Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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BA SCORE
97
world-class

2,653 Reviews
THE BROS
93
outstanding

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Reviews: 2,653
Hads: 7,763
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.74%
Wants: 687
Gots: 1,981 | FT: 116
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,653 | Hads: 7,763
Photo of dutesanch
3.52/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured a 2015 from the bottle into my 16oz Stone logo snifter. Not for me I guess. A little watery and lacked the taste I expected considering how highly regarded it was. Maybe age helps. Smells great though. (208 characters)

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

Poured 22 oz. bottle of 2014 vintage into brandy snifter

A - Pours viscous and oily. The body is a virtually opaque dark, dark brown. The only real head to speak of is a thin rim of frothy cappuccino-colored foam along the sides of the glass. Tiny bubbles form an oil slick across the top of the beer. Scattered speckles of lacing with accompanying legs.

S - The odor is strongly reminiscent of dark dried fruits - a menagerie of figs, prunes, and raisins. These fruity esters are supplemented with a hearty dose of caramel and cold-brew coffee. A touch of grain alcohol sweetness, too.

A - A specter of smokey coffee teases the tongue before dissolving into a full blown manifestation of caramel and fig sweetness. The sweetness borders on cloying, but is delightfully balanced by tobacco, dark chocolate, and vanilla notes. The sweetness slow burns to the finish along with a mild burn from the alcohol.

M - Sticky, chewy, and oily with minimal carbonation. Nearly perfect.

O - A great Russian Imperial Stout. I honestly think I preferred it without a year of aging - the raw intensity of the sweetness is offset by more coffee and chocolate notes in a fresh version of this beer. Nonetheless, a real treat! (1,214 characters)

Photo of CTbrew32
3.7/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 2014

Appearance- Black with a slight brown color as well. Pours a very thin mocha colored head.

Aroma- Roasted malts and sweet dark chocolate

Taste- Bitter roasted malts are big at first. The bitterness subsides a little as chocolate takes over the flavor in the finish. As it warms up a citrus hop flavor is noticeable in the middle.

Feel- Full bodied, low carbonation, and a creamy texture.

Overall- Pretty straightforward beer with roasted malt and dark chocolate dominating the flavor. Overall, its a solid IRS but nothing spectacular. Maybe a year isn't doing this any favors. (598 characters)

Photo of teromous
3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Oil black body with a thin khaki head that fades quickly to a ring and a few rafts of bubbles. Some minor spots but no real lacing.

Aroma: There isn't much aroma here. I am picking up a light charred scent like the inside of a coffee pot that has been left on the burner. I also pick up a strong alcohol aroma, which isn't a surprise given the 10.6% ABV.

Taste: I want to point out first that this beer doesn't have any overwhelmingly strong flavors, which really is its strong point. It is very enjoyable to drink because of this. I pick up some faint sweet caramel and roasted coffee, then there is a bit of pine and a woody character like a strong tea. I do get an alcohol flavor in this beer but it marries well with the flavor. Everything is mellowed out without feeling washed out.

Mouthfeel: It has a really good mouthfeel. It's thick when I start drinking the beer, but it doesn't feel sticky or linger on the palate too long. It does a good job of delivering flavor on a nice thick tide that ebbs away leaving pure aftertaste.

Overall: It is a very good Russian Imperial Stout, especially if you're not looking for something over the top. It delivers a wealth of flavors without crushing your palate to the point that you get tired of the beer. It is definitely a beer that you can sit back and enjoy an entire bomber of. I do wish it had more aroma, but there's no doubt that I enjoyed this beer. (1,422 characters)

Photo of TBonez477
4.31/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Nearly black with two fingers of beautiful mocha head.

S: Molasses and fig, slight booze.

T: Drinks similar to aroma, more chocolate and coffee on the finish.

M: Smooth and creamy.

O: Delicious and worth the acclaim. (223 characters)

Photo of Gear54
4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber into a snifter

Pitch black with 1/2 finger of thick kaki head. Foam fades quick and notice lace left on the glass.

Smell is the best part of this beer in my opinion. Initial aroma is dark roast coffee and hazelnut. Also coco and toasted malts to give some grain aroma to the scent.

Taste is very rich coffee and dark chocolate. Really no bitterness at all with this beer. Malts add a nice grain flavor. I'm also getting a nice sweetness like raspberry and mango. The sweetness gives it really good balance.

Feel is string as well. Flavors coat the mouth and stick to the palate for several min. Each sip is smooth and full flavor. No boozy flavor or scent makes it easy to enjoy which is nice considering the high ABV (738 characters)

Photo of Apellonious
4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bomber bottled 3/5/15, poured into a tulip.

A - Jet black with tan half finger head that moves quickly to a thin lace.

S - Chocolate, cocoa, coffee, and some faint raspberry. Not picking up much heat.

T- Roasted grains, cocoa and chocolate, mild bitterness and some alcohol heat on the finish.

M - Medium mouthfeel, carbonation low, slightly creamy and sticky when it warms up.

O - A solid RIS, one of the better ones I have tried. (447 characters)

Photo of coltonbrimhall
4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

-thick black with thick brown foam
- mellow dark grain scent very mellow
- thick big alcohol warm but almost burnt grains very big flavor
-thick and chew able
- top notch take on a Russian imperial stout (206 characters)

Photo of oldn00b
4.36/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great look, flavor, nose - just felt a little lighter than I'd like or expect. There are a lot of really great stouts available that this one doesn't quite stand out but it's still a really great and enjoyable beer. (216 characters)

Photo of Bone53
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 3/26/15

Appearance: Completely black in the glass with zero light shining through. Aggressive pour results in an enormous brown head

Smell: Heavily roasted malt, bakers chocolate, caramel, slight smoke. I dont pick up any of the alcohol

Taste: I get that roasted malt and bakers chocolate upfront with a smoky finish. Undertone of hops as well

Mouthfeel: Medium to heavy medium body; Goes down amazing considering the abv. I dont get the alcohol at all. However, it is a bit more bitter than i prefer in the style

Overall: This is a good but not great RIS. Whatever lacks in flavor and robustness is made up in drinkability. This is one of the easiest drinking imperial stouts iv had fresh, or any beer iv had over 10% for that matter. This really reminds me of GL Blackout Stout in that regard. A little too hoppy and smoky for me, but that would mellow with age. All in all worth picking up and cellaring, but i once again find Stone very overrated (963 characters)

Photo of timontheroad
4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured very dark black, with a two finger bubbly brown head that receded to a quarter inch thick foam, great lacing. Aroma was coffee, dark roast malt and booze. The dark roast malts really stood forward in the flavor, with some coffee, dark fruits, and of course the alcohol. The mouthfeel was thick and creamy smooth - very nice. Overall, Stone hardly ever disappoints, and this beer is no exception. (403 characters)

Photo of Oldlogin
3.92/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The after taste is harsh, though not totally unpleasant ..There are other higher end stouts that I would recommend . Completely a matter of subjective taste. (157 characters)

Photo of FaradayUncaged
3.71/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours an amazing black with brown head but quickly downhill from there. Smells of burnt malts and boozy alcohol that carries through the taste and finish. Mouthful is a plus but overall seems like maybe some age is a good idea. The burnt flavor and smell is all too powerful and dampers what seems like an otherwise pleasurable experience. (342 characters)

Photo of secondtooth
3.79/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one's a whopper!

Opaque, deep black, and strong as an ox.

As with the best of the Imperial Russian Stouts, this one's got a burnt taste, less coffee or chocolate here, which gives way to a jagged alcoholic aftertaste/followthrough (it is 10.8%, after all).

Not one for the timid (or light beer fans), this is definitely one to sip slowly and savor. (359 characters)

Photo of mchegash
4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tried a 4oz sample at Pasadena (Liberty Station) store

Appearance - 4.5/5
Very dark, probably black, 2 fingers of delicious medium brown head.

Smell - 5/5
Sweet, dark delicious brown sugar malts with hints of alcohol. Smell is mellow rather than sharp.

Taste - 4.5/5
Delicious, dark slightly-fruity malts. Tastes like it smells. Sweet, honey-like.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Smooth, medium-full body.

Overall - 4.25/5
I only sampled 4oz of this when I was in CA, but I absolutely loved it. It might be my favorite Russian Imperial. I've been trying to get my hands on a full bomber of this so I can give in a review with a proper amount of beer, but I haven't been able to find one in MI. (685 characters)

Photo of funjack5150
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just picked up three bottles today of the 2014 release, super surprised to find it at the beer store. I hear the 2015 release comes out tomorrow. Went home chilled two bottles and put one in the cellar. I get a lot of chocolate its kind of nice. Sipping on a glass of it right now, well watching March Madness, what could be better? (332 characters)

Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 4.75 - Poured jet black in color. Formed about a finger of medium/dark tan colored head. Head subsides down to a film. Impressive head potential and retention for the ABV and the viscosity. Spotty, almost nonexistent lacing.
S - 4.75 - Bitter chocolate, sweet chocolate, light touches of vanilla and coffee. The nose to me is dominated by licorice, anise and a medicinal, herbal aroma. This is what I've found to be traditional of the style and as such, it smells amazing.
T - 5 - I can't believe how well balanced this is for how potent it is. The malty sweetness, and the bitterness at the end are balanced perfectly. Has lots of malt, chocolate, some raisin, licorice and that slight medicinal herbal twang all good Russian's have. Surprisingly, the alcohol in this is WELL hidden.
F - 4.25 - Definitely a decent, thicker creamy mouthfeel, but not the viscosity of crude oil that was promised on the bottle. Have definitely had thicker before.
O - 4.75 - This is a damned fine imperial Russian stout. Probably the most balanced I've ever had and one of the best in general. Reminds me A LOT of Oskar Blue's Ten Fidy. Is it the best ever? No. Is it worth buying, stocking up on and cellaring? Hell yes. This is a stout lover's dream beer and I HIGHLY recommend it to fans of the style. (1,327 characters)

Photo of infinitebruner
3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

March 5, 2015

22 oz bomber, snifter

A – Jet black and fairly viscous/oily, very dark brown lacing on top, just a thin layer that disappears quickly.

S – Very high roasted component with some vanilla and alcohol warmth on the nose. Hops seem to be earthy, and somewhat piney. A good dose of bitterness at the end.

T – High vanilla component, with only moderate roast flavors, and some bittersweet chocolate. Hops provide bitterness mostly, with a piney, woodsy flavor underneath.

M – Moderately low carbonation and medium-bodied, a moderate amount of residual sweetness but balanced hard towards bitterness, both from roasted malt and from hops. Mild alcohol warmth, very subdued.

O – Not as heavy as I expected, and a nice combination of roasty and sweet components. Solid. (795 characters)

Photo of marieli
4.27/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Draft. A very pretty beer, close to black with a nice tan head. Dark chocolate ruled smell and taste with underlying coffee and roasted malts. Not much fruit. Slight bitterness. At 11% the alcohol makes itself known, but okay. Not as thick or creamy as expected or hoping. A good beer but some creaminess and smoothing out would definitely kick it up a notch for my taste. (379 characters)

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

Awesome beer. Has a thinner body than I expected for an imperial stout. Smells of molasses, balsamic vinegar, caramel, coffee and dark chocolate. Taste tones same as smell, sweet start with acidic middle and bitter roasted malt coffee flavor finish. Would definitely try again. Alcohol warmth is low for an 11% beer. Very drinkable. (332 characters)

Photo of jhartley
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Deep pitch black body and a dark tan head. Leaving quite a bit of lacing in the glass.
Big aromas of licorice, espresso, char and dark roasted malts.
Tastes of espresso, bittersweet chocolate, anise (not as much as that Belgo Anise release from 2011 thank God!)
Easy drinking IRS and a big winner from Stone! (308 characters)

Photo of ptykozoon
3.51/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

2009
Pours pretty close to jet black, no head left and the thinnest frothy circle around the glass.

A lot of dark fruit - raisins, plum. Cinnamon, dark chocolate, brown sugar.

Taste is bitter coffee and dark chocolate. Smoky cinnamon. Abrasive.

Mouthfeel is crisper than I'd prefer for a beer of this type, very light and airy. ABV tastes around 10%.

I am not sure if the years have really added to the taste. Still a good beer but a bit rough around the edges. It could use more fruit or delicacy to balance out the heat and harshness. (540 characters)

Photo of NateF90
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 release poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass. Espresso crema-colored head suck around for the entire session. Alcohol and malt on the nose. Taste again is booze forward, but quickly yields to macerated fruits, mild tobacco, and chocolate chip cookie. Mouthfeel wasn't as heavy or viscous as expected... Undecided as to whether that's a good thing or not. Excellent stout but not as 'turned up' as I had hoped. Maybe some extended aging would change the profile? Will try again. (483 characters)

Photo of Gpartnoff
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Stone russian imperial stout 2014 release. Consumed 1-22-15. Look is black with a dark tan head. First taste comes black licorice, anise and a little chocolate. After 3-4 sips the palate is coated with fuzz, tends to hide the first taste flavors. All in all a good brew. Sweet tasting after the first sips and the alcohol burn isn't there. Great stout by a great brewery. Stone should do a collaboration with valiant or black market. Or do a triple collaboration with those two. Amazing what collaborations do to an already fantastic stout. Two thumbs up. (555 characters)

Photo of arvidkoval
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, brown head. Alcohol, roasty malt nose. Taste is boozey, burnt, chocolate, some caramel sweetness coming through. Feels very thick with a little carbonation. Overall, this is in your face and intense. Makes Guinness look like Bud. It can't possibly get much bigger and blacker than this? (305 characters)

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 2,653 ratings.