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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.

7,063 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,063
Reviews: 2,591
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 542
Gots: 1,567 | 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: 7,063 | Reviews: 2,591 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of ibbjamin
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Paid $5.99 for a bomber from BevMo in Gilroy, CA. Poured into a snifter 2 pours.

A dark tan inch and a half frothy head that sticks around for quite a while. Very dark brown/black color. Very thick lacing.

Very malty aroma with hints of alcohol. Malts are somewhat sweet, with more of a roasty smell and hints of caramel, coffee and chocolate.

Roasty malts with carmel on the tongue. Hints of alcohol as well as the lingering somewhat sweeter malty finish. As I drink more the aftertaste begins to have hints of really good coffee.

Full bodied and very creamy. Smooth finish. Mild carbonation.

Very easy to drink.

ibbjamin, Jun 19, 2008
Photo of CrellMoset
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

2007 vintage, on tap at the Innsbrook Capital Ale House in Richmond, VA.

Appearance: A one-and-one-half finger chocolate head with nitro-esque, pinprick bubbles. It sits upon the opaque, black-as-night brew immobile, regal. Almost like that neat cossack hat, perched atop the gargoyle on the bomber label for this gorgeous-looking beer. There may be carbonation, but who has any clue? You sure can't tell from looking at it. The lacing is hefty, three-dimensional, and sticks to the sides of the glass in big, wet globs.

Aroma: Deep Viennese roast coffee dominates here ... perhaps even deeper than Viennese, because there's some definite char in some places. Licorice, dark currants, bitter chocolate, notes of lighter caramelized malts, toffee-esque, and other estery, woody notes, almost like it had been oak-aged. Very, very complex.

Taste: Do I taste both chocolate and vanilla in this? Like a mix cone! Almost makes me miss suburbia and its buffets. Anyways, deep roasted astringencies are present but aren't harsh, molasses is thick but not dominating, warming alcohol that blends almost perfectly into the body of the beer is hidden so well, and a host of other great flavors fade in and out of the foreground - currants, toffee (as things warm), other fruity notes, anise, and smooth hop bitterness. A really masterful blend.

Mouthfeel: I feel like I'm always giving 5.0s on mouthfeel - am I just a sucker for a silky beer? Maybe so. This one deserves it though, with an incredibly creamy and even head that stays as round and solid up front as it does throughout. Like swallowing a pillow, although much less unpleasant than that sounds.

Drinkability: Ha, had to knock this one somewhere, and here only for the high alcohol content, nearing 11%. A sweet sipping beer, perfect with dessert or after dinner, but one to be wary of. You will get sucked in by the complexities and sheer deliciousness. It's that good.

This is a painfully good beer, both in the way you'll feel next morning if you're not careful and in that there will never enough of it around. One of the better RISs I've had the pleasure of trying. Highly recommended.

CrellMoset, Jun 17, 2008
Photo of Running4beer
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber 2003...
Pours out black and syrupy, with very little tan head. Aroma was that of chocolate, coffee/espresso, raisons. Mouthfeel was thick and smooth hardly any carbonation to this beer. Taste was sweet and flavors were of chocolate and coffee, raisons and a bit of a peanut flavor. This was very flavorful and very enjoyable.

22oz bomber 2003 after aging for 5 years....
Pours out jet black, thin head to lacey. Aroma is that of chocolate, definetly coffee, molasses, alcohol(dark rum) and brown sugar. Taste is still amazing after all these years mellowed out slightly, still has that warm alcohol feeling, bittersweet chocolate, black coffee/ espresso flavors. Very drinkable. Still an amazing beer I could have let this sit for another year and it would probably retain its greatness.

Running4beer, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of jbphoto88
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark velvety brown, with a nice hearty viscosity. A chocolate colored head mounds and rises above the beer a full inch. Rocky bubbles and creamy froth dissipate to a thick collar and some scattered oil coated bubbles. It might be because of the dark and thick characteristics but this beer feels heavier (by weight) then most. Its not a struggle to lift the glass to my lips but it is a little beefier then others.

Smell is bittersweet chocolaty and of heavenly roasted malts. There is a hint of coffee beans and a deep rum fruit nose.

Taste mimics the scents except the malts dominate the flavors with the chocolaty, coffee-ness delicately backing them up. The malts do not eclipse the hops, there is a moderate bitterness to the tongue and a lovely astringency in the finish. The mouthfeel is fantastic. Its smooth and creamy which coats the palate with rich flavors. There is a light chalkiness associated with the aftertaste but it is light and not distracting.

A must try. This is a fine beverage that has great personality. I love the big flavors, thickness, large scents and wonderful warmth. I'm now angry that they don't sell this in my state. WTF Texas?

jbphoto88, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of LumpyGuitar
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Recieved this in a trade as an extra, a big thanks to MASPuros. Cracked it at my cookout this weekend, went great with the ribs.

Poured a thick solid black with a tan fluffy head.

Smells like roasted malts, chocolate, and smoke.

Taste is impressive. First off, with the ABV at almost 11, you'd expect to taste the alcohol, but you don't. The flavor is dominated by dark chocolate and roasted malts, hints of coffee, brown sugar, and molasses are also present. The best part is that the flavor is a bit different every time you try it and it goes amazingly well with barbecue.

Mouthfeel is heavy and thick, not overly carbonated but you can tell its there. Very sharp and carying in its flavors.

Drinkability here is good, this beer has quite a bit of characther and is on par with beers like Dark Lord for sure.

LumpyGuitar, Jun 13, 2008
Photo of callmescraps
3.3/5  rDev -24%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Just barely went for this over the Souther Tier Cherry Saison, mostly because I wanted to try something new. Not always my favorite style, but most reviews are glowing.

Appearance - Poured thick, and black. It almost looked like molasses pouring in there. Topped by a half inch of hearty, coffee-colored head.

Smell - Definitely smell the roast, almost like coffee, but also something like toasted marshmellows and a little raisin.

Taste - Roasted malts with quite a bit of coffee-ish bitterness. A small hint of those raisins, and a boozy aftertaste. Yet, the biggest disappointment may be that it seemed a little weak. Just, a little something missing. It's more or less what I expected BEFORE I smelled it. After smelling, I had hopes of a more complex beer.

Mouthfeel - Pretty disappointing. I figured a creamy goodness, but there was a lot less here than expected. Smooth, but just sort of disappears.

Drinkability - The mouthfeel makes it easier to drink, but it's still heavy in taste. Not bad for the style, but I find it hard to throw down a couple stout's, no matter how good. Although for the abv, it's pretty smooth.

Weaker in taste than some stout's, and also lighter. No creamy goodness, but some malty coffee-ish vibe. This isn't always my favorite style, but occasionally I find ones that I really enjoy. This wasn't one of them.

callmescraps, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of cjgator3
3.68/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into an imperial pint glass. Pours a pitch black color with a solid dark tan colored head. The aroma is dark and roasty with some alcohol soaked fruits. The taste has dark roasted malts, with a slightly metallic flavors, and a pretty boozy finish. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy, but is a little thinner than expected. Overall, I am a little disappointed in this offering. There is no question that it is a solid beer, but I think that it is extremely over hyped here on BA. It is just too boozy for me, I have had many other RIS's with a higher ABV that hide the alcohol much better. Worth a shot? Definitely. Will I buy it again? Probably not.

cjgator3, Jun 11, 2008
Photo of ShrLSU
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber to a snifter glass.

Appearance - Pours a dark thick black color. Has a thick molasses consistancy. Nice tan head and nice lacing after the poor.

Smell - Roasted Malt, chocolate, and coffee are the most prevelant scents. Some sweetness as well.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Bitter and sweet. Pretty thick but traditional to the style. Great smooth flavor. Slightly sweet, bitter, and roasted taste. Some alcohol but not enough to kill everything else. This is bad ass!

Drinkability - Loved this from the minute it hit the lips. A great stout that all should enjoy. This bottle was young (08 spring i think). I'd love to try an aged bottle for comparison.

ShrLSU, Jun 10, 2008
Photo of ryrust5301
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a snifter. Been looking forward to this one for quite some time. It's an early spring 08 edition so it'll probably be a little young.

Appearance - Pours a thick syrupy molasses colored dark black. Head was a half finger thick, and was a tan light milk chocolate color. A nice tan halo hangs around all the way through the end of the beer.

Smell - Bitter roasted coffee and an alcohol bite, with dark currants and chocolate sweetness present as well.

Taste & Mouthfeel - Very bitter and syrupy in the front. A sweetness came through more and more as it warmed, but the roasted bitterness set up camp all the way through. Alcohol scratches at the mouth with a fury, but the sweet smoothness swings things back in check. Black currants leave a fingerprint, but don't overpower.

Drinkability - Found it to be a little harsh at first, but calmed down nicely and balanced as it warmed. Would love to try this again with a year on it, as it will surely be a beaut.

ryrust5301, Jun 10, 2008
Photo of ASymon13
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 release.

This beers pours a thick viscous black with a nice fluffy chocolate head to it that leaves some decent lacing as the head recedes. Not even a shimmer of light gets through it. Awesome. There is a lot of dark chocolate in the nose with some very solid smokey roast thrown in. The nose really is huge, with those two notes dominating. The alcohol is hardly even noticable, and I really can't catch any hops to it.

The first sip is dominated by those two flavors; chocolate and roastiness. My two favorite flavors common to the style. There is some decent hop bitterness but it works well, complementing the malts and not overpowering them at all. There is no underlying sweetness to it like some RIS's, so it has a nice dry finish. The alcohol is noticable but it also complements everything nicely. The body is thick and creamy and the carbonation works perfectly for the style.

While this is less complex than many RIS's I've had, that does not detract anything from it. The flavors blend together so beautifully that it is easily one of my very favorites.

ASymon13, Jun 10, 2008
Photo of Sticket
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

P- a declared 10.8% abv in a 22oz brown bomber bottle.

A- pours a deep and dark, nearly black, color with little to no light penetration. Brownish head dissipates shortly after pouring, but lacing lasts the entire session.

S- roasted grains coated with molasses.

T- a complexity that goes beyond words... starts of strong malts with mildly sweet molasses giving way briefly to a moderate level of alcohol that gets buried in a resolving finish of dark chocolate covered malts... this one gets better and better through the entire glass.

M- fulfilling, just enough carbonation to ease the journey.

D- I think I may have started feeling it half way through the bottle on this warm and humid evening, but was ready for another shortly after finishing the first... good thing I only had one bottle around or I may have had my wife calling me an alcoholic.

Sticket, Jun 07, 2008
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
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,063 ratings.