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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.

2,660 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,660
Hads: 7,814
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 8.97%
Wants: 698
Gots: 2,021 | FT: 113
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: 2,660 | Hads: 7,814
Photo of Pegasus
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Opaque, with a small tan head, which retains very well, with excellent broken lacing.

Aroma: Coffee, bitter chocolate, dark fruit, and strong alcohol notes utterly dominate the aroma.

Taste: Opens with sweet alcohol, dark malt, there is a vinous note that carries throughout; dark fruits are present throughout most of the taste. Finishes with a strong bitter note of cocoa and coffee.

Mouth feel: Smooth and rich body, almost syrupy.

Drinkability/notes: Superb and very drinkable, an excellent cold weather beer. (537 characters)

Photo of dgallina
4.14/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Early summer 2004 vintage, sampled February 2005.

Pours a viscous black with no highlights. One finger of tan head that quickly diminishes, leaving little film or lacing. Smells of dark roasted chocolate malt and dark fruits (black-currant, plums, raisins) on a vinous, oily and spicy alcohol base. Flavor starts with sweet fruits, is enlivened with stabs of alcohol spiciness, tons of bitter chocolate and slight roasted coffee malt. The flavors intermingle all the way to the finish, which features bitter roasted coffee and chocolate and a very strong alcohol bite and warming. Quite viscous in the mouth, with nearly imperceptible carbonation and a thick, oily feel.

A gigantic imperial stout. There's no mistaking the alcohol in this beast, but it's well-balanced and nicely warming on a long and cold winter night. (826 characters)

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

22 oz. bomber
10.8% Alc. Vol.
2004 release
Brickskeller in D.C.

Appearance: flat black beer; smooth pillowy tan head; lace is ample

Smell: roasted malts, coffee, dark fruits, light molasses, tinge of alcohol

Taste: major roasted malts; a bit bitter in close; plum, date, molasses & chocolate with a touch of caramel to add to smoothness and a drop of alcohol to remind one of the power below; aftertaste is a touch bitter with a great coat of chocolate, coffee, molasses and plum

Mouthfeel: beautifully full and creamy to blanket the mouth; massive network of flavors; very light syrup nature

Drinkability: incredibly smooth monster of a beer; no need to rush

Ladies and gentlemen, we have the undisputed champion of my taste buds. Its an eloquent sipper. Sit back and enjoy. (798 characters)

Photo of brentk56
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black color with a nice tan head; leaves some lacing in a dancing pattern

Smell: Roasted grains, dark chocolate, dark fruits (figs and dates), anise, coffee and alcohol

Taste: Rich and malty with a chocolate presence right off the bat, followed by a fruity bitterness; after the swallow, the coffee and dark dried fruit flavors (the label claims black currants and I will go with that as well as the figs and dates)emerge; a bit of hops return on the finish and provide a long lasting bitterness along with a residual touch of licorice

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy and viscous; moderate carbonation; warms on the gullet for a long time after the swallow

Drinkability: A wonderfully rich and powerful stout but it's one and done (744 characters)

Photo of jdhilt
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a one-finger brown head that quickly fades leaving traces of lace. Black opaque color. Nice, beefy full bodied. Sweet roasty coffee/chocolate nose. Starts sweet, finishes with some alcohol overtones and there is a slight burnt chocolate aftertaste. $6 for a 22oz bottle from Colonial Spirits Acton, Ma. (308 characters)

Photo of carln26
4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Deep brown to black color with a nice thick brown head. The head recedes to a nice sheet of lace on the glass as I write this. The aroma is heavy with chocolate and roasted malt notes. There is just a mild hint of citrus hops on the finish. More chocolate notes up front in the flavor. The roasted malt comes across too along with a bigger, brighter hop flavor than I expected. There are layers of flavor in this beer, and the layers come together nicely in the finish. Rich, velvety smooth mouth feel and a high drinkability. One of the best of this style I’ve had the pleasure to try. (587 characters)

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

I've been waiting on thisone for the perfect winters day, well, we've had a few. I pulled this 04 from the basement where its been resting six plus months. Used a Stone pint glass.
It poured black as nite, with a one inch tan head that faded to a thin film rather quickly. The aroma of dark bakers chocolate & cold coffee hit the nose with a tickle of alcohol. The taste carries that chocolate coffee with the alcohol in full notice to help warm things up. Other flavors are roasted malts, and dark fruit.
The mouthfeel was abit softer than expected, perhaps carbonation finds it way to help soften. Drinkability is good as a sipper or to share as a desert beer.
I found I enjoyed this Imperial more-so than even the porter. IMO (735 characters)

Photo of SaunaKing
4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A black black colour devoid of any light. A few times a year i wake up at night or turn off the lights to absolute blackness. I cant see 8 inches in front of me. I can stand there a few minutes to let my eyes adjust but it does no good. Thats the colour of this beer. The head is a beautiful tan brown. Dense and creamy. Leaves decent lacing on my glass too. The aromas are dominated by malt. Hints of coffee adn blueberries but most of all the maltiness. The taste is rich and balanced. Malty with a nice hop finish. Suprisingly little aftertaste. Taste is a mixed blend of coffee and choclate and some nuts mixed in there too. I cant detect the high ABV in the taste of this beer.
I had high expectations expecting to be disappointed since I dont usually like high abv beers but this one blew me away in pretty much every respect.
A slight alchol burn in the finish, but a kick ass beer. One of my favorites now for sure. Too bad I cant get it here. And you need to be careful - this shit will fuck you up. (1,010 characters)

Photo of dauss
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Standard 22oz. silk screened brown bomber. Funny story on the back about how you might think drinking this beer is committing sin. On the front it says: "Limited Early Summer 2004 Release. Bogartski while you can...". Lots of weird uses of the word "K" such as "Produckt of USA, Komrad" and "Bottle Konditioned". 10.8% ABV.

Appearance: This is jet black, and completely opaque. A head struggles to form, even with a stout pour. Poor retention, no lace whatsoever.

Smell: Sweet-port like, lots of dark chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, and alcohol.

Taste: Tons of roasted malt. Coffee, lots of chocolate. Sweet and very thick. Alcohol very present, medium hop bitterness throughout.

Notes: Very tasty. Even though the alcohol content is very high, it surprisingly doesn't have the burning solventy alcohol taste, but it is very strong in the taste. Definitely a slow drinking beer. (904 characters)

Photo of rousee
4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- black 2mm head fades to wispy foam within seconds. Very nice lace on sides of glass.

S-Very malty. Slightly sour but very rich and robust. Quite a complex smell. It has some strong alcohol phenolic qualities but they are not as apparent on the tongue as the nose.

T- Smooth and robust--mild carbonation. Some coffee/chocolate profile and a nice maltiness. Not too different from the Sinebrychoff porter I just had. This one is not quite as good though--not to take anything away from it, this is a fine tasting beer--it is just a little rougher around the edges than the Finnish one I mention.

MF-Nice and dry. Has the velevety mouthfeel that I really like.

D- Too much strong alcohol taste to say it is very drinkable. Yes its smooth--yes its good, but one bomber is plenty.

02/26/08--trying again and all the things I said before still apply now. Cant say its improved much but it didnt need much improving.I think the alcohol heat is a little more noticeable than it was last time I tried this but the bottom line is this is one fine beer. (1,050 characters)

Photo of kmpitz2
4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had this off tap a while back and didn't write notes on it, so I'll see what it does out of a bottle. This one comes out black as night with a small tan head sitting atop the viscous looking fluid. The nose is huge. Full of big dark fruity tones, chocolate and hints of black licorice. Wow. The flavor is a blast of alcohol soaked chocolate followed some figgy notes, finishing slightly coffee. I think I am in love. This is great, but it remember the tap being even better. The feel is huge thickness, almost a syrupy residue on the tongue after swallowing. Drinkability is not bad at all for a big ass beer that is thick anc big on flavor. Stone, you do good work. I kick myself for not grabbing a few of these when they came out. Thanks to clvand0 for sharing his spoils with me so I could get some pen ot paper on it. (823 characters)

Photo of mhowell
3.94/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Late 2003 release. Black as night. Pours beautiful with a nice head that quickly vanishes. Unfortunately, I couldn't smell much, but I could definately taste. Great, thick chocolate taste, with a thick, slimy mouthfeel. Sticky lips, slight alcohol burn, happy feeling! I wish I had another. (290 characters)

Photo of HogHill
4.37/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle says this is from the Late 2003 spring release.

Appearance: It pours a black body with a thick dark tan foamy head.

Aroma: Smells deliciously decadent, a chocolate malt masterpiece.

Taste: I taste the roasted malts with a bit of espresso, and about half way through this one I feel the alcohol, though it is subtle through, a little more noticeable to me on the finish.

Mouthfeel: It feels thick and creamy, a solid imperial stout. I would love to try this on a draft. (496 characters)

Photo of orbitalr0x
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting to try this one for some time now. Empties the bomber black as eternal night with a deep dark tan head that rises up to greet me. Thick, syrupy pour...black hole...there's no escaping...help! Bitersweet chocolate, roasted coffee & nuts, black licorice, dark fruits and burnt grains...a cornucopia of sensual delight for the nose. I enjoy just smelling this brew. (I was sniffing so much my fiance wondered what the hell I was doing.)

Incredibly thick roasty coffee and chocolate chewiness rushes over my palate. Hints of black candy licorice, raisins and nuts along with some nice fruity notes. Alcohol singes the back of my palate, but melds in well and enhances the experience. A damn fine imperial stout...I love it.

Smooth, creamy, huge mouthfeel...it doesn't get any better than this! Velvety smooth. Drinkability is hindered slightly by the big ABV, otherwise this is an awesome brew to have on a cold night..wonderfully crafted and will warm ya up nicely. 100% recommended. Thanks to kmpitz2 and ppoitras for hooking me up with yet another amazing Stone brew! (1,085 characters)

Photo of santoslhalper
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Early Summer '04 release.

Appearence: The pour is kick-ass. A deep black with a dark, dark brown head. Loads of carbonation roll up the side. Evil.

Smell: Now that's a stout! Chocolate and coffee are the initial smells, with a giant alcohol undertone. Smells just like a stout should. Excellent.

Taste and Mouthfeel: An explosion of flavor in the mouth. Tart and deep with a phenomenal amount of alcohol. This is very close to what could be the perfect "big beer." Monstrous chewy mouthfeel with a giant lingering aftertaste. The beer gets deeper and thicker as it warms a bit. Odd. But not bad at all.

Drinkability and Overall: This beer is the definition of a BIG BEER. It's huge! Everything about it is big, and powerful, and downright evil. The only thing about this that makes it hard to drink is ABV, but I still love it. Another great Stone offering. Try this.

GClarkage.. I am in your debt for this one. (926 characters)

Photo of Crotor
4.76/5  rDev +9.4%
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. (1,151 characters)

Photo of oxmasterscream
5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bottle courtesy of mrpicklerelish, big up.

Appearance: Dark, dark, opaque black-brown with a cocoa-brown head that fell to just a ring.

Smell: Wow. First, full-on raisins and spice. Then intermingling aromas of unidentifiable dark fruits, molasses, chocolate, burnt brown sugar, burnt sticky buns. Unbelievable. Very similar to an aged Storm King Stout. The benchmark for what an imperial stout should smell like. Perfect.

Taste: Yow. I can barely put this into words. Bittersweet dark chocolate, sweet but burnt raisins, prunes and other dark, ripe fruits, wickedly spicy, burnt syrupy pastries, with a mouth-drying, bitter finish that's preceded by an enormous burn from the hops and high ABV. Like its smell, perfect. I feel privileged to have tried this.

Mouth: Full, silky and smooth. Light carbonation keeps the tongue awake. ABV warms the tongue nicely and gradually. Exactly how one of the best should feel.

Drinkability: So amazing that I was in a constant battle with myself over whether or not I should keep taking massive gulps or sip it quietly. It's the kind of beer that grabs your attention and blocks out the rest of the world for you. I had but bottle and now it's gone. I want to cry. (1,218 characters)

Photo of GClarkage
4.82/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/26/04- Purchased at Bevmo in San Mateo, CA

Appearance- Pours a very black and thick used motor oil color. Head is brown and about 3/4 inch. Not very much lacing to be had though.

Smell- Mmmmm, chocolate and heavy burnt coffee malt.

Taste- Damn, this is the best stout I have ever tasted. I need to re-taste Rasputin on tap because it's been over a year since I have had it. But, I'm pretty sure this tops it. About the perfect combo of chocolate and coffee I have ever had. Nice hops finish in the background.

Mouthfeel- Perfect except it's a tad too carbonated to me which makes for a slightly less than smooth swallow.

Drinkability- Brutally drinkable! This may be my highest rating to date. From the first sip I didn't want it to end. Too bad I had to share a 22 oz bomber with two other people. Only 8 oz at the most for poor me :( The alcohol comes through pretty hard at the end. Already noticing a tinge of buzz after my 8oz. Fricking phenomanal beer. Like drinking a smores with a cup of coffee. But minus the marshmallow and plus the buzz. Sounds good to me. (1,085 characters)

Photo of CSquared
4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber

Appearance: Midnight black, no light getting thru this one. Dark brown head is beautiful, but goes fairly fast, leaving a mild lacing.

Aroma: Dark malt nose, burnt notes, chocolatey then turns into more of a toffee smell.

Taste: Starts fairly sweet, with wonderful chocolate notes. A very slight alcohol presence appears, but amazingly negligible for an 11%er. Mild hop presence perfectly balanced. Bittersweet finish that lasts. My favorite impy to date, surpassing storm king.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: Silky smooth, with a huge body. Amazing drinkability for an impy stout. I could drink this in volumes, although I'd be hurting the next day. (670 characters)

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

Stone has quickly become my favorite craft brewer. Here is just one reason why:

Pours out a very thick, very black color with a modest (but far from understated) head. The average coffee is not as thick and black as this lucious offering. The head is colored something akin to the froth created on the top of a steaming mug of hot chocolate - milky brown and bubbly. Well developed lacing as the head settles and consumption begins. The aroma is very complex. Distinctive notes of coffee, chocolate, faint hops, and rich roasted malt. The flavor is immaculate. Initially, this offering strikes strongly with roasted malts, caramel malts, and coffee / toffee flavors. Followed closely behind is an assault of hop bitterness that lingers on the roof of the mouth. The finish is dry and bitter at the back of the mouth, with the sweet reminiscences of heavy malts left behind on the sides and front of the tongue. Also of note is the presence of alcohol in the taste... 10.8% shines through! The mouthfeel is excellent... something similar to eating a ham sandwhich... perfect! Drinkability of this offering is limited slightly by the high alcohol and thick substance of its body. However, don't let the numbers fool you... a six-pack of this stuff would probably give an elephant a run for its money!

Enjoy! Highly Recommended! (1,331 characters)

Photo of Globetrotter
4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a bomber at the Whole Foods Market in Arlington, VA. Oh, if only something like this were actually available in Russia!

Pours black as coal under a 1.5 finger burgundy head that lingers forever, with good thick lacing. A beauty to behold. The nose is treated to strong roasted malt sensations, while the mouth is mildly carbonated with a very thick body. Luscious. There is lots of roasted malt flavor, with good hops backing leaving a pronounced dry impression. There's sweet caramel here, too, but it is quickly blown away by the smokey nut and dark chocolate, which in turn yields to espresso. Ideal blend of bitter and sweet in the aftertaste. This is a truly great stout. (689 characters)

Photo of AllThingsNinja
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Sweet black velvet, this sis some 70's freakshow exploitive brew. The very dreams of my gluttonous taste buds seem to have been given form. Stone Imp. Russian Stout pours an opaque onyx. It's delightfully thick, with a textured but continuous velvet feel. The aroma is mild but complex, with chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt notes. The layered flavors in this brew are delightful. There's a sharp citrus hop spice to balance the incredible chocolate sweetness. Coffee and burnt malt notes contribute favorably. I'm not sure where stone hid that 10+ ABV. the slight alcohol in the finish is remarkably subtle. Now, I wouldn't call it a summer brew, but the early release encourages some aging and mellowing. I can't wait to see what a year or two will do to this brew. (770 characters)

Photo of BlueEcho
3.93/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Deep, dark, blackness with a light rim of head that clings to the glass after pouring. light aromas of dark roasted chocolate and malt. flavors include chocolate, raisin, and a deeply roasted grain, with the chocolate gaining ground as it warms a bit. Slightly alcoholic in the finish, but not objectionably so. This is a thick beer, clinging to the tounge lest you forget about it. It's going quite well with the brownies we're enjoying with it - altogether a fine beer and perhaps the beer equivalent of hot chocolate for a cool winter day. (542 characters)

Photo of clvand0
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Dilly Deli in Cincinnati, OH. This beer pours the darkest of dark with a thick brown head and leaves tons of lacing on the glass. The aroma is extremely malty - a good blend of the coffee/roasted and the chocolate. Pours like motor oil, but thick, dirty motor oil. This is one thick beer! The flavor is extremely malty. Roasted malts and chocolate everywhere. Goes down smooth with a slight alcoholic burn that is overwhealmed by the thickness of the beer. Mouthfeel is huge! Drinkability is harsh at first, but becomes great. (545 characters)

Photo of francisweizen
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-Tap at the Sunset Grill. This stuff is nearly opaque black with bloody red edges and a head of deep brown foam. This is a beautiful looking beer that should be served in a nice tulip glass or snifter. The aroma of this brew is intense and consists of black kurrants, chocolate, espresso, alcohol, bourbon, vanilla, caramel, and more! The taste is an explosion of dark roasted malts, chocolate, strong coffee, liquor, and more. The mouthfeel is very thick and coating, and the drinkability is damn good as well. (513 characters)

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 2,660 ratings.