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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

7,287 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,287
Reviews: 2,601
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 586
Gots: 1,632 | FT: 95
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: 7,287 | Reviews: 2,601 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ChanChan
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stone Imperial stout Limited Spring 2010 release.
Poured into a regular stemglass.

Appearance: Dark, medium bodied can-not see any light shining through the beer. This comes with a two finger mocha colored head that does not last long. The lacing left behind is respectable.

Smell: The first whiff of this beer gives off a heavy scent of coffee, There are some hops as well but not much else.

Mouthfeel, the mouthfeel is medium bodied at first. As the beer warms up the mouthfeel becomes heavier much more pleasant! Also, as the beer warms up I feel a bit of tanance in the mouth.

Taste: This beer is sweet, At around 55degrees farenheit I notice a presence of caramel, hops, coffe and bitter chocolate. As the beer warms up I can also taste more malt and a pleasant breadiness.

Final thoughts: This is a great example of what an imperial stout can be. At under 8 dollars for a22 OZ bottle this beer is a steal. Imperial stout bombers are usually well over ten dollars. If SRIS was over ten dollars I would have to reconsider how much of it to consume, but at this price it is a joy to have this beer and feel like I have made a great purchase every time!!!

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

Limited Spring 2010 Release poured into a C&B Bruges glass

A - Pours a completely pitch black with a creamy one finger beige head that leaves a beautiful lacing as it slides down the glass.

S - This beer smells amazingly well balanced if that makes sense. I am expecting this to be a very well done beer based on the aroma. Mostly dark chocolate and coffee. Some brown sugar and a bit of oatiness is present. An ever so slight alcohol aroma is also there.

T - Awesome!!! Very smooth and creamywith bittersweet chocolate and some high quality coffee flavors present, but its not like other RIS's that are mostly coffee forward. Some dark fruits, raisins and plums and an earthy flavor that reminds me of some oaked beers.

M: Smooth and creamy with perfect carbonation. There a very slight alcohol burn on the finish, but otherwise this one is perfect in this area.

D: The drinkability is quite amazing with this one. The 10.5% abv is not as well masked as some other RIS's but is very drinkable nonetheless.

I can only imagine what this could do with some age. I will definitely pick up a few of these to age and do a vertical. Easily one of the best RIS that I have had.

Photo of hosehead83
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a "bomber" bottle into a wine goblet.
"Limited Spring 2010 Release" printed on bottle.
Inky black, almost purple in color, with a short,stout head of tan foam.
Aroma-A witches' brew of alcohol-soaked plums and cherries,dark roasted malt, and burnt coffee grounds.
Taste-Thick, creamy melange of charred plums and dark fruit,dark roasted coffee grounds, black burnt toast, bakers' chocolate, and strong black coffee all swimming in a vodka-like, warming mouth-feel.
This beer is not for a beginner. Sip slowly as you stare out at a bleak winter landscape...with hope that Spring is coming.
Overall Stone RIS is thick and rich, with tons of character and flavor. It can be quite boozy if fresh, so "hibernate" one for a year or two and it should mellow out nicely. Best shared with a friend or family member in a sippin' glass or, for a "knock-out" treat, pour some over vanilla ice cream to cap off a nice meal. Yum!

Photo of generallee
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Presentation: It was poured from a brown 1pt. 6oz bottle into a tulip glass. The label lists the abv at 10.5% and is dated as "Limited Spring 2009 Release".

Appearance: This is exactly what you want to see in an Imperial Stout. It has a very dark black body that blocks out all light. Floating on top is two fingers of thick tan head. This head has good retention and makes lots of lacing on the glass.

Smell: The aroma is boozy with a strong malt presence with notes of burnt toast, roasted grain, coffee and dark chocolate.

Taste/Palate: This full bodied beer has a big roasted toasted malty character with the mellow warmth of the alcohol reminding you to sip slowly and just enjoy. Foremost on the tongue are the bitter black chocolate, dark roasted grains and burnt coffee notes with some dark caramel and light molasses sweetness underneath. The mellow boozy abv creeps in and warms all the way to the finish. Its palate is heavy and viscose with just enough carbonation to keep things from getting sticky.

Notes: It's wonderfully complex and well rounded. Overall outstanding!!!

Photo of HosP
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Believe Scottfrie hooked me up with a bottle of this. Big thanks for a nice big beer. Poured into snifter.

A - Pours dark black. One finger light tan head. Nice and sticky lace clings to glass.

S - Nice flavorful aroma. Chocolate comes through the most. A little bitter chocolate. Sweet vanilla notes peek through. Roasted malts give nice end to the nose.

T - Like the nose flavors follow nicely. Bitter chocolate at first. Dark fruits and vanilla mixed in at the middle of the drink. Ends good with roasted malt, slight burnt coffee flavor. Everything balances well and gives good flavors all the way through.

M - Medium body with light carbonation.

D- Very drinkable RIS. Good flavors, nothing spectacular, but a really good RIS. This is a good one to have when not wanting to crack open something to special, but still enjoy a nice big beer.

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

2009 Vintage

A: Deep brown, at times black with a smallish cap of lightly browned head.

S: Rich cocoa liqueur, powdered chocolate, molasses, and ground coffee. Wow!

T: As with the nose, cocoa liqueur opens up with some dark berry sweetness differing slightly from other assorted dark fruits. The roast is not too heavy and works itself in more on the finish than blasting away with heavy char (I find that sometimes abrasive). Fading hop bitterness that is a bit on the earthy side but some piny residue as well.

M: Not as creamy as some RISs, but a velvety cushion intercedes between my tongue and where I believe the beer to lie. It floats heavily. Little perceived alcohol burn, but pleasantly so. It's good to know I"m drinking a big stout without being burned by the heat.

D: This is a wonderful anytime beer (assuming you like stouts at anytime as I do). I will be scouting older stores for some vintage bottles.

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

2010 vintage

A: Poured into my sniftner, this brew pours a medium black with a decent tan head. Hard to improve this beer, classic looking RIS.

S: The aroma is still hoppy after just about a year. A tasty tinge of Anise. That and rich black strap molasses and dark chocolate covered caramel round off the aroma. Classic RIS and right on for the style.

T: The flavor leans towards the dark chocolate covered caramel, with a molasses backbone. Hops are evident, but no prevalent. Notes of anise mix with small notes of alcohol on the pallet, and on the finish. Again, a classic staple of an RIS.

MF: Mouthfeel....thick, full, and creamy.

D: Drinkability is great at 10.5%

Overall, Stone IRS is a staple that every brewer should base their RIS' off of. True to the style, and the American twist with the hops that every brewery is copying today. At #13 in the top ten and over 2000 reviews, this brew is not going anywhere.

Photo of OWSLEY069
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours jet black with a medium brown head. In the aroma, coffee, scorched malt, dark fruit, a big alcohol punch, and a bunch of hops.I the taste, malty, floral and sweet, coffee, chocolate, dark fruits, and grassy hops. A hop bite and medium to big bodied mouthfeel, with a dry, roasty malt, small hop and alcohol aftertaste. A monster of an imperial stout, a nice sipper to keep the cold out.

Photo of Dijeriduster
2.85/5  rDev -34.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2010 version in a one liter growler to a tulip

A - Very dark to black with a dirty head that is thick. Maybe one finger in my tulip. Looks mean.

S - Something is missing here. Its very robust but the booze comes thru a little and its not as roasty as I've had in the past. Smells sweeter as well...

T - Eh not up to my par for Stone IRS. Keeping in mind that I loved '09 I just don't think this one has it as much. It was rather sweet and boozy, again lacking the roasty flavours I love in IRS.

M - Was thinner then usual, still felt thick upon quaffing but faded to thin as it went down. Didn't have the slight creaminess I've had in the past.

D - I know there was controversy over the change this year to belgian yeast. Clearly they also changed the base recipe as well. While I am stoked to try the belgian one, I don't think I'll be aging this years version.

Photo of ms11781
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2010 Release. Reviewed on 01/31/2011. 22oz bottle poured into tulip glass.

Pours a solid black color with a huge, foamy, light brown head. The head eventually dwindles down to about a one finger tan head. Great lacing that leaves huge gobs of foam stuck to the glass.

Strong roasted aroma up front. Dark roasted malts and some chocolate are prominent. Some coffee aromas as well as a slight hint of black licorice make their way through, along with a bit of alcohol. Aromas blend together very well and give it a very strong nose.

Very strong roasted, almost burnt flavor hit the tongue first. There are also slight coffee notes and a bit of the black licorice, but not a ton of either. The two flavors that really dominate are the roasted malt up front and a great dose of bitter chocolate at the finish. Maybe a hint of alcohol at the end as well, but not much.

Thicker body and lighter carbonation give the beer a very rich and creamy mouthfeel. A bit of bitterness from the strong chocolate flavor at the finish, but it's pleasant.

Dangerously drinkable beer for a stout of it's size. Obviously not a beer that is anything you would want to have multiple of but taking a couple hours to enjoy a bomber is very enjoyable.

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

Poured from a bomber to a snifter glass

A- Nice thick black body with a tiny, sticky white lace.

S- Roasted nuts, chocolate and sweet sugary fruit.

T- Great bursts of chocolate, raisins and vanilla all roasted together with a nice alcohol touch on the finish.

M- Bold and sweet. A mash up of different flavors and emotions with every sip.

D- Fucking great! This is a perfect example of an imperial stout. I cannot wait to have this again another night.

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

A: This beer pours a dark, dark brown, though not quite black. It has a 1 finger cappuccino colored head that has moderate retention and moderate lacing.

S: Brown sugar, milk chocolate, a tad of coffee, and a tad of raisins make up the nose. The brown sugar and milk chocolate are the dominate players though with the coffee and raisins only adding a nuanced augmentation to the overall smell.

T: I can see why this is one of the most widely reviewed, widely respected RISs. The taste is well balanced, interesting, and overall excellent. There's some roastiness up front followed by a nicely balanced bittersweet chocolate taste mixed with some dark fruits. The aftertaste is of light coffee notes with a very faint alcohol burn. Perfect for a winter night.

M: The mouthfeel is quite good. This beer is not quite as thick as something like darklord, but it is by no means thin either. There is an appropriate level of carbonation and a great aftertaste.

D: This beer tastes great, is complex and interesting, and is wonderfully balanced. All in all a great recipe for high drinkability.

Photo of Landfill21
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured this into my trusty guinness pub glass. Pours into a dark as night color. No light gets through. Has a two finger head that dwindles down into a two fingernail head and leaves lace down the glass as you drink

Has a smell of toffee, hint of coffee, and roasted nuts.

Has a nice taste, some carbonation and some alcohol taste at the end.

Has a nice mouthfeel and a superb drinkibility.

This is my first brew by Stone and I am impressed. This beer is dark, complex and goes down smooth. Definitely recommend.

Photo of OakedCanuck
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into tulip.

2009 vintage, reviewed Feb 2, 2011

A - Very black, minor light comes through along edging when held against the light and during pour. Dank yellow to brown head. Minor sticky lacing

S - Roast coffee, chocolate, vanilla, hazelnut

T - Big coffee and chocolate. Minor components are the vanilla, and nuttiness. This brew is less bitter than when fresh due to the aging. The time has helped bring out some of the small nuances that sometimes get missed on fresh imperial stouts (i.e. vanilla)

M - Creamy, thick and smooth!

D - One of the best, most proven RISs out there. Delicious

Photo of Gushue3
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Fresh '11 vintage poured from bomber into my girls Newport Storm snifter.

A- Pours very dark and can see through some of it as its poured. Nice sized 1+ finger light brown mocha head. This has some serious head retention which is now all foam and very thick. Nice lacing left after some swirls around the glass. this looks really good 4.5

S- Big ole malty nose that has lots of fig, prune and other dark fruits. A light vanilla note is there but takes a back seat to the dark fruits. 4

T- Nice mixture of flavors makes this delicious and complex. Up front i get a nice roasty malt with a dull fig sweetness. A nice warming alcohol taste makes its presence felt toward the middle along with slight bitterness. The back half of the taste is all darker fruits 4.5

M- Medium to heavy mouthfeel feels pretty on par for this style while it has a more than desired ammount of carbonation that i'd say is medium. Not at all a deal breaker because after a few swirls around the glass some of the unwanted carbonation is gone. 3.5

O- This beer is great. I love it fresh and it only gets better with age. I need to grab a bunch more of these and lay em down. 4

Photo of bs870621345
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2010 version.

Pour jet black with a small mocha head. Leaves lacing down the glass. Very nice.

Smells strongly of chocolate, vanilla, alcohol, and coffee. Alcohol is a little too prominent for my tastes.

Taste is rather alcoholic, but also the coffee, chocolate, vanilla, and some fruity tastes come through. Just wish the alcohol wasn't so in your face. Finishes with a lot of chocolate

Mouthfeel is medium and oily. Wish it was a bit thicker and not as carbonated.

Drinkability is good, I'm going to have no problem drinking the bomber, just too much alcohol is apparent in this beer.

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

$7 for bomber @ Bottles in Spokane Vlly
Spring 2010 release poured to NB globe.

A: Deep, dark brown, only partially translucent at the edge. This light reveals a deep mahogany ale. Latte foam is limited and does not do any more than line the border of the surface.

S: If somebody handed me this beer, and I didn't know who did it, and they said Stone, I would have laughed. This is a beauty. Cocoa, cocoa, licorice, graham, cinnamon, malts....this is sexy. As it warms, more a bready, toasty smell.

T: Although a bit warm still, this beer is very tasty. Coffee, cocoa (again), licorice, peppery spice. Even as warms, the heat from ABV still evident, wish this was less an issue.

M: thick, sticky. Full bodied and resonant in the mouth with low carb. This beer forces you to taste it. Fine work here.

D: Very drinkable. Don't know if it's the best RIS out there, but very, very enjoyable.

Photo of AwYeh
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours dark brown, almost black, with two fingers of fine, foamy brown head. Good head retention, even if lacing is minimal.

S/T: Smell is very rich; roasted, surprisingly smoky malts are most prominent here, backed up by a fair amount of chocolate and dark fruit, with hints of coffee and vanilla. Taste can be described the same way, although it does introduce just a little bitterness on the finish being. Alcohol is well hidden in both.

M: Medium-bodied, light carbonation; somewhat syrupy and just a bit creamy.

D: One glass of this is enjoyable, but it doesn't particularly keep me wanting more immediately. Perhaps a little too sweet to be an all-night beer, but definitely worth trying and one that I'll be returning to.

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

22 oz bomber into a pint glass.

Appearance: Opaque jet black color with a minimal tan head than nonetheless persisted and left some lacing down the side.

Smell: A blast of roasted malts - chocolate and burnt coffee. Can't pick up any noteiceable alcohol smell despite the 10.5% ABV.

Taste: Complex assortment of chocolate and coffee roasted malts. Hop bitterness definitely comes out more here than in the nose and nicely complements the rich malt backbone. Alcohol is barely evident, which greatly adds to the drinkability. Mouthfeel is full bodied and chewy, despite the fact this one's been sitting on the shelf for well over a year. Very impressive offering from Stone.

Photo of ZeroSignal
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz bottle from the Spring 2008 release

A - Pitch black with a scant mocha colored head; what is there hangs around and sticks nicely to the sides of the glass

S - Medium roasted coffee, sweeter chocolate nose, sweeter alcohol

T&M - Has an earthy, somewhat ashy malty quality with sweet alcohol that doesn't generate much heat, likely due to the age on this one. Baker's chocolate with bits of coffee bean. Somewhat thick feeling and medium to lighter medium body, with a mostly clean, somewhat sweet finish. After sitting for a bit a light bitterness reveals itself that gives a little more depth and balance that I found myself looking for after the first sip or two

D - I was looking forward to cracking open an aged bottle of this, and it did not disappoint. Flavors are clean and easy to identify, but yet does not fail to be complex in it's simplicity.

Photo of brotherloco
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2010 Release

Smells of semisweet chocolate, licorice, and a bit of alcohol. Taste follows through with the chocolate malt, middle brings a smokey roasted flavor. I can taste the hops right at the "bitter end", this is also where the alcohol sneaks out and lets its presence be known.

A slight knock against the stronger Stone beers I've had, the alcohol flavor isn't as hidden as I like. But overall still a damn good flavor.

Photo of brew3crew
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-pitch black with a moca head
S-malt and coffee really come through
T-coffee centric. Very dark and malty. I like.
M-full bodied and really smooth
D-dangerous. This is crazy drinkable. Gone in 15 min

2006 vintage at a stone event in cincy at lackmans

Photo of tko741
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

(2009 Vintage) Pours like liquid night into a Palm tulip glass. Comes out oily and smooth with a decent off-mocha head...expected a bit more head, but I don't buy beer to stare at it.

One of the best smelling beers I've ever come across. Initially, it's like sticking your nose in a fresh chunk of dark chocolate, then into a bag of roasted vanilla beans. A slight maltiness comes through as well.

Upon sipping, lots of spongy mouthfeel with lovely chocolate, dark sugar, roasty malts and a nice dry finish. Hops are almost undetectable, but the beer remains nicely balanced and never gets too sweet despite its flavors. Some very fleeting coffee notes dance around for a bit after the sip. Perhaps a tiny bit of an alcohol warmess is what sums up an incredibly rich Imperial.

It's an intense experience, but if I had access to more, it'd be enjoyed again and again.

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

'08 poured in snifter

Look - Black as motor oil, one finger width head a medium tan color then dissipates to barley a ring of head remaining

Smell - Sweetness, then roasted coffee, and a small hint of chocolate

Taste - Dark fig, malty sweetness, the coffee and chocolate are a lot fainter than what were in the nose.

Mouthfeel - When compared to earlier vintages the mouthfeel is a little thinner, but not in a bad way. There is still slickness but it doesn't stay on the palate as much, carbonation is right on spot for the style.

Drinkability - I normally like the fresh (4-4.5) but with 2-3 years, it is fantastic.

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

22oz bottle into tulip.

Pours with a very short brown head that fades to a ring over the obligatory opaque black body.

Aromas of licorice root, roasted peanuts, molasses and milk chocolate sweetness. Vinous qualities pounce thru after it warmed a bit.

Good roastiness on the palate, with charred malt, dark chocolate nibs, vanilla bean, and a solid load of hop bitterness in the very finish.

MF is fairly creamy for a RIS, but certainly enough carbonation to cut thru the thickness.

Ferocious drinkability for a 10.5% RIS. One less touch of bitter makes it a 5.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 7,287 ratings.