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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

7,210 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,210
Reviews: 2,598
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 569
Gots: 1,616 | FT: 92
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: 7,210 | Reviews: 2,598 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jjanega08
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A= pours a viscous pitch black with a small half centimeter head in my snifter that's a nice creamy brown color with some decent retention and average lacing to begin with. Toward the end of the drink the lacing is gone.
S= great classic russian imperial stout smell. Deep roasted malts chocolate and coffee. There is also a significant amount of plum and rasin dark fruit smell.
T= very nice and smooth. This is a 2008 vintage and its actually got some oak notes? Was it in oak at any point? The chocolate is in it with nice roasted malt taste. Some of the best roasted malt I've ever tasted. There's some dark fruit in the taste but not as much as the nose, it sort of comes through on the back of my tongue and fades away quickly to the nice roasted malts.
M= thick and viscous. Very chewy.
D= fabulous. One of the best ris's I've had. I really wish stone would come to MN because this is great I love it.

jjanega08, May 09, 2009
Photo of bonbini26
3.53/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 Spring Release

I have been cellaring this for the last 2 years, lets see how it held it.

Served in a duvel tulip glass. Pours a dark oily black, with an mean burnt brown colored head, really haven't seen a head like that in a while, no real lacing to write home about, so it just misses the perfect appearance mark. Nose is of rich roasted malt, bitter chocolate and coffe, with hints of molasses. Taste is a little bit of a let down, i was excepting a little more bite in the taste, i don't know how much cellaring this beer hurt it. There is a strong taste of espresso, chocolate, roasted malts, but def. lacking the bitterness, I almost wish I would have drank this sooner, o well. It is pretty smooth on the mouth and is a silky velvet texture could be a little thicker though. The beer is listed at 10% and the alcohol is hidden pretty well, a sipper for sure just for the style. Overall it was kind of a letdown for me after reading so many great reviews, I don't know how much the receipe is changed each year or if cellaring the beer for 2 years hurt it.

bonbini26, May 08, 2009
Photo of benwah22
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

There's two smells to this beer - first is when the beer is still where you get the dark coffee with the backdrop of burnt molasses and dark chocolate. Then swirl the beer in the glass, think sweet dark fruits - figs, raisons, even blackberry...all with a hint of alcohol.

The beer appears black, but held to the light a deep amber/blackish/brownish/tawney hue can be seen. Dark khaki head that starts fluffy and leaves quickly.

Low carbonation, syrupy, and smooth in the mouth.

The taste is complex - no two ways about it. At first you're hit with the savory - the espresso, the dark chocolate, the tobacco, then the burnt sweet kicks in - think dried dark fruits and burnt sugar/molasses. Lastly, you get the alcohol - but you're not beat over the head with it.

This beer is surprisingly drinkable...well, until the 10.2% catches up to you. You really don't notice it until you're done with the first one.

A fantastic example of the Imperial Russian Stout style

benwah22, May 08, 2009
Photo of bound4er
3.48/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A. Whoa, this stuff is almost black. A firm pour produces a rich, dark tan head that leaves a nice amount of lace. A slight cap of foam hangs on until the end.

S. Pretty muted when cold. Some faint, nutty type malt aromas start to emerge along with pit fruit smells (cherries?) as it warms. Alcohol makes an appearance too.

T. Lots of bitterness from roasted malts - some nuttiness, fruitiness and chocolate along with a shot of booze. Nothing to write home about.

M. Thick and low in carbonation - just the way a RIS should be. This beer expands across your palate very nicely.

D. A sipper - I split a bomber with my wife, 11 ounces is plenty for me. This is a good beer but a little too harsh/bitter for me - I was expecting more given the high scores and hype. Not up to the caliber of Founder's RIS, Ten FIDY and Old Rasputin.

bound4er, May 08, 2009
Photo of vrazionale
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle at refrigerator temperature poured into a snifter. The bottle reads "Limited Spring 2009 Release."

A - This is one viscous, intense-looking brew. Pours a deep blackish brown with a 1/4 inch brown head. The head and the beer slowly slide down the side of the glass after swirling. Indeed it does pour "like Siberian crude," as the bottle reads. Absolutely beautiful.

S - Chocolate, coffee, anise, smoke, wood, toasted bread, malt. Rich, inviting, and too complex for words.

T - Slightly smoky and earthy, but the sweetness of chocolate is definitely there. I get a long finish of toasted malt. The flavors develop as it warms, and you can even taste this if you roll it around your mouth for a few seconds.

M - It feels thick and heavy on the palate, but in a very good way. It just rolls around your mouth. A bit of a sticky feel after swallowing, though I don't think you could make a brew this rich without a bit of stickiness.

D - This is one of those beers with which you should take your time. It takes some endurance to drink a brew this rich and complex - next time I would share it with a friend. I'm sure it ages exceptionally well. A must-try for stout lovers and adventurous beer drinkers alike!

vrazionale, May 08, 2009
Photo of Monsteruss
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The foam was a deep coffee wheat/tan color, smooth and lacey. The color was opaque/dark brown with amber/mahogany highlights in the light. The smell was of a burnt mahogany, molassis with wheat overtone and subtle fruity undertones, complex. The taste was a deep, rich molassis, wheat flavoured, nutty and a little bitter and a little sweet. Mouthfeel - heavy-bodied, smooth and rich. I had to drink it somewhat slowely to enjoy the complex taste. Drinkability - heavy and smooth - good if you like the extended time to enjoy a rich porter taste - very good session.

Monsteruss, May 07, 2009
Photo of AChamberlain
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Garnished in a trade with mattolesh, thanks! 2008 release. 12oz bottle.

Poured thick, black and beautiful. Thick brown head. Roasty, molasses aroma. Sweet, yet spicy. Roasted coffee flavor, chocolaty. Boozy after first couple of sips. Anise, raisin flavors as well. Some hop bitterness, slowly ripping at my tongue. Thick, oily mouthfeel. Nice to sip. Take your time with this one. Slowly now, warm it a bit. It definitely stands out from other RISs. I would love to buy a cache and age some.

AChamberlain, May 07, 2009
Photo of Bartrob6
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

pours a very dark black. just like a stout should. with a beautiful head that looks like chocolate milk. great lacing left on the glass.

smells of burnt and roasted malts with some dark fruits also. a little coffe smell in there too. very inviting aroma. alcohol smell too...but i mean....its a 10.5% beer. what would you expect?

tastes basically the same way it smells. awesome balance between the dark fruits and roasted/burnt malts. slight alcohol burn but is nicely balanced with an extremely creamy mouthfeel.

i would love sipping this beer all night long. i just wouldn't have too many of them cause after a couple bombers of this i probably wouldn't really remember much of drinking them....

overall...incredible beer. well done stone.

Bartrob6, May 06, 2009
Photo of greg202stewart
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Awesome bottle, love the Russian hat on the Gargoyle. The beer is dark like soy sauce with a very thin head. No seeeing through this one, it's a black void

S- smells like coffee and alcohol and rocket fuel

t- Definitely a sipper, but not because it's bad tasting, just very strong. I really like the flavors this one has, coffee, malt, and the rest is undefinablly delicious.

m- like holding a sip of whiskey in your mouth, nice and strong

d- a winter warmer, a seasonal beer for me

greg202stewart, May 06, 2009
Photo of rossthefireman
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2009 vintage
A- this beer has a brownish black appearance. No visibilty through the beer! Great foamy head that lasts.

S- huge roasted coffee/roasted malt smell with a hint of alcohol.

T- Damn, this beer is huge on flavor. Chocolate and slight vanilla, some roasted coffee notes. Dark fruits , particularly dark cherry. Toffee, caramel, and roasted espresso. There are a lot of flavors playing around in this stout and all of them work great together.

M- Great mouth feel, good carbonation and slightly dry finish.

D- very drinkable now and probably even more drinakble is the years to come.

My god this stout is fantastic! The flavors that play around in your mouth are just awesome. Its as if you can get different flavors in every sip. This beer is going to age well and should just meld the excellent flavors of time. I better go get my case now!

rossthefireman, May 06, 2009
Photo of AVDeuph
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is the Spring 2009 distribution...I'm excited to review this beer because it has been a while since I've had this and I know my tastes have changed significantly.

A: Blackish-Black. One finger mocha-colored head that was relatively short-lived.

S: Coffee, dark malts, and most pervasively, chocolate aromas. Very slight background of alcohol.

T: Dark chocolate (and possibly some even darker fruits?). Alcohol warms just a little bit, it's a good feeling. Black-coffee-bitter finish.

M: Nice and heavy, a soft bed of carbonation that really feels more like a general liveliness than anything else.

D: Well, I mean it's certainly tasty...flavors are robust enough to slow down the drinking process, so it's not like you are going to specifically want another one right away. Don't confuse that with the beer having low drinkability, it's just that I'm going to take my time and enjoy it.

This beer gets great reviews for a reason. A must-try for RIS lovers.

AVDeuph, May 06, 2009
Photo of FishGetter
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 4-28-09
Spring 2008 release.

Jet black apperance with thin mocha colored head that quickly disipates.
Suttle hop bitterness aroma blended with dark chocolate. Equal amounts of dark roasted cofee. Alcohol gives a slight tingle sensation to the nose.
First impression is a quick burst of bitter chocolate followed by deep roasted cofee notes. Finishes up with a fearless alcohol presance that remains.
Solid body here with thick mouthfeel. Oily resins cling to tounge with fading alcohol.
Without a question one of the best RIS! Drink only suffers mildly from intence ABV.

FishGetter, May 06, 2009
Photo of McDiddyPop
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage Spring 2009. 22oz bomber poured into a Cigar City snifter. Jet plack pour with a thin mocha head that diminishes to nothing. Scattered lacing along the sides of the glass. Ruby red hues when I tilt the glass in the light. Smells of dark roasted coffee. Sweet milk chocolate. A hint of toffee or caramel. A touch of alcohol shows through in the finish. Tastes of roasted grains, a bit of dark chocolate. Sweet toffee notes towards the front of the tongue, dark roasted bitterness on the sides with a smooth alcohol warmth at the back of the throat. Carbonation is just about perfect. Finishes with a slight burnt chocolate aftertaste. Alcohol peeks its head in towards the end, but overall a very drinkable beer, especially considering its ABV. This stout deserves to be in the top 10.

McDiddyPop, May 05, 2009
Photo of angelmonster
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2009 vintage

Pours a big 3 finger dark chocolate head. Body is pitch black in color with no light at all coming through. Good lacing and great head retention through out

Smell is big on roasted malt and coffee. Faint alcohol is smelled and there is also some hops in there

Wow, big malt is present here. Very roasted and a little chalky. Taste is similar to dove dark chocolate. Hops and alcohol are more pronounced in taste than they were in the smell

There is a semi creamy head to this beer. Body is alright but a bit thin for a RIS. Carbonation is lively.

Overall this is an above average RIS. I am drinking this rather fresh and would love to buy some more to cellar as i think it would age beautifully.

angelmonster, May 05, 2009
Photo of aubuc1
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber dated Spring 2009 poured in to a goblet.

Pours pitch black with a clingy tan head.

Smell is dark, charry roast, bitter coffee, and a faint sweet hoppiness.

Taste is a little sweeter than expected. Well balanced for as bold as it is. Excellent taste. Not as coffeeish as I expected, nor as rosty, but really a combination.

Mouthfeel is right on, and for the high abv, the drinkability is great.

I was expecting to be let down on this, but was pleasantly surprised by a world class beer.

aubuc1, May 05, 2009
Photo of BirdFlu
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Smells very roasty and sweet, very malty and a bit earthy. Pour is a super dark, near-black color with light brown head. The only thing preventing it from looking perfect is it seems like it should look a bit more viscous, a bit thicker. Tastes vey rich, roasy with a bit of dark chocolate. A slot of roasty malt with a good amount of bitterness behind it. Bitterness in aftertaste is a bit much and as it opens up the whole drnk takes on a sort of bourbony, rum-soaked-raisins flavor. Good but not great. Mouth has a crisp carbonation bite, moderate viscosity and not too chewy like most RIS's. Its definitely good and quite tasty but you really need to be in the mood for it, its not something that could be enjoyed at anytime. I didn't even finish the bottle because hte last 3 or so ounces were just too much. It would be better as single 12 oz bottles.

BirdFlu, May 04, 2009
Photo of Darius75
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 batch served from bomber into a large wine glass.

Appearance: Dark brown, almost black, light tan ring of foam around the edges of the glass. Thick as an RIS should be.

Smell: Chocolate, roasted malts.

Taste: Licorice and malty roastiness, rich dark chocolate, moderate alcohol presence mellows the flavors in the finish.
This beer is quite complex, and does not reflect a common RIS taste... it has a fruity quality which almost reminds me of a dark Belgian.

Mouthfeel: Lower carbonation, smooth but not silky. Goes down easily if sipped.

Drinkability: Drink a bomber by yourself and you're down for the count. It's a slow sipper for sure, but packed with flavor so that's not a problem. This is a phenomenal beer, and unlike anything that I would have expected. Strong recommendation.

Darius75, May 04, 2009
Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout poured jet black with a moderate tan head. The smell is thick and acidy--not too strong, but not too pleasant either, like overly roasted, bitter coffee beans. The taste, however, is spot-on for an imperial stout. It's like roasty licorice, if there is such a thing.

The feel also is thick. It sits for a long time on the back of the tongue and the alcohol presence is overpowering. It must be sipped very slowly.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout feels like a rainy, chilly afternoon...good for the soul, but only when you're in the perfect, laid back mood.

MetalHopHead6, May 03, 2009
Photo of HopoPotomus
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I first tried this beer a while back while I was making an imperial oatmeal stout. Since then I placed this beer as one of my favorite "big ass stouts" that I search out whenever possible. The appearance of this beer is striking and memorizing. The think tan head flows into a meaty bold mouthfeel. As with any great stout it feels as if you can chew this brew as it swishes around your palate. The taste and smell of this beer confirms that the appearance of this beer is not false advertising. Notes of vanilla dance in the perfect balance of sweetness and alcoholic strength. Bordering on hot this beer does let you know exactly what you are imbibing without deterring you from grabbing for another.

HopoPotomus, May 02, 2009
Photo of nycwinter
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a chalice.
A= Thin dark creamy head dissipated to a thin ring around the edge of the glass. Viscous. Alchohol and legs slide down the sides when swirled. The body is very dark, opaque, and deep red on the edges when held up to the light.

S= Tangy dried fruit. Moderate to strong alchohol smell. Roasted toasty caramel or malt backing. Very simple stout.

T= Very bitter and tangy. Very little fruit. Burnt dark chocolate aftertaste. Drier than expected. Again, pretty simple stout.

M= Full bodied. Warm alchohol feel overall.

D= Stronger than expected, but pleasant overall.

The bottle suggests to let it age. I may have jumped the gun on opening this one the same day I bought it. I will definitely buy an other and let it age a while, then reevaluate.

nycwinter, May 02, 2009
Photo of projectflam86
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a snifter, "Limited Spring 2009 Release"

A- Pours an ink jet black body with a creamy tan foam head that leaves some nice lacing. This is one of the darkest brews I've seen yet.

S- Big roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate nose. Lots of malt and grain aroma with a hint of hazelnut. A very detectable ester presence and alcohol was quite prominent.

T- Big roasted malt flavor. Flavors include coffee, chocolate, grain, dark fruits, alcohol, and roasted nuts. The taste is syrupy with molasses, sweet malt and caramel coming through as it warms.

M- Full and creamy/oily with ok carbonation. This aftertaste isn't going anywhere soon.

D- Big powerful brew that can cripple a weak palate into submission. Drink with caution. Forcing this one on beer n00bs could be seen as "cruel and unusual punishment."

projectflam86, May 02, 2009
Photo of dborginis
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Got a case of this to age, but wanted to try one fresh first. From memory, it tastes like a car bomb. Let's see if the 2009 batch is as good.

Appearance is jet black with a little bit of head (thin film) and thick, sticks to the glass when jostled. Smell is of coffee/burnt malt. Taste is, as before, like a car bomb, in that it has a little bit of sweetness, a lot of alcohol, the roasted malt flavor and a bit of bitterness. Can't wait for this to mellow out. Definitely sticks in the mouth. Had to drink pretty slow with the alcohol.

dborginis, May 02, 2009
Photo of gameface23
3.7/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Review from 11/27/2008:
2008 vintage. Pours a jet black with a very small dark khaki head. Smell was muted, but had aromas of must, hops, very bitter chocolate, anise, and dark fruits. Taste was average at best, but did have a full-bodied mouthfeel. I have come to the realization that I enjoy stouts much more if they have coffee in them. If they don't, I find them underwhelming.

EDIT from 5/5/2009:
2008 vintage. I bumped the taste score up a 1/2 a point. The year of aging has improved the taste somewhat. It's still on the boozy side, but more flavors have appeared.

gameface23, May 01, 2009
Photo of atsprings
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2007 Vintage on-tap at Flying Saucer Charlotte served in a tulip glass a nice opaque black with a thin tan head. Aroma was a wonderful blend of bakers cocoa, fresh ground coffee and roasted malts. Taste was a wonderfully complex roasty blend of cocoa and coffee that gets even better as it warms, reaching the point where it is meal in itself, or a least a very fancy dessert. The beer is certainly on the heavy side, but age has served it well providing a great smoothness. This one was truly fantastic, enough for me to want to pick up a bunch of this beer and age it for years to come.

atsprings, May 01, 2009
Photo of ffejherb
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Vintage 2007 bomber into pint glass on 4/29/09. Thanks to Deuane for sharing.

A - Poured a pure black body with one-finger burnt mocha head that quickly diminished to a thin, patchy veil and deposited spotty lace on the glass.

S - Mild soy sauce character with some bitter chocolate notes and dark roasted malt character. Aroma wasn't as strong as I was anticipating.

T - Milk chocolate and roasted malt up front with a subtle soy sauce character. The bitterness builds up steam as the liquid warmed up. Hint of earthy, leafy hops appears in the finish.

M - Medium to full bodied with a slick, oily texture and soft carbonation resulting in a smooth mouthfeel overall. Mild alcohol warmth on the tongue.

D - Very good RIS, but not as mind-blowing as I had hoped. Regardless, this was a nice vintage brew that was quite smooth, tasty and pretty mellow overall.

ffejherb, Apr 30, 2009
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 7,210 ratings.