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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

7,457 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,457
Reviews: 2,629
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 653
Gots: 1,762 | FT: 101
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: 7,457 | Reviews: 2,629
Photo of raiser
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

appearance - Pours black as night, with a small head
smell - Chocolate + coffee = YUMMY
taste - Malty + coffee + dark chocolate = delicious
mouthfeel - Full, but not too thick or creamy
drinkability - The best RIS I have tried, though I have some Abyss waiting in the wings.

I liked it so much I went out and bought 2 more bottles and WILL buy it again. Readily available inexpensively (for craft brew) in my area.
About $6 per Bomber

If it was half that price it would probably be my session beer.

Photo of czfreeman
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

5/15/08
I attended a Stone tasting held at Half-Time beverage in Poughkeepskie,NY. We tried Double Bastard 2005,10th anniv, Old Guardian 2006, and Imperial 2008.
This Imperial Stout is truly something to behold. It pours out roughly the same viscosity as used Castor oil, high mileage even! The brew hold about a 1/4 inch tan film for about a minute, before it dissapates into the abyss.

The aroma is of deep cocoa, roasted malts, bitter chocolates, a touch of malts, hazelnut fudge, molasses all cut by a nice bite of Warrior hops.
The flavor when I sipped it cold a was pure iced super-thick mocha coffee mouthfull. As it warms to drinking temp,my God! Roasted malts, coffee notes, cocoa, hazelnuts, sorghum molasses, then a perfect balance of alcohol warmth and hop bitterness.
The mouthfeel of this beer is truly incredible. Super-rich,thick, yet cut perfectly by the warm alcohol bite and Warrior hop finish. A mouthfull of a hot White Russian is all I can say. I was lucky enough to try it fresh, I reccommend trying one now, and aging a few. As far as appearance,taste, and mouthfeel, this was a perfect Imperial stout. Unleash this Rasputin proudly for the Czar to behold! I spoke with the Stone East Coast rep for a time, a truly fullfilling experience.

Photo of auxiliary
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

appearance - Pours black, with a small head that faded and left some lace.

smell - Chocolate, malts, coffee.

taste - Sweet malt, coffee, dark chocolate.

mouthfeel - Full body.

drinkability - Real good RIS, might be the best I have tried. Would buy this agin. Appears you can age this one too. I'll have to look into that.

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

Pours black with a small brown head.

Aroma of dark malts, coffee and caramel.

Taste of dark malts, coffee, dark chocolate and some sweetness. Sort of had a milk chocolate thing going on. Some hops in the backbone.

Mouthfeel had a heavy body, smooth and creamy.

Overall, a solid brew. Interesting. Certainly worth a try.

Photo of djaeon
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Reviewing the '08:

A = Pours thick and black. Like good coffee. Pours with a thick, brown head that has great retension.

S = Smells of rich coffee and chocolate.

T = Tastes as good as it looks & smells. Great tasty coffee flavor with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

M = Feels very smooth and thick from the first sip to the last.

D = Immenently drinkable. Bombers are big enough for two, but I never want to share. There's no hesitation when I take a sip about whether or not I want to take another.

This is one of my favorite Stone brews. While this one's not initially as good as the '05 or '06, it's still a great beer (as reflected in my scores). I think this one will get better with age.

Photo of TheEremite
3.73/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours black and thick. Decent head that lasted through the glass. Smells of coffee, and burnt toast. The flavor is slightly acrid, but heavy on the chocolate and coffee. I've had this beer many times before and never noticed anything off putting about the roasted malts, but it struck me as a bit harsh this go around. It also feels and tastes a bit on the underattentuated side. I'll have to try it again. Never the less, it's a good beer, and I'd suggest giving it a go.

Photo of Ecliptica
2.03/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

When I finally saw this for the first time at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA I was excited - one of the highest rated beers on BA and not available in Louisiana where I usually am and usually purchase beer. It was an automatic purchase, even at $8.00 a bottle.

Poured the brew in a pint glass that I brought back with me from my favorite bar in New Orleans and the beer poured as expected, a completely opaque black that absolutely refuses to let light pass through it, no ruby tints as with most other Imperial Stouts. This is as black as black can be. The beautiful tan head leaves zero lacing behind.

The smell can best be described as a licorice-laced espresso. There is a hint of fruity esters somewhere in there and it's actually quite complex and quite leading. I don't know why it doesn't taste like it smells.

Although the beer is 10.80% ABV, the only distinguishable taste is the alcohol. I'm getting very little fruit and NO chocolate whatsoever. It tastes almost like soy sauce, leaving the mouth dry and wanting more. . .but certainly not more of this beer.

The beer is nowhere near as thick or as smooth as it should be considering the vigorous pour, and as I mentioned above, there is a quite bitter and sour aftertaste that leaves the palate desiring more liquid and I continued to drink the brew even though I knew I wasn't enjoying it.

Drinkability. . .::sigh::. . .I don't even know. This is probably the second beer I've had in the last couple of months that almost resulted in a drain pour. I'm just left wondering why it's rated so high. . .is it because it's a Russian Imperial Stout? Is it because of the high ABV? Is because the brewery itself is known for producing quality beers (this is the first one that has let me down, FWIW)? I'm just confused, I don't recommend this at all, and between this and the Harviestoun Old Engine Oil (Aged in Malt Whiskey Casks) that I had last week, I've been having pretty bad luck with choosing my beers lately.

Photo of drxandy
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2008
Poured from 22oz into snifter, deep brownish black with little head that simmers away slow, comes back with agitation

smells of coffee, green raisins, chocolate/caramel maltyness, very oaty, smooth smelling

tastes very clean for an RIS, oatmeal smoothness hits me first, coffee mainly on the end note - alchohol is noticeable but blended very well, thick and easy drinking for abv

mouthfeel is creamy and thick when agitated, the foamy deliciousness is like espresso and foamy milk almost, but better, and when flat, the beer still is quite creamy

overall the hype for stone's russian imperial is deserved, as this is a staple of the style done damn well for an affordable price.

Photo of genog
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a very rich black color with a rich dark brown head that sparkled as it slowly faded away. Aroma is strong on fruit, molasses, espresso and licorice. Taste is extremely strong and complex with dark fruits, licorice, and espresso. Moutfeel is very thick and chewy, making this one an extreme sipper. I found a lot more flavor in this one on tap than when I tried 2007 in the bottle. This one is a very thick stout.

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

22oz bottle into 8oz snifter. 2008 release.

Pitch black with a one finger brown head that slowly settles to a thin rim along the glass, not leaving any lacing behind. Some lacing does from with thing strings along the glass that develop after each sip.

Deep roasty malts, chocolate, and some molasses. The hops don't really show up as they are dominated by the malts. Some alcohol makes its way through.

The ubiquitous ultra bitter malts are there along with a little show from the hops toward the end. Some chocolate makes its way in there as well. Full bodied with good carbonation. The finish is the lingering bitter malts.

This is a great stout but I'm not ready to rave about it. It doesn't offer me anything that all the other RISs have, and falls just below the few that I have truly enjoyed. Still, it's recommended.

Photo of JordanC
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Love the blackness of the color. Very dark and think, pours like crude oil.

Smell is interestingly complex with definite aromas of coffee, smoke and a hint of fruitiness.

Love at first taste. Coffee and chocolate comes through strong, but in the end a taste of malty bitterness sits on the tongue.

Excellent mouthfeel, however not as thick and smooth in the mouth as it looks when poured.

After many tastes and finally having with chocolate, this is officially my favorite beer. Even surpassing my first true love, Guinness. I highly recommend
p.s. The 2005 brew from tap at brewery is the best version of this in my opinion

Photo of fitzy84
4.82/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Served in the 22 ounce bottle. Appearance is spectacular: dark, dark black with chocolate-color head that laces rather quickly. The aromas are perfect: smoky, sourish malts mixed with strong fruits (raspberries) and coffee laced hops. I mean the smells are all over the map, but they are so wonderfully complementary that there really is a great unitary aroma. Taste-wise is also excellent with an incredibly savory bitterness that is a combination of coffee, mocha, espresso and wheat flavors. The mouthfeel helps aid in perfecting this beverage by making it very smooth on the palate. Its not light but any standards, but by making it almost milky with a medium carbonation, the flavors are able to express themselves quite well. By far, one of the best drinks I have had. Highly recommend.

Photo of brdc
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

It is amazing that I never had this beer before, but tonight is a great night to put an end to this infamy, with a double whammy consisting of the new one, courtesy of Solomon420, and an aged 2003, courtesy of brewdlyhooked, thanks to both.

Let's start with the new one.
Pitch black, oily, with a very dark tan head that holds reasonably well, making a decent amount of lacing for such a high octane brew.
Great aroma, with roasted malts, but not burnt, chocolate, coffee, molasses, fruits particularly dark ones.
Full bodied as expected, with a low level of carbonation, the taste is all that was expected and more; with licorice, molasses, alcohol, coffee and chocolate, all of them quite strong except for the alcohol, coming and going in great waves without stomping the other. It is mostly malts, but hops make a nice fruity appearance here and there. Incredibly easy to drink, and I cannot wait for the aged one. In the meantime, let me enjoy...

Now for the aged version,
Same appearance, a little bit less head.
Aroma shows a little bit more alcohol and licorice, as well as chocolate and anise.
Carbonations levels are even lower, as expected, but on the palate is even fuller and creamier. Taste has mellowed a bit, the alcohol is more noticeable even though the ABV is lower; there are more roasted malts and chocolate, and little to no hops. It is better, although barely - but then, how can you make this any better?
Two masterpieces. If you never had this beer, now is the time. I cannot believe it took me so long.

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

I wasn't sure what to expect when the beer store guy described it as less sweet then world wide stout, but I had it following a world wide stout and it still had a bitter sweet finish in between. The beer pours cola with a thin tan head. The taste is like coffee with lite cream. It's not sweet but not bitter, so it's like coffee. It has a thick mouthfeel like a lite syrup almost, like a cream almost. Drinkability is very high as it is, I would definitely recommend.

Photo of mattster
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Opened 22 ounce bomber bottle of 2008 release, poured into Nonic glass.

Pours a thick yet low head of ½" which slowly breaks to a thin layer of lace across top of glass. Some bubbles rising to top of midnight black brew. Light lace on side of glass and some "legs" to this brew.

Smell is of dark coffee, chocolate and slightly sweet malts. Taste is very nice with subtle coffee and strong dark chocolate. Nice malt with dryer finish. Full mouth feel; Bubbles are light however a slight bit of heat on back of palate slightly detracts from the drink ability.

All in all, a really great brew. I will buy more of these and set them aside for a while.

Photo of turbine2475
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to jkane101 for this trade!

A- Pours jet black with a dense, two finger, mocha head that disipated slowly leaving a heavy lace.
S - Coffee, toffee, dark chocolate, some dark fruits, and a little touch of grain.
T - Dark coffee, chocolate, bitter fruit, burnt sugar, and toasted grain. All in very good balance!
M - Chewy with a low carbonation and a coating that compliments the balance.
D - Great RIS that has an excellent balance. I wish this was avaliable in Texas, but until that time I will just have to trade for more!!

Photo of DHGranstrand
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black and viscous with a nice dark brown head. Nice head retention with good lacing.

Smells of chocolate, coffee and malt.

Strong black coffee, bittersweet chocolate and malt.

Excellent viscous mouthfeel.

This is really an excellent, well-balanced tasty stout. Nothing really stands out on its own but it really is very smooth and drinkable.

Photo of gford217
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber courtesy of leftmindedrighty poured into a snifter.

A: Pours pitch black with a dense one finger head which dissipates pretty quickly leaving a swirl of tiny bubbles on the top. Lacing is excellent.

S: Smell is fairly typical RIS, with roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, and some dark fruit. It seemed a little boozy and on the bitter/burnt side of things but still pretty nice.

T: Big roasted malt flavor up front which quickly gives way to a nice blend of roasted coffee, chocolate and a nice raisiny fruit sweetness. The aftertaste is bitter with an extended coffee flavor along with some hop bitterness.

M: Fairly thick mouthfeel and low carbonation leaves the mouth coated in creamy goodness.

D: This is a definitely a great RIS and it almost lives up to the hype. I probably wouldn't put it in my top 3 for the style but I would actively seek it out.

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

The '08s finally made it to Albany by way of Half Time. Hooray!

A- Uber-dark. No light's getting through. Thick mocha-colored head dissipates to a nearly thin, solid cap

S- Roast & coffee. Not picking up a whole heck of a lot in the nose... a bit of booze in the background.

T- Roasted coffee beans & cocoa powder with a pleasing bitter hop finish. Booze on the finish as well.

M- Thick. Coats the mouth & leaves a tingle on the lips.

D- Give it a year or so & it'll mellow out & be vastly improved. This is one brew that benefits greatly with a bit of age on the bottle.

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

Waited for a fairly chilly night to crack this.

Pours black with a tan head. Thick like motor oil. Head eventually falls away, just leaving sticky lace.

Huge malty chocolate and coffee aroma.

Deep dark coffe and bittersweet chocolate, then it falls away into a sweet gooey chocolate.

Alcohol presence is disguised by rich dark fruits. Plum and fig. Honey and molassas in there too, syrupy.

Mouthfeel is good, but theres some lactic milky chocolate notes that form an uncomfortable saliva syrup (sorry for being discript). I generally like my Imperials to be a bit dryer and shorter in the finish, just to keep the drinkability up.
It does go down smooth and with the alcohol covered up well, makes for an okay drinker. It's just not 100% what I look for in a russian imperial stout.

I'm reviewing this against others in the style, and am not falling pray to BA's IIPA/IStout/Quad syndrome. I'm not going to rate this against a Golden Ale or a hefe, but against other Russian Imperial Stouts. It's good, but it's just way to syrupy and cloying to be an A+

Obviously, I recommend this to anyone who hasn't tried!

Photo of PhxHorn
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown, with minimal tan head. A little thinner than some RIS's. Smells of coffee and chocolate. Tastes of coffee and chocolate, plus some cherry and malt flavors in there. Overall, not as intense as most RIS's I've tried; a nice balance of flavor, but just not that much of it. A little disappointing. Not as good as, say, Abyss, Yeti, or Brooklyn, or even Bourbon County. Closer to a straight stout. Being a bit lighter, you could finish the whole bomber and not feel like you were stuffed. A fine beer, but flavorwise it's a very middle of the road offering from a brewery that usually delivers high intensity.

Photo of pheggeseth
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 bottle poured into my Darkness snifter

A: no head or lacing, bababablack, just kind of "plops" into the glass

S: chocolate, caramel, brown sugar, vanilla bean, nutmeg

T: toasted malt, chocolate, caramel, very similar to the smell

M: not too thick, not too thin, great carbonation, coating though

D: strong, but smooth, this was aged perfectly

Photo of Flashy
3.7/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Purchsed at Town and Country Liquors, W. Springfield, MA 4/08.

A- Pours beautiful, laces down the side of the glass. Dark as a beer can be.

S- Soy sauce, alcohol.

T - Kinda sour. Soy Sauce, smokey alcohol up front. Slight burn on the way down. Not world class, don't get it.

M - Thick, little thin in the after taste. Expected more.

D - I like most Stone beers, tough think they are a bit over rated (see smoked porter). I love RIS and this is just above average. Surprised to find this near the top BA 10. Makes you wonder.

Serving type: bottle

Photo of boston2bburg
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours darker than a black steer's tukus on a moonless night. Attractive caramel cap of fine bubbles which thin out a bit but gravitate to the edge of the glass where they leave their mark copiously.

Aroma is roasted and toasted malts and some earthy hops.

Big and bold, imbibing this beer feels more like eating chocolate birthday cake with caramel icing, at least in body. The taste exhibits some of this, but leans more heavily on toast and nuts. Starchy and bready on the finish, the mouthfeel is silky up front.

Butter presents itself on the nose and palate as the beer warms, and with it a more prominent booziness. And this one will have ample time to warm, as it's a very slow sipper. No room for seconds; more like dessert for two.

Photo of Bejogle
2.29/5  rDev -47.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter.

This beer is opaque black in every sense of the word, with a really impressive, pillowy tan head. The head subsides very quickly, however, and leaves only slight lacing.

The smell was not very interesting really, smelled pretty much like a Guinness if Guinness made malt liquor, lots of hints of fusel alcohol.

The taste was worse than the smell, unfortunately. There is no presence of chocolate or coffee flavors at all in this beer as there are in other RIS'. It tasted pretty much like a mixture of cough syrup and the fusel alcohol i mentioned before. I don't understand where people are getting the complexity.

Mouthfeel was good, thick and oily like a RIS should be, but the taste ruined the experience and therefore the drinkability.

I was hoping it was just a bad bottle but I bought another one and it had the same exact problems. I really really wanted to enjoy this beer because of its high rating, but I'm starting to think it's rated so highly simply because its a seasonal from a reputable brewery and because its so high in ABV. I won't be buying this again, sticking to Old Rasputin.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,457 ratings.