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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.

5,976 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5976
Reviews: 2531
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
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Reviewers | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 5,976 | Reviews: 2,531 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of CBFanWish

New York

4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

As black as the soul of death himself with a thick brown head that lasts for what seems forever. Aroma of toasted barley, malts, chocolate, coffee and caramel. The taste is of dark chocolate with caramel accents with wonderful hints of chocolates.
I had to have this. I have had it for about a month, but I just couldn't wait any longer. When I poured it I was entranced by the deep black colour and thick frothy rich head. The head released a wonderful aroma that just warms the soul. I really enjoyed drinking this. A rich dark chocolate taste perfectly blended with coffee and caramel. Sweet yet bitter at the same time.
Without a doubt, the best imperial stout I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

04-06-2004 23:49:15 | More by CBFanWish
Photo of barleysangel


4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2003 Vintage: This is a dark chocolaty brown beer with light brown head. No lacing really. It had barely any carbonation. The light does not penetrate this one. If you look down into the glass, you’ll see the abyss. The smell was a little fruity. The taste was also a little fruity and syrupy. There was a small aftertaste of alcohol. This beer was easy to drink; it went down the throat very smoothly.

Serving type: bottle

04-01-2004 00:03:42 | More by barleysangel
Photo of bigbubba


4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This review is of a cellar aged 2003 bottle, a little less than 1 year old.

It is very dark black with a small but dark brown head. The head didn't last, but there was plenty of carbonation. The smell was good but not real impressive.

The taste was incredible. There was a huge amount of malt but it was not too sweet. There was just enough hops to balance the malty sweetness and hide the alcohol. I noticed no bitter aftertaste, not that it wouldn't be welcome.

The mouthfeel was excellent. This is what an Imperial Stout should be! The drinkability was excellent, but beware, this stuff will put you on your ass if you're not careful.

Serving type: bottle

03-30-2004 04:52:12 | More by bigbubba
Photo of watermelonman


4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This poured like used motor oil. It's just plain black, without an ounce of head aside from the small ring around the inside of the glass. It leaves a delicate and small lace as it goes down.

The taste is outright powerful, with a hint of licorice. The alcoholic content is certainly present, although not overwhelmingly so. All things considered, it's a well-balanced beer. I've had some imperial stouts lately that didn't quite live up to the name, but this one definitely does not come up short. In fact, it could almost be toned down a bit.

This is one big stout.

Serving type: bottle

03-25-2004 00:06:55 | More by watermelonman
Photo of NearerMyBeerToMe


4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
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...


Serving type: bottle

03-23-2004 22:28:07 | More by NearerMyBeerToMe
Photo of Rastacouere

Quebec (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Blind Tasting, thanks Jazz88 Black hue with almost no head, just a light brown ring. Aroma proposes a solid malt profile of dark chocolate and possibly marshmallows, perhaps a touch of salt as well. Bold grapefruity hops accompany this all. Up to now it's nothing special. In mouth, the malt profile is huge. Very full-flavoured caramel and brown sugar together with a profound grapefruity hoppiness. The difference is.. it works here, very balanced and intense at the same time. You don't realize how hoppy this is before a few sips. Mouthfeel is excellent, silky and full bodied with low carbonation. My main critics are the almost absent fruitiness and restrained roastiness. But as one who didn't particularly enjoy what he had from Stone, I was bound to recognize in a blind tasting that their imperial stout is world-class. Delicious and one of the best, as much as I hate to admit it.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2004 18:35:53 | More by Rastacouere
Photo of taez555


4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a pitch black, crude oil looking, body with a tiny orange/tan head that died quickly.

The nose to this beer was simply amazing. Rich milk chocolate, fresh malt, alcohol, slight smoke, roasted coffee, a slight licorice or anise touch. In my notes I wrote “oh my fucking god!!!” I guess I liked it.

The body was very thick and rich yet completely smooth. Chocolate, coffee, black liquorice, a hint of wood, smoke. The bitterness is very mellow coming mostly from the soft roasted barley. Alcohol touches, wood, a slight hop taste. It actually starts simple on the first sip but as it passes across the tongue it ends with a more pronounced malt flavor followed by a soft sour bread sort of ending.

Simply an amazing beer. It actually almost reminds me of a nice german bock beer mixed with stout at times. The fresh malt flavor though reminds me of going on a brewery tour. It’s really an amazing beer. A must try. I can still taste it days later.

Serving type: bottle

03-22-2004 08:51:59 | More by taez555
Photo of kbub6f

New York

4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2003 edition.

This beer is black. There is not a bit of light coming through. I managed to notice that the head was dark brown in the two seconds before it died to nothing. Aroma is sweet chocolate, with some roastiness. A sweet, tangy, chocolate front. A thick, sweet, dark, chocolate, syrupy, buttery middle. A nicely bitter finish, roasty, nutty, with warming alcohol. This is an excellent imperial stout: jammed with choco-syrup, buttery, roasty intensity.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2004 23:23:54 | More by kbub6f
Photo of TinusTime


4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow this is one black stout.. I think it started sucking the light out of the room as I poured it.. Nice foamy mocha head that lingered and laced well.. The smell is of dark roasted malts and coffee. Maybe a bit of bittersweet chocolate. The taste is of coffee, caramel and a bit of brandied plums. Alcohol is barely noticeable. The Carbonation was beautiful and lended to a splendid mouthfeel. Drinkability is very high for a stout of this power.. Absolutely fantastic

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2004 15:43:32 | More by TinusTime
Photo of travolta


3.63/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber. 9.47 ABV

Apperance: Great rocky bubbly chocolate head. The color is black in the glass, and the same held up to the light. My knees shook when I held it up to the light.

Nose: Spice, mustard, mint, hops, cold dark iced tea, red wine.

Taste: Coffee, toffee, black currants, alcohol at the end. Chemical in the middle. There is a funny pinch towards the end. Very syrupy.

Notes: About the pinch; This brew gave me an "alcohol, hops, chemical, bitter" pinch in the middle to back of the tounge. It was an interesting characteristic, however unpleasent.

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2004 02:18:41 | More by travolta
Photo of Boto


4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz Bomber: The beer has a "thick" consistency when it is poured. It is almost a little syrupy. Dark oily brown color. Small cocoa colored head. The aroma is multi-faceted. Molasses, coffee, chocolate, some fruits too? Taste starts out a bit sweet. Malts and chocolate are the first hits. The flavor gives way to some chocolate, coffee and a bit of bitterness. Very rich, full and complex. Wow, this is good!

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2004 00:41:51 | More by Boto
Photo of HardTarget


4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz Bomber, Limited late Spring 2003 (tasted March 9, 2004)
Aroma: Started cold, which only gave a mild cotton candy scent. Once it warmed, all I could really note was the alcohol, maybe with a hint of rum soaked raisins.
Appearance: The beer is ink black, with only the slightest line of deep brown at the edge when seriously backlit. The smallest of heads with a stiff pour quickly formed an odd web-shaped coat in the middle of my Chimay goblet. Carbonation trickles fed a tiny ring at the edge for the first pour, but gone by the second.
Flavor: Komplicated is right. Coffee, raisin, cherry, maple syrup, caramel, alcohol, chocolate and toasted malt… maybe I should start listing things I don’t taste. Balance is toward the malt, but very evenhanded. Hops didn’t show up until the beer warmed a bit, and only deep in the aftertaste. This baby aged for a year, which I think explains the mellowed hops, and I’m happy for the effect. While this is komplicated, it is like pieces of a puzzle that just fit together. The komplete taste is whole, and serene. No harsh bite, no hop slap, no sweet rush, no sour pucker, just a smooth complete taste.
Mouthfeel: So smooth…. Medium body that grew a bit as it warmed. No oils, but a gentle mouth coating quality that let the gentle hops and rich flavors slowly seep into your chops.
Overall Impression: I was scared to try this, it being ranked so high (currently ranked #3). My expectations were high. God bless you BA! I don’t know how Bayesian estimates work, and I don’t care; this is one of the best beers I have ever tasted. Rich, complex, mellow like a good cigar. The alcohol is felt and tasted, but it fits. I’m awed by Stone’s abilities. While this is a massive beer, it’s easy to drink. If the alcohol content wouldn’t make me drool, I’d drink 3 more. Many thanks to weefishheads for the bottle.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2004 05:10:23 | More by HardTarget
Photo of ManekiNeko


4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz. bomber served at cellar temperature in a Trois Pistoles goblet.

Appearance: Jet black topped by a small dark brown head that evaporates to a ring of foam faster than a businessman with political aspirations in Putin's Russia. Little fingers of lace were left on the glass, which I promptly licked clean so as not to let any of this go to waste.

Smell: Intensely dark aromas of coffee, alcohol, dark chocolate, blackstrap molasses, and burnt roasted malts. Light notes of prune. I want this as a cologne.

Taste: Bliss. Sheer, un-a-friggin-dulterated bliss in a glass. A bittersweet symphony of espresso, dark chocolate, blackened malts, and magic. Yes magic. The alcohol can definitely be tasted, but it joyously melds into the whole gestalt. It just feels right that you can taste it, dig?

Mouthfeel: Thick and viscous with aftertastes longer than Ron Jeremy. I wish they stuck around longer, unlike the person I compared them to. And, oh yes, alcohol burps!!

Drinkability: No other Stone beer has made me wish to buy it by the case. The 2004 release cannot come soon enough. Bring it on, Stone, and screw the credit limit!

Marginalia: I had the good fortune of having the same vintage back in August and it was much more brash with hops and alcohol. Time tames this ferocious beast into a glorious creature of beauty.

I described this to a friend of mine in a state of euphoria. She respond with a message containing three emoticons of smiling hearts, and then proclaimed to all and sundry:

"All I want is a Stone Imperial Stout and a pet meerkat"

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2004 03:02:44 | More by ManekiNeko
Photo of lou91


4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Believe the hype. Rich, chocolatety initial flavors - thick with an alcohol punch to remind you who are playing with. The burnt coffee initial taste gives way to a bitter chocolate aftertaste in a way that is predictable but so well done that it doesn’t really matter – much like watching the godfather for the 17th time. A world class stout at a reasonable price. Life is good.

Serving type: bottle

03-06-2004 07:14:24 | More by lou91
Photo of BeefyMee


3.63/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Appearance: I'd say it's the blackest beer I've ever seen. It has the darkest brown head too. As a genius once said, "None more black."

Smell: An interesting chocolate aroma here, as it's not the usual for an imperial stout. It has more of a milk chocolate smell instead of dark chocolate. Alcohol comes through in good portions as well.

Taste: Smooth chocolatey taste accompanied by a healthy dose of alcohol. The chocolate is different from the smell and leans more towards the dark side. Point loss due to the alcohol being overpowering at times.

Mouthfeel: So creamy smooth. Feels like you can almost hold it in your hand. This one is right up there with Rogue Chocolate Stout in terms of superb mouthfeel, although I would have to give the edge to Rogue.

Drinkability: Okay, but I wouldn't go beyond one bomber. The strength of the alcohol hurt the beer in this department. The disagreeable alcoholic quality just started to get on my nerves after a while.

Beef Notes: I can think of at least three imperial stouts I'd rather have, but this is still a good beer. I did expect a little more character from Stone. C'mon guys, you gotta live up to your own hype.

Serving type: bottle

02-26-2004 05:24:30 | More by BeefyMee
Photo of BeerResearcher


4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This big brew pours a roofing tar black with a thin, fast-fading tan head and very little lace.
I was expecting a big wallop in the aroma department, but was surprised to find the need to search and concentrate for the answers. Sweet bready malt, faint hop and just a hint of the advertised 9.47 % abv are noticed upon close inspection.
Sweet, biscuity malt, toffee, sweet creamy coffee and some candy sugars blend well with sharp-edged white grapefruit, lemony sourness, orange zest and vodka-soaked pears.
Brown sugar, maple, milk chocolate and rummy flavors rise up.
The body becomes overly syrupy, and as far as "drinkability" goes, it's a bit thick.
While it is quite tasty, this is one-at-a-one-time sort of brew.
The advertised abv begins to make advances as it warms.

Serving type: bottle

02-18-2004 04:02:19 | More by BeerResearcher
Photo of babyhobbes


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

Oh man is this a fantastic beer. It pours a deep dark brown and has a reddish tone in direct light. It smells like coffee and chocolate and the taste is so full and think. This is smooth and creamy in the mouth and just awesome. The alcohol arrives as a kick in the throat after you've had a few sips. You'll want to drink more and more.

Serving type: bottle

02-09-2004 18:19:18 | More by babyhobbes
Photo of Gritsak

West Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

this is my first time tasting this..and all i can say is WOW. went to a local store that carries alot of micro brew and over in the corner away from the chilled bottles, there lay a few bottles of 2003 stone imperial stout. i was like "hell yeah!"
appearence is black as night with a tan head that laces sticks like a champ

the smell is amazing..the first thing that comes to mind is beef jerky..i dont know if its the seasonings or what. also roasted coffee smell.

taste is really malty, thick, like coffee beans. the alcohol is hidden very well...theres a faint and i mean very faint aftertaste but nothing like the SN bigfoot barleywine ale i had the other night:)

so far this is one of my favorites. it goes down so smooth and the taste is incredible. find some and taste it for yourself and you will see!

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2004 02:48:45 | More by Gritsak
Photo of nomad


4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark, you expect anything else? Has tiny wispy stain from nice head that fights to stay but, alas, can not.

Smells of chocolate surrounded by slight smoke, molasses, and a fruitiness closest to black currants. Nutty presence through out. Flavored by sweet-ish complex fruit and dark chocolate, melding into an amazing play of black currants and mocha weaving in and out of each other. Also tasted a calmed espresso flavor. A smooth profile, complex but so well blended its tough to pick it apart. Ends on a roasty finish with small cream licks and a tiny spice of alcohol. Extremely drinkable, it went down very easy.

I think I let it sit for too long, as I aged my bomber bottle at about 60F for 6 months; it thereby lost some of its punch, especially around the olfactory. I did like how the hops had calmed down so much, and how complex the taste had become - thus, next time I'll age it for 3 months. In personal taste, I'd take a Dragonslayer or Czar instead.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2004 15:48:08 | More by nomad
Photo of GreenWBush


4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

This is another monster-sized stout, but what else could expect from Stone? Anything else would be blasphemy. 22 oz, $4.99.

This mega-stout pours out impenetrably black with a measly dark brown head. On the nose I catch roastiness, then coffee, chocolate, and even fudge. I get some of this crazy-juice on my finger and fear that it is soiled forever.

This stout is so full of ingredients that the alcohol odor is swallowed whole - quite a feat at above 9% ABV. My mouthfeel is chewy and cocoa-rich. You can tell how much power this beer wields when the intricate lacing starts to look like cloud patterns. As you progress down the glass, you will find the hop fangs slowly sinking into you.

This beer avoids being sickly sweet, but is still not hugely drinkable. I would never consider drinking more than one bomber on even a special occasion. Still, I never had any trouble downing it.

Watch your breath after this one, though! People will think you've been lapping up motor oil from the parking lot. God only knows how many calories are in this bomber, but i'd guess enough to feed a small country. All in all a good stout, but not one i'd want as often as say a Shakespeare stout. But blows away Bell's 6000 - like it without the mega-hopping and wretch-inducing aftertaste.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2004 04:17:20 | More by GreenWBush
Photo of budsboy


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

Silkscreened bottle has trademark gargoyle -- and that's all they need to mark their territory. Limited late spring 2003 release.

Ah, now THIS is what an imperial stout should look like. Dark and slick as used motor oil. Surprisingly small head from fairly aggressive pour, but what's there is creamy.

Whoa, Nelly, I can smell this brew at arm's length. Roasty, toasty and alcohol. Hints of sweetness -- fig or raisin.

Smooth, warm and wonderful on the tounge. You can actually taste the barley, hops and yeast independently. Ok, almost. Alcohol would be overbearing for my tastes, but it melds so well with the roasted malt taste that it's most enjoyable. That taste hangs in there, pitches a tent, sticks around.

Full bodied? Sh-he-heeee, this bubba is sumo-bodied. Slick, smooth and most deffinately heavy. With a half-empty glass, I'm getting full. Wow.

I can't drink more than a two of these a day. I just can't.

Give this to a Ulta-light drinker and they will actually die. This is full flavour. Not for the faint of tongue.

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2004 01:14:45 | More by budsboy
Photo of Admiraldinty


4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Crazy. This stuff is absolutely crazy. Pours deep, black, and oily with virtually no head (a little puzzling). Aroma is of dark coffee, very sweet malts, brown sugar some dark, ripe fruits. Alcohol. Mouthfeel is extremely heavy (syruppy) and very creamy. Very light crispness at the beginning, but doesn't last long. Very sweet and malty. A very slight amount of hop bitterness, but it's hard to detect. Ends with fairly alcoholic, almost like a cough syrup. This one is almost a little too much. A very well-crafted beer, but needs to be given the proper respect.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2004 01:02:21 | More by Admiraldinty
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a strong black color with a thin dark brown head. The nose was dominated by alcohol more so than other imperial stouts, but coffee, roasted malt, and licorice were noticeable. The flavor kicks butt. Roasted malt, coffee,chocolate, caramel, licorice, plums, and alcohol were flavors I could pull out during the drink.

Very thick bodied. Smooth on the tongue. I noticed a chocolate and mellow coffee aftertaste. Very creamy finish.

This one turned me off slightly at the start on the aroma due to the very dominant alcohol smell, but the flavor turned the tables. The alcohol level was much more tolerable by the tongue and was balanced in the other flavors. I will need to try this one again soon.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2004 23:51:26 | More by Gavage
Photo of bewley


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

22 oz bomber "Limited Late Spring Release"

"Bogartski while you can" instructions that are printed on the lable and can be translated into: Quickly horde against all others. And horde you should as this is one special brew. Smells like a wholeshot (burnt rubber tires of a late 60's/early 70's muscle-car) laced with simple syrup and toffee and tastes like, well, it tastes dambed good! My fiancee says that "It's different and very heavy." I say that I like it, I like it a lot.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2004 04:38:03 | More by bewley
Photo of mschofield


4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spring '03 release
Pours a deep ruby-black with lots of carbonation bubbles sticking to the bottom of the glass. A very syrupy pour, practically as viscous as maple syrup. Thin ring of film around the top.
Coffee and chocolate aroma, dark fruit - currant, plums.
Strong syrupy coffee taste, anise/licorice over chocolate and coffee.
Full feel and very warming, improves as it warms, probably want to drink this just a little under room temperature. A great strong beer, but that ABV keeps the drinkability under a 5, a dessert or nightcap beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2004 22:10:20 | More by mschofield
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 5,976 ratings.