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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.
BA SCORE
95
world-class

7,106 Ratings
THE BROS
91
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,106
Reviews: 2,592
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 550
Gots: 1,578 | FT: 88
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: 7,106 | Reviews: 2,592 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mostpoetsdo
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Looks fantastic, opaque black, not even dark brown. Small tan head that dissipates into a small pool.

S: Chocolate, malt, black licorice.

T: Roasted malt flavor and chocolate up front. A little bitter and boozy bite at the end, but faint.

M: Velvety, frothy smooth. Low carbonation.

D: It's a pleasure to drink.

Overall, kind of let down. It's great, but finding a lack of dark fruit. Probably tastes a lot better aged, obviously.

mostpoetsdo, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of WhiteOak
3.43/5  rDev -21%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Stone Imperial Russian Stout, Ltd Spring 2009 Release

G- Riedel 6416/07

A- Black, showing black-olive green under direct light. Expansive foamy head settles quickly.

S- Average smell of roast and burnt malt, yeast. Some chocolatey currants/raisins.

T- Straightforward roasted malt and hop bitterness fight for dominance. Touch of coffee. Perhaps a bit too much hop bitterness, proportionally.

M- Viscosity and CO2 are within acceptable balance, but really a touch too much gas here.

Serving- Bomber

WhiteOak, Jan 14, 2010
Photo of MOB210SA
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours decently solid 1 finger Intense mocha/and tan head that only slightly receeds down. An almost opaque blackness. Pretty damn dark. Practically black.

Nose and Taste is the usual IRS. Predominate coffee and dark chocolate, but with a strong alcoholic backdrop. Fierce.

Rich and full bodied.

Stone, Good job again.

(Will re-review later, and improve)

MOB210SA, Jan 13, 2010
Photo of elgiacomo
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Jul 10, 2009

22oz. bomber bottle. Pours black with small tan head.

Aroma and flavor heavy on the chocolate, dark roasted malts, and some coffee. Alcohol is very apparent! Definite burn going down.

Thick and rich, oily, with low carbonation.

Glad to finally get my hands on this. An excellent example of the style, although fresh it was very boozy and difficult to finish the bomber by myself. Would love to try one with a year or more on it to mellow out the alcohol.

elgiacomo, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of cosmicevan
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a Limited Spring 2009 Release bottle.

A - Poured oil black with a dark-tan, creamy head that disappaited rather quickly but had semi-sticky lacing.

S - Complex dark exotic fruit blend (reminds me of a belgian dark), burnt chocolate and candy sweetness. Smells fantastic for a stout. Reminds me a bit of a Dopplebock.

T - Burnt, woody, chocolate. Touch of darker fruits. Very interesting and tasty/flavorful stout.

M - Somewhat flat feeling with a bit of an alcohol bite. Not as silky as some other stouts. Subtle, but even carbonation.

D - Very drinkable. Has a nice complex flavor. The strong content would prevent me from having a few, but one hits the spot just right.

cosmicevan, Jan 11, 2010
Photo of jampics2
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Beer #3 of my 2010 Winking Lizard Beer Tour.

2008 vintage, 12 oz bottle.

Looks like the perfect stout. Black body, tan creamy head, looks great!

Aroma is molasses, roasted malt, chocolate, coffee.

Taste is back to basics RIS. Toasty, malty, molasses, chocolate, light coffee. Gets more and more flavorful as it warms and 'opens up'. The hops are very subdued in this vintage, aged bottle.

Mouthfeel is perfection. Silky, perfect body, great carbonation.

Alluring and delicious. A great 'standard'. Classic all around.

jampics2, Jan 10, 2010
Photo of jiggahertz
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Angressive pour results in a minimal cocoa colored head sitting on top of a deep dark black beer. No light passing through at all. Head quickly dissipates, no lacing.

S: Getting a lot of chocolate on the nose at first, little malt. Disappears when the head is gone.

T: Wow, really surprised by the level of chocolate I can pick up in this. It definitely dominates the flavor profile.

M: full bodied and medium carbonation

D: Slightly bitter finish, doesn't last extremely long. Hides the alcohol extremely well for a beer of this strength.

jiggahertz, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of Lunch
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia, MD (12/31/09). Served in a 12oz. snifter at a slighty colder than desired temperature, but allowed to warm to cellar temp.

A: Pours a thick motor oil black with 1.5fingers of an espresso colored head with good retention and lacing.

S: rich aroma of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and a tradiional hoppy Stone character throughout.

T: Roasted malt with dark chocolate and some bitter hops in the background. The finish brings the bitter hops out even more and lingers for a bit. Rich flavor profile which intenstifies in taste and complexity as the beer warms.

M: Full-bodied with a thick, oily mouthfeel and low creamy carbonation with a slight hoppy bite in the finish.

D: Great drinkabilty for a beer that is so complex and rich in every facet. The 10.5% abv is completely hidden and is a non-factor.

Overall I find this beer to certainly be in the top of Imperial Stouts and it's another fine offering from Stone. For a beer with as vast a distribution area, nothing at all hasbeen compromised. Highly Recommended.

Lunch, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of donkeyrunner
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spring 2009. Billowing tan head that looks like a beautiful stout pillow to rest my head upon. Opaque black. Lotsa lace and thin skim retention. Rouses well.

Roasty char, coffee and caramel brownie mix sweet aroma.

Big, heavy and roasty with lots of boozey giddiness: it's a kitten puncher. Black currant esters and smooth coffee versus roast malt with a lingering chocolate aftertaste. Well balanced for such a big beer.

donkeyrunner, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of beertunes
3.68/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Served in straight pint glass. Poured black, with a thick dark tan head that had very little retention and surprisingly little lacing.

Avery pleasing roasted scent is the first thing that greets the nose. Behind that is some malt sweetness and bit of hops. The flavor starts out with a hit of hop, then is dominated by the roasted malt and slight coffee flavors. Then there is a sharp hop finish.

The body was on the light side for a stout, I expect a more substantial mouthfeel from this style. The drinkability was, for me, typical of the style. I have a hard time having more than a couple of big stouts in a row.

Overall, a very good example of the style. Certainly not on the level of The Abyss, but just as certainly worth your time.

beertunes, Jan 01, 2010
Photo of scootny
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is smooth, rich, thick and delicious RIS. A 2008 keg from my 16 oz growler. Respectable head and retention. Average lacing. Smell is just wonderful. Big roasted chocolate malt. Coffee just behind that. A light sweetness but mostly a wonderful dark breadiness and roasted grain goodness. An English yeast fruitiness. Earthy hops following the English line. This is a great tasting beer. No tricks, no gimmicks, just good solid brewing in the vein of Brooklyn BCS. An excellent balance of bread, roasted grains, and sweetness. Brown bread, molasses, and toffee. Mocha and light chocolate with coffee in the finish. An earthy hops blending into the coffee to give a lingering dry finish with faint alcohol heretofore invisible superbly integrated. Feel is silky and mildly carbonated. A pleasing fullness with a slightly chewy texture. Quite easy to drink in spite of the abv. I have to force myself to behave. This stuff is seductive!

scootny, Dec 31, 2009
Photo of ktrillionaire
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A – Bubblin’ crude. Creamy foam head, not much retention.

S – Bittersweet chocolate, cola, mandarin, molasses, Shirley Temples, teriyaki

T – Hidden alcohol, and very smooth flavor. Roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, raw cocoa, espresso, burnt toast, sour cherry; the flavor profile is beyond multifaceted. As it warms it gets more complex. Smoked salmon and chocolate cherry cordials are evoked.

M – Great viscosity and light creamy foaminess.

D – If you can get it, get it. Its not a fast drinker, but it is a delicious sipper. I take about an hour per tulip.

ktrillionaire, Dec 30, 2009
Photo of hrking
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

Not much to add here that hasnt been said in previous post. Awesome this one was a bottle I had back for 2 years and wow all I can say is lay these bad boys down to age and you will be VERY pleased. Not overly heavy on the mouth feel but just right. All the flavors seem to jump out especially as the brew warms. I had this one at just over celler temp. Dont drink these cold as it does not truly let the flavors come out like they are capable of . Nice roasted malts and chocolate a small touch of coffee not overly done in anything and all the flavors blend to form and intense drinkable experience you and expect going into a beer like this.Awesome

hrking, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of GoldenChild
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Vintage spring 2009 paid 8.46 for this bottle of beer poured into a Glass.

A- very dark so dark that when i held it up to a light you could not see any light passing through it this stuff is black just like it should be. Has a brown head on it that disappears almost as fast as it forms leaving just a light crown left around the edge of the glass.

S- coffee, chocolate, and alcohol. wonderful smell

T- Wow this beer taste amazing just like the smell chocolate coffee and a strong alcohol after taste. this is a warming beer take a few drinks and you can feel your body warming up from it.

This is a great Imperial Stout very smooth nice mouth feel. Pretty pricey at the 8.46 a bottle. Would like to know what others are paying in there areas for it? I will probably grab a few bottles and toss them in the cellar for those special times of the year.

GoldenChild, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of horshack7
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: A dark abyssl fluid of darkness and evil that is topped with a mocha colored head that is about two fingers thick. Simply looking at this beast of a beer convinces me that it does not let light pass through it absorbs light like a black hole in outer space.

Aroma: Waves upon waves of dark roasted coffee. Dark roasted chocolate malts with light burnt hoppiness. It's all blended so remarkably.

Taste: A silky smooth mouthfeel like a melted chocolate ganache. Burnt hops tons of sweetness from the dark roasted malts. With bitterness coming from the roasted malts and coffee beans. A great malty backbone.

Notes: Wow this is a great brew perfect for any cold night. Cheers.

horshack7, Dec 28, 2009
Photo of dasenebler
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Bomber, 2009 release.

This one's been cellared for about six months, so I thought I'd give it a try. Temperature is around 60 degrees.

Onyx pour. When given some air, this stout pours with a great head, which is relatively light in color for an imperial. Okay lace.

Aroma is nice, with some alcohol and fat notes of roast and tobacco.

Flavor is excellent. It has mellowed and rounded significantly over the past several of months alone. Heaps of chocolate, both dark and sweet. Significant roast, but not nearly as much hopiness as expected. Coffee. Definitely bitter, but well- balanced. Anise and tobacco, like the aroma. The mouthfeel is obviously full and rich, but I can't judge this terribly well right now. I'd like to have this beer as my first of the night in the future... and then call it a night given the ABV. However, this is a very drinkable stout when allowed to age.

I don't know how much I'm adding with my review to this already well-recognized brew (1,600+ opinions on BA!). This is merely an affirmation of its greatness. It's like Old Rasputin taken to a whole other level: refined and smooth.

dasenebler, Dec 26, 2009
Photo of ritzkiss
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

12oz bottle from Spring 2008 release, closing in on 2 yrs. old, opened for Christmas Eve.

Pours a rich black color with a finger plus of mocha foam building in the snifter. Slowly dies to a collar.

This is a ridiculously drinkable RIS at this point. Beautiful roasting malt, dark chocolate, hints of anise, caramel, toffee, milk chocolate, hints of espresso. Creamy mouthfeel, not a hint of the alcohol at this point aside from a slight warming as it descends. Coats the mouth.

Oh so balanced, oh so roasty with just enough sweet to balance. Dangerously drinkable at this point, must find more to age. Superb.

ritzkiss, Dec 25, 2009
Photo of BeerFMAndy
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 oz bottle poured into an Imperial Pint. 10.5% ABV, "Age at Cellar temp 55 degrees or below", "Ages especially well.", "Limited Spring 2009 Release."

A - The pour is clear and quiet. In the glass it's almost pitch black with scant hints of color at the very bottom. The head is a dark mocha tan and packed with big bubbles. Despite it's small stature, it was retained very well. Thin lace covered the glass when the foam dropped to a creamy layer.

S - The nose bursts with potent, intricate roasted malts. Light coffee weaves in and out of dark chocolate that's drizzled with molasses. Black cherries and raisins add a low and dark fruity nature to this imperial stout. A rich caramel malt sweetness gives a good balance to the exceptional nose. Some toffee, mocha, and vanilla notes also aid in the massive complexity of this amazing nose.

T - Thick, robust roasted malts coat the tongue in a beautiful malty glory. Like the aroma, the flavor is vastly complex. Molasses, chocolate chunks, coffee bean, caramel cube, and a toasted bread malt flavor make up much of what I get. Then toffee, mocha, and vanilla bean all wander in like a dribble of coffee creamer. The potent alcohol that's noticeable instantly on the first sip, just seems to fade away. This is one of the most exceptional flavors I've had the pleasure of tasting.

M - Rich and chewy, it's a beyond-full-bodied brew that coats the throat all the way down like syrup. The carbonation is perfectly balanced to deliver a smooth drinking experience. With it being low, it also explains the lack of a larger head.

D - Between the flavor and mouthfeel...well, hell...every aspect of this beer, it's probably one of, if not THE, best beers I've ever had in my life. And for the price, it's damn near impossible to beat. I want to buy a case and I want to buy it now.

BeerFMAndy, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of whoneeds8
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 Vintage on tap at the Flying Saucers Christmas Glass Night, 12/23/2009.

Poured into the elongated christmas chalice black with a two finger tan head. Looked great in the glass.

I'm putting exceptional as the smell because I was in a smokey bar and I could actually smell something. Which I usually never can do because I'm actually allergic to cigerette smoke. I could definatly smell the malted carmel and spices.

The taste was amazingly smooth. It really does mellow out with age. There really wasn't an overly sweet taste to it, and the spices worked very well.

The mouthfeel was perfect, no alcohol burn what so ever. However it was very filling, which is why I am marking down the drinkability. Probably more my stomachs fault that the beer.

This was a great Christmas Present from Stone and the Flying Saucer.

whoneeds8, Dec 24, 2009
Photo of sprucetip
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My second full review of this one, and it is from notes. My original review was one of my very first reviews, and not very descriptive. Also scored it higher than I ever score anything these days. But it was also sort of an accident that I will be reviewing it twice, as I'd forgotten I'd reviewed it and taken notes the last time I had it. Here goes. This bottle had at least 1.5 years on it at the time of the sample.

Pours thick, dark black with creamy head that gradually fades to film and ring. Glass has some lacing, but not much.

SMELL Initially I get some licorice (star anise?), molasses, roasted barley, and a more general malty sweetness. Emerging later are coffee, smoky and strong boozy elements. Complex, smooth and inviting.

TASTE is much like the nose. Strong licorice, molasses, and roasted barley with some coffee and black patent. Boozy with a fairly sharp but restrained hoppy/roasted bitterness coming on late. Malty sweetness balances well until the finish. Mellower than I recalled, but perhaps smoother and more complex? Those final observations would make sense given the time in the cellar.

FEEL Medium carbonation, rich full body, thick and chewy, moderate alcoholic warming, and some bitterness in the semi-dry finish.

OVERALL Seems to have mellowed with age, and surprisingly easy to drink. Pretty smooth for all that is going on in it.

sprucetip, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of stonequarrywest
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 Spring Release from Notes

Black black pour with a tannish 2 finger head that lends some sticky moderate retention on the glass.
Aroma of Dark dried fruits for sure ( raisins, plums ) and some licorice with faint alcohol.
Taste is a great chocolate,coffee and a fruity sweetness that really sits well on tht tongue. Extremely smooth and creamy motuhfeel and a solid drinkability with an ABV that will sneak up on you if your not careful.

stonequarrywest, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of brow1901
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter

A- Jet black with a thin light brown head. Retention is fair with excellent lacing. No light gettin through this glass.

S- Kinda a spicy fruit smell to it, with a hint of alcohol. It isn't the sometimes prevalant dark fruit smell that is associated with really sweet stouts, but rather it is a smell I associate with a normal pale ale. There still is the hint of raisins in it though.

T- Pretty bitter, not really what I would have guessed based on the smell but the hops shine in the taste department. Beyond that is more great flavor, tons of toasted and burnt malt.

M- Thick and viscious, really slick in the mouth. Nice alcohol warming to go along with it though.

D- I can never seem to give RIS anything more than a 4.5 for drinkability, I find it kinda rediculous to try and drink 22oz of this stuff. Its not that its bad but it is heavy and high abv. Overall this is a good RIS, not my favorite but the value is there especially for teh quality of the beer.

brow1901, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of alkemy
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Limited Spring 2009 Release. This stuff is black. The fluffy dark tan head is the only thing that gives it away as to not actually being black. The head does dissipate rather quickly. I can't even discern color when held directly to my desk light. Lots of chocolate along with some strong coffee notes and hints of molasses. Only a hint of alcohol in the nose. There are also traces of dark dried fruits. Tastes of a smoky chocolate coffee. Alcohol is masked fairly well, but it is noticeable. Pretty good for a 10.5% RIS. That's what has kept me away from other RIS's such as Siberian Night, which I felt to be too alcohol forward. Oddly enough, I tend not to notice alcohol in high ABV strong ales or DIPA's. I'm also noticing a black licorice component as I get further into this. Creamy viscous feel with a fair amount of carbonation. Not typically a fan of this style, but I'm glad I tried this one. Nice sipper, but I could only drink it sparingly. The only knock that I have is that there is a building sweetness/richness that knocks down the drinkablity a touch for me. Unlike high ABV DIPA's, I'd rather have this in a 12 ouncer.

alkemy, Dec 23, 2009
Photo of cbros
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving type- 2009 bottle poured into a snifter glass.

A- Pours a complete black with an introductory two finger tan head. The head was pretty but unfortunately it withered away very quickly.

S- I am getting coffee notes along with some subtle chocolate smells as well. I am even picking up some subtle raisin flavors. I am not getting a commanding smell, everything seems to work well to give you a very nice smelling beer.

T- I am picking up some of the same tastes that I found in the nose as well. Coffee, chocolate, along with roasted malt. Everything seeems to finsh in a mellow alcohol finish. Good tasting beer that for its strength is going down well.

I have a 2007 bottle but decided that I would give this one a shot first. This is a good RIS but I probably would not get this again. I have had other offerings from Stone that I would get before buying this again. Plus I have found other RIS's that suit me more. Overall a nice beer but a one time thing. However I will be having the 2007 bottle in my cellar down the road and see what a few years does to the flavors.

cbros, Dec 20, 2009
Photo of biggred1
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Ebony bodied and impossible to see through with some evil dark cocoa foam that has great retention and sticks to the glass. The nose is great. Black licorice, black strap molasses and heavily roasted dark malt make up the nose on this malty beast with some charred hop bitterness struggling to get through. Bittersweet chocolate and dark fudgy malt flavors with just enough hop seasoning to perfectly balance the flavors out.
the alcohol is barely noticable. Smooth and medium bodied with a silky carbonation. A fantastic RIS that only improves with age.

biggred1, Dec 19, 2009
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
95 out of 100 based on 7,106 ratings.