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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.

6,662 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,662
Reviews: 2,568
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 484
Gots: 1,419 | FT: 79
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: 6,662 | Reviews: 2,568 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of htomsirveaux


3.95/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle tried 21 Oct 2008.

Poured in a 0.4 L snifter. Small dark brown creamy head. Opaque dark chocolate color, almost black. Aroma is very roasty, lots of chocolate, coffee, ethanol. Flavor starts with burnt caramel, bittersweet chocolate, dark cocoa. Also raisins, clove and anise. Finish and aftertaste is of espresso and licorice. Ethanol is very warming and strong. Heavy body, good coating mouthfeel.

A good nightcap for a fall evening.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 18:16:35 | More by htomsirveaux
Photo of masterchiefMD


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

poured into my stone imperial russian stout snifter, looks exactly like the picture above.

12oz bottle, poured black with brownish/tan head almost to the top of the glass. Smell of roasted malts, some chocolate. Taste the booze up front then roasted malts and a slight after taste or the booze ( just how i like it) but still very smooth. I love that i can get 12oz bottles now, cant handle more than that at one time!

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 02:55:35 | More by masterchiefMD
Photo of DavoleBomb


3.58/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter, 2008 edition.

4.0 A: Opaque deep purple/black color. Thick head with less than average retention. Tons of lacing.

3.5 S: Coffee and molasses. Nose is too weak for my liking except for burnt sensations.

3.5 T: It's pretty good, but it isn't great and certainly no where near as good as most of BAs think. Dark chocolate stands out the most, there's also some roasted coffee. Next is dark fruits and caramel. The balance is out of whack as the beer is too sweet. Lastly, there is a significant solvent-like flavor mixed in and the alcohol is very noticeable.

4.0 M: Full bodied. Good and creamy with mid-range carbonation.

3.5 D: One is certainly enough because it simply isn't that good.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2009 00:36:17 | More by DavoleBomb
Photo of raoulduke37


4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Before this, I had only ever had the Arrogant Bastard from Stone, and that one wasn't what I consider to be "world class." This beer, however, may just qualify for that. I was amazed to get such an amazing taste and mouthfeel from a bottled stout. Many times, stouts are best suited to be poured only from the tap (like Guinness). The appearance is a beautiful black with red highlights around the rim of the glass. Beautiful brown head does not stick around, however. Taste and mouthfeel are freaking heavenly. Taste of prunes, pork fat (no joke), initially, and then chocolate all the way down. God damn it's a beauty. I can see why this is on so many want lists. I feel extremely lucky to have this readily available in CA. This is one I would stand for in the face of opposition.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2009 00:14:03 | More by raoulduke37
Photo of jujubeast6000


4.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed 1/13/2009 (bottled Spring 2008):

Pours a pitch black color body. Average brown head, good lacing and somewhat lasting. Strong bitter coffee aroma. Spices and alcohol. Musty. Very complex. Coffee, bitter chocolate taste. Slight black licorice taste. Malty roasted flavor, creamy mouthfeel. Almost oatmeal tasting. Very tasty. Dusty taste. Wow, this is a good beer, best I've had to date.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2009 05:56:06 | More by jujubeast6000
Photo of CpnYates


3.78/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

I guess I had read to many reviews before opening this beer, because my expectations were waay over the top for this thing.

It's not that this is a bad beer, or even an average beer. This is a GREAT stout. I get Old Rasputin a lot locally but this Stone is much harder to find. The problem is, I was expecting world class and it just wasn't there. There is coffee, malt, brown sugar, chocolate. Its just not the overpowering nose present I was expecting.

The taste is good, not great with much of the smell being tasted in direct proportioned amounts. There is more alcohol on the initial sip than excpected.

The mouth feel is where this beer really shines. Outstanding subtle carbonation blends with the sticky sweet resin that coats the mouth. You taste this beer for thirty seconds after your last sip.

Overall I enjoyed this beer. But I didn't LOVE it, as I expected to after reading the reviews. The others are going into the basement to mellow a while.

BTW this was the Spring 08 version.

The beer looked great when I poured it but my first hint that this wasn't going to live up to the hype was in the nose.

Still thouroughly enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2009 02:17:01 | More by CpnYates
Photo of meatyard


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

A-Is very dark (no light through the edges) with a short head.

S-Is a hint of alcohol, dark malt and a little chocolate.

T-Is a shot of alcohol, dark roasted malt and some bitterness.

M-Medium and lightly carbonated.

D-Is nicely drinkable even with the noticeable and high alcohol. I think I would prefer an aged bottle that mellows the alcohol.

Of course this is a good stout but would like less alcohol.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2009 01:14:35 | More by meatyard
Photo of Lunchmade


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

I brought home a growler of this amazing imperial stout and now wonder where it has gone. A modern confectionery treat. Smells extraordinary with deep roasted chocolaty hues. After one pint I was amazed on how much my chocolate cravings started to hit. A very robust lasting flavor which makes it a very smooth stout for the power it packs. The hype is right on, this brew doesn't disappoint.

Serving type: growler

01-27-2009 00:29:22 | More by Lunchmade
Photo of Dulliwhig


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

A - Brown fine bubbled head fades away after a few minutes to a ring around the glass; The head might have stayed longer if not poured into a trappist chalice, decent lacing. Darth Vader ninja black oil color - very thick motor oil consistency. I held it up to the setting sun and still could not see through it.

S - Burnt chocolate coffee smell.

T - Creamy chocolate taste, strong alcohol finish, the aftertaste is a bit bitter and numbing. Good flavor that gets better as you sip it. The bitterness strikes you at the same moment as the alcohol which helps to mask it. The strength of the alcohol is the slightest bit too strong, but other than that, this is a very good beer and I am definitely aging this.

M - Full bodied and smooth

D - For the ABV, mighty dangerous...

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2009 21:22:59 | More by Dulliwhig
Photo of sweetbrew82


4.58/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bottle into a snifter/ no freshness date

P: Pours syrupy black from the bottle, and sits a light-obliterating opaque black in the glass. 2 fingered, dark chocolatey brown head is thick and creamy. Disappeared pretty quickly to form a halo with a thin film in the middle.

A: Huge wave of roasted malts, chocolate (cacao powder?), coffee, currants, and some alcohol.

T: Starts sweet with deep, roasty flavors of chocolate, coffee and molasses. But, it's nicely reinforced with some bittering hops that take the edge off the sweetness. The currants seem to show up later, along with some slick dark fruits on the back end. Alcohol is very well-hidden for 10.8%, and does a good job of warming the chest. Finishes slick, not dry and leaves a puddle of resin behind for a great aftertaste.

M & D: Somehow, saying its full-bodied just don't cut it. It's incredibly thick, rich, creamy, syrupy yet chewy. Pure decadence! I'm not sure I could drink more than two, but this one went down so quick that I thought someone was siphoning off my glass.

Notes: What else can I say. It's simply incredible! So thick and rich with such delicious flavors abound. One of the best RIS out there, without a doubt. A perfect example of why this is my favorite style of beer. Highly recommended

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2009 10:10:33 | More by sweetbrew82
Photo of damienblack


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

Pours jet-black, thick and syrupy, with a big, frothy tan head. Great retention and excellent lacing, this appears to be a very healthily carbonated beer. Bubbles erupt on the surface like little lava pockets, or like a bog. Smells a little yeasty, a little burnt, and a little bit of hops, all rolled into one. A little subdued, but interesting nevertheless.

First impression: With Stone, I was expecting a super-hopped imperial stout, and this is nothing of the sort. Dark roast malt that comes over as nice and sweet, without any real harsh burnt sensation (like charcoal that you get from some). The roastiness just lingers on the palate long after the beer is gone. Touches of coffee and chocolate, without either one particularly dominating. Something slinky lurks in the background, like a vanilla or sweet spice. Just enough hops for balance/cleansing, nothing more. Fantastic. Nice big body, very rich, if not super creamy, filling and cloying in a good way, yet slick and oily at the same time. Hides the alcohol super well, no burn, or even a hint of alcohol that high. Fantastic stout from a brewery that I'm not the biggest fan of, since I don't really care for super hoppy beers. This is sure to please all.

Serving type: bottle

01-25-2009 07:43:48 | More by damienblack
Photo of philbe311


4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours an opaque semi-gloss black color... A delayed thin but rich tan head rises post pour and then quickly fades... A minimal tan veil of lace is left...

S - Lots of roasted malt... Baker's chocolate... Licorice... Rye... Crust...

T - An attention grabber... True to the nose the roasted malt, chocolate, and licorice dominate the palette... Perhaps a hint of raisins work their way into the mix as well... The alcohol is also hard to miss...

M - The warmth of the alcohol fills the mouth... Not as creamy or rich as expected... Slightly dry... Quick biting carbonation... Oily viscous texture... Medium bodied...

D - This is a BIG beer in every sense... Nicely executed and very good in all categories, but I'm not entirely sure it lives up to it's lofty reputation...

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2009 02:12:03 | More by philbe311
Photo of brewbucker


4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Original review Jul 4, 2007

Bottle 2007 release. Beautiful pour. Oily black with a nice sized tan head and some wicked lacing. Aroma and flavor is rich malts, ripened fermented fruits, light licorice, smoke & coffee. Flavor also has hints of molasses and bitter hops. I have been wanting to try this one for a long time now and it sure was worth the wait. Awesome beer.

1-21-09 Just cracked another 2007 and it is drinking very nice right now. The only thing different was maybe a vague sourness in the nose.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2009 00:57:21 | More by brewbucker
Photo of hoppheadIPA


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

WOW, finally, what a beer. I've been waiting to try this on for awhile now. Pours a deep dark brown, almost black with light brown colored head that dissapates rather quickly. Hits the nose with roasted malt and coffee tones with some chocolate sweetness in the backround. What a delicous beer. Tastes of perfectly blended roasted malt, coffee, light chocolate, with a slight alcohol backround. Very well balanced. Being such a big beer, it's surprisingly drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-21-2009 20:29:21 | More by hoppheadIPA
Photo of yeastsipper


4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours an opaque black with a cocoa colored head that disappears quickly.

Smells are of dark stone fruit (prevalent), some roasted malt, and molasses.

Great tasting stout. Some chocolate and licorice flavors as well as subtly roasted malts. There is a coffee-like bitterness on the back of the palate.

The mouthfeel is nice and thick. This is a very full-bodied beer.

For a big beer, this is very drinkable. A great sipper.

I have been underwhelmed by some Stone beers in the past, but this one is really noteworthy. Good, good stuff. I would not put it in the class of the Abyss, but not far off either. Pick some up if you see it. Have an extra bottle that i am looking forward to trying in six months or so...

Serving type: bottle

01-20-2009 05:53:58 | More by yeastsipper
Photo of spmags


4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a pint glass and even during the pour it was almost completely opaque. As dark a stout as I have ever seen. The bottle says "pours like Siberian crude" but you have to see it to believe it. Modest head that quickly dissipates leaving some lacing.

Didn't get much in the nose...mostly alcohol, though it was my second Impy on the night so that may have played a role in some loss of sensation.

I tend to idealize the mouthfeel of the cream/sweet stouts, so I really liked this one. Much more creamy/viscous than the Oak Aged Yeti, but with a similar full body.

The first thing I noted was that it was sweet hoppiness, not because it was the most prominent flavor, but because I am not used to tasting that in this style. However, the creamy chocolate taste underscored by warmth of alcohol are possibly the most dominant flavors. If you like stouts with that hit you in the face with roasted to burnt bitterness, you might want to look elsewhere. This really downplays those but you can get some of that in the finish.

Very drinkable for a brew with ~10%ABV.

To date it is probably my favorite beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 17:47:19 | More by spmags
Photo of Ch1mpy


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

Black colour and brown head that slowly dissipates with an almost rustling sound.

Smell is a group of roasted aromas and contains heavy malts, chocolate and coffee.

The taste is well balanced with elements of chocolate, roasted malts and prunes.

Mouthfeel is complete, complex and very smooth, the sensation is that of draping dark velvet curtains across your mouth.

Drinkability is not bad either, but it is a big and strong beer, go careful.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 06:23:35 | More by Ch1mpy
Photo of beveritt


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

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Label is the standard Stone silk screening, but the back is even harder to read than the bombers. Recommends cellaring at 55, specifically getting a case and sampling every 3-6 months. Best by 01.01.2013. Listed as Bottle Konditioned, why the K?

Appearance: Pours with 1/2 finger of dark tan head. This settles quickly to just a ring around the glass and some errant foam on the surface of the beer. The beer itself is dark, dark brown, essentially black. As a fellow BA said, "So dark it sucks light bulbs out of their sockets." A small amount of sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Roasted barley bitterness with definite alcohol sweetness hidden just beneath. Hints of toffee and black licorice.

Taste: Sharp mix of hop and barley bitterness up front, with a creamy chocolate and lactose flavor in the finish. Hints of oak and bourbon. Sweet alcohol flavor underscores it all.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level. Body is excellent.

Drinkability: A great sipper now, and I imagine an even better one int he future. Alcohol is very present right now, but hopefully this will fade.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 03:07:17 | More by beveritt
Photo of Mazeraski

New York

4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A 22 oz. bomber with "Limited Spring 2008 Release" written on it poured into a Middle Ages imperial pint.

A - Pours a complete jet black color with a thick, frothy dark tan head that dissipates rather slowly, leaving a slight sticky lacing clinging to the glass.

S - Hits the nose with large roasted malt and coffee notes accompanied by hints of chocolate, caramel, vanilla and a tad bit of cinnamon.

T - An incredible combination of big roasted malt, oaky vanilla, dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, molasses and a slight twinge from the combo of what little hops are present and the alcohol, leaving the brew with a warming, roasted thickness on the palate after the sip. The roasted malt, chocolate and coffee aspects become more pronounced as it warms (along with the oaky character).

MF - Full-bodied with a bit of a lower amount of carbonation. Amazingly smooth, creamy and chewy all at the same time.

D - Very drinkable taste-wise, although it suffers a bit from how filling it is as well as the higher ABV.

Notes - An amazing beer that I was skeptical of due to all of the hype. However, despite this I would say that it is hands down one of the best RIS's I have had the pleasure of sampling. Incredibly smooth and creamy with a spectrum of flavors on display that would make anyone who brews an RIS jealous. Absolutely excellent. Also, paired well with a small piece of dark chocolate that I had.

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2009 00:47:00 | More by Mazeraski
Photo of applky

New York

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

On tap at Sunset Grill & Tap.

Incredible, just as everyone says it is. Coffee and chocolate cede the foreground to a rich, but not bitter, malt flavor. Smells like the very ideal of an imperial stout -- incredibly rich, more alcohol in the nose than in the taste, I think. The perfect balance between astringency and richness. An indecently satisfying beer.

Serving type: on-tap

01-18-2009 23:14:03 | More by applky
Photo of SerieDNo3

District of Columbia

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

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams sensory glass (I really dig the 12 oz. bottling...makes this a lot more accessible)

A: Liquid darkness. A hard pour yielded a finger of dark brown head that dissipated into a ring around the glass. Lots of lacing. Light can't get through the beer; it's solid black.

S: Roasted coffee with a hint of chocolate and cherries.

T: Notes of espresso and dark chocolate, with an almost imperceptible alcohol burn. The burn gets more pronounced as the beer warms, but this is quite pleasant on a cold winter day.

M: Silky smooth, with a bit of an alcohol burn

D: I'm surprised this is above 10%. It hides the alcohol pretty well. Considering that it's a pretty big beer, it goes down quite smoothly.

I'd been meaning to give this one another shot, and I'm glad I did. The last time I had it was last April, and it really wasn't proper RIS weather. This is a wonderful beer for a cold winter evening. Another outstanding effort from Stone.

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 22:49:05 | More by SerieDNo3
Photo of joepais


4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I finally found this one I always have seen the stone brand around and finally found the Illusive IMP stout
Spring 2008 bottle pored into a Duvel snifter produced a finger worth of tan head that turns to a thick lace on top of a pitch black body

Aromas of chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee filled my head. Some sweetness (anise) in the aromas as well no alcohol present in this at all.

Flavors start of sweet chocolate and finish with a coffee hoppy bitter. Let me say that that is the most blunt way to put the flavors in words .this is a complex brew and very good at that. This stout has a big thick and heavy feel; I will be sipping this thing.

Good drinkability but again with a IMP stout how many do you want to drink in one sitting. Well worth trying would drink it again

Serving type: bottle

01-18-2009 17:33:09 | More by joepais
Photo of birchstick


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

Picked up a bomber at Liquor Max in Loveland, CO. I wish it was located in St. Louis.

A - poured like motor oil out of the bottle. Has a chocolate, one-finger head.

S - Strong hits of chocolate and cocoa in the aroma, almost like a chocolate chip cookie. There is also a bit of sweet and burnt malt and vanilla coming through. Maybe some black licorice?

T - This beer had a nice balance between chocolate and coffee. Semi-sweet chocolate at first, with a black licorice. There are very dark chocolate and coffee/burnt malts and extremely subtle hops on the finish. Leaves a lingering taste that reminds me of pistachio nuts covered in chocolate, interesting.

M - nice and full, but a bit too carbonated for my liking. I am impressed that the alcohol is so well hidden in this beer.

D - Due to the high abv, it is hard to drink anything after a bomber of this. I really enjoyed this and wish I could get this in Missouri. Oh well, it leaves something to desire when I travel. This is a great RIS and was glad I was able to try it.

Serving type: bottle

01-17-2009 04:04:18 | More by birchstick
Photo of charlesw

New York

4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown/black. Opaque. Nice dark head of tiny bubbles that lasts and last...
Smells heavily of sweet malts with hints of chocolate and coffee.
Dark licorice down the sides of the tongue. Sweet chocolate all over. Coffee. Sweet malts. Big, rich, complex. Hey, this is good. Not over the top on anything - beautiful balance. A hint of citrus bitterness on the finish. Beer done right!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2009 21:06:06 | More by charlesw
Photo of MisterClean


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

On tap at the Davis Grad.

A - Dark black pour with a 1.5 finger mocha head. Leaves light lacing.

S - Rich chocolate, light smoke, light roast coffee. Grassy hops with light alcohol. Lots of flavors going on here.

T - Chocolaty, grass, bananas, and light alcohol.

M - Good balance, but slight alcohol. Full bodied.

D Good example of east coast RIS, as it does not exhibit the over-hoppiness of its west coast counterparts. Reminds me that fermenting at high temperatures brings out delectable esters in these beers. Will need to pick up a yeast sample in October.

Serving type: on-tap

01-16-2009 07:17:28 | More by MisterClean
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 6,662 ratings.