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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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

6,924 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,924
Reviews: 2,583
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 521
Gots: 1,509 | FT: 85
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: 6,924 | Reviews: 2,583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hoppheadIPA
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

WOW, finally, what a beer. I've been waiting to try this on for awhile now. Pours a deep dark brown, almost black with light brown colored head that dissapates rather quickly. Hits the nose with roasted malt and coffee tones with some chocolate sweetness in the backround. What a delicous beer. Tastes of perfectly blended roasted malt, coffee, light chocolate, with a slight alcohol backround. Very well balanced. Being such a big beer, it's surprisingly drinkable.

hoppheadIPA, Jan 21, 2009
Photo of yeastsipper
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours an opaque black with a cocoa colored head that disappears quickly.

Smells are of dark stone fruit (prevalent), some roasted malt, and molasses.

Great tasting stout. Some chocolate and licorice flavors as well as subtly roasted malts. There is a coffee-like bitterness on the back of the palate.

The mouthfeel is nice and thick. This is a very full-bodied beer.

For a big beer, this is very drinkable. A great sipper.

I have been underwhelmed by some Stone beers in the past, but this one is really noteworthy. Good, good stuff. I would not put it in the class of the Abyss, but not far off either. Pick some up if you see it. Have an extra bottle that i am looking forward to trying in six months or so...

yeastsipper, Jan 20, 2009
Photo of spmags
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured this into a pint glass and even during the pour it was almost completely opaque. As dark a stout as I have ever seen. The bottle says "pours like Siberian crude" but you have to see it to believe it. Modest head that quickly dissipates leaving some lacing.

Didn't get much in the nose...mostly alcohol, though it was my second Impy on the night so that may have played a role in some loss of sensation.

I tend to idealize the mouthfeel of the cream/sweet stouts, so I really liked this one. Much more creamy/viscous than the Oak Aged Yeti, but with a similar full body.

The first thing I noted was that it was sweet hoppiness, not because it was the most prominent flavor, but because I am not used to tasting that in this style. However, the creamy chocolate taste underscored by warmth of alcohol are possibly the most dominant flavors. If you like stouts with that hit you in the face with roasted to burnt bitterness, you might want to look elsewhere. This really downplays those but you can get some of that in the finish.

Very drinkable for a brew with ~10%ABV.

To date it is probably my favorite beer.

spmags, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of Ch1mpy
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Black colour and brown head that slowly dissipates with an almost rustling sound.

Smell is a group of roasted aromas and contains heavy malts, chocolate and coffee.

The taste is well balanced with elements of chocolate, roasted malts and prunes.

Mouthfeel is complete, complex and very smooth, the sensation is that of draping dark velvet curtains across your mouth.

Drinkability is not bad either, but it is a big and strong beer, go careful.

Ch1mpy, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of beveritt
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: Poured from a 12 oz brown bottle into a Duvel tulip. Label is the standard Stone silk screening, but the back is even harder to read than the bombers. Recommends cellaring at 55, specifically getting a case and sampling every 3-6 months. Best by 01.01.2013. Listed as Bottle Konditioned, why the K?

Appearance: Pours with 1/2 finger of dark tan head. This settles quickly to just a ring around the glass and some errant foam on the surface of the beer. The beer itself is dark, dark brown, essentially black. As a fellow BA said, "So dark it sucks light bulbs out of their sockets." A small amount of sediment remains in the bottle.

Smell: Roasted barley bitterness with definite alcohol sweetness hidden just beneath. Hints of toffee and black licorice.

Taste: Sharp mix of hop and barley bitterness up front, with a creamy chocolate and lactose flavor in the finish. Hints of oak and bourbon. Sweet alcohol flavor underscores it all.

Mouthfeel: Lower than average carbonation level. Body is excellent.

Drinkability: A great sipper now, and I imagine an even better one int he future. Alcohol is very present right now, but hopefully this will fade.

beveritt, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of Mazeraski
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A 22 oz. bomber with "Limited Spring 2008 Release" written on it poured into a Middle Ages imperial pint.

A - Pours a complete jet black color with a thick, frothy dark tan head that dissipates rather slowly, leaving a slight sticky lacing clinging to the glass.

S - Hits the nose with large roasted malt and coffee notes accompanied by hints of chocolate, caramel, vanilla and a tad bit of cinnamon.

T - An incredible combination of big roasted malt, oaky vanilla, dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, molasses and a slight twinge from the combo of what little hops are present and the alcohol, leaving the brew with a warming, roasted thickness on the palate after the sip. The roasted malt, chocolate and coffee aspects become more pronounced as it warms (along with the oaky character).

MF - Full-bodied with a bit of a lower amount of carbonation. Amazingly smooth, creamy and chewy all at the same time.

D - Very drinkable taste-wise, although it suffers a bit from how filling it is as well as the higher ABV.

Notes - An amazing beer that I was skeptical of due to all of the hype. However, despite this I would say that it is hands down one of the best RIS's I have had the pleasure of sampling. Incredibly smooth and creamy with a spectrum of flavors on display that would make anyone who brews an RIS jealous. Absolutely excellent. Also, paired well with a small piece of dark chocolate that I had.

Mazeraski, Jan 19, 2009
Photo of applky
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Sunset Grill & Tap.

Incredible, just as everyone says it is. Coffee and chocolate cede the foreground to a rich, but not bitter, malt flavor. Smells like the very ideal of an imperial stout -- incredibly rich, more alcohol in the nose than in the taste, I think. The perfect balance between astringency and richness. An indecently satisfying beer.

applky, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of SerieDNo3
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Sam Adams sensory glass (I really dig the 12 oz. bottling...makes this a lot more accessible)

A: Liquid darkness. A hard pour yielded a finger of dark brown head that dissipated into a ring around the glass. Lots of lacing. Light can't get through the beer; it's solid black.

S: Roasted coffee with a hint of chocolate and cherries.

T: Notes of espresso and dark chocolate, with an almost imperceptible alcohol burn. The burn gets more pronounced as the beer warms, but this is quite pleasant on a cold winter day.

M: Silky smooth, with a bit of an alcohol burn

D: I'm surprised this is above 10%. It hides the alcohol pretty well. Considering that it's a pretty big beer, it goes down quite smoothly.

I'd been meaning to give this one another shot, and I'm glad I did. The last time I had it was last April, and it really wasn't proper RIS weather. This is a wonderful beer for a cold winter evening. Another outstanding effort from Stone.

SerieDNo3, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of joepais
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I finally found this one I always have seen the stone brand around and finally found the Illusive IMP stout
Spring 2008 bottle pored into a Duvel snifter produced a finger worth of tan head that turns to a thick lace on top of a pitch black body

Aromas of chocolate, roasted malts, and coffee filled my head. Some sweetness (anise) in the aromas as well no alcohol present in this at all.

Flavors start of sweet chocolate and finish with a coffee hoppy bitter. Let me say that that is the most blunt way to put the flavors in words .this is a complex brew and very good at that. This stout has a big thick and heavy feel; I will be sipping this thing.

Good drinkability but again with a IMP stout how many do you want to drink in one sitting. Well worth trying would drink it again

joepais, Jan 18, 2009
Photo of birchstick
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a bomber at Liquor Max in Loveland, CO. I wish it was located in St. Louis.

A - poured like motor oil out of the bottle. Has a chocolate, one-finger head.

S - Strong hits of chocolate and cocoa in the aroma, almost like a chocolate chip cookie. There is also a bit of sweet and burnt malt and vanilla coming through. Maybe some black licorice?

T - This beer had a nice balance between chocolate and coffee. Semi-sweet chocolate at first, with a black licorice. There are very dark chocolate and coffee/burnt malts and extremely subtle hops on the finish. Leaves a lingering taste that reminds me of pistachio nuts covered in chocolate, interesting.

M - nice and full, but a bit too carbonated for my liking. I am impressed that the alcohol is so well hidden in this beer.

D - Due to the high abv, it is hard to drink anything after a bomber of this. I really enjoyed this and wish I could get this in Missouri. Oh well, it leaves something to desire when I travel. This is a great RIS and was glad I was able to try it.

birchstick, Jan 17, 2009
Photo of charlesw
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark brown/black. Opaque. Nice dark head of tiny bubbles that lasts and last...
Smells heavily of sweet malts with hints of chocolate and coffee.
Dark licorice down the sides of the tongue. Sweet chocolate all over. Coffee. Sweet malts. Big, rich, complex. Hey, this is good. Not over the top on anything - beautiful balance. A hint of citrus bitterness on the finish. Beer done right!

charlesw, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of MisterClean
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at the Davis Grad.

A - Dark black pour with a 1.5 finger mocha head. Leaves light lacing.

S - Rich chocolate, light smoke, light roast coffee. Grassy hops with light alcohol. Lots of flavors going on here.

T - Chocolaty, grass, bananas, and light alcohol.

M - Good balance, but slight alcohol. Full bodied.

D Good example of east coast RIS, as it does not exhibit the over-hoppiness of its west coast counterparts. Reminds me that fermenting at high temperatures brings out delectable esters in these beers. Will need to pick up a yeast sample in October.

MisterClean, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of abents
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

2008 release
Pours out pitch black with nice big dark brown head that fades rather quickly. Smells of burnt malts and hint of coffee. Very flavorful beer with chocolate, dark roasted malts, coffee bitterness. Very smooth creamy beer with nice alcohol finish that lingers and warms you up. Overall a solid stout impressively drinkable for its strength, well done. Just what I needed when it's 5 below zero outside right now.

abents, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of Stimack
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This brew is from the year 2007, decided to give it a try today. Well, I must say that it aged very well, simply a fantastic brew. I have been milking this one for the past 90 minutes letting it warm to see how the flavors change. The pour resulted in a pitch black color brew with a limited but steady darker brown head that left nice lacing. The aroma is magnificent as the black roasted/burnt malt give off a intoxicating aroma of chocolate, dark fruit (raisin, dates) molasses and brown, slightly burnt sugar. Extremely inviting mixture along with a faint but present Alcohol smell. The flavor is very good, lots of burnt/roasted malts (not overly astringent) gives a thick but slick feel. Coffee, chocolate, dark berries come to mind. As it warms the flavors seem to come out even more, if that is possible mixed with a warming taste of alcohol with is fantastic. This brew aged extremely well, now I wish I let it age even longer but on such a cold night this is exactly what was needed! This is a sipper, an evening with this one is the perfect end to the day!

Stimack, Jan 16, 2009
Photo of ironlung
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber 2008 edition into the AB tulip....

A: Dark as midnite. Looks like you could lube your new GTR's engine with this stuff. Tiny off-white head that dissipated very quickly.

S: Toffee,Figs,anise&some booze.

T: Top-notch stout! So smooth and rich, dare I say it's perfect?

M: Coating&lingering in a good way. Very rich and complex.

D: Superb! A great winter-warmer.

ironlung, Jan 15, 2009
Photo of midaszero
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Very dark brown with only a little light on the edges. Small coffee head and okay lacing

S - Coffee and roasted malt. Kinda sweet.

T - Chocolate, coffee, and roasted malt. Very smooth and good.

M - Medium body with medium carbonation

D - Very nice. Easy to drink and very enjoyable. And that is fresh! I've had a couple aged bottles as well that were tasty to

midaszero, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of xxthepatientxx
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK. So, as an early birthday treat to myself this year, I went and bought a growler of 2004 Vintage as part of Stone's Black Sundays event.
I've had a few of these fresh before - the 07 and 08 - and they were always prime, but totally knocked the hell out of my palate. I can now say that age treats this beer extremely well. It's much smoother and the flavors more blended and complimentary. As delicious as ever (I say more so), but much less jarring.

A - Poured into a large wine glass. Deep, rich brown that blackens as the glass fills. Leaves a nice brown head, but not much lacing. Held up to the light...and whole room darkens. Nothing gets through; I'm drinking a black hole.

S - First whiff...is that soy sauce? Not unpleasant, just unexpected. It works, though having only heard horror stories of SA Triple Bock, I pray for the best. That's only the initial impression, thankfully, and as I continue to inhale I get burnt grains and a hint of black licorice.

T & M - I think I hear angels singing. As I said in my preamble, everything just feels so much more rounded out after these 4 or 5 years of aging. It is glorious. First there's a sweetness, slightly molasses-y. Then it rolls thick and smoothly over my tongue, but does so cleanly, without any sticky or oily lingering sensations. Then I taste burnt grains and coffee grounds; delicious and bitter. The finish is a gorgeous blending of all the flavors.

D - Perhaps a bit too drinkable! The fresh releases, I have to power through the second half of a bomber, not because it's bad, but because it is such an overwhelming beer that assaults your taste buds and takes no prisoners. This one though...wow...just goes right on down. 2nd glass? Yes please! And the taste hides the ABV all too well; the only sign of its strength is the warming effect it has on the way down and how much more giddy I feel after half a glass!

All in all, this is still a beast of a beer, but a much more subtle, sneaky, trickster of a beast.

xxthepatientxx, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of Cyberkedi
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Has a rich, smoky, roast-coffee aroma with a nutty hint and just a touch of molasses. Pours a deep, opaque sable, just a shade this side of black with a thick, fine-bubbled tan head that sticks around. Flavor does not disappoint - thick, smoky, tones of malt and unsweet chocolate, ribbon of hop bitterness, nutty and coffee hints, with a satisfyingly bitter finish. It fairly dances on the tongue and on its way down the pipes.

Cyberkedi, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of xcephalopodx
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

OK, so this is my first time reviewing a beer on BA, so here goes:

Stone 2005 RIS on tap at the Stone Brewery

Had this on tap at the Stone Brewery last night, and it was my first taste of a cellared RIS. This beer is as black as my heart; no light gets through. Very nice cinnamon colored head, but not much of it.

Smell is complex and, to me, primarily of chocolate and coffee. Because of the age, it does not have a strong alcohol smell, despite being 10.8%. I don't smell licorice or figs or currants, just strong coffee and chocolate.

First taste is of coffee, good strong coffee, then a deep chocolate which gives way to a nice sweetness. Not too heavy or syrupy; very nice. It gives way to a dry and delicious hoppy bitterness.

This is one smooth beer going down. It's thick and heavy, but not syrupy, and makes a great sipping beer. I can't imagine drinking a bomber, but for a half pint it went down real easy. Fun to swish around in your mouth to get all the flavors. Because of the smoothness, it is a very easy beer to drink. Again, I can't imagine drinking a bomber, but a half pint or pint goes down a lot easier than I expected for a beer with so much alcohol.

Good stuff Stone. I'll be back for the Winter Storm for more.

xcephalopodx, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of Gyle41386
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Couldn't find this beer anywhere, then finally spotted a handful of 12 oz bottles at the third Green's I looked at.

Pours a dark, dark black with a thin cappuccino head. Smells of hops, chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. I didn't know this was a 10.8% until I took my first sip and had to check the bottle. It tastes very roasty, with cocoa and coffee notes. The bitter and sweet elements balance each other very well. I felt that the alcohol was inconsistent, meaning I tasted it on some sips and not others. Full bodied and thick. I don't think I could drink more than one of these at a time.

Gyle41386, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of Mag00n
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I picked this up at the local beer store to see what all the fuss was about...man am I glad I did.

A: pours a dark black with a thin caramel head

S: smells is primarily of coffee

T: Taste is amazing, coffee, chocolate and roasted malts dominate the taste. The alcohol is detectable but balanced perfectly.

D: drinkability is exceptional. After easily finishing my bomber i was left wanting much more and could have easily enjoyed another one.

What a great beer, if you havent tried it yet, you should.

Mag00n, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of mobud
3.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into tulip.

A- Black and more black with a nice brown oatmealy head that hold thru the sample.
S- Licorice, roasted malt with some hop underneath.
T- Figs and smokey with the alcohol taste right up in the front. Also a coffee taste is present on the backend.
M- A smooth medium to me. As the beer warms, the heaviness is more noticeable.
D- This is almost too much beer for me between the alcohol and the taste. This one took awhile. I enjoyed it and will get it again.

mobud, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of joerodiii
3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

This beer pours a beautiful, thick black in the glass with minimal head. The aroma is nice -- hints of roasted barley and chocolate with a strong smell of alcohol. The beer hits the mouth with a moderate but noticeable taste of chocolate. The mouthfeel is appropriately thick with low to moderate carbonation. Unfortunately, then the alcohol takes over. As it hits the back of the mouth, there is a strong bitterness. There is no noticeable hop flavor, but it is very bitter tasting, maybe a bit too bitter. I really think this beer (from spring '08) needs to age for a couple of years to mellow and balance out.

A friend described this beer as very drinkable...kind of like a session RIS. I disagree. The combination of bitterness and strong alcohol flavor made the bomber tough to finish. I look forward to reviewing a bottle that has been cellared.

joerodiii, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of JEdmund
3.13/5  rDev -27.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Appearance
Black with just a brief, tan film of a head

Smell
Only the slightest aroma detectable; getting mostly cocoa notes

Taste & Mouthfeel
Surprisingly thin body and low carbonation--big letdown; fairly tame from beginning to end; good flavors of cocoa and roast in the mid-palate; pretty small overall for a RIS.

Overall
This was a big letdown for me. It's raved about and Stone makes other beers I've really enjoyed. My bottle had been in storage for approximately eight months, so maybe it's at an off time or just an off bottle. I hope that's the case and the next one I try will impress me.

JEdmund, Jan 08, 2009
Photo of thirtysixbelow
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

a - almost opaque black color with a creamy chocolaty head. looks very thick and quite delicious.

s - a slight hop aroma at first, extremely roasted with lots of chocolate and alcohol.

t - sweet, high alcohol, chocolate and caramel, very roasted which brings out a lot of bitterness, dry finish

m - very creamy and full

d - great balance and creaminess, the alcohol and price take away from drinkability but the flavor is excellent.

thirtysixbelow, Jan 08, 2009
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,924 ratings.