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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

7,455 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,455
Reviews: 2,629
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 653
Gots: 1,762 | FT: 101
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: 7,455 | Reviews: 2,629
Photo of nas5755
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2010 bottle

A: Opaque, a light dark sugar color head with nice retention and amazing lacing.

N: Roasted malts, chocolate, dark fruits, a faint whiff of hazelnuts and anise

T: Roasted malts that aren't burnt(something that is hard to find in good coffee and good RIS), chocolate, some dark fruits that are lightly mixed in, anise on the palate, a faint bitterness, some alcohol burn but very faint

M: carbonation is fantastic, love the coating of this beer, very smooth. The mouth-feel of this beer is an amazing experience.

D: A very complex beer that straddles the line bewteen being quaffable at 10.5 abv and is equally at its own being contemplated sip by sip over an hour or two

Photo of Duttonic
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From notes 09/21/10. 22oz bomber to pint glass.

A- So dark black you can't see any light through it, two fingers dark brown head.

S- Anise, currants, roasted coffee, faint hops.

T/M- Alcohol, chocolate, coffee, creamy, a little bitter, similar to mild bakers chocolate, a bit of hop.

D- Solid. Delicious, has a phenomenal aroma, but high alcohol content is the only drawback. Depending on how you look at it. This is up there in the best IRS I've ever had.

Photo of CascadeConan
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2010 Vintage poured into a snifter

A - Midnight black, awesome mocha-colored, everlasting head

S - Chocolate, Coffee, dark fruits (raisins, plums), bit of smoke, roasted malts and a little booze, no hops really.

T - In line with the smell along with a bit of alcohol bite

M - Nice full mouthfeel, not viscous at all, great level of carbonation

D - Best RIS available for it's drinkability, complexity and affordability.

Photo of GabrielM
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter.

An absolute favorite of mine and I'd guess the same for all stout lovers. Outstanding taste and quality for and equally outstanding price.

A - pitch black, nice 1" head, great retention.

S - roasted malt, chocolate, espresso, wood, raisin bread, a touch of alcohol.

T - same as smell, but with a slight hoppy dryness and the perfect level of alcohol warmth.

M - carbonation is terrific, the flavors are pronounced and it goes down smooth.

D - a beautiful beer that drinks quite easily. I can't wait to crack one open on cold winter nights, just as I can't wait to experience a '10 next summer after its had some time to mellow out.

Photo of BA23598
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What can I say that everyone else hasn't said already... Love this beer... Had the 07, 08, 09, and 10... Favorite is still the 10.. But loved them all..09 was probably the ballsy-est in alcohol flavor.. 07 was what sparked the loveaffair with this beer.

A. Black - read what everyone else said.
S. Again keep reading...
T. Don't get me started...I just advice you to crack the chilled bottle and wait 15 minutes to air out..then take a big gulp... If it bites you.. Wait another 5 minutes... Then sip and have the "O" face...
M. Silky smooth
D. I take a glass(or 4) every night and wake up the next day waiting for a chane to taste it again.

Photo of jsprain1
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a solid black color, maybe slightly brown when held to light, with a tan head, thick and creamy looking that lasts fairly long and leaves splendid lacing.
S- Roasted coffee, slight alcohol aroma, slightly fruity (kind of a distant blackberry aroma in there, but that could just be me) and a very slight, but perfectly place charcoal aroma.
T- It has the expected coffee/ roasted malt flavor. Aggressive, followed by a a perfect balancing hoppiness. The finish has an alcohol warmth to it. There is a certain vanilla flavor in there as well.
M- Thick. Not too thick, but perfectly thick. Carbonation is spot on. This is like coffee meets silk for my tongue.
D- Not much that one can do to improve this guy. this is pretty much everything an imperial stout should be. The alcohol definitely slows you down and makes it a slow drinker. But this is one that I will come back to frequently.

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

A-black with a beautiful tan head, be careful pouring or else you'll have a whole lotta head to deal with

S-thick roasted coffee, beautiful smell tho i wish it were just a tad stronger

T-ohh wow, just amazing. tastes just like it smells. there actually is a bit of an alcohol burn to it and bit of bitterness as well, however i wouldn't say those two factors take away from this beautiful taste.

M-light carbonation, very smooth and creamy. thick bodied as well.

D-quite the manly beer in such a large bottle. ABV is high and it hits. This beer is like a great steak dinner that you just want to keep going, and luckily due to the bomber, it keeps going until you're full.

Photo of sogrady
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I'm not quite sure this would be fit for Czars, but it's an excellent, warm stout. Strong alcohol present, not surprising given the ABV. The coffee and chocolate flavors dominate, but spice notes lurk consistently.

Appearance is the typical black/brown, with light apparently unable to escape its density. Carbonation not overwhelming, just appropriate.

Overall, a nice RIS. Not my favorite, but excellent.

Photo of ZorPrime
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

In 2010, I was like a kid at Christmas. With the help of a private import, I bought 9 bottles of this beer. Here is my opinion, I will revisit in the future.

Very dark with a very nice brown head. The aroma is anise, chocolate and coffee. One of the most amazing smell so far. To me this is exceptional smell. On the taste, it is near perfect. Again, coffee, chocolate. Nice bitterness too at the end.Wow, the taste just stays in the mouth and doesn't want to go away. Awesome. The alcohol is high making this a good sipper but can only drink one per evening then I'm out of service! :) A very nice beer again from Stone Brewing.

Still have 7 bottles of this beer.

Photo of ruckus232
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 Ounce brown bottle poured into a pint glass

Appearance: Dark brown syrupy in appearance with a brown head.

Smell: Slightly sweet (maybe a little fruit) on top of a really nice toasted malt smell. Really nice scent that you can smell as soon as it is poured from the bottle.

Taste: Great toasted malty flavor with a little roasted bitterness that is complimented by a sweetness from the malt and something else (maybe chocolate).

Photo of SteveO1231
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2007 Release. A going away gift from goodbyeohio. Thanks Sloppy Jimbo!

Pours an impenetrable black with a dark foamy head. As is settles it begins to look like a splash of heavy cream in a cup of fresh coffee, just before the stir.

Great malt aroma, bittersweet chocolate, roasted malts, toffee, some prune/grape aroma from dark caramel malts and three years of aging.

Full bodied, creamy fluffy texture, leaves a slick syrupy texture on the palate. The abv numbs the palate a bit and warms the belly. Mmmm.

Lots of malty sweetness, prune super dark chocolate and molasses. Huge roasted character really balances the sweetness well. Bitter espresso aftertaste. Really very good, very strong, almost a dessert.

Aged this beer is much more approachable and enjoyable than it is super fresh, the hops mellow a bit giving way to lots of chocolate and roasted flavors.

Perfect RIS!


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

An absolute knockout. Spring 2010 release, $6, and one of the best beers around for the price.

Killer appearance in the glass. Brown ink supporting a tan head with evident carbonation. Only taking 1/2 a point off because of the color of the head being too gray for my liking.

Coffee, malt aromas, but a little quiet compared to what happens when you taste it.

Big malty goodness, with coffee bitterness backing up some sugar and licorice. Not huge complexity but great flavor. Compares favorably with Oskar Blues' Ten Fidy and The Abyss from Deschutes. Perhaps in a few years the flavors would deepen.

Really loved the carbonation of this beer. Of course it's heavy, but the bright carbonation really makes it far more drinkable than the usual. It doesn't foam out into a glob on your tongue, and actually stays somewhat crisp.

Photo of dzni
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A nice, inky black with an amber-coffee head (very slight head).
S - Chocolate and coffee dominate the nose. This is followed by cherries and maybe some spice. However, the chocolate/coffee is the most dominant thing.
T - Mainly, I get espresso and chocolate; and a bit of milky creaminess as it warms. Perhaps a little more spice as it warms - licorice for sure.
M - Heavy body and low carbonation, and even a bit of a creamy mouthfeel.
D - All around, this is a pleasant imperial stout; very nice. Of course, it would be difficult to drink too much of this with its high ABV.

Photo of BMan1113VR
4.01/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Have had this many times in bottles of different vintages, casks, and taps of different vintages. This rating is from a bottle of 2007 (from notes). Pours with a finger width, creamy brown head with a black body. Nice coffee aroma with a dash of nail polish/fusel alcohol. Taste is coffee and a lot of barely. Extremely nice creamy body, bitter hop finish. This is a great roasty, and slightly hoppy stout, with a few dark fruit esters. Alcohol is high, but I feel that it is over rated...Solid beer but not one of the best imperial stouts. I am aging a bottle for 4 years to see if it improves...I have high hopes...Right now the beer has a bit too much bitterness from the roast.

Photo of Jeffo
3.53/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottles courtesy of thetomG and akbeerfiend. Thanks guys!

From a bomber into a snifter

APPEARANCE: A black pour creates a two finger, thicker looking tan head with good retention. Jet black body with zero carbonation evident. Head slowly fades to a good wisp with a bit of lacing clinging to the sides .A ring remains and leaves some dots of lacing after every sip. Good looking brew.

SMELL: Roasted malt, caramel malt, and some pure chocolate. Touches of licorice and dark malts as well. Medium strength.

TAST: Big roasted flavor, caramel and dark malts, with hints of black licorice and dark chocolate. Aftertaste is bold but quick, with lots of roasted flavors in there, some dark malts and coffee notes. Bitter-sweet finish and the alcohol is well hidden. Decently bold enough flavors. Good, but not great.

PALATE: Medium-full body with medium carbonation. Semi-creamy on the palate, goes down fine with a bit of a prickle after the swallow. Finishes rather dry on the palate.

OVERALL: I can definitely see why this is considered a classic, but don't think it measures up to some of the stouts that have followed it. A good aroma and taste profile, but certainly doesn't stand out next to some of the others on the market. A brew I'll have again if I find it, but I don't need to seek it out again. Interested to see how the other bottle ages though. Will update this review in a couple years. Thanks for this one boys.

Photo of ZOXXO
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber poured into Kapok Tree Inn tulip glass.

A - Very dark, black even. Thick three fingered caramel head with fine lacing.

S - Dark fruit dominates with hints of chocolate.

T - The reverse comes through in the taste. A bitter roast and chocolate up front with a dark fruit flavor close behind. A hint of alcohol heat in the aftertaste.

M - Creamy and smooth

D - Very drinkable for a Russian Imperial Stout but the ABV is apparent.

This is a review of the 2009 vintage of which more I will purchase to try along side it's present and future versions.

Photo of ncaudle
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce poured into St Bernardus goblet.

Opaque black with small brown head leaving no lacing around glass.

Lots of dark chocolate and espresso flavors. Slight touch thin in the mouth... still, hides alcohol very well.

Great stout and for the price, even sweeter.

Photo of ElGallo
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had never seen this one in my area, but found a random lonely bottle at Carl's in Kittery, Maine to take home. I'll put it right out there: this beer is worth the hype. I haven't had many west coast stouts. Actually only Old Rasputin comes to mind, and that's a damn good stout, but this gargoyle kicks its ass, handily.

Fantastic nose, good solid finger and a half of foamy beige head with sturdy lacing. First sip was silky smooth with chocolate, burnt coffee, and lots of other tasty morsels I won't bother mentioning because you should stop reading this and simply seek out your own bottle.

Being from NH I am an unflinching Kate the Great fan, but this bad boy is her equal (IMO) in the land of Ruskie Impy Stouties.

Oh, and to complete the mosaic (although I guess we never really mentioned painting), someone in the neighborhood has a little bonfire going, and the subtle smoke aroma is wafting through my window as I drink this masterpiece - it's called perfection, ya fool.

Photo of fastsrt
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured 22 ounce bottle in snifter (2008)

A: black, rich brown head

S: chocolate, coconut, roasted malts touch of booze

T: wonderful flavor profile come together with great balance, carmel, cocoa, a touch of warming alcohol this beer is one of my favorite RIS.

M: a bit higher carbonation then i would have liked, full body, rich.

D: smooth drinking, one bomber is perfect can drink one over the period of the evening and be a man.

Photo of jlindros
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Can't believe I haven't reviewed this yet. Great time to review it, sitting through Hurricane Earl. Spring 2010 release.

A nice creamy rich dark head rises up to 1 finger but fades semi quickly over super dark almost pitch black colored beer. It has nice legs running down the sides of the glass too indicating it's thickness.

The nose has plenty of dark roasty malts, lots of coffee and toffee, roasted barley, some oatmeal, creamy chocolate milk, some bakers chocolate, a slight caramel, chewy malt aroma, some sweetness but no real booze. THe nose is a little harder to get out than I expected, lighter.

The taste comes on really rich, velvety, thick, and tasty. It is a little boozy, with some warmth and very light tingle. There is some nice dark malts, some roast, light coffee, toffee, caramel, and somewhat sweet. Lots more creamy chocolate milk and oatmeal, but not too heavy on the oatmeal. Some bakers chocolate as well. A light vanilla flavor as well. A slight bitterness, a little from the roast and some soft earthy hops.

The mouth is heavier but not overwhelming, with good carbonation and a light warming booze.

It finishes slightly dry with some more sticky sweetness, lingering toffee, some coffee and roast, lots of chocolate, creamy milk and bakers, and even a little vanilla still. Some light warming and tingly booze late, but not as much as I expected. A little bitterness It coats the mouth pretty well too and just lingers and lingers. A little bitterness starts to build too and get a little more bitter as it goes, some light spicy hops and somewhat from the earthy roast. With all the dark malts in this I'm surprised there aren't any off flavor minerals and briney flavors, they did a good job with this.

Overall I'm a little disappointed by the nose being too light, but the taste was great, and the whole experience of the beer was pretty nice. I need to crack my aged bottle sometime, although I think I want to keep aging it.

Photo of charliedvrs
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bomber enjoyed at Novare Res.

A - Pitch black oil, absolutely opaque. A slight brown head sits atop and quickly falls leaving a good amount of brown streaks down the glass.

S - Tons of chocolate, dark roasted coffee, smoaked and roasted malt, burnt toast. I probably would pay someone to just smell this beer.

T - Loads of flavor. So much that it's difficult to separate. First and foremost, lots of dark chocolate. Then there's the roasted coffee, coccoa, licorice, vanilla, molasses, dark fruits/prunes. Alcohol doesn't so much as come through in taste as it provides a nice warmth.

M - Full bodied and smooth. Very little carbonation and very little bitterness/hop presence.

D - For the alcohol content and overall thickness of this brew, it is highly drinkable. A classic for sure!

Photo of JackieTH
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: 2010 bottling poured crude oil black and dense into a glass with a finger of mocha brown, dense head.

Smell: Well integrated and inviting layers of dark chocolate, burnt malt and roasted coffee.

Taste: Layer upon deep layer of flavors which are incredibly well balanced. Dark bittersweet chocolate. Espresso coffee. Roasted malt. Roasted nuts. Dark fruit. Anise. Burnt toast. Caramel. Hop bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Full bodied, thick and viscous.

Drinkability: The fact that I wanted another bottle speaks volumes to how well balanced this brew is despite the loads of alcohol, rich flavor and crude-oil thickness of the liquid.


Photo of Misfit025
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

This is my first review so take it easy on me...

I bought myself some of this imperial stout over the weekend and this one in particular was from spring 2008 so it has been aged for 2+ years. Appearance-wise this beer is very dark black and coffee-like. There is no lacing and almost no head.

It had a very apparent licorice smell to it with hints of coffee and dried fruit.

It tasted of toasty, almost burnt malt with a bitter finish on the back of the tongue. Bold coffee flavor with dark chocolate undertones.

There did not seem to be much carbonation left and this caused it to have a thin mouthfeel but this could have been caused by the aging process.

Because it wasn't as thick as a normal stout it was a little more drinkable and less filling. Also because of the aging there was less of an alcohol burn (this batch was 10.8% ABV).

Overall, a very tasty beer. Being 2+years old, lost viscosity and some bitterness. Also lost some carbonation and heat yet gained a more upfront roasted malt flavor.

Photo of sellmeagod
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

Oh indeed, this is a mighty brew that will have orcs cascading across your palate and conjure up images of mages brewing crazy potions, only a few sips in.

Opaque. Mysterious. Insane pour.

Smells like a bunch of sweets, a bunch of bitters, a bunch of fruits.

Each sip is bizarrely different from the last, depending on what you want to notice. Each is delicious. Easily the most tastes in a single sip of any brew I have ever had.

It's thick and it's 10.5, so you aren't drinking these all night. But boy does each wild taste make you want to. Rampage through the cathedrals with one of these to feel like a real gargoyle.

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

A - Jet black with minimal head or lacing. Held to the light none shines through.

S - Wet and leafy with a slight coffee smell.

T - Licorice and coffee, bitter chocolate. Nice flavor but nothing overpowering.

M - It has a thick viscous feel which can be seen in the pour. Not a strong bite and dry.

D - Good drink before bed time to let the air out and sweet dreams.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,455 ratings.