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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.

6,618 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,618
Reviews: 2,567
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 479
Gots: 1,400 | FT: 78
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: 6,618 | Reviews: 2,567 | Display Reviews Only:


4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This Stone RIS was enjoyed from a 220z bottle poured into a snifter.

The appearance on this brew is like looking into the darkness of a night sky- it looks well worthy of the respect demanded by the gargoyle depicted on the bottle. The head is a rich tan-brown, rocky and creamy. The lacing is like a geological substrate sample- thick and readible.

The smell is outstandingly rich and complex- dates and dark chocolate jut out prominently but are followed by honestly more than my humble nose can sniff out... a round creamy, dark fruit/roasty edge is lurking in there.

Tastewise, outstanding. It changes in character throughout each taste- starting like rich dark fruits but quickly getting a thick roastiness with a creamy edge coupled with a warming alcohol taste which is intertwined quite well with the character of the brew.

Mouthfeel is smooth and silky with only the faintest hit of carbonation. This allows the taste to really sit with you for a while- an excellent thing.

Well- define drinkability. Am I going to drink several of these in one afternoon- most likely not. But will I look forward to these as a treat of rich beery goodness? Most certainly. Not a session beer, but rather something that lends itself to contemplation.

One of the best dark beers I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

07-28-2008 21:27:06 | More by THEBEERBAR0N
Photo of neenerzig


4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewed from notes.

One of my most favorite beers ever, and on-tap too! The 2008 batch I believe. I was quite thrilled to see this indeed. Served in a snifter. This beer is a very dark brown, almost black color that lets in to light at all. The tan, brown head is about 1/2 inch thick when drawn from the tap. Eventually settles to a thin tan ring lining the inside of the glass and a thin surface covering. Decent lace. Aromas of roasted malt and coffee, chocolate, hops and maybe caramel are all present. Sweet chocolate and malt flavors, along with strong hints of bitter roasted coffee, rounded out with a nice touch of hop bitterness. the hops are there indeed, but they don't wallop you in the face like they do with many of Stone's other beers. Even in the bottle version of this the hop presence was a bit more up front than it is here. Simply fantastic. As my good friend Jon Passow (imaguitargod) says "This is a beer that is so good that you can drink it in bed and it will lull you to sleep." No disagreement here. Great balance of flavors overall. A bit more balanced here than in bottles, at least when it is fresh, aged may certainly a different story. Has a nice smooth, creamy, frothy mouthfeel with a full body and moderate carbonation. The most drinkable 10.8% ABV beer I have ever had! I want an everlasting keg of this on-tap in my house.


Serving type: on-tap

07-27-2008 02:06:18 | More by neenerzig
Photo of jojox


4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

a - Black Black. Absolutely opaque. Brown head which lasts and last.

s - Malty, rich coffee aroma, not much hop aroma. A good amount of caramelization.

t - Nice rich flavor, malty and not as hop-forward as I anticipated. Rather complex and well blanced.
Really, really late in the aftertaste it seems the water profile isn't as clean as say, Nogne.
It took a while for the alcohol to show through. It's more a mouth evaporation thing rather than flavor or hotness.
This beer is really awesome, IMO

M - Not super viscous, but nice mouthfeel with some alcohol evaporation/cooling as mentioned above.

D - Pretty high; very high for 10.8% abv!

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2008 12:54:29 | More by jojox
Photo of pvsob


4.05/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours pitch black with a two finger head that slowly fades and leaves decent lacing.

S- Dark chocolate, coffee, big-time roasted malts, raisins, brown sugar, and just a hint of anise. Some alcohol as the beer warms.

T- Sweet and smoky malts dominate with hints of dark chocolate/fruits, burnt sugar, and alcohol.

M- A full viscous mouthfeel with just the right amount of carbonation.

D- A great RIS that has everything you would expect: deep rich aromas/flavors, great feel, and just the right amount of alcohol presence. I will definitely be revisiting this offering from Stone again. Cheers!

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2008 00:50:57 | More by pvsob
Photo of NealCassady


4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle in snifter.

This beer is black with minimal head receding rapidly. Golden brown hues.

Aroma of dark fruit, roasted malts, molasses. Very deep ans complex aroma.

Huge flavor, starts with a burst of bitterness that caries long into the finish. Notes of nut, molasses, dark chocolate. Outstanding.

Full bodied, warming, viscous, lasting.

Serving type: bottle

07-25-2008 00:05:32 | More by NealCassady
Photo of tai4ji2x


4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 release. poured into tulip.

opaque black w lots of brownish tan head that very slowly fades to wispy layer and ring of foam. decent web of lace.

very rich, roasted malt aroma with chocolate character, approaching actual mocha/coffee tones. some cherry fruit. hint of hop grassiness. whiff of phenols and alcohol.

INTENSE malt experience, yet without becoming cloyingly sweet. hints of cocoa, coffee and dried fruit. lightly phenolic backend melds with an overall moderated bitterness. great complex aftertaste of malts, grass, earth, and coffee.

syrupy and SMOOTH. gentle carbonation, with great body and texture.

almost gave this perfect 5's for smell and taste, but perhaps it's too young and hot with alcohol. gotta get a bunch of these and lay them down for 2 or 3 years.

make no mistake - this beer deserves its Top 15 spot.

Serving type: bottle

07-24-2008 05:51:01 | More by tai4ji2x
Photo of lefchr051

New York

4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From a 22oz bomber

a: black with a dark brown head. Poured into the stone IRS glass.

S: some chocolate mixed with coffee and alcohol

T: similar to smell with a slight alcohol burn finishing it off

M: Thick and filling a meal on its own

D: very high considering the strong alcohol content an dthcik mouth feel would be able to drink all night if it wasn't for the high alcohol content.

overall this is my favorite beer. I have some bottles I'm storing now to see how it ages wich I'm sure will be well. I've also had on tap at the blue tusk, which was even more drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2008 05:40:25 | More by lefchr051
Photo of deltatauhobbit


4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to flexabull for sending this want in the UGLY BIF.

Pours black with light not being able to penetrate, perfect sized head with good retention, fades slowly to leave a good ring of lace.

Smell is very strong, strong presence of coffee, caramel and chocolate all mingling together, slight boozy aroma.

Taste at first has a kick of booze, warms up the tastebuds for what's to come, a malty chocolately coffee-ish beer with a good creaminess and the right about of carbonation. If this was distributed in Maine, I think it would overtake my current go-to RIS.

Serving type: bottle

07-21-2008 22:34:17 | More by deltatauhobbit
Photo of daftafne


4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a snifter and looked like a black cola with a mocha colored head. Smelled of raisins and dark fruit. Tasted like coffee with the alcohol very well hidden. Thick and sticky on the tongue. Overall a delicious beer, I'll have this one again!

Serving type: on-tap

07-21-2008 00:23:12 | More by daftafne
Photo of merryjoulton


4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This pours beautifully. Coming out of the bottle it is so thick you know exactly what you're getting into. Nose is toasty and chocolatey, and well complimented by toasty, creamy, chocolatey and coffee notes on the palate. This brews real strength is how thick and full it is. I couldn't ask for a better stout.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2008 05:14:38 | More by merryjoulton
Photo of slater1313


4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

on tap at powerhouse brewing in columbus, indiana. first review so this is new. beautiful beer. can not see through. inch of head that disappates quickly. taste. wow. I've had dld and dld vanilla oak aged. this is up there with them. it would have got a 5 all around, but drinkability is a 4. I can't drink too much of this because of abv. that's life though. great things have to be enjoyed in moderation. watch out for powerhouse..

Serving type: on-tap

07-18-2008 02:05:32 | More by slater1313
Photo of Biggness

New York

4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours almost an opaque black with a tan head. I am tasting one made in spring of 2008. The smell is a mixture of malts, chocolate and coffee. The taste is absolutely divine, the best RIP I have tasted to date. The main flavor seems to be coffee with unlerlying hints of chocolate and malts. The mouthfeel is wonderful, perfectly carbonated and no over bitterness or dryness. Not something I could see myself drinking all night BUT certainly a beer I would seek out when I am looking to show people what a wonderful RIS tastes like.

Serving type: bottle

07-14-2008 22:54:07 | More by Biggness
Photo of Wetpaperbag


4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Served in a Stone RIS glass. The beer itself is very dark black, like the darkened winter night of Czarist Russia. There was a nice thick two inch tan head that subsided at a slow pace.

S- Many smells came to me when drinking this beer. Chocolate, roasted malts and anise were the front liners.

T- The taste was very much like the smell, the roasted malts coming though, the anise blended in with a chocolate taste, it is just delicious all around. The beer was everything you would expect a RIS to be. I love this beer, it is one I look forward to coming out each year because it is just so excellent.

M- Very smooth and surprisingly light in the mouth.

D- Yes please! Not thick, that ABV is well hidden and it just goes down so smooth. I love this on tap. I have had it out of a bottle many times and out of the tap just seems to be better. The place I got it from is going to maybe put it on nitro so that should be very interesting.

Serving type: on-tap

07-14-2008 21:25:15 | More by Wetpaperbag
Photo of BucBasil

South Carolina

4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is from the Limited Spring 2008 Release.

Appearance: Poured from the 22oz bomber into a large snifter. The beer is a motor oil thick black hole from which no light can escape, even when held directly to a light. A dark tan, creamy head sits atop the brew, two and a half fingers thick with pretty good retention, leaving rings all the way down the glass after every sip.

Smell: Dark chocolates and sweet, milky coffee come together to create a rich and intoxicating aroma. A bit of roastiness that is also slightly burnt rounds things out in the aroma.

Taste: Nice introduction to the tastebuds with the flavor of real hot chocolate. Big coffee-like roastiness also comes through. Has a bit of vanilla in the middle, along with a nice hop bite to keep things in check. Creamy caramel comes though for a moment. Finishes with a bit of dark chocolate, as if I just took a bite from a bar of Godiva and just let it melt in my mouth.

Mouthfeel: Thick, heavy, rich, and full-bodied. Creamy throughout the mouth and finishing sooo smoothly. Awesome.

If it's this good now, what would it be like with even just a touch of age on it? I wish I could try it, but alas, I'm leaving the country. Still, this is a great RIS.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2008 03:54:56 | More by BucBasil
Photo of MSchae1017


4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Tasted from the 22oz bottle in a 22oz Terrapin Snifter.

The pours syrupy jet black with a tan bubbly head. The head dissipates pretty quickly from the massive alcohol. The aroma smells of bittersweet chocolate with hints of dark stone fruits. The taste is practially perfect for the style. Tons of chocolate, hints of roast, and a bit of fruityness and molasses sweetness along with some caramel. The beer had a full body, with a syrupy like texture that is not overly cloying. Carbonation is subtle and appropriate. Overall, an amazing Imperial Stout. Possibly the best I have ever had.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2008 02:11:45 | More by MSchae1017
Photo of maximum12


3.05/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Stone is available just across the river now for us MN BAs. Woohoo!

This pours as black as the tar pits that swallowed the T-Rex whole. Boast a vaguely bitter smell, unlike that of any RIS I've had to date.

Taste is chocolate, coffee, blackberry on the sides of the tongue. Not a lot of each, pretty tame. The brew is creamy & smooth, but too heavy to be easy to drink. The heavyweights in this category, for me, bely their dark nature & drink light. This is heavy, & without a lot of the richness & complexity that I love in a fine RIS.

Especially after having some other Stones, I'm disappointed; I was really looking forward to this one. It's a decent enough RIS, but I was looking for more.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2008 02:08:06 | More by maximum12
Photo of SeanRedd

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Holy F'n Shit. Chocolate syrup bed, fig and berries, with twig and berries hanging drilling deep. Sweet charcoal took advantage of dates. Date rape never tasted so good. Bittersweet symphony of dark notes. The gargoyle has mud on his helmet, and he's horny for more. Black, Russian, mail order brides, who knew? The perfection exhausts me. Stone has got me stoned. Daddys going night, night.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2008 02:44:35 | More by SeanRedd
Photo of JRed

New Jersey

4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Hypnotic dark black in body with fleeting mocha head. Subtle aroma of chocolate, roast, dirt, coffee beans. This beer does not hide from you, it tells you with a calm, straightforward voice that it means business and it wants your soul. Heavy body oozing with chocolate, coffee, roast, alcohol burn, hop bitterness towards the finish, dark fruit tang and burning wood. If you are into stouts look no further, this is the messiah who's come to Earth to free us all. A biting stout. Prepare to enjoy a nice steak and sit by the fireplace for a few hours with this brew. Let the cold wind beat against the windows, you have a guardian gargoyle to protect you.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2008 02:44:21 | More by JRed
Photo of brewandbbq

New Hampshire

4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2008

Pours opaque black, with a half inch head of brown foam that arose with a stretch pour.
Errant dots of lacework and a few smears of froth in between sips, along with a partial skim coat.

Aromatics are laced with dark chocolate, roast coffee, nougat, and roasted barley.
A slightly sweet and herbal note rounds out the nose.

Thick and chewy mouthfeel with a creamy body.

The pallet leads off with a heft of resinous hops under all the char and roast.
Heaps of bakers chocolate, espresso, and reduced caramel.
Bitter, drying, and rich. Alcohol is warming but hidden.

Finishes with lingering choco-roast, dark roasted coffee, and a hint of Kahlua.

A great example of the style, but it leaves me wanting more complexity.

Serving type: bottle

07-11-2008 23:29:33 | More by brewandbbq
Photo of iconoklaztor


4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is the Stone 04 IRS growler!

My god the smell is very sweet and delicate. Still has a slight hint of alcohol but nothing crazy like they are fresh.
The taste is very smooth with almost all the hot notes gone. I really love this brew. I do think its hot fresh (still great though) and needs aging. With 4 years its phenominal. The sweet taste of chocolate and malt with no hops make this a great, great brew!

Its very nice on the tongue too. Its not to heavy and very drinkable. All in all very very nice

Overall, this has to be my favorite aged brew right now, and at 4 years not to hard to duplicate! I will be holding my Stone IRS for a min of a year and longer.

Serving type: growler

07-11-2008 02:00:09 | More by iconoklaztor
Photo of lordofthewiens


4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Limited Spring 2008 Release. Poured from a bomber into a tulip glass, the beer was a deep black color with a thick brown head. It had a sweet chocolate and coffee aroma, which I thought was a little subtle. The coffee came through more in the taste. Chocolate was there also, and the subtlety of the aroma vanished into a richly rewarding beer. A very drinkable beer, despite the high ABV.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2008 16:02:18 | More by lordofthewiens
Photo of MakeMischief


4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2008 Bomber

The appearance alone made me want to give this tasty brew a whack. opaque as all get out with a lively action when poured, I was very surprised with the loose head that came up with it (though that was not an indication of its mouthfeel in the least).

Roasted chocolate smell hits right away with this brew and lends itself fairly sweetly into a fruitful aroma.

definitely a deep tasting stout really heads into the chocolate roast taste head on. The caramel rolls off this roasted taste and touches on the ripened fruit side of the stout with a biting anisette flavor. incredibly well balanced deliciousness in this bottle.

The mouth feel is exactly what you'd expect from a stout of this caliber, medium carbonation- enough so that one takes the alcohol heat harmoniously with the taste. Smooth as silk.

Drinkability in my opinion rests with the drinker's taste. Personally a mellow bite coupled with a respectable abv is paramount when tasting a RIS. It was served completely smooth. Creamy may not be the correct adjective to describe the feel but silky may be more correct. Silky and thick and dominantly smooth going down.

The Beer was Aces.

Serving type: bottle

07-10-2008 06:48:08 | More by MakeMischief
Photo of number1bum


4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2008 release - pours pitch black, completely opaque with about a finger and a half of dark tan head. Head recedes to a thin lace and doesn't leave much stick.

Smell is incredibly robust and really complex. I can smell it as I'm pouring it before I get my nose even remotely close. It has coffee, dark bakers chocolate, roasted malt, dark fruit like raisins and dates. Really nice.

Taste is equally as exceptional - lots of coffee, chocolate, and roasted malt. Dark fruits again, and there is quite a bit of fruity hop flavor, too. Nice sweetness of chocolate and molasses. Finishes roasty with some hop bitterness. There is just a bit of alcohol heat to remind you that this has some strength to it.

Mouthfeel is very rich, chewy, full bodied, creamy and smooth. Incredibly drinkable, too.

I can't believe I've taken so long to get to this beer. Simply amazing. Best RIS and one of the best brews, period, that I've ever had.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2008 23:38:12 | More by number1bum
Photo of gpogo


4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Jet black with a small dark brown head that dissipates into a ring. Looks amazing coming out of the bottle. No lacing whatsoever. Seems to have "legs"

A- Roasted malts, coffee, slight sweet almost fruity aroma as well.

T- Very rich malty taste, with lots of roasted malt flavor. Coffee flavors and slight hints of chocolate. There is a slightly noticeable taste of alcohol as well. The faintly fruity nose starts showing it's face as the beer gets warmer, but is still very faint.

M- Medium-full body with low carbonation. Not as thick and creamy as I expected. Definite alcohol warming.

D- Long ago I had a RIS when I knew little of beer besides fizzy yellow stuff. Having this again years later is amazing. Goes great with chocolate. Definitely a sipping beer to enjoy with others.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2008 23:10:33 | More by gpogo
Photo of NCBeernut

North Carolina

4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

After just 2 months in my closet at 70 F. Initially served at 45-50 F.

Pours inky black with a 1 finger brown head; decent lacing. A dark chocolaty beer and the coffee really comes out as it warms. Pour it cooler and let it warm. Some dark fruits in the nose as it warms, not as much in the taste though - possibly covered by richer flavors. Lots of dark roasted malts. Some hops add a nice bitterness to the mix, but never come close to taking over. Woody touch with hits of vanilla. Not as creamy as it could be, but still nice on the mouthfeel. Lighter body than I thought, but still definitely not light by any standards - it is an RIS after all. Suprisingly easy to drink. Alcohol comes out just a tiny bit the warmer it gets, but is still suprisingly well covered at 10.8%. A great beer, and an exceptional standard-setting RIS.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2008 20:30:24 | More by NCBeernut
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 6,618 ratings.