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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.

7,400 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,400
Reviews: 2,620
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 642
Gots: 1,712 | FT: 94
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: 7,400 | Reviews: 2,620 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of scottfrie
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spring 09 release. 22oz bottle into SN hop pint glass.

A: Jet black with a large thick dark coffee head that reduced into a thick film that lasted the whole beer and left some soapy lacing.
S: Roasted oats, dark chocolate malts, toffee and grassy hops. Very good.
T: Dark chocolate, nuts, grassy hops, espresso, roasted oats and alcohol notes.
M: Medium body slightly syrupy, thick and rich. Some bitter hops in the finish with sour coffee notes.
D: Very rich with great flavors and a great hop bite. Highly drinkable and recommended.

Photo of TCgoalie
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A brown head appears over the black abyss in my glass. A tilt of the glass presents some nice lacing. I like looking at this, and now I will smell it.

I smell all kinds of chocolate, biscuit, a heavy hit of molasses, and a hint of maple bourbon-y sweetness. Coffee, anise...I could go on all day, so much to keep my olfactory glands happy.

I very much enjoy when the smell translates exactly to what I'm tasting. The hop flavor seems to come up front and blends into a big hit of bourbon. In comes a pleasant blend of chocolate, roasty coffee, anise, molasses, and tongue numbing alcohol.

I'm very much intrigued by the complexity of this brew. Each sip seems to conjure a different flavor. It is a mouthful, I can tell you that with a very creamy texture and sticky dry aftertaste.

Not the most drinkable beer, but the complexity makes me give the drinkability category a higher score.

Photo of ChrisPro
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Malt & Vine. 2009 spring release. Tasted blind with 14 other stouts. Pours a black with frothy tan head and great lacing. Incredible coffee and chocolate aroma. Nice sweet flavor with chocolate and molasses. Medium body an d a bit fizzy. Really interesting chocolate and bitter finish. Incredible brew, but still needs to mellow. Can't wait to taste this vintage in a couple years.

Photo of joshstevens87
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a solid black with an inch or so of dirty tan head
S-a nice blend of coholate, liquorice, anise, with a bit of coffee giving a nice roastiness with maybe a bit of alcohol in the background
T-much of the smells described above with a bit more of an alcohol kick but is still well hidden behind a huge taste with a bit more bitterness than in the nose, not much hops but the beer is around a year old
M-a medium heavy body with a modest carbonation making it a very full beer with a very slight oily feel to it
D-a delicious beer with a great taste that can be drunk all night and can certanly lead to trouble

Photo of tippebrewcrew2
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review was taken from notes. I had this beer at a tasting with my buddy on a dark cold night and we decided to play some whiffle ball. We had a KBS and this beer. This beer held its ground against the KBS. Black, hearty, and warming is the only way I can describe this beer. Very complex with bitter chocolate overtones and a hoppy undertone. Velvety texture with a long bitter sweet finish. A true display of what Stone can do.

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

22oz bottle, 2008 vintage...served in a DFH oversized snifter

A - pours with a thin layer of bubbly dark tan foam, dissipates very quickly, leaving behind a smal ring around the glass and a few floating islands of bubbles. the beer is pretty much opaque pitch-black.

S - big and bold as I was expecting. huge roasted malt, bordering burnt toast. dark fruits are abundant, as well as bourbon, chocolate, malted candy, dark chocolate. earthy hops add a bitter punch.

T - starts off a bit sweet with the dark fruits taking over, before the more pronounced bitter flavors fight for attention. the dark roasted malts hit the tongue first, followed by chocolate, rye, coffee, black strap molasses...pretty substantial alcohol burn joins in with some earthy hop bitterness near the end. comes together quite nicely in the end. the aftertaste is of plums, raisins, burnt toast, chocolate.

M - medium bodied, maybe a touch thin. carbonation is very present but does a nice job of cutting through the intensely bold flavors. good, creamy finish with an awakening alcohol burn.

D - a solid, almost by-the-book RIS. two years has done well on this, and I'm looking forward to seeing what more time will do (got a case of this yesterday at a steal). dangerously drinkable, caught myself thinking gulp instead of sip. doesnt have the flashiness of some barrel-aged or infused stouts, but doesnt need it. superb.

Photo of webbcreative
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2009 Bottle.

Poured pitch black with 2 finger dark tan head.

Aroma is pleasant with roasted black malt, brown malt, nice chocolate, slight coffee, smells pretty sweet, and smells sticky [is that even possible?]

Taste is pretty sweet from the get go, maybe a bit too sweet, then settles in a bit with some nice chocolate, and coffee bean flavors and has a bitter chocolate finish. Alcohol is a bit apparent but not so bad considering its 10.5%. Getting a bit of dark fruit as it warms, plum I would say.

Moutfeel is medium, more carbonation that i was expecting from an IRS, but its nice.

Overall, a really good RIS, but not the best IMO, I would still take Storm King anyday over this. This is just a touch too sweet for my liking, maybe a fresher sample would be less so.

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

Bottle@home. 2008 vintage.

Apperance: Very dark brownish with a mediumsized, brown, head.

Smell: Roasted malts, Chocolate, Coffee.

Taste: Coffee, Bitter chocolate, Dark caramel, Ripe fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation. Ends quite bitter.

Although this stout is quite drinkable right now i am sure it'll improve with another year in the cellar. Good stuff.

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

A: Black with a 1-finger dark tan head; not great retention but what does stick stays throughout; fantastic lacing

S: A subtle but pleasant aroma of chocolate malts, touch of bourbon-esque flavors, and vanilla; a smoky woodiness also is prevalent

T: The chocolate and subtle coffee undertones balanced by a dry roasted malt bitterness stand out the most, but there also seems to be some prevailing anise flavorings as well

F: Slightly thinner than I anticipated but all in all there is a nice even mouth feel and coat

D: For what this is, this is incredibly drinkable; alcohol is so well masked; this is a very good brew from a very good brewery

Photo of Deuane
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A vintage 2007 bottle with 2 years of age on it cracked and enjoyed with friends.

A-deep, dark black with a thin tan head that reduced to a thin cap that left spotty lace.

S-Light soy, a bit of chocolate, espresso and beef jerky. Plenty of "beef" and quite pleasant.

T-Deep chocolate bitterness light soy and quite "beefy". Tasty stuff that is full of flavour.

M-Medium-heavy bodied, very smooth with a long lasting flavour profile.

D-This bottle has 2 years of age on it and it is still kickin' strong! Super flavourful and VERY tasty. Dollar for dollar one of the best Imperial Stouts out there. So ubiquitous it is easy to overlook and take for granted.

Photo of mjaskula
3.82/5  rDev -12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served in a tulip. Pours dark black with almost no evidence of carbonation. No light gets through this one, even when held up to the light. What little dark brown head there is all but disappears, forming a thin ring.

Aroma is roasted malt, coffee and savory black licorice there is a faint sweetness in the background. Flavor continues the aroma. It is big and bold and the sweetness asserts itself a little more, but is still overshadowed by the bitterness of the roasted malts. There is some carbonation in the mouthfeel, and it dries up nicely and doesn't leave a syrupy feeling. But the bitterness lingers a little long.

I'll easy drink the bomber. I expected to really love it, but there's something about his beer that is missing. Can't quite put my finger on it.

Photo of semibaked
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my Founders curved pint glass.

A - Pours blacker than Wesley Snipes with about an inch of brown sugar colored head.

S - Lovely smell of Roasted Malts, dark roasted coffee, molasses, licorice and a hint of hops.

T - Pretty much what it smells like Roasted malts, dark roasted coffee, yadda yadda yadda, but it masks the high ABV very well.

M - Nice medium bodied, creamy and coast the mouth well.

D - I love this beer and wish I could get it more regualrly. Drinks very well given the high ABV, just a great beer.

Photo of Flashsp2
3.8/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone impy stout

Poured from bomber into tulip

Nice two finger caramel colored head minimal lacing. Dissipates to a thin head.

Aroma of black coffee, roasted malt, faint molasses. Nose is pretty
subdued. Just lots of coffee.

Nice dense mouth with lots of roasted malt, coffee, earth flavor, some
faint tobacco, a lasting bitter hop on the finish. Malt is a bit sweet
up front, then the carbonation and bitterness wash it out.

Nice full body with a touch of hop oil on the finish.

Its good, but in all honesty there are many stouts which are better
(rasputin, nogne 0, yeti). I'd get it again, but only to try the next

**A warming alcohol burn as it warms. Mouthfeel gets a bit more creamy
as well, and the flavors gain intensity. A good stout, but still not
on par with the others.

**Resampled again at 6 months, 8 months, and 1.5 years. Found the former to still be a bit shallow, the latter to be too dark fruit focused (dark cherries), and the 8 month to be a bit better overall, with most of the complexity coming out without losing too much focus.

Photo of Pabs311
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

spring 2009 edition

A- pours black with a nice frothy milk chocolate head that dissipates leaving minimal lacing.

S- bittersweet chocolate is the biggest character here. some coffee. some slight notes of dark fruits. no hop characteristics here.

T- similar to the nose. alot of bittersweet chocolate with some coffee notes. theres also hints of dark fruit here and there, but still no hops.

M/D- Full bodied, low carbonation. best beer that i've had from stone. can't wait for the 2010 edition.

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

2009 vintage.

Very dark. Very black. A tan, chocolaty head that dissipate after a few minutes.

Aromas of chocolate, coffee, a hint of anise, and dried black fruit.

Good carbonation, which makes this beer feel lighter than it actually is. Lots of coffee and roasted malt flavors and a bit of chocolate. Still a bit rough around the edges, though... it needs a year or so more aging to round out completely.

I don't care for the 2009 vintage as much as previous vintages, but it's still good. Like I said, hold on to it and 2-3 years after the vintage everything should come together nicely. For a RIS this is very drinkable and actually not as heavy as I feel previous vintages were, which can be good or bad depending on what you want.

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

A: Black, That's first. The head is dark brown on the pour, and huge, too huge. It lightens up and demonstrates some great texture as it settles to about one finger.

S: Molasses, burnt sugar, no hops, some grain. But the nost isn't very strong.

T: Not overwhelming, but very smooth. Sweet like milk chocolate. It's amazing to me just how smooth the taste is, very not typical for an American RIS. A dry roast developes, which is nice. This beer definitely get's better as it goes.

M: Smooth and actually lighter than I expected, but it's very nice.

D: I don't like rating RIS very high, but this one has a good combo of what I expect from the style and what I like in a beer.

Photo of AgentZero
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Opaque, black with brown on the edges. Brownish head that didn't rise too terribly high and dissipated leaving a touch of lacing sticking ot the sides.

S - Bitter cocoa, roasted, but not bitter, coffee. There's a hint of dark fruits going on there, although I'm not quite able to distinguish which one.

T - Roasted coffee, hint of carmel malts and touch of cocoa been. Hint of bitter gives way to deep roast and finishes up with a tiny bit of creamyness and then a nip of alcohol.

M - Solid, not quite full bodied, but close enough, could stand to be a little thicker. Nice carbonation.

D - Hard to pick out the alcohol in this one, impressive given the ABV. Probably going to fill you up quickly though.

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

This is a bottle from 2009 that i've been sitting on. That makes right about a year old.

Poured into a tulips glass.
Black as night. Used motor oil. Theres absolutely no light coming through this bad boy. Head is gorgeous. Just a bit more then 1 finger after an aggressive swirl in the glass. It looks thick and rich and is a roasted hazelnut color. Very viscous. This one really hugs the sides of the glass nicely.

Tons going on in the nose. I'm getting a ton of bittersweet chocolate. Some dark roasted coffee bean. Dark dried sticky fruit like raisins and prunes. Also a touch of plum and molasses. A bit of heat from the alcohol top.

Initially i'm getting chocolate followed by a lot of raisin flavor. Some molasses. The coffee kicks in on the finish and is really the last flavor that lingers after the swallow. A good amount of heat still present even after 12 months in the cellar. I imagine a really fresh bottle would be one hell of a bruiser. Still some hops left that haven't faded yet. And they provide a small touch of floral to the beer. As its warming, a touch of Fennel and black licorice.

Big mouthfeel on this one. Pretty thick and chewy. Lot's of alcohol presence.

Drinkability is a good as you can get for a huge 10.5% Imperial Russian Stout. I mean you can't drink a ton of these but thats just the way it is. It's a fantastic beer regardless. I would love to try an even older vintage to see how if calms at all.

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

This was an extra from richbrew and again I am stoked to try this one! Poured from bomber to snifter. Black like oil with a 1 finger brown head. I smell chocolate and a little molasses and I get the same tastes. Chocolate, molasses, roasted malts, slight alcohol, and a little bit of raisen. This beer is thick and rich and very drinkable though with such high abv one 22oz bottle is enough.

Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spring 2007 release, cellared since then, thanks K&C!

Jet black with the requisite mocha foam, no lace just a thin ring at the edge, and an abstract mesh of skim across the top. Slightly oxidized aroma, still plenty chocolatey, cocoa, malted milk balls, and molasses.

Similar flavor, hershey's and molasses, reduced down to a compact format. A bit of roasty malt in the background, any booze/hops are long gone on the palate. Thick, full, rich, sticky. Quintessential aged RIS? I guess so... Afterimage of toasted marshmallows and burnt chocolate edges. Nice enough, maybe not my favorite RIS but a soild one i'd never refuse. Plan to revisit when Stone shows up in Illinois...

Photo of jwillcourt
3.7/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Served from a bomber into a wine glass. Bottle says limited release Spring 2008, so this is nearly 2 years old. It was kept in my wine cellar at the correct temperature. I look forward to trying a fresher version some day and possibly revising these notes.

A - Very dark brown, almost black, and opaque even when held to the light. Finger of pinkish-tan head disappears within a couple minutes to a ring of foam. The head cannot be restored, even with vigorous swirling, and it leaves little to no lacing.

S - First thing I notice is quite a bit of earthy hops buzzing around. They are assertive, and I was expecting malt up front. Next, comes a fruity plum smell, followed by alcohol fumes, and finally a hint of roasted malt.

T - The malt is stronger in the flavor. Initially, I taste strong roasted malt and slight roast coffee. This is followed by cocoa, plum, licorice and alcohol. The aftertaste lingers for 10-15 seconds and includes more alcohol and bitter hops. It is pretty dry all the way through, although some sips are fruitier than others.

M - Medium to full-bodied. Carbonation is light, but also a little more aggressive than usual for the style. It feels a little sticky on the lips, but leaves very little residual feel in the mouth. It gets more creamy over time. A few sips yield a little sediment.

D - No problem finishing a bomber. The alcohol is present but not tiring. I am not as anxious to open another bottle as I have been with others in this style.

Photo of Beerandraiderfan
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I think Stone might have been the first to coin the term "used motor oil" in an RIS. This one certainly looks the part. Aroma is deep and heavy on the chocolate and alcohol.

Taste, is exquisite. Chewy, almost to the point its oatmeal stout, covers the alcohol unlike the aroma. Throw in some coffee. Gargantuan. And of course, the Stone trademark of hops and bitterness. So enjoyable.

Mouthfeel, fades when you swish it around a little, which might be good, this is a big beer. Drinkable for being so strong, thick and yet, reasonably priced for everything that goes into it.

Photo of MASPuros
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 22oz bottle wrote review in 2008. Need to revist one of the bottles I have from the same year

A: Pitch black with a tan head 1/2 in head. Doesn't look that sludgy like most Imperial stouts do.

S: Hops and alcohol. As it warms, the aromas get more intense with light roasted malts.

T: Super rich beer! There is a lot more hops then I wanted ... floral hops with dark fruits and roastd malts. Harsh around the edges with the alcohol burn and hop bitterness.

M: Slick and harsh. Not what I was expecting

D: For sure this is not your average Imperial Stout, it was nice to have a difference in this style but overall hard to put down. I wonder what a few years will do to this. Got a few more bottles I plan on sitting on.

Photo of randawakes
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

..and ANOTHER house favorite at 163 e Park ave. Stone never ceases to test my stomach strength.

Roasty, malts, chocolate, creamy and smooth, but heavy and full-bodied at the same time. This beer will grow on you, at least it has for me and every re-taste I have after several months I am more impressed by the combination of smokiness, roastedness, and full bodiedness accompanied with great drinkability.

Photo of OlRasputin989
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured into Duvel tulip...

A: Pitch black and opaque with a cappucino brown head.

S: smells match the bottles description of coffee, anise, boozy, and with some chocolate.

T: very sharp up front, with alot of bittering hops and roasted flavors. espresso and anise. finishes rich and sweet with licorice, coffee and cream, and alcohol

M: Very full body with an oily entry that picks up a tingle of acidic hops and roastedness. finishes warm and off-dry

Overall, a beer that lives up to its style but with an American punch. The alcohol plays a large role in this beer's flavor profile and for the better. This one will put hair on your chest and prepare you for the cold.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,400 ratings.