1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

7,399 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,399
Reviews: 2,620
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 642
Gots: 1,709 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,399 | Reviews: 2,620 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Tschnab
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a deep jet black, opaque even when held to light, with a big milk chocolate head, no lace.

S- Dark winter fruits and roasted malts, bitter chocolate and coffee.

T- lots of raisins, figs, and dates, as well as coffee and very dark chocolate, maybe cocoa nibs even. Licorice-like bitterness on the finish, some bitter hop action too. Thick mouthfeel, not the thickest, but still really nice velvety moutfeel.

O- Man, this beer rocks. Maybe the best deal around, getting a world class RIS for 7 bucks.

Photo of TheBeerCarl
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: reddish dark brown with tiny bubbles and very little head. Head is light brown.

Smell: brown sugar band black licorice and light hints of bourbon

Taste: BAM! Rootbeer. That's the first thing I thought of when I took a drink of this stout. Very interesting. The main flavors that I can pick out are chocolate, licorice, and alcohol. Stringent hop lingering on the back of the tongue. Little caramel.

Mouthfeel: very light on the pallet. the carbonation is light which lends to a smooth feel but also just enough to compliment the licorice and hops.

Overall: Not what I would expect from a Russian Imperial Stout but still very interesting in a good way.

Photo of julian
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black even when held up to the light. Thick brown fluffy head that stays for the party. Pours very nicely and looks to be quite viscous, like crude arabian oil. 4.5

S: Roasted barley, molasses, caramel, slight coffee undertones and a little bit of booze. For such a high gravity beer the alcohol is well masked. I’d personally like a more dominant aroma, or some more coffee in the nose, maybe chocolate, but otherwise this is very good. 4

T&M: Medium to thick bodied, but on the thicker side. This definitely needs to be tasted chilled and sipped slowly to allowed to warm to bring out some of the complexities in the flavor. There’s toffee, molasses, roasted barley, alcohol, some dark fruits...I don’t even know what else to describe, there’s a lot of subtle flavors going on here. 4.5 / 4

O: One of my favorite off the shelf (season) impy stouts. I love this brew. So much so that I brewed a clone of it that’s conditioning now. Can’t wait to try it! The only thing that could make me love this more is a slightly thicker mouthfeel (I like them REAL VISCOUS), more coffee taste and aged in bourbon barrels. Next up to try is the Belgo Anise version of this. 4.5

Photo of dgilks
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark black and inky with a moderate sized tan head. Poor head retention.

Chocolate aroma with some earthiness. Fairly sweet. Moderate hoppiness.

Bitter chocolate with some sweet malt. A hint of caramel and earthy and slightly citrussy hops in the background. Solid.

Medium full body with moderate carbonation. Thick and rich.

A solid RIS with lots of great flavour and a lovely mouthfeel.

Photo of TheRealBigC
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at 775 Grastropub

Deep brown body with a mocha sort of head which dissolved quickly with no lacing.

Smell was rich with coffee and malts.

Taste was similar, very rich. And you feel the warmth of the alcohol more than you can taste it.

A beer I can certainly appreciate and a lover of imperial stouts should definitely check this one out (though it's likely they already have).

Photo of stxSS07
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber into a Duvel tulip. 2011 vintage.

A- Pours an oil-slick black with a 2 finger deep khaki-colored pillowy head. Leaves nice sticky lacing.

S- Big roasted malt notes, coffee, chocolate, a bit of a sugary vanilla note, and a tinge of alcohol.

T- Follows the nose with a big hit a bitter roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and a hint of dark fruits as the beer warms. Alcohol touch on the back end helps to move the flavor along, but becomes just slightly overbearing once it gets up to room temperature.

M- Feels thick, chewy, and viscous. I can almost feel the body of this beer clinging to the inside of my mouth.

O- One of the best "regular" RIS's I've had the pleasure of trying, altough I think Plead the 5th does a much better job at concealing its booze while having some stronger flavors.

Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a nice 2 finger, brown head which left lots of lace. Typical viscous black you would expect in a stout.

S - Very chocolatey on the nose with good amounts of coffee and roasted malt.

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 - Full body, with carbonation on the high side of medium.

O - Another very solid beer from Stone. I have a couple aging and looking forward to seeing how they develop.

Photo of oline73
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle poured into my Colossus snifter.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a finger of mocha head that dissipates quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Quite sweet, dark fruit and chocolate. Some toffee/caramel in there as well. Roasty coffee notes with warm alcohol at the end.

Taste: A lot like the smell, which is a very good thing in this case. More bitter roast than the smell, but the sweetness is still there to balance things out. Dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit. The finish is smooth with warming alcohol. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side with very minimal carbonation. The beer coats your mouth and it is quite slick at the finish of each sip.

Overall: A very good Imperial Stout. A tad bitter in the finish, but nothing to really complain about. Great balance and I would love to try this barrel aged.

Photo of mattboyer182
4.64/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - Nice black pour with a dark brown thick head.

S - Smells of alcohol, licorice and chocolate.

T - Taste has chocolatey woody flavors up front with a warm alcohol taste bringing up the rear.

M - Rich, thick, syrupy feel.

O - Great IRS. Look forward to it every year.

Photo of thatruth
3.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

my first review, hello all! wish me luck!

grabbed a 22oz of this on a recent trip down the street to the Beer Junction in West Seattle. poured from 2011 Classic Release bottle into pint glass.

Appearance: pours like a nice black, roast coffee. foamy, light brown lacing. looks opaque inside glass. absolutely no light penetrates this beer.

Smell: smoky, bbq, oak, dark chocolate, almost a hazelnut cappuccino vibe in there as well. like walking through a burning forest. a roasting, chocolaty forest.

Taste: pretty alchi-tasting, surprisingly. at 10.5% alcohol this may come as a surprise to few, but with most of Stone's creations I've had the taste hits you before the alcohol, not here. aside from that, very much like the smell. oak, coffee, lacquer, hint of dark chocolate. for some VERY strange reason this beer consistently reminds me of Rogue's Juniper Pale Ale, must be the slightest hint of an herb akin to juniper somewhere.

Mouthfeel: pleasant enough for it's high alco content foundation, doesn't hover long after it goes down, "burnt cigar" aftertaste as a friend of mind so wittingly put it once, as with most Imperial Russian Stouts.

Overall: surprised. Stone has always been held high, if not the highest in my brewer's book. although I haven't had the entire catalog or anything, Arrogant Bastard has long been my favorite beer, Ruination and IPA are great, and having the Sublimely Self-Righteous for the first time the other day, I can definitely say this one just falls short of the others. perhaps it was the barrel or bottle, I won't hesitate to give it another try one day.

Photo of nandemo1
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber fell over while I was organizing the fridge/cellar and the crown started leaking, guess it's a good time for a review.

Poured a pitch black with a one finger tan head that slowly fell back with no lacing.

Smell is of rich chocolate and cherries. Taste is pretty similar with additional coffee notes. There is a definite sweetness but I do get some lasting hop bitterness. Everything seems to blend together well and there is no alcohol evident except for a nice warming feeling after a half pint or so.

Mouthfeel is silky and the beer coats the tongue for a while.

A great example that is very drinkable now, yet I'm excited to see how a couple of bottles age.

Photo of ahq514
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got a 12 oz pour of the 2005 vintage at finnegans.

Pours a dark black with about a one finger head.

All the elements of an ris but mellowed out a bit. Roasty, chocoalte, coffee. They seem to blend together really well and seem not so distinct from each other.

Taste matches the smell pretty accurately. Roasty chocolate coffee that is blended together pretty well. Alcohol is there, but much more mellowed out. Right on par as far as sweetness goes. No hops detected as I would expect from a 6 year old beer. You can tell this beer has sat for awhile. Pretty complex. As I said before wish I could pick out more flavors, but they are all intertwined at this point.

Mouthfeel is good. Lower carbonation, malts really stick to the sides of the mouth.

Overall this is a great beer. Never had such an old beer before so I didn't know what to expect besides what I've read. Pleasantly surprised. Just glad I could try such an aged beer without having to have the patience, especially since this beer was brewed when I was still in high school.

Photo of Eriktheipaman
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Bottle from 10' and I will be drinking the 11' tomorrow night.

Poured black with brown around the rim. Nice khaki head that fades, which is expected for 10.5% ABV.

The smell is chocolate, smoky roast, and a little alcohol.

The taste is very much chocolate at this point. A little alcohol on the back but overall not very noticeable. There was more coffee notes when it was cold but as it warms it is almost all chocolate.

The mouthfeel is medium to heavy.

Awesome beer and for the price none other beat it.

Photo of gregshead
3.81/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours w/ a finger of khaki head that dissipates really slowly.

S: Lots of hops on the nose. Little bit of black licorice aroma.

T: A little bit of a peppery start. Some tobacco/anise/woody flavors give way to a good amount of hops. More hoppy than I prefer my stout.

M: Lots of carb keeps this one feeling pretty light. Some heat feel in the back of my throat. A dry mouthfeel finish

O: A very solid brew but I prefer this beer with about a year on it. Too much hops fresh.

Photo of ryantho00
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a pint glass from a black bomber. Comes with a nice warning on the backside of the label! 'Expect our version of this mysterious brew to pour like Siberian crude and taste even heavier!' Ha ha, nice and fitting for this wonderful beer.

I poured this aggressively to first taste, which resulted in a black, thick liquid with a nice 3 finger creamy froth that dissipate to almost nothing. A nice lacing is left behind through the brew. I poured the second taste much more carefully and the 2 finger lingered for a minute or so, but not long.

This beer exhibits roasted coffee aromas and a spicy blackcurrant and dark cherry. I get a slight hint of alcohol as well.

This is a full bodied stout that starts with roasted coffee and mocha flavors with a slight hoppiness that leads into a fruitiness of cherry, raisen, and some spice and oak. Halfway through I get some caramel and alcohol almost bourbon flavored. Everything is well blended and remarkably drinkable for this whopping 10.5%abv. I must note the bottle states its a 2011 classic release. Slightly higher than the usual IRS. I get a fruity creamy roasted coffee and cherry aftertaste that has a nice lasting effect. Well done Stone for blending everything exceptionally well together.

This is a wonderful drink and take on IRS style. In Stone's traditional bold style, not for the feint of heart!

Photo of Dreadnaught33
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a beer (that I'm finally rating) that was for me as I imagine it might be for many a gateway beer into the craft realm back in college maybe around 2004. This is beer that even if you have had crazy awesome rare beers in the RIS category or whatever category, you still can come back to this beer and be very pleased. There was a thread about beers that the BA community should 'respect' even if they are not the 'best' or 'rarest', and for me this is definitely one of those beers.

A: deep dark black hue with a nice tan head and some nice lacing as well. A great start.

S: Charred alcohol infused malts with an over-riding coffee and roast. Some other notes of cocoa nib, dark berries maybe blackberry.cherry, vanilla, maybe port-like notes, and some more, really nice RIS aroma.

T: The smell with an abundance of layers in flavor. Chocolate soaked malt and espresso roast. A nice hop ester bitter finish with overall charred malts lingering. The middle of the beer is reminiscent of pastry, to me a fillo dough chocolate croissant. Some licorice/anise notes too. What a great tasting beer. For me, amazingly the flavor is up there with Kate, Dark Lord and all those other crazy RIS.

M: Smooth and semi thick, not as palate coating and thick as I normally like but still nice.

Overall, a splendid. An amazing example of the style and aggressive! Excellent.

Photo of lazjuarez
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into a goblet. Vintage: 2011 Classic Release

A: Pours a dark, almost like motor oil black in color. About 1 finger worth of mocha colored head that dissipates to a nice cap, leaving behind a good amount of lacing along with some alcohol legs.

S: Nose is full of roasted malts, sweet espresso notes, milk chocolate, and a light alcohol note that really brings everything together nicely.

T: Big coffee flavor, not as sweet as the nose. Has a good note of alcohol that helps balance the sweetness.

M: Medium bodied, coats the mouth well. For a 10.5% ABV, I can barely notice, although it does has have a slight warming effect. Overall a very well put together stout from beginning to end.

Photo of bsp77
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter. 2011 vintage.

Appearance: Near black with initial thick brown head, leaving some light lacing behind.

Smell: Lots of molasses along with some anise, soy sauce, chocolate and coffee. Seems to be a decent amount of spicy hops as well.

Taste: Close to equal measures of molasses, dark chocolate, coffee and anise. The finish has a strong roasted bite, and is also spicy, bitter and a little bit salty.

Feel: Massive, thick (but extremely smooth and creamy) body. Moderately low carbonation, fairly dry finish and very warming.

Overall: This is surprisingly a very straightforward RIS. While I might have expected something a little more out of left field from Stone, I am impressed by how well they made a traditional Imperial Stout. Fantastic stuff!

Photo of Bfarr
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Nearly black with a moderate tight brown head with good retention and nice lacing. Espresso, chocolate and light licorice aroma. Rich roasted coffee and alcohol with a chocolate end finishing with a biting hops and roasted bitterness. Thick, frothy and very smooth.

’09- alcohol is stronger but melds well with blended, mellower flavors and a bit more sweetened chocolate.

Another beer I enjoyed pre-BA shattered…sigh. I held this beer in such high esteem I held on to my ’09 to sample against the newer version. It’s not as complex as I remember as I see it now a bit high on the roasted side. Certainly a great beer but it just can’t live up to the pedestal and expectations I had previously had for it. Oh I was so naïve… blessed ignorance. Damn my developing palate and BA for introducing me to a wonderful world of beer!

Photo of plfahey
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle (2011 vintage) poured into a tulip glass. (8/11/11)

Appearance-Midnight black and totally opaque-sucks in light like a black hole. Impossible to discern clarity. Moderate sized light brown head with decent retention.

Aroma-Wow-Chocolate, cinnamon, cherries, plums, prunes, coffee, roasted malt, touch of caramel, some alcohol notes, and some green, citrusy hops. The amount of chocolate in the aroma is impressive, and manifests as brownies, malted milk balls, and german chocolate cake. Smells delicious.

Flavor-Chocolate cake up front before fading into roasted espresso flavors. Roast comes through strong, but doesn't quite become burnt. Some citrus and floral hop flavors show through, along with moderate hop bitterness. Some fruit comes through in the finish (cherry and prune). Aftertaste is fruity with roast bitterness and drying alcohol.

Mouthfeel-Medium full and slightly chewy. Moderate carbonation. Definite alcohol warmth.

A pretty kick-ass RIS, though I think it could improve even a bit more with a little age. Sufficient roast, but not much in the way of burnt flavors, which is okay with me. Moderate amount of fruity esters and tons of chocolate make for a very pleasant beer, and definitely a go-to for dessert pairing.

Photo of pmarlowe
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2011 vintage. 22oz bottle. Tulip glass.

A: Pours black, a thin cap of medium khaki head which disappears quickly to a ring which sticks around for awhile. Almost no lacing.

S: Roasted malt melds nicely with coffee, milk chocolate, vanilla, and cream. Very well balanced.

T: Roasted malt and coffee. Alcohol is a tad noticeable at the end, but that's my only complaint.

M: On the lighter end of carbonation, which supports the beer nicely. Full bodied.

O: Exceptional, well-made stout, well balanced and easy to drink. This is so easily available and reasonably priced that this should be a staple.

Photo of amphion1065
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Lord Hobo. An indulgent $6.50 12 oz. pour.

Lord Hobo's uncharacteristically excellent lighting allowed me to really appreciate the appearance of this beer. It's very dark, not quite black but certainly eggplant purple. A light tan one-finger head really sticks around. I couldn't stop swirling this one - great lacing around my glass. Just a few legs running down the sides. Very nice.

Quite a lot of chocolate and coffee in the smell. As it warmed, I could detect just a hint of an alcohol burn, but it was accompanied by a touch of vanilla as well. Strangely enough, not many dark fruits in the nose, which jives with my past experiences with this beer.

The taste is a coffee explosion, reminiscent of very fresh Speedway Stout. Deep dark chocolate flavors alongside the coffee, with a really enticing bitter/sweet balance at work. There's a robust hop profile that lends another bittering element to temper what would otherwise be an overly sweet RIS. The alcohol is hidden remarkably well.

Mouthfeel is velvety smooth, thick and lush without feeling syrupy. This just goes down so easily.

A modicum of the style and a superb beer. This year's batch is a winner.

Photo of DrewV
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber (2011 Classic release at 10.5% ABV) into a snifter.

A: A pitch black liquid emerges from the bottle and resides equally dark in the glass. A darkish mocha colored 1-finger head leaves some spotty lacing on the glass. Alcohol "legs" stream down the glass, showing a heavy ABV.

S: Dark roast, a bit of dark fruit hiding in the aroma, moderate coffee, well-balanced overall. Alcohol is present, but not overwhelming.

T: Syrupy sweet malt initially latches onto your taste buds and doesn't let go. Thick, hearty roast with some faint coffee. Some bitterness from the balancing hops comes into play towards the end. The booze breaks through the flavor profile and kicks you in the throat midway through the sip. Although this is a well-crafted brew, it loses a few points due to the booze.

M: Wow, this is a thick brew. Extremely hearty, almost syrupy in its body. A well-balanced malt and hop bomb all rolled into one. Adequately carbonated, but definitely on the lighter side, which suits the style well. An oily finish brings up the rear while the aftertaste trails off on the chocolate-coffee side with added bitterness.

O: This ain't no amateur's beer! A thick, hearty, boozy brew that takes a developed palate to appreciate. A bit too heavy on the solventy alcohol for my taste; this brew would certainly benefit from a year or two in the cellar to calm down the bitterness and booze.

NOTE: To be fair, the bottle DOES warn of this beer's hearty and boozy nature. In that regard, it certainly lives up to its promise. Be warned!

Photo of LaneMeyer
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a tulip

A- Black, with beautiful one/two finger, tan/light tan head.

S- Roasted malts, maple syrup, brown sugar, some hints of dark fruits.

T- Big roasted malts, slightly bitter

M- Thick, rich, nicely carbonated, very smooth.

O- This is a great example of a RIS. It's nothing overly exciting but for the price it really hits the spot.

Photo of MadCat
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 release, 10.5% abv.

Appearance: Black as night, with a big muddy brown head that leaves considerable lacing

Smell: Smells of rich dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, black currant

Taste: Rich and decadent, intense dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, roasted malts, black currant, plums, caramel, and some bit of hops in there. It has a good balance between sweet and bitter, with sweet winning out. No booziness or alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel: Full body, medium carbonation, rich, thick and velvety smooth

Overall: This is a top brew for me, and my favorite from Stone by far. I'm glad I grabbed a few bottles this year, it will be tough for it to last me until next release. Probably one of the best, if not the best, Russian Imperial Stouts out there.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,399 ratings.