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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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2,660 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,660
Hads: 7,816
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 5.06%
Wants: 699
Gots: 2,022 | FT: 115
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: 7,816
Photo of WoostaBia
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Awesome beer. Has a thinner body than I expected for an imperial stout. Smells of molasses, balsamic vinegar, caramel, coffee and dark chocolate. Taste tones same as smell, sweet start with acidic middle and bitter roasted malt coffee flavor finish. Would definitely try again. Alcohol warmth is low for an 11% beer. Very drinkable. (332 characters)

Photo of jhartley
4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Deep pitch black body and a dark tan head. Leaving quite a bit of lacing in the glass.
Big aromas of licorice, espresso, char and dark roasted malts.
Tastes of espresso, bittersweet chocolate, anise (not as much as that Belgo Anise release from 2011 thank God!)
Easy drinking IRS and a big winner from Stone! (308 characters)

Photo of ptykozoon
3.51/5  rDev -19.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours pretty close to jet black, no head left and the thinnest frothy circle around the glass.

A lot of dark fruit - raisins, plum. Cinnamon, dark chocolate, brown sugar.

Taste is bitter coffee and dark chocolate. Smoky cinnamon. Abrasive.

Mouthfeel is crisper than I'd prefer for a beer of this type, very light and airy. ABV tastes around 10%.

I am not sure if the years have really added to the taste. Still a good beer but a bit rough around the edges. It could use more fruit or delicacy to balance out the heat and harshness. (540 characters)

Photo of NateF90
4.11/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2014 release poured into a Samuel Smith pint glass. Espresso crema-colored head suck around for the entire session. Alcohol and malt on the nose. Taste again is booze forward, but quickly yields to macerated fruits, mild tobacco, and chocolate chip cookie. Mouthfeel wasn't as heavy or viscous as expected... Undecided as to whether that's a good thing or not. Excellent stout but not as 'turned up' as I had hoped. Maybe some extended aging would change the profile? Will try again. (483 characters)

Photo of Gpartnoff
4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Stone russian imperial stout 2014 release. Consumed 1-22-15. Look is black with a dark tan head. First taste comes black licorice, anise and a little chocolate. After 3-4 sips the palate is coated with fuzz, tends to hide the first taste flavors. All in all a good brew. Sweet tasting after the first sips and the alcohol burn isn't there. Great stout by a great brewery. Stone should do a collaboration with valiant or black market. Or do a triple collaboration with those two. Amazing what collaborations do to an already fantastic stout. Two thumbs up. (555 characters)

Photo of arvidkoval
4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black, brown head. Alcohol, roasty malt nose. Taste is boozey, burnt, chocolate, some caramel sweetness coming through. Feels very thick with a little carbonation. Overall, this is in your face and intense. Makes Guinness look like Bud. It can't possibly get much bigger and blacker than this? (305 characters)

Photo of RyanTheLion76
4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

I've had this beer twice: once fresh, and a second time aged 7 months. Pours like tar from the bottle, so you get this ridiculously thick, BLACK liqiuid with a brown head stubborn to form due to the thickness and low carbonation. Smells of dark fruit, burnt coffee, chocolate, and, to my nose, a subtle peanut butter note. The fresh beer had this prominent black coffee taste with a licorice note elevated by a pleasantly hearty booze note. Aged seven months, there's a little more malt and the booze calms down a bit. The mouthfeel is fat and full, as should be expected from this style since it flows like syrup (or beerup as my friend jokingly calls it). Overall, I'm really enjoy this beer. I rated it strongly because I generally don't like hot beer but the warmth of this ale just helps it taste better. I plan on doing another review after aging another bottle for MUCH longer. (884 characters)

Photo of jzeilinger
4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

(Had these before but don't know why I didn't review it.) - In review: 2014 Vintage

A - Pitch black with a thin caramel colored lacing ring.

S - Char, dark chocolate, very mild coffee bean, some dark fruit esthers. Nose is mostly dark chocolate and char.

T - Follows the nose with the addition of black licorice/anise, some char, dark chocolate, dark fruit (but buried), and alcohol effervescence.

M - Full medium body, slippery, moderate warming on the way down, lip smacking sticky, lingering dark chocolate bitterness.

O - Very solid. (The 7300 ratings before me prove that.) (586 characters)

Photo of chrispaulgeorge
4.73/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2009 release consumed in 2014, fresh 2014 wasn't as good but have a couple aging. Sorry this is hardly a review, more of me just indicating which one I'm rating. It was delicious though, real smooth, could hardly taste the alcohol. After 5 years it lacked a lot of the burn you taste in the '14. If I could find more I'd buy em up, bought the last one in the fridge at Stone Brewing World Bistro for $11.99 some months back. (424 characters)

Photo of archyquaffer
4.49/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a 2014 offering. A moderate pour from a bomber into a schooner glass produces a subdued pale tan head of less than a half inch. The beer appears very viscous during the pour, and appears very nearly black- the light from a mini Maglite doesn't even penetrate.

The aroma-flavor is very malty and estery, with a plethora of dark fruit, molasses, port wine and dark bread notes. There's also a touch of chocolate in there, but not a lot of roasted grain bitterness. A base of earthy hops provides balance and some citrus notes along the edges, but it's not ridiculously hopped. Some alcohol warming is apparent but no bite. In general, its rich and flavorful, with a full-throated flavor and mouthfeel.

This is a world-class beer and definitely better than another domestic offering that I tried recently, which was soooooo bitter and practically undrinkable. This beer restores my faith in the style.

This beer was a good deal at 7.59 for the bomber. Enjoyed on Christmas 2014. (994 characters)

Photo of Coolcheech
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

2014 Release
11% ABV (not 10.6%)
Bomber poured into a wine glass

A: Poured black, not deep, almost purple highlights coming through. Dark brown head, that fizzed away after a few seconds.

S: In the bottle chocolate. After the pour it lightened up and could smell raisins and chocolate.

T: The alcohol burn was there, it was pleasant. Also sweet undertones, again raisins, blackberries maybe.

M: Very smooth and (just barely) a full body beer. Feels like my mouth gets coated, then it evaporates and leaves a tingling on the tongue.

D: Great beer. It will fill you up, and get you drunk. Characteristics I’d happily succumb to time and time again. (655 characters)

Photo of stonefan55
4/5  rDev -8%

this is a beer that got me into stouts, I was never really a fan of regular popular stouts but this ones pretty good and at 11% abv it has a nice burn on it. awesome choice for a stout for sure... (196 characters)

Photo of breadwinner
4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Incredible value on this big old RIS, which is redolent of dark chocolate, roasted barley, and perhaps a touch of coffee to my palate. Probably ages like a dream too. Fantastic stuff. (183 characters)

Photo of asmangat
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Revisiting 2004 vintage in November 2014.

A: consistent with current vintage but lacing is darker.
S: predominantly chocolate, marshmallow, with a lot of dark fruit.
T: Deliciously sweet, chocolatey, almost butterscotchy...no alcohol burn whatsoever.
M: Very rich mouthfeel that lingers beautifully.
O: Aging for this long seems definitely worthwhile. For some reason its way better than 2005 IMHO.

Can't ask for anything more in a Russian Imperial Stout! (460 characters)

Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown almost black like oil, with khaki colored head. Coffee, roast, raw cocoa, and some toffee on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with roast. (172 characters)

Photo of dabarton
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Cask Conditioned 2 Years:
Cask-conditioned for 2 years at Deep Ellum in Boston. Thick and syrupy 8 ox pour into a straight glass. Rich, complex, and outstanding, this beer just about knocked me off my stool with how good it was. The high alcohol content after 2 years of aging made it quite dense, but decidedly an incredible sipping beer.

I have not yet had a young version. (376 characters)

Photo of WestCoastLibations
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Sifting through the U.S. Embassy Commissary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, you can imagine my surprise when I saw this 22oz. gem sitting on the shelves! Probably overpriced and definitely well-traveled, I picked up a few to take with me, a bit of Southern California by way of Vladivostok to Ethiopia.

I read the label's warnings reminding me that this was gonna pout like black strap molasses, which it did, into probably the most non-Stout-friendly glass there ever was. Not to worry. With the 22 ounces divided over about three 7-ounce pours, it was a blessing in disguise, allowing me to collect my thoughts before the next round of self-annihilation.

It poured Black with a minimal brownish head allowing for a Chocolate aroma to whiff out into the still Ethiopian air. At 6%, there is a surprisingly strong taste of alcohol, and at an elevation of over 2,000 meters in the world's third highest capital, it hits you like a Czar on an African land grab.

The taste is complex, to say the least, and although not a beer that pairs well with particularly anything in East Africa, it fit the bill on its own accord, drank with nothing but the accompanying of music on a Wednesday afternoon. The mouthfeel is not as bitter as I was expecting, a rather smoove ride from lip to belly and back up to the Temple.

Overall an absolutely amazing treat to behold in Ethiopia, and I imagine as good as its gonna get over the course of the next nine months here. With preparation in mind, I have stocked up, but will spare any more rambling reviews for the remaining encounters with this delicious Imperial Russian Stout... (1,621 characters)

Photo of MarkQ617
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Outstanding offering and a testament to the genre. Dark black color as you'd expect, with an inviting coffee colored head. Taste is rich with grains and coffee. The texture is outstanding, smooth and almost creamy. Exactly what you want in an imperial Russian. (260 characters)

Photo of Brutaltruth
4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed from a 2014 release bomber. This always excellent Russian imperial stout pours a thick black with moderate dark tan head and great clinging lacing. Nose of bakers dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, deeply roasted grains, and slight alcohol. Flavors are heavily roasted grains, dark bakers chocolate, dark rich coffee, to the front and sides, with vanilla and coffee on the aftertaste and fantastic warmth from the alcohol rounding it out. Smooth mouthfeel has a bit of bittering hops in the background providing balance to the sweetness of the chocolate and dark roasted malts. One of the best examples of the style available.

Cheers (645 characters)

Photo of humuloner22
4.57/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I don't know why but for some reason after all the stouts, imperial stouts, etc., that I have drank this one had escaped me. I found this one in a hell of a deal a while back in the four pack of bombers. I have heard this one aged out well and considering its getting into stout season for me, I thought I would crack this one open.

Color: Like black as night, you cant get any darker than this one. Poured fairly aggressively and it maintained a large head but settled fairly quickly.

Aroma: Roasted malts and booze, maybe a bit of dark chocolate, but no coffee or hops.

Taste: Well balanced. Good amount of carbonation to make the mouthfeel more robust, but it isn't super thick either, just about right, great for a sipper. It is a bit boozy in the taste, but not overly so considering the amount of alcohol that is in it. Malts, dark chocolate, some bitterness, but its also balanced by some sweetness, some say coffee, I detect some but this is nowhere in the same league as other stouts in regard to coffee, which is not a bad thing, I am just saying. It does have a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue, nice finish. This is why I love stouts!

Overall: Well made and considering the deal I got, with this, it makes it even better. Also, I should add that this was the 2014 edition. Well done guys, I will purchase this one again. (1,352 characters)

Photo of Eman17
4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black with a finger head, tan in color that lasts quite a bit.

S: Pretty boozy nose, also some chocolate, dark fruits and a bit of coffee.

T: A lot of dark fruits with a bit of coffee and chocolate combined with a bit of a boozy finish.

M: Very complex and full in body with a nice creamy aspect, more or less perfect.

O: Fantastic RIS. (349 characters)

Photo of Jeffreychason
4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

Bottled 2012. Smooth initially, a little empty on the back end. Still boozy, but smooth almost creamy, chocolatey, real nice beer. Well done imperial (151 characters)

Photo of xboxhueg
5/5  rDev +14.9%

Best RIS I've had to date..absolutely awesome. BIG coffee and chocolate aromas and on the palate. A lot less bitter than I was expecting, very smooth and alcohol is very suppressed. Even at the edges of the glass this beer is pitch black. I'm going to go back to the totalwine and pick up a case..it's that good. (312 characters)

Photo of DenverHopHead
4.3/5  rDev -1.1%

Poured from a 22oz bottle with a bottled on date of 2/21/14; into a snifter.
Appearance - black syrup out of the bottle, but presents with a slight brownish cola tint on the bottom of the snifter. Thin brown head that leaves decent lacing.
Smell - coffee, vanilla bean and bourbon.
Taste - heavy roasted coffee bean, chocolate and bourbon; huge flavors!
Feel - bold and complex feel, heavy and creamy! Booze certainly noticeable, but hard to sit the glass down!
Overall - would love if Stone offered this in a 12 oz bottle in a 6 or 4 pack or as apart of the mixed 12. The price is definitely reasonable, but if this would go the way of Sublimely...I'd consider this a must have. (679 characters)

Photo of uvachief
4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

Potent Russian Stout. Pours to a full 2 fingers of head. Dark chocolate color. Traditional stout aromas of coffee and chocolate. Big and creamy in the mouth. Smooth and thick going down. Very tasty. A 750ml bottle resulted in a nice mild buzz. (250 characters)

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