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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.

7,048 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,048
Reviews: 2,591
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 538
Gots: 1,559 | FT: 88
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: 7,048 | Reviews: 2,591 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brew33
3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Picked up a Bomber at Jungle Jim's.

This beer looks great. Nice head, pitch black body. Promising. The smell was nice also. Some coffee, roasted malts, sweet. I found myself a little disappointed with the taste of this beer. This beer gets better as it warms. The booziness dissipates and it becomes more complex.

I must say, I'm surprised to read all the "complex" reviews for this beer. To me, for the style, this beer lacks the complexity and depth of some of the others (ie. Blackout Stout, Expedition Stout, Storm King, etc). It's fairly boozy also. Could have done a better job hiding the alcohol.

It's an okay beer. I'd happily drink it again but there are better options available to me.

Brew33, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of Birdiebeagle
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle Pours a thick dark brown with a creamy tan head. The head laces well and seems to last. Has a great aroma of coffee, chcolate, and a touch of black cherry soda. The aroma is exceptional. Has a good carbination and a good mouthfeel. The flavors are very good and complex. Blended very well with only a slight alcohol burn but it is a good one. Has a solid finish and a good aftertaste. This has a full body. It is a hearty stout which is great.

Birdiebeagle, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of LordAdmNelson
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2009 Brew

A- Opaque crude oil black. Relatively thin chocolate milk head. Moderate lacing.

S- Roasted malt, dark chocolate, a little alcohol, some cherry, vanilla. Not extremely strong. Fades to only coffee as it goes on.

T- Interesting here. It seems to always be changing. I got a beefy (tasted like a good steak!!!) taste at the beginning (which was very strange). It evolved into roasted, almost burnt, malt with some oak-y or earthy notes. I get some vanilla, some cooked vegetables, a little hoppy bitterness. Boozy. Complex (which is good), but I'm not digging some of these flavors.

M- Medium-plus bodied. Smooth, slightly prickly from the alcohol.

D- Pretty good, moved through the bomber pretty quickly, but nothing incredible.

I really wanted to like this beer, but I was kind of disappointed. Maybe it needed more age on it.

3.5, 4, 4, 4, 4--Overall: 3.9 (B+)

5-15-09 Re-review

A- A nice tan head (about an inch). Opaque black. Good head for a high ABV stout. Head fades relatively rapidly, however.

S- Some chocolate, some coffee, big malt--biscuity, bready. Decidedly less phenolic than before.

T- Good... I thought I had a bad one last time. Slightly spicy, good coffee, deep dark malt. Slight hop bitterness (very slight). Oaky and earthy. A little boozy. Slight alcohol bite.

M- Velvety and smooth. Carbonation doesn't hamper the mouthfeel at all, but ups the drinkability for a stout like this.

D- Carbonation ups this. Good, a good, enjoyable drink.

Overall, much better than my first review. Dark and malty, a good stout. I would still prefer Yeti or Storm King or FBS or Raspy. Kind of similar to Raspy though.

LordAdmNelson, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of RuinationMan
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: Pours pitch black with minimal head that is also dark, like peanut butter.

s: Deep, roasty malt. Dissipates as time goes on.

t: Roasted espresso with a slightly sweet linger. Smoky. Each sip is slightly different as the temperature gets closer to room temp.

m: Thick & chewy with medium carbonation.

d: I can't believe that this is +10%. I taste some alcohol, but am very surprised how smooth and easy this is.

RuinationMan, Apr 23, 2009
Photo of rgctlc
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation- This is the spring 2009 batch purchased from the most awesome Charleston Beer Exchange in Charleston, South Carolina. It was filled on 4/19/09 and consumed on 4/22/09.

Appearance- With a refridgerated 3 day old growler there is perhaps a slight pressure release so on a normal pour it did not result in an overly abundant head. The consistancy is thicker than less malty beers but the motor oil comparison is kind of cliche' at this point. It is noticably "weighty" when it hits the glass. The lacework descends sharply when the stout begins to warm and the espresso-like color makes you know you're into a chewy, malty beer experience.

Smell- Aside from the before mentioned espresso comparison, this stout(like most others)comes alive when it gets warmer. Huge grainy notes on a cold first pour but after the temp rises we're running the whole gamut of coffee, currant, dark chocolate, alcohol and bready aromas. One thing I've noticed with this stout is the mellow hoppy smell- which surprised me considering this is a Stone beer. I expected a more pronounced hop aroma.

Taste- Way complex- completely changes character when the temperature changes. Deceptivly drinkable..until the 10.5 ABV kicks in. We're talking classic roasted malt, chewy stout and bread pudding-like flavors. However, there's no cloying sweetness which marrs other potentially great RIS's. One thing that surprised me, however, was the restraint on the hop drop- not what I expected from a Stone beer(and I LOVE Stone beers).

Notes- Like most of you, I LOVE this RIS. It warms the soul and after drinking it it gives you the feeling that all is well in the world. Stone is consistant in making awesome beers and I'm glad that I can get it here in the Low Country.

rgctlc, Apr 22, 2009
Photo of olmatty
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spring '09 batch

Appearance- Pours a light brown one finger head and an opaque liquid that is both the color and viscosity of very used motor oil.

Aroma- Chocolate, roasty coffee and some bready yeast aroma.

Taste- Well balanced between roasted coffee, chocolate and a slight molasses and dark fruit sweetness. Just enough hop bitterness rounds out a somewhat dry finish.

Mouthfeel-Middling carbonation, chewy body and palatefilling texture and flavors.

Drinkability- Surprisingly drinkable for such a huge ABV. Smoothness and sheer flavor seems to eclipse alcohol.

olmatty, Apr 22, 2009
Photo of Vonerichs
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pitch black and opaque, no light passing through this beast. The head is very slight and a cinnamon color. It dissipates quicking except for the outer edge. The lacing paces the beer by about 1/2 inch.

What a smell. I popped the cap on this and let it breathe for a minute while I rinsed out my favorite drinking glass. I could literally smell the roasted malt and coffee scents from 6 feet away, and strong. Once poured it really opened up and released strong scents of molasses and dark fruit which I perceived to be blackberry (but after reading the bottle realized it is in fact currant.)

The taste is equally complex and distinct. The nose is unmistakably currant and roasted malt. After the swallow is where this really shines. There is a brief period where this tastes like a dry red wine (or maybe a port,) then that gives way to dark chocolates, espresso, vanilla, caramel, and a slight hop bitterness. The final aftertaste resembles black licorice.

Top notch mouthfeel. Very thick viscosity with just the perfect amount of carbonation. The finish also resembles that of a dry red wine, slightly astringent with detectable tannins. The alcohol makes its presence known, but not as much as I expected with the abv. It actually adds a very classy touch to the overall experience.

I gave this bonus points in drinkability mainly due to the complexity of the flavor and mouthfeel. It would be hard to consume more than a bomber on my own in one sitting, but it is just so enjoyable I finished it wanting more. Compared to other extremely viscous stouts, this doesn't sit rock heavy in the stomach or come across too sweet. In contrast, the dryness seems to make it more drinkable.

This is a world class RIS and I can honestly say this is bar far and away the best I've ever had. Stone advertises this is a great stout to age, and I could definitely see that being the case. If ever given the chance (not sold in IL and I have limited access to Stone brews) I would definitely purchase a few to age.

Note: 2009 batch

Vonerichs, Apr 22, 2009
Photo of alcstradamus
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I should note that this is a bottle of the 2008 batch. The 2009 has just been released but I have not tried it fresh:

A--Pours pitch black with no highlights and an awesome two finger mocha brown head that recedes pretty slowly. A little bit of lacing is left on the glass.

S--Chocolate, vanilla, caramel, oak, faint bourbon, sweet malts, nuttiness. Very complex

T--The complexity of the nose translates to the taste very well, with the addition of a strong layer of bitter hops that dominate the finish. Chocolate, vanilla, very slight bourbon-like booziness, wood, pine hops, coffee beans, hazelnuts.

M--Creamy but not too thick. Coats the mouth well for a few moments before the carbonation finally washes everything away leaving a coffee bean bitterness that is pleasant.

D--One of the easiest drinking 11% beers I've ever had. The booze is noticeable, but it is not distracting in any way. I'm actually very glad you can taste it because this beer is so damn smooth it would be chuggable without that alcohol burn. And that would not be a good idea to do.

alcstradamus, Apr 22, 2009
Photo of Seanibus
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours viscous, thick, and black with an off color, even brownish, head. Initial aroma from the bottle was a strong blast of damp cardboard. But that gives way to roasty and rich, with wood, charcoal and a little plum. Flavor is bitter, woody and a little smoke. Finish is surprisingly dry, with an ashy bitterness. Mouthfeel is thick and slightly clingy, but it finishes cleaner than I expected. Sugar on the lips but mouth puckering on the finish as it warms.

Seanibus, Apr 21, 2009
Photo of jacobseyb
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A=Very dark black, opaque no light passing through. Golden brown head that hangs around nicely.

S=Coffee, malts, chocolate

T=Coffee, chocolate is what hits first, sweetness comes later.

M=Nice, good carbonation, lingers just long enough.

D=I found it to be quite drinkable. Not something I struggled to get through the bomber.

jacobseyb, Apr 20, 2009
Photo of TheFightfan1
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I had this at the Hulmeville Inn.In PA. Poured black with a nice coca cola colored heading with some very tiny bubbles of carbonation slowly drift upward. Lacing stays pretty much throughout the tasting.

Smell is of roasted coffee,with a touch of chocolate and caramal. A heavy boozy smell is present too.

Taste is very thick like drinking syrup,and very smooth to go with that thickness.Little bit of a fruity aftertaste when it settles in the stomach. For such a heavy hitter it really dosen't have that burn like most big brews have.

Mouth is very thick,full bodied and good carbonation.

For such a big ABV it is a very drinkable beer.

TheFightfan1, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of moosington
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2009 Bomber poured into Duvel tulip.

This is a fantastically opaque black with a nice amberish tan head that falls to a light ring.

Aroma hits the nostrils with force. Coffee, toffee and molasses.

Flavor has a nice smokiness with a subtle but still there coffee overtone and just a touch of a combo of molasses and vanilla and a mild bitterness that stays in the finish.

Mouthfeel is good, possibly a bit too much carbonation, but otherwise a fine viscosity and a nice tongue coating and a smidgeon of alcohol heat.

This is an RIS that I could possibly drink for an entire night, but that could change with some aging.

moosington, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of stbfan
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

been waiting to try this one for a while.

enjoyed in a snifter.

opaque black.no light seeps through this beer.decent brown/tan head.

smells glorious. chocolate, roasted coffee, nice hops taste. sweet, like a yummy dessert.

awesome, thick, creamy mouthfeel with a little alcohol on the back of the palate.bitter finish.

very smooth beer! very nice. a beer fit for a czar!

stbfan, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of Richardberg
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Inky black with a small tan head. Looks very viscous and absolutely opaque.

S: burnt grain, ethanol, black coffee, roasted almond, dark soy

T: crisp malty flavor with some complexity but not much as the nose. has a back current of alky bite but doesn't obstruct you.

M: nice and smooth, but not as full/rich as some big stouts

D: pretty damn good for a nearly 11% abv. One of the more enjoyable RIS I've tried.

March 2010 edit - recently enjoyed another bottle with more age on it ('08 vintage). less head; virtually none, really. a more noticeable smell of dark soy that translated into a more savory flavor (though the overall impression is still on the sweet/malty side). feel about the same, i.e. smooth but not exceptionally creamy. excellent drinkability remains.

Richardberg, Apr 19, 2009
Photo of morimech
3.8/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spring 2009 Release

Pours a dark black, appears viscous, with a moderate brown head. Heavy lacing is left on the glass surface. Reviewers describe an awesome aroma but all I get is a shot of alcohol. Maybe a little roasted malt as well. Things pick up in the flavor department but not much. The main flavor component is a roasted/burnt bitterness. Missing subtle flavors that would warrant a higher grade. A substantial body with proper carbonation. Not as thick as other RIS but still good. A good RIS but nothing that sets it above others in the style.

morimech, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of matty
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pitch black colored beer with a rich creamy tan head,Aroma is chocolate malts.Taste is chocolate,molasses,nuts and alcohol.A very very good beer.Great taste and smooth as hell.This is a no brainer that I would recommend.Will I buy this again??I'm on my way to the store now!!

matty, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of HABike
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Drank poured from a 22oz bottle. Built a thick head, which quickly thinned to a nice lacing. Very good smell, largely a coffee aroma, with hints of caramel and alcohol. Something else I can't quite put my finger on in the mix too. Nice.

The taste opens malty and rich, with hints of coffee and chocolate. The other flavors fade, finishes with the coffee dominating the taste. Somewhat more bitter than some other stouts, but not overbearingly so.

The mouthfeel is the weakest aspect of this beer. It just doesn't feel as full and rich as I was hoping it would. A bit of a disappointment here. It's not bad, but it's less impressive than a lot of other top flight stouts.

I wouldn't call this a session beer by any stretch, but all 22oz were plenty enjoyable. Best sipped slowly, but smooth enough. Solid.

HABike, Apr 18, 2009
Photo of Sean9689
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 on the bottle (thanks BanditBrewingCo). Pours a think black with a chocolate head into my snifter. Head quickly thins out leaving bubbles and a slim layer of tan carbonation. I was on the couch grabbing my computer to do this review and could smell this RIS all the way on the coffee table...wow! I get chocolate milk, alcohol, roasted nuts, on the nose. I taste dark chocolate mixed with heavy cream, almonds, and a bitter alcohol flavor on the finish. Mouthfeel is great, thick & rich, chewy, and perfect carbonation. This is a great RIS that I will no-doubt be grabbing in the very near future.

Sean9689, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of ROBORB
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

07 version on tap at the Saucer. Poured into a snifter this beer was solid black withe a 2 finger mocha head. It smells of currants, coffee and strong roasted malts. The taste is more of the same. It is incredibly drinkable and has a nice creamy chocolate finish. This is a fantastic beer and easily one of my favorites.

ROBORB, Apr 17, 2009
Photo of dqderrick
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 22oz Bottle
Purchased at Encinitas, CA Bevmo for $5.69. Funny, I live in Carlsbad and have purchased 3 different kegs from Stone direct... not to mention having tasted every beer Stone has made over the last 2 years at least... and this is my first Stone review after over 30. Significance = None.

NOTE: My 2008 IRS review that was completed on the same day (4/15/2009) can be found toward the bottom.

A - 5.0
Pure black. Poured with just over 1/4" chocolate milk colored head. As the head dissipated, I swirl the glass and can see bubbles effervescing just under the surface along the edge of the glass. The lacing slips down the sides. Towards the bottom of the glass as it thins, it looks a little like RC cola in color. It seems more carbonated than I remember the 2008 IRS. It looks amazing... I long for it.

S - 3.5
Roasted grains. I can smell the alcohol. Is it my glass? A little chocolate. Even a little nutty smell. Maybe even a little hairspray? Odd. I pick up sweetness... maybe a little honey? Still picking up a little hairspray. I think the smell will improve with age as I remember the 08 smelling at least 4.5 worthy. HAIR SPRAY!

T - 5.0
Malty chocolate, a hint of caramel. Awesome. I could drink this until the cow come home. There is a little espresso in the flavor. Some roasted grains. A hint of molasses. I'm revisiting the malty chocolate experience. Damn. This 22oz is going fast.

MF - 4.0
Seems more carbonated that I remember. More than I like. But, still quite good. My tongue feels a little numb... in a good way.

D - 5.0
Crazy drinkability. I had a 5 gallon keg of the 2008 IRS and found myself going back for 3rds on quite a few nights. I'd love to get another keg, but I just don't trust my self control. I must admit, this isn't as smooth as the 2008 IRS is now. But, we've all come to expect a fresh Stone IRS to be a little harsh with alcohol. The fresh hops may add some to that as well.


2008 12oz Bottle
12oz bottle purchased at Stone Brewery for $3. I just had the 2009 and had to compare. WOW, what a difference.

A - 5.0
I have nothing to complain about. Carbonation is a tad lower. The 1/4" head appeared but dissipated quickly to the edges. Visually, seems right on par with a fresh 2009 with only a small bit less carbonation... but hardly noticable.

S - 4.5
Home run. So much more going on here than the fresh 2009. Floral malt smell with little to no alcohol/hairspray smell. Smells a bit like wet wood. A little caramel chocolate. Even a smidge of bourbon.

T - 5.0+
Smooth, earthy, even a little wood aged. Honey sweet comes with the aftertaste. Upfront, silky bourbon chocolate. Crazy good. Just a hint of coffee/espresso.

MF - 4.5
Deliciously silky. Swirls around my tongue lightly but pronounced. Leaves a woody-aged feel.

D - 5.0+
For this high of ABV (10.8%).... scary drinkable. What a year does! This one year aged beer is even more drinkable than the 2009. I'm almost sorry I gave the 2009 a 5.0 and now I can't go any higher.

NOTE: I have adjusted my public score to reflect the 2008 bottle as it is still available in many places (I think).

dqderrick, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of Thorpe429
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2008 Release

G: Poured into an oversized snifter.

A: Pours a very dark, rich brown that is opaque in the glass. A finger or more of light cocoa-colored head with a good amount of carbonation visible in it. Pretty good lacing.

S: Strong on the alcohol. First scents are chocolate, cherry skins, caramel. Rich, roasted malts.

T: Waited until this one warmed up a little bit to fill out the taste profile--it definitely improves as it gets more toward room temperature. Plenty of complexity. Caramel with hints of chocolate, all behind a solid roasted, dark malt backbone. Not as much of the dried fruit as I picked up in the nose. This almost hits me as a cross between a RIS and an American Imperial Stout. Either way, very solid.

M: Medium-bodied with an above-average amount of carbonation. Definite alcohol warmth. Slightly chewy.

D: Highly drinkable for an RIS. This has a lighter mouthfeel than many others, and I can definitely see how this is a spring--as opposed to winter--release.

Thorpe429, Apr 16, 2009
Photo of roadhouse
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first review below is for the new bottle, but I kept the score for the old bottle since it was higher.

Spring '09 Review
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | drink: 4
3.95 B+

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a snifter.

Appears completely black with a one and a quarter inch tan head produced after a fairly hard pour.

Aroma is chocolaty primarily, a slight dark fruit character of cherries perhaps, a light hop presence, and a tinge of alcohol.

Taste is chocolaty up front with the fruit character entering in the middle. Finish becomes a lot more coffee-like and bitter especially since there is a lot of citrus and piney hops present. A bit of an alcoholic finish.

Mouthfeel is creamy as hell, pretty thick body, I suppose it could be called chewy.

Overall I really don't like this one that much when fresh. Obviously from my review below with only a few more months on it, I liked it much more. I will probably pick up another bottle this week to put in the cellar but this brew just doesn't impress me that much right now. There's too much hop flavor and everything seems to be struggling to blend but just can't get it done.


Spring '08 Review (08/08/08)

For my 100th review I thought I'd do something special that I've been wanting to try. Well lucky me, I found a bomber of this stuff today at a liquor store that I had never been to.

Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a tulip glass.

Appears a pitch black color that is completely opague. No light is getting through this one. Big two and a half finger dark tan head that sinks to a coating and sticks around to leave some sticky lacing down the side of the glass.

Aroma is bursting with sweet and roasted malt. Caramel, chocolate, coffee, and raisins come to mind.

The taste...wow, the taste. Sweet caramel and molasses up front followed by a big dose of dark chocolate and a bitter coffee-like finish with a bit of alcohol. After the swallow the hops come out on the tongue, take a bow, and do a little dance to the tune of the First Promenade of Pictures at An Exhibition. Royalty right here.

Mouthfeel is nice and thick without being syrupy. Excellent.

What a great beer. That's all I need to say.

roadhouse, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of DarbyOGill
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a Duvel tulip glass.

A: Poured like molasses, jet black, with a think brown head. Pretty nice lacing. REALLY DARK

S: Smells boozy, but at 11% ABV that isn't surprising. Strong malt flavors also come through.

T: Starts with alcolhol taste hitting the palette followed by a little burn. The alcohol is then followed by chocolate hints and I get a slight coffee flavor. I always get a flavor resembling soy sauce in all RIS I drink, this beer is no exception (and for some reason it's a good thing). I got a strong malty flavor throughout each sip, which was really enjoyable. It ends similarly to how it starts, I get a nice alcohol finish.

D: Goes down really smooth. Not as heavy as I expected, but I could probably only drink 1 or 2 before moving to lighter beers. This beer is pretty hard hitting. This is my first beer of the night and I'm already feeling it pretty good. Anything over 1 or 2 would be a waste anyways, because I'd already be tipsy at that point.

DarbyOGill, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of MacDomer
3.6/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle from 2008 poured into my Duvel tulip.

Looks nice - this is black as black can be, light tan head which doesn't last, not much of a cap either after 5 min. Smells good, and the thing that jumps out to me is some kind of sweetness. It's pretty rich, with some chocolate, dates, raisins, some licorice, prunes, and I'm sure some other things I'm missing. A bit of alcohol. Taste is also good, medium-full, pretty rich, and rather sweet. Flavors like the nose. Ton of malt. Feels fine, but I'd prefer less carbonation. I'm going to score this lower on the drinkability scale, not because it isn't sessionable (which it's not, but what are you expecting from a RIS after all?), but because after I eventually consume the other couple of bottles of this that I have, I probably will not seek out again. Fun to try, but just not to my taste. A bit too sweet for how I like my RIS.

MacDomer, Apr 15, 2009
Photo of BARFLYB
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz bottle in a snifter. Split with oglmcdgl, 09 version.

A- IRS is black, dark and bold looking. A tan mocha head with some retention sat on top for a while before defleating. Nice sheets of lacing stuck to the glass.

S- dark sweet chocolate with some hops hiding. Roasted malts and sweet coffee. A lot of dark fruits as well with some alcohol coming from this fresh bottle. A bit of cream and vanilla in the distance.

T- A sweet blast of chocolate with coffee not to far behind. Roasted malts follow and play well with the vanilla/cream underlay. I'm getting just a hint of a tootsie roll flavor. Some hops balance it all out making for a delicious treat. A bit of fresh alcohol.

M- Full bodied with some apparent alcohol sting but some malt fullness to heal any wounds. Coats the mouth with the main ingredients focusing on chocolate. Some bitterness and a bit of carbonation. Pretty good all around.

D- Best to be split with the high ABV but I could see myself with one of these in the middle of winter. Not the most drinkable RIS i've had but perhaps some age can fix the dents. Gets better with some chocolate nearby.

BARFLYB, Apr 15, 2009
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,048 ratings.