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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.

6,631 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,631
Reviews: 2,568
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 479
Gots: 1,404 | FT: 78
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: 6,631 | Reviews: 2,568 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Kicksmile67


4.08/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a very strong brew. Most things that stone make are this way so I expected a powerful drink. The Appearance is like oil. Its thick and dark as night. The smell is fantastic. All I can say is interesting. Black curant and even wildberry notes are in this. The taste is intense. Strong and hard to break down. There are similar tastes to the smell with notes of coffee and even chocolate. The mouthfeel is my only complaint. Its almost dirty, but in a good way. Not my bag but I can tell its a fine brew. Not something I will buy again so I cant give a 5 on drinkability.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2006 19:46:18 | More by Kicksmile67
Photo of sockeye101


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

Holy glass of black perfection....thick, smooth, an absolute masterpiece. This beer is a rare find. I just about cracked open my bottle of Old Guardian that I'm cellaring becuase I just needed a 'kick you in the ass and leave you for dead' kind of brew. But luckily I got ahold of a Russian Stout. The pour was slow and deliberate and it oozed out thickly to produce a nice head of tans and light browns, the glass completely impenetrable by light. I held the glass up in direct sunlight, and failed to see the sun on the other side....how fitting for this beer, so complex and complete it can block out the sun. I let the stout sit for several minutes to warm ever so slightly and took a whiff. Coffee, chocolates, a bit of an earthy tone and the flavors of heavily roasted malts. I prepared myself for liftoff, raised my glass and took a sip. Outstanding. Rich, smooth, thick, the mouthfeel was exceptional. Flavors of coffee, roasted fruits, alcohol, and malts. It is right up there with Old Guardian as one of my most favorite beers in the "Good God, how in the hell can this be over 10%abv" category. Sip, savor, enjoy, and respect the black.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2006 00:53:34 | More by sockeye101
Photo of mitchfor3


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

2006 Vintage.

Damn. Near. Perfect.

What a beer. The 11% is at once devastatingly present, yet highly drinkable. This beer took the greatest aspects of my favorite RISs and put them into one. Part Old Rasputin, part Storm King, the list goes on, but none of the other fantastic beers in this category combine such incredible depth and complexity with such amazing drinkability. I really can't wait to see how this one tastes in a year or two.

My first perfect score, and a well deserved one.

Side note: This beer caused me to reflect on Stone's lineup and really grasp how incredible of a brewery it is. Stone just overtook the top spot in my book. RIS, Oaked Bastard, Old Guardian, Smoked Porter, IPA, Ruination, Levitation, Pale Ale. Every one of them outstanding.

Serving type: bottle

06-11-2006 01:51:21 | More by mitchfor3
Photo of EvilKeith


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

Limited Spring 2006 Edition

Poured into the glass a cold deep dark black color. Clarity is impossible to determine. A brief cascade settled into two fingers of firm dense camel colored froth. The head faded to a wispy cap. Lace was thick and inviting.

Smell was dark roasted coffee beans, sweet dark prunes, cocoa, diacetyl rich buttery toffee and a charred smokiness.

Taste was unsweetened cocoa, charred, darkly roasted coffee with an excellent balance of malts and hops.

Thick and viscious, full bodied. Heavy, but somehow creamy on the mouthfeel.

This is some tasty stuff. If you can find it try it for yourself.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2006 23:27:42 | More by EvilKeith
Photo of oelergud


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

"Limited spring 2006 release"
Pitch black body with a creamy brown head with a few small bubbles. Good retention but not too much lace.
The smell is incredible, wafting out through the room strong enough to be easily detected without putting the glass under my nose. Sweet toasted chocolate with a hint of alcohol. Prunes, raisens and maybe dried dates. Strong malts with a touch of caramel.
Taste is a mellow and silken burnt sweet chocolate roast fest. Even the aftertaste is roasted chocolate with a hint of hops coming through with some expresso bean flavors. This is quite amazing.
Mouthfeel is excellent. Full and thick with plenty of coating and leaves the feeling of a slick sensation all over.
Highly drinkable even in todays 80 degrees.


Serving type: bottle

06-10-2006 19:22:46 | More by oelergud
Photo of BRoss242


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

Recieved this beer from Px2Grafx: early 2006 release

A- Pours pitch black with a milk chocolate colored head with fades quickly leaving a nice lacy appearance.

S- Roasted malt and chocolate aroma with a heavy licorace prescence, some fruityness also shows up.

T&M-Very bitter almost like eating dark chocolate covered espesso beans. I can feel the alcohol burn as this goes down my throat,but I won't be critical of that due to it being so young. I'm sure that will be different with the next one I try in the future.

D- I wouldn't want to drink this on a daily basis, but I enjoyed it enough that I would love to have this on special occasions.

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2006 22:23:55 | More by BRoss242
Photo of rokoch27


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

Can't find this spring/summer (2006) release, but did pick up the "Limited Early Summer 2005 Release" at the store. I won't say too much due to the wealth of reviews below.

One year old at opening. Pours dark and thick like black oil. Slight brown head. Smells like a mildly sweet, black forest cake. Soft hint of fruit in the background. Be prepared to taste a little bit of alcohol, but then savor the creamy, balanced elixir. Strong malt to chew on and a subtle hop on the back end. This isn't beer...it is my dinner and dessert. I've got the same advice as everyone else: buy some to keep and open in front of a warm file a few years down the road. Who needs oak aging barrels when you've got Stone?

Serving type: bottle

06-09-2006 18:03:57 | More by rokoch27
Photo of BeerRun13


4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This one is a 2005 (one year old).

Pours as black as can be. A nice thick, creamy, dark tan head laces well. This beer is picture perfect.
Smells of roasted malt, dark chocolate, and a slight cherry/fruit essence.
Tastes like burnt dark chocolate. A touch of coffee like bitterness. A hint of berries or cherries in the middle. A touch of spice.
Full bodied and well carbonated. There is a slightly spicy touch to the tounge.
Gret beer and very drinkable. I think I'm going to try to get my hands on some more 2005 as well a cellar some 2006.

Serving type: bottle

06-07-2006 21:36:24 | More by BeerRun13
Photo of loren01


4.45/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from bomber a dark black color with good lacing and one finger tan head
S: Smell is not too prominent. Smell is sweet, sugary. Slight metallic smell
T: Very sweet like mollases. Slight hoppy bitter aftertaste. Slight Dove chocolate taste
M: Thick, chewy, but easy drinking
D: Thanks to GClarkage for this awesome beer. This is my first Imperial Russian Stout, I love the style.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2006 13:17:11 | More by loren01
Photo of Brian700


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

This beer poured black with a brown head that stuck around for a while, there was some decent lacing going on.

The aroma was of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee.

The flavor followed the nose. There was plenty of roasted malt and some chocolate flavors with a little bit of coffee presence.

The mouthfeel was full bodied with medium carbonation.

This is a pretty drinkable beer for how big it is. I highly recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2006 08:36:48 | More by Brian700
Photo of 3Vandoo

Quebec (Canada)

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

A very dark opaque beer with a shy creamy brown head.

Smell is, chocolate chocolate and chocooo! I thought I was drinking a chocolate stout.

Taste is very bitter, the hops bitterness hit you then followed by a burnt coffee flavors followed by a dark chocolate aftertaste. Quite carbonated, not very smooth, quite hard on the palate.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2006 21:34:20 | More by 3Vandoo
Photo of scooter231

New York

3.1/5  rDev -28.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Opaque and dark, some tan head, no lacing. No bubbles. Nose is coffee-esque- almost a frappuccino. Maybe coffee liquor. Nothing special. Taste is interesting. Alcohol is very present, a bit much. Coffee. An almost vodka aftertaste. Bitter, roasted. I'm not sure if I dig this or not. Tastes too young, this needs to grow up. Mouthfeel is a bit dry, somewhat sudsy. Drinkable for such a high alcohol beer, but definitely too heavy, too alcoholic to drink more than one of. Don't know if I could drink the whole bomber on my own. Eh, I wanted more from this beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-05-2006 06:00:37 | More by scooter231
Photo of edchicma


4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 version...ooh this remians a top brew. Poured a purplish black with a great head that lingers. Smell is a plethora of aromas: malt, oak cask, grapes, plums and a surprsingly understated alcohol presence. Taste is sweet malts, molasses and understated alcohol. It reminds me very much of Okocim Baltic Porter. Mouthfeel is smoooth, yet has a rich chewy note that sticks to the palate quite nicely. Drinkability is great for the high abv. This is a 10 abv? The smoothness belies that fact. Plus it finishes slightly dry, which is the crowning touch IMHO. A must try for all BAs.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2006 23:50:11 | More by edchicma
Photo of Freshie


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

The 2006 Release. Been trying to get my hands on this for some time now. Been to a few liquor stores, a few resturants, with no luck. Finally found this at Cork's in Mansfield (which is a pretty awesome store, review to follow). After all it's chalked up to be on this site, and it's apparent ellusiveness, I wasn't sure if it would live up to expectations. Like with many Stone brews, it taught me the error of my ways.

Pours an amzingly dark colour, with tan, caramel like head.

Smells of fruit, molasses, and a kind of floral/pine. Very inviting.

Tastes reflect the aroma, with rich roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and a bit of sweet fruits, like raisins or currants. Very good.

The taste can be a whallop, but it goes down smooth. Very Drinkable.

Wow. My first perfect 5. I look forward to aging this one.

[edit] 11/11/07- True to my original review I have aged this one. And over a year since purchase it still is deserved of my only perfect 5. The aging process has made this one very smooth, with a bit more of a alcohol burn. My original review still stands, since I can't give it a 5+.

Serving type: bottle

06-04-2006 15:54:39 | More by Freshie
Photo of unclederby


3.98/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I'm drinking this mid-afternoon...

Poured into my Unibroue tulip glass, appearance is pitch black topped with a mocha cap which disappeared quickly.

Smell is a bit sweet, with hints of chocolate and faint licorice.

First few sips of this cold and i notice a minerally or metallic tinge. After letting it breathe and warm a bit i get chocolate, coffee, a few burnt notes with a slight hop bite and alcoholic finish. I'm getting toast in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium/full (but not full enough for the style imo), a bit oily and slick with low carbonation. It's this beers weakest attribute.

Due to high abv, drinkibility seems rather low. It's a sipper.

I liked this beer OK, but it's not the first RIS i'd reach for...

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2006 18:32:58 | More by unclederby
Photo of ChillMike


4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow I thought Guinness was dark, this pours like oil, such a dark brown it appears black and isn’t very transparent at all. It has a small dark tan head that leaves some light lacing. It has a bouquet of flavor that includes coffee, chocolate, spices and finishes with a light nutty scent. Wow I’m not exactly sure how to describe the taste because of the many different flavors. It starts out with a clove/spice type flavor that lends way to a chocolate taste and then melds into a nutty coffee type flavor, although the alcohol is definitely present it hides the 10% quite well. So all in all a great tasting beer that’s pretty damn thick, not exactly something I’d have every weekend but a nice treat and would be a great finish to a large meal.

Serving type: bottle

06-03-2006 04:18:11 | More by ChillMike
Photo of rabsten

West Virginia

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

As Homer Simpson says, "MMM, Beer [trancendent]"

From the beautiful, blue silkscreened bottle into an imperial pint (I know, I know, but my goblet is unavailable right now. My first one was in a large wine glass). Ebon black body, mahogany head. Some lacing, but that's not what I'm looking for in a stout. I'm holding it up to the light and...nothing. Nothing comes through. It's blackness is absolutely astounding. Makes some other, excellent RIS's look like Shiner Bock.

Smell: Espresso, chocolate, roast malt, and a woodiness (ash, maple? not Oak, but something hard), and alcohol.

Tastes like everything I want in a big, strong stout. Lovely toasted malt flavor, with some side flavors just like the aroma. Hints of dark, dark chocolate, and espresso made from dark roasted beans. The wood is hickory, now that I've had some time to ponder it. Wonderful.

Starts out with a sharp cripness in the mouth that rapidly opens up and smooths out. This beer is thick and coats everything it touches, allowing an adequate time for the aftertastes to develop.

Drinkability. Well, there has to be a knock somewhere on this brew. After all, nothing's perfect. This is a very drinkable beer. Surprisingly drinkable, given it's style. However, it hits like a Mother..., so it's not TOO drinkable.

Bottom line: Get it while you can. And if you can't, I have some for trade. This is quality stuff, indeed.

Serving type: bottle

06-02-2006 23:11:35 | More by rabsten
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

"Limited Spring 2006 Release." Brought up from my increasingly warmer cellar, then chilled for about 15-20 minutes in the freezer, then set out for a few minutes before opening. Poured into a 17-ounce snifter, the 2006 Stone Imperial Russian Stout is dark like a 90% cocoa Belgian chocolate bar -- nearly all light in the room is absorbed by this beer's blackness -- with a dense cafe con leche colored foam cap that disperses within a minute to a thin cover and ring. Aromas of semi-sweet chocolate, deeply dark plums, and raisins soaked in spiced rum. I also pick up a scent which reminds me of Coco-Wheats or Malt-o-Meal. The flavors I initially detect are raisins, rum-stewed prunes, powdered cocoa, and a twangy mineral finish. Earthy and bitter aftertaste. After warming a bit, some gigantic roasted malt flavors emerge, yielding a much fuller chocolate presence as well as an essence of toasted grain. Huge oil-slick mouthfeel which I imagine in time will become pure velvet. The nearly 11% alcohol content is barely noticeable other than in a lower esophogeal warming. Nearly perfect; this will only improve in mouthfeel and flavor with some age on it. Absolutely deserving of the hype.

Maximum respect to dmeadows for the trade to Stone-starved Western New York!

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2006 23:28:31 | More by orfeu
Photo of clickpush


4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3

Pour: 22oz bomber to tulip glass. Has an incredibly dark body that looks like coffee pouring out of the bottle and then like black ink in the glass. It came out with a one finger, mocha colored head that continued to grow after I finished pouring, all the way up to about two fingers, making plenty of noise as it bubbles. The head goes down slowly to leave some excellent lacings. Although the beer is opaque, some slim bubble trails are visible around the outside of the glass.

Nose: The alcohol is very present in this glass, and I'm not sure I could tell the difference between this beer and an Irish coffee in a blind smelling. Lots of chocolate maltiness, coffee, and Kahlua. Smells tasty.

Mouth: Enters with a nice blend of flavors, like hot chocolate around a campfire, some smokiness, and a long lasting bitter flavor after swallowing like unsweetened baking cocoa. There are also some berry notes that come out as the beer warms, but I think it needs some time in the cellar before these flavors mature. On the downside, the alcohol in this beer stings my mouth before I've even swallowed. It's too noticeable, from the time the beer's about halfway through my mouth and on through the following exhale. Hopefully some cellar time will cure that as well.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2006 20:20:56 | More by clickpush
Photo of HellsBELLS24


4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5


This Imperial stout has a great aroma of vanilla and fresh chocolate malt. The smoothness of this stout (I feel) can be attributed to the malt. This beer has less of a hoppiness and more of a malt characteristic.

It's smoothness is with the best of them. For a russian imperial it is very easy to drink. Although for non stout drinkers it may be a little tough.

I have 3 bottles of the 2006 and I am trying ver hard to keep them around for a while. It may be hard considering that I have already drank 4 of them.

Excellent Brew!

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2006 23:36:12 | More by HellsBELLS24
Photo of trep

West Virginia

4.7/5  rDev +8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Edition

Pours black as coal, a finger or so head of dark tan foam rises above the thick opaque body. Settles down to a thin layer of tan that leaves a good bit of lace. Still a 5.

Roasted malt and dark chocolate hit you right from the start. Followed by a little alcohol which rounds it out nicely. Rich mocha and vanilla come out as it warms up. Not as vivid as last years but when I had last years it had been aged for roughly 10 months. Give this one time and it'll all hang out.

Holy mackerel! A nice smooth start that explodes into a vast array of flavors. First a rich smooth vanilla hits you followed by a little alcohol bite that fades into a bittersweet dark chocolate and roasted malt finish. The thickness of this brew really coats your mouth, about like a milk-shake does. Perfect carbonation as well.

Although this one might be a bit rough-drinking for the average beer-drinker, I love these big hearty beers that take you on a journey. Incredibly drinkable for such a high ABV brew. Only 3 left in my stash and I plan on trying one this time next year and two years from now. I'm gonna try to let the other sit for 5 years but its going to take some serious self-discipline to not crack this little gem open before then.

Serving type: bottle

05-30-2006 04:33:44 | More by trep
Photo of AndoBrew


4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

*I LOVE IT I will buy it as often as I can!!*

this was a 2005 bottle I got from Dano213, CHEERS!
This is my first tasting of an aged RIS.. I think my palms are sweaty.

App: the only reason I did not go for the full 5.0 here is that it is not magically enchanting, sounds dumb.. but I have seen some big stouts that seem to swirl and shimmer. Other than that, it has a nice sturdy head and all the right colors for the types of beers I like.

Smell: Got some rasin type smell, dark deep lucious grains in the nose, some booze, but the smell is not huge, not big amounts of cocoa, or huge amounts of coffee. Its a good smell just not huge.

Taste: first sip, so scared.. tasted a small hint of trash can,wich is the word i think i use for the bad OX word. I said OH NO!, and then leaned in for another sniff, and another gulp... SAFE! no trash can! just rich huge drinkable wonderful stone ris. I will note, it is hard for me to give a down to earth review cause this beer is my lil sip of heaven. I love fat dog, I love Old raspy, I love Wake n bake, I thought storm king was pretty good, just weak for me, I liked the peche imortal coffee stout thingy, but found it a bit to grainy tasting, dog fish head wws, well thats a diff animal, but it was ok. loved dog woods youngblood porter.. the list goes on of my fav beers, BUT this one is king for me. my taste discription is this, take all those, besides some of the stronger coffee flavors, and take out the bitternes and dry mouth (fat dog) the sometimes trashy and overly booze flavor (old raspy) and add more richness, more creamy thick gooey mouthfeel and plant your self in dark beer heaven.

MF: huge, very full without drying your tounge up or coating the back of your mouth with that snot feel.

drinkablity: VERY, I have trouble not chugging the thing. If I had a bunch of these around I would soon be laying on the floor in a pile of bottles.

This is my favorite beer, this bottle was a reminder of that. Cheers to Stone, cheers to Dano, and cheers to Chaingangguy who I had the treat to enjoy this beer with.

Serving type: bottle

05-29-2006 18:29:10 | More by AndoBrew
Photo of rustymoore


4/5  rDev -8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I am as a big a fan of Stone as there is but this just didn't live up to the hype for me. It is a good brew but I could classify it as high as most have. Here goes the review:

Pours very thick (motor oil like if you will) with pitch black color and thick head and good lacing. Smells strong with coffee and toasted aromas. The taste just wasn't I was expecting. I somewhat expected a better blend of the flavors that just wasn't there. I felt the coffee taste overwhelms. Mouthfeel is thick and goes down smooth. Drinkability is high to low depending on your tolerance as the AC is high.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2006 17:37:41 | More by rustymoore
Photo of SethB2


4.85/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bottle into a Tulip glass.

Its about time I reviewed this beer. One of my favorites. Beer pours a deep brown, maybe black with a decent head and a good bit of lacing on the glass. The head dies down fairly quickly, but that isn't too much of a detriment. Smell is great. Roasted malts, coffee, chocolate .. all of them meld together very well. Taste is much like the smell. I can taste all of those elements, but there is also a pronounced fruit yeastiness as well. Mouthfeel is full and chewy. Give me a fork and a knife. Drinkablity is only hampered by the high alcohol content.

One of the very best beers I have ever sampled. Worth the high ratings.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2006 04:38:34 | More by SethB2
Photo of Mebuzzard


4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber bottle.
This looks like crude oil in a glass, topped with a tan head about 2 fingers thick. Very dark. Initially poured cold, but as it warmed the pours produced more head.
Smell of raisin, coffee, chocolate and roasted malt, perhaps burnt biscuit.
taste was great. Excellent balance between sweet/tart hops and malt. Coffee, chocolate. anise was a bit present as was plum and dark fruit. Flavor hits all spots on the palate.
Alcohol isn't even noticeable, except for a slight face flush.
Easy drinking for a dark beer.

Serving type: bottle

05-28-2006 04:37:52 | More by Mebuzzard
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 6,631 ratings.