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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.

7,211 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,211
Reviews: 2,598
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 570
Gots: 1,617 | 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: 7,211 | Reviews: 2,598 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of doctchad
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Great beer. Stone always seems to produce good and this one is no exception. I have never had this beer on tap only from a bottle, being on the east coast i am not sure of any bars in the area that serve it on tap, only bottles. I have been about to find it in most high quality beer stores that ones that know what good beer is. This beer has good dark color, moderate thickness, and a great smooth taste, I highly recommend this beer to people who enjoy a stout.


doctchad, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of GordonQuid
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Stone Russian Imperial Stout poured jet black with deep purple, deep mahogany hues as I swirl it in a 16oz goblet. A thick creamy ¾ inch head with thick leggy lacing is present initially. The head dissipates to tan ring around the top of the glass, lacing is nice and thick.

The smell is that of dark roasted chocolate, black malts, alcohol soaked prunes/raisins and nugget hops right in the front of the nose. From the mere smell of this I can't wait to take a nice-long sip.

Taste is very heavy and rich roasted barley, chocolate and black malts. Turbinado sugar soaked dates and raisins and a blend of nugget and fuggle hops produce a slight dry finish. However I am blown away by the dynamics of this incredible elixir. Fucking incredibly SEDUCTIVE!
As this warms I can pick out some fruity esters, caramel sweetness but still get a nice dry finish with subtle hops lingering. Excellent Russian Imperial Stout with a dynamic profile only the brewer's at Stone can produce. My hat is off to you gentlemen....

FULL bodied! This brew is a drinking experience. I would suggest having only one or sharing one with a good friend or a beautiful voluptuous woman or two cute chicks who are willing to try new things.... (?) Not a session beer. Too much of this stuff will lead you to wonder your neighborhood naked looking for the local KFC.

Be careful and enjoy the experience!

-Gordon Quid

GordonQuid, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of mdagnew
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

355ml bottle bought online from Beersofeurope.co.uk...

Poured pitch black with no hint of colour even when held up to the light. Dirty nut brown head poured big thick and foamy then faded slowly to decent covering... some decent lines of lacing...

Aroma - Tons of rich roasted and charred dark chocolate maltiness, sweet coffee, lots of treacle and brown sugar sweetness, some sooty like smokiness, some dark fruits (blackcurrents, dates), some pine notes, toasted (maybe charred ?) fruit loaf, some earthiness, milky notes...

Taste - Sweet dark chocolate, lots of roasted / charred bready malts, barely any alcohol noticeable, treacle and molasses sweetness, dark spicy fruits (raisins, date,some figs), piney and grassy hop bitterness, traces of piney resin, light liquorice...

Feel - Fairly smooth and creamy with a little sharpness coming through... fairly full bodied... for a 10.8% brew this is dangerously drinkable..

Overall - Another top notch US impy stout and up with the best i've tried... highly recommended...

mdagnew, Dec 17, 2008
Photo of magictrokini
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had to re-rate this after having the AleSmith Speedway stout. Pours black with a thick brown head. Great lacing. Currants, dark chocolate, and coffee in the aroma. Taste is too fruity with currants and prunes. I like the chocolate/stiff coffee base, but the currants are too much. While this is a very good Russian Imperial, It can not hold a candle to the Speedway. This is fruitier and sweeter, with a strong alcoholic bite. I will not turn this down if put in front of me, but I'll wish it was an AleSmith.

magictrokini, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of zeff80
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Poured out an opaque, black as night color with a small, light brown, foamy head. It left soapy sheets of lace like legs on a red wine.

S - It smelled of sweet chocolate, roasted malt, floral notes and sweet fruits.

T - It tasted like candy sugar, licorice, roasted malt and strong chocolate and caramel flavors. A solid bitter hoppy kick balanced out the sweetness.

M - It was soft, smooth and still sharp with a warming alcohol presence. A medium-bodied beer.

D - This is a truly great brew. One of the most balanced RIS's I've ever had.

zeff80, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of lynx1245
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2008 release opened in the middle of December.

Appearance: This is almost as black as they come. Held it right next to a 100W light bulb and still couldn't see any hint of light through it. Crazy. However, the awesome dark tan head disappeared way too quickly and left very little lacing.

Smell: Heavy coffee and chocolate aroma. Kind of like a mocha. My buddy seems to think it smells like red wine but I don't smell that so much.

Taste: Big roasted malts, coffee and dark chocolate. It has a little bite to it towards the end of the sip. Starts to taste much better as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Not much carbonation but very dry finish. Really invites you to drink more. The high alcohol isn't very noticeable.

Drinkability: One of the more drinkable RISs I've had. Not too robust and the 10.8% alcohol is hidden nicely. I think it would go great with some food.

lynx1245, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of CBowser
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A: Dark black, so dark i can see my reflection in the beer glass. A nice head with some lacing as it is consumed.

S: Nothing special here, good but not great. Smells sweet with a hint of coffee and vanilla.

T: Bingo, roasted coffee, sweet vanilla, great lingering aftertaste, not too sweet, not too bitter, just right.

M: Good mix of carbonation and smoothness.

D: Exceptionally smooth, very drinkable, tops among the RIS's I have tried thus far.

CBowser, Dec 16, 2008
Photo of Greggy
3.53/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- Pours a pitch black color, with thin tan head. Minimal lacing.

S- Big tawny port aromatics, butterscotch, a touch of alcohol.

T- Starts out boozy with dark tawny port flavors whilst being covered in chocolate and coffee. Overall, the booziness hurts the taste.

M- Low carbonation, boozy and overall lacks a big mouthfeel despite being 10%+

D- Kind of boozy and sadly reminds me of a <$20 tawny port.

Greggy, Dec 14, 2008
Photo of madtowndmb1
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I've had this one in my cellar for a while now and I finally tried it last night. It was what I thought it would be by all the reviews here. It poured a jet black with a tan lace around the edges. Smelled of heavy malt, chocolate and the slightest touch of coffee. The taste was great! Smooth, tasty filling, exactly what I wanted last night after work. It was hard to pick up any real distinct flavors but it worked. There was of course a malty/dark chocolate sweetness to it, but not as much coffee as I expected.
This is a very good R.I.S. if your looking for one and the price is right too. This is a go to R.I.S. for me, factoring the price and taste!

madtowndmb1, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of prsguitarsr4me
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Finally had this one. Got a case of the 12oz bottles in Ohio. Very thick and creamy beer with a great head that leaves nice lacing too the finish. From Stone I expect a more outgoing smell, and while the smell was great - sweet and chocolately - it wasn't as strong as I like. Taste was very smooth - alcohol hidden brilliantly. Nice carbonation, too. Feel is thick and full bodied. I could drink several more of these in one sitting, easily. Fantastic drink.

prsguitarsr4me, Dec 13, 2008
Photo of avalon07
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bottle to a pint glass. Had a black color and a thick consistency. There was an inch of tan-colored, long-lasting, creamy head and excellent lacing. One the best-looking Russian imperial stouts out there.

S: A subtle aroma of malt, coffee and alcohol.

T: A well made taste combination: Roasted malt, coffee, currants and alcohol. The alcohol is a little much at first, but you get over it quickly.

M: A high carbonation rate and a dry finish. Full-bodied, but not in an oppressive way.

D: This is a fantastic, well-constructed beer. Another job well done from Stone.

avalon07, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of 0110x011
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spring '08 vintage, poured into a snifter. Midnight black, with a thick, two finger tan head. Nice retention, slowly dissolving into a small cap and collar. Lacing is spotty. Sweetened coffee, fig, chocolate and pine on the nose, although it was a struggle to pick those out. Not as aromatic as I would like. Surprisingly sweet on the palate at first, but flavors of coffee, chocolate, and caramel come through, along with a piney hop character. Assertive hop and roast bitterness provides balance. Mouthfeel is full, but not excessively heavy or syrupy. One of the easier drinking imperial stouts I've had.

The best widely available RIS I've had. In league with the big boys, no doubt.

0110x011, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of TLove
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer is probably the best Russian Imperial Stouts I have ever had.

It has a great thickness to the pour and a beautiful, substantive, dark head with barely any fizziness. The smell is rich with roasted chocolate and espresso malt, but it is smooth as hell.

The first taste and the last taste are exactly the same. The incredible thing about this beer is that its consistency is just as strong and substantive as the very first sip. The flavor is similar to the smell, with a beautiful malty, bitter taste that is infused with dark chocolate, espresso, and oats. There is an undeniable smoothness to the substance and has an almost imbued bitterness that disguises the near 11% ABV content.

The finish is fantastic as well. The bitter touches the tip of your tongue on the front, the alcohol burns on the back, and the richness of the motor-oil consistency and oaty smoothness just flow down your throat. It is remarkably easy to drink, despite its thickness, but can be unapologetic in its brutally beautiful style to those who are unaccustomed to the mighty russian imperial stout.

A thing of beauty.

TLove, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of dondeez21
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is easily in my top 3 beers of this style.

Appearance: Jet Black motor oil. The beer is as dark as a beer can be. Even when held up to a light this beer is not transparent.
Smell: At first smell I noticed the malt followed by a sweet almost fruity alcohol .
Taste: First sip the malt sweetness hits your tounge followed by a light biterness from the hops and alcohol, with a lingering roastyness from the malts.
Mouthfeel: This beer isnt to heavily carbonated. You can feel the density of the beer with each sip.
Drinkability: Use caution! Very good beer that has a decent alcohol kick. I would drink it more often if it wasnt to strong.

dondeez21, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of bonkers
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I poured from a 22 ounce bomber (2008 spring release) inot a tulip glass. The beer pours thick and juicy. The beer is jet black and has a more impressive head than I was expecting. As the bottle states it is a "very aromatic brew." There are notes of dark roasted coffee, chocolate, alcohol, and dried fruit. Even my wife was impressed by the smell. The flavor is very good. The coffee, and chocolate notes are most prevalent and there is always an alcohol undertone. A full bodied beer that can be consumed easily. This one could get you in trouble with its almost 11% abv. Simply put if you like RIS you will love this beer.

bonkers, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of Scriba
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer is beautiful. The colour is opaque black, and the foam forms a compact lid that slowly melts away.

The smell is also really nice. The first thing that comes into my mind is: Imperial Stout! But after a couple of tries I recognised chocolate, both dark and milk chocolate. And some Swedish dark baking syrup (contains malt extracts and is used to make breed).

The taste is very complex. It is mild, bitter, sweet, dry... Everything goes very well together. After a couple of sips I can taste some dark chocolate and some coffee.

As a liquid it's thick. The density must be quite high. But it is still easy to take big gulps of it (which is quite dangerous considering the amount of alcohol).

The is a very drinkable beer!

Scriba, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of dukedevil0
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a single 12 oz at Grapevine in Fort Mill, SC.

A: Pours dark black with a nice tan head that reduces down.

S: Smells like a mocha latte from Starbucks; chocolate, coffee and a little bit of roast.

T: More coffee than chocolate in the taste, but they are both there. Slight bitterness but not much. Can pick up the alcohol a bit.

M: Tastes very creamy, has light carbonation and is full bodied.

D: This is a great RIS and one of my favorites of ones that closely fit the style, but I could only drink a couple/few of these. That's just how this style is.

dukedevil0, Dec 11, 2008
Photo of wheelinshirt
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz silk screened bottle from Abe's in Bethlehem. Limited spring '08 release. Poured into a snifter.

Absolutely black in color, modest tan head recedes somewhat quickly but that is what I expect after pouring into a snifter. I poured some into a champagne flute to give the head more of a chance and it looked damn good. Sported amazing retention for such a big beer and left tons of lacing. I don't really see how an RIS could look better.

Smell is boozy in the snifter, but not overpoweringly so. Aside from the alcohol there is also lots of roasted malts and coffee.

Taste is bitter hops, roasted malts and coffee with some warming alcohol. Very nice and pretty much perfect for the style. It is exactly what you would expect a good RIS to taste like.

Mouthfeel is full, solid, somewhat creamy but not too thick or syrupy. I think the ABV has a lot to do with keeping this one from being too viscous. It definately has a nice burn to it, as well.

Let's be honest. This is not a six-pack kind of beer. It is big and demands respect. I do not know if I would want more than 12 oz in one sitting, but then again I probably wouldn't turn it down and I will definately be drinking this again.

Stouts are not generally high up on my list of styles, but this is good. Highly recommended, especially in a world of $20+ bottles of beer. Buy a bunch and cellar some.

wheelinshirt, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of dancinwillie
3.3/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Spring 2008 release.

A: Pours, um well, black. Crowned with a mocha head that slowly disappears. Frothy looking, and seemed viscous during the slighty aggressive pour.

S: Hit me while pouring. Coffee, Chocolate, a general fruitiness.

T: A bittersweet chocolate mixes with slight bitter coffee, dark fruit(iness). Perhaps more of a cocoa flavor than chocolate. A lot of roasted flavor. A noticeable hop bite. Pretty tasty, but honestly, a bit tame. I will say that it's impressive that absolutely none of the alcohol flavor can be detected. None.

M: Smooth and silky. Low carbo. Full bodied.

D: I COULD drink a few of these at a sitting. But I don't think I would. For my money, there's many better examples of the style. This isn't bad in any way, it just doesn't stand out from many others in an overpopulated style. Good, but no better.

dancinwillie, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of linnet
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Creamy brown head, colour is almost pitch black. Smell is roasted, coffee, hops, liqorice. Flavour is exceptional! It's sweet powerful, heavily roasted, dark chocolate, liqorice and very warming but yet not overwhelming. Mouthfeel is very smooth. The best imperial stout I've had to date.

linnet, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of olegv40
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This was a Spring 2008 bottle. This was one of the best looking beers I've ever seen. Poured pitch black with a finger thick dark brown head. When being poured out of a bottle had the consistency of crude oil or some sort of sludge. I put it up against a light to try to see what color it really is, since most stouts end up being a dark red when put up against the light. Not this guy, there was absolutely no light getting through.

Tasted of mild hops, chocolate, and a pleasant bitterness. When drank normally I could barely detect the alcohol at all, only when I kept sipped and savored did I detect the massive amount of alcohol that Stone throws at this thing.

Delightful and extraordinary, this is one of the best beers I've ever had, give me a few of these on a cold day, and I'm a very very happy man.

olegv40, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of taylorhamrick
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This was a bomber of the 2008 version.

It pours out nice and dark, with some red/amber hues around the edges. The head was about a half inch thick and brown. There was some lacing and a few swirls of bubbles by the end, but finishing it before they die is a task. I also noticed a few little chunks, which doesn't exactly turn me off. Actually, I like seeing a bit of sediment. The smell is a bit sweet and boozy, about what you'd expect from an imperial stout. A bit of ripe fruit and deep sweetness you'd expect from roasted malts. The taste is very pleasant. The sweetness hits you first, and the taste finishes a bit sweet. But I was very happy to taste a bit of the roasted character of these. Sometimes I like that fresher taste, with a bit of bitterness from hops and malt overtaking the sweetness - and fresh, this one delivers. The alcohol is noticeable, but it blends well, like it should. And unlike some examples of the style, there is nothing to make you flinch in the taste, like the burnt tastes that accompany some darker beers. The mouthfeel is surprisingly a bit below what I expected from the taste. You don't get a whole rush. The flavors come and pass, but it doesn't make a huge difference. But there's a good bit of thickness, full enough to keep me interested - but it's thinned out a bit from the alcohol. This beer is also fairly easy to drink for the style. I never know what to do about drinkability with RISs, because you could put back 3-4 sessionable beers in the time it takes to drink the average RIS, but I enjoyed it the whole time, and the experience got better with time, and I finished it quicker than I have with some others.

Another great beer by Stone. I might pick up some of the 12oz late 2008 release to try it again.

taylorhamrick, Dec 08, 2008
Photo of dickieb
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night with a 3 finger coffee colored head that works down to about 1/4" and leaves some grate lacing. The smell is rich with dark roasted malts spent coffee and bitter chocolate. The flavor is complex with roasted malts some bitter hopping and light hints of chocolate and some earthy spicing. The mouthfeel is perfect for the beer, and this is the most drinkable RIS I can every remember. Such an excellent beer and example of the style.

dickieb, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of swanmann
3.55/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The bottle poured thick and dark chocolate color with about an inch of orange hued tan head. I'm afraid I'm just too congested to fully appreciate aromas and flavors. I definitely get warm alcohol in the nose. Alcohol in the taste, but also chocolate, and an aspirin like bitterness, which I'm sure is off due to my cold. Doh! What a shame. I can get only a few Stone brews in Oklahoma, and this ain't one of them.

swanmann, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of SammyB
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been sitting on this beer for 6 months and have been anxious to try...22oz bottle

To begin I love the time that Stone puts into their product from the quality of the beverage to the silk screen bottles....

The appearance was nice a 1/2 shade off black with minimal light penetrating. A coffee colored, 1 1/2 finger head evolved but reduced in a minute to leave a decent lacing. My first drink proved that the beer was too cold and i would suggest allowing it to warm slightly because it is only then that you can appreciate the caramelized sugars, dark chocolate, alcohol, but still could detect the malt and hops. I didn't think the mouth feel was as thick as the bottle described, but the texture and taste formulated a very drinkable beer.

SammyB, Dec 06, 2008
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 7,211 ratings.