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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.

6,791 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,791
Reviews: 2,575
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 505
Gots: 1,466 | 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: 6,791 | Reviews: 2,575 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of sstackho

Ontario (Canada)

3.58/5  rDev -17.5%

2008 edition. 22oz bottle purchased for just under $9 from Clarendon Wines in Boston - that's the cost of the the convenient location, I guess... Pours black with a boozy, malty aroma. Little head and lacing. Flavour is full and thick as it coats the throat. Alcohol is noticeable, but particular flavours such as coffee or chocolate are not. Enough hops to try to balance things out, but not hop forward. Not particularly impressed - and I'm a big Stone fan and a pretty decent imperial stout fan. Would aging it have helped?

05-31-2008 01:25:45 | More by sstackho
Photo of bobbyc881

South Carolina

4.9/5  rDev +12.9%

Black with dark brown edges when held to the light. Tan head clings only to the edges, quite thin. Aroma is roasty, smoky, and burnt. Dark, bitter chocolate smells -- like baking chocolate.

Flavors absolutely define what an Imperial Stout is to me. Giant, bold roasted malt flavors. Thick creamy body. The stoutest of the stout. You could imagine them diluting this stuff 10:1 to make Guinness. Extraordinarily creamy start builds into that huge roasty malt punch. Solid dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit flavors through the middle. Hugely complex. Bitter finish with a faint sweetness.

Body completely fills your mouth with flavor. Thick and creamy... hangs out forever, which in this case, is a great thing. Almost like eating a chocolate mousse.

Drinkability? 10 point what percent? Bah! It goes down dangerously smooth.

05-31-2008 01:09:17 | More by bobbyc881
Photo of Tbn2

New York

4.08/5  rDev -6%

Poured out of a 22oz. bottle into pint glass.

A-Very dark brown with creamy 3/4 inch head that left good lacing down the sides. I always enjoy the lacing as it keeps tracks of where I have been.

S-Very toasty. Good balance of various malts; chocolate, caramel, sweet.

T-Good taste. Starts off with chocolate and ends with a smokey/coffee like after taste. A find stout I must say.

M-Very smooth. Great body and good carbonation.

Overall this is a good beer. I had this one at the end of an evening of sampling and it was a good beer to finish things off on.

Bottoms up...

05-28-2008 12:23:17 | More by Tbn2
Photo of smcolw


3.9/5  rDev -10.1%

Wonderful beige head that leaves ring lace after each sip. Nearly black in color--no light shines through.

Burnt sugar smell. Also, interestingly, there's a sourness that I associate with older fruit.

Strong roasted barley flavor which defers from the typical coffee flavors. Lots of black patent malt. The aftertaste has some hop, but it's still a mostly dark malt. Appropriate body for the style.

I like this beer, but it isn't my favorite from Stone. That said, it is another great beer from them.

05-27-2008 00:09:14 | More by smcolw
Photo of BradLikesBrew


4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

a: Pitch black body resembles crude oil, dark brown head that looks like the top of a chocolate malt, very big and fluffy.

s: Chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, black licorice, and dark fruit. In a word: dessert.

t: Delicious. A complex, bold and rich concoction of chocolate, licorice, plum, coffee, some light bitterness in the finish, but above all else, this is a tribute to the power of heavily roasted malt. As the bottle says, "It almost seems evil."

m: thick, heavy, rich, syrupy and just about perfect for the style.

d: Dessert in a bottle. Certainly deserves to be in the top 10 for its style. A terrific RIS. Probably a million calories and I thoroughly appreciate every last one. Watch yourself, before you know it, this one will take you down (10.8% abv, really???).

05-25-2008 21:19:56 | More by BradLikesBrew
Photo of Beerzebub


4.18/5  rDev -3.7%

2008 bottle, served in a big wine glass at 57 F/ 14 C.

Black, tinged brown at the edges, with a medium sized dense tan head that paints the glass with very finely textured lace.

Smells mainly like dark chocolate cake, espresso, chewy grain, very clear raspberry, and a permeative herbal note like perilla with a strong fennel aspect. Also some vague dark fruit a bit like black cherry, and a hint of smoke. Complex and enticing.

Tastes like sweet chocolate and raspberry, with some roasted bitter notes like cocoa and coffee, some hop bitterness, and chewy toasty grain; milder notes of smoke, molasses, and fennelly perilla. It tastes sweeter than it smells, but the bitterness balances the sweetness fairly well. The flavor seems slightly disjointed at first, but becomes grounded and cohesive towards the finish, and almost completely dry. Long dry roasty finish, very tasty.

Full silky texture. Reasonably drinkable.

Great beer, I enjoyed this and look forward to trying it aged.

05-21-2008 09:28:47 | More by Beerzebub
Photo of BWMKappaSig


4.6/5  rDev +6%

22oz bottle, aged 16 months @ 45 degrees.

Appearance: Almost totally opaque with a very thick and lavish tan head.

Smell: Rich chocolate and roasted malts dominate this incredible smell. Alcohol becomes more apparent as it warms, but not in an offensive way. Possibly the nicest smell I have ever had from a beer.

Taste: Chocolate malts to start but well balanced. The roasted taste balances the sweetness of the chocolate very well. There is a slight sourness in the finish. Alcohol is apparent, but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thick almost creamy, body. Not overly carbonated.

Drinkability: Almost an immediate buzz at 10.8%, and certainly a daunting task, but remarkably drinkable.

Truly one of the nicest beers I have ever had.

05-18-2008 23:32:54 | More by BWMKappaSig
Photo of mpyle


4.22/5  rDev -2.8%

App - Perfectly opaque, rich tan head with good retention. Head very creamy

Smell - roasty, slightly chocolately. Surprisingly clean and not very complex at first sniff. Some alcohol as it warms, but had to work pretty hard to find it (nicely masked).

Taste - Nicely balanced chocolately maltiness to start. Dark grains and hops keep the sweetness in check. Alcohol flavor at midmouth, but not hot or unpleasant. Finishes with a chocolately alcohol flavor, but not overpowering.

MF - full body and moderate carbonation. Robust warming due to the alcohol, but pleasant and in the style. No astringency.

D'ability - So far, so good. But seriously, it goes down easy for a 10.8% ABV brew. Not the most complex or in your face Imperial Stout, so maybe more drinkable than some.

05-18-2008 00:31:05 | More by mpyle
Photo of mnj21655


4.33/5  rDev -0.2%

22oz. bomber spring 2008 release

Pours pitch black with about a 1/4" of brown head that quickly fades. Aroma is chocked full of dark fruits, figs, raisins, plums, some light caramel maltiness, a touch of alcohol, and some very faint hoppiness. Flavor is complex with a vinous quality. There is alot going on here, some relatively restrained roastiness and a bit of caramel are first. These flavors are quickly overtaken by dark fruits (figs, raisins, and plums), which give this brew what, in my opinion, is a distinctly vinous feel. Some bitterness enters towards the finish to balance this brew out. The dark fruits linger in the long finish with a touch of roastiness, a noticable but not terribly significant alcohol heat, and a bit of malty sweetness. Mouthfeel is good, full bodied, with low carbonation. This beer appeared to be properly attenuated but at times it seemed a touch syrupy, though not at all sweet. Drinkability is pretty good, I certainly enjoyed it. Its a good representation of this style, complex and interesting but not quite all that I had hoped for. I'd be interested to see how it tastes with a bit of age on it, I think it may change for the better. Overall its a well crafted brew that I'd recommend seeking out. *As a quick note I've had this on tap and enjoyed it immensely so my expectations were pretty high.

05-17-2008 22:16:26 | More by mnj21655
Photo of raiser


4.95/5  rDev +14.1%

appearance - Pours black as night, with a small head
smell - Chocolate + coffee = YUMMY
taste - Malty + coffee + dark chocolate = delicious
mouthfeel - Full, but not too thick or creamy
drinkability - The best RIS I have tried, though I have some Abyss waiting in the wings.

I liked it so much I went out and bought 2 more bottles and WILL buy it again. Readily available inexpensively (for craft brew) in my area.
About $6 per Bomber

If it was half that price it would probably be my session beer.

05-16-2008 00:55:00 | More by raiser
Photo of czfreeman


4.9/5  rDev +12.9%

I attended a Stone tasting held at Half-Time beverage in Poughkeepskie,NY. We tried Double Bastard 2005,10th anniv, Old Guardian 2006, and Imperial 2008.
This Imperial Stout is truly something to behold. It pours out roughly the same viscosity as used Castor oil, high mileage even! The brew hold about a 1/4 inch tan film for about a minute, before it dissapates into the abyss.

The aroma is of deep cocoa, roasted malts, bitter chocolates, a touch of malts, hazelnut fudge, molasses all cut by a nice bite of Warrior hops.
The flavor when I sipped it cold a was pure iced super-thick mocha coffee mouthfull. As it warms to drinking temp,my God! Roasted malts, coffee notes, cocoa, hazelnuts, sorghum molasses, then a perfect balance of alcohol warmth and hop bitterness.
The mouthfeel of this beer is truly incredible. Super-rich,thick, yet cut perfectly by the warm alcohol bite and Warrior hop finish. A mouthfull of a hot White Russian is all I can say. I was lucky enough to try it fresh, I reccommend trying one now, and aging a few. As far as appearance,taste, and mouthfeel, this was a perfect Imperial stout. Unleash this Rasputin proudly for the Czar to behold! I spoke with the Stone East Coast rep for a time, a truly fullfilling experience.

05-15-2008 23:38:27 | More by czfreeman
Photo of auxiliary

Rhode Island

4.38/5  rDev +0.9%

appearance - Pours black, with a small head that faded and left some lace.

smell - Chocolate, malts, coffee.

taste - Sweet malt, coffee, dark chocolate.

mouthfeel - Full body.

drinkability - Real good RIS, might be the best I have tried. Would buy this agin. Appears you can age this one too. I'll have to look into that.

05-15-2008 02:20:20 | More by auxiliary
Photo of atigerlife


4.22/5  rDev -2.8%

Pours black with a small brown head.

Aroma of dark malts, coffee and caramel.

Taste of dark malts, coffee, dark chocolate and some sweetness. Sort of had a milk chocolate thing going on. Some hops in the backbone.

Mouthfeel had a heavy body, smooth and creamy.

Overall, a solid brew. Interesting. Certainly worth a try.

05-14-2008 23:51:50 | More by atigerlife
Photo of djaeon


4.45/5  rDev +2.5%

Reviewing the '08:

A = Pours thick and black. Like good coffee. Pours with a thick, brown head that has great retension.

S = Smells of rich coffee and chocolate.

T = Tastes as good as it looks & smells. Great tasty coffee flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

M = Feels very smooth and thick from the first sip to the last.

D = Immenently drinkable. Bombers are big enough for two, but I never want to share. There's no hesitation when I take a sip about whether or not I want to take another.

This is one of my favorite Stone brews. While this one's not initially as good as the '05 or '06, it's still a great beer (as reflected in my scores). I think this one will get better with age.

05-13-2008 23:58:17 | More by djaeon
Photo of TheEremite


3.7/5  rDev -14.7%

Pours black and thick. Decent head that lasted through the glass. Smells of coffee, and burnt toast. The flavor is slightly acrid, but heavy on the chocolate and coffee. I've had this beer many times before and never noticed anything off putting about the roasted malts, but it struck me as a bit harsh this go around. It also feels and tastes a bit on the underattentuated side. I'll have to try it again. Never the less, it's a good beer, and I'd suggest giving it a go.

05-13-2008 17:26:33 | More by TheEremite
Photo of Ecliptica


1.88/5  rDev -56.7%

When I finally saw this for the first time at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA I was excited - one of the highest rated beers on BA and not available in Louisiana where I usually am and usually purchase beer. It was an automatic purchase, even at $8.00 a bottle.

Poured the brew in a pint glass that I brought back with me from my favorite bar in New Orleans and the beer poured as expected, a completely opaque black that absolutely refuses to let light pass through it, no ruby tints as with most other Imperial Stouts. This is as black as black can be. The beautiful tan head leaves zero lacing behind.

The smell can best be described as a licorice-laced espresso. There is a hint of fruity esters somewhere in there and it's actually quite complex and quite leading. I don't know why it doesn't taste like it smells.

Although the beer is 10.80% ABV, the only distinguishable taste is the alcohol. I'm getting very little fruit and NO chocolate whatsoever. It tastes almost like soy sauce, leaving the mouth dry and wanting more. . .but certainly not more of this beer.

The beer is nowhere near as thick or as smooth as it should be considering the vigorous pour, and as I mentioned above, there is a quite bitter and sour aftertaste that leaves the palate desiring more liquid and I continued to drink the brew even though I knew I wasn't enjoying it.

Drinkability. . .::sigh::. . .I don't even know. This is probably the second beer I've had in the last couple of months that almost resulted in a drain pour. I'm just left wondering why it's rated so high. . .is it because it's a Russian Imperial Stout? Is it because of the high ABV? Is because the brewery itself is known for producing quality beers (this is the first one that has let me down, FWIW)? I'm just confused, I don't recommend this at all, and between this and the Harviestoun Old Engine Oil (Aged in Malt Whiskey Casks) that I had last week, I've been having pretty bad luck with choosing my beers lately.

05-13-2008 02:45:53 | More by Ecliptica
Photo of drxandy


4.3/5  rDev -0.9%

Poured from 22oz into snifter, deep brownish black with little head that simmers away slow, comes back with agitation

smells of coffee, green raisins, chocolate/caramel maltyness, very oaty, smooth smelling

tastes very clean for an RIS, oatmeal smoothness hits me first, coffee mainly on the end note - alchohol is noticeable but blended very well, thick and easy drinking for abv

mouthfeel is creamy and thick when agitated, the foamy deliciousness is like espresso and foamy milk almost, but better, and when flat, the beer still is quite creamy

overall the hype for stone's russian imperial is deserved, as this is a staple of the style done damn well for an affordable price.

05-12-2008 05:11:28 | More by drxandy
Photo of genog


4.08/5  rDev -6%

Poured a very rich black color with a rich dark brown head that sparkled as it slowly faded away. Aroma is strong on fruit, molasses, espresso and licorice. Taste is extremely strong and complex with dark fruits, licorice, and espresso. Moutfeel is very thick and chewy, making this one an extreme sipper. I found a lot more flavor in this one on tap than when I tried 2007 in the bottle. This one is a very thick stout.

05-10-2008 16:58:42 | More by genog
Photo of BeerSox


4/5  rDev -7.8%

22oz bottle into 8oz snifter. 2008 release.

Pitch black with a one finger brown head that slowly settles to a thin rim along the glass, not leaving any lacing behind. Some lacing does from with thing strings along the glass that develop after each sip.

Deep roasty malts, chocolate, and some molasses. The hops don't really show up as they are dominated by the malts. Some alcohol makes its way through.

The ubiquitous ultra bitter malts are there along with a little show from the hops toward the end. Some chocolate makes its way in there as well. Full bodied with good carbonation. The finish is the lingering bitter malts.

This is a great stout but I'm not ready to rave about it. It doesn't offer me anything that all the other RISs have, and falls just below the few that I have truly enjoyed. Still, it's recommended.

05-09-2008 22:50:23 | More by BeerSox
Photo of JordanC


4.95/5  rDev +14.1%

Love the blackness of the color. Very dark and think, pours like crude oil.

Smell is interestingly complex with definite aromas of coffee, smoke and a hint of fruitiness.

Love at first taste. Coffee and chocolate comes through strong, but in the end a taste of malty bitterness sits on the tongue.

Excellent mouthfeel, however not as thick and smooth in the mouth as it looks when poured.

After many tastes and finally having with chocolate, this is officially my favorite beer. Even surpassing my first true love, Guinness. I highly recommend
p.s. The 2005 brew from tap at brewery is the best version of this in my opinion

05-08-2008 21:22:04 | More by JordanC
Photo of fitzy84


4.83/5  rDev +11.3%

Served in the 22 ounce bottle. Appearance is spectacular: dark, dark black with chocolate-color head that laces rather quickly. The aromas are perfect: smoky, sourish malts mixed with strong fruits (raspberries) and coffee laced hops. I mean the smells are all over the map, but they are so wonderfully complementary that there really is a great unitary aroma. Taste-wise is also excellent with an incredibly savory bitterness that is a combination of coffee, mocha, espresso and wheat flavors. The mouthfeel helps aid in perfecting this beverage by making it very smooth on the palate. Its not light but any standards, but by making it almost milky with a medium carbonation, the flavors are able to express themselves quite well. By far, one of the best drinks I have had. Highly recommend.

05-07-2008 04:31:59 | More by fitzy84
Photo of brdc


4.97/5  rDev +14.5%

It is amazing that I never had this beer before, but tonight is a great night to put an end to this infamy, with a double whammy consisting of the new one, courtesy of Solomon420, and an aged 2003, courtesy of brewdlyhooked, thanks to both.

Let's start with the new one.
Pitch black, oily, with a very dark tan head that holds reasonably well, making a decent amount of lacing for such a high octane brew.
Great aroma, with roasted malts, but not burnt, chocolate, coffee, molasses, fruits particularly dark ones.
Full bodied as expected, with a low level of carbonation, the taste is all that was expected and more; with licorice, molasses, alcohol, coffee and chocolate, all of them quite strong except for the alcohol, coming and going in great waves without stomping the other. It is mostly malts, but hops make a nice fruity appearance here and there. Incredibly easy to drink, and I cannot wait for the aged one. In the meantime, let me enjoy...

Now for the aged version,
Same appearance, a little bit less head.
Aroma shows a little bit more alcohol and licorice, as well as chocolate and anise.
Carbonations levels are even lower, as expected, but on the palate is even fuller and creamier. Taste has mellowed a bit, the alcohol is more noticeable even though the ABV is lower; there are more roasted malts and chocolate, and little to no hops. It is better, although barely - but then, how can you make this any better?
Two masterpieces. If you never had this beer, now is the time. I cannot believe it took me so long.

05-04-2008 00:53:47 | More by brdc
Photo of hdofu


4.33/5  rDev -0.2%

I wasn't sure what to expect when the beer store guy described it as less sweet then world wide stout, but I had it following a world wide stout and it still had a bitter sweet finish in between. The beer pours cola with a thin tan head. The taste is like coffee with lite cream. It's not sweet but not bitter, so it's like coffee. It has a thick mouthfeel like a lite syrup almost, like a cream almost. Drinkability is very high as it is, I would definitely recommend.

05-03-2008 09:33:27 | More by hdofu
Photo of mattster


4.3/5  rDev -0.9%

Opened 22 ounce bomber bottle of 2008 release, poured into Nonic glass.

Pours a thick yet low head of ½" which slowly breaks to a thin layer of lace across top of glass. Some bubbles rising to top of midnight black brew. Light lace on side of glass and some "legs" to this brew.

Smell is of dark coffee, chocolate and slightly sweet malts. Taste is very nice with subtle coffee and strong dark chocolate. Nice malt with dryer finish. Full mouth feel; Bubbles are light however a slight bit of heat on back of palate slightly detracts from the drink ability.

All in all, a really great brew. I will buy more of these and set them aside for a while.

05-03-2008 06:39:58 | More by mattster
Photo of turbine2475


4.38/5  rDev +0.9%

Thanks to jkane101 for this trade!

A- Pours jet black with a dense, two finger, mocha head that disipated slowly leaving a heavy lace.
S - Coffee, toffee, dark chocolate, some dark fruits, and a little touch of grain.
T - Dark coffee, chocolate, bitter fruit, burnt sugar, and toasted grain. All in very good balance!
M - Chewy with a low carbonation and a coating that compliments the balance.
D - Great RIS that has an excellent balance. I wish this was avaliable in Texas, but until that time I will just have to trade for more!!

05-03-2008 04:59:05 | More by turbine2475
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,791 ratings.