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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.

6,535 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,535
Reviews: 2,564
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 473
Gots: 1,377 | FT: 77
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: 6,535 | Reviews: 2,564 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BierFan


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

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass.

Appearance: Dark black with a small head the color of the fizz on a coca-cola.

Smell: Aroma of black coffee and bitter chocolate.

Taste: To me it mainly has the taste of bitter chocolate.

I was surprised how drinkable the beer was even though it has such a high alcohol content.

A very good imperial stout but I prefer Samuel Smith's offering.

Serving type: bottle

09-28-2008 00:28:05 | More by BierFan
Photo of bigkahunas4


4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a thin chocolate syrup, thin cocoa head w/ slight brown lacing.

S: Dark Chocolate, hint of raspberry, and alcohol finish

T: Coffee roast, dark chocolate, almond, milk, warming alcohol after. Extremely balanced and tastey.

M: Creamy and sticky. The complexity reality consumes your entire palette.

D: Definitely a great session beer to be drank slowly and appreciated between sips. Incredibly balanced.

Overall a fantastic RIS and beer in general. It'll be my go to when I'm in the mood for a creamy stout.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2008 15:29:26 | More by bigkahunas4
Photo of seangroves


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

Poured into a pint glass.

The beer pours well with very little head, about 1/8" that dissipates quickly. The beer color is very black, typical of a Russian Imperial. It's darkness and low appearance of carbonation is welcoming.

The beer is very easy on the nose. You can prominently smell the roasted malts used in it, with a hint of chocolate; the roasted malts are very strong in smell. There is a slight almost "fruity" smell from the hops but again it is very focused toward the malts.

The beer has a very balanced taste between the malt and hops which is surprising given the strong smell of the roasted/choc malts but is quite balanced and soothing. As is typical of Imperial Stouts it does have a strong after-bite of dark malt but is not too overpowering.

This beer feels surprisingly light in the mouth and goes down very smoothly. There is no feeling of over-carbonation yet it does not feel under-carbonated, it has struck the right balance.

This beer is very ease to consume. It would make a great session beer as it is perfect to drink at a slow-to-moderate speed, especially given its higher ABV. It's smoothness coupled with the great taste balance between the malts and hops is very inviting. I would definitely have another.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2008 03:21:23 | More by seangroves
Photo of BMoney575


4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Sampled on 9-24-08
2007 Edition

Pours completely black, with a foamy brown head that quickly settles. Brown lacing rings the sides of the glass, with a little bit of foam around the edges.

Smell is perfectly aged, hint of oak and anise, with a gigantic roasted quality. A great booze on the finish adds a dryness that works with everything.

Taste is thick and malty, though not as complex as the smell. Still tons of flavor, bits of anise and huge alcohol bite. The hops are still there, enhanced by a kick from the alcohol.

Mouthfeel is outstanding, thick and viscous, it coats the palate with huge malt flavor.

Drinkability is very good considering the intense flavors and abv.

Overall, a monster of a beer, and one of the classics. A little more age won't hurt this beer a bit.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2008 00:11:36 | More by BMoney575
Photo of glid02


4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Got the 2007 version at the GA release.

Pours completely black with a one-finger tan head that dissipates into a thin ring around the glass. Some lacing, but not very much.

Smells very nice. Lots of roasted malts with a bit of breadiness.

Tastes great. Malty up front, both roasted and sweet that segues seamlessly into a great chocolate flavor and ending with a mild bitterness, just enough to leave me wanting more. Warming on the way down, but other than that there's no hint of the high ABV.

Mouthfeel is great as well. There's a solid thickness with lively carbonation that brings out all the flavors.

Drinkability is great. I could very, very easily have more than one of these. The flavors are all big, and they are all amazing.

Overall this is certainly in the top tier of RIS's. There is not a thing out of place here, definitely worth a try.

Serving type: on-tap

09-23-2008 05:18:50 | More by glid02
Photo of spointon


4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I poured this one from a 22oz brown bomber bottle into an imperial pint glass.

A= This stout poured jet-black in my glass. No light could penetrate this one. The head was dark tan, slightly creamy, and started at 1". Within 2 minutes it was down to 1/8" and eventually dropped to a skim. Some minor lace down the glass.

S= I found aromas of dark chocolate, mild roasted coffee beans, sweet malts, and mild alcohol.

T= This stout stared off with flavors of chicory, molasses, sweet bready malts, and cocoa. That was followed by a slight roasted grain bitterness and faint hops. Alcohol only comes forth briefly in the finish. Though I usually hate the word smooth in a beer review, this was truly the first beer I have found worthy of that descriptor. All flavors in balance, everything well done.

MF=Definitely a heavy beer, with a thick and robust body. The carbonation was equal to the task of lifting this heavy bitch and making it dance on the tongue. A real tongue-coater for sure.

D= Wow this was a crazy good beer. After trying and loving some of their hoppy stuff, this one solidifies Stone as easily one of my top 10 breweries in the US. Highly recommended!!!

Serving type: bottle

09-22-2008 04:59:52 | More by spointon
Photo of dnichols


4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I shared a bomber with imacoug. We poued our portions into a pint glass.

A: It poured a thick and chunky black mass into the glass. A one plus finger chocolate head rose from the liquid and lingered long into the drink.

S: It was a mass of complex flavors including chocolate, burnt malts, molasses and plums. As it warmed the chocolates differentiated into bitter and dark chocolate flavors that teased my nose.

T: This is a coffee and chocolate lovers dream. The coffee hits the tongue first...it remained me of my first attempt to drink Turkish coffee. It was thick, sticky and bitter. Then the chocolate came forward. It was like drinking straight form the Hershey's dark chocolate bottle. There were also plenty of dark fruits.

M: It was thick, creamy and smooth. It had little carbonation and finished warm and clean. THere was a small bitter aftertaste.

D: It was smooth, despite its inherent bitter coffee flavors. It is too heavy and has too high an ABV to be a session beer but it is a wonderful taste treat.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2008 22:27:22 | More by dnichols
Photo of hoppymeal


4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spring 06 release. Pours black with a nice coffee and cream colored head. Very nice aroma of ripe fruit, some raisins and prunes, also some caramel and chocolate, some alcohol evident in the nose as well. Hints of some ageing to with a bit of leather, smoke and meatiness in the aroma, though they are subtle and contribute to a very complex and enjoyeable aroma. Taste follows with a good dose of chocolate sweetness, some roasty smokiness towards the finish, and a bit of a bourbony alcohol bite in the finish. Some of the leather is also noticeable in the taste. Mouthfeel is medium to heavy in body, somewhat syrupy up front, though not heavily so, and it is broken up by some bitter roastiness and alcohol warmth. Age has been good to this one and it could probably go a few years longer. The aroma is very delicious and quite complex, the taste doesn't quite live up to the aroma's promise but is very good nevertheless. After a fresh sample a year or two ago, I definitely prefer this one with some age on it.

Serving type: bottle

09-14-2008 19:53:37 | More by hoppymeal
Photo of tronester


4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque black with a thin tan head. Smells like a bar of milk chocolate. Taste is malty, with a roasted, chocolate, coffee component that is quite nice. There is a tiny hint of hop flavor, bitterness is low. Mouthfeel is creamy, rich, with nice, low carbonation levels. Very little alcohol apparent for such a high ABV brew. Drinkability is good, a 22oz bomber is a lot of beer to drink, I wish they had this available in 12oz bottles due to the strength. Another great one from Stone.

Serving type: bottle

09-13-2008 00:39:41 | More by tronester
Photo of SkinnyElvis


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

2008 vintage. Pours a deep black with a thin head. Smell is of rich malt with a hint of hops. Taste is of thick malt with a hint of coffee and chocolate. Mouthfeel is smooth. You can detect the alcohol a bit on the way down. A great RIS which is probably the standard for all others to compare.


Serving type: bottle

09-11-2008 23:46:45 | More by SkinnyElvis
Photo of Silenus89


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

Poured straight black with a 2 inch tan head that retained good lacing. Aroma is that of roasted malts, coffee, caramel, chocolate. A very nice taste to it with roasted coffee and dark chocolate. I can hardly taste the alcohol in it.

The drinkability exceptional good after the first one you will be feeling it which is a good thing. I had the Ruination IPA right after this one and i was feeling quite good watching my football game. I felt bad for those around me drinking coors light the water beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2008 05:58:52 | More by Silenus89
Photo of 1050Sudz


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

WOW!!! This beer was a winner!!! Poured dark and rich. Smelled of roasted coffee and aged rum. Tasted caramely with a subtle alcohol bite followed by a fresh, clean, aromatic sting. Would love to drink many of these but after two 22oz bottles, I was feeling FINE!!! Stone figured out yet another great brew.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2008 04:59:02 | More by 1050Sudz
Photo of chrisafari


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

Pours dark black, almost like motor oil. Dark brown thick head. Aroma of coffee, chocolate and alcohol. Smooth on the palate, but extremely complex. Develops throughout a sip. The flavors become more intense as the beer warms. I've had this three times refrigerated, but seems to be more enjoyable at about 55 f. Again, one of all time favorites. Really, well done! Spring 2008 release.

Serving type: bottle

09-11-2008 00:02:34 | More by chrisafari
Photo of oneredarm


3.8/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

22 ounce bomber Purchased at Pauly's in Lowell, MI

A - Pours dark black with 1 1/2 inch of medium brown bubbly head. The head reduces to a very thin layer after about 10 minutes.

S - a hint of burnt malt. I didn't get the coffee or anise as the bottle stated.

T - Slightly hoppy and sweet initially finishing with a roasty anise flavor at the very end. After about 10 minutes, I started getting the hint of an asian brown sauce or hibachi sauce after the first swallow. Would be great along side some sushi.

M - Not as heavy as I had hoped. a full feel as it slides down my throat.

D - I easily polished off this bomber and I could have easily had another. With a 10.8 AVB, I'd probably have to stop there. This beer is great for a cold winter night.

Temp - 45 degrees F
Glassware - My new Buses By the Beach Pint glass

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2008 01:17:23 | More by oneredarm
Photo of johnnnniee

New Hampshire

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

Pours a solid black with a thin tan head that dissipates quickly, but laces the edge on the way down. Aroma is of chocolates and roasted malts with a touch of alcohol. Taste is more roasted malts, chocolate, some dark dried fruits and a touch of alcohol. Mouthfeel is very creamy, Full body, ample carbonation. This is another excellent brew from Stone.

Serving type: bottle

09-07-2008 22:49:12 | More by johnnnniee
Photo of alovesupreme


4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap from the Moan and Dove in Amherst Mass.
Opaque liquid with a brown head, that slowly dissapates, with a slight foam that remains til the last few sips.
Currant, roasted coffee, very little alcohol
Wow, very complex, Currant, roasted malts, a little alcohol, molasses and multiple other flavors I cant put my finger on.
Nice and thick the way a RIS should be.Good carbination.
I loved every sip and will be enjoying this again as soon as possible. Tommarow?

Serving type: on-tap

09-05-2008 08:00:06 | More by alovesupreme
Photo of mtstatebeer

West Virginia

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

Initially rated 27 May 08.
Growler, 2004 Saturday Night Special Pour. Pours a very dark brown with a creamy light brown head. Aroma is very complex, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, maybe some molasses, and a touch of smokiness. Flavor is sharp and complex like the aroma. Alcohol is hidden by the bitter chocolate finish. Very good beer.

Serving type: growler

09-02-2008 23:48:57 | More by mtstatebeer
Photo of ljbrisson


4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle is black and blue, and hints at the heavy beer inside. Cap shows the Stone gargoyle in black on a gold field.

Pours black into a pint glass with dark tan head. Aroma is roasted coffee, toffee, burnt sugar, chocolate. Mouthfeel is slick, heavy, and thick in the mouth, with medium carbonation. Taste is strongly of coffee, chocolate, burnt sugar, and a hint of anise and grape. Finishes with a little bitterness, a lot of burnt flavor, and a touch of alcohol. Definitely improves as it warms, with the chocolate and coffee flavor becoming more pronounced while the alcohol becomes less noticable.

I was not expecting the sheer depth of this beer. After I looked up the style, I discovered that this beer perfectly embodies the characteristics of the style. I will pick this up again and re-review it on an appropriately cold winter night.

Serving type: bottle

09-02-2008 15:43:37 | More by ljbrisson
Photo of Drew966


4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stone Imperial Russian Stout pours jet black with a milk chocolate brown colored head from a brown twenty two ounce bottle. The aroma is very malty, dark chocolate, coffee and perhaps a bit of fruit are noticeable. The mouthfeel is appropriately thick. The flavor is also fantasically malty, chocolate and coffee, just a touch of dark fruit. A hint of alcohol is noticeable, but really you feel the warming more than you can taste it. Excellent beer.

Serving type: bottle

09-01-2008 13:19:10 | More by Drew966
Photo of kbnooshay

New York

4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Second time I had this beer. Not as memorable the second time but I was totally blow away the first time! Blackest beer I have ever seen, the smallest speck of red highlight makes an appearance if you hold it up to the light. The head was 2 fingers deep, frothy, and a creamy light brown color. The malty nose featured chocolate and coffee. Weaker smell than I remember but nice. This time around it tasted slightly milky and of cereal. The alcohol aroma was very minimal. Barely any alcohol detected in the flavor. Delicious chocolate flavor. This is a rich beer. Wonderfully thick and creamy. This is wayyy too drinkable for the abv!

Serving type: bottle

08-30-2008 17:44:30 | More by kbnooshay
Photo of kmeves


4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a motor oil black with a thin tannish head and some lacing. Aroma is sweet cocoa, roasted malt, coffee, some grapefruit, prune and raisin. Flavor is moderately sweet, cocoa, roasted malt, light grapefruit and wood. Slight alcohol burn in the finish. Silky smooth texture, medium to full body.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2008 13:45:20 | More by kmeves
Photo of JoeMayo


4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I enjoyed a bunch of these fresh when they came out in early spring and was surprised to find how different it was after only five months. At first I was a little disappointed in the change, but as the beer warmed, it definitely grew on me.

A- Pours thick and black with a rich tan head

S- The first thing to hit my nose was rum, which was definitely NOT there 5 months ago. Coffee, chocolate, and raisins also make their way through.

T- Very different from the first time I tried it and I almost wish that I had reviewed it fresh. It's complexity is still there, but the flavors are quite different. Very malty, but not as sweet as you would think. Bittersweet chocolate and coffee come through with a slight flavor of dark fruits, raisins, and very mild licorice.

M- Rich, creamy, not sticky and very smooth

D- Not bad at all for something so strong and rich, but definitely a sipper.

Serving type: bottle

08-26-2008 14:33:57 | More by JoeMayo
Photo of opwog


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

Now listening to: Isley Brothers - That Lady

A- That supplied picture says it all. Dark as night, firm tan head that clings.
S- Coffee, cocoa, raisin
T- Coffee, tofee, chocolate
M- Thick and velvety. Carboation is mild, but present.
D- Nice drinking. Take your time to enjoy this as different caracteristics come out as teperature changes and the beer has time to open up.

Serving type: bottle

08-25-2008 06:01:35 | More by opwog
Photo of josiahschlender


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

This one laid away didn't last long. I've got one left in the cellar, maybe it'll stick around longer to see how it changes with a little age. I had one of these fresh, and now this has aged a few months.

Appearance is great. I love the badass Stone bottles. Upon pouring into a pint glass, the color is utterly black with a great cocoa cap. molasses sweetness, maybe some sweet dark fruits? Definitely some alcohol. I also think I detect some resinous, nectar hops.

Very intense and complex flavors, dialed for the style. Definitely noting a lot of dark chocolate, and rich roastiness from the malts. Big bitter finish, Stone poured a lot of hops in this one... I get a little earthiness that I think is coming from the hops, too. Also noticed some alcohol heat with raw vanilla. Not as much as I remember from the fresh bottle a few months ago, though.

Feel is substantial and smooth. Impy stouts could almost always have more body in my opinion, but this has plenty of oomph to match the flavors. I like how the thickness coats my mouth and disperses the long finish, lasting a great while after a swig.

I think a few months improved this excellent beer, and am hopefully that a few more will make it all the better. Not a bad price, and it's drinking frightfully easy. Another excellent brew from Stone, well done.

Serving type: bottle

08-21-2008 05:30:01 | More by josiahschlender
Photo of PatronWizard


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

I've actually been a little afraid to try this monster. I know it's a big beer. Today, however, is my birthday and I shall conquer any fear and any beer! This bomber is toast!

Pulled a bomber out of my new beer cellar (birthday gift from the best wife in the world) and poured into a glass at exactly 55 degrees...

Black. No blacker than that. Black. I actually went outside to hold this up to the sunlight and the sunlight cringed, bent around this black hole just like Einstein said. Ridiculously thick mocha head. Without trying. Like whip cream on hot cocoa. This beer is a physical specimen.

Smell of coffee beans and coffee. Not as strong as anticipated. My fault.

Taste is pretty nice. Lots of coffee, slight taste of alcohol. **Edit: after warming up even more, nice tastes of chocolate emerged**

Rich, thick, creamy, why the hell was I afraid of this? I think the wonderful 10.8 is hidden extremely well. Like baileys in coffee (an old friend). My first 5.0 for mouthfeel.

It was official long before I came on the scene, but I'm gonna shout it out anyway: Stone Brewing kicks ass!!!

Overall: very pleasantly surprised, exceptional beer

Serving type: bottle

08-20-2008 19:38:14 | More by PatronWizard
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 6,535 ratings.