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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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7,410 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,410
Reviews: 2,620
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 647
Gots: 1,718 | FT: 96
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,410 | Reviews: 2,620 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bum732
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


S: Roasted coffee, some dark fruits, chocolate, toffee, caramel, fantastic.

L: Dark as all night, dark tan head with good retention and great lacing.

T: Bitter chocolate and roasty malt gives way to a slightly chocolate sweetness with fruity subtleness. Medium high earthy bitterness leads to some rich toffee and oak notes. Roasty dryness, very dry finish.

M: Creamy medium-full body with medium carbonation. Alcohol fairly well hidden.

A fairly dry RIS that is better as it warms. But all in all, just amazing. I loved how bold all the components were and how well they melded together like a symphony. Would love to try this with some age, one of the best RIS available.

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

pours a pitch black with a short creamy tan head on top
smells exremely roasty and rich with a coffee bean and earthy chocolate scent
thick and creamy malty cocoa bean/roast coffee taste
very heavy, really enjoying sipping on this beer
excellent stout

Photo of goalie33
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle into an oversized wine glass.
A: Opaque black beer that pours like motor oil. One inch of brown head that fizzles down to a thin layer which sticks around.
S: Strong smell or roasted malts with notes of chocolate and coffee.
T: Big chocolate and coffee notes on the finish with some lingering bitterness. Roasted malts throughout the taste.
M: Soft, full bodied beer that coats the mouth.

This is an exceptional beer. One of the best I've ever had and the best RIS I've had.

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

2006 Vintage Imperial Russian Stout

Had this out of a snifter at Holiday Wine Cellar's special event for San Diego Beer Week 2010: "Stone Vintage Archives & Decadent Chocolate Pairings" hosted by Dr. Bill Sysack of Stone Brewing. Paired with North Park's Eclipse Chocolat - Pomegranate Sage Truffle.

A: Pours a midnight black hue that looks like engine oil with not much in the way of a head or lace - sludgy and dark.

S: Roasted malt, soy sauce and smoky earthy notes that are unique and interesting.

T: Right on with the nose, with a bit more smoke and sweet roasted malt.

M: Full-bodied, creamy with a slick velocity and very little carbonation.

D: Very drinkable for how thick, dark and robust of an ale this is. Not my type of brew, but man I enjoyed this one a lot!

Photo of afksports
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Early on in my life I saw a bottle of Stone Arrogant Bastard, while purchasing some Yuengling probably, and thought to myself "Damn, that brewery is so full of itself. I'll never drink that." And then I matured, had their RIS, and my mind was blown. This review is from notes.

It's another one that's pitch black. Tan head. Stout. There's a tinge of fruit in the smell, but it's mostly coffee and chocolate maltiness. It swallows the same, but the bitter of the chocolate comes out along with the alcohol. Every element of the taste is in great balance. It's thick and full-bodied, and that - along with the alcohol - lowers its drinkability.

But who am I kidding? This is great. Plus Stone makes it affordably, which should be its own rating when it comes to lots of RIS's on here. It's just as good as these other hard to find ones. Does it blow my mind? No. But they damn well have a right to be arrogant.

Photo of KAP1356
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle from the Spring of 2009 into a Delerium Noel snifter...

A - Pours a pitch black color with a nice mocha colored head that fades quickly to a collar of the same color. Very inviting look to it.

S - HUGE chocolate aroma right off the bat. Smells of milk chocolate anc cocoa powder. Right behind it are roasted malts and some vanilla. There are also some hints of coffee as well. GREAT aroma.

T - Awesome chocolate flavors all over the palate; dark and milk. Some slightly burnt, bitter flavors come through as well which really adds a nice surprise to the palate. Roasted malts and nice vanilla flavors are there as well.

M - Incredibly creamy mouthfeel. Full bodied with little carbination. Very creamy and thick. Really coats the palate well. What a RIS should be.

D - Deservingly in the top 10. A really great RIS with a ton of great flavor. Slightly slower to finish since it's a bigger beer, but one that I will absolutely be drinking on a regular basis.

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

Split a bottle on 11/21/10 after a mock Thanksgiving dinner and a bunch of homebrew. Poured into a Great Divide balloon glass.

The beer is dark. Holding it up to the light doesn't reveal much more than black. The thin head is a beautiful tan and leaves a nice layer across the top of the glass. It's not the best stout I've ever seen (Ten FIDY?), but it's close.

The smell is dominated by dark fruits. Almost like a dopplebock. Definitely some roast and booze there, too. Yum.

The taste is right along the lines of the nose. Dark fruits. Dark roast. Some booze. All wonderfully blending together. The carbonation is right in line. Not under carbonated like some stouts. Keeps the mouthfeel from being exceedingly heavy. Very well balanced for how big it is. This beer is very drinkable and I'll love drinking the rest. I'm so happy that this is distributed in Texas and it's one of the best beers we can consistently get down here.

Photo of BuckeyeOne
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass dark with a puffy mocha-colored head that left plenty of lace down the glass.

The initial smell is of dark chocolate and coffee with a hint of ripe plums. After a few swirls, the sweet malt and caramel rises.

The initial flavor follow the nose --- dark bittersweet chocolate and coffee followed by ripe fruits. What differentiates this RIS/IRS from others is the distinctive Stone hop bite. I must say this was a welcome addition.

The mouthfeel is good, a bit more carbonated than I want in a RIS/IRS.

I like this very much and will drink my fill of them when they are released in the summer and through the fall and winter.

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

A - Pitch black which I like and a good lacing and head. The head fades quickly (would like it to linger a little longer) and leaves a thin lacing.

S - Alcohol is present, roasted & sugar smell there as well. It is a good smell but doesn't come through as strong as I'd like.

T - Roasted malt that finishes with a coffee aftertaste. A boozy taste mixes in but doesn't overpower it which give the overall flavor a great balance.

M - Low carbonation, very smooth for 10.5 %.

D - It has a slight "hot" or boozy bite to it when swallowing but not significant. It will leave a buzz after having a bottle and overall it is a pleasant drink for each swallow throughout.

I highly recommend this beer. As a midwestern guy I feel the Western breweries tend to over hop their beers but this one is incredible and a well balanced Imperial Russian. A top 10 stout of mine for sure.

Photo of sixthglass
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pitch black into a snifter, Dark brown head which fades quickly into the glass, lacing is present..

S - Dark roastyness, Burnt sugar, coffee

T - Coffee, Dark roastyness, Burnt Sugars, Alcohol, Carmel

M - Low carbonation, thick beer which coats the mouth and leaves a smoky burnt delicious flavor which fades into the burn of alcohol.

D - This is a great go to Imperial Stout, I can drink this one on a regular basis no issue. It's stout, strong, and gets the job done the way a true Imperial Stout should.

Photo of stylinprofiylin
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: thick dark head with an oily top

S: verry sweet dark almost bittersweet chocolate. feint expresso esque background

T: This one hits you. its sweetness is apparent. aroma matches flavor very well. im feeling a nice nutty fruit flavor. im sure this goes with chocolate chips.... im gonna grab some.

M: Dense... very dense, yet surprisingly smooth. well done. im sure it has to do with how oily this is. it lingers so well its like i never stopped drinking it

D: ABV on this says "watch yourself." but ima keep on goin with this one. Amazing Brew!

Photo of YouSkeete
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Oily flat black with a dark brown head. Some lacing

S: Roasted coffee and malts, dark chocolate and alcohol. There are slight notes of dark fruits but they're masked by the huge coffee and chocolate aroma. Fruity scent still clear and apparent though.

T: Huge rich coffee taste and huge bittersweet dark chocolate. On the more malty and sweet side than anything else. After the initial swallow the dark fruits come to be more present. The 10.5% abv is not as harsh as other 10%'s i've had, especially because of the heavy emphasis on the smooth malty flavor in the beer. Exceptionally well balanced.

M: Extraordinarily smooth, very full bodied, medium carbonation. As syrupy and oily as the BP oil spill... but not as overwhelming HA.

D: Terrifyingly outstanding. A perfect brew.

Photo of billab914
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage poured from a 22oz bottle into my very appropriate Stone RIS glass. It poured pitch black with a modest tan head filling the rest of the glass. The head faded to a thin ring around the edge of the glass where it left some moderate lacing.

The aroma is full of chocolate and roasted malts. The roasted malts bring a bitter, slightly burnt flavor along with some coffee and the chocolate really smooths it out. A bit of vanilla is present in it as well. Very flavorful aroma to it overall.

The taste shows a pretty big dark chocolate flavor to it. It's bitter-sweet at first but more of the dark and roasted malts come through towards the finish. Some coffee and burnt flavors come through as well. it has a great mix of the sweeter chocolate and malty flavors and the bitter and roasted flavors. Great beer overall for the style.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy with carbonation being on the lower side. Very nice for the style and just how I like my big stouts. Drinkability is good, it was a very flavorful with a lot of very good flavors all coming together nicely. Excellent beer overall.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black pour from the bomber into a tulip glass. A dirty tan short head formed. Held up to the light, not even on the edges is the light coming though. Looks beautiful.

S - Dark malt, caramel and ALCOHOL.

T - Malty, but not too sweet. There is a coffee kind of bitterness. Alcohol lingering minutes afterward.

M - Full bodied, my tongue is going numb from the alcohol. Light carbonation. Excellent.

D - This is perfect for a cold, stormy day in front of the fireplace. It will warm you up nicely. It hits the notes for a Imperial Russian Stout. Even though Stone gives fair warning on the bottle that it is loaded is alcohol, I would prefer a little less on the nose. Minor complaint. Excellent stout.

Photo of danielplainview
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance - Poured BLACK from 22oz into a snifter.

Smell - roasted malts, coffee, and a bit of booziness. Some caramel comes through with the booze.

Taste - Dark chocolate and caramel on the finish.

Mouthfeel - is a great beer with a rich full mouthfeel.

goes down very easy for the alcohol in the bottle. Scary good!

Photo of JMforman
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Great value for such a fine stout!

A- Poured from a bomber into a standard pint glass. A small tan head, with good lacing. Head went away quickly.

S- Milk Chocolate, caramel, and the faintest hint of some hops

T- Chocolate, toffee, and coffee on the front end. A bit of alcohol burn on the tail end

M- Pretty full mouthfeel. Very smooth and creamy.

D- Freaking fantastic! Pretty smooth for a 10.5. Might end up in the ER if you're not careful.

Photo of adam42381
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber into a nonic pint glass. 2010 vintage.

Appearance: Pours a motor oil black with a 2 finger creamy dark tan head. Excellent lacing. Looks pretty much perfect for a stout.

Smell: Chocolate, toffee, roasted malt, coffee and a light hint of alcohol.

Taste: Chocolate and roasted malt up front followed by dried fruits and dark roasted coffee in the middle and finishing with a nice hoppy bitterness and a touch of alcohol. Aftertaste is bitter and long-lasting.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied with a decent amount of carbonation. Very smooth and creamy.

Drinkability: High drinkability. Sit back, relax and savor this one. It's a sipper that keeps you wanting more.

Overall: Excellent beer overall. Perfect for a cold winter evening. I would highly recommend Stone IRS to anyone.

Photo of BeerNinja007
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Got this bomber at Beverage Warehouse in Winooski VT for $6.99. Limited Spring 2010 Release. Served cold in a chilled tulip. I've been looking forward to this one for a while.

Pitch black brew lets zero light through and throws up a thick 1" of deep brown foam from its murky depths. Aroma has the requisite smoky roasted barley and chocolate, but it isn't dry or bitter because warm sweet vanilla melds in beautifully to round it out. In the taste the vanilla sweetness is much less prominent and the brew exhibits a moderately strong astringent edge. Feel is thick and hearty, a seriously dense beer, creamy and smooth, with a mild but surprisingly sharp carbonation that prickles a little as it pokes through. There's a strong but mostly hidden alcohol bite that I perhaps lends some assertiveness to the carbo. Back to the taste... huge dense flavors of semi-sweet chocolate, vanillin, a great balance between dry roasted barley and sweet caramel, some spicy alcohol gives it a bite but is kept mostly to the sidelines, thick bready backbone. Moderate amount of lace throughout the session. Very filling brew.

Dense, huge, massive brew. It is this years' vintage and it's already very smooth... can't imagine how luscious it might be after cellaring for a year or two. I might have to find out. Highly recommended, just the kind of massive stout I've been jonesing for for quite a while.

Photo of SDtastentune
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark Dark dirty motor oil. hardly any head but I pour it slow yo! No lace almost at all.

S - Coffee, roastiness, alcoholish, deep malts, dark chocolate.

T - Very vibrant coffee, roasted malts, alcohol, balanced though.

M - Lower carbonation but no too low, just perfect I think, Not much fizz, but good carbonation not over the top.

D - Drinks great, very balanced and complex, I can have a few but its expensive usually $7-$8 bucks a bottle. Great beer with meat or dinner, or whenever. This is one of my favorites, cant beat this brew with much else, but its ol' skool & Ive been told the recipe is from way back & there are some others with the same quality's/flavor. Thumbs WAY up!

Photo of socon67
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A - Jet black with a dark brown foam. A teeny amount of lacing near the top.

S - Lots of things going on here. Smells of coffee, specifically bold espresso. There is also some anise, which makes me feel like I'm drinking the beer equivalent of an italian appertif. Nice!

T - An awesome RIS, the roasted maltiness comes at you like a good oatmeal stout, but with some other flavors like vanilla, coffee, and caramel.

M - Its heavy. This is not a brew for lightweights. Bring a fork.

D - It is really best to have one, savor, and relax. Somehow Stone has made this heavy stout very drinkable though. No effort to drink this.

I love Imperial Stouts and this is a perfect example to try and introduce to others.

Photo of metter98
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with only a few beige bubbles floating on the surface and around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of licorice and roasted coffee beans in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is rather complex and has flavors of bittersweet chocolate, coffee beans and licorice.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and rather smooth on the palate. Some warming sensations from the alcohol are present.
D: This beer is definitely one that needs to be slowly sipped given its alcohol content; it would take me a long time to finish a 750mL bottle by myself. This is an excellent representation of the style so I will definitely try another of these again.

Note: 2009 release

Photo of bobhits
4.11/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Two finger head, nice lacing, black body, brown pour. blahb lah blah. A touch oily compared to an oatmeal but maybe a hair less dense than some of the biggest russians.

Roasted, toasted, chocolate malts. A touch of hops. As expected.

Sweet vanilla. The burnt flavors are subtle in a way where they mix perfectly with the rest of the beer. Look it's an imperial russian stout. Think mellow on the hops and mellow on the burnt flavors. This mix is just exceptional!

Mouth feel is creamy, thick, carbonated, and just wonderful.

You can sip on this for hours. It'll eventually get to heavy but you'll be drunk as hell by then.

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

Poured from a 22 oz bottle

A- Jet black with 1 finger of mocha head, head diminshes to a thin layer of foam, decent lacing.

S- bitter chocolate and roasted coffee.

T- Same as the nose, the only detection of alchol is the warm sensation in my stomach, this is a really smooth beer.

M- Full bodied with light carbonation.

D- I will definetly stock up on this beer next spring, I am turning into a big Stone fan!

Photo of mkorpal
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Spring 2010 bomber poured into my well traveled New Belgium sniffer on Oct. 20th while watching The Professional. It seemed like a good match there. 7.99 for the bottle seemed like a good investment.

Pours a jet black, with no hint of clear or red or anything. Thin wispy head, dark tan, hangs on top. Not a ton of head with this beer. But thats ok.

Nice nose of burnt malts, much like coffee, and some nice fruity esters. Also some hints of chocolate. The nose is quite forward, and it doesn't take much to pick it up. I like that, some stouts seem really light on the nose. This one is right there in your face.

Taste is huge on the coffee and chocolate mix. The esters take a backseat in the taste, just giving a little fruity mix to the beer.

Mouthfeel coats your tongue sweet syrupy goodness. it is a bit heavier than it could be, but it is within acceptable range of an Impy Stout.

Drinkable, well, it's nothing to guzzle down, thats for sure, and the booze can start to get you a bit loopy by the end.

The taste gets even better as it warms. Awesome brew, can drink this any time. I suggest picking up a case when it becomes available.

Photo of shredsofautumn
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle purchased 10/20/2010 in Westfield, MA.

Appearance- Just the bottle itself is amazing. Great artwork, great story on the back. But anyone can market a beer. Let's see what Stone brings forth this time. A slow pour results in a thick, used motor oil viscous liquid. The head that forms on the top is about 1 finger, and it's a beautiful light brown creme color. This is definitely a pretty beer. Looks exceptional.

Smell- Coffee with cream. Mocha. Chocolate. Caramel. Raisins. So many beautiful things going on in this nose. I LOVE it.

Taste- Wow. Dark chocolate everywhere. Lots of coffee. Slight raisin finish. Tons of roasted flavors. I'm not going to type a big long description because when you try it, the taste will speak for itself. Amazing.

Mouthfeel- Nice and thick. Nice and slick. Just like a big RIS should be.

Drinkability- I'm going out and buying a case. I'll be drinking this all winter. This is a GREAT russian imperial stout at a very fair price.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,410 ratings.