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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.

6,822 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,822
Reviews: 2,575
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 507
Gots: 1,476 | 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: 6,822 | Reviews: 2,575 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of SShelly


4.33/5  rDev -0.2%

2008 release.

Pours a midnight black with a dark tan head that fades in <1 min. to a slight ring of lace.

Dark roasty aroma with a little sweetness.

Dark malty flavor with roast and choclate, very mildly bittered, with a pleasant sweet but not overdone aftertaste. leaves a little chocolate/cocoa on the tongue. A nice alcolhol warming sets in after the second or third swallow.

Overall it is a little sweeter than I would prefer but is an excellent example of the style, have had it before and will definetly drink one or five in the future.

11-22-2008 01:25:22 | More by SShelly
Photo of Jmamay22

New York

4.28/5  rDev -1.4%

This bottle is a 2008 release. I'm surprised I haven't rated this one yet. I've enjoyed Stone's IRS over several years at various ages. It has generally been a delight.

Pours a menacing black with a mocha colored head that fades to a thin collar. Smells of dusted cocoa, roasted malt, lightly of soy sauce and a generous helping of hops in typical Stone fashion. The soy sauce is less than pleasant, but plays a minor roll. Nonetheless it would be better without and something I haven't picked up until more recent versions of this brew.

Strong cocoa and dark chocolate flavors dominate, but give way to a growing alcohol presence and firmer mouthfeel. A definitive finish consists of a kick of hops, roasted malt, coffee and alcohol. The flavors of sweet chocolate are nicely maintained by the hops and roasted flavors to strike a balance. Alcohol remains embedded within the beer rather than acting as a defining component making this an enjoyable sipper on a cold night.

11-22-2008 00:32:41 | More by Jmamay22
Photo of rtepiak


4.08/5  rDev -6%

had it in nyc in 2007...

the pour is beautiful. black opaque with a nice chocolate head... like that picture above. decent retention. chocolate, roasted malt, and booze. taste is lightly acidic. some molasses quality but not the thickest. quite warm going down. delightful. a soft nail of chive bitter and candy sweet at the end. would love to have this one from a cask.

in 2008,

had it again about a year later not as appetizing. playdo malt yeast. yeast protein gave the beer sort of a overly dough but synthetic creamy quality like elmer's glue.

oct of 09,

malt character more consistent this time around. cognac warm sweetness. toasty chocolate and coffee. nice body.

11-20-2008 22:32:14 | More by rtepiak
Photo of LennyV

New York

4.65/5  rDev +7.1%

Pours a dark brown/black color into my Maudite snifter. Minimal head, no lacing. This was from a keg that was aged for about a year.

Smells like coffee with an little alcohol.

Tastes wonderful. Initially I taste coffee with some chocolate. It finishes very dry with some warming alcohol. I can't believe this brew has an 11% abv! It is so well hidden that it could be dangerous.

Full thick body with a small amount of carbonation.

I don't generally like stouts but this is a fantastic sipper. I can't wait to try the bottle version for comparison.

11-20-2008 03:02:19 | More by LennyV
Photo of Rainintheface


4.22/5  rDev -2.8%

12 oz bottle

A: dark black with a one finger tan head that lingers but a short while

S: dark fruits, coffee,cherries a little licorice and boozy

T: roasted coffee, dark fruit/raisins and alcohol soaked cherries

M: full bodied, smooth and viscous. a little dry with a warming alcohol finish

D: very drinkable, although it is a bit of a sipper.

11-18-2008 23:38:46 | More by Rainintheface
Photo of hobbes2112


4.72/5  rDev +8.8%

Bomber bottle.

Pours a midnight black with a medium level deep brown head. Pretty significant lacing. Smell is all dark. Dark chocolate, dark malt, dark caramelized sugars, alcohol (ok that one isn't dark.) I drank this one very slowly in 4 small glass increments. The first was pretty cold, possibly too cool. That was a much different, smaller beer than the later and warmer cups. I'd recommend this one warm only...you are missing out on the best parts when it is cold. I like the coffee notes that come with warmth. Mouthfeel is great, really astringent aftertaste that screams bitter cocoa with hops. I have a hard time giving out drinkability scores above 4 for beers this strong (in the alcohol sense) because you really can't drink them in a session manner.

Top notch.

11-17-2008 02:36:34 | More by hobbes2112
Photo of Goregazm

Rhode Island

4.6/5  rDev +6%


Appearance: BLACK. It's not overly thick like oil, but more like having the consistancy of grape juice. Has a dark brown/light black one-finger head which lasts a good minute or two and leaves nice foamy lacing on the glass.

Smell: Dark malts, chocolate, toffee and caramel up front. Has a thick scent which gives off a burnt, toasty smell. Bittersweet overall.

Taste: A delicious malty blend of semisweet chocolate, roasted coffee beans, dark fruits, and a little cream. Very rich and thick. For the most part it's sweet, with a slight bitterness underneath.

Mouthfeel: Creamy with a milky feel on the palate. In the mouth it feels rich and thick like a milkshake. Aftertaste is bitter, with a coffee taste up front.

Drinkability: This is a phenominal stout beer that ever fan of the style needs to try. Drink this while hanging out, eating dinner, or during any other time when your kicking back. If you haven't had this yet, don't waste any more time. Go out and find some now.

11-15-2008 21:15:01 | More by Goregazm
Photo of davey


4.53/5  rDev +4.4%

22oz in a pint glass. Picked it up at By The Bottle in Vancouver, WA. I've had this brew a couple times before, and it never disapoints. Appearance is dark as pitch, no light is getting through this one. Good two finger head. Smells delicious! Alcohol does not stand out. Coffee flavor with nutty aftertaste with a hint of vanilla. Not too thick, just right. Close to room temperature. One of the most drinkable imperial stouts I've had. I would definitely recommend this beer to anyone who is looking for a first time imperial stout!
P.S. This is my first review.

11-14-2008 06:57:09 | More by davey


4.22/5  rDev -2.8%

Poured from a 22oz. bottle into snifter glass.

A: Deep, dark mahogany with a finger of dark tan head that left exquisite lacing.

S: Smoke, malt, sweet dried fruits.

T: The first impression when the beer is on the cold side is a smoky, peaty flavor that lingers long after swallowed. As it warmed, a sweetness appeared that was undetectable when cold. Aftertaste reminds me of smoky, sweet beef jerky, but in the most pleasant way possible. This is a wonderful late-night pleasure that I plan to keep on hand at all times.

M: medium-heavy viscosity with a likable stickiness.

D: Too rich to enjoy more than two or three snifters worth. However, those two or three are massively delicious and satisfying.

11-13-2008 22:55:32 | More by FACEMEAT
Photo of DoctorDog


2.38/5  rDev -45.2%

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle into a mug. Labeled as "Limited Spring 2008 Release."

A- Black, completely opaque in appearance. Pours with massive, cascading brown/tan head, which fades slowly to a thin ring, leaving moderate lacing.

S- Hoppy burned alcohol.

T- Hoppy burned alcohol. No coffee or chocolate notes to be found. The astringent equivalent of letting an aspirin sit on your tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. Excessively drying.

M- Thin and watery.

D- Between the alcohol content, poor taste, and excessive drying, this one gets low marks in my book.

Future outlook: Very disappointed in this one. Doesn't look like this one is my cup of meat.

11-13-2008 05:25:26 | More by DoctorDog
Photo of williamherbert

New York

4.03/5  rDev -7.1%

Pitch black with a thick brew of cardboard brown head. Some middling watery lace.

Thick and soupy aroma. Heavy alcohol. Smell of dates and raisins. Burnt malt w/hints of black coffee. Really strong and good.

Heavily burnt malt like coffee. Dark chocolate like charred cookies. Heavy tobacco. Really rich and dark.

Smooth, like thick motor oil. Rich and viscous. Not for the weak. Really roasted and dark. Delicious and challenging.

11-12-2008 04:13:06 | More by williamherbert
Photo of caminiti

New York

4.45/5  rDev +2.5%

As with all the Stones, outstanding. Poured as you would expect, dark with a thin orangish lacing that reported your sips all the way to the end along the inside of the pint glass. Tasted a bit bitter and coffee like, perhaps a bit lighter than the 2007 version, but then again I have not let the bottle age. Outstanding, and like me, better with age.

11-11-2008 12:49:03 | More by caminiti
Photo of Cresant


4.33/5  rDev -0.2%

Poured this 22 oz. brown bottle into a snifter. This was the 2006 vintage. Minimal head with a ring of dark tan head. Opaque dark, dark brown with ruby highlights. This one had legs when swirled.

Smell was brown sugar and raisins. Moist, freshly baked brown bread. Some alcohol in the aroma.

Taste was roasted bitterness. Chocolate and dates. Steely. Mellow and rich. Very nice to savor over the evening. Well hidden alcohol. The roast and hops were just enough to accentuate the rich malts and sweetness.

Mouthfeel was smooth and velvet-like. Wow. Minor carbonation, just right.

11-09-2008 14:47:59 | More by Cresant
Photo of Baileyuk


4.35/5  rDev +0.2%

Another special at Uptown Grille.

A - Little to no head from the getgo with also little lacing. Perfect color between black and brown.

S - A sweetness comes of the nose giving of almost a raisin smell. Burnt malts are also present.

T - Again a sweet dark fruit like raisins is presnt. A lot of character and complex tastes. Malt is prominent and nicely done.

M - Carbonation perfect, felt really goodgoing down. Iwould probably not drink too many of these due to style preference but if this were my style I would be all over this.

Another great Stone brew.

11-05-2008 13:18:44 | More by Baileyuk
Photo of gearbike


3.98/5  rDev -8.3%

What a treat to have an exceptional beer like this on tap within a bike ride from home.
I typically do not get any big flavors from stone beers before tasting. They tend to smell very neutral.
This is truly imperial. Just the right amount of hops, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. Not even close to over the top.

11-04-2008 20:56:07 | More by gearbike
Photo of imperialbigswig


4.55/5  rDev +4.8%

Clearly this is one of the most revered brews on the market, so admittedly I was holding it to a very high standard.
A- beautifully thich black and rich, motoroil.
S- dark chocolate, bakers chocolate and fresh coffee grinds.
T- It's all there, chocolates coffess, that roast flavor that the RISs have.
M-Oh yeah, rich thick chewy and sticky.
D-1 bottle tops, but lovin every last sip.

11-02-2008 14:41:18 | More by imperialbigswig
Photo of erikm25


4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

A: This concoction pours a thick blackened molasses. Held up to the light I was unable to find even the slightest nod to any other hues. An aggressive pour yielded a minimal burnt caramel colored head. Lacing is slight yet present to the end. If you could pour a midnight starless and moonless sky into a glass this is what it would look like.

S: Aromas are oats coupled with a subtle mixture of dark cherries, figs, and plums. Rich chocolate sweetness appears towards the back but overall this aroma can be described as honey warm. Despite the high ABV the alcohol appears instantly and fleetingly like an apparition.

T: Rich toffee chocolate and malt tastes. Additionally a sting of hops hits the tongue. Barley coupled with a pinch of coffee and sprinkled with brown sugars. Complex balance of creamy cocoa richness and grapefruit laced licorice. Chocolate becomes even more apparent as it warms. The alcohol is only present after it drops the bodies temperature down a bit.

M: A creamy rich viscousness that plasters its flavors all around the mouth. A flat out treat.

D: Perfect beer with some warming fuzzy music. Drinkability is a double edged sword. In a perfect world I would love to make this a regular habit but it is one I will save for special occasions. Worth picking up and holding on to for down the road. Stone always delivers.

11-02-2008 04:12:51 | More by erikm25
Photo of WYVYRN527


4.8/5  rDev +10.6%

Might be my new favorite. I opened a 22 oz. bottle and poured it into my trusty pint glass. Black with a very thin head that dissapates almost immediately. The aroma is soft, and chocolate and roasted grains shine through. On the palate, espresso, bitter chocolate, and vanilla strike with force. The hops aren't very present until the very end, where it has a very mild, dry finish. This medium bodied beast could be a session stout, even though it has strength and body that rivals a Sherman tank. I love this beer, and it's unfortunate that it isn't sold here in the Minnesotan tundra.

11-01-2008 05:20:20 | More by WYVYRN527
Photo of daythree16


4.3/5  rDev -0.9%

22 oz bottle poured into snifters and shared with my wife. The bottle indicates that it is from the Spring '07 release. It pours a jet black with a one-finger brown head.

There are aromas of rich chocolate and dark fruit, chiefly ripe figs. Taste is mostly chocolate and caramel up front. Some figs and other dark fruit are present as well. As the beer warms, some coffee bitterness begins to develop.

Mouthfeel is thick and silky, and it coats the tongue on each sip. The beer is super rich, and coupled with the high ABV, this one is definitely a sipper.

10-31-2008 17:38:59 | More by daythree16
Photo of Reagan1984


4.45/5  rDev +2.5%

What a great beer to come in from the cold with.... Poured almost a full black in color with a thick creamy tan head. This remained floating on top of the beer for quite some time before slowly receding back into the glass.

Aroma was a nice combination of both chocolate notes and some vanilla bean.... Black licorice?

Flavor was very nice and only got better as the beer warmed to close to room temp. Chocolate notes up front, then some cinnamon. Slowly faded to a vanilla bean or vanilla extract note (very subtle) and again a get a slight touch of black licorice..

Mouth feel is medium to full bodied and silky creamy in texture.

I just think this is a great beer.

10-31-2008 00:17:50 | More by Reagan1984
Photo of danielharper


4.65/5  rDev +7.1%

Appearance: This thing is so dark you'd probably need a photospectrometer to differentiate its color from that of the Bootes Void... and yeah, I was waiting for the opportunity to use that tortured metaphor. Suffice to say it's extremely deep black, completely opaque, Has a tiny head that dissipates but leaves a touch of lacing regardless. It's not quite as intense as Dark Lord, but it's close.

Smell: Highly malty, strong notes of barley and intense grains. Hints of coffee and bittersweet chocolate. Lots of hops and a touch of astringency due to alcohol. Rich, inviting.

Taste: Heavily malty, strong doses of crisp California hops, with a strong tart astringency due to the alcohol. Delicious qualities of coffee, chocolate, hints of bittersweet raisins. Sweet and astringent finish, with a dry, bittersweet, malty aftertaste that leaves me wanting another drink. As the beer warms the dryness and the maltiness become more prominent. Delicious and well-executed.

Mouthfeel: Thick, low carbonation. Chewy but also smooth.

Drinkability: A fantastic beer. Approximately equal to Bell's Expedition in terms of quality, and a fine brew to have on these cold winter evenings. A beer designed to be savored and enjoyed for as long as the bottle lasts.

10-28-2008 23:07:28 | More by danielharper
Photo of Tolnik


4.88/5  rDev +12.4%

This is a wonderful beer. The dark dark brown beer has a great amount of foam and even a great lingering lacing after settling. The Beer has a wonderful cooking chocolate smell and taste. Overall this is a wonderful beer that I would highly suggest anyone that wishes for a great stout to grab this beer.

10-24-2008 22:35:49 | More by Tolnik
Photo of rhinos00


4.7/5  rDev +8.3%

Poured out of a 22 oz. bomber into a snifter.

A- Jet black. Inch of tan head formed but disappeared rather quickly.

S- Combination of dark chocolate, coffee, malt, dark fruits (maybe prunes?) and alcohol.

T- Chocolate and coffee are the first things that come to mind. This is followed by a mix of malts and hops. Alcohol is not as prevalent as I thought it would be.

M- Complexion is viscous, yet rather smooth. Very little carbonation if any.

D- Very drinkable for a beer with almost 11% abv. Beer went down so smooth.

Overall a very impressive beer. With such a high abv. the flavors masked it well, allowing for smooth consumption. Highly recommended!

10-21-2008 02:09:50 | More by rhinos00
Photo of jdg204


4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

I've been going after the big boys lately and few are bigger than Stone's RIS. Needless to say I'm a huge Stone fan and a big RIS fan, so I was super excited to find this bad boy and give him a try.

A: Pitch black body with a nice tan head that didn't stick around too long.

S: Roasted grains, dark chocolate, dark fruits, coffee and alcohol.

T: Rich and malty with a chocolate presence right off the bat; after the swallow, the coffee and dark dried fruit flavors; big hops emerge on the finish and provide a long lasting bitterness.

M: Rich and viscous; not much carbonation; warms on the gullet for a long time after the swallow.

D: Quite a brew and deserved of the great reputation it has gained. Stone not surprisingly has another winner and here's a beer all great advocates should seek out and try. Drank very smooth and easily for an RIS, a sign of quality. Still, I've got to give the RIS edge to Victory's Storm King (and even Brooklyn's BCS), though that just shows this brew is in excellent company.

10-20-2008 02:33:07 | More by jdg204
Photo of wescj


4.6/5  rDev +6%

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours thick and black, and has your typical "motor-oil" apperance. The head is the same dark tan color as espresso foam, but dissipates rather quickly. A thin lace remains, though.

Dark and earthy aromas, such as coffee, fuse with dark fruits like prunes. Slight smell of alcohol.

Coffee flavor and sweet, dark malts. The sweetness is very thick and syrupy. There's also some dark and spicy anise tossed in there.

Viscous mouthfeel. Carbonation is light and moderate. Very smooth overall.

Very drinkable for an RIS. Very smooth and enjoyable.

10-19-2008 01:16:10 | More by wescj
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,822 ratings.