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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.

6,832 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,832
Reviews: 2,577
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 507
Gots: 1,483 | 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: 6,832 | Reviews: 2,577 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of scottg


4.28/5  rDev -1.4%

Served on tap in a tulip glass at American Flatbread in Burlington, VT during the "Stone Extravaganza."

Pours a dark black color with some dark red hues with a one finger tan creamy head with good retention. Lots of bitter aromas, lemon rind, espresso, chocolate with some dark stone fruit. Up front coffee flavor with roated and smoked malt, lemon rind, alchol warmth and some cherry. Light carbonation, very full body with a chalky, mouth coating feel to it, very dry. The alcohol is present but not at all overwhelming.

10-17-2008 18:56:49 | More by scottg
Photo of Doomcifer

Rhode Island

4.85/5  rDev +11.8%

Not sure why I never reviewed this as it's easily one of my favorite beers of all-time.

Pours a syrupy, thick, used motor oil BLACK with a caramel brown head a couple inches deep that lingers around. Good lacing. Robust aromas of roasted malts, chocolate, burnt caramel, awesome. Taste is equally as decadent as the smell. Huge roasted malt flavors, caramel, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, balanced out with some sweetness and a noticeable hop presence. Simply put, Outstanding & Phenomenal. Mouthfeel is huge and viscous, oily, slick, coats the mouth. Along with Darklord, this is the most amazing/favorite stout I have ever had in my entire life.

10-17-2008 17:09:27 | More by Doomcifer
Photo of kcillini77


4.53/5  rDev +4.4%

Picked up on my last trip to Livermore. Spring 2008 on the bottle. Found it in September, but this is supposed to age well, so I just consider myself lucky to have found it, especially for 6 bucks.

No head whatsoever to speak of. That's primarily why the appearance suffers, though I'm sure it's not intended to have a huge head.

Taste is a wonderful roasted malt and coffee and chocolate overtones with just enough hops to balance it out. A brandy-like warming alcohol is very present on the swallow. Certainly couldn't handle more than one bomber, but this is an exceptionally tasty brew, and I find myself lucky to have had the chance to experience it.

After enjoying on its own, I finished the bottle up with a little dark chocolate. Great pairing!

10-14-2008 02:40:34 | More by kcillini77
Photo of drnknmnky


4.7/5  rDev +8.3%

split a 22 with a friend of the 07 release.

A - pours thick black, nice head 2 fingers high.

S - Exceptional smell. Roasted, coffee, caramel, intense and wonderful is every way.

T - caramel, coffee, malty, roasted barley, alcohol covered well.

M - Wonderful mouthfeel

D - amazing could drink this all day. One of my favorite beers

One of my favorites. could drink this anytime. I wish it could have this come of my tap instead of water

10-12-2008 18:05:52 | More by drnknmnky
Photo of Pleepleus

New York

3.9/5  rDev -10.1%

Reviewed from notes.
Poured from bomber to pint glass black as night with a minimal tan head. Smelled of burnt malt and chocolate. Warm mild alcohol taste with malty sweetness, coffee and chocolate. Has a very mild booze taste but the ABV is for real in this one. I will buy this again but would probably not have more than one in a session.

10-11-2008 21:01:15 | More by Pleepleus
Photo of Arsenal82


4.85/5  rDev +11.8%

Poured from a 1 pint 6 oz bottle. It poured dark and rich and settled with about a half inch thick mocha head.
It smelled of coffee, chocolate and sweet malts.
The taste was even more incredible, even better than the smell. The chocolate and coffee accents were there along with the malty freshness. Even the slight bitterness in the end was great.
Mouthfeel was excellent. Very smooth going down, could drink another one!
Excellent choice with this Stone, not too hoppy and not too sweet, very balanced in the end. Definitly recommended on a nice cool New England night.

10-11-2008 01:42:16 | More by Arsenal82
Photo of YonderWanderer


4.43/5  rDev +2.1%

Stone IRS pours a dark black with brownish-red highlights when held up to the light. A layer of dark tan foam forms on top upon the pour.

Smell is of chocolate, roasted grains, and a hint of coffee. Taste follows suit, with chocolate flavors leading the way. Roasted grains, coffee, a hint of brown sugar and molasses also make their way into the mix. Alcohol is a bit warm, but barely noticeable overall.

This is a smooth and thick stout, that goes down easier than a 10% brew should. An enjoyable stout. Not the best I've ever had, but certainly a solid and delicious offering.

10-08-2008 13:20:22 | More by YonderWanderer
Photo of bifrostguard


3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

Note: aged 2007 bottle

A - Pitch black with a small dark tan head. Head could have been bigger.

S - Chocolate, caramel, toffee but almost entirely chocolate

T - Chocolate, caramel, chocolate, toffee and chocolate

M - Thick and creamy. Excellent viscosity that goes down smooth.

D - Too much chocolate for me but still fairly easy to drink. The alcohol is nearly undetectable and the body is full. If you like chocolate then this is for you.

10-02-2008 04:53:08 | More by bifrostguard
Photo of bluemoonswoon


4.6/5  rDev +6%

22oz bomber, thanks to MtGoat, poured into a bubble glass.

A: Dark as night and at first topped with a deep reddish brown half inch head that fades into a thin ring. Lifted to the lips and set down again, the liquid clings to the sides of the glass and slowly sinks back to the rest of the beer. Even though there is not too much lacing, this beer lets you know how thick it is.

S: Brown sugar and more brown sugar, tobacco, slight hint of smoke and oak, dark fruits and more dark fruits

T/MF: Thick, mildly carbonated, heavy and sweet then quickly bitter, tobacco, bitter chocolate, coarse ground iced black coffee. Wonderful malt bill, rich without being overly sweet and bitter without taking away from the sweetness. Finish is mildly bitter, finishes a bit dry and reaffirms the flavors on the first initial sips.

D: This beer is something out of this world. Just amazingly solid, tasty, easy drinking sipper, been drinking this for well over an hour and it only gets better. I would argue that this beer gives all those other rare RIS's a run for their money.

10-01-2008 04:55:53 | More by bluemoonswoon
Photo of Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.98/5  rDev -8.3%

Had the opportunity to sample this one right after it was released and thought it was a little hot and could benefit from some cellaring, so here goes...

2008 vintage served in my Terrapin snifter. Poured a deep, opaque brown just shy of black with a quarter inch, frothy tan-colored head that quickly dispersed into a soapy skim. No lacing present during the tasting. Nose is cocoa, malt, brown sugar, molasses and alcohol at the tail end. Taste is consistent with nose, but some hops bittering is exposed in the middle and lingers lightly at the finish. Mouthfeel is medium, but a bit thinner than anticipated. Some carbonation burn across the tongue amplifies the bitterness. Alcohol heat lingers at the back of the throat between quaffs. Decent RIS, but not my favorite; a solid offering nonetheless. Can't wait to do a vertical to see how this one ages.

Edit. Thanks to SteveMcqueenJr for sharing on 2005 vintage as part of the 'Motha of all Stout Tastings' on 4.17.09 (beer #4).

A. 4.0 - Pours with a mocha-colored head that quickly dissipates.
S 4.0 - Licorice, malt, hops, a little booze and some caramel.
T 4.5 - A little hoppy, some caramel, some roast and some char.
M 4.0 - Just south of medium-bodied and a little effervescent.
D 4.5 - A great balanced beer - some hops come out, but a great sipper and alcohol is very well-hidden. This beer really holds up well over time. A great treat.

10-01-2008 01:10:02 | More by Jwale73
Photo of deaconsmith


4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

A.-In a thick glass mug it poured a beautiful rich creamy burnt tannish tinted head about a inch thick. Nice head retention with a fair to medium lacing. The beer it self was a cold black with a thick heavy body.

S.-A sweet malty chocolate aroma with a mild bitter coffee rhythm section. Hints of unidentified nectar like tones and and the smell of alcohol was not too shy.

T.-Initial taste was a sweet malty, creamy chocolate with A bitter roasted blend at the end. The hops were there but almost disguised..The alcohol was much stronger in taste than in smell but still all flavors blended very well..A well balanced taste.

M.-Temperature was in the mid 40's and was kind of a mild shock first going in the mouth..Very thick but smooth with a medium carbonation. Very creamy going down the throat with very little texture sustain.

D.-Also another one to drink slow and you probably don't want to get more than one or two.. It is a really thick, heavy beer with a bold ABV but delightful in every way for savoring a well crafted brew...A awsome after dinner beer.

**I have always been a fan of Stone Brewing co. and this one added a missing dimension to their line..Signature taste and very well put together..Going on my top 50 list..I recommend this beer.

09-30-2008 22:07:18 | More by deaconsmith
Photo of paytoplay


4.13/5  rDev -4.8%

This beer has a weight to it, and density that is special. Milk and dark chocolate, coffee nib, excelent nose and dark rich head. Almost too much of a good thing. Finish is very long, roasted flavors, alc is also nice and helps clean things up. I guess these could oxadize and head south but a well kept bottle should drink well for 5-7 years.

09-29-2008 23:17:48 | More by paytoplay
Photo of BierFan


4.38/5  rDev +0.9%

Poured from a 22 ounce bottle into a tumbler glass.

Appearance: Dark black with a small head the color of the fizz on a coca-cola.

Smell: Aroma of black coffee and bitter chocolate.

Taste: To me it mainly has the taste of bitter chocolate.

I was surprised how drinkable the beer was even though it has such a high alcohol content.

A very good imperial stout but I prefer Samuel Smith's offering.

09-28-2008 00:28:05 | More by BierFan
Photo of bigkahunas4


4.55/5  rDev +4.8%

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a snifter

A: Pours a thin chocolate syrup, thin cocoa head w/ slight brown lacing.

S: Dark Chocolate, hint of raspberry, and alcohol finish

T: Coffee roast, dark chocolate, almond, milk, warming alcohol after. Extremely balanced and tastey.

M: Creamy and sticky. The complexity reality consumes your entire palette.

D: Definitely a great session beer to be drank slowly and appreciated between sips. Incredibly balanced.

Overall a fantastic RIS and beer in general. It'll be my go to when I'm in the mood for a creamy stout.

09-27-2008 15:29:26 | More by bigkahunas4
Photo of seangroves


4.65/5  rDev +7.1%

Poured into a pint glass.

The beer pours well with very little head, about 1/8" that dissipates quickly. The beer color is very black, typical of a Russian Imperial. It's darkness and low appearance of carbonation is welcoming.

The beer is very easy on the nose. You can prominently smell the roasted malts used in it, with a hint of chocolate; the roasted malts are very strong in smell. There is a slight almost "fruity" smell from the hops but again it is very focused toward the malts.

The beer has a very balanced taste between the malt and hops which is surprising given the strong smell of the roasted/choc malts but is quite balanced and soothing. As is typical of Imperial Stouts it does have a strong after-bite of dark malt but is not too overpowering.

This beer feels surprisingly light in the mouth and goes down very smoothly. There is no feeling of over-carbonation yet it does not feel under-carbonated, it has struck the right balance.

This beer is very ease to consume. It would make a great session beer as it is perfect to drink at a slow-to-moderate speed, especially given its higher ABV. It's smoothness coupled with the great taste balance between the malts and hops is very inviting. I would definitely have another.

09-26-2008 03:21:23 | More by seangroves
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,832 ratings.