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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.

7,052 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,052
Reviews: 2,591
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 539
Gots: 1,560 | FT: 88
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: 7,052 | Reviews: 2,591 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of paco1029384756
3.68/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pour is black with a small tan head and a thin ring of lacing.

Smell strong roasted malts, slight coffee, with prunes and a hint of raspberry.

Taste is bitter with prunes, hops, and alcohol apparent initially, some sugars come in and fade quickly into an alcohol taste, finishing with strong, bitter malts and coffee.

Mouthfeel is clean and biting, powerful.

Drinkability is good taking the strength into consideration.

To be honest, I was disappointed by this beer. Too much alcohol in the taste makes it unbalanced, and although it does work in some cases, it is too overpowering here.

Update: 2007 bottle sampled thanks to vwcraig; it's pretty much the same, just subdued alcohol, which is the only benefit to aging.

Overall, I would say this is a below average Imperial Stout for drinking fresh or aging.

paco1029384756, Jun 06, 2008
Photo of Matty1918
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I bought a couple of these at different times and finally decided to try one.

Pours a deep black with a thin creamy tan head. Some descent thin lacing too.

Aroma is of sweet, roasted malts at first and then a fruity end..possible prunes...very nice

You can taste the hops in this RIS. It's a nice, mild bitterness that blends well with the roasted malts. The first taste is of sweet malts...molasses with a blend of roasted coffee...very slight. A truly well made RIS.

Mouthfeel is very nice, very creamy when you swish it around in your mouth. This was a very enjoyable RIS well worth seeking out and stocking up some more.

Matty1918, Jun 05, 2008
Photo of maddogruss
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Got this on tap at the local bar I frequent.

A: Pours a black body with a small, brown head with minimal retention and some lacing along the sides of the glass.

S: A sweet, robust and roasted smell with some banana ester undertones evident.

T: A sweet, roasted barley taste with a nice, almost coffee-like roasted aftertaste. Slightly alcoholic in the aftertaste and pretty warming.

M: A very thick mouthfeel, but the carbonation was perfect and it was smooth as silk.

D: A fairly drinkable beer. The stuff is very thick and can fill you up quickly just because of that. Look to have this beer in the cooler months as opposed to the warmer ones as the alcohol content does a nice job in warming you and the beer itself is fairly thick.

maddogruss, Jun 05, 2008
Photo of rudylaw
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours your typical IRS/RIS... black as night. A nice tan head accompanies the darkness.

Smells of coffee, chocolate and fruit. Hints of vanilla as well.

The taste is nice and creamy. Chocolate, caramel, dark fruits. I love how light this is to some of the others in it's class. This is a very drinkable stout, no matter the season... very California! Glad I bought two!

rudylaw, Jun 05, 2008
Photo of HiAIPA
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle of the 2007 spring release. I sought this one out and finally had a chance to imbibe. This is one dark brooding elixir of doom. Nice dark aromas frothy head. Taste of roasted, smoky molasses, sweet spice, cooked tar, charcoal, nuts, coal, brick, earth and prune. I have seen some comments on an overly alcohol profile but I didn't sense it, at least in comparison to some other Russian Imperial Stouts. Yes, the alcohol is there and will kick your ass, but this didn't have the brandy/whiskey notes that overpowered the overall experience. This was one superb stout....just what the doctor orders on a deep winter day when the snow is falling heavily and all you can do is drink, read by the woodstove and harken to spring and summer that awaits.

HiAIPA, Jun 05, 2008
Photo of ph2001
3.8/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle in pint glass

pour with tons of head. black color with no light getting though.

the alcohol is very strong with this one. there are some really nice flavors in there though. it's very creamy. lots of sweet flavors in there, chocolate, vanilla, carmel. it leaves a bite with the aftertaste.

ph2001, Jun 04, 2008
Photo of HalfFull
3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Split a bomber into a couple pint glasses. Pours a rich thick black color with a bubbly brown head. Head dissipates quickly and offers little retention, not very sticky on the glass though looking sticky on the tongue.

Smell is of rich caramel malts and slight coffee and is rather unvarying. I sense the alcohol confuses the brain here. A nice aroma, but not a lot of variety in the nose.

Taste is smooth but a bit too rich with an unexpected bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is very solid and continues beyond this slight bitterness to provide a decent drinkability given the over the top ABV provided by the folks at Stone.

HalfFull, Jun 04, 2008
Photo of everetends
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A 22oz bomber thanks to Redwood21. Poured into a tulip for review number 100.

A: Poured a pitch black, with a super thick consistency, even had some minor chunky splashes. Got a nice medium brown head that receded to a mocha ring that stayed for the entire brew, leaving nice sticky lacing. The beer leaves a nice yellow-black slick on the glass. The are visible particles in the brew.
All in all, a beautiful looking beer.

S: Smell of the beer was a little disappointing. I got some roasted malt, dark chocolate,caramel, slight notes of coffee and nuts. The suprising thing about this beer was that the hops note really comes out in this nose. Totally not expected.

T: This beer does not have the amazingly complex tastes that some RIS's have. It does have the deeply roasted malt, dark chocolate, cream, caramel and a touch of coffee. Yet again suprising is the very notable presence of hops in this brew. Don't know how I feel about that.

M: Chunky and thick, just as it should be. Coats the mouth and really allows you to taste everything this beer has to offer. A slight bitter aftertaste rolls down your tongue. Very nice.

D: This is a drinkable brew. I do not find this beer as complex and awe inspiring as other RIS's I have had. With that said, it does represent well what an RIS should be even if it doesn't have the complexity, and although nothing is too amazing about the taste and nose, you can't find anything wrong with what it offers. A fine example of the style.

everetends, Jun 03, 2008
Photo of aerozeppl
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Mahar's

A:Jet black with a mocha head. Some spotty lacing.

S: Roasted malt chocolate hints of coffee with a slight spice I never got in a bottle.

T: Roast and chocolate up front. Hints of black licorice which I hate but somehow works in this. Again never got it out of the bottle. Ends very sweet and leaves a nice sweetness on the lips.

M: Super creamy. Love a good nitro tap. Super full body.

D: I had two pint of this animal that night. I love this beer. The one thing I will say is that the fresh keg tasted like a bottle with about a year on it. I could literally drink this till my liver turned to stone. Enjoy that pun.

aerozeppl, Jun 03, 2008
Photo of Jettanbass9
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

picked up a 22 from Blue Dog in Lansdale. spring 08 bottle.

A- about as dark as a stout can get. a fine head sits on top creating a fluffy head.

S- roasted malts, caramel, pale malts that totally define a RIS... light alcohol in the nose, not over bearing though just enough to give you that reality check.

T- a blend of roasted bitterness, sweet malts and slight alcoholic burn are all rounded out by a ever so light hop presence. Wonderful balance to such an 'uber' beer.

M- thick and chewy just like a RIS should be. This one stands up to the rest.

D- ever so smooth and balanced. This could replace an old favorite. I would defintely drink this some other time... even age out a few bottles. Highly highly recommended.

Jettanbass9, May 31, 2008
Photo of RomanW70
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours dark dark brown with a thin tan head. Big aroma of dark chocolate, dark fruits, coffee and alcohol. Tatse is great, starts off with notes of licorice, chocolate, and slides into a huge coffee finish. Long lasting bitter finish. Thick oily mouthfeel. Very impressive beer.

RomanW70, May 31, 2008
Photo of sstackho
3.58/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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?

sstackho, May 31, 2008
Photo of bobbyc881
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

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.

bobbyc881, May 31, 2008
Photo of Tbn2
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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...

Tbn2, May 28, 2008
Photo of smcolw
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

smcolw, May 27, 2008
Photo of BradLikesBrew
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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???).

BradLikesBrew, May 25, 2008
Photo of Beerzebub
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

Beerzebub, May 21, 2008
Photo of BWMKappaSig
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

BWMKappaSig, May 19, 2008
Photo of mpyle
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

mpyle, May 18, 2008
Photo of mnj21655
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

mnj21655, May 17, 2008
Photo of raiser
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

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.

raiser, May 16, 2008
Photo of czfreeman
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

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.

czfreeman, May 16, 2008
Photo of auxiliary
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

auxiliary, May 15, 2008
Photo of atigerlife
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

atigerlife, May 15, 2008
Photo of djaeon
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 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.

djaeon, May 14, 2008
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,052 ratings.