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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.

6,795 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,795
Reviews: 2,575
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 504
Gots: 1,469 | FT: 84
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: 6,795 | Reviews: 2,575 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of tmoneyba


4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

22 oz Bottle.

Poured dark black with a average light brown creamy head that mostly lasted with good lacing. Aroma was moderate roasted malt with a nutty tone. Flavor was a complex heavy roasted malt, coffee and long heavy bittersweet finish of long duration. Full body with a light alcohol bite.

Good brew.

01-05-2009 23:16:59 | More by tmoneyba
Photo of JoshuaCain


4.05/5  rDev -6.7%

pours black, not a single ray of light can penetrate. 1 finger of head that dissipates quickly. little lacing.
aroma is very deep roasted malt, black coffee, nondescript sweetness, a little singe of alcohol.
taste is sweet and charred, with the malt up front and some heavy fruitiness (fig and prune) behind. a strong alcohol backbone with an earthiness and resin flavor coming through in the finish.
mouthfeel is very thick and rich, very enjoyable.
overall a drinkable brew, despite the strength.

01-04-2009 00:16:11 | More by JoshuaCain
Photo of Jmoore50


4.4/5  rDev +1.4%

Really a good Imperial Stout. With Stone Brewing Company you can almost always guarantee a great beer, and this is no exception.

The bottle is cool, the Stone Gargoyle with a Russian cap on. What I like about the Stone 22oz bombers is the text on the backside of the bottle. Always an interesting read.

The pour of this stout is what a stout should be, a dark pour. Pretty heavy and no light comes through the glass. With my pour I got almost no head, like half a finger or so.

The smell is good, one of the strongest characteristics of this beer is the alcohol. You can smell it right away and taste it immediately, which is so so good.

The taste is really good, no outstanding flavor pops out, just a combination of coffee, some pine or spice, and alcohol. Really drinkable also, really fun to finish. Two or three of these suckers would get you pretty lit. When drinking a good craft beer, getting a little drunk is just that makes the taste double in pleasure.

Will buy all that I find. Will drink all that I have. Truly a great Imperial Stout.


01-01-2009 03:50:06 | More by Jmoore50
Photo of Bananaman


4.7/5  rDev +8.3%

Limited spring 2008 release.

This is the second beer I'm trying from Stone Brewing Co. and I am amazed! Stone must be one of the highest quality brewers in the U.S.

The beer pours a black color with a small beige head. The bottles from Stone are almost like art, so I will save one for sure.

Smells amazing of dark chocolate, roasted malts and some aroma hops. Really good smell!

The taste is dominated by dark chocolate, roasted malts with notes of anis almost absintish notes.

Amazing beer! I'm lucky to have three more bottles.

12-31-2008 15:47:32 | More by Bananaman
Photo of Wackyfoot


4.63/5  rDev +6.7%

This beer kicks you in the balls and then comes back screaming for more. It really does pour the color of motor oil too, which is just lovely. Heavy alcohol flavor here as well as a big coffee taste. Very bold smelling as well, big coffee aroma. So good it'll make you slap yo mama!

12-28-2008 07:45:34 | More by Wackyfoot
Photo of popery


4.88/5  rDev +12.4%

Limited Spring 2008 Release 12oz bottle. A thick, smooth Imperial Stout with phenomenal depth of flavor and a round, luscious mouthfeel. The liquid is opaque and black topped by a small but sticky dark brown head. The nose is rich with perfectly toasted malt. The flavor is vast and superior, in my opinion, to many fancily barrel-aged stouts, not that I don't love a good barrel-aged beer. Stone just manages to pack in massive toasted malt flavor without adding in outside complexity. The malt is mostly chocolate with some coffee on top of wonderfully burnt toast. It's not nearly as roasted as some Imperial Stouts but the roasted flavor is just right. There's still some hop bitterness without too much age on the bottle. There are a number of flavors that will take me a few more years of beer tasting to describe adequately. The feel is incredible, lush, smooth, thick but never cloying or sticky. It's a remarkably drinkable beer for the alcohol level and the depth of flavor. You just have to keep going back for more. I wish that I had a case of this stuff, and come Spring 2009, I will. Absolutely phenomenal beer.

12-22-2008 23:03:19 | More by popery
Photo of lured2fish


4.4/5  rDev +1.4%

Limited Spring 2008 Release - bottle

Wow, this beer is black as night with a thin, creamy brown, lasting head.

Taste immediately reminds me of dark chocolate and coffee with a lasting, but good aftertaste. The 10.8% ABV is not overhwelming to the flavor at all.

Not an extremely thick stout and reasonably drinkable. This beer was a treat and I'd like to get several more bottles to cellar for a while. Highly recommend this beer!

12-22-2008 02:18:05 | More by lured2fish
Photo of HeyItsChili


4.2/5  rDev -3.2%

A - Poured from a bottle into a snifter. Pours dark brown/black with a medium tan head that lingers a while.

S - Dark bittersweet chocolate, roasted coffee, oats, dark roasted malts. Brown sugar.

T - Dark choclate, coffee,

M - Thick and viscous, crisp at the back of the tongue.

D - Very tasty, the taste sort of mellows as it sits and warms, as another reviewer mentioned. Good stuff.

12-21-2008 22:11:47 | More by HeyItsChili
Photo of LilMatrix


3.98/5  rDev -8.3%

12 oz Limited 2008 Release

A - The darkness that pours from the bottle lets zero light through and the thin head and lacing that forms does not stay for long.

S - Roasty aroma... woody and subtle fruity sweetness with light alcohol.

T - Dark Chocolate, coffee, slightly sweet and a little bit of the back of the throat astringency that my palate picks up on some stouts. Tastes better as it warms to room temp and as you drink.

M - Viscous and coats the mouth with low carbonation; reminiscent of a robust coffee.

D - ABV is hidden very well and I can imagine sipping this for quite a while... dangerous.

A very solid IRS and a very yummy beer indeed!

12-21-2008 04:23:05 | More by LilMatrix
Photo of doctchad


4.13/5  rDev -4.8%

Great beer. Stone always seems to produce good and this one is no exception. I have never had this beer on tap only from a bottle, being on the east coast i am not sure of any bars in the area that serve it on tap, only bottles. I have been about to find it in most high quality beer stores that ones that know what good beer is. This beer has good dark color, moderate thickness, and a great smooth taste, I highly recommend this beer to people who enjoy a stout.


12-18-2008 15:52:23 | More by doctchad
Photo of GordonQuid


4.65/5  rDev +7.1%

Stone Russian Imperial Stout poured jet black with deep purple, deep mahogany hues as I swirl it in a 16oz goblet. A thick creamy ¾ inch head with thick leggy lacing is present initially. The head dissipates to tan ring around the top of the glass, lacing is nice and thick.

The smell is that of dark roasted chocolate, black malts, alcohol soaked prunes/raisins and nugget hops right in the front of the nose. From the mere smell of this I can't wait to take a nice-long sip.

Taste is very heavy and rich roasted barley, chocolate and black malts. Turbinado sugar soaked dates and raisins and a blend of nugget and fuggle hops produce a slight dry finish. However I am blown away by the dynamics of this incredible elixir. Fucking incredibly SEDUCTIVE!
As this warms I can pick out some fruity esters, caramel sweetness but still get a nice dry finish with subtle hops lingering. Excellent Russian Imperial Stout with a dynamic profile only the brewer's at Stone can produce. My hat is off to you gentlemen....

FULL bodied! This brew is a drinking experience. I would suggest having only one or sharing one with a good friend or a beautiful voluptuous woman or two cute chicks who are willing to try new things.... (?) Not a session beer. Too much of this stuff will lead you to wonder your neighborhood naked looking for the local KFC.

Be careful and enjoy the experience!

-Gordon Quid

12-17-2008 20:15:06 | More by GordonQuid
Photo of mdagnew

United Kingdom (Northern Ireland)

4.63/5  rDev +6.7%

355ml bottle bought online from Beersofeurope.co.uk...

Poured pitch black with no hint of colour even when held up to the light. Dirty nut brown head poured big thick and foamy then faded slowly to decent covering... some decent lines of lacing...

Aroma - Tons of rich roasted and charred dark chocolate maltiness, sweet coffee, lots of treacle and brown sugar sweetness, some sooty like smokiness, some dark fruits (blackcurrents, dates), some pine notes, toasted (maybe charred ?) fruit loaf, some earthiness, milky notes...

Taste - Sweet dark chocolate, lots of roasted / charred bready malts, barely any alcohol noticeable, treacle and molasses sweetness, dark spicy fruits (raisins, date,some figs), piney and grassy hop bitterness, traces of piney resin, light liquorice...

Feel - Fairly smooth and creamy with a little sharpness coming through... fairly full bodied... for a 10.8% brew this is dangerously drinkable..

Overall - Another top notch US impy stout and up with the best i've tried... highly recommended...

12-17-2008 09:52:55 | More by mdagnew
Photo of magictrokini


4.38/5  rDev +0.9%

Had to re-rate this after having the AleSmith Speedway stout. Pours black with a thick brown head. Great lacing. Currants, dark chocolate, and coffee in the aroma. Taste is too fruity with currants and prunes. I like the chocolate/stiff coffee base, but the currants are too much. While this is a very good Russian Imperial, It can not hold a candle to the Speedway. This is fruitier and sweeter, with a strong alcoholic bite. I will not turn this down if put in front of me, but I'll wish it was an AleSmith.

12-16-2008 18:41:16 | More by magictrokini
Photo of zeff80


4.59/5  rDev +5.8%

A - Poured out an opaque, black as night color with a small, light brown, foamy head. It left soapy sheets of lace like legs on a red wine.

S - It smelled of sweet chocolate, roasted malt, floral notes and sweet fruits.

T - It tasted like candy sugar, licorice, roasted malt and strong chocolate and caramel flavors. A solid bitter hoppy kick balanced out the sweetness.

M - It was soft, smooth and still sharp with a warming alcohol presence. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a truly great brew. One of the most balanced RIS's I've ever had.

12-16-2008 17:20:38 | More by zeff80
Photo of lynx1245


4.18/5  rDev -3.7%

Spring 2008 release opened in the middle of December.

Appearance: This is almost as black as they come. Held it right next to a 100W light bulb and still couldn't see any hint of light through it. Crazy. However, the awesome dark tan head disappeared way too quickly and left very little lacing.

Smell: Heavy coffee and chocolate aroma. Kind of like a mocha. My buddy seems to think it smells like red wine but I don't smell that so much.

Taste: Big roasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate. It has a little bite to it towards the end of the sip. Starts to taste much better as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Not much carbonation but very dry finish. Really invites you to drink more. The high alcohol isn't very noticeable.

Drinkability: One of the more drinkable RISs I've had. Not too robust and the 10.8% alcohol is hidden nicely. I think it would go great with some food.

12-16-2008 07:18:04 | More by lynx1245
Photo of CBowser


4.43/5  rDev +2.1%

A: Dark black, so dark i can see my reflection in the beer glass. A nice head with some lacing as it is consumed.

S: Nothing special here, good but not great. Smells sweet with a hint of coffee and vanilla.

T: Bingo, roasted coffee, sweet vanilla, great lingering aftertaste, not too sweet, not too bitter, just right.

M: Good mix of carbonation and smoothness.

D: Exceptionally smooth, very drinkable, tops among the RIS's I have tried thus far.

12-16-2008 03:04:54 | More by CBowser
Photo of Greggy


3.53/5  rDev -18.7%

A- Pours a pitch black color, with thin tan head. Minimal lacing.

S- Big tawny port aromatics, butterscotch, a touch of alcohol.

T- Starts out boozy with dark tawny port flavors whilst being covered in chocolate and coffee. Overall, the booziness hurts the taste.

M- Low carbonation, boozy and overall lacks a big mouthfeel despite being 10%+

D- Kind of boozy and sadly reminds me of a <$20 tawny port.

12-14-2008 21:34:34 | More by Greggy
Photo of madtowndmb1


4.1/5  rDev -5.5%

I've had this one in my cellar for a while now and I finally tried it last night. It was what I thought it would be by all the reviews here. It poured a jet black with a tan lace around the edges. Smelled of heavy malt, chocolate and the slightest touch of coffee. The taste was great! Smooth, tasty filling, exactly what I wanted last night after work. It was hard to pick up any real distinct flavors but it worked. There was of course a malty/dark chocolate sweetness to it, but not as much coffee as I expected.
This is a very good R.I.S. if your looking for one and the price is right too. This is a go to R.I.S. for me, factoring the price and taste!

12-13-2008 18:02:08 | More by madtowndmb1
Photo of prsguitarsr4me

New York

4.63/5  rDev +6.7%

Finally had this one. Got a case of the 12oz bottles in Ohio. Very thick and creamy beer with a great head that leaves nice lacing too the finish. From Stone I expect a more outgoing smell, and while the smell was great - sweet and chocolately - it wasn't as strong as I like. Taste was very smooth - alcohol hidden brilliantly. Nice carbonation, too. Feel is thick and full bodied. I could drink several more of these in one sitting, easily. Fantastic drink.

12-13-2008 04:25:32 | More by prsguitarsr4me
Photo of avalon07

South Carolina

4.53/5  rDev +4.4%

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was an inch of tan-colored, long-lasting, creamy head and excellent lacing. One the best-looking Russian imperial stouts out there.

S: A subtle aroma of malt, coffee and alcohol.

T: A well made taste combination: Roasted malt, coffee, currants and alcohol. The alcohol is a little much at first, but you get over it quickly.

M: A high carbonation rate and a dry finish. Full-bodied, but not in an oppressive way.

D: This is a fantastic, well-constructed beer. Another job well done from Stone.

12-12-2008 13:49:27 | More by avalon07
Photo of 0110x011


4/5  rDev -7.8%

Spring '08 vintage, poured into a snifter. Midnight black, with a thick, two finger tan head. Nice retention, slowly dissolving into a small cap and collar. Lacing is spotty. Sweetened coffee, fig, chocolate and pine on the nose, although it was a struggle to pick those out. Not as aromatic as I would like. Surprisingly sweet on the palate at first, but flavors of coffee, chocolate, and caramel come through, along with a piney hop character. Assertive hop and roast bitterness provides balance. Mouthfeel is full, but not excessively heavy or syrupy. One of the easier drinking imperial stouts I've had.

The best widely available RIS I've had. In league with the big boys, no doubt.

12-12-2008 02:33:37 | More by 0110x011
Photo of TLove

District of Columbia

4.83/5  rDev +11.3%

This beer is probably the best Russian Imperial Stouts I have ever had.

It has a great thickness to the pour and a beautiful, substantive, dark head with barely any fizziness. The smell is rich with roasted chocolate and espresso malt, but it is smooth as hell.

The first taste and the last taste are exactly the same. The incredible thing about this beer is that its consistency is just as strong and substantive as the very first sip. The flavor is similar to the smell, with a beautiful malty, bitter taste that is infused with dark chocolate, espresso, and oats. There is an undeniable smoothness to the substance and has an almost imbued bitterness that disguises the near 11% ABV content.

The finish is fantastic as well. The bitter touches the tip of your tongue on the front, the alcohol burns on the back, and the richness of the motor-oil consistency and oaty smoothness just flow down your throat. It is remarkably easy to drink, despite its thickness, but can be unapologetic in its brutally beautiful style to those who are unaccustomed to the mighty russian imperial stout.

A thing of beauty.

12-12-2008 02:17:08 | More by TLove
Photo of dondeez21

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +15.2%

This is easily in my top 3 beers of this style.

Appearance: Jet Black motor oil. The beer is as dark as a beer can be. Even when held up to a light this beer is not transparent.
Smell: At first smell I noticed the malt followed by a sweet almost fruity alcohol .
Taste: First sip the malt sweetness hits your tounge followed by a light biterness from the hops and alcohol, with a lingering roastyness from the malts.
Mouthfeel: This beer isnt to heavily carbonated. You can feel the density of the beer with each sip.
Drinkability: Use caution! Very good beer that has a decent alcohol kick. I would drink it more often if it wasnt to strong.

12-12-2008 00:48:58 | More by dondeez21
Photo of bonkers

New Jersey

4.43/5  rDev +2.1%

I poured from a 22 ounce bomber (2008 spring release) inot a tulip glass. The beer pours thick and juicy. The beer is jet black and has a more impressive head than I was expecting. As the bottle states it is a "very aromatic brew." There are notes of dark roasted coffee, chocolate, alcohol, and dried fruit. Even my wife was impressed by the smell. The flavor is very good. The coffee, and chocolate notes are most prevalent and there is always an alcohol undertone. A full bodied beer that can be consumed easily. This one could get you in trouble with its almost 11% abv. Simply put if you like RIS you will love this beer.

12-11-2008 13:29:17 | More by bonkers
Photo of Scriba


4.6/5  rDev +6%

This beer is beautiful. The colour is opaque black, and the foam forms a compact lid that slowly melts away.

The smell is also really nice. The first thing that comes into my mind is: Imperial Stout! But after a couple of tries I recognised chocolate, both dark and milk chocolate. And some Swedish dark baking syrup (contains malt extracts and is used to make breed).

The taste is very complex. It is mild, bitter, sweet, dry... Everything goes very well together. After a couple of sips I can taste some dark chocolate and some coffee.

As a liquid it's thick. The density must be quite high. But it is still easy to take big gulps of it (which is quite dangerous considering the amount of alcohol).

The is a very drinkable beer!

12-11-2008 11:45:03 | More by Scriba
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,795 ratings.