Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 6,830 | Reviews: 2,577 | Display Reviews Only:
4.65/5 rDev +7.1%
A - Pitch black with a dark brown foam that builds slowly to a nice thick head. Sticky lacing all the way down.
S - Dark roasty malts, coffee, chocolate, a little cherry. There's a spicy bitterness that comes in ontop of the underling roasty sweetness.
T/M - Cream, roasted coffee, dark cocoa, dark malty sweetness. There's alot more flavors than this, but my palate is too unsophisticated. Some tangy fruits underneath it all, like blueberries, cherries, or raspberries. Alcohol is simply warming, but it's not there in the flavor, which I think is very nice. Mouthfeel is thick, but not overbearing. It leaves a film in your mouth that at first felt strange, but it imparts the flavor of this wonderful beer in your mouth even when you're not sipping it.
D - It's too high alcohol to be very drinkable. You start to feel it halfway through the glass, but it's wonderful stuff.
03-31-2009 02:33:00 | More by MunchkinDrinker
4.45/5 rDev +2.5%
Limited spring 2008 release reviewed in March 2009
A - Pours black as night, one of, if not the darkest beer I've ever seen. Half-inch tan coffee-like head that slowly fades leaving a thin brown lace all over the glass.
S - All roasted malts up front, with bittersweet chocolate coming through after. There's a hop bitterness that pulls through towards the end. It's Stone, there's always hops somewhere.
T - Hint of espresso, followed by bittersweet chocolate flavors. As the beer lingers on the the tongue the espresso flavor returns, only much stronger this time. A bitter roasted flavor all around as well. It's not unwelcome, but I feel this would fade with some time, making the beer more well-rounded.
M - Smooth creamy mouthfeel, not too viscous. I remember the mouthfeel being quite viscous the last time I had this beer years ago, not as much this time. A pronounced hop twang on the tongue as well.
D - I can feel the alcohol slightly, but at 10.8% I should be feeling much more than this. That's really the only negative thing I can say about this beer in terms of drinkability. Truly one of the most drinkable stouts I've tasted, so I'm going to go ahead and give this a 5 here. Definitely a sipper, but something I could easily sip all night long. In this case it's a nightcap though. I have two more bottles I'm cellaring, can't wait to try those out. I have a feeling this beer only gets better.
03-28-2009 01:27:09 | More by AlcahueteJ
4.13/5 rDev -4.8%
2008 12 oz Bottle into DFH shaped pint. Toast to Michael Jackson's b-day.
A) Tannish head. A thin layer seems to follow the beer down, but not stick. No visible light penetration. I wonder if even a laser would show through (probably)?
S) I smell mostly dark roast coffee; licorice and alcohol.
T) Dark chocolate prevails. I think I'm also detecting some hops at the end.
M) I felt my tongue slightly numb from the alcohol right away, but then it gets chewy.
D) One is plenty! Two in a session might be a waste.
03-27-2009 22:09:44 | More by admiralcrunch
4.5/5 rDev +3.7%
12 oz. bottle (Spring 2008 release); tulip glass
Pours in thick, dark and rich with a foamy 1 finger head. The head is tan and has a neat glistening copper ring around the edge. Nice lacing.
The aroma is outstanding, dominated by bitter chocolate, roastiness, malts, and anise. I picked up a little alcohol in the aroma as well.
Taste is superb. Bitter and sweet chocolate, coffee, malty and nice touch of hops. Alcohol, although evident, is well incorporated. Very aggressive flavors, but very well balanced.
Mouth feel is thick, but creamy. Very smooth with the perfect amount of carbonation.
Overall, this was an experience with the complexity of flavors. The was very strong, but nothing was overpowering. It was hard to put down and simply "sip".
03-25-2009 02:12:25 | More by PSUBeerman
4.8/5 rDev +10.6%
Appearance: Poured out of a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic glass. Bottle lists this beer as the spring 2008 release, making this bad boy just about one year old. This beer pours the darkest of blacks with a gorgeous dark brown head that is about two fingers in size. The head is soft and pillowy, and looks to be very sticky, which it is. A small amount of lace clings to my glass as I drink.
Smell: The nose of this beer is intensely aromatic, and is dominated by aromas of dark bittersweet chocolate, roasted black and chocolate malts, and coffee. There are also hints of licorice, blackstrap molasses, and a little bit of alcohol. I'm not sure if there isn't much hop presence in the nose because this beer is a year old or because Stone designed the beer that way, but at 90+ IBU's I have a feeling they'll be showing up in the taste even though they forgot to come to this particular party.
Taste: After the first sip all I can say is "wow", and it's going to take me a while to try and put this much complexity and flavor into words, but I'm going to give it the old college try. This beer starts off very sweet with an absolutely phenomenal amount of chocolate and malt flavor. As in the aroma there are hints of molasses and coffee, but they've given most of their elbow room to the chocolate and dark roasted malts. The beer remains sweet throughout this interplay of flavors, and finishes with a strong hop presence and a good amount of alcohol taste. The finish is also fairly dry, but not cloying, and makes for one hell of a delicious beer.
Mouthfeel: It's rare to find a beer that really achieves the mouthfeel I desire, but Stone Imperial Russian Stout has managed to do so. A heavenly smooth and luxurious brew, this beer also has an exceptionally full-body and a chewy, malty feel on the tongue. There is little to no carbonation to speak of. This is definitely one of the thickest stouts I've ever had, and only North Coast's Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout comes to mind as being thicker.
Drinkability: This is definitely a sipper if there ever were one. Despite how delicious it is and how thick and smooth, the 10.8% alcohol could make for some pretty bad decisions down the road if one isn't careful.
Notes: Overall I was superbly impressed with this beer, and I'd love to pick up a few of them fresh to see how they compare to this year-old example. I'm assuming that, considering my tastes run less toward the hoppy end of the spectrum, I won't appreciate them as much as I did this beer, but I'm sure it will be delicious nonetheless. Stone's Imperial Russian Stout is an exceptional stout and an exceptional beer, and is one of the finest brews that money can buy. It's a bit hoppier than other stouts on the market, but if you're a hophead looking for a good stout, this beer may just be the love of your life.
03-23-2009 23:56:31 | More by johnmichael712
4.22/5 rDev -2.8%
Sampled the 2008 12 oz. limited edition bottle
A. After a rough pour there was barely any head to speak of, very thin and dark brown. Dissipated rather quickly. Depp black color to the brew.
S. Coffee, Black Currants, Anise and Alcohol & Roasted Malts
T. Starts thick and resiny, hit with the roasted malt a little anise flavor followed by a warming alcohol flavor. Don't get much from the Hops
M. Thick and resiny - fairly heavy, not much carbonation
D. for a 10% ABV beer it is pretty smooth drinkable. Although I'm glad I had a 12 oz bottle. Really enjoyed it, but not a beer I would prefer to drink more than one of per night. It would make a great beer to be stored away for a cold stormy night.
03-23-2009 22:01:45 | More by JamesP123
4.4/5 rDev +1.4%
2008 12oz. vintage
A: 12oz poured in a duvel glass. Black, with brown fluffy head. Sticky lacing.
S: chocolate, coffee, burnt malt.
T: chocolate, black malt, bitter, burnt, hint of cofee, slight alcohol bite.
M: medium/ heavy body. smooth carbonation, creamy.
D: 12 oz. was not enough. This beer with almost a year of age on it, so drinkable. Such a good imperial stout, especially for the price.
My go to beer after a long week, even better with a macanudo gold label cigar.
03-23-2009 20:39:53 | More by steadydose
4.38/5 rDev +0.9%
Why is there no picture for this beer? The bottle alone is frickin awesome! I was very happy to see Stone is now packaging this great brew in 12 oz. instead of bombers. Be sure to let this brew warm up before partaking.
It pours a dark chocolate brown with a nice small coffee-like head.
The aroma is coffee, chocolate, black licorice and nice roasted malts.
The taste is like a finely blended coffee which hits the palate after the swallow. There is also a tobacco-like aroma which lingers. Very nice.
As I stated before, I am glad this is in 12 oz. as a bomber pretty much puts me out of commission for the night.
Great beer from the Gargoyle-guys and one of my favorite stouts.
03-22-2009 19:06:00 | More by kaseydad
4.2/5 rDev -3.2%
In a snifter:
One finger of chocolaty head fades quickly into a blanket with very fine bubbles. Smells hot. Is there bourbon in this? No... But sure smells like it. Touch of bitter chocolate and vanilla as well. Tons of malts and bitter coffee/chocolate. Hoppy and coffee aftertaste balances the start very well. Warm but not hot. Dark fruit notes are present. Thick and well carbonated. Drinkability is not high because it's not very kind to the palate and high abv... But man is it good.
Overall: Stains the glass a bit and reminds me a bit of dark lord. This is a very good beer, and reasonably priced.
03-22-2009 15:39:02 | More by schroederm
4.35/5 rDev +0.2%
Spring 2008 release
Appearance: Pours an opaque, black color with a good amount of foamy head.
Smell: Alcoholic whiff of chocolate/coffee along with currant elements. Actually smells more on the sweet side than other RIS examples that seem to have an emphasis on 'roasted' notes.
Taste: extremely well-balanced taste here- mild bitterness at first taste, a tide of roasted chocolate/coffee as well as raisin) then predominates and expands throughout the tasting. A moderate alcohol warmth then finishes. Finish itself is clean but not too dry or bitter. Overall taste is smooth and balanced without any sort of bombastic flavor profiles.
Mouthfeel: Smooth and moderately heavy mouthfeel.
Drinkability: Quite drinkable IMO for a RIS.
Overall, a well-crafted RIS that can be more notable for balance and truth to the style as opposed to other 'balls to the wall' examples of RIS.
03-22-2009 00:48:49 | More by coalcracker
3.73/5 rDev -14.1%
12oz bottle from the March 2008 release poured into a nonic. I had previously tried this beer in October '08 and found it to be mediocre at best. I have been advised that Stone IRS like Bell's Expedition Stout is fair when fresh, but phenomenal when aged around one year. Here goes nothing.
A - jet black with 0.25cm of light brown head. a mere one minute of setting in the glass waiting for it to warm leaves no remaining head.
S - roasted barley and charred barley, anise/licorice, tobacco. nothing else.
T - roasted malts, anise/licorice and a piney hop flavor rush by ever so quickly. The finish is of dark chocolate, alcohol, and more anise/licorice. a nice smokey flavor that comes from either charred barley or tobacco seems to be present, especially in the finish. The dark chocolate and the roasted malt come together to create a nice mocha like flavor. The alcohol definitely noticeable and not at all well hidden, but it isn't offensive in any way. Molasses began to come through as the beer warms.
M - okay body. it would be very good for a stout, but it's only average for an imperial stout. carbonation is adequate, but the beer lacks that chewiness or thick feel that makes so many good RISs even better.
D - it's pretty good. I've had quite a few RISs and I truly feel that this one doesn't deserve a place in the top 20.
I still don't see what it is with this beer. Stone Brewing still hasn't delivered a fine quality brew to me, save for their IPA.
03-21-2009 02:57:07 | More by bowersdm
4.3/5 rDev -0.9%
Appearance: Black, no head, no lace.
Smell: Espresso, toffee, cherries.
Taste: Roasted malts, coffee, bittersweet chocolate, bourbon, soy sauce.
Mouthfeel: Cough syrup.
Drinkability: Excellent. Good sweet/bitter yin and yang balance going on, totally smooth despite the alcohol.
Verdict: Aging improves an already amazing beer.
03-20-2009 18:48:01 | More by maskednegator
4.28/5 rDev -1.4%
12oz poured fittinly into a Stone IRS goblet. I'm kind of surprised this is still available. I couldn't find the 07 anywhere this time last year.
A: Pours black black with a 1.5 finger white head that quickly fades into nothing. Little if any lacing.
S: Rich and roasty, like opening a fresh coffee can. A little bit of soy sauce in the background. Becomes more chcolatey as it warms up.
T: As I begin, it's almost too complex for me to wrap my head around. After my palate adjusts, it settles into a nice chocolatey groove with hints of coffee and licorice. Finishes bitter.
M: Surprisingly thin and watery.
D: This is one of those beers that I'd never been able to "get." Every time I'd gotten this beer, I felt like it was a chore to force it down. I even did a drain pour one time. I didn't understand how I could find a beer so highly regarded so unappealing, so I kept coming back. This time around, I decided to let it warm up on the counter for a lot longer than I usually do (specifically, 45 minutes) to see if that opened up the flavors. It worked like a charm. I still don't think I'd make this my go-to RIS, but I appreciate it a lot more now.
03-20-2009 07:25:15 | More by BarrelO
4.33/5 rDev -0.2%
A deep ruby brown that looks black in my chalice. A ring of tan lace, and some swirl patterns top it. Nice looking.
There's a lot of roasty coffee character in the nose, some chocolate, smokiness and a just hint of booziness.
Hits the palate very sweet and roasty, then turns bitter. Coffee is present, roast chicory and chocolate notes dominate. A hint of medicinal anise. A bit warm, alcohol-wise ... and judging from their Web site, this is last year's bottling, so it's had time to mellow.
It could be just a bit heavier in the mouth. Still, it lingers a bit then slides down slick. Beer is swallowed but the flavor lingers.
I find RISes drinkable as heck in general, and this one is no exception. Might be a sippin' beer for some, but I just wish I had another bottle.
03-20-2009 05:21:30 | More by thryn
4.75/5 rDev +9.4%
poured out of 22oz. bottle at cellar temperature into pint glass. pours completely opaque black with a very nice deep mocha colored head that has a little bit of retention then eventually fade away to nothing. some lacing. intially got aromas of solvent alcohol and roasty dark chocolate. also dark fruit, heavy malts, and a little bit of coffee. decievingly thin at first, very minimal carbonation, solvent like alcohol flavors, followed by roasty chocolate, then more alcohol heat in the finish. lingers with some bitter malty flavors. very thick and chewy body, wonderful mouthfeel feel with a nice little tingle in the aftertaste from a combination of the carbonation and alcohol. extremely drinkable for a 11% RIS. been drinking a lot of RIS lately and this one has got to be my favorite. i would definately recommend to anyone whos into the big beers.
03-19-2009 22:52:04 | More by dogfishandi
4.28/5 rDev -1.4%
A: Dark as the soul of satan... well, pretty dark at least.. Nice big of foamy tan head on top.. Looks like a winner.
S: Big malty scent coming trough, as well as dark chocolate and some smoke as well..
T: Wow. Dark, thick, burnt coffee and chocolate flavor, and some alcohol in there as well. Not a lot of strong bitter coming across, though there is some in the finish. Luxurious in it's thickness.. That is quite good.
M: Fairly typical of an RIS, thick almost chewy, and coats your mouth going down.
D: That is good squishy! Believe it or not, I have never tried this one before, but now I can add it to the list of very good stouts I tell my friends about, that way they can ignore my advice and have another guinness..
03-18-2009 00:11:46 | More by Beejay
2.93/5 rDev -32.5%
LIMITED SPRING RELEASE 2008 bottle purchased at once upon a vine for about 4$ a 12 oz.
A- Pours black and thick, tall head in begining, decent carbonation, looks like a wonderful brew, Although i find the Appearance to be sort of a trivial category, The bottle looks very impressive on the other hand.
S- Smells of malts and chocolates, The alcohol smell is present, and also i almost smell a sort of metalic aroma like aluminum, not sure why this is
taste- Very rich and similar to the smell, alcohol is present, leaving a roasted metalic after taste in my mouth, taste stays with you for a moment, and packs a powerful wallop, perhaps a hint of black coffees in the mix
Mouthfeel- A little intense at first and the feeling coats your mouth, Wouldn't want to drink this as a session beer
Drinkability- One is plenty for me
03-15-2009 00:17:09 | More by HopDamn
4.7/5 rDev +8.3%
Poured from a 750 ml bottle into my duvel glass since I left my Stone Russian Imperial Stout tulip glass in San Diego on my last trip.
This is a review of the 08 IRS. I love the 07 and can only hope that the 08 ages with such promise.
A- Dark Black with no sense of slowing. Medium brown head that can fully empower the beer if poured just so. The edges of this beer seem to climb up the glass with purpose.
S- Toasted chocolate hops, roasted malt, Fudge, with Salted Bacon...
T- Heavy malt, Fudy sweet center similar to a suprise candy in a box from a lover. This beer leaves you with the sense that a real licorice stick was swirled in chocolate and held over a sugar fire.
M- Great feel. Cosistantly full but not too thick. Good balance with carbonation.
D- This is my go to stout, hence the avatar. Its availability year round plus the price is outstanding. I love sharing this prize with new beer drinkers. Their eyes get all gooey and the deep breath that follows lets me know "they get it!"
The 07 is by far a better standard and is responsible for bringing me to the scene. Lets all pray, the 09 lives up the the gargoyle's approval.
Love That Stone!!!
03-13-2009 06:01:09 | More by macktbone
4.68/5 rDev +7.8%
Lightly chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically. Spring 2008 release 22 oz bomber so beer has about 10 mos bottle age.
Appearance: Pours almost black with a dark brown ¾" head of small bubbles which recede in a couple of minutes leaving behind a film of lacing a bit above the liquid with patches of foam extending on the surface of the liquid.
Smell: The initial aroma fills the room and is composed of dark chocolate and/or roasted dark malt or burnt grain with a trace of alcohol. As the beer warms to room temperature the aroma becomes more complex with traces of dark fruit, maple syrup and dark molasses.
Taste: While still chilled there is a rich strong burnt malt bitterness up front that dominates everything. As the beer warms the flavor opens up to reveal the underlying sweetness of dark chocolate, molasses, caramel and some sort of fruitiness. If there are hops left in here they play a their bit part well and are not noticeable as such.
Mouthfeel: A bit thick but smooth with very light carbonation and a long finish which fades slowly from burnt bitterness leaving behind the taste of semi-sweet malt bitterness.
Drinkability: If you like RIS, this is drinkability exemplified. Made for slow sipping and savoring. One a night is plenty but what a wonderful beer to spend a night with.
03-12-2009 01:28:13 | More by drtth
4.2/5 rDev -3.2%
Pours a viscous black with a minimal tan head. Roasty aroma with cocoa and coffee. Nice toasty malt flavors, balancing hops, and a medium mouthfeel. Smooth and elegant through the middle, with some roasted malt complexity and some minty hop bitterness in the background. The long finish comes just short of cloying. Nothing too out of the ordinary, but a tasty beer and spot-on for the style.
03-11-2009 04:26:39 | More by bcm119
4.22/5 rDev -2.8%
Poured from 12oz bottle labeled limited spring 2008 release into large snifter.
A: Pours black with a two-finger light brown head. Decent retention.
S: Strong chocolate and roasted malts with coffee, cream, and coffee with notes of alcohol. Very pleasant.
T: Strong alcohol hits along with chocolate and roasted malts. There's some notes of cream with a roasted coffee finish. The dominate flavors are easily alcohol and chocolate. Although the alcohol is strong it's the kind of pleasing alcohol that you almost savor with not burn on the throat.
M: First thing I noticed when this brew hit my tongue was the strong carbonation in this heavy brew, remarkable, absolutely perfect.
D: For the style, alcohol, and boldness this is a very drinkable imperial stout. I was a little let down in the taste department, but maybe another try will brighten that up.
03-10-2009 19:29:51 | More by AdmiralDiaz
4.13/5 rDev -4.8%
A: This is opaque. Solid black, no hints of anything else. Poured from the bottle like engine oil. Mocha head, decent retention.
S: Black licorice is the most dominant smell I get from it. Also get traces of coffee, smoke, and alcohol.
T: Roasted malts are very strong and I get a heavy dose of sweetness that is of bittersweet chocolate and coffee. Alcohol is in the aftertaste, I can tell this is a high ABV with just one sip.
M: Probably the most thick, chewy mouthfeel I have ever experienced. It feels like the beer leaves a slighty grainy film on my tongue.
D: For a Russian Imperial, this is one fine example. This is quite the meal in itself. I can't drink more than one, however, I enjoyed this beer very much. The sweetness and thick chewiness of it makes for an excellent beer to have with dessert, especially something like a brownie or mud pie.
03-10-2009 00:21:35 | More by Beefeater57
4.22/5 rDev -2.8%
Appearance- Thick and syrupy, opaque black with creamy tan-colored head
Smell- Powerful, roasty malt and bitter hops, coffee and cocoa, tingly bitterness in background
Taste- Roasty cocoa and coffee, caramel, strong hoppy bitterness to balance, with a sweet malty- and then bitter finish. Well balanced, and focused.
Mouthfeel- heavy and syrupy, creamy and wonderful- perfect carbonation
An excellent example of the style, Stone impresses once again.
03-08-2009 23:27:23 | More by endincolorado
4.68/5 rDev +7.8%
I've waited a long time for a swing at this storied elixir, and am glad to have a cool 12-ounce bottle from the Spring 2008 release. Grimacing at me from the screen-printed longneck is a pretty nasty-looking gargoyle sporting an old-school Commie-style fez. Perhaps he is sneering at my unworthiness, but the joke's on him... the beer he's guarding is going into my glass whether he thinks I deserve it or not!
Of course 'my glass' is of the Stone shaker pint variety, and is also adorned with the fearsome winged figure...
Fruity malt perfume laden with chocolate and licorice hisses forth as I pop the crown off the bottle. Poured into the aforementioned gargoyle-clad vessel, Stone IRS is matte-ebony in color with a finger-thick cap of light brown sugar-colored foam atop. Not even when held directly to the light does any other color twinkle on the edge of the inky blackness in my glass. Lacing is left on the tumbler in fine-bubbled, wispy webs.
The aroma is rich and chocolatey with lots of perfumey fruit and liquory candies. Fermenting berries with notes of toasted granola and coffee tumble with burnt caramel, vanilla, dark raisins, licorice and toffee.
The taste is rich and wonderful, the profile jam-packed with a perfect melange of melted milk chocolate bars and dark chocolate truffles, with liquefied homemade fudge brownies, coffee with whole milk and raw sugar, creamy vanilla caramel, silky toffee juice... each wonderful mouthful brings forth a new flavor sensation. As the drink progresses, notes of dusty cocoa and spicy licorice accent a bit of peppery alcohol that warms the belly, loosens the tongue, and complements the rest of the drink just perfectly.
The brew is Michaelangelo-chiseled perfection in feel with mild carbonation and a full, solid, creamy body. I really can't think of any way that Stone could possibly improve the quality of this beer, outside of making it available from my kitchen faucet, and somehow keeping the monster-sized ABV from kicking my ass....
Otherwise, kids, believe the hype. Stone Imperial Russian Stout is unbelievably excellent, and is now my new personal benchmark for the style. The 12-ounce bottle is a perfect serving size for it, too.
03-08-2009 12:39:26 | More by cvstrickland
4.5/5 rDev +3.7%
Color: sits black with a little dark brown rim
Smell: TONS of chocolate. smells like its loaded with cocoa powder. usually it seems imperials are dominated by coffee, but it definitely takes a back seat here. a hint of alcohol is noted but really only on a deep inhale.
Taste: first, there is chocolate. then there is the alcohol. somewhere in between is some coffee and some bitterness. alcohol mostly comes though in the finish. little bit of bitterness and roast also in the finish.
Mouthfeel: full body. low carbonation. smooth
Notes: absolutely delicious. a bit more tame than comparable imperials because of so much chocolate. i guess i kinda like a slightly more present alcohol tone. but damn, this is delicious. might still be a little cool. we'll see as it warms
03-08-2009 05:21:36 | More by Frosty80
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,830 ratings.