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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.

7,210 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,210
Reviews: 2,598
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 569
Gots: 1,616 | FT: 92
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: 7,210 | Reviews: 2,598 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of constahoogan
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the Growler to my snifter, the body is pitch black with zero light penetrability joined with a light brown, camramel, dark sand dune like colored head that leaves prickly blotches of lace along the glass.
Sweet Roasted dark coffee malt, dark chocoloate and caramel accompanied by a hint of syrup on the nose. It tastes just as it smells; Chocolate-Coffee malts at the front, joined by subtle hints of maple and caramel.
The texture is almost milky, silky and very smooth. The carbonation isn't irritating at all.
Overall, this is a very solid beer for the style. I highly recommend this beer to any 'dark beer' lover. haha. cheers

constahoogan, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of Daktyls
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours a dark, motor oil color, somewhat reddish when held up to a (bright) light. Thin mocha colored head around 1 finger thick which dissipated quickly to a fine lacing.

S: Definitely smells of coffee and some chocolate notes, also detected a general "roasted" smell and some indeterminable spices.

T: Chocolate and maltiness were most readily apparent, along with notes of coffee and anise (perhaps the spice I was detecting earlier?). The alcohol is not as present as one would expect for a 10.5% ABV brew.

M: Medium amount of carbonation, sits nicely on the tongue, somewhat syrupy with a very nice feel.

D: Very drinkable, goes down easily, would definitely have another, though with the high alcohol content one should be careful.

Daktyls, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of nickadams2
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A_Pours a thick, dark ,reddish brown. Nice thin,mocha colored head.Good lacing.

S_Dark chocolate,dark fruits,molasses and coffee.Picking up a slight boozy smell.

T_Strong flavor. Dark fruits ,coffee, and roasty. Nice alcohol burn but not overpowering. Spot on for an RIS.

M_Thick. "Chewy" is an adjective commonly used for Imperial Stouts. Never used it but it fits like a glove for this beer.

D_It's a big beer but a bomber sometimes just is not enough.

nickadams2, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of brendanec
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Review is a 2010 bottle for the limited spring edition.

appearance - very dark, thick, solid tan head, looked at it through the sun and couldn't see anything

smell - roasty, caramel malts, chocolate

taste - very complex, coffee, liquor, chocolate hint

mouthfeel - thick and gummy

drinkability - very enjoyable and full of flavors. I did not mix with food as it was so overwhelming.

brendanec, Apr 25, 2010
Photo of AleWynch
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Limited Spring 2010 release - case date 3/31/10

A: Pours motor oil/dark chocolate with a nice 1 finger tan head (actually a little less than expected) laced nicely.

S: Big malt, Anise, faint banana-bread, little butterscotch, very interesting...not getting alcohol on the nose.

T: ABV hidden well, malts, chocolate, roast, bit of coffee, more complex as it warms...anise, molasses, caramel, bit of toffee and banana-bread in the finish. Sweetness balanced nicely with hops, but no distinct hop presence.

M: Clean, medium body, not cloying, little lighter than expected.

D: Excellent. Working on 2nd bomber with DH. Highly recommended.

AleWynch, Apr 24, 2010
Photo of mht2113
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drinking a Limited Spring 2009 release.

Appearance- Pours a mocha brown color, very thick and dark, with a light tan head that hugged the glass throughout the pour and drink.

Smell- Rich toffee and coffee undertones with a slight chocolate finish to the aroma all of which persist against sweet alcoholic bitterness. The complex smells nearly knocked me out when I drew a deep breath. A true pleasure for the nose.

Taste- Extraordinarily complex. The initial taste mimics the smell, but beyond the initial tinge of alcohol comes an array of flavors that slowly morphs into a chocolate sensation.

Mouthfeel- A warm thickness that surrounds the mouth.

Drinkability- Very rich and creamy, like biting into savory chocolate mousse. Highly drinkable and delicious.

mht2113, Apr 20, 2010
Photo of Spider889
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review is for the 2008 vintage.

Had in a bottle at Winking Lizard. I was surprised to see a vintage beer advertized on their World Tour bottle menu. Props to Winking Lizard, I hope this is a prelude of more to come in the following years.

Poured a black coffee color, no light gets through. Has the appearance of syrup on the pour but is actually fairly thin and watery in consistency.

Smelled of rich coffee beans and heavy roasted malt. Alcohol is also is in the nose, but then again, at 10.5% it's not surprising.

The taste was very pleasing. Rich, full of flavor: coffee, thick and chewy malt, muddled hops, and brown sugar. Very tastey and mellow.

I found the beer very drinkable. It was my second beer of the night but I felt pretty tipsy afterward, so the alcohol does a number on you yet I found it not as noticable as one would expect from such a high abv.

Overall I was impressed and would be happy to drink this vintage again and would love to try one with even more age on it.

Spider889, Apr 17, 2010
Photo of peensteen
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

just had this about an hour ago. Pours lovely, brown to black with a tan head. Smells like rich chocolate and coffee, lightly carbonated with a nice weight in your mouth. Warm going down and finishes nicely resonating with a rich coffee flavour. Highly recommended, try this if you have a chance, especially for those who are a fan of the Samuel Smith Imperial Stout.

peensteen, Apr 11, 2010
Photo of Mora2000
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage consumed 4/3/2010.

The beer pours dark brown to black with a khaki colored head. The aroma is chocolate and roasted malt with some piney hops. The flavor is lots of bitter chocolate, coffee and some piney hops as well as roasted malt. As the beer gets to room temperature you start to get some other flavors including semi-sweet chocolate, caramel, toffee and brown sugar. Medium bitterness overall, much less so than when the beer is fresh. The alcohol is not that present in the taste but it is warming. Thick, creamy mouthfeel and low carbonation.

Mora2000, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of travduke
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008 vintage poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Deep dark black. Like midnight. Creamy, fluffy one finger mocha-colored head. Decent lacing.

Aroma: Chocolate is there first. Roasted malts, slight alcohol and mild coffee join in aswell.

Taste: The taste mimics the smell. This is delicious, absolutely delicious.

Feel/Drink: Rich, creamy mouthfeel. I can drink a couple of these but with the alcohol, I'm ready for something a bit calmer.

travduke, Apr 06, 2010
Photo of scottfrie
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spring 09 release. 22oz bottle into SN hop pint glass.

A: Jet black with a large thick dark coffee head that reduced into a thick film that lasted the whole beer and left some soapy lacing.
S: Roasted oats, dark chocolate malts, toffee and grassy hops. Very good.
T: Dark chocolate, nuts, grassy hops, espresso, roasted oats and alcohol notes.
M: Medium body slightly syrupy, thick and rich. Some bitter hops in the finish with sour coffee notes.
D: Very rich with great flavors and a great hop bite. Highly drinkable and recommended.

scottfrie, Apr 05, 2010
Photo of TCgoalie
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A brown head appears over the black abyss in my glass. A tilt of the glass presents some nice lacing. I like looking at this, and now I will smell it.

I smell all kinds of chocolate, biscuit, a heavy hit of molasses, and a hint of maple bourbon-y sweetness. Coffee, anise...I could go on all day, so much to keep my olfactory glands happy.

I very much enjoy when the smell translates exactly to what I'm tasting. The hop flavor seems to come up front and blends into a big hit of bourbon. In comes a pleasant blend of chocolate, roasty coffee, anise, molasses, and tongue numbing alcohol.

I'm very much intrigued by the complexity of this brew. Each sip seems to conjure a different flavor. It is a mouthful, I can tell you that with a very creamy texture and sticky dry aftertaste.

Not the most drinkable beer, but the complexity makes me give the drinkability category a higher score.

TCgoalie, Apr 03, 2010
Photo of ChrisPro
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Malt & Vine. 2009 spring release. Tasted blind with 14 other stouts. Pours a black with frothy tan head and great lacing. Incredible coffee and chocolate aroma. Nice sweet flavor with chocolate and molasses. Medium body an d a bit fizzy. Really interesting chocolate and bitter finish. Incredible brew, but still needs to mellow. Can't wait to taste this vintage in a couple years.

ChrisPro, Mar 29, 2010
Photo of joshstevens87
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a solid black with an inch or so of dirty tan head
S-a nice blend of coholate, liquorice, anise, with a bit of coffee giving a nice roastiness with maybe a bit of alcohol in the background
T-much of the smells described above with a bit more of an alcohol kick but is still well hidden behind a huge taste with a bit more bitterness than in the nose, not much hops but the beer is around a year old
M-a medium heavy body with a modest carbonation making it a very full beer with a very slight oily feel to it
D-a delicious beer with a great taste that can be drunk all night and can certanly lead to trouble

joshstevens87, Mar 26, 2010
Photo of tippebrewcrew2
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review was taken from notes. I had this beer at a tasting with my buddy on a dark cold night and we decided to play some whiffle ball. We had a KBS and this beer. This beer held its ground against the KBS. Black, hearty, and warming is the only way I can describe this beer. Very complex with bitter chocolate overtones and a hoppy undertone. Velvety texture with a long bitter sweet finish. A true display of what Stone can do.

tippebrewcrew2, Mar 23, 2010
Photo of Stigs
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, 2008 vintage...served in a DFH oversized snifter

A - pours with a thin layer of bubbly dark tan foam, dissipates very quickly, leaving behind a smal ring around the glass and a few floating islands of bubbles. the beer is pretty much opaque pitch-black.

S - big and bold as I was expecting. huge roasted malt, bordering burnt toast. dark fruits are abundant, as well as bourbon, chocolate, malted candy, dark chocolate. earthy hops add a bitter punch.

T - starts off a bit sweet with the dark fruits taking over, before the more pronounced bitter flavors fight for attention. the dark roasted malts hit the tongue first, followed by chocolate, rye, coffee, black strap molasses...pretty substantial alcohol burn joins in with some earthy hop bitterness near the end. comes together quite nicely in the end. the aftertaste is of plums, raisins, burnt toast, chocolate.

M - medium bodied, maybe a touch thin. carbonation is very present but does a nice job of cutting through the intensely bold flavors. good, creamy finish with an awakening alcohol burn.

D - a solid, almost by-the-book RIS. two years has done well on this, and I'm looking forward to seeing what more time will do (got a case of this yesterday at a steal). dangerously drinkable, caught myself thinking gulp instead of sip. doesnt have the flashiness of some barrel-aged or infused stouts, but doesnt need it. superb.

Stigs, Mar 22, 2010
Photo of webbcreative
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2009 Bottle.

Poured pitch black with 2 finger dark tan head.

Aroma is pleasant with roasted black malt, brown malt, nice chocolate, slight coffee, smells pretty sweet, and smells sticky [is that even possible?]

Taste is pretty sweet from the get go, maybe a bit too sweet, then settles in a bit with some nice chocolate, and coffee bean flavors and has a bitter chocolate finish. Alcohol is a bit apparent but not so bad considering its 10.5%. Getting a bit of dark fruit as it warms, plum I would say.

Moutfeel is medium, more carbonation that i was expecting from an IRS, but its nice.

Overall, a really good RIS, but not the best IMO, I would still take Storm King anyday over this. This is just a touch too sweet for my liking, maybe a fresher sample would be less so.

webbcreative, Mar 21, 2010
Photo of baggio
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle@home. 2008 vintage.

Apperance: Very dark brownish with a mediumsized, brown, head.

Smell: Roasted malts, Chocolate, Coffee.

Taste: Coffee, Bitter chocolate, Dark caramel, Ripe fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation. Ends quite bitter.

Although this stout is quite drinkable right now i am sure it'll improve with another year in the cellar. Good stuff.

baggio, Mar 19, 2010
Photo of dbossman
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Black with a 1-finger dark tan head; not great retention but what does stick stays throughout; fantastic lacing

S: A subtle but pleasant aroma of chocolate malts, touch of bourbon-esque flavors, and vanilla; a smoky woodiness also is prevalent

T: The chocolate and subtle coffee undertones balanced by a dry roasted malt bitterness stand out the most, but there also seems to be some prevailing anise flavorings as well

F: Slightly thinner than I anticipated but all in all there is a nice even mouth feel and coat

D: For what this is, this is incredibly drinkable; alcohol is so well masked; this is a very good brew from a very good brewery

dbossman, Mar 17, 2010
Photo of Deuane
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A vintage 2007 bottle with 2 years of age on it cracked and enjoyed with friends.

A-deep, dark black with a thin tan head that reduced to a thin cap that left spotty lace.

S-Light soy, a bit of chocolate, espresso and beef jerky. Plenty of "beef" and quite pleasant.

T-Deep chocolate bitterness light soy and quite "beefy". Tasty stuff that is full of flavour.

M-Medium-heavy bodied, very smooth with a long lasting flavour profile.

D-This bottle has 2 years of age on it and it is still kickin' strong! Super flavourful and VERY tasty. Dollar for dollar one of the best Imperial Stouts out there. So ubiquitous it is easy to overlook and take for granted.

Deuane, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of mjaskula
3.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip. Pours dark black with almost no evidence of carbonation. No light gets through this one, even when held up to the light. What little dark brown head there is all but disappears, forming a thin ring.

Aroma is roasted malt, coffee and savory black licorice there is a faint sweetness in the background. Flavor continues the aroma. It is big and bold and the sweetness asserts itself a little more, but is still overshadowed by the bitterness of the roasted malts. There is some carbonation in the mouthfeel, and it dries up nicely and doesn't leave a syrupy feeling. But the bitterness lingers a little long.

I'll easy drink the bomber. I expected to really love it, but there's something about his beer that is missing. Can't quite put my finger on it.

mjaskula, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of semibaked
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Founders curved pint glass.

A - Pours blacker than Wesley Snipes with about an inch of brown sugar colored head.

S - Lovely smell of Roasted Malts, dark roasted coffee, molasses, licorice and a hint of hops.

T - Pretty much what it smells like Roasted malts, dark roasted coffee, yadda yadda yadda, but it masks the high ABV very well.

M - Nice medium bodied, creamy and coast the mouth well.

D - I love this beer and wish I could get it more regualrly. Drinks very well given the high ABV, just a great beer.

semibaked, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of Flashsp2
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone impy stout

Poured from bomber into tulip

Nice two finger caramel colored head minimal lacing. Dissipates to a thin head.

Aroma of black coffee, roasted malt, faint molasses. Nose is pretty
subdued. Just lots of coffee.

Nice dense mouth with lots of roasted malt, coffee, earth flavor, some
faint tobacco, a lasting bitter hop on the finish. Malt is a bit sweet
up front, then the carbonation and bitterness wash it out.

Nice full body with a touch of hop oil on the finish.

Its good, but in all honesty there are many stouts which are better
(rasputin, nogne 0, yeti). I'd get it again, but only to try the next

**A warming alcohol burn as it warms. Mouthfeel gets a bit more creamy
as well, and the flavors gain intensity. A good stout, but still not
on par with the others.

**Resampled again at 6 months, 8 months, and 1.5 years. Found the former to still be a bit shallow, the latter to be too dark fruit focused (dark cherries), and the 8 month to be a bit better overall, with most of the complexity coming out without losing too much focus.

Flashsp2, Mar 15, 2010
Photo of Pabs311
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

spring 2009 edition

A- pours black with a nice frothy milk chocolate head that dissipates leaving minimal lacing.

S- bittersweet chocolate is the biggest character here. some coffee. some slight notes of dark fruits. no hop characteristics here.

T- similar to the nose. alot of bittersweet chocolate with some coffee notes. theres also hints of dark fruit here and there, but still no hops.

M/D- Full bodied, low carbonation. best beer that i've had from stone. can't wait for the 2010 edition.

Pabs311, Mar 12, 2010
Photo of JerryBullfrog
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 vintage.

Very dark. Very black. A tan, chocolaty head that dissipate after a few minutes.

Aromas of chocolate, coffee, a hint of anise, and dried black fruit.

Good carbonation, which makes this beer feel lighter than it actually is. Lots of coffee and roasted malt flavors and a bit of chocolate. Still a bit rough around the edges, though... it needs a year or so more aging to round out completely.

I don't care for the 2009 vintage as much as previous vintages, but it's still good. Like I said, hold on to it and 2-3 years after the vintage everything should come together nicely. For a RIS this is very drinkable and actually not as heavy as I feel previous vintages were, which can be good or bad depending on what you want.

JerryBullfrog, Mar 11, 2010
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 7,210 ratings.