Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 6,789 | Reviews: 2,574 | Display Reviews Only:
4.1/5 rDev -5.5%
Got a case of this to age, but wanted to try one fresh first. From memory, it tastes like a car bomb. Let's see if the 2009 batch is as good.
Appearance is jet black with a little bit of head (thin film) and thick, sticks to the glass when jostled. Smell is of coffee/burnt malt. Taste is, as before, like a car bomb, in that it has a little bit of sweetness, a lot of alcohol, the roasted malt flavor and a bit of bitterness. Can't wait for this to mellow out. Definitely sticks in the mouth. Had to drink pretty slow with the alcohol.
05-02-2009 02:14:31 | More by dborginis
3.7/5 rDev -14.7%
Review from 11/27/2008:
2008 vintage. Pours a jet black with a very small dark khaki head. Smell was muted, but had aromas of must, hops, very bitter chocolate, anise, and dark fruits. Taste was average at best, but did have a full-bodied mouthfeel. I have come to the realization that I enjoy stouts much more if they have coffee in them. If they don't, I find them underwhelming.
EDIT from 5/5/2009:
2008 vintage. I bumped the taste score up a 1/2 a point. The year of aging has improved the taste somewhat. It's still on the boozy side, but more flavors have appeared.
05-01-2009 17:38:03 | More by gameface23
4.9/5 rDev +12.9%
2007 Vintage on-tap at Flying Saucer Charlotte served in a tulip glass a nice opaque black with a thin tan head. Aroma was a wonderful blend of bakers cocoa, fresh ground coffee and roasted malts. Taste was a wonderfully complex roasty blend of cocoa and coffee that gets even better as it warms, reaching the point where it is meal in itself, or a least a very fancy dessert. The beer is certainly on the heavy side, but age has served it well providing a great smoothness. This one was truly fantastic, enough for me to want to pick up a bunch of this beer and age it for years to come.
05-01-2009 16:34:26 | More by atsprings
3.9/5 rDev -10.1%
Vintage 2007 bomber into pint glass on 4/29/09. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.
A - Poured a pure black body with one-finger burnt mocha head that quickly diminished to a thin, patchy veil and deposited spotty lace on the glass.
S - Mild soy sauce character with some bitter chocolate notes and dark roasted malt character. Aroma wasn't as strong as I was anticipating.
T - Milk chocolate and roasted malt up front with a subtle soy sauce character. The bitterness builds up steam as the liquid warmed up. Hint of earthy, leafy hops appears in the finish.
M - Medium to full bodied with a slick, oily texture and soft carbonation resulting in a smooth mouthfeel overall. Mild alcohol warmth on the tongue.
D - Very good RIS, but not as mind-blowing as I had hoped. Regardless, this was a nice vintage brew that was quite smooth, tasty and pretty mellow overall.
04-30-2009 15:57:00 | More by ffejherb
4.5/5 rDev +3.7%
I loved the look of this beer, almost like pouring chocolate syrup from an amber bottle. Very viscous and dark, simply black with no visible carbonation. The pour forms a thick mousse like cookie dough colored head. There was adequate lacing in the glass when I was done.
It smells malty with tons of roasted nuts and a strong hint of alcohol. Maybe a little coffee in the background but not a significant contributor.
Tastes smokey and bitter, the coffee comes through much more so in the flavor than the smell. A very nutty taste that reminds me of dry roasted peanuts. You pick up the alcohol on the finish.
Medium to heavy bodied with great carbonation. Just enough carbonation to let you know its there. Very smooth and viscous, leaves your mouth feeling somewhat oily.
IMHO the ABV is the only inhibiting factor. Could have the will and desire to drink 8 of these brews but would never make it. Great taste, excellent body, all around a terrific beer.
04-30-2009 15:51:48 | More by ncstateplaya
4.78/5 rDev +10.1%
A: murky black with soft burnt sienna edges. Huge and glorious cocoa chocolate colored cap that maintains a presence well after the pour. After the blob of foamed chocolate melted away the bubbles that remained exuded a soapy shine. The lacing provided light blobs of film coating the glass in random order
S: the nose is just as amazing as the look. Huge roasted malts, slightly blackened. Bittersweet chocolates, cocoa powder, and smokey roasted coffee beans. I can even pull some fudge brownie notes. It just has that vibe and definition
T: a wonder beer! Huge dark chunk-roasted malt goodness. Flavors reminiscent of black currants, cocoa crusted bitter coffee beans, a slab or two of molasses, and some of the finest bitter chocolate chunks I have tasted in liquid form. What took me so long to get a hold of and drink this? Believe it or not a few hops make a bold showing, very delicate. The green cones barely cut through on my malted, chocolate, and anise drenched tongue. Alcohol notes are in the mix and seem too fit like a glove, very harmonious. This is a five!!!
M: the body is a perfect match for the flavors. This is a thick sheet of velvet on the tongue...it has the velvet touch. Incredibly smooth and delicate with powerfully harnessed flavors. I can remember having thicker stouts, but not many
D: This beer is a monster and any stout lover is not complete without giving this bad boy a shot. I had a hard time finding anything wrong with this one...maybe a little strong on alcohol at times? Naw! Take it, drink it, love it
04-29-2009 02:22:10 | More by Magpie14
4.33/5 rDev -0.2%
Appearance: Black with a very dark tan head. A finger of head that just sticks to the glass.
Smell: Roasted malt and coffee smell for sure in this one.
Taste: It hits you with some coffee and a bit of a bitterness. Really has a taste of bitter like dark chocolate to it. Definitely some sweetness to this beer. There was a very strong taste of alcohol to it. Some roasted taste to it as well.
Mouthfeel: Wow this is a big beer with some nice carbonation on it. It really has some cream to the taste. Very thick to the point of almost syrupy.
Drinkability: Well the alcohol taste was a little bit too much, but its wonderful mouthfeel just blew my mind. This is a seriously good beer, but a bomber of this and you can call it a night.
04-28-2009 02:21:17 | More by OnThenIn
4.22/5 rDev -2.8%
pours a jet black with a thin brown head that dissipates quickly, and good lacing.
smell is faint, cocoa, coffee, some malts.
taste is smooth, thick, dark and milk chocolate, some coffee, some roasted malt, some licorice, touch of smoke, and a little vanilla, ends dry and somewhat bitter.
04-28-2009 02:05:55 | More by froghop
4.58/5 rDev +5.5%
Amazing beer, one of the best Stouts I've had. It is very dark and smokey, with hints of bacon. More flavors and aromas developed as the beer warmed. Unfortunately I didn't have glass to appreciate the beer fully.
It had an amazing mouthfeel, very deep and thick. Strongly recommended. Next time I'll buy a case.
Note this was the Spring 2008 vintage
04-27-2009 22:08:38 | More by kingcrowing
4/5 rDev -7.8%
Pours a really dark and syrupy dark mahogany. With a really thin creamy foam.
Has a nice coffee and brown sugar scent with molasses tones. Tastes fantastic with coffee and molasses. I also taste cloves really mild chocolate. This is a 2007 on tap and the tastes are really mellow. It is really great on tap and smooth. Really easy to drink.
04-26-2009 03:24:59 | More by HatTrick
3.95/5 rDev -9%
This beer pours a think black color. The head is a half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into minimal lacing. The aroma is roasted malt, graham crackers, dark chocolate, and alcohol. The taste is like the aroma. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied which is a bit to thin for a RIS for my liking. Overall, this is a nice Imperial Stout, but I don't find it to be all that complex. I could drink it again, but there are other big stouts out there that I like more.
04-25-2009 20:47:33 | More by KarlHungus
4.38/5 rDev +0.9%
2009 Vintage 22oz bomber poured into a pint glass - 10.5% ABV. Tasted on 4/25/2009.
Appearance - Pours pitch black, with minimal head. Head has a slight tan hue, but nowhere as dark and tan as stone's 12th anniversary stout. Nice lacing down the side of the glass.
Smell - hints of roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, roasted (but not burnt) malts. Real nice and appealing aroma.
Taste - Super complex -- can definitely taste the roasted malts and coffee. The malts come on pretty strong and taste slightly burnt. The slightly bitter finish is done pretty well. Real bold flavor that stays strong from start to end. Slight hoppy taste, but nothing like most of the stone beers. There is a bit of a thick syrupy taste, but it's not sweet, but rather a roasted and smoked taste.
Mouthfeel - thick and carbonated -- tends to stick to your mouth afterwards, but executed above average. A little bit too much carbonation for my tastes. Gets better the further you drink, although still not exceptional (partially lending to the thick, burnt, syrupy like texture).
Drinkability - Smooth, complex, and a real in your face flavor. A little bit more complex than most Stone beers, but definitely tastes like a Stone beer. As with most Stone beers, the high APV isn't apparent in the taste, but hits you later. The high carbonation also puts this slightly back a bit.
Overall -- Some of the more complex flavors probably will come out better with aging, but definitely worthwhile. Overall, the burnt tone is a little excessive, but regardless on the good side. I'm a big fan of complex beers (and a bit of a hophead on the side), and although this doesn't have the hops (I wouldn't expect so in a stout anyways), it does get high marks. However, from stone's selection, I'd probably prefer the everything but the kitchen sink stout (pilot beer #5) or the 12th anniversary bitter oatmeal chocolate stout much more over this one.
Finishing Notes -- Recommend pouring this into a pint glass straight rather than against the side to take off some of the carbonation tones. I have yet to try this on tap, but it probably would be significantly better than the bottle in my opinion. The burnt taste is a little much, but the other complex flavors make up for it.
04-25-2009 05:22:19 | More by WaXHeLL
4.25/5 rDev -2.1%
Thankyou Stone for deciding to distribute to Florida. Also thanks to Total Wine for being a kick ass store.
Poured out of the painted-glass bomber into my Brooklyn brewery curvy "pint glass". I had to violently pour it, to coax out the one finger tan head. Laces quite well.
Smells pretty good. A pungent charred meat and smoke odor is the dominant characteristic. A fair amount of chocolate is also in their, fighting with the smoke to be noticed. There is also some sort of light fruity note that i can't pin down, (maybe peach or pear).
Tastes fantastic. Chocolatey and roasty. A hint of dark berries peeks through. A bit of spice, which i really enjoy in Russian Imperial Stouts. Overall the smoked meat and chocolate dominate.
Drinkability and mouthfeel are about what you would expect from such a dynamic beer. One bomber is more than enough for tonight. RIS isn't my favorite style, but i'm glad i picked up an extra bottle for the weekend.
04-24-2009 21:47:34 | More by JAA
4.28/5 rDev -1.4%
22oz bomber poured into a snifter; 2009 Vintage
Pours an ink black with hints of brown along the edges. A thin, one-finger mocha head that subsides to a thin layer and leaves a decent amount of lacing.
Aroma appears to be pretty straightforward. Cherries, bittersweet dark belgian chocolate, solvent alcohol, grassy hops, and roasted (almost charred) malt.
Bittersweet Belgian chocolate and dark cherries mix together with roasted malt and a heavy dose of solvent alcohol...which leads to some moderate burning. The flavor mimics the nose with no real surprises other than the heat from the booze. I know its 10%, but its not hidden at all. Kind of welcome, but not so much.
Silky and creamy with a perfect amount of carbonation to lift it off the tongue.
The booze really slows me down, as it should, but it a bad way. The flavors alone are solid, but not robust. Not as bold and in your face as some others on the market, but a damn fine example of the style.
04-24-2009 03:34:51 | More by ColForbinBC
4.28/5 rDev -1.4%
Pours almost opaque, with slight hint of light penetrating at the edges. Nice thick mocho choko latte brown bubbly foam, give way to a swirling belgian lace. Milk chocolate, light roast coffee, slight char and smoke aromas. Chocolate entry, again some nice sumatra coffee flavors mix with dry fruit undertones in the finish. Nice velvety feel blankets the tongue. Etanol is definatly a neighbor here, but never bites you. A nice warming component and extremely well integrated. Great stuff.
I've had many a cellard version of this, but I think this is one that drinks sublime enough fresh. Smoke'em if you got'em boys and Girls.
04-23-2009 23:58:43 | More by drunkmonk
4.45/5 rDev +2.5%
A- Dark black with a big tan/brown head that leaves a nice lace down the glass.
S- Toasted and burnt malts with some notes of dark fruit and molasses.
T- Sweeter malts, dark fruit flavors and molasses come in followed closely by the toasted/burnt malt flavors. Alcohol esters are very noticeable near the finish. Leaves a linger sweet/toasted flavor in the mouth.
M- Syrupy and smooth with a good carbonation level.
D- An outstanding representation of the style. Due to my current taste preferences it's not a beer I will be drinking too often.
04-23-2009 21:32:53 | More by TommyW
3.65/5 rDev -15.9%
Picked up a Bomber at Jungle Jim's.
This beer looks great. Nice head, pitch black body. Promising. The smell was nice also. Some coffee, roasted malts, sweet. I found myself a little disappointed with the taste of this beer. This beer gets better as it warms. The booziness dissipates and it becomes more complex.
I must say, I'm surprised to read all the "complex" reviews for this beer. To me, for the style, this beer lacks the complexity and depth of some of the others (ie. Blackout Stout, Expedition Stout, Storm King, etc). It's fairly boozy also. Could have done a better job hiding the alcohol.
It's an okay beer. I'd happily drink it again but there are better options available to me.
04-23-2009 13:42:00 | More by Brew33
4.58/5 rDev +5.5%
Bottle Pours a thick dark brown with a creamy tan head. The head laces well and seems to last. Has a great aroma of coffee, chcolate, and a touch of black cherry soda. The aroma is exceptional. Has a good carbination and a good mouthfeel. The flavors are very good and complex. Blended very well with only a slight alcohol burn but it is a good one. Has a solid finish and a good aftertaste. This has a full body. It is a hearty stout which is great.
04-23-2009 07:05:45 | More by Birdiebeagle
4.1/5 rDev -5.5%
A- Opaque crude oil black. Relatively thin chocolate milk head. Moderate lacing.
S- Roasted malt, dark chocolate, a little alcohol, some cherry, vanilla. Not extremely strong. Fades to only coffee as it goes on.
T- Interesting here. It seems to always be changing. I got a beefy (tasted like a good steak!!!) taste at the beginning (which was very strange). It evolved into roasted, almost burnt, malt with some oak-y or earthy notes. I get some vanilla, some cooked vegetables, a little hoppy bitterness. Boozy. Complex (which is good), but I'm not digging some of these flavors.
M- Medium-plus bodied. Smooth, slightly prickly from the alcohol.
D- Pretty good, moved through the bomber pretty quickly, but nothing incredible.
I really wanted to like this beer, but I was kind of disappointed. Maybe it needed more age on it.
3.5, 4, 4, 4, 4--Overall: 3.9 (B+)
A- A nice tan head (about an inch). Opaque black. Good head for a high ABV stout. Head fades relatively rapidly, however.
S- Some chocolate, some coffee, big malt--biscuity, bready. Decidedly less phenolic than before.
T- Good... I thought I had a bad one last time. Slightly spicy, good coffee, deep dark malt. Slight hop bitterness (very slight). Oaky and earthy. A little boozy. Slight alcohol bite.
M- Velvety and smooth. Carbonation doesn't hamper the mouthfeel at all, but ups the drinkability for a stout like this.
D- Carbonation ups this. Good, a good, enjoyable drink.
Overall, much better than my first review. Dark and malty, a good stout. I would still prefer Yeti or Storm King or FBS or Raspy. Kind of similar to Raspy though.
04-23-2009 06:30:17 | More by LordAdmNelson
4.65/5 rDev +7.1%
a: Pours pitch black with minimal head that is also dark, like peanut butter.
s: Deep, roasty malt. Dissipates as time goes on.
t: Roasted espresso with a slightly sweet linger. Smoky. Each sip is slightly different as the temperature gets closer to room temp.
m: Thick & chewy with medium carbonation.
d: I can't believe that this is +10%. I taste some alcohol, but am very surprised how smooth and easy this is.
04-23-2009 00:21:51 | More by RuinationMan
4.75/5 rDev +9.4%
Presentation- This is the spring 2009 batch purchased from the most awesome Charleston Beer Exchange in Charleston, South Carolina. It was filled on 4/19/09 and consumed on 4/22/09.
Appearance- With a refridgerated 3 day old growler there is perhaps a slight pressure release so on a normal pour it did not result in an overly abundant head. The consistancy is thicker than less malty beers but the motor oil comparison is kind of cliche' at this point. It is noticably "weighty" when it hits the glass. The lacework descends sharply when the stout begins to warm and the espresso-like color makes you know you're into a chewy, malty beer experience.
Smell- Aside from the before mentioned espresso comparison, this stout(like most others)comes alive when it gets warmer. Huge grainy notes on a cold first pour but after the temp rises we're running the whole gamut of coffee, currant, dark chocolate, alcohol and bready aromas. One thing I've noticed with this stout is the mellow hoppy smell- which surprised me considering this is a Stone beer. I expected a more pronounced hop aroma.
Taste- Way complex- completely changes character when the temperature changes. Deceptivly drinkable..until the 10.5 ABV kicks in. We're talking classic roasted malt, chewy stout and bread pudding-like flavors. However, there's no cloying sweetness which marrs other potentially great RIS's. One thing that surprised me, however, was the restraint on the hop drop- not what I expected from a Stone beer(and I LOVE Stone beers).
Notes- Like most of you, I LOVE this RIS. It warms the soul and after drinking it it gives you the feeling that all is well in the world. Stone is consistant in making awesome beers and I'm glad that I can get it here in the Low Country.
04-22-2009 15:51:21 | More by rgctlc
4.63/5 rDev +6.7%
Spring '09 batch
Appearance- Pours a light brown one finger head and an opaque liquid that is both the color and viscosity of very used motor oil.
Aroma- Chocolate, roasty coffee and some bready yeast aroma.
Taste- Well balanced between roasted coffee, chocolate and a slight molasses and dark fruit sweetness. Just enough hop bitterness rounds out a somewhat dry finish.
Mouthfeel-Middling carbonation, chewy body and palatefilling texture and flavors.
Drinkability- Surprisingly drinkable for such a huge ABV. Smoothness and sheer flavor seems to eclipse alcohol.
04-22-2009 03:54:06 | More by olmatty
4.78/5 rDev +10.1%
Pitch black and opaque, no light passing through this beast. The head is very slight and a cinnamon color. It dissipates quicking except for the outer edge. The lacing paces the beer by about 1/2 inch.
What a smell. I popped the cap on this and let it breathe for a minute while I rinsed out my favorite drinking glass. I could literally smell the roasted malt and coffee scents from 6 feet away, and strong. Once poured it really opened up and released strong scents of molasses and dark fruit which I perceived to be blackberry (but after reading the bottle realized it is in fact currant.)
The taste is equally complex and distinct. The nose is unmistakably currant and roasted malt. After the swallow is where this really shines. There is a brief period where this tastes like a dry red wine (or maybe a port,) then that gives way to dark chocolates, espresso, vanilla, caramel, and a slight hop bitterness. The final aftertaste resembles black licorice.
Top notch mouthfeel. Very thick viscosity with just the perfect amount of carbonation. The finish also resembles that of a dry red wine, slightly astringent with detectable tannins. The alcohol makes its presence known, but not as much as I expected with the abv. It actually adds a very classy touch to the overall experience.
I gave this bonus points in drinkability mainly due to the complexity of the flavor and mouthfeel. It would be hard to consume more than a bomber on my own in one sitting, but it is just so enjoyable I finished it wanting more. Compared to other extremely viscous stouts, this doesn't sit rock heavy in the stomach or come across too sweet. In contrast, the dryness seems to make it more drinkable.
This is a world class RIS and I can honestly say this is bar far and away the best I've ever had. Stone advertises this is a great stout to age, and I could definitely see that being the case. If ever given the chance (not sold in IL and I have limited access to Stone brews) I would definitely purchase a few to age.
Note: 2009 batch
04-22-2009 02:06:04 | More by Vonerichs
4.4/5 rDev +1.4%
I should note that this is a bottle of the 2008 batch. The 2009 has just been released but I have not tried it fresh:
A--Pours pitch black with no highlights and an awesome two finger mocha brown head that recedes pretty slowly. A little bit of lacing is left on the glass.
S--Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, oak, faint bourbon, sweet malts, nuttiness. Very complex
T--The complexity of the nose translates to the taste very well, with the addition of a strong layer of bitter hops that dominate the finish. Chocolate, vanilla, very slight bourbon-like booziness, wood, pine hops, coffee beans, hazelnuts.
M--Creamy but not too thick. Coats the mouth well for a few moments before the carbonation finally washes everything away leaving a coffee bean bitterness that is pleasant.
D--One of the easiest drinking 11% beers I've ever had. The booze is noticeable, but it is not distracting in any way. I'm actually very glad you can taste it because this beer is so damn smooth it would be chuggable without that alcohol burn. And that would not be a good idea to do.
04-22-2009 00:49:55 | More by alcstradamus
4.33/5 rDev -0.2%
Pours viscous, thick, and black with an off color, even brownish, head. Initial aroma from the bottle was a strong blast of damp cardboard. But that gives way to roasty and rich, with wood, charcoal and a little plum. Flavor is bitter, woody and a little smoke. Finish is surprisingly dry, with an ashy bitterness. Mouthfeel is thick and slightly clingy, but it finishes cleaner than I expected. Sugar on the lips but mouth puckering on the finish as it warms.
04-21-2009 17:52:16 | More by Seanibus
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,789 ratings.