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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.

7,210 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,210
Reviews: 2,598
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 568
Gots: 1,615 | FT: 92
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: 7,210 | Reviews: 2,598 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of shlap
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Taste: This '06 release had a really stiff alcohol taste which trumped most every other flavor when I first cracked it open last spring. Now in '07 it's matured beautifully; absolutely perfect. Silky smooth black licorice, burnt smokey flavor, and sweet roasted chocolate malts with that signature Stone flavor I don't quite know how to describe.

Appearance: Motor oil. A black hole from which no light can escape.

Body: Silky smooth, full body.

Aroma: Sweet red wine and black licorice.

Head: A nice full brown head that dissapated too quickly. Four or five drinks and it was completely gone. Frowney Face.

Lacing: No lacing, none. Man, what a bummer.

Carbonation: Very very lightly carbonated.

Have Another?: Oh yes please. My favorite stout yet but to be fair, I don't have a lot of stouts under my belt.

shlap, Jan 22, 2007
Photo of zuggy9
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is a stunner, and seriously changing my opinions of Russian imperial stouts! The beer pours black with a thick brown head. Dark but clean. The smell is strong with a nice array of sweet maltiness, earthy honey and chocolate and fruit notes, a bit of grain too. It drinks smooth, with chocolate, roasted malts and a bit of fruit. I can only describe the mouthfeel as silky. I could drink this all night!

zuggy9, Jan 16, 2007
Photo of bluegrassbrew
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Whoa buddy! This is quite a brew! Pours a very dark amberish brown with a dark tan head that was more prevalent than I expected. Smells wonderful, alcohol, dark berries, toffee, and sweet leather. Tastes just as complex. Definite currant and some other fruitiness as well as chocolate and toffee. The alcohol is more hidden than I thought. I've had a few double stouts but no imperial stouts, so I guess that is what I was expecting. But, this brew slapped me in the face and showed me what imperial stout means. Very complex and very, very good.

bluegrassbrew, Jan 15, 2007
Photo of jj21
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2005 release (Thanks to biglove)
Pours black as night into a stemmed tulip creating a dark brown dense head that disappears all too soon leaving some lacing, but for the most part it was pretty lifeless. Somewhat disappointing as I had been waiting a year before opening this one. Aromas of chocolate and roasting coffee mask the alcohol well. Taste was excellent. The hops were muted and the malts shone through. Big and thick mouthfeel coats the mouth and throat while alcohol persists. Some dark fruits and sweetness but not what I expected. This was a lot easier to drink than I thought it would be. I expected a bomb of a stout (see DFH WWS) but it wasn't. Don't get me wrong- it was still a great Stout. I look forward to cracking open the 2006 tonight to see what it's like fresh.

jj21, Jan 08, 2007
Photo of Scorpious
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Beverages and More!! has in stock within the 1st week of release. Beer hits the store on Tuesdays/Wedsdays, call for availability.
The company (depending on the store) only is allocated a certain number of cases after that you will have to get @ the Brewery...

Scorpious, Jan 06, 2007
Photo of bruachan
3.48/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is a "limited early summer 2004 release". don't remember where i picked it up

not even going to bother talking about the appearance

super sweet, dextrinous aroma. some deeply roasted malts play around too, but it's mostly sweet that i smell. i would have expected the flavors and mouthfeel to be more melded and muted, but the heat is still there. it transitions right into the bitterness, too, which is a little odd. i get some oaky vanilla, but nothing like the yeti that actually spent time in oak

bruachan, Jan 05, 2007
Photo of MVassar
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Resembles a cup of black coffee. Very dark brown. Short-lived mocha head, with no lacing.

Roasted coffee, roasted nuts, dark fruit, and raw sugar in the nose. Very enticing.

Sweet malt, syrupy, rich fruit. Raisins, molasses, chocolate.

Creamy, thick mouthfeel, with a long finish. Low-key carbonation.

Delicious for dessert, but not one I would consume in great quantities.

MVassar, Jan 05, 2007
Photo of terrabyte
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep black with a small brown foam that disappears quickly.

Aroma is very strong and easy to pick up. Unsweetened roasted chocolates, a hint of bourbon, and burned coffee.

Flavor is quite intense. Dark chocolate flavors make the base, yet added hardly any sweetness. Some alcohol could be tasted in the form of dark fruits like raisons and dates. The flavor that I’ll forever remember, though, is a smoky & woody ashtray taste. Unique and mostly enjoyable.

Mouthful is very thick and heavy. In fact, one of the heaviest I can remember in recent history. Carbonation was low, but hardly a factor with the thickness.

Drinkability is a sipper. I didn't find the alcohol to be very apparent, actually. It was the thickness and the dark flavor that slowed this down. This bottle probably lasted over an hour with me at a party.

This is a 2006 bomber I saved until New Year's Eve. A fitting event for such a bottle. I offered some to everyone there, but they were intent on mixed drinks and MGD. Although I thought the ABV of this beer was masked by its strong flavors, it should be noted that I had put away a growler of Grumpy Troll Russian Imperial Stout and a 6-pack of New Glarus Spotted Cow earlier that day. My tongue may have been impaired.

terrabyte, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of Tyrawlings
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 offering poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a snifter glass.

A: Dark as night black with absolutely no light visible from any angle of the snifter. The cinnamon brown head poured one finger thick and dissolved in seconds to a slight ring of tiny bubbles around the glass. No lacing what so ever.

S: Roasted coffee. Dark chocolate. Dark fruits. Oak or wood with a slight smoke spirit. Alcohol.

T: A dark bitter chocolate with roasted coffee are noticable right off the bat with a sweet or sugary molasses touch. A slight citric hop bite is followed by the taste of dark fruit or currants. The alcohol kicks in with a taste of oak aged bourbon. This beer finishes with an earthy and smoked aftertaste.

M: Syrupy and luxuriously thick. Slight if any carbination. A dry aftertaste comes from the alcohol.

D: I had this beer with a fine dinner on New Year's Eve. A perfect combination with the surf and turf I enjoyed. This beer is not for the faint of heart. This is a sipper that is to be savored over time. The favors really come out as the beer warms. Leaves you with a calm warming feeling all over. All said.... This was a treat! A great representation of the style. A fantastic beer from start to finish!

Cheers and a Happy New Year to All!

Tyrawlings, Jan 03, 2007
Photo of jasonjlewis
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer had a decent head that faded a bit too quickly for my taste. The smell was strong of chocolate malts, the alcohol was not too overbearing. Apple phenol, my favorite smell, was present. Taste was incredibly balanced and malty. I can't believe this is 10.8% alcohol. The malting of this beer is superb and thick. I was afraid the alcohol would be overbearing. Not too bitter either, I've heard the ibus on this beer weere very high, but the balance doesn't make it very noticeable. This beer was pretty easy to drink. A very nice RIS.

jasonjlewis, Jan 02, 2007
Photo of beerphan
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle -> american pint
sping 2006 release

Pours jet black with a one inch brown head that leaves quickly and leaves no lace.

Nose: Roasted chocolate malts, licorise, dark fruit and alcohol.

Deep thick chocolate blast with some intense alcohol. Definately a sipper. Smokey wood bourbon finish that warms the throat considerabley.

Mouth is thick and chewy with a low carbonation and a slick feel.

I don't think i would drink more than one of these in a sitting, but definately a good choice for a scarey movie on a snowey night.

beerphan, Dec 31, 2006
Photo of jlh8643
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 2005 bomber version. Pulled it out of the fridge and let sit for about 30 mins. Very dark with ruby highlights around the edges when held up to the lights. A mediocre tan head that fell away all too soon leaving some whisps of foam arounds the edges. Roasted and dark malts dominate the nose. The hop aroma was subdued after about 18 months in the bottle but I knew some was there. Dark fruits, caramel and roasted, coffee notes deliver a long full finish.

If it wasn't for the disappointing initial appearance I would have rated this a bit higher. Overall I very much enjoyed this brew.

jlh8643, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of Frozensoul327
3.53/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark black opaque color with a short lived head of foam that took off in no time. No lacing, and what appears to be a low level of carbonation. Woul'd've been nicer if it had more of a head.

S: Rich, roasted chocolate malts, notes of unsweetend cocoa and raw molasses. Notes of bourbon and chocolate liquor hide in the background. Java notes swirl in and out of perception's view.

T: Dense dark chocolate flavors come out swinging. A hearty dose of warming alcohol kicks in shortly after, followed by a wallop of bourbon laced nuances: coffee, smoke, wood, grain. Nice.

M: Dense, heavy, thick. A measureable amount of carbonation is noted, but is overpowered by the magnitude of the liquid it's contained in.

D: Fair. It's not bad. Very much a sipper. Seems to be more akin to a imperial java stout, or something along those lines. Well made, just not my bag.

Frozensoul327, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of NJpadreFan
3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Stone- Imperial Russian Stout

Appearance- Dark black with a thick tan head. Heavy lacing throughout the beer.
Smell- Strong alcohol, burnt coffee beans, cherries, and raisins.
Taste- Very sweet, sugary sweet smokey malt mixed with a roasted coffee bean and fruit flavor. Dried fruits of raisin and cherries come through.
Mothfeel- Sweet!! Syrupy sugary sweet with huge doses of alcohol.

Overall- Not a bad sipper, but you better like it over the top sugary sweet!!!

NJpadreFan, Dec 27, 2006
Photo of tkarsies
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Served at cellar temp in a pint glass. 2006 version. Has been in my cellar for 7 months. Appearance is coal black. No light shows through even when held up to the light. Brown head briefly appears but quickly dissipates.
Smell is sweet with strong roasted smell and some fruits.
Taste is of roasted malt. Again, some fruit is noticeable in the background. Bitterness mostly from the roasting and only slight hop presence. Some alcohol is tasted as well. Mouthfeel is smooth, very smooth. Carbonation is light.
Wow! This is one great beer. It is much smoother than many other impy stouts thatI have had in the past. Alcohol is not as obvious as I would expect for a beer of this strength. I am eager to try my other cellared bottle in a year or so. Definitely a nice Christmas Eve treat.

tkarsies, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of dherling
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured out a dark dark dark brown, with a tan creamy head, lasting a long time. Nose was malt, sour cherry, stone fruit, alcohol, sherry. The taste was incredibly big, complex, and balanced. Lots of dark fruit, sheryr, muted alcohol, cherry, and cassis. There was a nice silky mouthfeel, amazingly drinkable. Really lovely beer.

dherling, Dec 24, 2006
Photo of guitarmage
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours black, nearly no light passes through. No head, thin dark brown lacing that disappears quickly. Few high lights of dark coffee color.

Smell: Sweet and alcoholic notes, black currant and anise as described on the bottle, light roastiness.

Taste: Light roastiness upfront, gentle hop bitterness quickly fades into thick, sweet, black currant, molasses, some coffee, very complex, and moderate alcohol warmth at the end (especially for the abv).

Mouthfeel: Very thick and heavy, not particularly creamy. Pleasant and appropriate for the flavor.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for the style, other than the headrush from the ABV, great flavor, pleasant warming, coats the mouth and the glass.

guitarmage, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of sman262
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice 700th review

Grats to JoshD for hooking me up.

This has to be one of the hoppier stouts ive had in a while, latly ive been drinking goose island Bourbon county and founders breakfast, and man on man was this a nice change of pace. I love the copper head and the darkness of a great stout, smell was awesome, reminded me of dark lord, rolling over the the maltyness and hops really came out. overall i would have to say that i have to get over to FFF and check this out on tap.

sman262, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Bellevue snifter from a 22oz bottle.

Appearance- Jet black, used motor oil. Nice and viscous. Deep brown head of about an eighth of a finger. Looks like a black cognac in my snifter.

Smell- Lots of cream, coffee, wood, and toffee with a veil of black draped over it all.

Taste- Starts very dark and sweet from the vanilla and cream roasted malts. The middle is a little more woody, but still dark. The finish lets the hops get some say so by imparting an almost viney smokiness to the finish.

Mouthfeel- Not as viscous as Dark Lord. But still viscous. Just what I'm looking for in a good RIS.

scruffwhor, Dec 20, 2006
Photo of alysmith4
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first try of anything Stone.. and my first Russian stout at that! Very deep in flavor, complex with roasted coffee and toasted fruit flavors. Detected a touch of coffee and cherry flavors, and some herbal, medicinal flavors.

Not my favorite style, but a well-crafted flavor with carefully brewed complexities. Definitely worth a try, even if you don't like this style.

alysmith4, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of HoustonTX
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Edition. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

The darkest beer I have seen in a long time. Non-opaque and jet-black. The head was lacking, and only produced a ring of lace at the end of the pour. This lace will last until the end of the drink, I guarantee it.

I set the beer down on the counter... and waited. Waiting for what you might ask? I was waiting for my nose to calm down, as the fragrance was being permeated throughout the room. I could smell the beer almost a foot away. Insane. The smell is excellent overall. Strong current of chocolate/coffee malt, along with fruity esters. Caramel and chocolate take center stage. With undertones of ripe cherries, and graham cracker. It's quite hard to take this beer away from my nose. It's smell is just incredibly pleasant and true to the RIS style.

Mmm, the first sip was delicious. Lots of complexity going on initially, and even more after each sip as the beer warms. A strong blast of malt on the get go. Chocolate with perfect balance. Right in the median between bitter and sweet. After the initial blast of malt, comes a hoppy note which produces exceptional balance. Citric in nature, and goes well with the overall flavor scheme. After the hops fade, comes a long lingering dark coffee flavor which resembles espresso almost exactly. Pushing up against it is a large roasted grain note, which lasts long after the sip is gone. Talk about beer for breakfast? This one could pull it off, with ease. The mouthfeel is creamy, a bit oily, and right on for the style. Drinkability is great for a beer of this size.

I am having trouble expressing words right now, much less conveying them to type. It's almost unbelievable how good this beer really is. After the large amount of hype and good word I have heard about this beer, it did have a lot to live up to. I'd proudly like to say, that this beer is definitely world-class, and that it does indeed live up to the hype - and past it...

Hands down, one of finest Stouts on the face of the earth.

HoustonTX, Dec 04, 2006
Photo of lpayette
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Details- Thanks to dbalsock for the sample straight from San Diego. 22 oz. bottle - Spring 2006 release, and enjoyed on Dec. 2nd 2006.

Appearance- Pours very dark and very thick. Didn't observe much lacing. I would like to see the head be a bit bigger too.

Smell- Darkly roasted malt, hints of black currants, a definite coffee bean aroma, very dark chocolate (of the milk variety).

Taste- Very dark chocolate that is truffle-like. Gets creamy as it warms. Coffee. Alcohol, but it has either become or always was surprsingly mellow. Delicous, and especially delicious as it warms to room temperature.

Moughtfeel- So thick and creamy as it warms. Doesn't get any better than this.

Drinkability- I sipped on this for about an hour- but when it approached room temperature I found myself wanting more and more, and it was surprisingly drinkable. I bet this would be even better with another year or so of aging. A great beer that I look forward to trying again.

lpayette, Dec 03, 2006
Photo of amatuerbeerguy
3.35/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

With an opaque color on the pour. Which included a tan head that shot up to the glass top, then almost as fast went away. No lacing apparent.

Aroma has coffee, dark chocolate, only noticeable aroma.

Flavor of coffee, chocolate, roast, and alcohol warming.

Mouth feel was low/medium body, with little to no carbonation.

Overall it is an average/below average RIS. I have had it before, and it was better this may be a bad bottle.

amatuerbeerguy, Dec 01, 2006
Photo of kimcgolf
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a thick black, used motor oil look, with light tan head that lingers long and leaves decent lacing. Aroma is malty roasted nut and molasses. Flavor is more of the same, and as the beer warms, the 9.4% alcohol becomes more noticeable. Sweet, long finish tops this off and makes it a most enjoyable beer.

kimcgolf, Nov 26, 2006
Photo of mattf311
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours motor oil black with about a quarter inch of foam. Smells of dark chocolate with a bit of coffee. Also tastes of dark chocolate / coffee with a hint of sweetness... It's a nice balance. A very thick brew -- practically a milkshake -- with no carbonation. A nice sipping beer on a cold day with a piece of dark chocolate.

I thought it was a great beer but I expected more of a wow effect from the taste given its acclaim. It is an excellent interpretation of a russian imperial stout but I found myself prefering old rasputin. Will do more research on this subject...

mattf311, Nov 24, 2006
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 7,210 ratings.