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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

7,452 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,452
Reviews: 2,628
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 653
Gots: 1,758 | FT: 101
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: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,452 | Reviews: 2,628
Photo of StonedTrippin
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this one is a keeper for sure, especially at less than 8 bucks a bomber. pours a gorgeous and enticing coffee black color, heavy and rich, with a 1 inch light brown head that has the consistency of cool whip, thick and light. it just floats on top of the beer without ever getting smaller. smells quite spicy for the style, espresso beans radiate as well. there are also notes of milk chocolate, vanilla beans, and charred english malts. flavor is similarly complex, with the roasty coffee and chocolate flavors being most prominent. there is that spice character again, maybe peppercorns or anise or clove... great alcoholic sweetness in the finish. the feel is quite thick, almost motor oil thick. mellow carbonation lets the complexities linger, and the aftertaste is awesome. this is a bigtime beer, a good one to share with a lover. well worth its excellent reviews.

Photo of womencantsail
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black as night and thick as motor oil. About one finger of tan foam, and not any lacing to speak of.

S: Chocolate, coffee, licorice, a slight smokiness, and roasted malt. There is still some alcohol present, but that's no big surprise.

T: So much going on here. Chocolate, dark fruits (currants and plums), roasted malt, licorice, and a bit of alcohol.

M: Huge body, very thick and syrupy.

D: Despite being approximately a year old, it's still somewhat boozy. Very tasty though and it will only get better.

Photo of largadeer
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 22 oz bottle.

Black and robust, lightly carbonated and syrup-thick. The nose is all roasted barley and molasses. 10.8% alcohol is alarmingly well-hidden here, especially for a bottle with little age to it. Dark roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate and burnt toast entangle (but never overwhelm) the palate, with a long finish of black licorice and mild hops. Perfectly smooth and drinkable, I find it difficult to fault this beer in any way. One of the very best Russian Imperial Stouts available today.

Photo of oberon
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours a jet black like motor oil I held it up to a pretty bright light and nothing shined thru a bit of a mocha colored head settled nicely on top perfect.Hops in a imperial stout well this one has a big dose that come thru in the aroma with some cocoa powder and deeply roasted malt.Big complexities going on in the flavor department roasted coffee followed by a medicinal quality a touch of smoke and hop dryness in the finish.A beer that lives up to the billing big bold and beautiful man what a beer!

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

(2005 Vintage)

Appearance: Oh my, yes. Pours out a rich, inticing jet black body. The foamy tan-colored head recedes quickly.

Smell: The welcome aroma delivers a sweet scent filled with rich espresso, roasted barley, molasses, and anise. A soft scent of port wine can also be found here. Lastly, an inspiriting alcohol vapor fills the nose.

Taste: While tasting this beer I scribbled some complimentary notes down on a notepad, but didn't get all of them because I went through the world's entire supply of ink and paper in the process.

The world's entire supply of ink and paper, I said.

That said, this brew is tremendously malty, with sharp notes of coffee and chocolate. Undertones of vanilla and molasses are present as well. Hop flavor is gentle, barely peeking through the immense gamut of flavors present. Yes, the alcohol is apparent, but quite soothing.

The long finish leaves a sustaining roasted flavor on the tongue. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and quite chewy at times, while maintaining an unequaled velvety texture.

Drinkability: The very best RIS I've tasted yet.

So, yeah, I liked it. I had very high expectations for this beer, and it met every single one of them.

Thankfully.

(My thanks to AndoBrew for sharing this one with me.)

Photo of biboergosum
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 version. I like the Cossack hat on the gargoyle on the bottle - awkward, but funny.

This beer pours a complete black, with one finger of soapy beige head, which quickly dissipates, leaving a ring of painted lace around the glass. It smells of roasted malt, dry chocolate, warming alcohol, and mild earthy, piney hops. The taste is sweet lightly-toasted malt, dry coffee, a bit of anise, treacle, an underlying citrus/pine hoppiness, and a mild, but enveloping, warm booziness. The carbonation is practically non-existent, the body thick, unctuous, and velvety smooth, like buttah, and it finishes with a slight citrus hop edge over top of the solid malt.

A very drinkable and enjoyable RIS, but make nice and share this monster of a brew.

Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spring 2007 release, cellared since then, thanks K&C!

Jet black with the requisite mocha foam, no lace just a thin ring at the edge, and an abstract mesh of skim across the top. Slightly oxidized aroma, still plenty chocolatey, cocoa, malted milk balls, and molasses.

Similar flavor, hershey's and molasses, reduced down to a compact format. A bit of roasty malt in the background, any booze/hops are long gone on the palate. Thick, full, rich, sticky. Quintessential aged RIS? I guess so... Afterimage of toasted marshmallows and burnt chocolate edges. Nice enough, maybe not my favorite RIS but a soild one i'd never refuse. Plan to revisit when Stone shows up in Illinois...

Photo of zeff80
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, black as night color with a small, light brown, foamy head. It left soapy sheets of lace like legs on a red wine.

S - It smelled of sweet chocolate, roasted malt, floral notes and sweet fruits.

T - It tasted like candy sugar, licorice, roasted malt and strong chocolate and caramel flavors. A solid bitter hoppy kick balanced out the sweetness.

M - It was soft, smooth and still sharp with a warming alcohol presence. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a truly great brew. One of the most balanced RIS's I've ever had.

Photo of JAHMUR
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of NeroFiddled
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"Limited Late Spring 2002 Release" - roughly one year old right now. There's been enough said about the specifics of this beer that I'm sure I don't have to start with "Pours as black as night...". I'm not a huge fan of Imperial Stouts, but this one just became one of my all time favorites!

I was quite impressed with the level of maltiness present in the aroma, and the complexity that goes along with it. It's quite cocoa-ish, but also fruity. It has a touch of the "burnt currant" that's so common to the style, but this is more ripe and juicy - and it's the fruitiness that I recognize in the other Stone beers (particularily the pale ale). But it's even more complex than that with some very light citrusy hops and an oak character that really makes it interesting. But surprisingly, it's not that roasty. In fact, overall, it's more of a Baltic Porter. There's a touch of alcohol in the nose as well, but it seems to enhance rather than hinder.

The flavor follows the same routine. It's quite impressive with a rich-but-not-cloying maltiness that delivers buttered brown sugar, cocoa, fresh wort, creamy coffee, ripe raspberry, nuts, dried fruits, sweet bread crust, red wine, and caramel. It's well-balanced by a bitterness that supports, but also hangs in the wings.

Highly recommended!!! Although the alcohol will stop you.... you'll want to drink a few of these!

Photo of oline73
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle poured into my Colossus snifter.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a finger of mocha head that dissipates quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Quite sweet, dark fruit and chocolate. Some toffee/caramel in there as well. Roasty coffee notes with warm alcohol at the end.

Taste: A lot like the smell, which is a very good thing in this case. More bitter roast than the smell, but the sweetness is still there to balance things out. Dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit. The finish is smooth with warming alcohol. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side with very minimal carbonation. The beer coats your mouth and it is quite slick at the finish of each sip.

Overall: A very good Imperial Stout. A tad bitter in the finish, but nothing to really complain about. Great balance and I would love to try this barrel aged.

Photo of nickfl
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Coal black, with about 1 inch of tan-brown head.

S - Alcohol, hops and chocolate. Rasins, estery fruit, dates and a bit of mint.

T - Spicy, hoppy. Chocolate/ espresso and rasins/ dates. A bit of buttery, nutty maltiness and a long hoppy, spicy finish.

M - Very thick and oily with higher carbonation than I would have expected.

D - I can't find anything to complain about in this one. The flavor and aroma are excellent and the chocolate notes are particularly delicious. They have done a great job of rideing the line between a vary flavorfull beer and an excessive, opressive one.

Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 release poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brownish black, with a thick brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: It has a rich coffee roast & dark chocolate aroma with a little bit of hops & alcohol. The smell has a robust quality to it that lets you know right away that this beer doesn’t mess around.

T: The taste is an excellently balanced, rich flavor of coffee & chocolate, roasted malt and a touch of hops. As Stone does so well, it’s not overly sweet, but not bitter and STILL masks the 10.80% ABV.

M: Full-bodied, extremely smooth, medium carbonation, leaves a clean finish without any syrupy or oily residue which I would attribute to the fact that the sweetness isn’t excessive.

D: This beer is treacherously drinkable because it’s so smooth & tasty and the ABV is well hidden in the taste. It also is not filling unlike other stouts that I’ve had. Given all of that, this beer can do some heavy damage if you go with it for some time. Unfortunately for me, I won’t be able to test myself beyond the one bomber that I had.

This is an excellent beer. I know that by the time I make it back to the store where I got this beer, it will all be gone. While I consider myself lucky to have gotten the beer, I’m cursing myself for not buying more of it. I guess I learned my lesson for next year.

Photo of Jason
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber, “Limited Spring 2002 Release” on the label gives you an idea of freshness … not that it matters being that this brew is a towering 9.47% abv.

Appearance: Big pillowing foamy tan head is slow to form as the bubbles of carbonation struggle to the top of this thick crude oil black brew. The head does dissipate but the there is a lace that sticks around for the show.

Smell: The aroma is full of highly roasted coffee (French Roast), fruity esters (dried black currants), slight molasses, mild char, and vague solvent alcohol and lost of roasted grain.

Taste: Nearly syrupy from a huge malty body, carbonation is at a medium crispness with an extremely viscous mouth feel. First the flavours go sweet with maltiness are fruity flavours of black currant and prune. Malt sweetness upfront is more of a mild molasses with a deep following of roasted grain and a chocolaty backing that sticks around until the finish. Hop are thrown in for good measure but don’t seem to get in the way too much. Alcohol flexes quick with a faint solvent flavour as well as the fruitiness providing some esters for more complexity. A smoothness creeps in out of nowhere and pulls the flavours in further which saturates the taste buds. Deep within, after the brew warms up a bit there is a dark caramel flavour that sits next to beer heaven. After the initial wave of flavour there seems to be a Zen of balance as all of the flavours meld together in perfect formation. The roasted grain lingers with an endless trail cleaning up all other flavours in its wake.

Notes: Devastatingly flavourful, highly drinkable and very deceiving for a brew at 9.47% abv. This beer shows-off Stone Brewing’s prowess to take a style a bring it to a greater level than others.

Photo of Kegatron
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap @ the Copper Mine Pub (North Arlington, NJ) on 7/24/09. 8 oz pour served in a Chimay glass.

Pours black as night in the glass, with a 1/4 finger of creamy burnt mocha colored head. Just awesome retention here, staying rich & frothy the whole way through the glass, leaving a big cascade of creamy spotty lace and brown goo back. The aroma is just awesome smelling, being quite heavy in the nose, with a perfect evenness between the darkker notes of roast & coffee and then the sweeter tones of chocolate, toffee, and dark fruits. As mentioned before, the alcohol presence gives this some heavy presence in the nostrils but is never stinging, instead imparting a cozy smelling warmth that makes this a pleasure to sniff.

The taste starts with a big crunchy flush of blackened and burnt roast and zippy espresso character. This is then balanced (if you can call it that) by an equally massive sweeter base of dark chocolate, toffee, black currants, and liquorice. Man, the finish on this is absolutely bitter and roasty that just STICKS in the mouth. Very satisfying. The mouthfeel is full bodied with a big mouthfilling prickly carbonation that really brings out the sharp roasty character in this. This then slickens out towards the back, with a chewy feel that carries the bulk of the huge sweetness in this with it. That hefty ABV is present, but just like the best RIS do, it never detracts from the flavors but instead gives them extra gravitas in the profile, helping make everything pop.

A classic from Stone no doubt. Full flavored, full bodied, full everything, RIS that leaves nothing on the table. I love the fact that you don't have to give up an arm or a leg to procur if either. Great stuff!

Photo of RblWthACoz
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black. Tan head slowly falls leaving a lot of lacing. Very slightly roasted earthy malts. Molasses tones. Flavor is just beautiful. And amazing. Thick malt tones. Just so robust and consistent. Alcohol doesn't seem to show up at all. Feel is amazing on the liquid. Extremely drinkable. A RIS that sits at 10.8& alcohol? Easily could be a recipe for disaster, but this just comes out magnificently. Easily one of the best beers ever created, IMO. If you haven't had a chance to try it yet, I really hope you get one.

Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of wethorseblanket
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%

Photo of jlindros
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet. Great time to review it, sitting through Hurricane Earl. Spring 2010 release.

A nice creamy rich dark head rises up to 1 finger but fades semi quickly over super dark almost pitch black colored beer. It has nice legs running down the sides of the glass too indicating it's thickness.

The nose has plenty of dark roasty malts, lots of coffee and toffee, roasted barley, some oatmeal, creamy chocolate milk, some bakers chocolate, a slight caramel, chewy malt aroma, some sweetness but no real booze. THe nose is a little harder to get out than I expected, lighter.

The taste comes on really rich, velvety, thick, and tasty. It is a little boozy, with some warmth and very light tingle. There is some nice dark malts, some roast, light coffee, toffee, caramel, and somewhat sweet. Lots more creamy chocolate milk and oatmeal, but not too heavy on the oatmeal. Some bakers chocolate as well. A light vanilla flavor as well. A slight bitterness, a little from the roast and some soft earthy hops.

The mouth is heavier but not overwhelming, with good carbonation and a light warming booze.

It finishes slightly dry with some more sticky sweetness, lingering toffee, some coffee and roast, lots of chocolate, creamy milk and bakers, and even a little vanilla still. Some light warming and tingly booze late, but not as much as I expected. A little bitterness It coats the mouth pretty well too and just lingers and lingers. A little bitterness starts to build too and get a little more bitter as it goes, some light spicy hops and somewhat from the earthy roast. With all the dark malts in this I'm surprised there aren't any off flavor minerals and briney flavors, they did a good job with this.

Overall I'm a little disappointed by the nose being too light, but the taste was great, and the whole experience of the beer was pretty nice. I need to crack my aged bottle sometime, although I think I want to keep aging it.

Photo of XmnwildX12
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of WVbeergeek
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Before I start my usual hyping up of the Stone Brewery, just stop me and leave the house and seek out this beer. This is not just any beer this is a beer to be experienced and relived annually like a tradition, only it saddens me to think about the batches from the last two years that have escaped me. This is the 2003 limited spring release, and I am in heaven simply heaven. Pours like crude oil (according to the bottle, but you must see it for yourself), honestly this beer is viscous and opaque it eats up the light that attempts to shine through it. Dark black body with the pleasant thin moccha toned head floating atop of this dark abyss. The aroma contains layers of light milk chocolate tones, dark roasted barley malt, hints of anise in the background, deep plum or any overly ripened fruit in a light brandy liquer all topped off with a light hopping of signature Stone hops to boast it's west coast roots along with an underlying nose of alcohol gracing my olfactory nerves. As the temperature rises so does the amount of alochol that shines through in the flavor of this classic Imperial Russian Stout. A creamy based chocolate/coffe presence along with sweet buttery notes that elegantly dance on my palate. An overall warming effect creates a sense of ecstasy, with notes of fruit tones and acohol notes that are in one word heavenly. Mouthfeel is full and heavy syrup esque, but goes down suprisingly very smoothly. Low carbonation that complements the overall quality of this beer, and definitely a one bottle at a time experience no session beer found here and none wanted from an Imperial Stout of any kind.

Photo of Slatetank
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I tasted this in Apr 2009, just gettin' around to the review-taken from notes. Poured chilled into an ale glass -2009 version.

A - Black thick appearance, great lacing the ale is opaque and has lasting head retention

S - The aroma is rich w/ malt, dark fruit, molasses, candy caramel and vanilla w/ citrus odors from hops

M - The malts have great texture that is rich w/ coffee's roastiness smooth sweetness and viscous without becoming overbearing. The texture is warm from alcohol, but within range

T - The flavor of seriously dark chocolate, roasted grain w/ sweetness of vanilla rum, flavors of currants, plum and dark brown sugar w/ toasted nuts, and cocoa powder. The flavor of hops and alcohol are noted in the tertiary flavors but the taste really lingers w/ malt intensity

D - The west coast has many RIS's that are good, but this is a standout - do not hesitate to try this like I did. I consider it a great example of the style.

Re-review 2008 version courtesy of John Michaelsen at our Stout Tasting part deux. Poured from the cool bomber into a taster and re-sampled again.
A-5 S 4.5 M 4.5 T 4.5 D 5

A - deep black, opaque ominous look with thick beige cap and lots of lace clings. The bead is tiny and retention is decent. The smell of strong roast and fruit with cocoa and a mellow spice element. The main fruit would be currant but other dark fruits come to mind w/ slight woody hop note and hints of toast. The feel is lovely, blended with spicy and roasted textures. The slight amount of alcohol in the feel adds complexity and the spice seems slightly strong with a mild bitter element in the finish.

The taste is great with chocolate bitterness and notes of pepper and currant with a light smoke and hint of toffee in the flavor. The mild cocoa and coffee is buoyed by the hop flavor which gives a slight sweet woodiness and then the toffee-molasses comes back with mild dark brown sugar taste in the finish. This is awesome aged - I think the 2008 is the best by Stone I have ever had, just ridiculously good drinkability and I want to go out and get some to age for three years now, what a treat! Thanks John!

Photo of russpowell
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 version; slightly better than last years

Pours mahogany/jet black with 3 fingers of mocha head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Coccoa & toasted grains; fades as this warms

T: Chocoalte, troasted grain, & a wee bit of iron. Smokeyness follows as this warms along with baker's choclate, & little warming feel. Mocha milk shake, warming notes, roastyness, & dryness are all in the finish.


MF: Rich with great balance & minimal carbonation

Good drinker as long as you don't mind an early night! Great dessert beer & maybe one to session on your tolerance is built up; just kidding!

Photo of DrunkinYogi
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of MarkyMOD
4/5  rDev -7.8%

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,452 ratings.