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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.

2,675 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,675
Hads: 7,913
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 733
Gots: 2,085 | FT: 111
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,675 | Hads: 7,913
Photo of ViveLaChouffe
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black, black as night with a thick dark brown head. Very lacy. Smells malty, roasted maltiness, sweet chocolate malt and alcohol.

Tastes of alcohol, burnt malt and coffee. Milky too. Oaky vanilla. Tastes kind of like those little chocolate bottles filled with liquor. Rich malt and some alcochol burn in the finish. Creamy mouth and smoky on the back of the throat that lingers. A sipper to be sure but very good. Could stand a little aging and I'll bet it would age very well.

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

This was the 2004 release.

Pours from the bomber a jet black and stunningly thick with a nice brown head.

Smell is heavy hops, chocolate, and espresso.

Taste, oh the taste, was dark chocolate, coffee, and bitter hops up front. Body is very full and mouthfilling. Sweet malt is balanced by massive hops, and rounded out by the dark coffee taste. This is a massive beer. Finish is long and sweet with snappy and bitter hops.

Wow, what a beer. I couldn't drink too many of these in one sitting, definitely a sipper, however, it was calling my name long after it was gone. Amazing.

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4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Release

Jet black, sun-blocking, motor oil like liquid with a 1/4" tan head. The head fell down to a swirly cap rather quickly. Some lacing.

A intense roasted aroma and alcohol dominated the nose in its preliminary stages. As the beer warmed sweet dark fruits and malts were detectable. No doubt this beer has some hops but they are in the shadows.

The first thing that hit my tastebuds was saltiness. That faded quickly and was a strange sensation. As the beer opened up I detected licorice, espresso and burnt toast. This is a very deep complex tasting brew. I tasted some earth and nuttiness as well. The alcohol is very prominent in the taste right now as well. Best way to describe this RIS is intense!

The mouthfeel is thick, rich, full-bodied, and creamy. The beer has a very long finish with its burnt, roasted character swirling around the mouth long after it has been swallowed. It is definitely alcohol forward right now. Good for sipping, has a big warming effect.The drinkability will definitely improve with age. This could easily be part of the Vertical Epic series, I don't doubt at all that it will hold up that long.

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

This was quite possibly the greatest Imperial Stout I've ever had. Dark, rich, it was a treat to drink this. It poured black, witha brown head that laced as I drank it down. The aromas were so complex I don't really know where to start. There was Cherry, oak, chocolate, roasted coffee, vanilla, and many more. The flavor was just as complex. It reminded me of a nice bourdeux, with lots of chocolate, coffee, roasted nuts, vanilla, cherries. The mouthfeel was silky smooth, and glorious. I can't say anymore other than wow.

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Photo of garbanzobean
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Summer 2005 release. Stone Imperial Stout. "Russian" has been omitted from this release due to Uncle Sam's red tape. The laws restricting the naming of beer have recently been amended. This will be reflected in the next release.

Presentation: 22 ounce bomber. Standard Stone Brewery spiel. Poured into an Arrogant Bastard pint glass.

Appearance: Blacker than Lucifer's soul. Beautiful three-quarter inch thick head the color of toffee and brown sugar. Surprisingly little lacing.

Smell: Hints of chocolate, mocha, with a somewhat fruity undertone. Brown sugar and molasses dominate my nose. An entire dessert shop in one bottle.

Taste: Oh lord. Chocolately, sweet, wonderfully tasty. A bittersweet coffe/mocha flavor hits a second later. Hints of prune, and very little alcohol. Acidity and bitterness seem to keep each other perfectly in check. More than 4.5, less than 5.0, what am I to do?

Mouthfeel: Easily my favorite part of this beer. Smooth and creamy. Feels like a milk stout going down. Velvet is the first word that comes to mind. I would give it a 6 if I could.

Drinkability: Amazing. You WILL drink this a little too quickly; there is no stopping yourself.

overall: As a relatively inexperienced BA, this beer seems to fit PERFECTLY within it's style. This is a wonderful treat. A dessert unto itself. If you are a fan of big beers, you MUST try this.

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Photo of ejquin
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

App: Deep black with thin brown head that dissipates quickly. Little to no lacing.

Smell: A bit hoppy and citrusy with a touch of coffee and chocolate

Taste: Lots of coffee and chocolate. Bittersweet finish with the alcohol coming through to leave a small sting. Espresso aftertaste.

Mouth: Smei-heavy and slippery. Good carb.

Drink: Good

Overall: Very solid IRS from stout. There's still a few in my book that are better, but very good nonethless.

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Photo of karengarys
3.8/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Update 9/21/2006: Tried the "early spring 2006 bottle". The mouthfeel is very good, somewhat creamy. finish is clean. Flavors are as before, I'm raising my original review from 3.5 to 4 on the taste and mouthfeel. The fizzy wisky is not as I originally reviewed - yes, there is some, but at over 10% I'd think some alcohol flavor exists. I'm finding "fizzy wisky" more like "rich RIS style" than I originally percieved. Year to year variation? I would say my tastes and perceptions are more the discrepancy here. In any case, TRY THIS!!!

This pours from the "early spring 2005 bottle" quite thick! Aaah, yes, the rich Imperial stout! Dark brown that light hardly passes through - I'll have to pour another during daylight to see if sunlight can peak through. No head, too much alcohol I guess.

smell - alcohol, malt and molassis. In a good way.

Taste - a bit thick on the alcohol, richly sweet, but hardly a balance that I would expect. I'll have to revisit that bottle of Great Lakes Blackout Stout and give it another try to compare, (I will update this review if my taste buds are skewed today), but it seems that this all alcohol and sweetness with little other stuff to balance it out. Too much like fizzy wiskey for my tastes.

Mouthfeel is a bit flat and thick too.

Finish is a little rough going down. That thickness turns a bit thick on the way down, with a bit of bitter unpleasentness.

I tend to like some Russian Imperial Stouts. I like Great Lakes Blackout and North Coasts Old Rasputin - but this one lacked the balance needed to hide the heavy alcohol a bit. Please try one anyway, I've love every other offering I have tried from Stone.

I will re-review this if I've found today was just an off day. I'm surprised I'm not giving this at least a 4, but it just isn't cutting it per my tastes.

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Photo of Px2GrafX
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

presentation: bomber with the usual stone gargoyl painted graphics. colors are silver and blue. for some reason the word "russian" isn't on the front of the bottle. it is however in stone's description on the back of the bottle. "limited early summer 2005 release" is printed on the bottle. serving temperature is displayed at 55 degrees and the ABV is displayed at 10.8%.

appearance: pours a midnight black with little noticible highlights into an oversided wine goblet. head is a half-inch burnt sienna color with tight fluffy bubbles. disapates quickly, but hidden bubbles rise to the top leaving a thin layer all the way down. lacing is minimal.

smell: sweet with a dominant espresso coffee nose. some alcohol and some chocolate and bananas after swirling.

taste: dominant coffee with caramel. roasted nuts and barley. very complex with prunes, chocolate and caramel taking turns taking command. medium bitter and light alcohol finish. i love it. so complex and yet very balanced.

mouthfeel: thick, smooth and creamy. good acidity and carbonation. perfect mouthfeel for this style in my opinion.

drinkability: very drinkable...at first. then the alcohol hits you. i noticed a little buzz by the end of the bomber from hasty drinking. as the brew warms, the alcohol taste becomes more evident. but you wanna drink it. you havta drink it....

overall: for the longest time north coast's old rasputin has been my favorite RIS, but this years RIS by stone is a little bit better. appearance and drinkability are the only things that bring it down. i've yet to drink a better russian imperial stout.

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Photo of mcclurmc
3.89/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Incredibly black - won't even let light shine through. A thick, chocolaty head with good amounts of lacing; the head recedes fairly quickly. The body is as thick as it is dark, pouring with a consistency almost like that of real maple syrup. Only light carbonation after the pour. If the head were a little thicker, alittle creamier, and lasted longer I would have given it a 5.0.

Very strong smelling at first, but less so as head dies down. I smell something that reminds me of soy sauce, also a little anise and coriander. The light carbonation probably lends to the dissipating nose. As it warms the nose starts to reappear, but slightly. At the end of the glass, I begin to smell the alcohol; but only slightly.

This is my first Imperial Stout, so I'm not sure exactly how this beer is *supposed* to taste. I definitely taste a medium-strong bitterness that lasts after I finish drinking. I can taste the anise and a malty sweetness very well. A slightly metallic aftertaste lingers a few moments after swallowing. The flavors change as the beer warms up and its character definitely moves towards that of a Scotch Ale.

This is exactly what I expected an Imperial Stout to feel like. It is very thick with a consistency like whole milk. It leaves a sticky sensation on my lips, as if I had been eating a candy. As thick as it was to begin with, it gets even thicker as it warms. Silky is probably a better way to describe it.

This is a very strong beer, not in any particular area but as a whole. It's bitter but not incredibly bitter. It's thick but not syrupy. It has a powerful nose that dissipates quickly. It's very malty but not quite like a Scotch Ale. It wasn't very carbonated, but I would expect as much from a stout without one of those little Guinness nitro-widget thingies. I think this beer might take me close to an hour to drink even if I wasn't writing a review while drinking it. Even so, the taste makes me wish I could drink it faster.

I like this beer. It has a good, strong taste that isn't characteristic of normal stouts. It has a beautiful appearance and incredible mouthfeel. It is incredibly dynamic as the flavors change while the beer warms. On the downside, it is a little hard to drink - this is definitely a meal in itself. I think the taste definitely improved as the beer warmed up, though towards the end the alcohol got a little strong. If it weren't for that and the quickly dissippating nose, I would have given this a very high score. Overall, however, a very good beer.

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

Black...opaque, with a minimal head by the time it arrived. Firm ring of foam atop the brew. The nose lacked the complexity that I was expecting, some coffee, a little licorice. But the taste...semi-sweet chocolate start, bitter coffee, anise and hops, all working together and standing apart. Where was all of this in the nose? Mouthfeel is oily, full and the finish is marathon length. All the flavors reappear and linger long after the swallow. Find it. Drink it. Enjoy.

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Photo of krberg
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2K5 release.

Impenetrable black body with a shaved chocolate colored head.

Smells like sweetened cocoa powder. No hop notes.

Dark roasted coffee, chocolate with a slight tang and a sweet finish. I can find some bittering hops, but they are very well hidden beneath the dark malts. Little to no alcohol profile.

Thick like whole milk. Fantastic! Carbonation is low, but there is some CO2 bite present.

Too bad this is nearly 11% because it is wonderfully smooth and drinkable.

Stellar RIS! Kudos to Stone. Certainly a beer to look forward to each year.

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

Let's work down from 5 on this bad mofo, because it seems appropriate.

It's presentation boasts a totally black body--carbonation invisible thereby--and a dark tan head. It loses marks for a light, easily erased foam cover--but thankfully it comes back with a little swirl, because DAMN is that foam delicious. Creamy and bursting with flavor, MMMM so good. Demerits for poor lacing. Also, the bottle is standard-issue Stone awesomeness, with an essay and random funny tidbits (it was brewed during a jig...).

The smell has coffee, chocolate, caramel, but I don't know what "anise" is so it may or may not be there (like the bottle notes say). Loses a point for potent alcohol scent...nah, it doesn't, because it smells good next to the (roasted?) malt flavors.

Tastes fantasmorgasmic. Everything from the nose is back, plus cherries, a brilliantly enjoyable cloying-like sensation, and something reminiscent of heavy cream. Grapefruit comes through when the carbonation hits. Goes well with sour cream and burrito, by the way. Apple is in there, I think, and maybe--is that pear? Well, other fruits. And a wonderfully balanced hop/malt ratio. Alcohol is put in context.

Amazing texture! Silky but with so much flavor as it runs by. Smooth but biting somehow...great for such a strong and dark brew. Deserves its place among the top 10.

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Photo of DogFood11
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Motor Oil appearance and pour with dark tan head that takes a while to develope and quickly fades with a bit of lacing.

The smell is outstanding. malty rich flavors, chocolatey with a touch of coffee ....mostly sweet but not overpowering. Alcohol is evident to balance the sweetness.

Taste was Oh OH sooo good...The best imperial stout I've ever tasted. while the only slight ding could be in appearance ( I personally loved the appearance but to some it may be a bit lacking in (head/retention) Syrup mouthfeel is perfect for a big stout and alcohol warming is off the charts nothing overbearing and well hidden but wow a nice cheek warming drink. God DAMN!!! every once in a while a beer is so good all I can do is cuss and emberass myself with excitement. Hey its an Imperial and lets you know all along the way. Loved this beer...Greatness from STONE.

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Photo of Dukeofearl
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

EDIT: Now includes a 2005 release notes (7/28/05)- I didn't do a separate review, because the scores are pretty much the same, and much of the descriptive info is the same too. The big difference- seems more coffee-like rather than bitter chocolate. But it's bitter coffee. And the alcohol notes are really strong- too much for this lover of a kinder, more gentle (but still full flavored) beer. But the flavor profile is still pretty nice in mid-drink, just rough at the end.

Early Summer, 2004 varietal, found in a little out of the way liquor store in July of 2005. I actually thought it was the new vintage when I bought it- I was pleasantly surprised when I got it home. I may pick some more up and compare with the '05 soon. Great little bits on the label like "Limited... Release, Bogartski while you can" and "Brewed and bottled while doing a Cossack dance by...." the Stone boys do have a sense of humor!

Jet black racing motor oil, with a beautiful brown soap-bubble head that quickly subsides, leaving a little lacing. I love this look.

Aroma is actually not all that strong. Good roasty malt profile, with slight bitter chocolate. I looked for coffee, didn't find it.

Flavor is great with one off note. The overall blending of the roasted malts in a rich, very full mouthfeel is marvelous. My only kicker is that it has a stronger alcohol back end than I like.

Overall, very good, but watch out for the alcohol- not to be taken lightly, comrade!

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Photo of IceAce
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2005 Edition

Poured into a chalice, this beer becomes a black hole within my home office. Light may enter this brew...but absolutely none is allowed to escape. It is capped with a ½" of malted-milk style foam which seemed to be chased off within a minute by the alcohol esters emitted from the goblet opening.

The nose, as a precursor to actually tasting the body, does a very good job of readying the palate. Ripe with chocolate, molasses, black currant, and heady alcohol, this stout is nothing but serious business.

Entry is silky smooth, getting support from a perfect level of carbonation. The deeply roasted malts lead headlong into the midtaste, quickly followed by layer after silky layer of chocolate covered fruits, molasses, and toffee. The finish is ushered in by a fast appearing wall of hoppiness which quickly disperses into a beautiful, alchohol-warming, slow malt fade which warms both the throat and the heart...

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

This review pertains to the limited edition 2005 early summer release. Black as night with a malted milk head that faded fairly fast. Some small smatterings of lacing were evident. It poured a thick almost motor oil like consistency. Aroma was of dark fruits, raisins, plums, and some roastiness. Alcohol in strong evidence. Taste was superb, one to sip, with all the above mentioned aromas figuring strongly as well in the taste profile. Thick and rich on the palate, with some chocolate notes I may add. This kicks your butt folks, I went right to bed after I had my bottle. More appropriate for a cold winter night but thankfully I had a coolish summer night to try it on. A very decadent big big beer.

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

2005 Vintage
Presentation: Limited Early Summer 2005 Release on the bottle.

Appearance: Motor oil viscous almost syrupy thick. Dense black with a brown carbonated head. The head doesn't last long and quickly settles to ring the glass nicely.

Smell: Dried plums, raisins, vanilla, a bit of oak, also some alcohol esters noted. Truly magical.

Taste: Very raw and vinous. A touch of smoke, vanilla bean, dark roasted malts, bitter chocolate, french roasted coffee all beat the heck out of my palate.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and slightly creamy. The carbonation balances out nicely. There is a long, coffee bitterness to the finish.

Drinkability: One to sip and savor. A fine summer tradition. A bit raw and I can't wait to see what some age does to this.

Strongly recommended.

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Photo of beefytee
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Yup, a perfect score. 2005 Issue

This beer was amazing. I have to admit, not being much of a stout drinker, I was a bit intimidated. But it welcomed me with big, black warm open arms.

Poured opaque black and thick, like pouring vegetable oil.
Head resembled chocolate mousse
Lacing stuck around, used a pint glass, tonight I will use a goblet.
Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy coating my toungue and teeth
The drinkibility was what I was really surprised by.
To go into the complexity of the flavors is a bit daunting. In no particular order, chocolate, coffee, fig, currant, prune.

Malty but not too sweet, hops are there for a bit of a bitter finish, but definitely not a stand out characteristic. Warmed me all over. If I could give it a 4.995 I would, because I can't wait to taste this after I cellar it for a few years.

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Photo of JackStraw22
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2005 edition, sampled in a St. Bernard goblet.
Appearance: Thick syrupy, pitchblackness. Dark caramel head. Head retention could've been better, but I hate to take off much for that since it could always be the glass.

Smell: Deep roasted barley aroma. Huge dark chocolate smell, mocha and coffee in there too. Wonderful.

Taste/Feel: Holy crap. Freakin' good. Tastes even more like dark chocolate than it smells. It's not too sweet, though, nice and balanced. Roasted barley and and decent amount of hop bitterness in there too. Hops are certainly present, but they're balanced. Can't imagine a better tasting Impy stout. Creamy and full mouthfeel, just enough carbonation.

Drinkability: What can I say. If I could buy ten cases I would.

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Photo of Reidrover
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Early Summer 2005 release.
A very,very black beer in the glass..e veritable black-hole of an ale, small purple/tan head goes fast leaving minimal lace.
fantastically robust aroma of many things among them aniseed, liquorice,dark roasted coffee beans, dark fruits, prunes and a kick of alcohol.Tremendous.
Tset starts of smooth then tumbles into an enjoyable roughness were the malts dominate and dark coffee is the taste,some very noticable alcoholic flavours in the end, lingering liquorice bitter sweet tastes.
Very nice in the mouth, smooth then rough but never unpleasant, soft carbonation.
Wow a veritable monster but worth drinking, though Im thinking maybe a 16 oz bottle would have been better for me..ah next time I will drink with a friend!

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Photo of whartontallboy
4.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampling the 2004 bottling aged about one year.

Black pour with a big thick brown head. Pours out very thick, and the head retains well and leaves a good amount of lace.

Smell is dominated by alcohol, roasted malt, piney hops, dark fruit, dark chocolate, and coffee. Smells quite yummy.

Taste is quite complex. The roasty flavors meld well with a substantial hop bite, and a chocolatey coffee flavor persists throughout. The alcohol is present throughout the flavor, but comes through particularly strong in the finish. The creamy mouthfeel does a lot to enhance these flavors, and it comes through as the complex delightful mix of all of these notes.

Quite drinkable, and a first-class effort all around.

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

Release '11: (reviewed 05/31/11)

An insanely masculine stout with ultimate creamy maltiness, aggressive roast, and a lush cocoa driven, coffee-centric flavor that completely defies what stouts should be.

Black as coal and with a voluptuous pour that exudes weight, creaminess, and viscocity- this inky black beer builds a thick top coat of foam adorns a medium tan color, carries a heafty retention and moderate lace. All this manifests in a very dessert-like appearance.

Malty, malty, malty rich aromas of slightly burnt toffee, nutty coffees, bittersweet cocoa, all come together in a way that reminds me of Whoppers malted-milk candies and chocolate covered espresso beans.

Flavors are all the same, except the malty sweet flavors erupt first, then with the quick rebuttal of coffee, cocoa, nutty flavors that demand attention at mid palate. All that coffee, chocolate, and nutty taste rounds out wonderfully with a bitter-sweet but cherry alcohol flavored finish that's reminescent of tirimasu and espresso bitterness.

Very lush and creamy textured, the early feel is robust and full. The beer makes a quick but even transition to a hearty malt mid palate, just before the bittering and drying finish. Though the beer never achieves full dryness or refreshment (It's not supposed to), rather holds onto a savory bitter chocolate semi-dry finish that lingers well into the next sip, making it a perfect compliment to a dessert or as a dessert itself.

Stone's Imperial Russian Stout is always at the epidome of what the style represents. With ultimate maltiness and supportive roast and complexities, it's amazing how effortless the beer seems at it's rudimentary levels, but how complex and succulent it becomes the more you delve into it's individual and unique flavors.

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Photo of beersarang
4.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2004 edition:
Pours a black black black with a dark tan head. Did I mention this beer is black? Head retains pretty well and I can tell just by looking at it that this beer is THICK.

Fruity alcoholic roasty aromas rise out of this beer, coffee chocolate etc. Pure evil.

At first a strong fruity malt base hits, then you get punched in the face with hops and alcohol. The bitterness is indeed pronounced, and beyond that, the alcohol is noticable. The roast coffee/chocolate character is quite appealing. Lots of raisin and a touch of charcoal too. Finishes sweet and amazing. Aftertaste reminds you for the next two minutes. Damn.

Thick, pretty heavy bodied light carbonation, right on par for the style, I would like to say.

I would love to have this beer again, one of the best Imperial stouts, in my opinion.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

I am sampling a bottle from 2003 at room temp in a tulip/snifter. The bottle has been cellared adequately.
The beer pours pitch black with a 3 cm fluffy tan head foaming up easily. Leaves tight latticework as it slowly fades.
Aroma is deep rich chocolate and brown sugar, mising with some ripe plums and raisins. Deep sniffs detect just a hint of alcohol.
The first sip reveals a creamy silky body that caresses my palate. This mixes with a very fine carbonation that tingles gently across my tongue. Whoa! A good bit of warming from throat to belly after the swallow. Didnt get that on the nose!
Flavor is very malty! I get chocolate and some dark ripe fruit with a bit of espresso bean bitterness. The flavor gives in to the heavy warming effect on the finish. Very hot and it is difficult to focus on other aspects of the beer.
The beer is thick and heavy and this combined with the hot finish make it a big time sipper IMO.

Overall I find this beer to be good, but wonder if I were drinking cold would only the alcohol come through? Perhaps I will need to try a fresh bottle next time I see one I will buy for sure.
Tough to surmise, but would the alcohol be hidden better if fresh?
Perhaps I should also try it again when it isnt so stinkin hot outside!
Go try it for yourself!

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Photo of Litterbean
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

I pop open the cap and watch as wisps of steam furtively escape the chilly interior, like moaning spirits reaching towards the sky. Pouring forth from this dark bottle comes a fluid so deep, thick, and syrupy that pancakes are suddenly my deepest desire. The rocky, off-white head taunts me. I lift my glass to my nose, and am overtaken by a sweet caramel aroma, with hints of licorice, and sweet caramel. Visions of hop flowers enter my brain as I realize that the earthy character of this brew is more than palpable. The taste, where to begin? Hoppiness to the extreme, but a deep, burnt, chocolatey undertone hits me where it hurts the most: my palate. Undaunted, I realize that the complexities of this beer are too much to handle. I find many hints and flavors, all intermingling and forming a cacophony of sinful flavor in this hearty brew. Sip upon sip reveals nuances that had previously remained hidden. The balance between the hops and malts are striking, but just because there is balance does not mean that neither is too extreme. Both are in your face, both hit you like a ton of bricks, and both can decimate the palate if one does not respect this mighty beer. Smoothly it finishes, and is surprisingly easy to drink. And just as easily as it was poured, it finishes, and my liver has a long night ahead of it.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,675 ratings.