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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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7,360 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,360
Reviews: 2,614
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 614
Gots: 1,683 | FT: 91
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: 7,360 | Reviews: 2,614 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of hwwty4
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks GlenVargas for finally getting a bottle to review.

I've had the pleasure of drinking the 2003 in '07, the 2006 in '08, and finally have got around to reviewing the spring 2007 in early '08. My first impression is this beer is really hot. It's amazing how much it time mellows out the rough edges, but on to the review. Poured a 22oz bottle into my Smokestack goblet. Wow, this is a beautiful pour. Rich oily black, letting no light through, no head even with an aggressive pour. This beer leaves no lacing whatsoever. Aroma is of raisins, dark chocolate, and espresso beans. It's really complex as with most RIS's. Taste is huge up front with bakers chocolate. Slightly bitter. Then pours in the roasted (almost burnt) coffee beans and finishes with almost a Isles Scotch taste. This beer really is another amazing product that the Stone Brewery puts out. Mouthfeel is exactly what I want in a beer. Plain and simple. This is my favorite style of beer and a absolutely fantastic version of it.

Photo of dsa7783
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle just recently copped from Gary's in Madisonfor $5.99...
Been waiting a long time to try this one, and I was glad to finally have got the chance to sample it...
"Limited Spring 2008 Release" on the front logo...
Beautiful, motor-oil, jet-black, ebony appearance, dark as night, with reddish, tan, frothy head that slowly receded and left a copious amount of red lacing around the edge of the glass...
Strong, deep smell of currants, roastted malts, chicory, cocoa powder, and rich espresso...
Taste was top-notch, and an excellent depiction of the style, bursting with creamy, rich, thick flavor... Notes of dark espresso, burnt coffee, roasted malts, anise, dark chocolate and mocha were bursting!...
Great stuff from Stone... an excellent, milk-shake-like creaminess apparent with a strong essence of pure coffee and chocolate...
Decent drinkability as well, with the hefty 10.8% ABV hard to distinguish behind a rich conglomeration of flavors...
Good stuff...

Photo of HugoGrim
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from 750 ml bottle into a standard pint. Jet black body, which pours rather syrupy. Mocha head is thin and bubbly. Excellent lace which looks like a line of trees on the African plain.

Aromas of caramel, coffee, dark chocolate, and currents. The alcohol is extremely faint for being over 10%. Great nose to this brew, sweet and roasted.

Flavor is first and foremost intense. Roasted grain, malts, bakers chocolate. Hops are in there, but hide in the background. Very rich, robust, and bitter. Feel is thick and smooth.

Photo of davidchollar
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Enveloped in darkness, an absence of light in my tulip. Fat, brown head on top. The retention and lacing are adequate. This beer looks really good but smells even better.

Like the best doppelbock I've had the pleasure of quaffing, this is obviously a malt bomb. But wait, there's so much more! While initial smells reveal whoppers and coffee, a little more sniffing brings out the IBUs. And tasting confirms this. Holy hoppy ... wow. All together now, mocha, chocolate, coffee, cookies and liqueur. With a big vicious liquorice bite.

Mouthfeel is outstanding, so full and smooth. But at nearly 11%, it loses a point for drinkability as a bottle of this is dangerous. I've only had a few RISs, but I would say Stone's has a pretty unique flavor. Yeah, I'll be getting this again!

Photo of abankovich
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just picked up some of the 2008 Spring release and couldn't wait to try a bottle.

This beer poured a THICK dark black. Absolutely black, with no light able to permeate the color. Definitely some viscosity to this one. The head that formed was very impressive and a nice light brown color that stuck around with a good cover frothiness.

The initial smell on this one is sweeter than I would have expected. Definite chocolate notes. I think the anise is what is coming through and I like it. Toasted aromas are also present along with coffee.

Damn this beer is good. Thick, very thick and so smooth. I can feel the warmness of the alcohol all the way down and I'm left with almost small sour pains in the back corners of my mouth from the bitterness, but in a good way. The sweetness and the toasted malt taste is balanced pretty perfectly in my opinion, I love that the hops are also so noticeable.

Mouthfeel is obviously thick and heavy but since it is so smooth, it doesn't really give you that urge where you almost feel like you have to chew as you drink. I love it.

Well at 10.8% I can't say this is a beer you could drink a lot of. But I would love to have more of it, lots and lots more.

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

Imperial Stouts are certainly my newest favorite style, and this one does not disappoint. It's very tasty, and I'd agree pretty much with anything anyone here who rated it an A- or better had to say. I really enjoyed this one, even though I'm not a big fan of Stone offerings, although I do enjoy their Old Guardian Barleywine. Probably the best thing is that this baby sells for about $5.99 (as does the Old Guardian at American Thrifty in Brooklyn). At $5.99, it's a fantastic beer at a fantastic price. I may still buy Old Rasputin and Yeti, but, probably not as often after having this one. Try it!

Photo of FishHeadLover
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2004 vintage
22oz bottle

Pour= Poured a dark black with a thin yellowish head.

Look= The head disappeared into no head. Left was a jet black with a thin lace of yellowish brown head around the edge.

Smell= The smell was of choc. roasted malt.

Mouth= Mouth was silky, perfect.

Taste= Very much of alc. and choc. coffee.

Drink= Extremely drinkable. Shared this with my wife and we both sat in silence in aw of this beer.

Photo of joezak5
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22 ounce bottle purchased for $5.99 in northern NJ and enjoyed on March 16, 2008 about 11 months aged.

Appearance: Black as night is a Duvel sniffter with a densely packed tan head that will go as high as you want. The lacing is so nice it looks like you'll need to scrub it off.

Aroma: Sweet, malty coffee aromas are the overwhelming presense here. There's a little caramel essence sneaking there as well.

Mouthfeel: This is like syrup in your mouth with barely a hint of carbonation. I'm struck once again by the lacing as I sip. I sense a little anise as well The welcoming presence is all there as it's just silky smooth.

Taste: Wow. This is as smooth as any 11% beer you'll ever have. It's just a little bitter on the initial taste but is pure black malt from there on. The alcohol isn't evident until it warms you on the way down. The finishing exhale is the best toffee with a little coffee poured on top.

Drinkability: One of the best Imperial Russian Stouts from my favorite brewer. This beer makes me question how anyone can drink wine when there's a beer like this. I can't wait until this years version comes out.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 purchased sometime last year ... don't remember the price exactly ... 2007 edition poured into my New Belgium snifer.

3 finger tan head drops fast leaving splotch lacing... very black brew.

Thick chocolate and roasted malts .. coffee and dark fruits .. the alcohol has really gone away in this one with a year in the cellar... a little smoke and char... maybe a little citrus/catty hops, but my nostrils could be playing tricks on me.

Big and badass across the palate ... thick and creamy while still retaining perfect carbonation. Dark chocolate and dark roast coffee ... fairly sweet but only enough to tie the figgy flavors into the roasted character. Toffee and essence of brown sugar. Alcohol only shows as it warms ... and then only in the gullet. Mild tawny port notes as it hits room temperature.

This is the type of beer that makes me wish I would have started cellaring alot sooner. Fantastic ... Beyond the hype and worthy of every good word mumbled about Stone and the IRS.

Photo of BattleRoadBrewer
3.54/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served in a 12 oz shaker from silkscreened bomber. Reviewed blind beside DL, Ky BS, Abyss, KtG, P. Mortel, B. Albert, Ten Fidy.

Fabulous pour, heavy and jet black with a modest 1/8" head that dissipates quickly. Very nice garnet color under strong light.

Aroma is weak, a nice chocolate note that floats away with a bit of graininess behind it. Slightly meaty.

Taste is a letdown. They took this one out of that lab too soon. No glaring defects, but weak and lacking complexity. Slight amount of dark fruits, black grains, molasses and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is balanced, bitterness low but balanced. Drinkability is OK, smooth, didn't have me waiting for another pour. Moved on to something else.

Photo of dreadnatty08
4.82/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

07' Edition, cellared for about 8 months.
Pours a standard pitch black with a less than stellar head, only a quarter inch of dark cappucino color. Aromas are quite boozy first, quite roasty, chocolate, slightly burned walnuts, and a bag of black patent. Just a touch of piney hops there, but the alcohol and malts really dominate. On the palate, a thickly bodied, low carbonated brew really kills the palate with a hugely complex malt profile. Layers of coffee and chocolate, roasted grain, touches of oak and smoke finishing with a lingering bitterness. I'm thrilled this is not an overly hopped RIS, as I've come to really hate that. Overall, an incredible brew, one to really put up against my favorites: BCS and Expedition.

Photo of MMAJYK
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Dark brown color; almost black. Head is a lighter brown with some rust thrown in. Foam is 1".

S- Chocolate and coffee dominate and the alcohol creates a nice warming effect.

T- Very creamy and sweet with roasted malts. Alcohol is very present too. Chocolate and cocoa round out the tastes very well.

M- Chewy and thick with mid carbonation.

D- Very high and drinkable for the style.

Overall- I am very impressed with this brew. Good representation of the style and another strong offering from Stone.

Photo of bbothen
3.63/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintage.

A- Black as coal. Less than a finger thick head that dissopates quickly. Rust colored soapy lace.

S- Smokey. Sweet licorice. Boozy. Plum & date dark fruit.

T- Raisin. All the flavors I smell actually.

M- Thick. Chewy. Low carbination. Complex for sure.

D- A heavy 10% sipper. Shut the windows & drink on a cold night.

*Gasp* Not my favorite brew from Stone. Good, without a doubt. Just others in the style that my palate prefers over this one.

Having said that, it's still quite good.

Photo of mully
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

thanks gandq for the chance to try this beer

a- thick mocha head fades slowly leaving some nice lace jet black color

s-- thick chocolate a little smokey and a little cidery on the end

t -- chocolate black malt, smokey some booze on the end not undesireable though -- a little coffee mixed in as well

m-- great well carbonated not syrupy clean not lingering thich and chewey in the best way

d-- goes down easy for being so high in alcohol

Photo of Pehlman
3.89/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Honestly, I expected more from this beer. Not bad but I was hoping for holy grail-esque quality. The smell of the beer was mostly of the alcohol. The color was just like I like em, pitch black. It was aged approx. 1 year, but I still felt like the alcohol flavor was a bit over-powering. Maybe it gets milder with more aging.

The flavor was definately good. Very smooth, but a bit like spiked, BBQ-ed, slightly carbonated fig juice.

The #1 thing I would give this beer is its great mouthfeel. I've had plenty of imperial russians and porters that feel like I'm drinking a smokey, 55 degree coke. This beer has absolutely perfect carbonation.

I'm not meaning to sound like I hate this beer but I guess I'm just a little disappointed. I love Stone and I had high expectations for their version of one of my favorite styles of beer.

Photo of rye726
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Black color with a this espresso brown head.

Very complex mixture of malts, ripe fruits and sweet alcohols.

Again a huge malt profile surrounded by sweet cherries, plums, figs and warming alcohols.

Thick and silky with good carbonation.

A delicious example of the style that leaves you wanting more. Ages well.

This ale continues to improve for at least a decade.

Photo of charlzm
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Consumed 8/24/07.

Pours black from the bottle, making a frothy and long-lasting tan head of fine bubbles. Fruitiness greets the nose with roasted coffee notes taking over mid-sniff. Smooth texture as the oil-dark brew slides creamily into the mouth. A full bitterness ensues, full of toasty nuts and coffee. As the beer warmed up, notes of the promised black currants developed. A pleasingly mild astringency salutes the departure of the beer, accompanied by a subtle alcohol burn down the throat. This is a big, manly beer and one of the only Stone beers I can think of that isn't hopped to within an inch of its life. Not to knock Stone at all - but it's a nice change.

A real favorite.

Photo of bunnyhustle
3.36/5  rDev -22.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2007 vintage, aged approx 1 year. I have to say I had very high expectations, not only due to the high rating of this beer but I am a huge fan of most all of Stone's offerings. This did not live up to those expectations and was a very mediocre beer. Pour was good, nice mocha colored head, dark as can be, decent head retention with some lacing. Smell was very disappointing. Stong smell of alcohol, particularly vodka which I found weird. Some smell of toffee and raisin, but mainly alcohol. Taste was of some coffee, chocolate, dark fruits but again a very sharp alcohol bite, especially as it goes down. Mouthfeel is medium, carbonation is great. Overall this was a good beer, but not great and not their best offering IMO. I was overwhelmed by the alochol presence and did not enjoy that.

Photo of bassmantin
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours an extremely dark black with moderate head that doesn't last long. This is a 2007 aged about one year. I've heard it's perfect at about one year old.

Smell is extremely intense, roasted malts, chocolate, with good hop balance, too. The taste is amazing. The year of aging has added so much flavor. I taste coffee, chocolate, hazelnut. Unbelievable. Not as intense as some of the other RIS out there but the complexity after a year of aging is unbelievable. I'm blown away. My buddy has a Westvleteren 8 waiting for me to try, and I can't put this glass down.

The aging has done wonders for this beer. I had it about six months ago, and it has improved so much. Aging beer is a miracle.

This is one of the best stouts I have ever had. Please buy as many as you can and age them about a year. Highly recommended.

Photo of HopDerek
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick black with some ruby hues in light, with a nice 2 fingers-width of creamy tan head, good retention and lacing. Smells lots of chocolate, along with dark fruits, licorice, roasted malt, coffee, and floral hops. Taste starts off with dark chocolate, followed by some anise, coffee, raisins, and black currant. Nice finish of milk chocolate, bitter hops, and a touch of alcohol. Full bodied and smooth with a good oily texture and a good job masking most of its alcohol. Dangerously easy to drink and very flavorful with a good balance.

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

Extremely black, dark brown head seems heavy and lasts a long time.

Thick, full mouthfeel, the aromas and flavors are a big blast of espresso-like malts and very high hopping. This is a carefully made ale that is every bit the paragon that it's reputation would indicate.

*This was a keg from 2007, drank in February '08.

Photo of joekfsu
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle, 2007 edition. Pours black, pitch black, with a 1 cm tan head that is quickly diminishing. Aroma is all bitter chocolates. Initial flavor is dominated by bitter chocolates, but some roasted malt and coffee show themselves. Ends balanced with a hint of alcohol. Lots of lacing, no noted carbonation, medium/heavy mouthfeel, some noted alcohol. Very drinkable, especially if you prefer stouts heavier on chocolate than coffee.

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

2007 vintage. 22oz. bottle poured into a tulip glass (consumed: 2/14/08)

A: Pours a thick, viscous dark brown with an equally dark brown 1-finger head. Holding it up to the light reveals some ruby colors around the beers edges; it even sparkles a bit after the initial pour. Phenomenal looking.

S: An almost-overwhelming rich, intoxicating bouquet of chocolate and roasted malts, backed up by even more cocoa, with the slightest hints of a floral hoppiness left.

T/M: Amazing. I cannot believe this is the same beer I had back in April when it was fresh, it's an entirely new beer already. It's *very* rich, a dessert chocolate mousse is the closest flavor I would describe this to be. As it warms, even more bittersweet cocoa comes out, as well as luscious dark cherries dripping in sinfully palate-watering juices. The beer doesn't so much as coat your mouth as it does vanquish anything else that's in there, with an oatmeal-like oil slick quality. Exxon Valdez has nothing on this beer.

D: Far, far too easy to drink for a beer that's over 10% ABV. I kept reaching for another sip, it was very difficult to let this warm properly as it was deliciously potable from the get-go. Highly, highly recommended.

Photo of YankChef
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip glass. 2007 vintage

Appearance: Completely opaque with a tan/beige head that clings to the glass. Very still and implacable character, this beer looks like you could stick a spoon in it and it would stand up straight.

Smell: Strong smell of candied fruit, particularly fig, plum, apricot, molasses, a little bit of cumin {yes cumin) and a little bit of cranberry/blackberry.

Taste: Upfront there is a hit of sweetness that is a dark sweetness, almost like a mixture of honey and brown sugar. Then you move into all sorts of dark candied fruit flavor like dried figs, crystalized ginger, caramelized pear, plum, palm sugar and a little bit of bitter molasses. The finish on this beer, at this point< is bitter with a strong assertiveness of hop... I'm thinking cascade and/or chinook and a strong espresso flavor.

Overall: Basically this beer kicks ass. If you like RIS, than this is one of the best beers in the world. I must say though, if you really like Russian Imperial Stouts than you must try this beer. More importantly this beer is not ready to drink when it is released. Let it sit for at least one year before drinking. Up to 3 years (When it will peak) is ideal. Cheers!

Photo of sholland119
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Poured from a bomber into a Stone Russian Imperial Stout glass.

A-pours a motor oil black with a nice tan head and nice retention.

S-starts with rich chocolate and coffee, some malt and faint hop characteristics.

T-bittersweet chocolate on the front, milk chocolate on the finish with some roasty coffee bitterness. Nice balance of malt and hops in the middle.

M-smooth, mildly carbonated. Very pleasant.

D-very easy to drink, very smooth for the style.

I love Stone beers. I don't know how they manage to make such easy drinking hoppy beers. This RIS lives up to the hype in every way.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,360 ratings.