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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: 1,633 | 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 Baraka
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Spring 2010 Limited Release 22 oz

Pours pitch black with a quickly dissipating dark brown head. Looks majestic. Nose contains burned coffee and chocolate malts, precisely what I expect in a RIS. There is a slight bitter hop flavor in the beer, but it is no match for the roasted chocolaty and coffee malt flavors that dominate. Rich and chewy texture with fairly low carbonation. Not overly sweet, this beer has the perfect types of malt for this style. Definite alcohol presence, especially as the beer warms.

Incredible beer! My consumption is only limited by the high alcohol content and local unavailability; otherwise I could drink this amazing beer all night. Stone is easily one of my favorite breweries, further confirmed by this amazing beer.

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

Spring 2010 Bomber:

A- Poured from the bottle with a substantial proteinaceous tan colored head, which produced some fantastic sticky lacing over a completely opaque jet-black body. No visible carbonation.

S- Soft roasted malts, dark chocolate- no perceptible hop aroma- a touch of coffee... a soft, yet subtly rich aroma overall.

T- In the mouth you have roasted malt and chocolate up-front. You get a moderate hop flavor midway, which turns to hop bitterness. A little huskiness and anise in the flavor as well. In the finish, the hop bitterness and a touch of booze lingers on the tongue.

M- A thick, chewy mouthfeel. With a substantial creaminess from both soft carbonation and unattenuated sugar. Slight astringency. And a touch of EtOH heat. Quite substantial overall.

D- This wonderfully crafted brew never seems to become overpowering with any given aspect. Quaffable for such a high ABV. Kudos to Stone.

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

a 2008 vintage found left over in a local store. Has been left on the shelf for the past couple of years, not ideal aging conditions, but it should hold up ok.

an extremely viscous pour of an opaque black liquid with brown highlights. a small tan head is produced, but quickly recedes to a spattering of film, but leaves a good amount of lacing behind.

most dominant aroma is licorice, with molasses, burnt bitter coffee, roasted malts, some dark chocolate. also some fruitiness.

taste is similar to the aroma, but has even more charred roastiness. still there is molasses, coffee, and dark baker's chocolate. some raisins, dates, prunes and a bit of earthiness. a bit of harsh booze, but nowhere near as much as in a fresh bottle.

thick body with just enough carbonation to make an appearance, but not so much that it takes away from the creaminess. finishes a tad dry and roasty and with some discernible bitterness and a slight warming from the alcohol after the swallow.

drinkability is pretty decent, no doubt improved by the aging. alcohol is there, and it detracts a bit, but it is not insurmountable. quite a tasty brew, but may be a bit much for some.

2011 version, fresh: flavor has a lot less licorice with a lot of woodiness and a significant hoppiness. slightly lower in abv (10.8 vs 10.5) but its still a bit boozy. I like this a bit more. I'm not sure if I like it better fresh than aged or if this vintage is just more to my tastes, but I've got another few of various years in the cellar that I'm looking forward to.

Photo of CityBoy1986
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass from a 22 oz. bomber. 2010 Release.

The pour is nearly solid black with a tall brown head. The head gently creeps down, leaving decent lacing.

The nose is mostly coffee, some chocolate, burnt malts, with a hint of alcohol. The taste brings out more of the chocolate and burnt malts. Aftertaste is a short, but satisfying, burn of alcohol, followed by a mixture of chocolate and coffee that won't go away.

Mouthfeel is medium-full-bodied with a nice amount of carbonation. Drinkability is decent, but the alcohol content hinders this a bit for me. I'll be done after the bomber.

Nice example of the style, and doesn't have an outrageous price tag (at least in La.).

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

12oz 2008

Appearance - a pitch black color with a finger high brown head that leaves fast

Smell - i get a smell of roasted malts. a very coffee smelling beer.

Taste - a dry coffee taste. i also get a choclate undertone. With a nice coffee aftertaste.

Mouthfeel - Full bodied with medium carbonation

drinkability- not as filling as a i thought the beer would be. Very high drinkability.

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

22oz bottle into a Snifter 2010 Vintage

A- Pours a solid black with a nice brown 2 finger head that doesn't stick around but leaves nice lacing.

S- Roasted dark malts with a strong coffee nose and a slight chocolate background.

T- Strong dry bitter coffee with a great solid roasted flavor that makes this brew for me. Also some bittersweet chocolate and a nice alcohol fullness and sting that could use some maturing.

M- Full bodied with moderate carbonation and a nice bitter dry finish.

Photo of thagr81us
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From 2010 Vintage. Served from bottle into a Stone nonic. Pours black with a two finger tan head that lingers for quite awhile and subsides to a minimal amount after awhile. Maintains excellent lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, coffee, chocolate, and bread. The flavor was of cream, malt, espresso, with a coffee followthrough. Upon warming up to just below room temperature there was a very strong aftertaste of bourbon associated with it. It was heavy, almost sticky, on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a very nice brew from Stone. This was the first time I've gotten a chance to drink this one so it was a whole new experience for my palate. That being said, it was quite good but not what I was expecting to be #30 in the World at the time... One of my only gripes was that the followthrough of coffee was a bit harsh for my palate as I do not drink coffee, but it still didn't deter me from finishing off a bomber.

Photo of bogus564
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This baby from Stone is definitely a stout. It's extremely dark brown in color, with a big caramel-colored head that bubbles nicely for three minutes before forming a lace that stays on the glass all the way through.

The smell is very nice; there's coffee, chocolate, cream and burnt malt, with some citrus (lemon, I believe) way back there. Makes you want to dive right in.

The first and subsequent sips confirm all that you smelled; you've got your coffee, you've got your chocolate, your cream, your burnt malt and your lemon. Oh, and to add to it, you've got a hoppy, piny finish, just what you'd expect from a beer from Stone Brewery.

The mouthfeel is okay - it's medium-bodied, with good carbonation and a piny aftertaste. I really wanted a malty aftertaste, but it is what it is.

This is a good drinking beer, which I believe would go very well with a well-prepared steak. Steak and stout - I wonder if there's a better combination.

Photo of yeahnatenelson
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Anno 2010

Appearance -- Pours a very deep brown, black in the glass with mahogany highlights when the glass is swirled. One finger of khaki head that slowly dissipates.

Smell -- Very aromatic. Big roast malt notes, chocolate, dark fruit, coffee, dark fruit, earthy hops.

Taste -- Follows the nose: Char, dark chocolate, raisin, prune, and coffee. Moderate earthy hop character in the finish brings about a minty flavor. Alcohol presence certainly, but adds character rather than detracts.

Mouthfeel -- Medium to full in body with mild prickly carbonation. Mild alcohol bite, faint warming in the throat.

Drinkability -- Quite good. Great roast flavors, sweetness in moderation, and a little bit of hops in the back make for this to be a very satisfying brew. My expectations were exceeded.

Photo of RunForYourBeer
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

First review:
Served from a bottle into a New Belgium snifter. Spring 2010 release

A: Black. No light comes through with a small tan head.

S: Some dark chocolate along with dark fruits.

T: More dark chocolate with dark fruits (raisin?). Finishes with some light bitterness and coffee flavors with some alcohol warming.

M: Thick with medium carbonation. Very good.

Very good beer overall. Only problem is drinkability due to alcohol content (10.5%) and bottle size available in my area.

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

Poured into a snifter from 22 oz. bomber.

A-Jet black with coffee color head that leaves a a thick lacing covering all sides of the glass

S-Roasty chocolate mild coffee

T-sweet chocolate mild black licorice coffee mild warm alcohol finish that lingers slightly in a good way

M-mild carbonation coats the mouth well

D-Given the style and ABV I would be done after a bomber

Photo of jsanford
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spring 2010 release, poured into my Stone IRS tulip.

A - A true thing of beauty, especially in it's right glass. Pours an inky black with a 1 1/2 finger mocha head that dissipates into a thin ring.

S - Dark roasted malts, rum-raisins, chocolate and vanilla.

T - Tons of dark chocolate malts, bitter expresso coffee and vanilla with a slight hoppiness. Deep, rich, and delicious!

M - Nice full and creamy mouthfeel with a bit of alcohol warming towards the finish. Chewy.

D - This is an amazing RIS, and, given the availability and price, one of the best bargains around. If you like Russian Imperial Stouts and haven't tried this yet, get to a store now! Cannot wait to see how these age.

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

Tall bottle picked up at Knightly Spirits in Orlando. Love the Soviet gargoyle on the label... Limited Spring 2010 release.

Poured into a Duvel goblet. An inky black hue, hard to detect any other colour but black here. Leaves an inch-high mocha head, leaving some flecks of lacing. Survives well as a ring, with a few islands drifting about.

Nose is roasted dark coffee, cream, dark chocolate (75% cocoa at least!), dark fruit. Rich and inviting.

A terrific stout, wonderful to sip. Brought to a proper temperature, this RIS achieves a wonderful balance of chocolate, toasted malt and caramel, while finishing with a slightly bitter taste accentuated with warming alcohol. First rate.

Almost syrupy, the mouthfeel of this viscous brew is greatly aided by its light, but everpresent carbonation. Oily and velvety, with a slight warming alcohol burn that affects the back of the tongue.

A terrific RIS, one of the best I've had the pleasure to enjoy. Surprisingly drinkable - the ABV is high, yes, but such a meaty stout is worthy of slow savouring.

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

A - Very very dark. Head is very small though
S - Smells like a chocolate cake.
T - A dive into this dark retched beast I I'm surround by chocolate malts. A little bit of spiciness hits the tongue. The alcohol monster is present and it just is hiding in a deep dark cave of chocolate. It does not leave a bad taste in your mouth. It taste like creamy chocolate milk but with much more kick.
M - Thick
D- I could have alot

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

2010 vintage...

Typical deep brown pour. Decent amount of dark brown head leaving minimal lacing behind. Aroma is primarily roasted malts and some slight chocolate. Flavor is very similar but the alcohol comes through a bit to liven things up. Seems just about perfectly carbonated with just the right balance between silky smooth and syrupy mouthfeel. Considering the relatively low cost and wide availability I don't know if there's a better RIS out there... Will definitely be drinking more of this.... Yum!

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

2010 poured into an 8 oz plastic tumbler, cuz that's better than a hotel plastic cup (though GREAT straight out of the bottle too).

Poured inky black with a thin bubbly light tan head. Smells like raisins, roasted malt, a little molasses and alchy. Mouthfeel is smooth, barely a hair watery and just a little carbonation. Initial taste is heavy on the roasted malt, some coffee and chocolate, a little molasses. Aftertaste is molasses and a pleasant slight alcohol burn.

Great beer, an exemplar of the style. Buzzed after half a bomber!

Photo of Mosstrooper
4.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

22oz Spring 2008 vintage poured into 300ml Krusovice goblet.

Appearance: Jet-black with a medium brown head that dissipates slowly and leaves a somewhat thick ring of lace behind.

Smell: Very, very rich chocolately smell with some notes of caramel and a sligtly harsh touch from the alcohol. This smells very rich and inviting.

Taste: Very nice roasty beginning, finishing with sweet chocolate and bitter coffee notes. Also has a hint of sour alcohol. The hops from this one have probably aged away, but there is a slight hint of grassiness after the finish. Every time I burp or cough hard, it tastes like chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy, and creamy body with balanced carbonation and a dry finish with a bit of a warmth from the alcohol at the end. Very heavy.

Drinkability: This beer is outstanding. Easily the best stout I've had- I haven't tried this one without age, but I can imagine that the vintage brings out the rich chocolately flavor of this which is extremely enjoyable. This beer needs to be sipped and savored and probably cellared before that.

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

It's funny, you drink Guinness as a young buck growing up, and you think this beer is thick, frothy, like a dinner, and awesome. Nothing could be better.

Then you roll into the world of craft beer, specifically stone craft beer, and then you realize what a real stout should be.

This is a great beer, strong as all hell, but very very good. Flavorful, so thick, so rich, its almost like motor oil.

The taste is strong, toffee and coffee flavor dominate the palate after it is taken down, very nutty. You can catch the alcohol burn in the back of the mouth, but the beer is so thick and intense, it adds to the experience. The alcohol taste is probably the biggest downfall....maybe it needed to be aged longer. I don't think it had been a year.

Drinkability, you take down a bomber of this and you are feeling it, but it is good in the sense that one pint will do you right.

Great beer!

Photo of scottyb88
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- pours a jet black with one of the darkest brown heads I have seen...sticky and creamy, about two inches; decent lacing

S- just like the bottle says; picked up a lot of roasted coffee, alcohol and chocolate

T- dark chocolate syrup, roasted bitterness with a nice dose of hops at the end; hints of faint dark fruits covered in chocolate

M- it's a stone brew, so always nice; never been disappointed with a stone mouthfeel; medium to full that's really creamy, not too carbonated; aftertaste is rather nice with a mild roasted flavor and hop lingering

D- not sure if its a good thing or not but I couldn't really taste the alcohol it was really well hidden, which is a sign of a well-made beer; it creeps up on you by the end of the 22oz bottle; it's a bit hoppy for my tastes, but a really affordable and well-made addition to the Stone line up

Photo of Lolli1315
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A 2008 12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter for the night's enjoyment.

A- An opaque black color with an extremely thin layer of brown head that disappears quite entirely except for a small ring around the glass. Not much lacing either.

S- Roasted malt and dark chocolate come off strong as hints of burnt coffee play an enjoyable secondary role. Towards the middle of the beer the alcohol is kicked up a notch as it finishes into a slightly weird musty smell. Not sure if this is due to oxidation, but it is slightly off putting.

T- Malty undertone along with some dark fruits start the beer for mere moments. Quite quickly the notes of dark chocolate and coffee dominate as roasted grains and the continuation of the dark fruits compliment the wallop of flavor going on. Towards the end of the beer you get a kick of alcohol, a little off putting but certainly not bad as it lingers with roasted grain, a slight bitterness, and notes of prunes.

M- A syrupy mouthfeel with little carbonation, but with the sipper this one is that's not too bad of a characteristic.

D- The alcohol in this one brings the drinkability down, but surely good for such a big beer.

Photo of Spica66
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Opaque with thin brown head, no lacing.

S: Deep roast, somewhat chocolaty, a little hops in the nose.

T: Very nice, deep, rich maltiness. Slight coffee notes. Slightly sweet.

M: Extremely silky. Nice carbonation.

D: Very easy to drink. Does not show it's heat hardly at all.

I would absolutely recommend this beer.

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

A - Rich black color with just the lightest red highlights and a very nice head that left behind excellent lacing.

S - Mouthwatering aroma of coffee and chocolate, as well as some raisins and other dark fruits.

T - Roasty and sweet. Coffee and Chocolate. Blended in sweet harmony along with a little bit of alcohol. Hints of raisin as well as toffee caramel sweetness.

M - Perfect imperial! Rich and thick, but not too syrupy! Really finishes clean and is so damn good.

D - Amazing beer and has been for years, I am always happy to find this one because I know I will enjoy it!!!

Photo of ZiggyStarbuck
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Almost pitch black with ruby highlights. Dark tan head that quickly settled leaving decent lace.

Smell: Coffee, chocolate, anise, raisins.

Taste: Tastes like coffee chocolate, some slight alcohol tones in there as well along with some subtle raisin like flavors.

Mouthfeel: Nice and thick, but not syrupy. Slightly carbonated. Feels great.

I could drink 2 or 3 of these in one sitting, no problem. Excellent beer.

Photo of baos
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this one on draft at Shallos

A: Opaque with tiny little head, no lace to speak of.

S: Deep in chocolates and hops with some burnt caramel coffe notes.

T: Huge malt. Unsweetened chocolate, coffee, burnt caramel. Then big hops and a bit of booziness.

M: Very nice almost milky silkiness.

D: A strong brew but a could take them slow throughout a long winters evening.

Thanks to Doug!

Photo of Wisconsinality
3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2010 vintage poured into Sprecher snifter.

A- Pours a pitch black with a half finger worth of mocha head, The head doesn't stick around for long and doesn't leave any lacing.

S- heavy on the roasted malts and brown sugar. There seems to be a little bit of grain in there and the alcohol peaks out as the beer warms.

T- Big roasted malts, molasses and rich brown sugar. A little bit of bitter chocolate and just a tad bit of alcohol in there. Pretty well balanced.

M- medium to full bodied with really good carbonation. Just the slightest bit of heat on the tail end.

D- One and done for me, bombers that is. Just a tad sweet and hot right now. The ABV is barely even noticeable. I hope Stone stays in WI for this beer alone. I also heard the the sweet spot for this beer is around two years, so I have an '09 and'10 in the cellar.

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