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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
97
world-class

7,287 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,287
Reviews: 2,601
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 586
Gots: 1,633 | FT: 95
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: 7,287 | Reviews: 2,601 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Daniellobo
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A nice Imperial Russian Stout. A bit over-hyped but a great brew nevertheless.

Presentation: 22 Oz bottle. Iconic demon gargoyle with Russian hat holding a glass of beer in the front label. Long and typical Stone over-the-top narrative on the back, somewhat tongue-in-cheek rambling playing on the notion of a perfectly crafted sinful brew, including a brief historic note on the style and brew description. Notes bottling date as "Limited Spring 2009 Release". Lacks any other info other than Alc. by Vol (10.5%) and cellaring indications. Poured into a snifter.

A - Black pour with very deep brown edges. Thick light brown foamy head fading to some nice lacing.

S - Chocolate and a bit of roasted coffee over a malt sense hits the nose right away in a very nice balance. Not as intensely aromatic or complex as promised but nice nevertheless.

T - Dark malt flavor, roasted sweetness with small caramel notes and a fruitiness and yeast character typical of most Stone brews. Luckily here it is a note in the background and not that dominant. While flavor is good, again it is not as complex as promised or remembered.

M - Smooth and creamy with adequate carbonation.

D - High drinkability but on this occasion it does not feel particularly remarkable. In fact it is a bit dull towards the end.

Notes: This is one of the brews that early on opened my taste buds to the US craft scene. I must have had one of the early releases since it must have been 01 or 02 when I first had it. I was just amazed at the variety of stouts in the country and almost by chance I ordered to have this one and was psyched to see a bomber land on my table, and totally awed when I tasted it. A lot has happened since and while I still like it, I don't find it as extraordinary as I once did. It might be part of the brew but certainly I have expanded my palate. This revisit to Stone's RIS was nice but fell short of the memories I had from those early years in the US.

Photo of Freethyhops
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split with a friend. 2009. Poured into a pint glass.

A- pours pitch black with just less than a finger of dark brown head that reduces to almost nothing within a minute or two.

S- huge roasted coffee on the nose. some sweet molasses and chocolate in the backround. some pungent stuff, too.

T- tons of chocolate and roasted malts up front and a big bitterness kick in the end blend together to create an awesome coffee/espresso flavor. An extremely well balanced beer for having to blend such big flavors together.

M/D- the feel of this beer is what really sets it off IMO. It's so thick and creamy with just a subtle carbonation to remind you that this beverage is a beer, not something from Starbucks. I could drink a bomber of this stuff every night. At least untill my liver completely shuts down. It's just one of those beer where you can't put down the glass. It is a BIG beer, though, which can slow you down eventually.

Photo of rootbeerman
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into pint glass
A: pours dark brown against the glass, looks like runny chocolate syrup pouring from the bottle. four finger head due to bad. pouring, settled very slowly to a finger and a half and laced well. pours almost like it has a widget

S: brown sugar, coffee and caramel. smells thick if thats possible

T: smoky sweet, coffee, dark roasted malt, no noticeable hop. strong coffee and smoke aftertastes

M: creamy and syrupy coating,

D: very drinkable, defiantly not session-able one bomber is enough for one sitting

Photo of brownbeer
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Has pretty much everything I look for in a great stout. Pours black as midnight with a somewhat frothy brown head that remains a thin layer throughout.

S- Deep and rich. Licorice,a ripe red fruit(strawberry?) that really sets this one apart, black currant, tobacco.

T- Milk chocolate, burnt malt. Less fruity than the nose with more of the dry tobacco quality. Vinous with blackberry almost like ruby port.

M- Thick and rich without being syrupy and suprisingly velvety carbonation.

D- Doesn't drink like it's 10.5%. A really well made beer. I agree with Stone, buy a case.

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

Poured a 2007 vintage bomber into a pinot wine glass.

A-Jet black, very dark with a nice 1 finger thick chocolate milk colored head that is very thick and producing nice lacing on the glass. Head dissapated slowly but stayed around the outside of the glass the entire time.

S-Roasted coffee beans and some really dark bitter chocolate, molasses/maple syrup, definate roasted malt smell.

T-Very very dark chocolate but very smooth and creamy, then you get a huge burst of roasted coffee, followed by some date/fig flavors, the hops are nearly gone on this but there is a bitter citrus looming on the finish but not much as the dark malt flavors quickly disperse the bitterness.

M-Nice big/heavy body, very thick beer, as it should be. Alcohol is present but not overpowering. Carbonation is present and definately takes a back seat to the overpowering flavors and alcohol.

D-Very nice Beer, gonna try to finish this bomber by myself. Normally I would share this beer with at least one other person.

Photo of BamaBeerBuff
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Note: this is a 12 oz bottle, released in fall of 2008 in a small batch. I'm not totally sure, but I think these were leftovers from a shipment of IRS to Japan. Either way, it's been laying down for a year, so let's see how that year treated it.

A: This is what an imperial stout should look like. Absolutely jet black in color, so black that the black is radiant/eye-catching (if that makes sense). Head is a thick, dense, and incredibly firm layer of thick, creamy foam, reminiscent of that seen on the finest nitro-stouts, but it's a hell of a lot darker with more texture to boot. Thick lacing all the way down the glass with a solid cap of foam with a central dollop of cream atop the beer throughout. A great looking stout.

S: Aroma is beastly. Dark fudge mashed up with dark roast coffee beans, mixed with molasses and a hearty helping of dark fruits. An oak-like vanilla is present, too. Interestingly enough, there's a substantial waft of citrus hop aroma bellowing out of the glass, as well. The aroma is quite balanced and nuanced, and doesn't seem to be overly burnt or roasted like some others in the style. Still, even at a year there's a decent helping of alcohol that remains. We'll see how the next bottle is a year from now.

T&M: Monster of a beer. Loads and loads of flavor, so I'll just list each in order of its apperance--creamy dark chocolate, espresso, dates, anise, roasted grains, fruity citrus notes in the background. Alcohol has a generous presence, though it contributes much more than it detracts. Body is thicker than oil with a silky, viscous feel. Finish is extremely long and lingers with hoppy bitterness (yes, hoppy!) and a hint of malt flavor. A dry one, for sure.

D: A sipper if there ever was one. Still, the flavors are rich and decadent, though not overpoweringly so. Complexity keeps it very interesting, but it's still balanced and coherent. A well-crafted beer, and one that will need to still sit in my cellar probably another year before I take another crack at it. Still, I'm quite pleased that I decided to open this bottle tonight.

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

Appearance: jet black. Tan head. Opaque. Beautiful.

Smell: nice roasted aromas with some english hop aromas evident. Smells appetizing

Taste: roasted and toasted flavors dominate with a nicely balanced hop bitterness. No hop flavor. Would like a little more rounded and complex malt profile.

Mouthfeel: nice. Not astringent.

Drinkability: excellent sipper. Will have again

Photo of khiasmus
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

We vaulted last night at 0400 hours. A jump behind enemy lines. Thick and black night with a good portion of brown smoke wafting atop in the moonlight. Our purpose is clear, our mission deadly. The dark brown soon fades, leaving a few spots of lace behind in our minds, or perhaps it's the gunfire flashes glancing off of the spots of cloud...
We must not be seen, we must be black as the abyss around us. The deadly aroma fills the air around us, we try to quietly run with our packs and our guns. There is only death or glory. It wafts over us, earthy, sweet and organic, as well as hard and mechanical, the oil from the tanks. Milk chocolate and sweet cream, carob and vanilla bean. The burnt black of oil like so much dark roasted grain, the aroma filling the sky behind us as we trek on, away from one flame and into another.
And the flavour assaults the senses as the aroma had caressed them... Acrid burnt grain and a hint of the smoke that lingers on our fatigues, combined with the mildest milky, lactose-sweet, chocolate flavours, and finishing with a light warming note of alcohol.
Dry, it's dry, and the warmth keeps us from freezing as we press on. We're not as full as we'd like... the body is rather light, actually, for this style, but we have little to change that. The body is thick, don't misunderstand, it has to be. It's simply not as full as the style generally demands.
So we have to trek on, the burns in our thighs, ignore, they don't matter. Press on for a brighter tomorrow, because the world is governed by force. Our heartbeats pound, every breath screams in our heads, Death or Glory, Death or Glory.

Photo of goblue3509
3.45/5  rDev -20.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark cola color with no light able to get through. There is a brownish head that is thick and gives way to some moderate lacing. The smell is of roasted malts with a hint of chocolate and a slight alcohol smell. The taste is of chocolate tones with a roasted malt backbone, the taste mask the alcohol fairly well, however, the taste of alcohol becomes more prevelant the more you consume this beer. The mouthfeel was silky yet a little slick, the alcohol presence i thought was felt more through the mouthfeel than the taste. Overall it is a very good beer, however, after consuming more and more I began to notice the mouthfeel coming out more and more along with the alcohol, overall a solid good beer.

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

Had a glass of the 2008 Stone IRS on tap at TJ's East Coast/West Coast Throwdown. Reviewing from my detailed notes from that day.

A: Poured into an outward-flared tulip glass. Even held up to light, this beer is completely opaque black. Absolutely no light gets through...not even around the edges. Head is creamy and frothy and dark. Lacing comes in random thin patterns from top to bottom.

S: The dominant aromas here, as one might expect, are dark roasted malts and dark chocolate. The beer has some slight remnants of hops, but more notably, there are some notes of vanilla.

T: In the taste, the roasted malts hit first. The give way to bitter dark chocolate flavors and coffee. Despite the high alcohol, the age has mellowed this beer out nicely. There are also some burned sugars with hints of vanilla hiding in the background.

M/D: The bitterness is biting initially. The finish is dry and malty, incredibly smooth down the pipe. There is a silky character to this beer. Despite the high ABV, this is so delicious that I wish I had some of this every night.

Photo of movingtrain
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bomber sampled from a snifter.

I remember, many years ago, buying a bottle of this with a good friend. This was before our palates had developed, and before we really knew what a RIS actually was. We hated it.

So, here I am today...years later, trying it again. And, right off the bat, the smell is intoxicating.

Pours an excellent shade of black with a nice cream/tan colored, thinly present head. Mostly, there is a bit clinging to the sides of the glass.

Smells of oak, caramel, cedar, vanilla, chocolate. There is some alcohol in the nose, for sure. Smells bitter-sweet...like baker's chocolate.

The taste is creamy, bitter-sweet. Notes of chocolate, brown sugar, maple syrup, espresso.

The alcohol is very present in this one...which I think is why I didn't care for it when I tried it before. But the alcohol is well-balanced, giving a nice, warming sensation as it goes down. It complements the intense flavors involved in this beer, letting them linger for a long time on the tongue and down the back of the throat.

This is a top-notch beer...one to be reckoned with for sure.

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

Spring 2009 Release, so aged a few months.

Appearance-pours a thick, almost opaque, dark brown, with two fingers of fluffy coffee colored head. The head quickly disappears but leaves a nice ring of lacing behind. Tiny streams of bubbles are the only movement you can see in this beer, and they just...don't...stop.

smell-A smoky, heavy, dark chocolate coffee. Notes of dark fruits (raisins and prunes) and molasses. You can definitely smell the alcohol.

taste-Even bigger than the smell. There is the initial heavy bitter taste, but it's also very sweet, with a heavy molasses taste and hints of brown sugar. Again, there's a very smoky, earthy taste, along with the taste of roast coffee beans, and again, there's the taste of raisins and prunes. You can taste the alcohol, but remarkably very little for the ABV.

mouthfeel-Very good. Enough carbonation to keep it easy to drink, but also very smooth and creamy.

Drinkability-Very drinkable. The fact that it goes down so smoothly and that the alcohol is masked so well is even more impressive.

Photo of drabmuh
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a scored tulip. Beer is BLACK as night, thick, forms a very thin head of brown tiny bubbles. The head falls away quickly leaving almost nothing behind in the way of the head but a lot of lacing, especially considering the tiny scale of the original head.

Smell is far weaker than I was expecting. There is some sweetness, some malt, not a lot of roast and I can detect some alcohol in there as well. No hop aroma.

Mouthfeel is good, not too thick not thin at all. The flavor is sweet, with a lot of roast in the back. I can taste some of the alcohol. High drinkability. The roast completely clears leaving no aftertaste. This is a superb RIS.

Photo of northaustin
3.08/5  rDev -29%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

reviewed fresh

poured into a schnifter. pours a thick black with a half finger of fairly thin brown head which disappears rather quickly but leaves a nice ring of lacing.

smell has a lot of alchohol heat. any malt characteristics are incredibly hidden by the alcohol.

taste has a much more even balance of things. there is alot of flavor for a quick second but then goes into alchohol madness. pretty intense if i do say so myself.

goes down really smooth but leaves a stinging in your heart from the strong alchohol presence

drinkability: i wouldnt recommend this one to any beer newbies as it is very intense with alchohol. i also would recommend putting some age on it and not drinking it fresh.

good beer though

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

Pours a thick, opaque black. No back lit highlights or varying hues, this beer is black as pitch. The head is nice and brown, dissipates into a nice frothy ring around the edge of the beer.

Smell is very big. Lots of roasted malt, dark fruit sweetness, bitter chocolate, molasses and a distinct presence of alcohol. This beer isn't kidding around or trying to be subtle.

Just like the smell suggests, the taste is huge. Viscous, nearly syrupy mouth feel with just enough carbonation. Creamy and sweet up front, molasses and dark fruit, perhaps some hints of chocolate. Bitter and roasted flavors come through next, lingering into the aftertaste which also has a decent alcohol presence. Very creamy throughout.

This is one hell of a beer. Would definitely be enjoyable if it were 20 below. Had an 07 vintage of this a few days ago, still had a big alcohol kick but the molasses sweetness and fruit came through much more.

Photo of Lldeegan
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

First off, the name to me is funny but a fitting, mocking style of names. Stone's Russian Imperial Stout, named Imperial Russian Stout, just begs for the chance to hear someone make the mistake of disorganizing the set of words. The beer pours a thick deep black with a mocha head that depletes into a brown soapy film with some lacing down the glass. The initial smell is a deep licorice, with some roasty dark chocolate. The taste of the beer is quite opposite, with a bitter black coffee and dark chocolate up front, and a licorice sweet with some alcohol heat on the back. It has an oily thick sweetness to it on the mouth. A very thick beer, perfectly low carbonation. Honestly, the 10% punch this beer packs is suprisingly masked. Stone comes across as a beer that pulls no punches so the lack of the alcohol heat is a pleasant surprise, although on second thought, such a drinkable beer at 10.5% is a touch sinister. Well played, Stone.

Photo of boogyman
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I have been waiting to drink this for a while. Bottle says early spring 2009 release so this is a good 4-6 months since bottled.

A- Poured into my trusty tulip glass. Color is pure black with a huge tan head at around 2-2 1/2 fingers. After a few minutes it settles with some bubbles on top with some peripheral suds on the edges of the liquid.

S- Slight coffee and a little bit of chocolate. Definitely some dark malts in there. Overall the smell is fairly subtle, nothing too pungent on the nose. Can't wait for the taste.

T- Most definitely coffee with some slight chocolate notes. Very similar to the nose but instead on the palate. I am having trouble detecting anything else besides that. Maybe a bit of dark fruit, but only every so slight. Comparing this to other RISs, it is not nearly as complex on the palate or smell. That would the the biggest downfall for me of this brew.

M- Nice and thick. I am liking the thicky chewyness of this brew. No bubbly feel, but that is the way it should be for the style. Smooth going down. Where is the alcohol? No burning going down.

D- Even though this isn't the best and most flavorful RIS I have had, I could drink a lot of these, which makes this RIS much more dangerous then others. Definitely get this and try it fresh and try it after a few months, the flavor changes.

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

This is a good imperial stout, but a bit intense in some elements, especially alcohol, while a little weak in complexity.

Black, it has a medium-brown head steadily shrinking to a wispy top and rich, foamy ring, with a little foamy lace.

The aroma is charcoal, strong stewed prunes and raisins, hint of dark chocolate, earthy leavs, and overall a smokey quality.

The taste is up front very alcoholic, with very intense smokey leaves, prunes and rum, sweetness with hot, spicey alcohol and just barely dominant leafy-spicey bitterness. It starts too intense and a bit harsh, with sweet prune aftertaste and alcoholic warmth. It reveals nothing underneath. However, it then settles down into a more charascterful, more balanced and complex beer. It stays fairly intense, but not overly so, with strong charred leaves, strong alcohol, a bit rummy, slightly burnt prunes, some spice and leaves. It becomes much more drinkable at the same time. It is slightly oily but not very.

Photo of wd40
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Tap and Mallet in Rochester NY
Poured into a snifter

Had a very dark brown/black appearance. There was little foam, but that may have been a result of the waiter not picking it up right away from the bartender. The smell and taste were much more subdued than I was expecting. Coffee was present in both, but was fairly subtle. I was surprised at the subtly of this beer since Stone is so aggressive in other beer styles. I expected an aggressive coffee flavor. Instead, I tasted a rich complexity of coffee and chocolate balancing each other. It was suprisingly sweet and light even though it had a thick mouthfeel. It reminded me of a porter with more complexity. Dangerously drinkable for a 10.5% ABV. One really needs to be careful drinking this beer because the alcohol is entirely masked. This is really and excellent beer in every way.

Photo of taxguyjase
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours thick and dark, almost like an oil spill. The bottle even compares this beer to "Siberian crude." The mocha-tinted head foamed up nice too, then settled after a little bit. When I poured it, I could get a hint of the scent, which is a really REALLY strong alcohol smell with some coffee thrown in for good measure. This is a fitting "Russian" beer... The flavor has nice roasted malt flavor, some molasses, some alcohol bite to it. I'm sure there are other flavors in there too, but it's kinda murky with this beer and hard to detect specific tastes. Extremely smooth though, with just a hint of sour aftertaste. I would definitely have this one again...but only one at a time because this sucker has a 10.5% ABV.

Appearance - 5.0/5.0 - A thick black oily brew with a nice colored head
Smell - 4.0/5.0 - Strong malty aroma, that I could pick up about 2 feet away.
Taste - 4.5/5.0 - Nice roasted malt flavor, some molasses, some alcohol bite; extremely smooth though
Feel - 4.5/5.0 - Very smooth beer with a good mouth feel and little aftertaste
Drinkability - 4.5/5.0 - Surely, but only one at a time! This is a great example of an intense stout that was really well made.

Photo of dantecl
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a growler fill of '05 IRS at Stone Brewing Co. and served over an imperial pint glass.

Appearance - This beer pours like oil, dark and thick, with practically no head. Little carbonation can be seen.

Smell - Roasted malts, with a hint of green olive aroma.

Taste - Here's a difficult part to describe. This beer is a punch of flavors, and the first noticeable flavor is the roasted malt, then hints of dark chocolate. It lingers with a light nutty flavor and leaves no bitter aftertaste. Absolutely wonderful.

Mouthfeel - This beer is thick, almost no carbonation probably due to aging, and feels very nice.

Drinkability - This beer while really delicious, is quite the heavy-hitter at 10%.

I look forward to get the other older IRS's in bottles during the SD Beer Week.

Photo of vdread
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Imperial Russian Stout
bottle to glass

appearance- deep black. absolutely no light coming through. it pours out thick, oily, and slick. has a dark mocha colored medium sized head

smell- bitter chocolate, molasses, and raisins.

taste- lots of complex flavors in here. alcohol is prevalent, but slightly hidden by strong bitter chocolate and raisin/fruit tastes. really strong dark malts, very slight hops. soy sauce taste is very slight, and actually it kind of tastes like a really heavy porter.

mouthfeel- smooth and also full-bodied. very rich and satisfying. the alcohol is a bit harsh, but this is to be expected for the style.

drinkability- surprisingly drinkable for a RIS. i could drink a few of these if it weren't for the ABV

*** Aged 1 yr notes- the raisin and dark fruit seems to have subsided slightly, the alcohol is less present, and tastes are working in conjunction, rather than fighting. hops not noticeable. much creamier and easier to drink.

Photo of zdk9
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours black as night with a finger of dark brown head. Not really too much lacing. This beer would look prettier with more, but really with the smell and taste it has, I'm not sure it needs to be a looker.

S- Smells, well boozy. Like bourbon, combined with deep roasted coffee, perhaps, a coffee infused bourbon. Some dark fruit notes, kinda fig or raisin. A really inviting smell, and strong enough to satisfy my nose.

T- This beer tastes even more delicious than it smells. The bourbon is still there, but with an even more vanilla presence. And the roast is there, but is even stronger, combined with a bit of both dark bittersweet, and milk chocolate. I'm not going to say a lot about the taste, but it's complex and awesome and amazing and I wish I had bought another bottle of this.

M- Chewy, like a piece of chocolate cake topped with a coffee bean.

D- Really great. The alcohol isn't hidden per say but only shows itself in bourbon flavors and not too much in the actual burn. So I am really loving this beer. Cheers

Photo of jamescain
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Just as the bottle states it is thick as the Russian crude. While pouring this beer you can see how thick it is. Normal beers have the appearance of pouring like water when compared to this stuff. Its dark, very dark, so dark that when you hold it up to the light it seems to absorb the light and get darker. It produces head very little head, which is tan in color but doesn't remain for long.

Compared to most Russian Imperial Stouts there was a strong presence of hops. I guess this should be expected from Stone. It smells of dark chocolate, roasted malts and what can best be described as toffee. It's hard to drink this beer because it smells so good, but it taste even better.

The beer is very malty and has a relative strong alcohol taste to it, but it is 10.2 % alcohol. This beer is full of big flavor. Full of dark chocolate, full of coffee, and full of malts. This beer is probably better if kept and aged for a while to maybe reduce some of the alcohol taste, but its hard to wait.

It was pretty carbonated and yet still smooth, which made for an interesting blend. It's hard to drink and about half of a glass will get you pretty tipsy, but this is what I have come to expect from Stone.

I highly recommend this one and to date is probably my favorite Russian Imperial stout because of the complexity of it. If you can buy a few and drink them every couple of months and enjoy the journey of the beer.

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

Bottle from 2008. Poured from 22oz bottle.

A- Pours a deep black color. When held up to the light there is a little light around the edges of the glass and that is about it showing some lighter brown highlights to the beer. I only got about a 1/2 finger dark tan/light mocha brown head which didn't stick around for long at all. Not really any lacing to speak of. Some stuff clings to the sides of the glass and slides down back into the beer in a matter of seconds.

S- First off I was still surprised as how much of a hop presence there was in this beer. I mean it was not overwhelming in the slightest but after a year and some months I thought it might be almost nonexistant. Just my opinion and now on to the other scents in the nose. I got a mixure of the piney/light floral hops, coffee, roasted malts, toffee, hints of darker fruits, and some chocolate. This has a very mouthwatering effect on me as I sit here and just sniff away at it.

T- Big burnt/roasted upfront in this beer. Big chocolate taste to this that wasn't in the nose. Coffee and toffee hints are the next big flavors I pick up along with some roasted malts. Big and rich to say the least. The hops come through in the end for me in this beer and even those seem to have a toasted flavor going along with them. A bit boozy in the back end for me which knocks off half a point. Could use maybe another year of cellaring to calm that aspect of this beer down.

M- Heavy mouthfeel on this beer. Carbonation is pretty good for this. Has a slick oily feel on the palate and leaves a toasted/roasted taste on the tongue. Nice aftertaste of coffee and chocolate with some roasted malts with this one.

D- This is a sickly drinkable beer from Stone. But hey what do you expect from them? I have a couple more in the cellar that I'm going to sit on for a little while to see what happens to them. Nothing but good things I just know it!

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 7,287 ratings.