which gives a sense of fortified dark chocolate.

Full bodied. Very creamy and smooth. Light to moderate carbonation. Substantial alcohol burn early on, but it mellows out. Nicely warming.

A great beer! Stone is famous for it's hop heavy brews, but this one showcases the malt. The thickness and the ABV slow you down a bit, but this is not a hard drinker in the least! It's a sipper that demands respect.

07-10-2011 05:33:58 | More by obywan59
Photo of Gmann

New York

4.33/5  rDev -0.2%

Pours a midnight black color with a short dense light brown head that settled into a light ring.

The aroma is of a milk chocolate, toasted pumpernickle, and caramel. Sweet for the style not much of a roasted malt pick up.

The taste is smooth and chocolatey. A mixture of milk and dark chocolate. More toasted pumpernickle in the flavor with heavy caramel. There is a solid roast bitterness in the finish. Some anise spice is detected as well. Quite smooth, glad it is not a roasted malt bomb that RIS can be.

Moderate to full feel with soft carbonation that leads to a silky feel. Nice balance but does finish with a roasted bitterness. Definitely a bit sticky. ABV well hidden.

Very good stout, very smooth and drinkable. Not sure why it took me so long to try this.

07-10-2011 03:44:11 | More by Gmann
Photo of zaphodchak


3.98/5  rDev -8.3%

Dark body, thin head. Some surface memory.

Coffee, oaky nose. Some meat and/or mushroom.

Taste is quite bitter (but it's a Stone); sharp and clean finishing, but if you're not a fan of hoppy Russian Imperial Stouts.

Mouthfeel is standard for the style.

For a Russian imperial stout, it's hoppy and bitter, but good.

Tasted a 2008 vintage. Nose is mellowed as has its taste-- really balanced, sublime. Slightly spicy, malty, the hops are tempered but not absent. Some burnt caramel. The Stone RIS series ages *magnificently*, even 6-8 months.

07-10-2011 03:11:45 | More by zaphodchak
Photo of beyah


4.88/5  rDev +12.4%

2011 version 22 oz. bomber pored into a Chimay goblet.

Apearance - Very minimal head, it is dark tan almost brown, can't see though the beer if you hold it to the light.

Smell - Roasted malt,coffee and vanilla.

Taste - Hops, Roasted Malt, Vanilla, Alcohol, a slight chocolate aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Smooth as silk, just enough carbonation.

Overall - I have always loved Stones beers, a long time fan of Arrogant Bastard but this is the best beer I have had in a long time, it's definately on my top 3.

07-10-2011 01:44:34 | More by beyah
Photo of DavidST


4.85/5  rDev +11.8%

I got into craft beers from trying an Old Rasputin 6 years ago and I've looked for the Stone version ever since, finally this year I found some, I'm pretty excited to try it.

I poured from a 22oz bomber into a goblet, 2011 vintage.

This pours a used motor oil dark black, no light penetrates any where. This has a large mocha head which has dissipated to a 1/2 finger size which still remains. Smells of coffee, roasted malts, licorice, vanilla bean, dark chocolate. The mouth feel is thick and creamy, nice carbonation. The taste is a good as it looks, dark chocolate and coffee, dark roasted malts, a hint of licorice (way better than the belgo), some hops and alcohol burn on the way down with a bitter dark chocolate after flavor.

Overall, wow, this beer actually lived up to the hype, its miles better than the odd year belgo version. I'm going to go back and buy a case of this. Amazing beer.

07-09-2011 20:16:36 | More by DavidST
Photo of CaptainTripps


4.03/5  rDev -7.1%

2011 vintage

22oz bottle poured into a Duvel Tulip, served at cellar temp.

A: Pours a deep dark black with about a half a fingers worth of dark mocha head. Little lacing left on the side of the glass.

S: Dark fruits really come to mind with the first sniff, black currents to be specific. There is a big coffee character with this beer as well followed by nice chocolate notes. Small traces of vanilla and alcohol. Some roastyness.

T: Again, black current is really dominating with this beer. There is coffee and chocolate, but not as strong as the dark fruits. There is some oakyness in the taste as well as some vanilla (small) and alcohol (not over the top).

M: Medium to full bodied beer. It has some carbonation in the beer, but not a whole lot. Not a big deal being a RIS. Alcohol is there but not over the top. The beer is very smooth and silky.

O: This is a great RIS in its simplest form. Not to over the top but just solid. Stone sets the industry standard with this RIS.

07-09-2011 07:09:52 | More by CaptainTripps
Photo of keithmurray

New York

3.53/5  rDev -18.7%

Appearance - jet black with a bit of mocha head

smell - roasted coffee beans, dark chocolate, tobacco, vanilla bean

taste - hops, dark chocolate, vanilla bean, booze, roasted coffee bean

mouthfeel - loads of carbonation upffront, the booze is readily apparent, full bodied beverage, has more hops than i'd prefer from an RIS

overall - this is a pretty good and reasonably priced RIS ($5.49 for a 22oz)

07-08-2011 23:44:40 | More by keithmurray
Photo of Viciousknishs


3.95/5  rDev -9%

A- pours inky black with some deep brown highlights. A finger of dark tan head rests upon this decident brew.

S- tons of roasted French pressed coffee at first that blends into some dark chocolate. Solvent alcohol hits you like a punch in the nose put it works in a good way. A hint of hoppiness on the finishs with gigantic roasted malt aroma.

T- dark chocolate and coffee at first that blends with a note of minty hop notes. One of the hoppiest stouts I've ever had. Black current and molasses are nice additions to the normal coffee/chocolate. Warming alchohol on the finish with a solvent character. Finishs with roasted malt complexity and a dark chocolate aftertaste.

MF- thick and smooth. The hoppiness seems to thin out the body however. I've had this with some age on it and let me say that is the way to drink it. Chewy full body with an average carbonation.

D- you feel and taste the booze in this baby. Sip one and done the flavors are well integrated and there is a smoothness that bolsters the drinkability. So when I say one and done I really mean one bomber!

07-08-2011 01:25:02 | More by Viciousknishs
Photo of Knapp85


4.4/5  rDev +1.4%

One of Stone's best, The Russian Imperial Stout poured out as a deep thick black liquid with a brown foamy head on top. The lacing was very impressive here. The smell of the beer gives of plenty of roasted malts and chocolate, some hops, and even some sweeter notes from some dark fruits. The taste of the beer is packed with a heavy amount of malts and hops. The flavors evolve into a rich piney chocolatey combo with some fermented fruit in the far distance. The mouthfeel has a great thickness to it and coats the glass and mouth really well. Overall It's a damn good beer and I enjoy it every time I have it.

07-07-2011 18:52:03 | More by Knapp85
Photo of TheWhiskerReview


4.72/5  rDev +8.8%

Pours that wonderful soul-crushing black with 2 fingers of dense mahogany colored head. Retention is moderate and the lacing is incredibly sticky.

Lemme just get this outta the way: WOAH!

The nose is akin to going up to your favorite barista and ordering a latte with a suicide shot of all the standard coffeeshop flavors: coffee, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, hazelnut, it goes on... There's fruity touches of prunes and black cherries, while the heavily roasted malt adds more aromas of chocolate wafer. The roast is about one-step shy of having that roasted meat character.

The palate is full-bodied and rich, but definitely not too thick, with a huge bitterness that's nicely tuned-in to the intense roastiness of the malt- flavors of prunes, espresso, black licorice and a cozy blanket of spices. There's a serious underlying fusel alcohol character that, combined with the bottle's mention of Siberian crude, is the unmistakable 'stamp' Stone is leaving on our palates. Despite the big, roasty sweetness, the finish ends on a dryer note with a still-lingering spice and flavors of bitter cacao.

It's always awesome to be able say a beer tastes like something completely unpalatable, but mean it in a good way. Stone fans have my back when I say that this tastes like pure motor oil, and therefore is one of the best stouts I've ever tasted. This not only succeeds to be a great Russian Imp. Stout, but it also is a beer that could only come from one place: Stone. Quite an achievement.

07-07-2011 04:32:03 | More by TheWhiskerReview
Photo of zimm421


4.4/5  rDev +1.4%

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. Appears a dark brown, almost black color with a beautiful brown head that leaves some decent lacing and has a constant ring around the edge of the glass.

The nose is full of alcohol, molasses, coffee and even some nice chocolate. The nose isn't overwhelming, but still has nice aromas. The taste is much more complex than the nose, and hides the alcohol very, very well. Starts off pretty sweet with the chocolate and molasses, then moves slightly more bitter with the coffee notes and the hops. The aftertaste is fairly sweet, after the coffee notes are gone, with the chocolate some roasted malts sticking around.

The mouthfeel is pretty smooth. Even with the huge body and complexities, this still goes down pretty easily. Definitely a great stout, glad I was finally able to locate this.

07-06-2011 23:00:22 | More by zimm421
Photo of fatmcb1


4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

2011 bottle poured into a snifter

A - Pitch black, thick pour. There was ample head, about 2 fingers worth. This thick, foamy head was a dark khaki color, and left lacing everywhere.

S - Coffee and chocolate hit the nose up front, similar to your typical RIS. However, there is added complexity. Oakiness, dark fruit, and lastly, a feint alcohol is present. The alcohol is very well hidden for an 11% brew.

T - Starts off very sweet, with the malt being the in forefront. Chocolate, molasses, and espresso. Then comes a short taste of dark fruit. I can't make out exactly what. Lastly, hops leave a nice kick at the end, combined with the warming effect of the alcohol.

M - This is one of the thicker RIS I've had. It is thick and creamy, without being overly sticky.

Overall, I really enjoyed this beer. I was shocked at how well hidden the alcohol was. It was also very well balanced, while not being overly complex.

07-06-2011 15:42:15 | More by fatmcb1
Photo of Scrumtralecent


4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

2011 bottle poured into a snifter.

A - Pitch black color with a darker cream head.

S - Nice roasted malt with some cocoa and coffee. Solid and robust smell that encompasses many layers and creates a genuine interest in drinking the beer.

T - Same as the nose, plenty of malt throughout with some hint of chocolate, coffee, and some spice on the back end. Good complete and complex taste.

M - I think the mouthfeel is just right for this beer. Plenty of carbonation and good heavy feel but not overbearing. Surprisingly drinkable.

O - Very solid beer and for the price, quite incredible. Good dark flavors with a solid body and mouthfeel. Enjoyable beer for sure.

07-06-2011 06:20:38 | More by Scrumtralecent
Photo of IKR


4.03/5  rDev -7.1%

Appearance: Very dark brown color bordering on black with modest dark beige head. Only way I can tell it's not black is to hold it up to a light and look at the edges. All good here.

Smell: Chocolate, and coffee notes from the roast malts. A trace of alcohol makes it's way known in the nose.

Taste: Follows the nose,chocolate and coffee notes with maybe a hint of brown sugar. Hops in this version and the Belgo appear to be toned down compared to the previous years.

Mouth-feel: On the heavy side of medium-bodied with modest carbonation. A satisfying body.

Overall: A good beer that has been one of my go to RISs for a long time. The fact that it's priced very well and just kicks up a notch or two after a couple of years of aging makes it a steal. The value factor is sky high if you have the discipline to set it aside and let it cellar for a bit.

07-06-2011 04:43:05 | More by IKR
Photo of Trystero


4.45/5  rDev +2.5%

2011 Vintage poured into a snifter. Sadly my first experience with this RIS except for an ill fated snifter that gave it's life many years ago. Redemption...

A - Have you ever descended deep bellow the Earth's surface, into some remote caverns where once the feeble glow of your lantern burns out you are left in complete and utter pitch black? Don't waste your time, just pour a glass of this brew, it's the same sensation. Deep Mokah head that rolls back very seductivley as the beer sits: lacing everywhere.

S - A very unique and complex aroma lingers in the mouth of my snifter. Startig with bittersweet chocolate, burnt coffee, and vast roasted malt character, giving way to a plethora of dark fruits, followed appropriately by not so sublte hints of alcohol.

T - Almost perfectly parrallels the smell in every complexity. The only exception being that of of strong anise flavors arising right after the start, after leading with roasted chocolate malt, deliciously bitter coffee and more mellow dark fruits. The finish follows quickly with more anise and coffee as well as a resounding crescendo of alcohol that lingers, tantalizingly, letting you feel that you are alive.

M - The mouthfeel is perfect. Robust and complex, never weak. Hearty enough to brave Siberian nights unscathed.

O - Really after all this, the only thing that can be said is go find yourself a bottle

07-06-2011 02:25:02 | More by Trystero
Photo of JMad


4.3/5  rDev -0.9%

I drank this from a glass mug...

The beer is a pitch black with a brown filmy head that left lots of lacing. It smells of anise, wood, and hints of coffee and dark chocolate. The taste is anise, alcohol, molasses, dark fruit and piney hops. The beer is thick and smooth with soft carbonation and a dry finish. This is a great stout, it gets better and better as it warms up and it's incredibkly smooth.

07-06-2011 01:49:22 | More by JMad
Photo of whatthehull


4.2/5  rDev -3.2%

Tasted June 11th 2011 (from notes)

Poured into a la Chouffe tulip

A - deep sludgy black/brown, one and a half finger deep tan head and nice lacing

S - toasted grains, alcohol, coffee, vanilla, molasses, dark malt, oak and roasted and sweet everything

T - alcohol, roasted coffee, bitter sweet chocolate, French vanilla, lots of oak, dark malts, a slight piney note (maybe some hops), brown sugar (caramelized tasting), molasses, has a hint of sarsaparilla taste. Lots of complexity but still balanced

M - super chewy, low acidity, full bodied and very long finish

D - for a stout and especially an imperial stout, with a high ABV of 10%+, this drinks like an everyday stout. Awesome

Final thought - stone, thank you. Even the price at $5 doesn't bother me. Awesome beer

07-05-2011 17:02:34 | More by whatthehull
Photo of ferrari29


4.47/5  rDev +3%

Beer poured from bottle into a snifter shaped glass

A - Beer poured with a latte/espresso colored head; body had a dark, dark brown almost black colored body; no visible carbonation, unless you swished the contents in the glass around; good sticky lacing formed around the glass

S - Roasted malt; some smokiness; coffee; notes of dark chocolate are hidden in there; raisin and figs; vanilla; burnt scents; cherry

T - Dark fruit flavor of raisin and figs hit the tongue; espresso; burnt and smoked roasted malt backbone; slight hop bitterness and a nice vanilla sweet touch to coat the palate; licorice; cherry

M - Thick and expanding body, your tongue is hit with the sensational flavor profile, coats your tongue, and instantly starts to become chewy; slightly effervescent; bitter lingering coffee aftertaste; this is on the of the best mouthfeel beers I've had in a long time

D - Great flavor and body profile; reminds me of Dark Lord and probably as close as I'll get to DL without actually going to get a hard to find bottle

07-05-2011 03:58:55 | More by ferrari29
Photo of HuskyinPDX


4.38/5  rDev +0.9%

22oz bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A - Black as could be with a dark tan-brown head that fades quickly to the edges.

S - coffee and some spices.

T - Coffee, Chocolate, and some spices. Nice balance.

D - Low carbonation, balanced for a stout.

O - Muted flavor, more so that I would have guessed, but a good RIS.

07-04-2011 04:18:26 | More by HuskyinPDX
Photo of djeucalyptus


4.22/5  rDev -2.8%

stoked to find this one on tap and shocked I haven't reviewed it yet...

pours a dark burnt brown, near black body, with a bubbly thick dark brown head that glistens. retention is solid as is the lacing left behind. looks boss.

aroma is exactly what i'd expect - pungent dark malt accentuated by cocoa, licorice, wet leather, herbal hops, fig, and a hint of pepper.

taste is rich with complex dark malt that manifests as smoke, oak, leather, figs, bing cherries, coffee, currants, and chocolate. it works. beautifully.

mouth is interestingly slick while the body isn't quite full... somewhere between full and moderate, but the soft carbonation and the slightly slick mouth really make it seem thick and velvety.

it's hard to knock this one. I'm not a die-hard stone fan, but damn, this one is consistently solid. and tastes excellent on tap. it just works. not mind-blowing, but it's definitely up there.

07-04-2011 02:43:41 | More by djeucalyptus
Photo of MrVonzipper


5/5  rDev +15.2%

This is the first perfect score I've given. The only reason I'm giving a perfect score is because I have had this beer several times over the last few years since it has been released. It has been a phenomenal beer every time. This is a beer that should be in the top 15 beers on the top 100.

Pitch black. Nice thick foamy khaki-light brown head. Low to medium retention and lacing. 

Rich great nose deep notes of oak, bourbon, chocolate, coffee.

Amazing full flavor. Its along thr lines if the nose yet intensified Strong coffee and chocolate, smoky oak. Great balance, variation and deep rich flavor.

Mouthfeel is slightly dry and full bodied with medium carbonation

Overall this is just an outstanding Russian Imperial. Stone continues every year to just kill it with this one. I may not be the most difficult RIS to find but it dominates many highly regarded and ultra limited releases of this style.

07-04-2011 00:26:08 | More by MrVonzipper
Photo of snaotheus


4.38/5  rDev +0.9%

22oz bottle split into pint glasses

Pours dark and thick with very little head. The head that does appear is dense and clumpy and brown. Very slow fine carbonation. Smell is rich and chocolatey. Black licorice. Coffee.

Taste is rich and malty, burnt malt taste, coffee. Very strong flavor, more of the black licorice, surprisingly sweet to balance out all the dark bitterness.

Mouthfeel is thick, heavy, and sticky. Overall, this is a very good example of a Russian Imperial Stout. Very nice. Slow drinker, though.

07-03-2011 04:07:40 | More by snaotheus
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,841 ratings.