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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.

6,552 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,552
Reviews: 2,565
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 475
Gots: 1,381 | FT: 78
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: 6,552 | Reviews: 2,565 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of joerodiii

New York

3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a beautiful, thick black in the glass with minimal head. The aroma is nice -- hints of roasted barley and chocolate with a strong smell of alcohol. The beer hits the mouth with a moderate but noticeable taste of chocolate. The mouthfeel is appropriately thick with low to moderate carbonation. Unfortunately, then the alcohol takes over. As it hits the back of the mouth, there is a strong bitterness. There is no noticeable hop flavor, but it is very bitter tasting, maybe a bit too bitter. I really think this beer (from spring '08) needs to age for a couple of years to mellow and balance out.

A friend described this beer as very drinkable...kind of like a session RIS. I disagree. The combination of bitterness and strong alcohol flavor made the bomber tough to finish. I look forward to reviewing a bottle that has been cellared.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2009 23:35:18 | More by joerodiii
Photo of JEdmund


3.13/5  rDev -28%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Black with just a brief, tan film of a head

Only the slightest aroma detectable; getting mostly cocoa notes

Taste & Mouthfeel
Surprisingly thin body and low carbonation--big letdown; fairly tame from beginning to end; good flavors of cocoa and roast in the mid-palate; pretty small overall for a RIS.

This was a big letdown for me. It's raved about and Stone makes other beers I've really enjoyed. My bottle had been in storage for approximately eight months, so maybe it's at an off time or just an off bottle. I hope that's the case and the next one I try will impress me.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2009 13:50:45 | More by JEdmund
Photo of thirtysixbelow


4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

a - almost opaque black color with a creamy chocolaty head. looks very thick and quite delicious.

s - a slight hop aroma at first, extremely roasted with lots of chocolate and alcohol.

t - sweet, high alcohol, chocolate and caramel, very roasted which brings out a lot of bitterness, dry finish

m - very creamy and full

d - great balance and creaminess, the alcohol and price take away from drinkability but the flavor is excellent.

Serving type: bottle

01-08-2009 08:37:56 | More by thirtysixbelow
Photo of BuffaloTapHugger

New York

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a 12 oz. tumbler.

Nice Head, settling ever so softly. Smells of chocolate and berries with robust coffee in toe. Aroma aroma. Gulp. Thick and rich, coating the palate. Lacing on the glass for good visual. Big bite off the bat, very smooth afterword. Bold flavors of the coffee roast come heavily into play. The high abv. is certainly noticed, but can easily be forgotten.

This IRS is world class! Recommended to both friend and foe.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2009 02:06:42 | More by BuffaloTapHugger
Photo of jstilwell


4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Found these in the small bottle. With no one to share with tonight, it made for the perfect after dinner size.

A: Thick Dark Chocolate Color. (See image above) There is no light shining through this one. Nice thick light brown head results from a standard pour.

S: Hints of Dark roasted coffee and strong alcohol.

T&M: Mild bitter beginning followed by serious explosion of coffee, chocolate and chestnuts. Sap splatterd tree bark comes to mind for some reason. This is decadent chewy and complex for sure. As with all of the quality stouts, mouth swishing recreates the taste cycle and brings out more subtle characteristics. I think I am now getting some plums and black pepper.

D: Oh no, not more than one of these. The bitter ending and high alcohol make it prohibitive. The alcohol is strongly apparent but I would not have guessed it to be close to 11 ABV. A drinkable offering as compared to others in the same ABV class.

All dark beer lovers need to try this one. It is a great representation of the style, and has some unique qualities to it. Powerful brew indeed.

Serving type: bottle

01-07-2009 01:43:33 | More by jstilwell
Photo of trbergman


4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter.

A - Black, absolutely opaque beer with a thin cinnamon colored head.

S - Coffee, dark chocolate, licorice, dried figs.

T - Bitter chocolate, black coffee, graininess from roasted barley and dark malts. Hints of raisin, dried figs, and licorice. There's an assertive hop bitterness, but it's more than balanced by the rich malts.

M - Dense, viscous, round, and full-bodied.

D - This is a slow sipping brew, perfect for a nice, lengthy contemplation every now and then.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 06:23:36 | More by trbergman
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours thick and black, with lots of ruby edges for an RIS. The deep brown colored head is smallish but musters up a good webwork of lace on the glass. There's plenty of molasses, cocoa powder, fresh ground coffee and roast barley in the nose. The addition of high alpha bitterness and soy sauce in the taste give this beer a wonderful depth of flavor. No flour Chocolate cake and cappucino show with warmth. The mouthfeel is very thick with soft, velvety cabonation. Roasted barley, coca and hop bitterness makes up the long dry finish.

Alcohol is remarkably low key for 11% ABV.

This is an exceptional RIS with an immensely rich and complex flavor. Should be sipped to enjoy the nuances.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2009 05:24:12 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of tmoneyba


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz Bottle.

Poured dark black with a average light brown creamy head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Aroma was moderate roasted malt with a nutty tone. Flavor was a complex heavy roasted malt, coffee and long heavy bittersweet finish of long duration. Full body with a light alcohol bite.

Good brew.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2009 23:16:59 | More by tmoneyba
Photo of JoshuaCain


4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pours black, not a single ray of light can penetrate. 1 finger of head that dissipates quickly. little lacing.
aroma is very deep roasted malt, black coffee, nondescript sweetness, a little singe of alcohol.
taste is sweet and charred, with the malt up front and some heavy fruitiness (fig and prune) behind. a strong alcohol backbone with an earthiness and resin flavor coming through in the finish.
mouthfeel is very thick and rich, very enjoyable.
overall a drinkable brew, despite the strength.

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2009 00:16:11 | More by JoshuaCain
Photo of Jmoore50


4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really a good Imperial Stout. With Stone Brewing Company you can almost always guarantee a great beer, and this is no exception.

The bottle is cool, the Stone Gargoyle with a Russian cap on. What I like about the Stone 22oz bombers is the text on the backside of the bottle. Always an interesting read.

The pour of this stout is what a stout should be, a dark pour. Pretty heavy and no light comes through the glass. With my pour I got almost no head, like half a finger or so.

The smell is good, one of the strongest characteristics of this beer is the alcohol. You can smell it right away and taste it immediately, which is so so good.

The taste is really good, no outstanding flavor pops out, just a combination of coffee, some pine or spice, and alcohol. Really drinkable also, really fun to finish. Two or three of these suckers would get you pretty lit. When drinking a good craft beer, getting a little drunk is just that makes the taste double in pleasure.

Will buy all that I find. Will drink all that I have. Truly a great Imperial Stout.


Serving type: bottle

01-01-2009 03:50:06 | More by Jmoore50
Photo of Bananaman


4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Limited spring 2008 release.

This is the second beer I'm trying from Stone Brewing Co. and I am amazed! Stone must be one of the highest quality brewers in the U.S.

The beer pours a black color with a small beige head. The bottles from Stone are almost like art, so I will save one for sure.

Smells amazing of dark chocolate, roasted malts and some aroma hops. Really good smell!

The taste is dominated by dark chocolate, roasted malts with notes of anis almost absintish notes.

Amazing beer! I'm lucky to have three more bottles.

Serving type: bottle

12-31-2008 15:47:32 | More by Bananaman
Photo of Wackyfoot


4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer kicks you in the balls and then comes back screaming for more. It really does pour the color of motor oil too, which is just lovely. Heavy alcohol flavor here as well as a big coffee taste. Very bold smelling as well, big coffee aroma. So good it'll make you slap yo mama!

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2008 07:45:34 | More by Wackyfoot
Photo of popery


4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Limited Spring 2008 Release 12oz bottle. A thick, smooth Imperial Stout with phenomenal depth of flavor and a round, luscious mouthfeel. The liquid is opaque and black topped by a small but sticky dark brown head. The nose is rich with perfectly toasted malt. The flavor is vast and superior, in my opinion, to many fancily barrel-aged stouts, not that I don't love a good barrel-aged beer. Stone just manages to pack in massive toasted malt flavor without adding in outside complexity. The malt is mostly chocolate with some coffee on top of wonderfully burnt toast. It's not nearly as roasted as some Imperial Stouts but the roasted flavor is just right. There's still some hop bitterness without too much age on the bottle. There are a number of flavors that will take me a few more years of beer tasting to describe adequately. The feel is incredible, lush, smooth, thick but never cloying or sticky. It's a remarkably drinkable beer for the alcohol level and the depth of flavor. You just have to keep going back for more. I wish that I had a case of this stuff, and come Spring 2009, I will. Absolutely phenomenal beer.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2008 23:03:19 | More by popery
Photo of lured2fish


4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Limited Spring 2008 Release - bottle

Wow, this beer is black as night with a thin, creamy brown, lasting head.

Taste immediately reminds me of dark chocolate and coffee with a lasting, but good aftertaste. The 10.8% ABV is not overhwelming to the flavor at all.

Not an extremely thick stout and reasonably drinkable. This beer was a treat and I'd like to get several more bottles to cellar for a while. Highly recommend this beer!

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2008 02:18:05 | More by lured2fish
Photo of HeyItsChili


4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Pours dark brown/black with a medium tan head that lingers a while.

S - Dark bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, oats, dark roasted malts. Brown sugar.

T - Dark choclate, coffee,

M - Thick and viscous, crisp at the back of the tongue.

D - Very tasty, the taste sort of mellows as it sits and warms, as another reviewer mentioned. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2008 22:11:47 | More by HeyItsChili
Photo of LilMatrix


3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz Limited 2008 Release

A - The darkness that pours from the bottle lets zero light through and the thin head and lacing that forms does not stay for long.

S - Roasty aroma... woody and subtle fruity sweetness with light alcohol.

T - Dark Chocolate, coffee, slightly sweet and a little bit of the back of the throat astringency that my palate picks up on some stouts. Tastes better as it warms to room temp and as you drink.

M - Viscous and coats the mouth with low carbonation; reminiscent of a robust coffee.

D - ABV is hidden very well and I can imagine sipping this for quite a while... dangerous.

A very solid IRS and a very yummy beer indeed!

Serving type: bottle

12-21-2008 04:23:05 | More by LilMatrix
Photo of doctchad


4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. Stone always seems to produce good and this one is no exception. I have never had this beer on tap only from a bottle, being on the east coast i am not sure of any bars in the area that serve it on tap, only bottles. I have been about to find it in most high quality beer stores that ones that know what good beer is. This beer has good dark color, moderate thickness, and a great smooth taste, I highly recommend this beer to people who enjoy a stout.


Serving type: bottle

12-18-2008 15:52:23 | More by doctchad
Photo of GordonQuid


4.65/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stone Russian Imperial Stout poured jet black with deep purple, deep mahogany hues as I swirl it in a 16oz goblet. A thick creamy ¾ inch head with thick leggy lacing is present initially. The head dissipates to tan ring around the top of the glass, lacing is nice and thick.

The smell is that of dark roasted chocolate, black malts, alcohol soaked prunes/raisins and nugget hops right in the front of the nose. From the mere smell of this I can't wait to take a nice-long sip.

Taste is very heavy and rich roasted barley, chocolate and black malts. Turbinado sugar soaked dates and raisins and a blend of nugget and fuggle hops produce a slight dry finish. However I am blown away by the dynamics of this incredible elixir. Fucking incredibly SEDUCTIVE!
As this warms I can pick out some fruity esters, caramel sweetness but still get a nice dry finish with subtle hops lingering. Excellent Russian Imperial Stout with a dynamic profile only the brewer's at Stone can produce. My hat is off to you gentlemen....

FULL bodied! This brew is a drinking experience. I would suggest having only one or sharing one with a good friend or a beautiful voluptuous woman or two cute chicks who are willing to try new things.... (?) Not a session beer. Too much of this stuff will lead you to wonder your neighborhood naked looking for the local KFC.

Be careful and enjoy the experience!

-Gordon Quid

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2008 20:15:06 | More by GordonQuid
Photo of mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle bought online from Beersofeurope.co.uk...

Poured pitch black with no hint of colour even when held up to the light. Dirty nut brown head poured big thick and foamy then faded slowly to decent covering... some decent lines of lacing...

Aroma - Tons of rich roasted and charred dark chocolate maltiness, sweet coffee, lots of treacle and brown sugar sweetness, some sooty like smokiness, some dark fruits (blackcurrents, dates), some pine notes, toasted (maybe charred ?) fruit loaf, some earthiness, milky notes...

Taste - Sweet dark chocolate, lots of roasted / charred bready malts, barely any alcohol noticeable, treacle and molasses sweetness, dark spicy fruits (raisins, date,some figs), piney and grassy hop bitterness, traces of piney resin, light liquorice...

Feel - Fairly smooth and creamy with a little sharpness coming through... fairly full bodied... for a 10.8% brew this is dangerously drinkable..

Overall - Another top notch US impy stout and up with the best i've tried... highly recommended...

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2008 09:52:55 | More by mdagnew
Photo of magictrokini


4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had to re-rate this after having the AleSmith Speedway stout. Pours black with a thick brown head. Great lacing. Currants, dark chocolate, and coffee in the aroma. Taste is too fruity with currants and prunes. I like the chocolate/stiff coffee base, but the currants are too much. While this is a very good Russian Imperial, It can not hold a candle to the Speedway. This is fruitier and sweeter, with a strong alcoholic bite. I will not turn this down if put in front of me, but I'll wish it was an AleSmith.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2008 18:41:16 | More by magictrokini
Photo of zeff80


4.59/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, black as night color with a small, light brown, foamy head. It left soapy sheets of lace like legs on a red wine.

S - It smelled of sweet chocolate, roasted malt, floral notes and sweet fruits.

T - It tasted like candy sugar, licorice, roasted malt and strong chocolate and caramel flavors. A solid bitter hoppy kick balanced out the sweetness.

M - It was soft, smooth and still sharp with a warming alcohol presence. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a truly great brew. One of the most balanced RIS's I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2008 17:20:38 | More by zeff80
Photo of lynx1245


4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2008 release opened in the middle of December.

Appearance: This is almost as black as they come. Held it right next to a 100W light bulb and still couldn't see any hint of light through it. Crazy. However, the awesome dark tan head disappeared way too quickly and left very little lacing.

Smell: Heavy coffee and chocolate aroma. Kind of like a mocha. My buddy seems to think it smells like red wine but I don't smell that so much.

Taste: Big roasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate. It has a little bite to it towards the end of the sip. Starts to taste much better as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Not much carbonation but very dry finish. Really invites you to drink more. The high alcohol isn't very noticeable.

Drinkability: One of the more drinkable RISs I've had. Not too robust and the 10.8% alcohol is hidden nicely. I think it would go great with some food.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2008 07:18:04 | More by lynx1245
Photo of CBowser


4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Dark black, so dark i can see my reflection in the beer glass. A nice head with some lacing as it is consumed.

S: Nothing special here, good but not great. Smells sweet with a hint of coffee and vanilla.

T: Bingo, roasted coffee, sweet vanilla, great lingering aftertaste, not too sweet, not too bitter, just right.

M: Good mix of carbonation and smoothness.

D: Exceptionally smooth, very drinkable, tops among the RIS's I have tried thus far.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2008 03:04:54 | More by CBowser
Photo of Greggy


3.53/5  rDev -18.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a pitch black color, with thin tan head. Minimal lacing.

S- Big tawny port aromatics, butterscotch, a touch of alcohol.

T- Starts out boozy with dark tawny port flavors whilst being covered in chocolate and coffee. Overall, the booziness hurts the taste.

M- Low carbonation, boozy and overall lacks a big mouthfeel despite being 10%+

D- Kind of boozy and sadly reminds me of a <$20 tawny port.

Serving type: bottle

12-14-2008 21:34:34 | More by Greggy
Photo of madtowndmb1


4.1/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one in my cellar for a while now and I finally tried it last night. It was what I thought it would be by all the reviews here. It poured a jet black with a tan lace around the edges. Smelled of heavy malt, chocolate and the slightest touch of coffee. The taste was great! Smooth, tasty filling, exactly what I wanted last night after work. It was hard to pick up any real distinct flavors but it worked. There was of course a malty/dark chocolate sweetness to it, but not as much coffee as I expected.
This is a very good R.I.S. if your looking for one and the price is right too. This is a go to R.I.S. for me, factoring the price and taste!

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 18:02:08 | More by madtowndmb1
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 6,552 ratings.