Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

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Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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2,668 Reviews

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Reviews: 2,668
Hads: 7,868
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 15.9%
Wants: 715
Gots: 2,056 | FT: 114
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: 2,668 | Hads: 7,868
Photo of Oldlogin
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The after taste is harsh, though not totally unpleasant ..There are other higher end stouts that I would recommend . Completely a matter of subjective taste.

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Photo of FaradayUncaged
3.71/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours an amazing black with brown head but quickly downhill from there. Smells of burnt malts and boozy alcohol that carries through the taste and finish. Mouthful is a plus but overall seems like maybe some age is a good idea. The burnt flavor and smell is all too powerful and dampers what seems like an otherwise pleasurable experience.

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Photo of secondtooth
3.79/5  rDev -12.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

This one's a whopper!

Opaque, deep black, and strong as an ox.

As with the best of the Imperial Russian Stouts, this one's got a burnt taste, less coffee or chocolate here, which gives way to a jagged alcoholic aftertaste/followthrough (it is 10.8%, after all).

Not one for the timid (or light beer fans), this is definitely one to sip slowly and savor.

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Photo of mchegash
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Tried a 4oz sample at Pasadena (Liberty Station) store

Appearance - 4.5/5
Very dark, probably black, 2 fingers of delicious medium brown head.

Smell - 5/5
Sweet, dark delicious brown sugar malts with hints of alcohol. Smell is mellow rather than sharp.

Taste - 4.5/5
Delicious, dark slightly-fruity malts. Tastes like it smells. Sweet, honey-like.

Mouthfeel - 4.25/5
Smooth, medium-full body.

Overall - 4.25/5
I only sampled 4oz of this when I was in CA, but I absolutely loved it. It might be my favorite Russian Imperial. I've been trying to get my hands on a full bomber of this so I can give in a review with a proper amount of beer, but I haven't been able to find one in MI.

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Photo of funjack5150
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just picked up three bottles today of the 2014 release, super surprised to find it at the beer store. I hear the 2015 release comes out tomorrow. Went home chilled two bottles and put one in the cellar. I get a lot of chocolate its kind of nice. Sipping on a glass of it right now, well watching March Madness, what could be better?

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Photo of Beer-Revelry
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Poured into a Duvel snifter glass.

A - 4.75 - Poured jet black in color. Formed about a finger of medium/dark tan colored head. Head subsides down to a film. Impressive head potential and retention for the ABV and the viscosity. Spotty, almost nonexistent lacing.
S - 4.75 - Bitter chocolate, sweet chocolate, light touches of vanilla and coffee. The nose to me is dominated by licorice, anise and a medicinal, herbal aroma. This is what I've found to be traditional of the style and as such, it smells amazing.
T - 5 - I can't believe how well balanced this is for how potent it is. The malty sweetness, and the bitterness at the end are balanced perfectly. Has lots of malt, chocolate, some raisin, licorice and that slight medicinal herbal twang all good Russian's have. Surprisingly, the alcohol in this is WELL hidden.
F - 4.25 - Definitely a decent, thicker creamy mouthfeel, but not the viscosity of crude oil that was promised on the bottle. Have definitely had thicker before.
O - 4.75 - This is a damned fine imperial Russian stout. Probably the most balanced I've ever had and one of the best in general. Reminds me A LOT of Oskar Blue's Ten Fidy. Is it the best ever? No. Is it worth buying, stocking up on and cellaring? Hell yes. This is a stout lover's dream beer and I HIGHLY recommend it to fans of the style.

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Photo of infinitebruner
3.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

March 5, 2015

22 oz bomber, snifter

A – Jet black and fairly viscous/oily, very dark brown lacing on top, just a thin layer that disappears quickly.

S – Very high roasted component with some vanilla and alcohol warmth on the nose. Hops seem to be earthy, and somewhat piney. A good dose of bitterness at the end.

T – High vanilla component, with only moderate roast flavors, and some bittersweet chocolate. Hops provide bitterness mostly, with a piney, woodsy flavor underneath.

M – Moderately low carbonation and medium-bodied, a moderate amount of residual sweetness but balanced hard towards bitterness, both from roasted malt and from hops. Mild alcohol warmth, very subdued.

O – Not as heavy as I expected, and a nice combination of roasty and sweet components. Solid.

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Photo of marieli
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Draft. A very pretty beer, close to black with a nice tan head. Dark chocolate ruled smell and taste with underlying coffee and roasted malts. Not much fruit. Slight bitterness. At 11% the alcohol makes itself known, but okay. Not as thick or creamy as expected or hoping. A good beer but some creaminess and smoothing out would definitely kick it up a notch for my taste.

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Photo of WoostaBia
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

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Photo of jhartley
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
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!

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Photo of ptykozoon
3.51/5  rDev -19.1%
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.

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Photo of NateF90
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
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.

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Photo of Gpartnoff
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
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.

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Photo of arvidkoval
4.34/5  rDev 0%
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?

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Photo of RyanTheLion76
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

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Photo of jzeilinger
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
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.)

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Photo of chrispaulgeorge
4.73/5  rDev +9%
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.

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Photo of archyquaffer
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

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Photo of Coolcheech
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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.

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Photo of stonefan55
4/5  rDev -7.8%

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...

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Photo of breadwinner
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of asmangat
5/5  rDev +15.2%

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 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!

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Photo of TX-Badger
4/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of dabarton
5/5  rDev +15.2%

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.

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Photo of WestCoastLibations
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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...

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,668 ratings.