Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

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Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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7,294 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,294
Reviews: 2,601
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 592
Gots: 1,645 | FT: 94
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,294 | Reviews: 2,601 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of brstls4drmrs
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Poured into a snifter a dark black high viscosity beautiful color with tan cream head that was very thin. Some lacing occurs and a very thin layer sticks around.

S - ROASTED roasting malty goodness! A dry, coffee scent with some hints of dark chocolate. Also had a smores like smell just without the marshmallow. Next time, I'll dip a marshmallow in this one.

T - Much like the smell. Coffee and malts with some oatmeal character. Not as much chocolate as I expected.

M - Very dry character with some good carbonation.

O - A solid stout with some excellent scents. Not as sweet as I like but nonetheless, still very good!

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

A: Black with a big and creamy tan head.

S: Dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, dried apple, wet earth, black cherries and some faint smoke.

T: Molasses, dark chocolate, plum, some hints of other dark fruit and a bit of coffee. The mouthfeel was a bit thin for me. Solid, but not as good as I remember this being last year.

Photo of Macky20
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz 2011 classic, poured into Bells Tulip.

Aggresive pour creates a one inch foamy head that dissipates in a couple minutes. Aroma is heavenly.... cocoa, coffee, molasses. First taste is great as expected, with the same notes and the addition of hints of raisins and cream. Mouthfeel is nearly perfect, lacing and density of head could be a slight bit heavier. Amazing beer i had to try fresh because of the hype. Time to grab a few for the cellar.

Photo of angrygrimace
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bomber poured into a tulip; this is the 2011 classic release.

Pours a pitch black with a slight beige head with little retention. Little visible carbonation. Nose is mostly roasted coffees and a bit of chocolate and slight notes of vanilla and alcohol. Does not appear nearly as motor-oil thick as Yeti or Speedway Stout.

Taste is actually somewhat surprising; you definitely have your big coffees up front, but it's quite balanced. Big, rich and malty. Other reviewers seem to have found noticeable alcohol in the taste, but I didn't find that the case with this batch; very smooth.

Doesn't feel super thick in the mouth, but there is a bit of that viscous quality you expect out of an IRS.

Overall it's one of the best IRS's I've tried. I'm used to a much thicker and harsher drink with an IRS; this one's a bit uncharacteristic of what I'm used to with the style but makes for an excellent sipping beer.

Photo of Fenris244
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

poured into my duvel tulip

looks good already, pour black with a frothy orange head, good retention and lacing

very chocolatey on the nose with good amounts of coffee and roasted malt.

very sweet and chocolate upfront, quickly becomes bitter and full of roasted malt and coffee flavors, bits of caramel on the short but pleasant finish

mouthfeel, heavier in body, smooth and low in carbonation

overall, this is what Imperial russians should be, big bold strong beers that dont fool around, love it

Photo of sdmvd6
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Duvel tulip.

A - Pours black and viscous with about a finger of tan head which disappears rapidly. Little lace is left as the beer is drank.

S - A lot of coffee in the nose along with the usual roasted malt. A good amount of alcohol definitely comes forward with this.

T - This is an extremely smooth imperial stout. There is a lot of coffee up front followed by a touch of bittersweet chocolate and then definite roasted malt. [Edit]: Dark fruit becomes noticeable just before the finish. Coffee and roasted malt is apparent in the finish along with some booziness. The roasty flavors mask the alcohol content extremely well.

M - Thick and creamy with moderate carbonation. Exceptionally smooth for the style.

O - Stone offers a great example of an RIS with this brew. I would highly recommend it to anyone that is a fan of the style. The smoothness can't be overstated, and the balance of flavors along with that make for a wonderfully drinkable imperial stout.

Photo of ShogoKawada
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I never bought this one- always a beer I skipped. Now imperial stouts aren't my bread and butter, but I do enjoy them from time to time. Figured I'd give this a go, and I'm glad I did. 2011 Vintage into pint glass.

Pours more dark brown than black although it walks the line. Spotty but nice lacing, head settles quickly.

Nose brings on some dried fruit, dates, figs? And some coffee. Bit of hot cocoa there too. Odd, but intriguing.

This one really shines when you take a sip, though. Flavors are bold, pretty hoppy and lots of dark malt goodness. Coffee is bitter like espresso, chocolate has some sweet cream to it. Fruit that was strong in the nose is all-but-gone, not that I'm complaining.

The beer is a bit much this fresh, but I can dig it. Alcohol heat is there, so letting this one sit and mellow a bit might prove successful. I'm enjoying this one as-is, though.

Overall, this is one of the better imperial stouts I've had in a while. It's one I def. can see myself buying again. Well done, Stone.

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

2007 vintage courtesy of my favorite beer pal HimerMan. Pours as dark as freakin' night; small brown leathery looking (is that possible) one finger head of foam. Crazy nice lacing as well.
Aromas begin with dark roasted malts (expected), comprised of dark chocolate, roasted espresso beans, and a light milk/sweet chocolate note. As it warms you get great dark fruitiness (black cherries all over the place).
The tastes begin with waves and waves of various chocolate flavors. I get dark chocolate and milk chocolate and bakers chocolate and Hershey's cocoa powder, wow! As it warms I get the dark cherries again which is a glorious quality that develops from these Russian Imp Stouts when they are aged properly. Finish is dry due to either the initial hop bill or the abundance of dark roasted malts in the grain bill.
The mouthfeel is fantastic; coats your entire mouth with the dark bitter chocolate flavors and lingers on your tongue for a decent amount of time after you sip. Plenty of carbonation which I always appreciate and it drinks medium to full bodied overall I have to say. Overall, d@mn girl sh#t; this beer is meant for aging. Some like it young when it's more hoppy and bitter and acrid, but I cannot highly recommend more that you should age this for at least 2 years (preferably up to 4 or more apparently) to enjoy the great complexity that this beer can offer.

Photo of jamespub
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served at 50* in my fishbowl snifter. the best glass for stouts.

A- Dark, good RIS carbonation that dissipates quickly. leaves the faintest of lacing. thin rim of bubbles around the edge. the faintest of light sneaks through the edges.

S- good. chocolate, malt, booze, and some coffee...

T- so good. it's 100* + outside but i'm still rocking this and loving every minute. sweetness of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt but not overly smokey. mild bitterness to keep it balanced. alcohol is masked well but it's contribution is greatly appreciated. this is an absolutely delicious stout. probably my favorite of all the standard RIS's.

M- Thick, but could stand to be a little thicker IMHO. Feels good and the best parts linger on the tongue after the drink goes down. Nice warming sensation of the alcohol.

O- Considering buying a case of this, if the store will allow it. Such a good beer. It's great fresh, would love it with some age. glad I already have 3 more bottles in the fridge. thank you stone, for coming to Missouri.

Photo of GallowsThief
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out of a bomber into my tulip.

A - Poured a big bad deep black with one finger of brown head that left spotty lacing all down the glass.

S - Big roasty smell with good chocolate and coffee in the nose. Great smell.

T - First sip tastes like dark fruits. Follows with a huge roasty creamy flavor. Coffee and chocolate comes next. Caramel sweetness is there. Has a nice deep alcohol burn at the end that really warms you up. Leaves with just a tiny bitterness.

M - Thick baby. Like the 2 am dancer at your local strip bar. Creamy as well.

O - Beast. Great highly surprisingly drinkable stout. High ABV would tell you its not very drinkable but hell with that. Its so damn smooth.

Photo of csiewert
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a thick black color with two fingers of brown sugar lime head that retains and laces amazingly. The aroma is strong with chocolate malt and bitter coffe notes. The taste is strongest with the bitter coffee notes and has a hint of ark chocolate. The mouthfeel is slightly overcarbed, but not Terri le. Overall a good IRS.

Photo of obrike
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


Thank God I can get this in Texas now...spotted one at the HEB in Round Rock for 7.49 and snatched it up on sight.

Gave a hard pour into my New Belgium goblet...poured black as black, making a dense, bubbly, light brown head. Faded within minutes, leaving just a touch of spotty lacing.

Initial smell was dark roasted malt...a bit of chocolate mixed in, followed by some spices...pepper? cinammon? Very lovely...complex as hell.

Holy Moly! The first sip was smooth as hell! Taste followed scent...a creamy, chocolate latte, some sweet dark fruits, and then a slap of hoppy bitterness at the end. As with a lot of good strong stouts, the taste evolves as it warms...almost getting smoother, tastier...if that's even possible. The booze will certainly sneak up on you as you become distracted with how good it tastes.

This is easily one of the top beers I've very happy to finally have it in Texas!

Photo of rvdoorn
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: the beer pours a black color with a fluffy brown head.
Smell: roasted espresso, roasted grain, tar, some peat and warming alcohol
Taste: espresso, whiskey, dried fruits (prune). Intensively bitter-sweet.
Mouthfeel: Thick oily body, medium carbonation.
Overall: Fantastic beer, pity is it so hard to get in Europe

Photo of Coplains
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From a bomber, pours inky black with head that stuck around briefly and left some lacing in the glass. Smells of chocolate malt with a bit of alcohol. Such a smooth tasting well balanced, great overall beer. One of the best RIS that I have had. Would definitely buy again and would be a great night tasting against some of my other favorite RIS with a few people.

Photo of Tballz420
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

They got one case of this at the Four Firkins, and i was lucky enough to snag one. Thanks Alvey.

Pours out a completely black body, perhaps just the slightest bit of amber hue when held to the light, but perhaps not. Large bubbly brown head tops it off and sticks all over the glass. Scent is a massive amount of chocolate malt, a bit of roast, a bit of dark fruit and a bit of hop. The taste is thick and bold. Very large does of chocolate malt, spicy alcohol, spice, dark fruits, not as much roast as the scent suggested, which wasnt much. Its prety smooth. A touch of coffee, some nuts, candy sweetness. A touch of wine. Full bodied and very smooth.

Probably one of the most complex beers i've ever had. To sum up my review: holy shit.

Photo of claytong
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2011 vintage

appearance - jet black, no head unless getting rough. what head does come off a rough pour bubbles and then turns to nothing. opaque.

smell - chocolate malts, minor coffee, not strong and a bit of sad dissapointment

taste - when served around 45-50 got nothing but a bit of roasted malt and chocolate, but as it warmed up it got pretty nice, some cream came in, a bit of brown sugar and coffee. in between a 4.5 and 4 but much more towards 4.5

mouthfeel - smooth as hell, so drinkable for the style. creamy and not watery one bit for being so drinkable. impressive.

while not one of my favorite ris by any means its highly drinkable and im rather curious how some age would do it so ill probably pick another up to age

had an 08 the other day and while it was good, im not sure age does any good with this one. ill let ya know when i have an 05

Photo of beer4colin
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - this pours a light blocking inky black with a beautiful 2 finger head that quickly fades to clingy lace.

S - nice soft smoke and goodroast.

T - very complex! Very smoky with big espresso backbeat. Definitely best at 50 - 55 degrees.

OA - a great beer in a great style. In my top 5 RISs!

Photo of wo87810
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Great stout! Super dark, thick like molten chocolate. It has OK aroma in the glass, but packs a flavor punch!

Exactly what you want in an imperial stout. Rich maltiness, with so many flavors of chocolate, caramel, etc. Also picked up a prominent banana flavor.

You can taste the alcohol, but that's not bad. This one will really kick your ass.

Overall, will certainly buy again. Along with Ten-Fidy and Old Rasputin some of the best imperials I've had.

Photo of RickS95
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Exactly what I'm looking for in a beer. Pours a thick, murky blackness that Stone calls beer. It's a black hole in a glass. Up top sits an equally thick brown head. This is what beer is all about.

Smells like good coffee. There's plenty of roastiness in the nose and a good dose of smoke.

Taste is thick and malty, with coffee and the anise finally coming through. There is heat from the alcohol, but it's gentle. Really, a stellar tasting beer.

It's big and thick on the palate, absolutely nothing like the watered down porter I had last night. It's only slightly sweet initially before the heat and bitter coffee take over. Despite the big flavors, there's a smooth creaminess to it.

This is a big beer that means business. However, despite some of its bigness, it's easy to drink and very smooth. One of Stone's better selections. Very glad I bought two of these.

Photo of seand
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 and 2006 bombers tasted side by side. Scores are for the fresh bottle, with differences described in each section.

A: 2011 pours deep black with a thick dark tan head. Just a patchy bubbly layer retains, but it's enough to leave nice spot lacing. The 2006 is the same color for both the beer and the head, but has very little head even with an aggressive pour. Just a thin rim around the glass and a few small thin patches of head retain.

S: Sweet molasses and roasted malts, with a touch of some kind of fruit liqueur. The 2006 is much more developed. Some of the high end burnt notes have faded, but the middle has filled out with a somewhat licorice-like note.

T: Like the aroma, sweet with roasted malts, but with a somewhat hoppy finish. The 2006, on the other hand, is extremely deep and thick. It retains the sweetness, but with next to no hop notes. The finish is kind of like a good espresso; not bitter, but strong, and with a very nice top end sweetness that's only detectable if you're paying attention. If I were rating the 2006, it would easily be a 5.0.

M: Full body, with carbonation on the high side of medium. 2006 is a bit lower carbonation, and the carbonation that's there is a bit smoother.

Overall, the 2011 is a very good beer, but the 2006 is an incredible one. An excellent example of the specific type of depth and complexity that only seems to show up in aged beers.

Photo of doughanson78
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

A: Pours black with a dark red on the edge when held to the light. Not much head, maybe a half finger that dissipates quickly. But what can you expect. Not much lacing to speak of.

S: Rather light. I'm kinda disappointed. Mainly chocolate. Light roasted coffee notes. Some dark fruits, raisins, figs, and cherries. Light boosiness.

T: Very boosy. Needs some age. Dark fruits, chocolate, coffee. Everything the nose has.

M: Full bodied. Creamy.

O: Didn't live up to the hype for me. Definitely a good. IRS for the price. Can't wait to get some age on this one.

Photo of zrab11
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a Jet black with 2 finger tan head

S- Has a strong aroma of alcohol and chocolate, also hints of dark fruits and vanilla

T-I get a strong chocolate and coffe flavors up font, followed by some smokey flavors and then ends with a vanilla alcohol taste

M-Medium to full bodied with good carbonation

D-Overall this was a wonderful beer. It gets alot of hype. Im looking forward to opening a bottle in my cellar of this in 10 yrs or so. Def. try this if you havent' its a solid russian imperial stout.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle poured into a tulip.

Appearance - Pitch black body. No transparency at all. Not too viscous looking as it pours, but it stains the glass as I swirl it. Nice tan head, but it doesn't leave a tremendous amount of lace.

Smell - Wow, chocolate and coffee. And none added? That's amazing. I've tasted coffee stouts with less coffee aroma than this. Great roasted malt character. Maybe a bit of hops coming through at the end.

Taste - Again, a strong chocolate and coffee flavor. An interesting sweetness persists through the drink, but gives way to a nice hop back. Not overly hopped, like Old Rasputin, but just a nice bitter finish. Very nice.

Mouthfeel - Not quite as viscous as I thought it would be. I like my giant stouts to be a bit chewy. This one goes down VERY smooth, with just a hint of alcohol burn.

Overall - Just outstanding. I bought 6 bottles and I think I need to go back and buy more.

Photo of thedoubler55
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Opaque black in color, a slight head at the top dark in color as well, left almost barely any lacing.

S - Roasted malts all around with a slight scent of cocoa and booze.

T - Same as the nose, lots of roasted malts in the taste with hints of coffee and cocoa, very pleasant.

M - Not to thick not to smooth, just right, a slight bit of carbonation nothing crazy.

O - Good dark flavors and not to expensive for an RIS, I enjoyed this one.

Photo of SDDanC
3.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2011 batch poured on tap into tulip at sd toronados. Jet black with a milk chocolate ring. No head. Cocoa on the nose, with maybe some coconut. Either that or I'm crazy. Subtle notes of coffee and espresso. On the tongue, coffee is more pronounced, cocoa hits you in the back and in the after taste. Overall, well balanced, good year for the RIS. I definitely would drink again, and I will indubitably age.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,294 ratings.