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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.

7,065 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,065
Reviews: 2,592
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 543
Gots: 1,568 | FT: 88
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: 7,065 | Reviews: 2,592 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of risteardj
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

risteardj, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of Crotor
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I live for beers like this.

Pours thick and black into my tulip glass. It looks so thick it reminds me of how they use Elmer's-type glue in milk commercials to achieve those thick, ropey pours. This looks like black Elmers glue... As it settles in the glass, a dense, dark brown head rises, and sticks around for quite a while - surprising retention for a beer this big. I like that...

The aroma is big and roasty, with a bit of caremel going on in the back. Good, but not great. Really the only failing is that the aroma is unimpressive when compared to the beer's other aspects.

As I finally drink, there's a massive assault of roasty, chocolatey, espressoey goodness on my tongue. Behind it all there's just a hint of fruit (plum/raisinish). A hint of alcohol is evident, but i's not at all unpleasant. Other characteristics are a reseved bit of sweetness, and perhaps a little mustiness. Overall, the massive yet rounded taste profile is excellently articulated. How can a beer so big and so extreme also be so subtle? It's masterful...

This is without a doubt, the best, and most drinkable RIS I've ever had the pleasure to encounter.

Crotor, Dec 13, 2004
Photo of hayesez
3.8/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been using the site for years, but have never posted my reviews. Figured I'd throw some up here.

The Stone RIS seems like a good place to start as I've had several over the years and enjoy them; a solid beer.

Drank this one on Monday night, during the game. Poured into a tulip glass. A small light tan head that dissipated fairly quickly as I drank. Very thin clear lacing.

An initial light coffee smell that quickly turned to roasted malts. Also a small amount of chocolate. A little more alcoholic smelling than I remember.

The stout tastes very similar to the smell. Large roasted malts with some chocolate finish. The 10.5% certainly comes through and stays around for a bit. It is a bit thinner than I remember but still has that silky feel.

Drinkability became better the warmer the beer became. Again, the stronger alcohol finish made it not quite as enjoyable as many other big stouts that I enjoy.

Overall, a beer I will continue to drink periodically, but not one of my top RIS's.

Consumed: 11/9/2009

hayesez, Nov 12, 2009
Photo of bifrostguard
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Note: aged 2007 bottle

A - Pitch black with a small dark tan head. Head could have been bigger.

S - Chocolate, caramel, toffee but almost entirely chocolate

T - Chocolate, caramel, chocolate, toffee and chocolate

M - Thick and creamy. Excellent viscosity that goes down smooth.

D - Too much chocolate for me but still fairly easy to drink. The alcohol is nearly undetectable and the body is full. If you like chocolate then this is for you.

bifrostguard, Oct 02, 2008
Photo of Auztan
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

Auztan, Nov 06, 2012
Photo of Mahlik
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Mahlik, May 20, 2012
Photo of locckdown
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

locckdown, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of leantom
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

This is the third time I've had this beer. However, I only gave it a month to condition before I drank it so the taste was less mellow than usual. However, it's still worthy of a review in my opinion. Here goes:

A: Deep, dark black. Completely opaque. Appears very thick, too. This beer, unfortunately, has no head and very little lacing (I guess it's because of the density). Also very little carbonation. Kind of disappointing.

S: Not disappointing at all. Very robust chocolate imparted from the heavily-kilned malts. Some dark fruit and licorice, but these smells are rather muted. No detectable hops or yeast. I love chocolatey RIS beers, so the smell made me smile.

T: Very good, but not perfect. Again, maybe it's because I didn't wait long enough for it to condition. Initial taste is one of dark chocolate followed by plum, raisins, dates, licorice and jam. The latter tastes linger on the palate a little too long after consumption, but maybe this is owing to the beer's thickness. Very complex flavor profile that combines chocolate with dark fruit. Good.

M: Excellent. Thick and creamy. The only thing keeping it from being perfect is the lack of carbonation.

O: A very good beer from Stone. While not perfect, it's most certainly a beer that I will be getting again and again.

leantom, Jul 12, 2014
Photo of B33R501
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

its taken me 3 years vintage to fully appreciate the character, depth, and complexity of this beer. amazing this much flavor, no barrel aging.

beautiful darkest brown to black beer with a great looking chocolate cap. big aroma of chocolate, roasted malts, even some hops. tastes opens with big chocolate, superb roast, vinous notes of white wine, grapes, dark fruits. thick and so very rich, even a little vanilla and molasses presence. perfectly balanced, lots of puckering hoppy bitterness leading to that perfect dry finish. aftertaste lingers forever, leaving your palate to wonder what the hell just crushed it.

a true icon, and one of this years best.

B33R501, May 10, 2012
Photo of TimPell
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

TimPell, Jun 21, 2012
Photo of aengleman
5/5  rDev +15.2%

aengleman, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of JoshuaShort13
4/5  rDev -7.8%

JoshuaShort13, Apr 06, 2014
Photo of zdauber
3.25/5  rDev -25.1%

zdauber, Apr 27, 2014
Photo of ChristianT
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

ChristianT, Jul 26, 2014
Photo of hobbes2112
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle.

Pours a midnight black with a medium level deep brown head. Pretty significant lacing. Smell is all dark. Dark chocolate, dark malt, dark caramelized sugars, alcohol (ok that one isn't dark.) I drank this one very slowly in 4 small glass increments. The first was pretty cold, possibly too cool. That was a much different, smaller beer than the later and warmer cups. I'd recommend this one warm only...you are missing out on the best parts when it is cold. I like the coffee notes that come with warmth. Mouthfeel is great, really astringent aftertaste that screams bitter cocoa with hops. I have a hard time giving out drinkability scores above 4 for beers this strong (in the alcohol sense) because you really can't drink them in a session manner.

Top notch.

hobbes2112, Nov 17, 2008
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Spring '03 bottling. A strong pour results in just a few brown specks of bubbles and a tiny, dark collar. This is possibly the blackest, most opaque beer I have ever seen. A few swirls bolster up the collar a bit, but not enough to leave lacework. The beer doesn't really "cling" per se, except in a liqueurish sense... it really is more like motor oil, like a rolling, oozing mass of black protoplasm! Slippery smooth nosefeel initially suggests dried figs, port wine, and cocoa up front; then black currants lead the way into a finish with the bitterness of licorice and, with increasing warmth, the alcoholic presence of coffee liqueur. Over a root chord of massive chocolate malt, flavors intertwine melodically: sweet and figgy warming to spicily alcoholic; licorice, baking chocolate, coffee roasting away. Luxurious, velvety, melted ice cream mouthfeel, puckering, sticky, wow. Addictive drinkability. Just beckons to the senses. Like it's staring out at you from its glass on the table...


NearerMyBeerToMe, Mar 23, 2004
Photo of gotbeer
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a opaque black with a decent head. The head is dark like the beer, and it almost looks evil. It laces the glass lightly.

The taste is incredible. Coffee, chocolate, and raisens all come to mind. Incredible complexity and a little alcohol and a hoppy bite at the end. Very warming, and not nearly as thick as one might think from looking at the beer. That lends to a great mouthfeel, and it hides the beers ABV. The ABV is the only thing that takes away the drinkability of this beer.

An incredible imperial stout. My favorite to date, and I think it would be very hard to top.

gotbeer, Sep 20, 2005
Photo of blindmike
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

blindmike, Jun 12, 2014
Photo of jiggahertz
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Angressive pour results in a minimal cocoa colored head sitting on top of a deep dark black beer. No light passing through at all. Head quickly dissipates, no lacing.

S: Getting a lot of chocolate on the nose at first, little malt. Disappears when the head is gone.

T: Wow, really surprised by the level of chocolate I can pick up in this. It definitely dominates the flavor profile.

M: full bodied and medium carbonation

D: Slightly bitter finish, doesn't last extremely long. Hides the alcohol extremely well for a beer of this strength.

jiggahertz, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of DwnTwnBwn
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A. Served at a local bar in a stone goblet. Black with a coffee creme head.

S. Strong alcohol presence, huge roasted malt with oak and vanilla.

T. Its a warmer. the roasted notes assault your tongue. finished very sweet.

M. Thick mouth coating, sticky sweet, warming alochol.

O. Amazing beer, the time does amazing things for this beer.

DwnTwnBwn, Jun 24, 2009
Photo of surprenant1138
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2011 release pours a deep dark black with a half inch thick, creamy, dark tan head. Lacing is thick with great retention. Aroma is earthy, of roasted nuts, caramel, chocolate, vanilla, some hops, malts, and a bit of smoke. Mouthfeel is thick, heavy. Taste is a combination of the aromas, with more emphasis on smoke and roasted nuts. There is a hint of a metallic flavor there. Overall, this is fantastic. Truly this is my favorite RIS.

surprenant1138, Jun 26, 2011
Photo of Kelly88
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Kelly88, Aug 24, 2014
Photo of quantumcipher
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

quantumcipher, Jan 07, 2012
Photo of Cottzilla
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Cottzilla, Mar 14, 2013
Photo of dwitt24
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

dwitt24, Dec 07, 2013
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,065 ratings.