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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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7,450 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,450
Reviews: 2,627
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 653
Gots: 1,756 | FT: 100
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: 7,450 | Reviews: 2,627
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip. 2010 release.

Appearance: IRS is an extremely dark mahogany color, nearly black. I can work to tilt the glass and create a walnut edge, but for all intents and purposes, nothing will get through. A foamy, very dark brown head exists at first, slowly and menacingly fading to a thin ring. Spotty lace exists on the glass.

Smell: Burnt roasted malts, roast coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, and vanilla. A faint hint of alcohol in the background.

Taste: The best part about this beer is how well the flavors blend together. Heavily roasted malt and coffee blend together well to start. This is everything I want in a dark RIS and it is delicious. A touch of dark chocolate and vanilla, followed by a warming alcohol presence before some light earthy hops carry it home. A lingering coffee bitterness is the only thing I would like cleaned up a bit.

Mouthfeel: Not syrupy, a tough feat for a viscious stout. There is enough carbonation to keep it out of that range. Obviously full bodied, with medium carbonation. A bit sticky, and alcohol warms the stomach.

Drinkability: Ultimately smooth, and the flavors blend really well together. The only issue is really the strong coffee aftertaste. I will definitely look out for this every Spring.

Photo of DrewZ926
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

a- deep brown bordering on pitch black. some mahogany highlights. nice 1 finger khaki head.

s- damn. lots of spice, anise, chocolate, and roasted malt. a little espresso bean and booze too.

t- damn. so complex. more anise, roast, pepper, and chocolate. burnt sugar and vanilla come through on the finish. very dry and so flavorful.

m- begins and looks a little thin but finishes so creamy

d- booze is definitely there, a tinge of heat as it warms. that being said, the taste makes this dangerously drinkable

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

Pours near black with a tan head. No lace. The head retreats to the rim fairly quickly.

Smells of a rich roast with some malt sweetness. The alcohol comes through in the aroma as well.

Very evenly balanced. Strong roast with flavors of coffee and toffee and caramel. Drinks exceptionally smooth. Mellow but strong flavors. The carbonation and alcohol give it a slight bite.

Creamy. No one aspect of stouts (roast/richness/sweetness) overwhelms the others. Medium body.

Excellent beer.

Photo of JDFish
3.23/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Big bottle poured into a S.A. modified pint:

A: Very dark and rich. You can tell by the head that this is quality.

S: Decent, but I knew I wouldn't rate this as high as others as it hinted at that gagging molasses smell

T: Sure enough, a good solid brew, but like some others it has that molassses sickening sweetness to it..along with other flavors of course. Not as sickening as some of the Bell's stouts or S.A. I.R.S., but its still there.

M: Huge, deluxe, definite quality brew here
D: Not very drinkable for me, I'm afraid

Overall, a high quality sipping brew. Just a tad too much of that molasses sweetness. I prefer the Old Rasputin, same thick quality, but more roasty than sweet

Photo of oreo
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 Vintage poured on tap at Finnegan's Irish Pub in Plainfield IL

Poured a deep black with very little head.

Aroma was heavy on the dark fruit and booze.

This went down very smooth. I am not much a fan of dark fruit stouts, but this one was very good. Almost a syrup like texture with lots of roasty malt flavors with a lot of dark fruit. Some booze on the finish.

Easy drinking, but a sipper.

2005 Vintage poured on tap at Finnegan's Irish Pub in Plainfield IL

Pours a deep black with a half finger tan head.

Smells like dark fruits but with more booze than the 2004.

Deep roasty malts with a lot of dark fruit in the taste. A more harsh boozey flavor comes through on this one.

A better mouthfeel than the 04, syrupy but lighter.

Drinkable. Most certainly a sipper.

Photo of boomer31
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Bought a few last year and never got around to sitting down and enjoying one.
2009 Vintage

A - Pours black with deep brown shades around the edges when held to light. Thin dark beige head fizzles to a few bubbles around the edges. Some stick

S - Big roasted malt, not doffee, then fig and leather. Faint hints of smoke.

T - Roast again, but not coffee, dark malts, some bitterness in the back, lots more dark fruits and a lingering dtyness. Very nice! Almost no sweetness just dry roast with touches of bitterness and alcohol

M - Much more full than the appearance would have you think. Low carb, perfect.

D - This is a great beer. Very complex but very easy to drink. You only get a hint of alcohol but it blends so well with the bitterness.

This lives up to the ratings its been getting for years. Very approachable yet complex.

Photo of zoso1967
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

For all intents and purposes, this stout pours completely black and is opaque. It is capped off with a beautiful mocha head that has superb retention and slightly above average lace. If the artwork and marketing on the bottle were not enough, after pouring one of these bad boys you can tell it means business.

The aroma is wonderfully rich and complex with a solid molasses like sweet malt backbone that holds up a cornucopia of roasty and toasty treasures. Coffee, charred wood, smoke, burnt sugar, leather and a touch of anise all come out of this beer. One can also detect a bit of a sharpness that is probably a cross between roasty astringency, alcohol and some piney hops. This is one of those beers that every time you smell it you get something different.

The flavor is much like the aroma and possesses the same chameleon like tendency to change as you make your way through the glass. Coffee, smoke, leather, rich dark chocolate, soot and a punch of hoppy bitterness all make their way to my taste buds.

I would say that the body on this is not quite full, but it does have a very smooth and coating sort of texture. The finish can be a bit harsh as this beer warms, but given the crazy amount of roasted and bitter stuff going on in this brew, it is not bad at all.

This is a pretty darn drinkable American RIS, and it is no wonder it is so popular. While it is a big beer and I often end up drinking it quite slowly, I feel like I need to bump up the drinkability a bit because this is a beer that I seem to end up picking up from time to time because I know it will be an enjoyable drinking experience. This is a classic beer and highly recommended.

Photo of jds1469
4.56/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not a perfect beer, but pretty good.

Purchased a 2009 bottle today and popped it open once I got home. The appearance was some of the best looking beer I have seen recently. HEAVY black color with a dark brown head. The beer sticks to the glass as you drink it very well and creates a nice lacing down the glass.

The taste is very bold, but not overpowering, sweet but not overly sweet. The flavors mesh together to well it is hard to pick out individual ingredients.

Mouthfeel is perfect. Has the feel of heavy cream almost but go away pretty quickly after a few seconds.

Of course the drinkability is a 4.9, but this is not an option so it deserves a 5.0.

Very easy beer to find where I live and I will pick up several 2010 bottles to enjoy next year.

Photo of welldigger888
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from growler into a chimay chalice, opaque black elixer with a nice creamy tan head that laces down glass well.
Vintage jan. 2009 on the keg, mmmhah! WOW !!!
Very subdued aromas of an exceptional grain bill with chocolate and coffee coming through.
Intense creamy coffee chocolate grainy notes. WOW again!!!
This brew is outstanding with a soft carbonation and creamy roasty mouthfeel! WOW!!!
I could drink this all night, well until I fell down at least! the abv is a bit intimadating.

Photo of SAxDRC5
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I drank half of the 22oz bottle cold and the other half at room temperature. I will rate it on the room temperature version.

A: Dark black with a creamy tan head that slides down the glass and leaves a beautiful lacing

S: Dark chocolate and coffee. a bit of alcohol scent.

A: bittersweet chocolate, coffee isn't as strong a flavor as it is on the nose. Dark fruits, raisings and plums maybe. A bit of earthy oak flavor. Very good balance but not perfec, a bit too sweet and not enough hops to get a 5 from me.

M: heavy, creamy, perfect carbonation slight alcohol warmth on the finish. honestly could not be any more perfect.

D: Quite good. 10.5%abv does not try to hide itself though. Pretty strong presence of alcohol, and a really heavy beer.

I could not believe that I hadn't rated this yet, as it's one of the best RIS that I have had. I will definitely buy this again and again.

Photo of PhageLab
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served in a chalice.

A - Dark and soulless. Like an ominous shadow or a dying star. Nice fluff at the top that stuck around for the duration. Thick coating of lace.

S - Grapes, plum, wood chips, cedar, chocolate, and perhaps a tinge of roasted malt. Very complicated aroma, you could spend as much time smelling this one as you could drinking it.

T - Fruity and smoky. Sweet malty body. Dry slightly bitter finish. Absolutely delicious.

M - Full bodied, nice and thick, yet smooth.

D - Great RIS, great brew period. Sip and sip well, because this one will sneak up on you.

Photo of trecker
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Stone IRS tulip.

Looked good. Dark black. Call me a rookie, but aren't most Russian Imperial Stouts basically the same black? Small amount of whitish tan head that fades to lacing.

Smells of a sweet chocolate but not overpowering.

Has a chocolate taste possibly with a little warmth.

Drinks very well for the 10.5%. I've had quite a few RIS's lately and this is definitely one of my favorites. (P.S.- why they gotta be different and be an IRS instead of an RIS?)

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

This RIS from Stone pours deep and dark with a creamy chocolate brown head that falls pretty quickly leaving leaving moderate amounts of thick oily lacing which slides down the glass.

The aroma smells frankly delicious, with deep dark roasted malts that bring to mind dark rich chocolate, bitter and sweet with coffee overtones and whiffs of alcohol.

Let this baby warm up before drinking! With warming the mouthfeel improves and the flavors of rich dark chocolate, roasted grains and nice hoppiness really pop out. There are flavors of dark orchard fruits like ripe plums, prunes and raisins but the main flavor to me is the bittersweet chocolate backed with roasted green coffee beans. The alcohol whiffs from the aroma are totally hidden in the flavor but for a pleasant warming on the palate.

Mouthfeel is full and creamy and silky smooth on the finish.

Drinkability, oh I could drink some more of these! An excellent RIS, a style I haven't been drinking lately but I think that's about to change for the rest of the season!

Photo of tzieser
4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spring 2009 vintage bottle poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: pours a pitch black color with a two-plus head which is tan in color. Great retention. Very impressed with the carbonation level after 2 years of cellaring.

S: sweet malty profile. big notes of chocolate and roasted malt. not a strong nose, but rich nonetheless.

T: amazing flavor. Well rounded. Nice a sweet but not overly so. Notes of chocolate syrup, roasted chocolate malts and coffee. Alcohol is noticible but not unpleasant. Extremely warming in the 28 degree chill. Very well done.

M&D: smooth mouthfeel; good drinkability.

I think the age diminished much of the hop character quite a bit. West coast imperial stouts are always too damn hoppy in my opinion, so I'm glad I put some age on it. Not the best RIS but still very good. Recommended.

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

served on tap at barcarde in brooklyn.

a. lovely dark black, looks very thick, with an everlasting rich brown head.

s. smells of malty goodness and chocolate coffee bitter sweeteness. tempting.

t. really dark and thick chocolate notes and coffee notes. overall really malty and good with a nice balanced bitterness.

m. mouthfeel is amazing, very thick and rich, but not overpowering.

d. i could drink this all night. thanks stone!

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

Poured from bomber into my New Belgium globe glass.

A: Pours thick and black with a frothy brown head.

S: Roasted chocolate malt, strong coffee.

T: First time having Stone RIS...here goes. Strong tastes of dark chocolate, toffee, coffee. Hints of alcohol but not overbearing like other RIS's that I've had. Tastes amazing, exceeds even its own hype.

M: Creamy and smooth. Not as heavy as it looks.

D: This is good; wish I'd bought more. This beer has been elusive in Nashville but I'm glad I finally tracked it down. jVery drinkable, very tasty. This will be a go-to cold weather beer for me for a long time to come.

Photo of BarrytheBear
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage poured multiple times into a small wine glass while watching Step Brothers at the cabin in the woods. There are few things better than spending consecutive contemplative winter evening next to a fire, drinking aged stouts, and watching movies. "I tea bagged your drum set."

Black with a crimson hell-fire edges and a reverse cascade of creamed coffee colored head that emerges from the center of the glass and then dives back below the murky surface.

Smells of berries and cream, or more specifically blackberries. Medium roast coffee joins midway through and leaves with a long dark chocolate bar finish. Very smooth and well integrated and much less hoppy than when fresh. Dark fruits wrap the chocolate finish.

Coats the mouth nicely and finishes prickly on the back of the tongue with a lingering bitterness. Booziness is kept mostly in check, especially considering I recall fresh bottles being quite hot. There is, however, a mild burn that reminds you of the abv. While time has mellowed this out substantially, I feel like some of the real pop of this stout has been lost. Enjoyable, but not quite what this was or could be.

Photo of JizackFH
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - This beer pours a deep black color, and has a 2-finger dark tan head on it. There was good lacing left on the glass.

S - this smells of roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, hops, anise, and some alcohol notes.

T - The taste is sweet and roasty up front, and there is also a nice hop presence. The alcohol is hidden super well. There are nice chocolate, coffee, and licorice notes that shine through. The finish is a bit hoppy with some chocolate notes, and there is also some alcohol warmth.

M - It has a full body with the right amount of carbonation. It coasts the mouth nicely, and it is a bit sticky. The coffee and hop nots in the finish stay around and linger for a little while.

D - This has good drinkability. It goes down easy, and I think its a very good RIS. I would certainly try another bottle of this.

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

Poured in a 9 ounce tasting tumbler, number 2 in a series of tastings for the 2010 Holiday.

A- Black, pitch black. Foamy tan head (1 finger) that turns into a nice lace.

S- Coffee! Chocolate, cheerios, anise.

T- Smooth, malty stout. All of the tastes that were aluded to in the smell are very subtle- it doesn't overpower with coffee or chocolate, but rather hints to everything that is presented on the nose. A very well balanced R.I.S.

M- Very bold, very fizzy, good overall feel. Lively.

D- a stout lover's brew, very drinkable (albiet on the strong side)- sip and enjoy!

Photo of ryan1788a5
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber poured into a New Belgium globe. This bottle is a year old.

A: Jet black with a two-finger tan head. Retention is decent, lacing is ample and very sticky.

S: Plum, black currant, raisin, juicy black raspberries. Faint earthy and herbal hops with hints of pine and citrus. Subtle charcoal, baker's chocolate, and coffee beans. Spicy alcohol. A rather delicate, but highly complex nose.

T: An aggressive bite of bitter, earthy, resinous hops assaults the palate first, but quickly subsides and is pushed aside by the fruity esters. These esters boast a lot of depth, divulging tastes of plum, black currants, raspberries, figs, dates, and some vinous flavors. A strong spicy alcohol character rears its head, but is far from overpowering. Molasses and a nice charcoal impression ride alongside the esters and linger on into the finish. Dark chocolate and sweeter cocoa tastes come out intermittently. Finishes with coffee, hints of smoke, resinous hops, and vinous tastes.

M: Thick, syrupy, mouth coating, and silky smooth. Slight astringency. Alcohol warms the whole body.

D: Good, but definitely a sipper.

Notes: Excellent. Very true to style. Somewhat delicate in taste, but very complex. A good recommendation for anyone who enjoys red wine.

Photo of markrubbo
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

An amazing Russian Imperial Stout. Color black as ink. Medium-heavy body. Good head retention. Big malt and roasted flavors. A bit too alcoholy. I wish it were balanced a bit more with spices or hops.

A great winter warmer, perfect as an after dinner sipper.

Photo of Strix
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours thick dark black with chocolate-colored head.

Smells slightly boozy, with dark chocolate and dark fruits.

Dark fruits, dark chocolate, alcohol, and a slight grapefruit hop finish.

Mouthfeel velvety and fairly thick.

This was quite enjoyable. A very solid, but not mindblowing RIS.

Photo of pburland23
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 22 ounce bomber dated "Limited Spring 2009 Release" into my Great Divide Brussels glass.

Pours a beautiful deep, dark black. When held up to the light, the beer proves to be almost totally opaque. I see some tinges of dark brown. Pours about a finger of light brown head that quickly receded and did not leave any lacing. It's a beautiful pour.

Nose is strong on roasted malts, alcohol, dark coffee, and a touch of fruitiness that I'm having trouble placing...blackberries, perhaps?

This beer is intense in flavor. It hits you hard with roasted malts, a black currant flavor and an undeniable booziness. I find that the fruitiness and the alcohol overpower the malts and make for an uneven drinking experience.

This is a thick, viscous, full-bodied beer that's a definite sipper at 10.5%. Truth to be told, I was expecting a little more from Stone on this one. Russian Imperial Stout just seems a little misaligned and as I mentioned, it makes for an uneven drink. I'd like to pick up another body and lay it down for a few years to see if the rough edges are smoothed out.

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

Been my favorite for years and now reviewing it. Lourdes into reidel stemless dark black little brown head. Beautiful to look into. Smells of roasty goodness. Tastes of roasty chocalte and coffe. Bitterness is there along with the alcohol. I love this beer and could put down several. My closet thanks me. Cheers

Photo of OBeerMeGreatOne
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review #100. Poured into a snifter from a 22oz 2010 Edition.
Solid black with a deep tan, half inch head. The lace is there but pretty minimal. The alcohol content is stronger then previous years so that might have something to do with it.
Smells like chocolate (bittersweet), expresso, cherries, plums, lemon and booze. Very appealing.
The taste matches the smeLl but is a bit heavy on the alcohol. It really overwhelms the palate. Naybe aging would do this years release some good. It would make sense too being that they are changing it up with Belgian Yeast next year. It's thick and heavy as always.
I'll grab a few to cellar for sure. I personally can't wait to compare it to next year's release.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,450 ratings.