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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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7,403 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,403
Reviews: 2,620
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 643
Gots: 1,714 | FT: 95
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.60% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,403 | Reviews: 2,620 | Display Reviews Only:
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.

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

Photo of rossthefireman
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
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!

Photo of AVDeuph
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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.

Photo of McDiddyPop
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
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.

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.

Photo of aubuc1
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
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.

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.

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.

Photo of MetalHopHead6
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
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.

Photo of HopoPotomus
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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.

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.

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."

Photo of dborginis
4.08/5  rDev -6%
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.

Photo of gameface23
3.72/5  rDev -14.3%
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.

Photo of atsprings
4.89/5  rDev +12.7%
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.

Photo of ffejherb
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
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.

Photo of ncstateplaya
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I loved the look of this beer, almost like pouring chocolate syrup from an amber bottle. Very viscous and dark, simply black with no visible carbonation. The pour forms a thick mousse like cookie dough colored head. There was adequate lacing in the glass when I was done.

It smells malty with tons of roasted nuts and a strong hint of alcohol. Maybe a little coffee in the background but not a significant contributor.

Tastes smokey and bitter, the coffee comes through much more so in the flavor than the smell. A very nutty taste that reminds me of dry roasted peanuts. You pick up the alcohol on the finish.

Medium to heavy bodied with great carbonation. Just enough carbonation to let you know its there. Very smooth and viscous, leaves your mouth feeling somewhat oily.

IMHO the ABV is the only inhibiting factor. Could have the will and desire to drink 8 of these brews but would never make it. Great taste, excellent body, all around a terrific beer.

Photo of Magpie14
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: murky black with soft burnt sienna edges. Huge and glorious cocoa chocolate colored cap that maintains a presence well after the pour. After the blob of foamed chocolate melted away the bubbles that remained exuded a soapy shine. The lacing provided light blobs of film coating the glass in random order

S: the nose is just as amazing as the look. Huge roasted malts, slightly blackened. Bittersweet chocolates, cocoa powder, and smokey roasted coffee beans. I can even pull some fudge brownie notes. It just has that vibe and definition

T: a wonder beer! Huge dark chunk-roasted malt goodness. Flavors reminiscent of black currants, cocoa crusted bitter coffee beans, a slab or two of molasses, and some of the finest bitter chocolate chunks I have tasted in liquid form. What took me so long to get a hold of and drink this? Believe it or not a few hops make a bold showing, very delicate. The green cones barely cut through on my malted, chocolate, and anise drenched tongue. Alcohol notes are in the mix and seem too fit like a glove, very harmonious. This is a five!!!

M: the body is a perfect match for the flavors. This is a thick sheet of velvet on the tongue...it has the velvet touch. Incredibly smooth and delicate with powerfully harnessed flavors. I can remember having thicker stouts, but not many

D: This beer is a monster and any stout lover is not complete without giving this bad boy a shot. I had a hard time finding anything wrong with this one...maybe a little strong on alcohol at times? Naw! Take it, drink it, love it

Photo of OnThenIn
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black with a very dark tan head. A finger of head that just sticks to the glass.

Smell: Roasted malt and coffee smell for sure in this one.

Taste: It hits you with some coffee and a bit of a bitterness. Really has a taste of bitter like dark chocolate to it. Definitely some sweetness to this beer. There was a very strong taste of alcohol to it. Some roasted taste to it as well.

Mouthfeel: Wow this is a big beer with some nice carbonation on it. It really has some cream to the taste. Very thick to the point of almost syrupy.

Drinkability: Well the alcohol taste was a little bit too much, but its wonderful mouthfeel just blew my mind. This is a seriously good beer, but a bomber of this and you can call it a night.

Photo of froghop
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a jet black with a thin brown head that dissipates quickly, and good lacing.

smell is faint, cocoa, coffee, some malts.

taste is smooth, thick, dark and milk chocolate, some coffee, some roasted malt, some licorice, touch of smoke, and a little vanilla, ends dry and somewhat bitter.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Amazing beer, one of the best Stouts I've had. It is very dark and smokey, with hints of bacon. More flavors and aromas developed as the beer warmed. Unfortunately I didn't have glass to appreciate the beer fully.
It had an amazing mouthfeel, very deep and thick. Strongly recommended. Next time I'll buy a case.

Note this was the Spring 2008 vintage

Photo of HatTrick
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a really dark and syrupy dark mahogany. With a really thin creamy foam.

Has a nice coffee and brown sugar scent with molasses tones. Tastes fantastic with coffee and molasses. I also taste cloves really mild chocolate. This is a 2007 on tap and the tastes are really mellow. It is really great on tap and smooth. Really easy to drink.

Photo of KarlHungus
3.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a think black color. The head is a half an inch in height, and recedes quickly into minimal lacing. The aroma is roasted malt, graham crackers, dark chocolate, and alcohol. The taste is like the aroma. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied which is a bit to thin for a RIS for my liking. Overall, this is a nice Imperial Stout, but I don't find it to be all that complex. I could drink it again, but there are other big stouts out there that I like more.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,403 ratings.