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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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7,407 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,407
Reviews: 2,620
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 645
Gots: 1,717 | 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: 7,407 | Reviews: 2,620 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of pershan
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer poured a dark, evil, black with a thin brown head into a 12 oz pilsner glass. The smell was of alcohol and roasted malt. The initial flavor was of roasted malt, with a slight black-currant sweetness that faded quickly into an alcoholic, burnt toast and slightly hoppy finish. Fairly low carbonation gave this beer a viscous mouthfeel, but there was still very nice lacing down the inside of the glass. Another fine beer from Stone.

Photo of calebmills
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First of all this is the 2nd best stout i have tried. second to the rogue chocolate stout. This stuff is amazing i would recommend trying it just as much as any other stone beer. This stuff is very complex and spicy in a way with the high alcohol content but it wont overwhelm you as much as some of the lighter stone beers when i say lighter i mean that this has the highest alcohol that im aware of from stone but it doesnt seem as potent as a double bastard. anyways this stuff pours thick black and has a thick creamy head that tops off the amazing apearance and smells like coffee malt hops and some chocolate. And tastes like this also with some complexities i cant identify but id like to have a couple more bottles to really say for sure. This is heavy stuff for me i dont need more than one bomber at a time to enjoy it and trust me if you like stouts you will enjoy and probably love this one.I only wish i had the money at the time to buy another bottle or two.

Photo of MoJoe
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 Bomber Bottle

A- Pours out a thick, dirty oil black with a dense, dark tan head that leaves a decent amount of lace on the glass.

S- The alcohol is very present along with the scent of roasted malts. A wonderfully complex aroma. Dark roasted coffee, dark fruit, taffy amd vanilla.

T- The sweetness of this beer is perfectly matched with the bitterness. Along with everything that the nose gave you there is also black chocolate, licorice, carmel and toasted oats. The alcohol was again very evident.

M- Very full bodied. The bitterness of the dark roasted malts gives way to there sweetness then the bittering/flavor hops take control.

D- Love this Beer! Wonderfully complex and balanced.

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

2007 Vintage. Pours a viscous, thick jet black color. Completely opaque with some burgundy highlights when held up to the light. Pour initially forms a hefty 2" dense tan head which gradually fades to a wispy coating of foam. Some spotty streaks of lacing as glass is consumed.

Fairly assertive aromas of espresso coffee beans, dark roasted malts, molasses, dark choclate and dark dried fruits waft up from the snifter.

Mouthfeel was moderately full and chewy. Seemed to become much fuller and smooth as the beer warmed.

Flavors were a tad more assertive than the aromas. Starts off on the sweet side with a firm blast of dark rum soaked raisins and figs, dark cocoa, molasses and vanilla. The mid-palate reveals a transformation to a slightly bitter side with notes of burnt malts, espresso coffee, baker's chocolate and a touch of spicy hops. Has a long and pleasant bittersweeet finish with a definitive alcohol warmth.

A solid and well done Russian Impy Stout.

Photo of GbVDave
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from a 22oz bottle into two 20oz imperial pints. Thanks to HeatherAnn for the assist!

Spring 2008 release.

A: Pours a coal-like, pitch black color with a creamy, dark khaki, three finger head. Huge amounts of lace in the glass.

S: Interesting aromas of molassas, dark fruit, toffee, blackened malt, chocolate, cherry, coffee, and brown sugar.

T: The taste follows the smell very closely on this one. Take everything above and add charcoal, toasted oatmeal, bitter hops, and alcohol.

M: Surprisingly this starts a little on the thin side. However, as it warms it becomes thick and sweet while never losing it's bitter edge.

D: Good drinkability. I found this to be a tad on the overrated side, but it's very good.

Photo of AKBelgianBeast
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A good one for review #300! And just by chance too!
2008 vintage.

Pours impenetrably black with a huge tan ice cream head. A bit cold yet, but the nose is weaker than I had expected. What there is is roast and toast malt with some metallic copper alcohol smell. The roastiness comes out as it warms. A bit of coffee and slight hop fragrance. Taste is nice and smooth, roasty malts, coffee, vanilla, and alcohol come to mind, some dark dark malt flavors in here and a nice hop kiss on the finish. Not as hoppy as I would have expected for a stone brew, which is sort of refreshing as they tend to be a little bit obsessed, but still on the hoppy side (barely). A slight metallic astringency to it, and alcohol is a bit more pronounced than I would prefer. Vanilla flavor is apparent enough it has a bourbon aged hint in the middle. The alcohol heat is a bit strong fresh, but should mellow in just a year or two. Mouthfeel is good, but could be a touch more viscous, just a touch. Drinkability is good now, but will should vastly improve with just a little trip to the cellar. Overall a great imperial stout, maybe slightly overrated, but defenitely not one you want to pass up. It is certainly case in the cellar worthy..even if you are not! oh wait, different stone brew...

Photo of DefenCorps
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 bottle poured into my Duvel tulip

A: Gorgeous pitch black with a dense brown two-finger head that recedes leaving a nice lacing. Picture perfect

S: A spicy note to start off with - is that the anise they talk about?I Behind that, there's chocolate, coffee, cream, roast, burnt and molasses in a beautiful balance

T: Roasted flavors followed up by a very well balanced chocolate and coffee. There's a definite nutty note to it. There's some spice to it too, almost a hoppy spice.

M: Full bodied, thick and delectable. The finish is a mild burnt bitter and very pleasant.

D: This one will do me in. It's a sipper and excellent for it's style.

**Edit 28 April 2013**
I'm drinking a bottle of the 06 IRS tonight, as I anticipate getting my hands on and drinking a bottle of the Espresso IRS later this week (hopefully)

The nose is pretty awesome. Mellow with anise spice, milk chocolate fudge, a great blend of roast and coffee, this does also have a mellow port-like oxidation, which lends a little bit of a red-wine character. The palate opens moderately sweet, with caramel, toffee, tobacco, anise up front, along with some medium-dark chocolate. This just might be heading over the hill, as I'm starting to get a wee bit of papery oxidation/ aged thinness, but it's barely on the threshold of perception (IMO). What this means, though, is that this beer is near its peak. Medium-full in body, moderately carbonated, this is smooth and fluid on the palate. A lingering grainy/roasty bitterness lingers, tempering the sweetness. Excellent. 4.5/4.25/4.25

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

Had my growler filled with the 2006-cellared brew of this at their brewery and I served it in my goblet.

Appearance: An immensely dark black colour, almost obsidian in nature. It poured with a half inch of mocha-coloured head which quickly dissipated. Moderate lacing did persist around the edges though. I would've given this a 5 if the head was retained more.

Smell: A smoky, sweet smell dominates the nose when smelling. A bit of coffee is present as well, but you primarily smell the roasted malts and alcohol.

Taste: Complexity! One can first detect many sweet things in this brew such as a bit of caramel, coffee, roasted malt, and some sort of earthy berry (perhaps raisin). This sweetness leads to a slight bitter smoky taste with a warming alcohol touch to it. An experience for any beer drinker!

Mouth: This brew holds amazing mouth-feel. It is smooth, creamy, and not too much carbonation. I'd say it's just perfect for the style and silky smooth for its alcohol content.

Drinkability: High drink-ability if you are into Imperial Stouts. This is definitely a sipping beer though, and probably not suited for active social gatherings. This may just be one of the best beers for a night in with the old woman and a marathon of CSI.

Photo of jockstrappy
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours an opaque black color with a creamy tan head. Aromas noticed here are coffee and caramel with a little alcohol in there as well. Taste begins with a classic roasted coffee flavor and a small hop note up front, with a well-rounded balance of chocolate, caramel sweetness on the way back, and finishing with a pleasant alcohol warmth. This brew is pretty heavy....and drinks as such. Syrupy mouthfeel, and somewhat filling....that said, with a 10.8 ABV, one is plenty. Great beer after a nice meal.

Photo of justinmartz
4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber into a seidel. This is a big and heavy beer. The color is black like the universe at the beginning of time. The head is a sandy brown color with a diet Coke-like consistency. Audible head reduction: this is a noisy beer! The smell wasn't distinguishable from other fine stouts even though it claims anise and black currants. I don't know, maybe I have cerebral palsy, but I didn't notice those. At 10.8% ABV the alcohol was noticeable in aroma and taste. This beer would benefit from cellaring. Otherwise, it's a perfectly carbonated beer and one of the gnarliest stouts I've ever had.

Photo of RunawayJim
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter. Pours a pitch black with a small dark tan head that lingers for a bit.

Smells of dark roasted coffee and roasted malts.

Taste was a little disappointing. There was a strong metallic taste to it that lasted throughout the bottle. Other than that, there were a lot of roasted coffee bitterness, some dark chocolate notes, and a slight hint of malty sweetness.

The beer was thick and a little oily in the mouth and quite drinkable for a 10.8% ABV beer. There was absolutely no taste of alcohol at all.

Regarding the metallic taste, it also seemed a little rough. I plan on picking up another one and aging it for a while to see how it comes out. I imagine it'll smooth out a bit and hopefully that metallic taste will go away.

Photo of ElGrecoVerde
3.84/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Finally found this at a small shop by my house. 2008 edition, 10.8% abv.

Pours deep black with a dark brown, creamy head. Looks incredible.

The smell was a bit disappointing. Maybe I overhyped this one in my head. It had the usual roasted coffees and chocolates, but a strong bitter aroma as well. There was a fair amount of dark fruit in the nose as well.

The taste had a highly bitter blend of dark fruit, raisins and chocolate in it. I get images of the California Raisins in my head with each sip. Some roasted flavors try to get through, but the bitterness took over my mouth. Overall, however, it's fine as I love stouts, but I couldn't help feeling a bit let down.

This makes two highly rated Imperial Stouts that didn't exactly blow my socks off. Don't get me wrong, it's an incredible beer, and judging by other reviews, it must just not match my palate. But after being floored by a beer like Rogue Shakespeare Stout (which I realize is entirely different), I'm finding the Imperial Stouts fall behind in my book.

Still, and excellent beer, and I'll keep giving the style more chances.

Photo of Traquairlover
3.85/5  rDev -11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22-oz bomber poured into tulips.

A = Deep mahogany, fluffy brown head, medium retention.

S = Chicory, sage, burnt coffee, angostino bitters, singed oak leaves, the smell of this honestly reminds me of the smell of campfires when I was scouting as a kid (though not as smokey). Very complex, but a little bitter.

T = Warm tastes of bitter chicory coffee ith a slight amount of creme de fraiche, sage, bitter herbs, long dry finish.

M = Creamy, full bodied, luscious full coating of the mouth. Perhaps a little too frothy, otherwise close to perfect mouthfeel.

D = Very good drinkability. I find the taste and smell a little more bitter than I personally prefer but for the style it is excellent. A good example of the style.

Photo of 1759Girl
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Maybe it's because I once tried to get a job repping Stone, or maybe it's just because they kick so much tail... but I have a huge respect for the company... They were the first ones to get me into IPAs, and still have my fave IPA. But, when the Russian Imperial Stout is on hand... everything else melts away and 1759Girl is in RIS Heaven.
Appearance> Dark as my beloved Guinness with a head the color of the Carnation chocolate malts that you used to get at baseball games. Thick head with great retention and lots of lacing.
Smell> dark chocolate and burnt sugar. oh baby.
Taste>my fave RIS and one that I hold others to in comparison. Sweet start, smoky intense stout taste, dry finish.
Mouthfeel> full, silky. Perfection
Drinkability>"Oh dang" yes, that was actually written in my notes.

Photo of hellcatsjg
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Nice black brew with the usual slight tan head. Nice looking if your a stout fan.

Smell: Kind of weak. You get the slight coffee, cream, and alcohol. Not as pronounced as one would expect.

Taste: Very nice. Creamy blend of smoke, chocolate, coffee, hint of tobacco, which is new to me, and alcohol all mingling very nicely.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and very creamy with not much carbonation. Very nice.

Drinkability: Definitely a sipper, but very good beer. One of the better imperial Russian stouts out there. High ABV makes how much you can drink, but that's all that's stopping you. Highly recommended.

Photo of Maudite
3.81/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the better beers I've had from Stone.

A- Very little head, unless I agitated the glass (snifter), and then it was a delicate and rich milk chocolate that waned quickly leaving behind some sticky lacing. The body was as black as motor oil. Or shark's eyes.

S- Surprisingly, not much until it got to room temperature. Upon the initial pour there was a fairly discernible hop aroma. As it warmed it smelled of biter cocoa, iced coffee, very sweet and malty. It also smelled like jam; fruity, thick, sweet.

T- Espresso, roasty, almost smokey, like whiskey but black as pitch, sweet, dark fruitiness. As it warmed the alcohol was much more present and had a pleasant warming effect. There was an almost berry, port-like flavor with a dry, bitter, coffee finish.

M- Thick, sweet, coating, acidic, dextrinous. Not dry in a hoppy, or whit wine/champagne way, but in a coffee way. Definitely present long after swallowed.

D- My wife and I shared a bottle after dinner, and it was awesome. I would definitely drink this again, though not often. It's a strong bugger. I recommend trying it.

Photo of Kraken
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Yummm where to start. This hands down is the best RIS I have ever had. Smell taste body, its all fantastic. A bit of smoke on the nose. Pours black as night. Tastes of chocolate, coffee, slight smokeyness, vanilla, very mellow hoppiness, slightly porter-esq, mild hop bitterness in finish. Finish is nice and dry, not cloying like some other RIS. Alcohol is well hidden. Very well done!!

Photo of Sorgasm
3.47/5  rDev -20%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - dark as night with a thick mocha head.

s - "is that beef jerky?" smokey as hell.

t - pretty straight forward. good flavor, but lacking the complexities i would expect from a truly exceptional imp stout.

m - thick n creamy; true to style.

d - nothing that dark and strong can ever be considered a session beer, but for the style it is very drinkable.

Photo of hopsleeroy
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintqage poured into oversized wine glass from bomber

a-Minimal head, but deep black with no light coming though

S-Milk chocolate, licorice, Caramel
T-So balanced. Dark slightly sweetened chocolate, mild roast coffee, mild fruit, little bitterness going down. Nothing jumps out at you but it is very balanced. Hardly any alcohol flacvor. Kind of a malted milk flavor at times which kept me from rating higher
M-Smooth and creamy with a light carbonation on the end
D-Can go down easy but not enough going on to keep me coming back.

Highly recommended RID especially at the price. Drink one now and lay a few down to taste how the flavor evolves.

Photo of nasty15108
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a small brandy snifter.

A - Thick and pitch black. Poured like oil and left a thick tan head. Coated the glass and clung to the sides like molasses.

S - Smokey, with slight hints of espresso and alcohol.

T - Roasted malts up front followed by a slightly bitter, warming alcoholic finish.

MF&D - Thick and rich. Great taste and superior quality. Not a session beer, but very enjoyable.

Photo of hopflop
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into tulip glass.

Pours a nice dark black with a thick creamy tan head

The aroma is not to strong but has a nice coffee, chocolate, roasted malts with a touch of alcohol.

The flavor is amazing. A nice creamy coffee with a hint of chocolate. Has a nice bitter coffee finish.

Has a nice full body very thick and creamy, gives you a nice warm belly. What an awesome beer will definitely be drinking more of these!!!

Photo of ckeegan04
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a syrupy dark dark brown and leaves a foamy two finger head. Head has limited retention and quickly fades into brown foam layer. Excellent lacing all over the glass.

S - Roasted malts, coffee. Also a subtle hint of alcohol but not at all overpowering.

T - Cofee with a hint of alcohol. A little sweetness at the end of the drink.

M/D - Increadibly creamy. Nice balance of alcohol, sweetness, and bitterness. Nicely done.

Photo of TasteTester
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

I'm new to the BA, so my assessments of A,S,T,M,D aren't very descriptive yet. As someone who usually does not drink a lot of stouts, this one was great! I'm fortunate to have a friend to sells beer for a living and get great recommendations from him on a regular basis. I've tried about 20 stouts and next to Bells Expedition, this is by far my favorite. Glad I got a second bottle to age and can't wait until the day I decide to open it.

Photo of nrbw23
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark black with a large foamy tan head with a nice lacing.

S- Also very nice some chocolate, tiny bit of coffee and maybe some plum here also. A lot going on in here.

T- Very nice and smooth. Slight chocolate and coffee at the beginning then a little fruity hoppy towards the end. Well rounded brew.

M- Medium to full. Chewy and thick.

D- Very drinkable but with the higher ABV can't drink a lot of these. Very nice.

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

Poured from a 22 oz bottle to a snifter, the liquid is dark close to black with light carbonation. The head is small, mocha, and leaves little lace.

The smell good lots of dark roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee notes.

The taste is good, not as bold as I expected, but a nice chocolate flavor and coffee in the finish.

The mouthfeel is good smooth creamy big body yet the carbonation is note as much as I expected. Just seems is could use a bit more.

The drinkability is good, a big flavor full brew, but not quite up to it's hype. Prosit, MK

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,407 ratings.