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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.

6,680 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,680
Reviews: 2,571
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 489
Gots: 1,426 | FT: 79
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: 6,680 | Reviews: 2,571 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of krukster


4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Bomber Edition

Pours very dark (almost black) with a nice caramel color head.

Smell: Light aroma of high end coffee with hints of fruit

Taste: Very smooth, slight coffee / fruity taste, very yummy

This bomber was just what I need on a chilly Saturday in February. Very smooth and easy to drink, no way you could know that your are drinking a 10.8%

More than 1 bomber in a sitting could probably cause me some damage or a headache, so I'll save the other bomber for next year.

Serving type: bottle

02-03-2008 02:15:52 | More by krukster
Photo of LittleBreeze

New York

4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


2007 edition cellared by aerozeppl

Old ale smell. Nice. Can double/pass as a winter night sipper.

This one was so smooth. The coffee and a bit of caramel are still there. Rough edges are gone. Did I mean how smooth this one is?

A year made a big difference.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2008 21:28:09 | More by LittleBreeze
Photo of drseamus

New York

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to aerozeppl for sharing this bottle. I had previously rated this beer before but after having this bottle with a year of age on it I deleted the old review because it was a vast improvement. This beer took the night versus Darkness, a 2003 Czar, and Siberian Night.

A: Dark black body with a darkish head. Standard fare for a RIS (or IRS?).

S: The aroma is sweet and almost old aleish. There is a touch of raisin in it. Nice and inviting.

T: Very tasty. Sweet with a good caramel malt kick. A bit of coffee also. Again, a slight old ale character. No chocolate really. The bitterness that is present in this beer initially had diminished greatly and made for a better beer.

M: Medium to heavy. Lower carbonation than fresh I think.

D: Very smooth. Age did wonders to this beer. I have a 2005 that I will have to drink.

Serving type: bottle

01-28-2008 02:17:20 | More by drseamus
Photo of Lupe

New York

4.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Foamy coffee head sits atop a black as night brew. Head slowly dissipates to a fine ring and leaves behind some sticky lace.

Aroma is rich and full with dark roasted coffee, chocolate milkshake, berry fruitiness, and rum-raisin, adding light alcohol with the fruit.

Initial blast of sweet maltiness with dark fruit, berry, and molasses. Rich roasted grain, dark chocolate, and espresso come next. Leafy hops show up in the background, adding a twist but not getting in the way. Alcohol also pops in adding some more complexity. Mild spice, oak, and smoke are also present. Carmel sneaks in after warming. After each individual flavor has their say, all the different flavors blend into a strong yet well balanced deliciousness. So flavorful.

Slightly thick, very creamy, slick, and smooth. On the lighter side of being full bodied. Highly drinkable and very deceiving for a beer at 10.8% abv. After the bottle was gone I wanted more - Truly a sign of drinkability with a beer of this size.

This beer's greatness doesn't show right away but builds, and midway through the bottle you realize it's just outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

01-27-2008 03:20:15 | More by Lupe
Photo of Tilley4


4.33/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been waiting to rate this one for a while. The wife decided she wanted to share it so I broke it out.

Midnight black pour with a small head.

Loads of chocolate covered dark fruit on the nose here. Something different every time I take a whiff too. This really smells good...

Rush of chocolate and dark fruit upon the first sip which mellows out into a nice roasted chocolate malt finish that leaves me ready for the next sip.

I loved everything about this stout. It's definitely in my top 5 in the category.. Awesome beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2008 15:20:10 | More by Tilley4
Photo of sraimondi


4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Aggressive pour into a standard pint glass yields a 2 inch tan head. Totally opaque, no light shines through. A very pretty beer.

Smell dominated by sweet malt and some chocolate.

Taste is phenomenal. Chocolate malt dominates, with some smoke and minor hops flavor.

The mouthfeel borders on a 5.0, no kidding. The complexity of this brew is complemented by a round hops flavor.

At 10.8% ABV, one bomber is enough in any one sitting. Next time, I'll have to try this one with dessert. Good stuff from Stone.

Serving type: bottle

01-23-2008 02:45:14 | More by sraimondi
Photo of beerthulhu

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a dark, opaque and crude motor oil color with a thin quickly fading khaki head.

S: The nose was surprising light with some dark chocolate, a light smokiness and a touch of dry pine.

T: The initial flavor was a rich, dark roasted character with some dark coffee grinds. Upon warming some fresh prunes were evident along with a spicy alcohol (dark rum) and woodiness and a very dry pungent grapefruit and malty lacing on the tongue. The palate was very dry throughout the course of the drink with a nice medium roasted malting. There was a sharp and acrid coffee bitterness as well anise coming through upon warming as well.

M: The mouthful was light-moderate per style with some slickness.

D: Overall not a bad beer but feel like the body was lacking substance at times and felt light. Still a very good beer but think there are much better examples per style.

Serving type: bottle

01-22-2008 00:17:40 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of DavidEddie


4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2007 release.
A thanks to JJ for this outstanding RIS!

Heavy dirty black motor oil appearance with some sticky tan lacing. Aromas of chocolate, coffee, and burnt toast. Big flavors of roasted malt, dark chocolate, light smoke, and bitter coffee. Delicious! Mouth feel is thick and coating. Drinkability is great. An outstanding sipper! Did not detect the high ABV whatsoever. Highly recommended!

Serving type: bottle

01-19-2008 04:11:24 | More by DavidEddie
Photo of DIM


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: This one is pitch black with no hilights what so ever. Pours with big, long lasting light tan head.

s: Big beautiful notes of maple syrup, chocolate, alcohol, and a bit of coffee.

t: Mirrors the smell. Big and luxurious notes of chocolate and molasses dominate. Some coffee and a warming alcohol note come along for the ride.

m: Super creamy and well carbonated.

d: I prefer smaller bottles so I doubt I'll buy more of these, but this is a world class RIS for sure.

Serving type: bottle

01-13-2008 16:15:42 | More by DIM
Photo of barleywinebrewer

New Hampshire

4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

wow, 858 reviews as of this writing. Guess this is popular. I enjoyed this brew. Pitch black, syrupy, roasted coffee, hops and molassses notes stand out strong. Drinkability was good, not great IMO. I would have no problem recommending this depending on price.

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2008 13:16:49 | More by barleywinebrewer
Photo of milesfan76


4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

New Year's resolution no.1: write more beer reviews. It's been quite a while since my last one so here goes...

Poured from a 22oz. bottle with a gargoyle in a fur hat. If Stone's beers weren't so good, they'd still be worth buying just for the bottles.

A: Pours as black as the margins on the sides of these pages. Dark tan head that stays around for a while.

S: Smells like roasted malts and unsweetened chocolate, just a little bit of hops.

T: Mmm. Malts, chocolate, coffee, slight bit of hops. 10.8% ABV? Really?? I don't taste it.

M: Thick, almost syrupy. Carbonation is just right for my taste.

D: Very drinkable, though obviously not sessionable. I would love to have three or four of these but the ABV (which I couldn't taste) says no.

A great brew from a great brewery.

Serving type: bottle

01-06-2008 21:32:33 | More by milesfan76
Photo of JWFokker

New York

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This one pours BLACK like pitch with a thick tan head that sticks around for a while. The nose is roasted malt and coffee, fruitiness, nuttiness, and a bit of alcohol (hey, it's 10.8% ABV). The flavor is GREAT. It's a smorgasbord of roasted malt and coffee and chocolate and a touch of hop bitterness. Some people taste tobacco and if you look for it, it's not hard to find in there. Surprisingly, the alcohol is lost in the mix, despite being detectable on the nose. But even better than the variety of flavors in this beer is the balance. This is a truly exceptional Imperial Russian stout. The mouthfeel is almost creamy, but likely thinned to just the right density by the high ABV. As filling as this beer is, drinkability is incredible, simply because of the superb flavor and mouthfeel. If you like stouts, you won't want to stop drinking this one. Highly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

01-05-2008 05:26:59 | More by JWFokker
Photo of lightindarkness


4.6/5  rDev +5.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

oh, so good. 22oz 2007 spring release.

Thick, black, only hints of light come through the bottom of the glass. Nick dense tan head goes down to bubbly film, then ultimately to nothing but a ring.

On the nose, sweet heavy bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted malt, prune, raisin, hints of caramel, warm brownies, and alcohol.

Do not read further, just try it yourself. If you're still reading I assume you've already had a sip or two, or a bottle or two, whatever. Taste is remarkably well balanced, with full dark malty flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, tobacco, roasted grains, and softer vanilla extract, all reigned in with a slight bitter note that sits higher on the palate and a round sweetness lingering on the back of the tongue. I lost the 10.8% alcohol in there somewhere; it's faint but not overwhelming. As an example of the style, very well done with no single flavor dominating. Aftertaste is controlled and grainy, very appealing.

Extremely rich, yet surprisingly drinkable. Mouthfeel is pleasantly full without being gaggingly thick. Sticky, even a little oily, but mostly just plain delicious. With the subtlety of the sweetness hitting somewhere more in the back of the mouth than up front, it's not overly syrupy. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2008 01:02:52 | More by lightindarkness
Photo of sfoley333


4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle from 05 into a stone RIS snifter. Poured a used motor oil black with a wonderful thick tan head. Smell is of light coffee, roasted malt, slight anisle and chocolate aroma. Taste is a thick chewy monster stuffed with coffee, chocolate, black liquorice, and a slight herbal hop flavor finished with alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is full but creamy with this alcohol monster still very drinkable.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 20:07:54 | More by sfoley333
Photo of jeffmonarch


4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Dark brown with a thick dark tan head that stays for a while.

S - Coffee, chocolate, malt and alcohol.

T - Chocolate malts and a nice warming alcohol finish.

M - Full bodied with good carbonation.

D - Great beer. If you love stouts, and I do, try this, it's great.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 06:04:15 | More by jeffmonarch
Photo of RblWthACoz


4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours pitch black. Tan head slowly falls leaving a lot of lacing. Very slightly roasted earthy malts. Molasses tones. Flavor is just beautiful. And amazing. Thick malt tones. Just so robust and consistent. Alcohol doesn't seem to show up at all. Feel is amazing on the liquid. Extremely drinkable. A RIS that sits at 10.8& alcohol? Easily could be a recipe for disaster, but this just comes out magnificently. Easily one of the best beers ever created, IMO. If you haven't had a chance to try it yet, I really hope you get one.

Serving type: bottle

01-01-2008 04:38:52 | More by RblWthACoz
Photo of bigman147

New Hampshire

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 2006.

Apperance: Pours a blackish brown (almost glossy opaque). Head is maybe 2-3 inches but fades quickly to a dark brown ring around the color. Lacing is wonderful and appearance is above average.

Aroma: Like all RIS, this has a dark roasty toasty malt character. Aromas of chocolate and coffee. Spicy dark winter fruit cake with a present alcohol nose

Taste: Bitter coffee and sweet chocolate give way to a delicate sweet finish reminiscent of good Beligan Dark chocolates. Bitterness from hops tends to linger slightly but helps to balance with alcohol which starts out somewhat hot in the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and rich carbonation which helps cut the at times thick almost cloying sweetness. Alcohol heat and coffee bitterness give this a thinner finish even with the creamy sweetness.

Drinkability: Not the most drinkable beer (considering the style). An excellent special occasion beer to warm you on a cold winter day when you come in from shoveling or skiing or whatever.. Not a session beer nor is supposed to be.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 21:37:34 | More by bigman147
Photo of Dansting


4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle. Poured a blackish-brown color with a light brown head. Good lacing. Aroma was sweet with a hint a vanilla, coffee, and roasted malt that usually come with this style. Mouthfeel is really nice. Flavor is unreal. Malty, chocolate, a touch of coffee...this is what an imperial stout should taste like. This is a very good beer that maybe someday I can get locally. I wish at least.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 04:27:35 | More by Dansting
Photo of stemcell001


4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellared for six months and poured into a pint glass. Dark, pitch black body with a very tan head. Wonderful smell of roated malts and coffee. Very complex taste with strong coffee notes, spicy hops and hints of anise and other spices. Very potent brew which is a drawback concerning drinkability. I don't see how I could drink more than one of these in an evening. Despite this small flaw, Stone makes a wicked Russian Imperial Stout, most likely the best I have had of the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-30-2007 01:04:03 | More by stemcell001
Photo of Monsone


4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed from notes

A - Pours dark black with a brown head that slowly disapates leaving a nice lace behind.

S: Dark malt with coffee and chocolate.

T: Tastes of dark, roasted malt with just a hint of coffee and choco. There is some booze at the end.

M: Thickwith decent carbo.

D: Heavy, but good drinkability for the style.

Overall a pretty good RIS. I have had better but this is a great option that is much easier to obtain than others in the style.

Serving type: bottle

12-28-2007 20:56:15 | More by Monsone
Photo of SargeC


4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Black as a Tony Iommi riff with a dense brown head.

Smell: Chocolate, coffee, the goodness of malt, sugar, alcohol, hops.

Taste: Touch of smoke, followed by chocolate, coffee and toffee sweetness. Strong, bitter hop finish.

Mouthfeel: Thick, dense full body. Violently satisfying.

Drinkability: This is a special brew. You can feel its power course through your veins as you drink it. It is a well-balanced Russian Imperial Stout. It has smoky, sweet and bitter character in one brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 08:18:08 | More by SargeC
Photo of connecticutpoet


4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Tasted at Julio's Liquors, in Westborough, MA. My father then purchased a bottle for me, and it has been cellaring for a year and a half. It will be superb next summer.

This beer had a head just under half a finger, composed of very tiny bubbles. It was incredibly dark brown, nearly black, and clear.

Aroma was of dark and roasted malts, complex and blended, and bitter chocolate.

Taste was of very strong roasted malts, as expected. However, as in the nose, it was evident that they were blended and each brought out the best in the others. Some bitter chocolate and coffee notes, but the roasted flavor overshadowed this. The alcohol was very evident.

Mouthfeel was smooth, silky, and creamy. Quite nice.

Drinkability is very good... but the flavor was so strong, I thought it could use some time to mellow it a bit.

All in all, an excellent brew.

Serving type: bottle

12-22-2007 05:24:30 | More by connecticutpoet
Photo of Tolann


4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - How did they take the picture fast enough to capture so much head on this beer? The head quickly disappears and no lace. Color is clear but nearly opaque. I think you'd need a high powered spot light to get light to penetrate this beer, and then your glass would melt...

S - Sweet with a bit of milk chocolate. Some fruity smells. I think it's the raisins like in what i'm tasting. It's like a chocolate covered raisin.

T - Sweet taste up front. Some bitterness at the end. Raisins, and roasty malt. Yum-O Other reviews mention licorice....Yeah, maybe. I'm still thinking of a sweet chocolate covered raisin with a kick.

M - Little boozy that warms your chest. Very pleasant. Medium body and smooth across your pallet. Not a lot of carbonation

D - A really wonderful beer. Glad I made the impulse buy when I saw it was the last bottle in the back room.

Chocolate covered raisins. Final answer.

Serving type: bottle

12-16-2007 05:48:41 | More by Tolann
Photo of PittBeerGirl


4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours deep motor oil black with a thick foamy light brown head. Head eventually completely dissipates and some lacing is left behind near the top of the glass. When held up to the light nothing penetrates the opaque blackness.

S-Smell is rich in deep chocolate malt and warm roastiness. The alcohol is slightly noticeable in the background along with hints of licorice and anise. The smell is slightly sweet and very welcoming.

T-Taste is very similar to the smell. Rich, semi-sweet dark chocolate malt upfront with hints of licorice and anise. The dark chocolate intensifies for the finish and becomes slightly bitter as a big toasted malt character emerges. What lingers on the palate are hints of bitter dark chocolate, toasted malt, and toffee-all wrapped in a soft alcohol blanket.

M- Medium carbonation with a heavy and rich body with a slight alcohol slickness. The body is not to thick-which increases drinkability immensely.

D- This is one great RIS. Stone produces some awesome dark beers. I was really impressed by this one as well as the smoked porter. This one is very rich-but not too rich and it is my favorite RIS so far. I will definitely purchase this one again. This beer is definitely worth the hype.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2007 21:31:27 | More by PittBeerGirl
Photo of PEBKAC

New York

4.13/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Blind Tiger for the sensory overload they called 12/12/12/12.

Chilled to the point of haze coming off the beer, I had to wait. Everything was being served a degree off frozen it seemed. An inch of milk chocolate head cemented the black & brown brew shut until I was ready to partake.

I smelt ash & molasses. I thought I smelt the potential for diacetyl, but it didn't come through in the taste. The hops were green & itchy to my nose, but neutral.

The buds sense a little lactose to go along with the creaminess of chocolate. But it's the taste of charcoal & burnt BBQ drippings that I really enjoyed. Savoriness itself flamed, caramelized, & concentrated for your imbibing pleasure. The hops felt muted. They are more obvious on the finish when the beer thins out. A little bit of soap & little over-roast if I can describe them at all.

Frothy, but not necessarily thick. The alcohol was of course noticeable, but doesn't fume like a high ABV does more often then not. It rinses down without being sticky trying to coat.

I definitely want another, but can I handle it?

Serving type: on-tap

12-14-2007 01:50:46 | More by PEBKAC
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 6,680 ratings.