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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.

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


4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

All this review should say is: HOLY F@#K, but I'll elaborate. This is by far the most looked forward to beer of the year for me, and lemme tell ya, the difference between bottle and cask makes this even rape harder even more. My first cask-conditioned beer, and wow, I was drunk halfway through my glass. This HAS to be stronger than the bottle! HAS TO BE! Slightly absurd! Felt nitro-y as well, VERY creamy and smooth, bitter, and alcoholy at the same time, but it blends oh so perfectly. Hard to scoff down, but it is one beast of a beer. Drink a chalice and you are DONE.

Serving type: cask

06-14-2009 04:15:58 | More by MusicmanSD
Photo of PutsDeBnABV


4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Stone Imperial Russion Stout - '08 Cask
Beach Wood BBQ
A - Had the same color as all the other Stone IRS, but had a much larger foamy style head.

S - Not as many of the flavors came out in the smell, but you can smell a hint of chocolate and cherry mix.

T - It was a good taste not nearly as strong as others that were served on tap, all the same flavors just more mild

M - EXCELLENT mouthfeel. It had a warm fluffy feel

D - not as much alcohol taste coming out made this beer very drinkable anlong with the mouthfeel.

Serving type: cask

02-10-2009 23:00:56 | More by PutsDeBnABV
Photo of itsscience


4.21/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Comes out jet black with a finger of brown head that slowly dissipates. Alcohol legs are on full display. On the nose I get roasted grains that lend a coffee aroma, plus charred wood, smoked meat, earthy hops, and some alcohol. The taste has a creamy chocolate quality with black currants, coffee, more of those earthy hops, and an astringent taste from the roasted grains. It feels quite full-bodied in the mouth and goes down velvety.

Serving type: bottle

04-19-2014 00:14:46 | More by itsscience
Photo of skipxtracer

New York

4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Got this on tap at the stone brewpub in the San Diego airport since I didn't have time to make it out to the brewery during my trip. Had it for breakfast with the duck confit eggs. Practically perfect stout for me. Licorice aroma, jet black color, nice crisp mouthfeel. Just a great clean stout. Will definitely look for it again.

Serving type: on-tap

04-18-2014 16:45:51 | More by skipxtracer
Photo of beergoot


4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2014 release with an 11.0% ABV.

Pitch black body with a thick, creamy, tan head. Rather sweet smell; vanilla; anise; cocoa; cherries. Chocolate-mint flavor with a nice undertone of booze and mellow hop bitterness; brownies. Heavy body; some velvety smoothness; semi-dry finish with a noticeable boozy bite.

A very good RIS full of flavor and depth. The smell was complex yet rather subdued and was the only weakness overall. Hop bitterness builds up nicely and lingers through the end. But it's the bold roasted grain flavors that tell the real story: big toasted malt flavors with a mild sugary sweetness and bitter chocolate tones. The ABV makes its presence known, too, but is well-blended with the malt and hop elements to make an overall harmonious marriage of taste and feel. Complexity and depth with a fairly easy drinking quality for such a heavy and high ABV ale make this stout a winner.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 01:03:51 | More by beergoot
Photo of Roguer


4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Big, dark brown head with excellent retention and quickly-sliding lacing. Brew is very dark.

Massive roasted barley aroma, with some chocolate malt, cream, and a little booze. Intended direction for this imperial stout is immediately evident.

Flavor follows the nose strongly. Tons and tons of roasted barley, with just a hint of very dark cacao. Cream and wheat, and a tiny bit of banana (likely from yeast). There is a slightly metallic off-taste, but I think it's likely from the barley. Extremely strong and assertive.

Remarkably balanced mouthfeel, given the strength and aroma. Thick, creamy, and smooth, a hair lighter than chewy. Some noticeable heat at the end.

Excellent, but mostly one-dimensional, imperial stout. It smacks you in the face with gobs of roasted barley, never hides its allegiance, and pulls it off in a very tasty package.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2014 00:53:27 | More by Roguer
Photo of ChugMan


4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Food Pairing - Ripe banana: Interesting, metal flavor is highlighted but the sweeter fruit qualities are elevated as well.
90% Dark Chocolate: A terrific match of richness and bitterness without muddling the more enjoyable flavors.

A - Opaque black, deep red at the thinnest edge. Foamy head which left nice lacing.
S - Soft. Cocoa, cream, faint anise. Bread, some nuttyness. Very inviting.
T - At 11%, the alcohol hits fast and hard, with a surge of hops behind it- its name is deserved! Dark bitter chocolate cut with some vanilla, cola, anise, black cherry and lime rind bite that lasts, becoming slightly metallic, and a slightly unpleasant cough-medicine astringency.
M - Quite smooth. Chewy, not quite syrupy, dry finish
O - In case the brand and the name weren't warning enough, this stout isn't one to be taken lightly. Best used as a dessert compliment rather than solo.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2014 06:45:13 | More by ChugMan
Photo of Qbdoo


4.01/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The standout quality of this beer is the mouthfeel: dense and creamy. When I'm drinking an RIS I want it to feel like I'm gulping down motor oil. This is beautiful sludge. The taste is outstanding, with a blend of coffee, a bit of chocolate and a lot of roastiness, maybe just a bit too much roastiness for me. I've been on an RIS kick lately and this is at the top of the heap, but not quite up to Plead the Fifth or Expedition, but an excellent beer at a good price.

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 03:01:09 | More by Qbdoo
Photo of HopintheSouth

North Carolina

4.54/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2014 edition, poured from a 22oz Bomber

A-black as midnight, no sign of carbonation via bubbles and a thin quarter inch very light oatmeal brown head
S-chocolate and toffee hit the nose first, followed by coffee and rich espresso. Very light alcohol present by smell
T-First sip was everything I expected. Rich, deep roasty and sweet malt with a very pleasant bitterness that fills in after the swallow. For 11% abv the alcohol presence is enough to let you know it's there, without being overbearing.
M-smooth as silk, almost too smooth with a lingering hop bitterness and rich coating.

Glad I was able to find one at the local craft beer store. 1 of 3 left! And damn good, for a Russian stout it was everything I hoped it would be. If only I bought 2 and let one age for a month or two, if I could've kept my hands off it!

Serving type: bottle

04-13-2014 00:57:25 | More by HopintheSouth
Photo of Mongrel


3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours very dark brown with a great frothy, mocha colored, tight-packed head that sticks around for quite a while.

S - smells strangely like BBQ, so I guess it's got a smokey element. That little oddity subsides to reveal some sweet molasses, caramel, vanilla and a tiny bit of pine.

T - there's that odd bit of BBQ again, but only at first, and it's chalky dry. It's a bit disappointing, but only at first. But a sweet, syrupy flavor profile opens up with blackstrap molasses, caramel and vanilla, much like the nose. There's some bitter, roasted barley, but not as much as a lot of bigger stouts. It's on the sweeter side instead. Gets nicer and nicer as it warms, with some raisin, prune, tobacco and dark chocolate emerging. Also a nice earthy hop profile that lends a bit of pine. Very little evidence of the big 11% ABV, which is nice.

M - nice and frothy up front with a syrupy sweet middle and a chalk dry finish. Nicely structured, but the middle could be a little deeper and more refined.

Overall, this one's a bit rough around the edges but give it some time to open up and warm and you'll be rewarded with quite a variety of rich flavors and a healthy buzz.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2014 04:04:49 | More by Mongrel
Photo of tbraun1


4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 22oz Bomber to pint glass

A - Black as night. Low carbonation with faint lacing on the glass. Nice rich tan colored head.

S - Raisins and dried fruit. Slight alcohol kick to the nose with some subtle roasted notes.

T - Full bodied mouthfeel, slightly alcoholic but then a balanced sweet malt comes into play. Rich roasted malts and a pleasant smokey flavor that lingers on the tongue.

M - Wonderful, rich mouthfeel. Low carbonation.

O - Delicious. Packs a punch but you wouldn't know it. Well balanced and enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 21:27:23 | More by tbraun1
Photo of toppoop


4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours out dark and thick with a very nice head on it. As it goes down, head retention and lacing is solid.

S - Vanilla, chocolate, and a hint of smoke.

T - Malty, chocolatey, with a bit of dark coffee.

M - Tingles the taste buds and creates a solid stout film throughout the mouth.

O - Very good stout. The high alcohol level hides itself pretty well here. Just a touch of booze at the finish. Looking forward to letting one settle in the cellar for a while.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 18:07:01 | More by toppoop
Photo of bleedsblu


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

Appearance: Its as black as night. I poured this one pint six fl ounce bottle into my frozen 33 ounce mug, what a sight. The head was thick and at least two fingers which dissipated not so quickly into a half finger.

Smell; smells like a stout, chocolate and coffee notes, not boozy.

Taste: Fresh, thick, hints of chocolate and coffee, very nice, very drinkable, didn't start out bitter but the longer in the mouth the bitterness came to the top but not overpowering.

Mouth feel: Again thick and you feel like you are drinking something memorable.

Overall: I highly recommend this as a class A stout, this is one to enjoy and I will again. At 11% ABV it is surprisingly smooth and not noticeable. Get some you wont be sorry.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 00:50:54 | More by bleedsblu
Photo of dpgoblejr

New Hampshire

4.89/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Spring 2014 Release. Pours a pitch black, midnight color. Fantastic mocha-colored foamy head which settles with some lacing. Smells of coffee and dark chocolate. Tastes of toffee, chocolate, and some roasted coffee. Creamy smooth brew that is very easy to drink and the ABV is wonderfully hidden. Stone has produced an excellent Russian Imperial Stout here that I found highly enjoyable and all expectations were met. Overall this is a stout that I would absolutely recommend to all!

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2014 00:38:28 | More by dpgoblejr
Photo of OldRickSputin


3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Don't really care for smell, look, mouth feel, when it comes to ratings.

Taste is all that matters to me. Just enjoyed a 2014 and it exceeded my expectations. It's not the best but it holds it's own.

Got a few more that I plan to keep for a few months or so.

Good....but not great.

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 23:03:59 | More by OldRickSputin
Photo of dank203

New Jersey

4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this ones fresh and the bitterness level is a bit up but its still well balanced, smooth, creamy.. the drinkability is outstanding especially for abv. the flavor has a lot of chocolate actually as well...alcohol hidden. yea its good, goes down like nothing, bold yet mellow, smooth

Serving type: bottle

04-04-2014 02:45:10 | More by dank203
Photo of GregA135


3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I love Stone Brewing Co.

This stout has a dark brown appearance

The smell was of malt and coffee

The taste has a hint of chocolate , malt, and burnt coffee

It leave a smokiness and burnt coffee aftertaste, smooth, thick, and heavy

Overall had a smooth, smokey, coffee flavor. A nice strong stout!

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 20:44:25 | More by GregA135
Photo of kushon1212


3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottled on 3/15/13 Drank on 3/30/14

Pretty good not a big stout guy but this is one is excellent. Maybe I will be down to try more stouts, but i here this is the benchmark.

It was cool the one I found on the shelf was already squirrelled for a year.

Love Stone brews some of the best stuff out there.

I would still like to try some Founders KBS though

Serving type: bottle

03-31-2014 00:58:43 | More by kushon1212
Photo of ltito8080


3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

a: black, 1" tan head, decent lacing

s: coffee, sweet, burnt

t: coffee, roasted smoked,

m: bitter from roasted malt or coffee, smooth.

o: used to like these alot. but not as much now.

Coronado brewings stupid stout is less clean but more enjoyable now.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2014 04:20:22 | More by ltito8080
Photo of Aristeia_88

New York

3.33/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

I've heard lots of good things about Stone over the years, though the one experience I had with them wasn't that impressive... Hopefully their version of one of my favorite styles will give me a new, more favorable opinion of them... This is for the 2014 release @ 11% ABV. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into my over-sized stein.

Look: Pours jet black with a thick, tan head of about 3 fingers... Bubbles started out very fine, but are growing as the head fades. Looks like it's leaving some pretty nice lacing.
Off to a good start...

Smell: Mostly burnt coffee, you can smell the bitterness to it. Something in here reminds me of a bready almost Champagne-like yeast character. Not much going on here as far as malt goes...

Taste: I understand that this is a fairly young beer, so maybe that's a factor here, but this is probably one of the most flavorless IRs I've had... A little bit of dry smokiness to it, and a bit of malt. The dominant flavor here is alcohol... Which is odd- I'm used to big beers around this percentage, but alcohol usually isn't this noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Surprisingly viscous... Good carbonation- Thick, but not syrupy. I think that judging by the feel of this, it could be a great beer in 6 months or so, but right now the rest of the beer hasn't caught up with this part. I think the flavors just need more time to blend and mellow out.

Overall: Somewhat of a disappointment... I really wanted to like this beer, but it just can't compare to some of the other Russians out there. Maybe I'll find a bottle a few months down the road and we can revisit this review...

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 18:48:31 | More by Aristeia_88
Photo of hops202

District of Columbia

4.26/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22oz poured into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout Snifter - very fitting!!!

2014 Release - Can't read the exact bottling date but it was either February or March 2014.

Pours a very viscous jet black oilish look, very similar to used oil out of my 6.1 liter Hemi after 4,000 miles. Smell is plenty of coffee and roast and some dark chocolate but everything seems to be quite muddled together. Taste is good, but i feel like this brew needs some time in the cellar to reach peak performance. Check back 365 days from today for a solid re-review.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 22:58:34 | More by hops202
Photo of datalager


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

Okay...go big or go home.

Meet Stone's Imperial Russian Stout.


Yes, the name alone gives me the sense of something with a calculated purpose...and possibly intimidating. No, this is not the only Russian Stout out there. Nor is my palate the novice to such an ale. I am obviously in considerable support of any beer that is black, or Russian, or Stone for that matter.

The bottle is presented with simplicity,


adorning some key hints to what lies within.



This particular bottle was born on March 22, 2013. I was not fortunate enough to find a full case. Instead, this single bomber has awaited salvation from it's cocoon in the dark corner of my basement, for more than half of a year.

As I firmly open the room temperature bottle I feel a sense of something intense...a tinge of excitement...maybe even fear, as if I was releasing the Kraken from the depths of the Black Sea.

During the pour I witness, perhaps, the most agressive flow of smoke I've ever seen from a bottle of ale. Once in the glass the colors are typical of a nicely finished Imperial Stout, and a backlit study reveals the pure opacity of this brew. Black as pitch.

Opening the nares I pull in butterscotch, chocolate covered raisins, roasted malt and the teasing presence of esters. This is full bodied aroma! I could just sit here and smell this beer all day! WOW! This is going to be a good brew...my bat sense in tingling.

Flavor is...WOW...holy...WOW!!! Best first sip of any stout I have ever had! Mouth feel is insanely viscous, like chilled olive oil. Some mild carbonation passes mid stream, offering just a hint of bite. Flavors are sweet right off the mark, following the scents of the nose nicely. And then, nearly ten seconds later...hops, American style! Tons of them!!! I did not see that coming! Notice my liberal use of exclamation points here! There is good reason, because this is an altogether exceptional beer. Another swallow, and I am immediately swooned my the superlative undulation of sweet, smoky malts with intense, bitter hops. However, unlike Stone IPA's, where they notoriously utilize hop bitterness as a means to an artifice, the bitter finish here is actually a necessary balance to the syrupy inauguration. This dried ending just moments after your swallow beckons you to return for more. An more I did! Wow!

This is not the most "authentic" variation of an RIS that I've had, given the presence of unique hops. For that reason alone I could not give 5's straight across the ratings. However, I will dare to say that this specific mix of hops might just be the last ingredient that such an ale has missed in other brews, for me. It makes for a powerhouse ale, which is dynamic and full bodied. So what we have here is an Americanized RIS. I have probably enjoyed no less than 20 or 30 Imperial Stouts, and I have to say that this is, despite the unique variation, the best I have had.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2014 17:26:45 | More by datalager
Photo of spinrsx

Ontario (Canada)

3.96/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber from the Whole Foods Las Vegas NV for 8$ - 2012 edition

Appearance - Dark brown colour with a small size frothy beige head. I can't make out the amount of carbonation showing and there is some fair lacing. The head lasted for around 3-4 minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Malts, chocolate, grains, coffee, anise

Taste & Mouth - There is an above average amount of carbonation and I can taste malts, chocolate, and faint coffee. There is also a burnt flavour and some anise.

Overall - A good beer but I was expecting more based on the high overall score. The chocolate is a little like herseys syrup, and it has quite a bit of burnt/anise like bitterness. Like I said, still good, just not amazing.

Serving type: bottle

03-24-2014 00:20:40 | More by spinrsx
Photo of Buffbrewski

South Carolina

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

Bot this in a 4 pk at Costco. The price of all 4 was worth it for just this one. Dark, dark beer. Got better with each pour from bottle. Smooooth! Got better as it got a little warmer. Drank it while eating smoked salmon. Perfect! Wish that the whole 4 pack was just the stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-23-2014 19:07:08 | More by Buffbrewski
Photo of Furlinator


4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2012 Release.

Pours opaque black with a ¼ inch of khaki head that quickly fades. Leaves no lace.

Smell is dark fruit and faint coffee up front with a hint of vanilla and a faint trace of alcohol.

Taste is roasted malt and dark fruit up front with black coffee and faint vanilla on the back end.

Mouthfeel is medium-to-thick with medium carbonation.

I cannot recall a beer that defined the word 'smooth' so accurately. Smooth appearance, smooth smell, smooth taste, smooth mouthfeel. No alcohol bite, no bitter aftertaste; the components are all flavorful yet, subdued and very effective. ABV is undetectable.

Updated 03/17/14:
I just opened a 2010 vintage and I must confirm that the years have been kind to this beauty. It is every bit as smooth as the later version. Like liquid velvet. I will say that the coffee flavor seems more subtle here with some hints of anise becoming slightly more dominant. I'd rate this vintage somewhere in the neighborhood of 4.5. World class, indeed.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2014 22:19:06 | More by Furlinator
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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 5,972 ratings.