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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.

6,823 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,823
Reviews: 2,575
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 507
Gots: 1,477 | FT: 84
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: 6,823 | Reviews: 2,575 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of McDiddyPop


4.4/5  rDev +1.4%

Vintage Spring 2009. 22oz bomber poured into a Cigar City snifter. Jet plack pour with a thin mocha head that diminishes to nothing. Scattered lacing along the sides of the glass. Ruby red hues when I tilt the glass in the light. Smells of dark roasted coffee. Sweet milk chocolate. A hint of toffee or caramel. A touch of alcohol shows through in the finish. Tastes of roasted grains, a bit of dark chocolate. Sweet toffee notes towards the front of the tongue, dark roasted bitterness on the sides with a smooth alcohol warmth at the back of the throat. Carbonation is just about perfect. Finishes with a slight burnt chocolate aftertaste. Alcohol peeks its head in towards the end, but overall a very drinkable beer, especially considering its ABV. This stout deserves to be in the top 10.

05-05-2009 05:38:49 | More by McDiddyPop
Photo of angelmonster


3.88/5  rDev -10.6%

This is the 2009 vintage

Pours a big 3 finger dark chocolate head. Body is pitch black in color with no light at all coming through. Good lacing and great head retention through out

Smell is big on roasted malt and coffee. Faint alcohol is smelled and there is also some hops in there

Wow, big malt is present here. Very roasted and a little chalky. Taste is similar to dove dark chocolate. Hops and alcohol are more pronounced in taste than they were in the smell

There is a semi creamy head to this beer. Body is alright but a bit thin for a RIS. Carbonation is lively.

Overall this is an above average RIS. I am drinking this rather fresh and would love to buy some more to cellar as i think it would age beautifully.

05-05-2009 04:36:03 | More by angelmonster
Photo of aubuc1


4.58/5  rDev +5.5%

22 oz bomber dated Spring 2009 poured in to a goblet.

Pours pitch black with a clingy tan head.

Smell is dark, charry roast, bitter coffee, and a faint sweet hoppiness.

Taste is a little sweeter than expected. Well balanced for as bold as it is. Excellent taste. Not as coffeeish as I expected, nor as rosty, but really a combination.

Mouthfeel is right on, and for the high abv, the drinkability is great.

I was expecting to be let down on this, but was pleasantly surprised by a world class beer.

05-05-2009 00:17:25 | More by aubuc1
Photo of BirdFlu

New Jersey

3.93/5  rDev -9.4%

Smells very roasty and sweet, very malty and a bit earthy. Pour is a super dark, near-black color with light brown head. The only thing preventing it from looking perfect is it seems like it should look a bit more viscous, a bit thicker. Tastes vey rich, roasy with a bit of dark chocolate. A slot of roasty malt with a good amount of bitterness behind it. Bitterness in aftertaste is a bit much and as it opens up the whole drnk takes on a sort of bourbony, rum-soaked-raisins flavor. Good but not great. Mouth has a crisp carbonation bite, moderate viscosity and not too chewy like most RIS's. Its definitely good and quite tasty but you really need to be in the mood for it, its not something that could be enjoyed at anytime. I didn't even finish the bottle because hte last 3 or so ounces were just too much. It would be better as single 12 oz bottles.

05-04-2009 04:59:03 | More by BirdFlu
Photo of Darius75


4.4/5  rDev +1.4%

2009 batch served from bomber into a large wine glass.

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black, light tan ring of foam around the edges of the glass. Thick as an RIS should be.

Smell: Chocolate, roasted malts.

Taste: Licorice and malty roastiness, rich dark chocolate, moderate alcohol presence mellows the flavors in the finish.
This beer is quite complex, and does not reflect a common RIS taste... it has a fruity quality which almost reminds me of a dark Belgian.

Mouthfeel: Lower carbonation, smooth but not silky. Goes down easily if sipped.

Drinkability: Drink a bomber by yourself and you're down for the count. It's a slow sipper for sure, but packed with flavor so that's not a problem. This is a phenomenal beer, and unlike anything that I would have expected. Strong recommendation.

05-04-2009 04:03:35 | More by Darius75
Photo of MetalHopHead6


3.98/5  rDev -8.3%

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout poured jet black with a moderate tan head. The smell is thick and acidy--not too strong, but not too pleasant either, like overly roasted, bitter coffee beans. The taste, however, is spot-on for an imperial stout. It's like roasty licorice, if there is such a thing.

The feel also is thick. It sits for a long time on the back of the tongue and the alcohol presence is overpowering. It must be sipped very slowly.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout feels like a rainy, chilly afternoon...good for the soul, but only when you're in the perfect, laid back mood.

05-03-2009 20:59:26 | More by MetalHopHead6
Photo of HopoPotomus


4.28/5  rDev -1.4%

I first tried this beer a while back while I was making an imperial oatmeal stout. Since then I placed this beer as one of my favorite "big ass stouts" that I search out whenever possible. The appearance of this beer is striking and memorizing. The think tan head flows into a meaty bold mouthfeel. As with any great stout it feels as if you can chew this brew as it swishes around your palate. The taste and smell of this beer confirms that the appearance of this beer is not false advertising. Notes of vanilla dance in the perfect balance of sweetness and alcoholic strength. Bordering on hot this beer does let you know exactly what you are imbibing without deterring you from grabbing for another.

05-02-2009 20:40:54 | More by HopoPotomus
Photo of nycwinter


4.08/5  rDev -6%

Poured from a bottle into a chalice.
A= Thin dark creamy head dissipated to a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Viscous. Alchohol and legs slide down the sides when swirled. The body is very dark, opaque, and deep red on the edges when held up to the light.

S= Tangy dried fruit. Moderate to strong alchohol smell. Roasted toasty caramel or malt backing. Very simple stout.

T= Very bitter and tangy. Very little fruit. Burnt dark chocolate aftertaste. Drier than expected. Again, pretty simple stout.

M= Full bodied. Warm alchohol feel overall.

D= Stronger than expected, but pleasant overall.

The bottle suggests to let it age. I may have jumped the gun on opening this one the same day I bought it. I will definitely buy an other and let it age a while, then reevaluate.

05-02-2009 03:45:03 | More by nycwinter
Photo of projectflam86


4.45/5  rDev +2.5%

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter, "Limited Spring 2009 Release"

A- Pours an ink jet black body with a creamy tan foam head that leaves some nice lacing. This is one of the darkest brews I've seen yet.

S- Big roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate nose. Lots of malt and grain aroma with a hint of hazelnut. A very detectable ester presence and alcohol was quite prominent.

T- Big roasted malt flavor. Flavors include coffee, chocolate, grain, dark fruits, alcohol, and roasted nuts. The taste is syrupy with molasses, sweet malt and caramel coming through as it warms.

M- Full and creamy/oily with ok carbonation. This aftertaste isn't going anywhere soon.

D- Big powerful brew that can cripple a weak palate into submission. Drink with caution. Forcing this one on beer n00bs could be seen as "cruel and unusual punishment."

05-02-2009 02:52:14 | More by projectflam86
Photo of dborginis


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
Photo of gameface23


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
Photo of atsprings

North Carolina

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
Photo of ffejherb


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
Photo of ncstateplaya

North Carolina

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
Photo of Magpie14


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
Photo of OnThenIn


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
Photo of froghop


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
Photo of kingcrowing


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
Photo of HatTrick


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
Photo of KarlHungus


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
Photo of WaXHeLL


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
Photo of JAA


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
Photo of ColForbinBC

New Jersey

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
Photo of drunkmonk

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev -1.4%

09 vintage

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
Photo of TommyW


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
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,823 ratings.