1. American Craft Beer Fest returns to Boston on May 29 & 30, featuring 640+ beers from 140+ brewers. Tickets are on sale now.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

7,410 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,410
Reviews: 2,620
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 646
Gots: 1,718 | FT: 96
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,410 | Reviews: 2,620 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of elmore
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a Maudite snifter from a 1pt 6oz. Oily jet black with a mocha 1 finger head. Rapidly receded to a foamy rim around the glass. Give it a swirl and it wakes up and shows some nice legs and foamy lace.

I really spent a lot of time swirling this one - the smells are very complex and pleasant. Smells of dark roasted sweet malts. Not a lot of burnt malts coming thru for such a dark beer. Alcohol is quite apparent in the nose. Smell intensifies and some coffee and dark chocolates come out as it warms.

Alcohol not as apparent in the taste. Although you can definitely feel the buzz from this. Carmel and espresso. Malt doesn't taste burnt or overly bitter like some RISs, but more like a fine dark chocolate. There is a subdued bitter hops aftertaste, which doesn't linger excessively.

Mouthfeel is thick, viscous and smooth with moderate carbonation. This is spot on for the style.

Defintely a sipper. A great beer on a cold winter nite. Easy to drink though. I don't find this as harsh as some of the RISs.

A really great RIS. Smooth and pleasant. Alcohol is quite apparent, but not in a bad way. Would be interesting to age this.

Photo of jwolfie70
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is one of my favorite RIS. It pours a jet black, with a brown head that quickly dissapates. The smell is very complex, with sweet milk malt, coffee, chocolate, vanilla and roasted malt all coming through. The taste backs up the smell. I have had this a number of times now, and it has yet to disapoint.

This beer was also a launching pad for my obsession with beer, so it holds a special place for me in the pantheon of beers.

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

A: WOW! This was intimidating. First of all, the head took almost ten minutes to settle; and the flavors that came from this head (gizzing in my pants thinking about it). The color was basicly black with a huge burnt caramel head.

S: Coffee, chocolate, hops, vanilla, and raisins.

A: This was absolutely delicious. Delicious! Lots of hops, and malts. Lots of deep rich coffee and tastes of chocolate. And hints of raisins. And honestly, perfectly balanced.

M: Very nice. Thick and rich. Nice carbonation. And it coats the tongue (which leaves the flavors there for an enjoyable experience for the next 3-5 minutes).

D: More, more, more please. Looks like I need to get another Stone gargoyle tattoo.

Photo of DackAchan
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- Pours dark, with a thin layer of a mocha head. No lacing.

S- Good smell. Lots of complex aromas, dates, and chocolate the primary smells.

T- Excellent taste. Starts sweet with a nice rich chocolate flavor, flowing well into a strong date/raisin flavor. Finishes nicely with a touch of bitterness on the back end. Overall very well rounded.

M- Heavy body, nothing harsh about this beer. Feels good.

D- Good drinkablitly for a RIS. Alcohol isn't overpowering so it is pleasant the whole session.

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

22 oz "Spring 2007" bottle poured into a snifter

A: A rich deep, dark chocolate color that is completely opaque. A thick, fluffy dark mocha colored head with that dissipates to a ring and some small bubbles in the middle. A lot of thick, sticky lacing.
S: Strong aroma of roasted coffee and surprisingly almost as strong, darker fruits. Slight hint of alcohol in background, barely any chocolate or malt detectable to me.
T: In general this is a very pleasant, smooth easy drinking, yet complex RIS. Coffee flavors are present throughout and are strongest in the aftertaste. A strong fruit sweetness (grape, currant) is also present in the body and is slightly bitter. Not surprisingly, hops are also near the finish for balance. Even after aging for a year there is the slight taste of alcohol, but not unpleasant. Not a very strong malt or chocolate presence.
M: Thick, full body, almost syrup like, very little carbonation. Finish is very smooth and non-abrasive.
D: I was feeling the alcohol from this beer from the first few sips so drinking a bomber alone is a little tough. I think this is an excellent RIS and surprisingly drinkable bit there's really nothing here that wows me (not a bad thing, but keeps me from rating this higher). Was much sweeter (from fruit flavors) than expected. After I'm done reviewing this beer I feel like I shortchanged it and that it probably deserves a higher rating, so I take that to be a good sign for this beer.

Photo of krukster
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2007 Bomber Edition

Pours very dark (almost black) with a nice caramel color head.

Smell: Light aroma of high end coffee with hints of fruit

Taste: Very smooth, slight coffee / fruity taste, very yummy

This bomber was just what I need on a chilly Saturday in February. Very smooth and easy to drink, no way you could know that your are drinking a 10.8%

More than 1 bomber in a sitting could probably cause me some damage or a headache, so I'll save the other bomber for next year.

Photo of LittleBreeze
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5


2007 edition cellared by aerozeppl

Old ale smell. Nice. Can double/pass as a winter night sipper.

This one was so smooth. The coffee and a bit of caramel are still there. Rough edges are gone. Did I mean how smooth this one is?

A year made a big difference.

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

Thanks to aerozeppl for sharing this bottle. I had previously rated this beer before but after having this bottle with a year of age on it I deleted the old review because it was a vast improvement. This beer took the night versus Darkness, a 2003 Czar, and Siberian Night.

A: Dark black body with a darkish head. Standard fare for a RIS (or IRS?).

S: The aroma is sweet and almost old aleish. There is a touch of raisin in it. Nice and inviting.

T: Very tasty. Sweet with a good caramel malt kick. A bit of coffee also. Again, a slight old ale character. No chocolate really. The bitterness that is present in this beer initially had diminished greatly and made for a better beer.

M: Medium to heavy. Lower carbonation than fresh I think.

D: Very smooth. Age did wonders to this beer. I have a 2005 that I will have to drink.

Photo of Lupe
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Foamy coffee head sits atop a black as night brew. Head slowly dissipates to a fine ring and leaves behind some sticky lace.

Aroma is rich and full with dark roasted coffee, chocolate milkshake, berry fruitiness, and rum-raisin, adding light alcohol with the fruit.

Initial blast of sweet maltiness with dark fruit, berry, and molasses. Rich roasted grain, dark chocolate, and espresso come next. Leafy hops show up in the background, adding a twist but not getting in the way. Alcohol also pops in adding some more complexity. Mild spice, oak, and smoke are also present. Carmel sneaks in after warming. After each individual flavor has their say, all the different flavors blend into a strong yet well balanced deliciousness. So flavorful.

Slightly thick, very creamy, slick, and smooth. On the lighter side of being full bodied. Highly drinkable and very deceiving for a beer at 10.8% abv. After the bottle was gone I wanted more - Truly a sign of drinkability with a beer of this size.

This beer's greatness doesn't show right away but builds, and midway through the bottle you realize it's just outstanding.

Photo of Tilley4
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been waiting to rate this one for a while. The wife decided she wanted to share it so I broke it out.

Midnight black pour with a small head.

Loads of chocolate covered dark fruit on the nose here. Something different every time I take a whiff too. This really smells good...

Rush of chocolate and dark fruit upon the first sip which mellows out into a nice roasted chocolate malt finish that leaves me ready for the next sip.

I loved everything about this stout. It's definitely in my top 5 in the category.. Awesome beer.

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

Aggressive pour into a standard pint glass yields a 2 inch tan head. Totally opaque, no light shines through. A very pretty beer.

Smell dominated by sweet malt and some chocolate.

Taste is phenomenal. Chocolate malt dominates, with some smoke and minor hops flavor.

The mouthfeel borders on a 5.0, no kidding. The complexity of this brew is complemented by a round hops flavor.

At 10.8% ABV, one bomber is enough in any one sitting. Next time, I'll have to try this one with dessert. Good stuff from Stone.

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

A: Poured a dark, opaque and crude motor oil color with a thin quickly fading khaki head.

S: The nose was surprising light with some dark chocolate, a light smokiness and a touch of dry pine.

T: The initial flavor was a rich, dark roasted character with some dark coffee grinds. Upon warming some fresh prunes were evident along with a spicy alcohol (dark rum) and woodiness and a very dry pungent grapefruit and malty lacing on the tongue. The palate was very dry throughout the course of the drink with a nice medium roasted malting. There was a sharp and acrid coffee bitterness as well anise coming through upon warming as well.

M: The mouthful was light-moderate per style with some slickness.

D: Overall not a bad beer but feel like the body was lacking substance at times and felt light. Still a very good beer but think there are much better examples per style.

Photo of DavidEddie
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2007 release.
A thanks to JJ for this outstanding RIS!

Heavy dirty black motor oil appearance with some sticky tan lacing. Aromas of chocolate, coffee, and burnt toast. Big flavors of roasted malt, dark chocolate, light smoke, and bitter coffee. Delicious! Mouth feel is thick and coating. Drinkability is great. An outstanding sipper! Did not detect the high ABV whatsoever. Highly recommended!

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

a: This one is pitch black with no hilights what so ever. Pours with big, long lasting light tan head.

s: Big beautiful notes of maple syrup, chocolate, alcohol, and a bit of coffee.

t: Mirrors the smell. Big and luxurious notes of chocolate and molasses dominate. Some coffee and a warming alcohol note come along for the ride.

m: Super creamy and well carbonated.

d: I prefer smaller bottles so I doubt I'll buy more of these, but this is a world class RIS for sure.

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

wow, 858 reviews as of this writing. Guess this is popular. I enjoyed this brew. Pitch black, syrupy, roasted coffee, hops and molassses notes stand out strong. Drinkability was good, not great IMO. I would have no problem recommending this depending on price.

Photo of milesfan76
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

New Year's resolution no.1: write more beer reviews. It's been quite a while since my last one so here goes...

Poured from a 22oz. bottle with a gargoyle in a fur hat. If Stone's beers weren't so good, they'd still be worth buying just for the bottles.

A: Pours as black as the margins on the sides of these pages. Dark tan head that stays around for a while.

S: Smells like roasted malts and unsweetened chocolate, just a little bit of hops.

T: Mmm. Malts, chocolate, coffee, slight bit of hops. 10.8% ABV? Really?? I don't taste it.

M: Thick, almost syrupy. Carbonation is just right for my taste.

D: Very drinkable, though obviously not sessionable. I would love to have three or four of these but the ABV (which I couldn't taste) says no.

A great brew from a great brewery.

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

This one pours BLACK like pitch with a thick tan head that sticks around for a while. The nose is roasted malt and coffee, fruitiness, nuttiness, and a bit of alcohol (hey, it's 10.8% ABV). The flavor is GREAT. It's a smorgasbord of roasted malt and coffee and chocolate and a touch of hop bitterness. Some people taste tobacco and if you look for it, it's not hard to find in there. Surprisingly, the alcohol is lost in the mix, despite being detectable on the nose. But even better than the variety of flavors in this beer is the balance. This is a truly exceptional Imperial Russian stout. The mouthfeel is almost creamy, but likely thinned to just the right density by the high ABV. As filling as this beer is, drinkability is incredible, simply because of the superb flavor and mouthfeel. If you like stouts, you won't want to stop drinking this one. Highly recommended.

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

oh, so good. 22oz 2007 spring release.

Thick, black, only hints of light come through the bottom of the glass. Nick dense tan head goes down to bubbly film, then ultimately to nothing but a ring.

On the nose, sweet heavy bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted malt, prune, raisin, hints of caramel, warm brownies, and alcohol.

Do not read further, just try it yourself. If you're still reading I assume you've already had a sip or two, or a bottle or two, whatever. Taste is remarkably well balanced, with full dark malty flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, tobacco, roasted grains, and softer vanilla extract, all reigned in with a slight bitter note that sits higher on the palate and a round sweetness lingering on the back of the tongue. I lost the 10.8% alcohol in there somewhere; it's faint but not overwhelming. As an example of the style, very well done with no single flavor dominating. Aftertaste is controlled and grainy, very appealing.

Extremely rich, yet surprisingly drinkable. Mouthfeel is pleasantly full without being gaggingly thick. Sticky, even a little oily, but mostly just plain delicious. With the subtlety of the sweetness hitting somewhere more in the back of the mouth than up front, it's not overly syrupy. Very nice.

Photo of sfoley333
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 22oz bottle from 05 into a stone RIS snifter. Poured a used motor oil black with a wonderful thick tan head. Smell is of light coffee, roasted malt, slight anisle and chocolate aroma. Taste is a thick chewy monster stuffed with coffee, chocolate, black liquorice, and a slight herbal hop flavor finished with alcohol warmth. Mouthfeel is full but creamy with this alcohol monster still very drinkable.

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

22 oz. bottle in a pint glass.

A - Dark brown with a thick dark tan head that stays for a while.

S - Coffee, chocolate, malt and alcohol.

T - Chocolate malts and a nice warming alcohol finish.

M - Full bodied with good carbonation.

D - Great beer. If you love stouts, and I do, try this, it's great.

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

Pours pitch black. Tan head slowly falls leaving a lot of lacing. Very slightly roasted earthy malts. Molasses tones. Flavor is just beautiful. And amazing. Thick malt tones. Just so robust and consistent. Alcohol doesn't seem to show up at all. Feel is amazing on the liquid. Extremely drinkable. A RIS that sits at 10.8& alcohol? Easily could be a recipe for disaster, but this just comes out magnificently. Easily one of the best beers ever created, IMO. If you haven't had a chance to try it yet, I really hope you get one.

Photo of bigman147
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle dated 2006.

Apperance: Pours a blackish brown (almost glossy opaque). Head is maybe 2-3 inches but fades quickly to a dark brown ring around the color. Lacing is wonderful and appearance is above average.

Aroma: Like all RIS, this has a dark roasty toasty malt character. Aromas of chocolate and coffee. Spicy dark winter fruit cake with a present alcohol nose

Taste: Bitter coffee and sweet chocolate give way to a delicate sweet finish reminiscent of good Beligan Dark chocolates. Bitterness from hops tends to linger slightly but helps to balance with alcohol which starts out somewhat hot in the back of the throat.

Mouthfeel: Creamy and rich carbonation which helps cut the at times thick almost cloying sweetness. Alcohol heat and coffee bitterness give this a thinner finish even with the creamy sweetness.

Drinkability: Not the most drinkable beer (considering the style). An excellent special occasion beer to warm you on a cold winter day when you come in from shoveling or skiing or whatever.. Not a session beer nor is supposed to be.

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

Bottle. Poured a blackish-brown color with a light brown head. Good lacing. Aroma was sweet with a hint a vanilla, coffee, and roasted malt that usually come with this style. Mouthfeel is really nice. Flavor is unreal. Malty, chocolate, a touch of coffee...this is what an imperial stout should taste like. This is a very good beer that maybe someday I can get locally. I wish at least.

Photo of stemcell001
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Cellared for six months and poured into a pint glass. Dark, pitch black body with a very tan head. Wonderful smell of roated malts and coffee. Very complex taste with strong coffee notes, spicy hops and hints of anise and other spices. Very potent brew which is a drawback concerning drinkability. I don't see how I could drink more than one of these in an evening. Despite this small flaw, Stone makes a wicked Russian Imperial Stout, most likely the best I have had of the style.

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

Reviewed from notes

A - Pours dark black with a brown head that slowly disapates leaving a nice lace behind.

S: Dark malt with coffee and chocolate.

T: Tastes of dark, roasted malt with just a hint of coffee and choco. There is some booze at the end.

M: Thickwith decent carbo.

D: Heavy, but good drinkability for the style.

Overall a pretty good RIS. I have had better but this is a great option that is much easier to obtain than others in the style.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,410 ratings.