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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 -Rick
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours a dark/black color. The smell and taste are of coffee, dark chocolate, and maybe a tad bit of licorice. Very creamy mouthfeel, this is a solid cold day sipper!

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Photo of Monkeefartz
3.82/5  rDev -12%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nice imperial stout. Had this in a growler, and it was very smooth and with a good flavor of dark chocolate and a slight sweetness. From the bomber the flavor was not quite as complex.

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Photo of Colorado_Stout
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I will admit to having gone to the "packy" to get a few bombers of this nasty brew. But, the best, the VERY best way to experience this brew, is to brew it yourself. Get one of those "Clone Brew" magazines and brew this up yourself. The difference is amazing. It is SO FRESH that this will not only be the best brew you ever made, it will be the Best Brew you EVER TASTED. Try it. And, the 10% ABV will only add to the mysterious, coffee, chocolate, currant deep rich taste on your palate. This is what God thought of when he thought up beer. Aloha.

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Photo of do_ob
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 oz bomber shared between two snifters. Pours pitch black in appearance with a 1 finger head of medium-brown colored foam. Sweet, bitter chocolate, roasted malt, and strong coffee-bean flavors on the nose. Light notes of vanilla and toffee accompany. Medium-heavy weight, and very dense and creamy. Loads of bitter chocolate and expresso up front with a mild sweetness setting in middleways. An awesome blance of roasted malt sees this one through to the end. The aftertaste is composed of strong, toasty malt, bittered chocolate, and intense coffee.

Overall, an excellent example of the style with a little added sweetness. Sickeningly sweet, and euphorically roasty, this beer is world-class in all aspects.

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Photo of 1000lbgrizzly
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Looks like a good RIS.

S: Mostly heavily roasted malt with a tiny touch of hops in the background.

T: I'm surprised this doesn't have any mentioned additives besides necessary been ingredients; the flavors are very pronounced and realistic. Coffee is primary with mild acidity and all, with chocolatey roasted malt right behind it, and some lactose-like sweetness to finish it off. Some alcohol comes through late-palate.

F: Not as thick as was promised on the bottle, but full bodied. Thick and a little fatty, like a heavy cream. I still want thicker ( ;) ), but nice job.

O: I'm surprised Stone, for all their independence and devil-may-care attitude and adrenaline-seeking extremism, would make their representation of a Russian Imperial Stout, the heaviest, manliest, most goddamn off-putting black sludge a brewmaster could summon from the bowels of Satan Himself (All Praise and Worship to He the Unholy), kinda sweet, but I jived with it, yo.

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Photo of wguy14
3.69/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

This beer was good in the every category but great in none. I enjoy a stout that has strong coffee and chocolate flavored. This beer does not provide that. Just strong bitterness from beginning to end.

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Photo of DaverCS
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pours motor oil black with 1 fingers of carmel colored head.

Aroma yields coffee, burnt toffee, toasty malt, tobacco, and a slight citrus note.

Taste follows the nose. Big roasty notes from start to finish. Big burnt coffee and sugar. I get a mild kick of hop bitterness at the end, which makes the beer incredibly drinkable. No alcohol detected!

Overall, this is a fantastic RIS. It lives up to its name. I would see this pairing well with some s'mores by a campfire on a cold winter evening. It gets a 94/100.

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Photo of TH28
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

750ml bottle. Appearance: Completely black, opaque, with a thin brown head. Aroma: Roasted coffee, anise, licorice, chocolate, dark fruit. Taste: Rich chocolate malt sweetness, molasses, dark fruit, and roasted coffee. Bitterness is strong on the swallow, balancing the malt. Mouthfeel: Medium high body with a slick, velvety viscosity. Carbonation is minimal. Alcohol warmth is high but not sharp or solventy. Finish: Roasted chocolate and alcohol linger long past the swallow. Overall: Fine imperial stout. Rich chocolate and roast backbone, with layers of complexity. This is a freshly bottled version. Could stand to use a little age to mellow the lingering alcohol warmth.

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Photo of ZakFaruki
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Look: Poured from bomber into a pint glass, almost black with a small dark tan head that quickly dissipates; no lacing occurs at all.

Smell: Not much to smell other than roasted malts and coffee hints

Taste: a roasted coffee taste with an added sweetness, finishes with a mild bitterness

Feel: Rich and thick, has a nice chewiness to it

Overall: A rather solid take on the style, I'm sure there's more amazing stouts out there, but Stone does a really good job with composition and this is just another example of that skill. For 10.6% ABV, you do not notice much of the alcohol, which is pleasant. This is a great nightcap beer, good for a lazy night in.

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Photo of Spiff
3.05/5  rDev -29.7%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Appreciate Imperial Stouts - but this is more bitter than expected - too much licorice. Bites the side of the tongue. Instead of alcohol flavoring - it ends with hints of hand sanitizer. Spiff is hurt and disappointed.

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Photo of bonesTdog
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

The 2011 vintage - Thick, black and rich in the glass. Anise is the predominant flavor and aroma right up front. Overwhelms the coffee, chocolate, light roast and fruit in my opinion. Keeps your interest but not my personal favorite.

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Photo of SensorySupernova
4.74/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: Extremely dark brown - just a bit of light gets through around the edges. Even a pretty aggressive pour yielded a short brown head that faded to a ring around the meniscus.

Smell: Mainly roast malts, coffee, caramel.

Taste: Similar to the smell at first, but a bit more chocolate, gets a little sweet in the middle. Slightly smokey. As it warms there is a clean alcohol puff at the end.

Mouthfeel: Very thick with low carbonation.

Overall: Delicious. Everything about it feels substantial. Had it 3 months after bottling.

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Photo of Jeffsta1
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Black as night, convincing color. Very little head, tan.
Smell is fine, not intense, nothing off-putting.
Taste is good, deep, ruchy, malty. Not too sweet. Some bitterness on the finish.
Good mouthfeel, not too hot, despite 10.6% ABV - well done, guys.
Overall a very good stout. Well integrated. Not the absolute best there is, but damn good.

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Photo of stevoj
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bittercreek Alehouse Dark Days 2014 pouring this 2011 vintage. Not much can be added here, a truly superlative beer. Dark with a tinge of ruby, smooth and velvety, plenty of gentle warmth.

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Photo of Gorilla_Biscuits
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2015 edition. Tastes like dark chocolate and coffee mostly. You also get a tangy taste afterward from the black currant. Super good, grab these while you can.

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

A: Color is dark brown, and may even look black, which will take away its transparency, as one wouldn't be able to see any light shine through the glass. Clarity is black, and head is a very light tan color, which may even come off as beige.

S: The aroma comes off as coffee, or even dark chocolate, with a possible hint of nuts. Not very hoppy, nor were there any really "off odors"

T: Taste is a bit on the sweeter side with a bit of a smokey flavor. It tastes like roasted grains. Didn't really notice any "off flavors". There was a bit of a coffee, dark chocolate, and nutty taste in the beer.

M: The beer felt full bodied, and the aftertaste was strong, though did not last too long. There wasn't much CO2 or fizziness in the beer, though the beer seemed to have a stronger alcohol presence.

O: Overall, it was a solid stout. Tastes good, and was just what I expected from a stout. I enjoyed it with a good taste of coffee, dark chocolate, and maybe even dark fruits, but the nuttiness was definitely apparent.

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Photo of ajm5108
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Nothing stands out about this beer...yet, there really isn't anything to criticize. It checks all the boxes for the style, but just doesn't do anything with it. Solid, under-the-radar standby.

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

2015 Imperial Russian classic release.

Stone has created another massive brew with highlight s of anise,currant,coffee, roasted malt with just enough bottle conditioning carefully hidden in one heavy weight contender coming in on the scales at just under 11 percent %.

Bargain to find at the grocery outlet store for $7.50+ tax for a 22 oz bomber.

Huge booming rich and so satisfying did not need or even think about opening a second bottle. Classic warming shared with chocolate lava cake for dessert.

I have tasted a few better but also paid steeply for the privelege such as Ale Smith speedway stout coming in at $75.00 and all the sub varieties of the coffees and bourbon barrel aging etc did not impress me to the point Ale smith was worth the &5 bucks +.

Stone another San Diego brewer should be proud of their hard work following old school authentic methods to create this heavenly brew .

Stone claims no sins committed in the bottling or brewing that's up to the person enjoying however drink in moderation with the keys to the car secured for the night.

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Photo of EMV
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Had on tap at World of Beer in Orlando, FL - poured into a snifter.

L: Pours a pitch black with a small amount of white head. No light is penetrating this beer.

S: Roasted malts, coffee and chocolate.

T/F: Roasted malts and alcohol dominate, with tones of chocolate and almost a spicy flavor comes through. Warming, with a pretty strong alcohol punch. Minimal carbonation and smooth.

O: I wanted to like this beer more, as I'm a big fan of the Gargoyle and their arrogant brews. Big time roasted malts and coffee flavors, but the spiciness put me off a bit. This may be on account of the tap not having been properly cleaned. I'll be picking up a bomber and doing a re-sample at the earliest opportunity.

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Photo of dmgeng
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I've had this in 2013 but didn't get a bottle last year and with so many beer since then I knew this was good but could exactly pin down where this ranked until I'm reviewing and drinking a 2015 (2 months in bottle.)

A - Deep dark brown that settles into a dark black. It pours thick with a medium brown rocky head and good lacing.

S - Tons of of sweet malt smell with roast, chocolate, caramel, some smoke, and some coffee notes radiating out. There is not a single aroma that is overpowering but blends nicely. Not the strongest smelling RIS but has everything it should.

T - This beer evolves in the mouth with a rich malt character that is sweet and chocolaty on the front then quickly goes into more caramel, coffee, and light smoke. Towards the end there is the bitterness you would expect and desire with roast, bitter coffee, bitter chocolate, and some herbal bitterness. Again nothing is over the top and is quite balanced for the depth of flavor. This beer rolls across the palate and you can discern it all, which to me is the hallmark of a great beer.

M - High mouth-feel with perfect carbonation. Good balance between sweet and bitter and overall mouth-feel which again makes this beer a terrific representation of the style.

Overall, this is one of the best examples of a Russian Imperial Stout you can find. Great breadth of flavor, great balance, and low cost make this one a seasonal that you should get at least once a year. I know that there are more unique, richer, and overall tastier version of the style but yet again Stone was one of the forefathers of the craft beer movement and for years this was the best representation of great beer that could be found coast-to-coast.

Glass- Snifter

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Photo of dutesanch
3.52/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Poured a 2015 from the bottle into my 16oz Stone logo snifter. Not for me I guess. A little watery and lacked the taste I expected considering how highly regarded it was. Maybe age helps. Smells great though.

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Photo of hail_seitan
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured 22 oz. bottle of 2014 vintage into brandy snifter

A - Pours viscous and oily. The body is a virtually opaque dark, dark brown. The only real head to speak of is a thin rim of frothy cappuccino-colored foam along the sides of the glass. Tiny bubbles form an oil slick across the top of the beer. Scattered speckles of lacing with accompanying legs.

S - The odor is strongly reminiscent of dark dried fruits - a menagerie of figs, prunes, and raisins. These fruity esters are supplemented with a hearty dose of caramel and cold-brew coffee. A touch of grain alcohol sweetness, too.

A - A specter of smokey coffee teases the tongue before dissolving into a full blown manifestation of caramel and fig sweetness. The sweetness borders on cloying, but is delightfully balanced by tobacco, dark chocolate, and vanilla notes. The sweetness slow burns to the finish along with a mild burn from the alcohol.

M - Sticky, chewy, and oily with minimal carbonation. Nearly perfect.

O - A great Russian Imperial Stout. I honestly think I preferred it without a year of aging - the raw intensity of the sweetness is offset by more coffee and chocolate notes in a fresh version of this beer. Nonetheless, a real treat!

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Photo of CTbrew32
3.7/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Bottled 2014

Appearance- Black with a slight brown color as well. Pours a very thin mocha colored head.

Aroma- Roasted malts and sweet dark chocolate

Taste- Bitter roasted malts are big at first. The bitterness subsides a little as chocolate takes over the flavor in the finish. As it warms up a citrus hop flavor is noticeable in the middle.

Feel- Full bodied, low carbonation, and a creamy texture.

Overall- Pretty straightforward beer with roasted malt and dark chocolate dominating the flavor. Overall, its a solid IRS but nothing spectacular. Maybe a year isn't doing this any favors.

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Photo of teromous
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Oil black body with a thin khaki head that fades quickly to a ring and a few rafts of bubbles. Some minor spots but no real lacing.

Aroma: There isn't much aroma here. I am picking up a light charred scent like the inside of a coffee pot that has been left on the burner. I also pick up a strong alcohol aroma, which isn't a surprise given the 10.6% ABV.

Taste: I want to point out first that this beer doesn't have any overwhelmingly strong flavors, which really is its strong point. It is very enjoyable to drink because of this. I pick up some faint sweet caramel and roasted coffee, then there is a bit of pine and a woody character like a strong tea. I do get an alcohol flavor in this beer but it marries well with the flavor. Everything is mellowed out without feeling washed out.

Mouthfeel: It has a really good mouthfeel. It's thick when I start drinking the beer, but it doesn't feel sticky or linger on the palate too long. It does a good job of delivering flavor on a nice thick tide that ebbs away leaving pure aftertaste.

Overall: It is a very good Russian Imperial Stout, especially if you're not looking for something over the top. It delivers a wealth of flavors without crushing your palate to the point that you get tired of the beer. It is definitely a beer that you can sit back and enjoy an entire bomber of. I do wish it had more aroma, but there's no doubt that I enjoyed this beer.

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Photo of TBonez477
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A: Nearly black with two fingers of beautiful mocha head.

S: Molasses and fig, slight booze.

T: Drinks similar to aroma, more chocolate and coffee on the finish.

M: Smooth and creamy.

O: Delicious and worth the acclaim.

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