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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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7,359 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,359
Reviews: 2,614
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 614
Gots: 1,681 | 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: 7,359 | Reviews: 2,614 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of srandycarter
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - Black, with a coffee head. Not opaque, but close. Lacing is good.

S - Deep strong notes of chocolate, coffee tobacco and casked whiskey.

T - BAM. Invades your mouth with toasted malt and aggressive hop finish to inexplicably neutralize the process. Nice deal.

M - Coating and demanding - complex, perfectly carbonated and balanced.

D - If I only could, this would be an all day beverage :)

Photo of jakon
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle purchased in April of 2007. Case is dated 2-14-7.

Pours pitch black with a large tan colored head that creeps up on you. Be careful not to overflow the glass. The foam recedes at a steady pace leaving behind an impressive wash of sticky lacing. The alcohol in the aroma has faded a bit since spring. The first thing that hits the nose is the roasted malt character, a bit of bakers chocolate, a hint of coffee and a distant hop presence. The taste has mellowed a bit as the flavors have melded together a bit more. The alcohol isn't nearly as perceptible as it was 5 or 6 months ago. There is a robust bitterness that seems to be originating from numerous sources. Baker's chocolate, hops and coffee. There are dark fruit characteristics and a background sweetness that help to balance everything out. The mouthfeel is thick, smooth and somewhat oily with the perfect amount of bite. I really like this beer, but have been spoiled by a surplus of Speedways lately. This isn't quite on the same level, imo, but it's still one of my favorite stouts. I've got 10 more, and look forward to checking in on them a few times each year. It's really not even hitting its stride at this point. Every stout lover should pick up a case of this each year and enjoy the ride.

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

07 bottle six months later...

Pours a deep black color, with a nice big off white head on top.

Aromas have mellowed. Some coffee, dark bakers chocolate, and a little bit of pine like hops.

Flavors are mellow and creamy up front. Some sweet chocolate flavors and coffee flavors. While the finish is still bitter, hoppy, and with a lingering alcohol bite. This beer still has a really nice kick to it.

Mouthfeel is nice. Carbonation is nice, feels thick, and prickly in the mouth.

Drinkability is very good. A very nice Russian Imperial Stout, that seems a bit different than others in the style... but that's a good thing.

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

poured out of a bomber into a Tulip..

...Im not going to waste your time telling you about the smell, taste and body...just know I put 5s across the board. Out of all the amazing high profile stouts like Darklord and Bourbon County Stout, this trumps them all, for sake of drinkability and mouthfeel. Close your eyes, take a sip, think Caramel, coffe, chocolate, feel the alcohol warmth, and remember that moment, for you have reached the pinnacle of beer drinking, and it is all downhill from here. Of course, this is all subject to your personal taste, but for the love that is everything holy and unholy, FIND THIS BEER! Thanks again Stone, you never let me down.

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

2007 vintage. 22 oz bomber. I couldn't resist temptation!

Appearance- Deep & Dark inviting color like the night of a new moon. Pours a very rich and creamy looking tan head, plenty o-bubbles.

Smell- malty, biscuity, nutty with a strong smell of alcohol. The malt really shines thru on this. No noticeable hop aroma picked up with this beer.

Taste-Carmel notes, toasted, roasted malt and tobacco, very alcoholic with a subtle astringent undertone, almost winey. Clearly a well balanced beer with high gravity in mind.

Adequate carbonation. This is a warming full bodied, smooth drinking beer. It's easy to believe that this is an all malt beverage, let alone over 10%. It's clearly got the body to go with the style.

Drinkability- This is a big beer. I could probably handle more then one on a cold Winter's night, but alas for a showery Autumn evening one is the perfect amount.
This beer should age very well. It's as complex as it gets and it would be a shame if the 2007 were no longer available to me locally (within 25 miles).
Outstanding beer. Well done Stone!

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

2002 Vintage purchased from Stuffed Sandwich. I've got these going back a couple years - but, to get an 02 (a year where I wasn't close to being of legal age), I had to rely on other means. Opened for my father's birthday - I think he appreciated.

A: Dark black - slightly muddy - with a 1/2 finger head that dies relatively quickly.

S: Dates, plums, molasses and brandy - nice!

T: Brandy-soaked plums, raisins, some chocolate & coffee. I've had many fresh bottles and those don't have anywhere near the dark fruit characteristics. The chocolate and roasted flavors have mellowed out, and the fruits have definitely come out on this one. A truly different beer - and a very tasty one at that.

M: Somewhat rich, low carbonation. I like it.

D: Very drinkable. I want more!

Highly recommended. Can't wait to try the 2001 I've got!

Photo of wcudwight
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Received in a trade.
Pours pitch black with a nice 2 finger chocolate colored head. That recedes to a filmy lace on top of the glass. Lace falls in sheets on the sides of the glass.
Smells of rich roasted coffee.
Full bodied, heavy on the palate and full of flavor. Big roasted backbone with some coffee flavors and just a touch of sweetness.
This beer is thick and heavy in the mouth. I love it.
It's a sipper but a great beer.
I reviewed a Stone RIS that I'd aged a year over the summer. I liked it better aged but this is stilll a damn good beer. I long for the days that Stone comes to NC.

Photo of umustdrink
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

My belated birthday beer
A Spring 2007 edition, got in a trade from MiScusi

A - Jet black color, yields almost no light, I was able to get some color out of the bottom edge of the glass: a deep ruby red. Head is one of the darkest brown colors I've seen on a beer, it was grainy and swirled with lighter streaks. Unfortunately it faded to a patchy film. Minimal lacing, just a few streaks.

S - The most prominent smell here is a raisiny sweet toasted malt. Background is thick with aromas, sweet creamy vanilla, fresh baked bread, butter, some sharper spices and some muted bitterness. Little to no alcohol detected in the smell.

T/M - The taste starts with a nice bittery bite and quickly into the darker flavors. A smooth and creamy dark roasted malts, a very light bitterness comes in from the roasting but overall its a very creamy taste. Right after the swallow a wave of flavors hit, just a quick blast of rich cream with a very sharp bitter coffee malt. The finish leaves a toasted maltiness with a coffee-like bitterness.

D - I'm glad I got 2 of these. This is an excellent stout and definitely worth the stop on the quest to try the worlds greatest imperial stouts.

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

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass.

A: Blacker than the blackest black, times infinity. Had a dark brown head, about 2 fingers. Beautiful.

S: A bit of alcohol, and some dark, roasty something. Perhaps a hint of coffee.

T: Damn. I mean, damn. A very strong malt body, with just a touch of hops. First hits are like a dark roast coffee and bitter chocolate. Underlining that, and continuing aftewards till the finish, is a very noticeable and pleasant sweetness, very much like caramel. This is simply delicious, no question about it.

M: This is what the word "stout" was meant to describe. The body on this is as full as you can get, without gumming up your mouth. It's divine.

D: Doesn't at all feel like a 10.8% ABV; this could wind up being problematic, as I could really drink this stuff all night.

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

Purchased this 22oz bottle at Market of Choice, 29th & Willamette, Eugene, OR.

Poured a deep dark black, with a dark brown head that settled fairly quickly. Lots of coffee and dark chocolate, faint spices. No noticeable alcohol aroma. Taste is amazing. Heavy bakers chocolate, coffee, dark roasted malts. I detected some kind of lingering sweetness that was somewhat unexpected. Mouthfeel is very thick and heavy. The only way this beer could have more body is if there was an actual body inside the bottle. Very Nice.
Drinkability is quite good, but with so much in your face flavor, it'd be hard to drink more than a bomber of this. Buy a few and share with friends. I'd like to try this with about a year of aging on it. Very nice indeed.

Photo of pwoods
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I'll start by saying, anyone that wants some of this brilliant brew should check out my wants list for a trade. I havn't tried Dark Lord but this is without a doubt the best stout I've ever had. Okay, on with it.

22oz. Bomber(Winter 2007) Party Source poured into a Tulip.

A: Pours such a pitch black that only God Almighty could shine any light through(lol). Dark tan 2finger bubbly head. Not much retention or lacing.

S: Toasted grains and coffee beans. Has a yeasty "browning" scent of fresh biscuits.

T/M: Amazing toasted malts bring out a smoky coffee mouth full. Very small amounts of hops add to the coffee side by giving just a touch of bitterness, similar to a strong Italian. Carmel undertones give this brew the slightest hint of sweetness. Full bodied and creamy with a nice dry warmth from the alcohol.

D: Surprisingly high for a RIS(at least for me). I'll have absolutely no problem finishing this bomber and will probably buy another one tomorrow.

Photo of tpd975
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours jet black, dark as night, espresso black with a nice mocha head. The head died down but left a nice pad of foam on top.

S: Man do I love the smell of stout's and this one does not disappoint. Tons of chocolate in the nose of this one along with a dash of coffee. There are hints of vanilla, cinnamon, and I detect a hint of alcohol. Wonderful smelling brew that begs you to drink it.

T: The only thing I like better than the smell of an RIS is the taste...And this is one great tasting brew. Tons of flavors rush into your mouth at once. I actually had to really concentrate on what I was drinking to pick everything out. There is a blast reminiscent of espresso mocha right up front. Then anise comes thru with hints of pure bean vanilla, and milky caramel. The experience and believe me this beer is an experience ends with the slight burn of alcohol.

M: Full bodied, rich, and creamy.

D: Very drinkable for a RIS.

Overall: Stone just does not disappoint do they? Several of my favorite drinking brews come from this brewery, and I can add this on to the list as another of those beers. The aroma and taste is huge and the price tag is so low. Dollar for dollar in my opinion this RIS gives the most bang for your buck. I Think I will pop my last one tomorrow to enjoy with breakfast... I can think of no better way to end one day and start the next.

Photo of Atron67
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

heres my second bottle from the 2007 batch, from drinking it last night

A- poured a dead black with a chocolate foam, looked outstanding

S- tons of malt, roasted/chocolate flavors throughout

T- loads of flavors that are nicely done, a light roasted flavor with chocolate. Huge maltiness, nicely done hops, very very good.

M- heavy heavy body, but not syruppy

D- a outstanding RIS, although idk if i would want to drink it all night because it would be so selfish to not spread it out

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

I'm becoming a REAL FAN of Stone Brewery! I picked up this bomber at Jungle Jim's (Just North of Cincinnati, OH). I poured this into a goblet and formed a 1-1/2" head of tan frothyness over the ebony of ebonies. This beer pours like used motor oil on a winter day!

The aroma is subtile.... chocolate/roasted malt/coffee. Not as aromatic as my reference RIS.

The Taste: mmm! good! Lots of toasted caramel, with some chocolate and coriander.... very complex and balanced! A bit of smokey alcohol to finish. Oscillating between 4 & 4.5.... OK.... 4.5... seems very similar to my REFERENCE RIS (Hoppin' Frog; B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher).

Mouthfeel: Creamy goodness. A bit of an alcohol bite... just to let you know who's in control here.... Perfect carbonation. Wonderful mouth coating and aftertaste!

Drinkability: Nothing objectionable. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.... If you like this... Try Hoppin' Frog B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher.... from Ohio. I think Hoppin' Frog just edges this one out... but maybe someday, I'll do a side-by-side comparison with my four favorites:

1) Hoppin' Frog: B.O.R.I.S. The Crusher
2) Brooklyn: Black Chocolate Stout
3) Great Lakes: Black Out Stout
4) Stone: Imperial Russian Stout

Photo of crazybrody06
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 22oz bomber labled limited edition spring 2007 release.

Pours a dark, dark, black with a creamy, rocky tan head filled with small and large bubbles.

Smells very profoundly of chocolate, malts, coffee, alcohol.

taste dark chocolates, malty, bitter coffee, small amount of hops, alcohol finish. Let me just say the alcohol is very well suited not to strong not to light. Just the right amount to let you know its there.

syrupy mouth feel, great carbonation, lace

Overall I could definantly drink this beer all night long. But I wouldnt advise it. The abv is higher then what she lets on.

Photo of kkipple
3.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2007 release.

Well well, at last I finally meet the elusive Stone Imperial Stout... this is hard beer to get your hands on in South Carolina, and it took a trip to PA to get some. It's been hyped to death, so I was eager to try it...

This has your classic Russian Stout looks: a dark dark brown (nearly black) beer with a fat, toasty-tan head that fades fast. Opaque and oily looking.

I'm smelling tons of roasted, burnt malt... sweet and dense with hints of prunes, coffee and more malt piled upon malt. My friend thinks it smells like malted milk balls and he's not far off. There's some hidden alcohol, but it's not nearly as upfront as some in this style (Avery...)

The sweetness continues on into the flavor; this is quite sweet compared to others in it's style I've tried. Big burnt / roasted malt upfront, with a bittersweet character that rises above everything else. Mild coffee and milk chocolate flavors swirl on my palate. Perhaps some dark rum? Evident alcohol, but well balanced. Rather tame and mild for the style. Nothing wrong, just nothing terribly interesting.

Mouthfeel is slick and a bit thin, but then I've recently had both a Dark Lord and Abyss, so maybe I'm biased. Sweet, grainy, roasted aftertaste. Pleasant, but a little basic.

This is a good beer, no doubt about it, but I can't help but be disappointed after hearing it hyped to the skies. It's just not thick or complex enough to warrant the praise heaped upon it, in my humble opinion. While a good introduction to the style, there are plenty of breweries who do this one better. Highly recommended if you're breaking into Imperial Stouts. If you already love 'em, try Deschutes Abyss, Dogfish Worldwide, Dark Lord, Storm King, or Gonzo Porter -- all are a few notches above this one.

Photo of bosco7
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Spring 2007 Release

Pours pitch black with a thick, smooth, and creamy brown head. Menacing.

Chocolate, coffee, bread pudding, cinnamon, plum and old wood (smells kind of like a closet) in the nose.

Starts very very sweet with lots of chocolate and licorice. Dark fruits in the middle -prune, currant, and raisin. Vanilla and cinnamon seem to be hidden behind the more robust flavors. Finish is warming, roasty and dry.

Mouthfeel is thick, smooth, and creamy- a thing of beauty. Overall an contemplative brew that should be purchased by the case to be enjoyed through the colder months and years to come. Yet to find a better RIS. Highly recommended.

Photo of BabaJohn
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Looked great in the snifter with lots of carbonation clinging to the sides and a thick tan head, though this faded fast, as expected. Aroma was of sweet caramel, chocolate and molasses, with the characteristic roast and coffee smells as well. At first taste, earthy flavors in the front of the mouth gave way quickly to malty chocolate, followed by strong alcoholic warmth and a bit of herbal hop finish. I found that the malt intensity could be slightly overwhelming and out of balance (how else did they get a 10.8?) If I were Stone I would knock down the gravity just a bit to even things out. My drinkability rating was particularly low as I'm not inspired to knock this one back due to the combined alcoholic slap in the face and the overwhelming maltiness. Still, this is a very respectable and tasty beer in the style.

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

On tap at Naja's Place this summer

Served in 12 ounce goblet

Very easy to drink for how much alcohol it contains

Probably would enjoy more in winter time because it is a warm beer, but still was amazingly good in August

Best beer offered by Stone Brewing

Wish this was a year round release, not just 3 months

Like the 2007 a lot better than the 2006 version because it has a more aggressive flavor

Highly recommended

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

Big beer. Big, big beer. I just finished a Limited Spring 2007 and have to say that Stone's Imperial delivers a mighty melange of roasted grain, cocoa, coffee, and a bit of zing as well. Pours black and taste that way, too, but without being overly bitter.

The beer is pretty easy to drink, despite its heft. Take caution: Plenty of alcohol just around the bend. Go easy and enjoy. This is one of those beers that I could buy in quantity just in case I ever get an urge for a premium Imperial that I just can't tame. Highly recommended.

Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Picked this up a few months ago, since I saw that it was a limited release for 2007. I love Stone's other offerings that I've tried, and the North Coast Old Rasputin was one of my favorite beers of the last year. That being said, I had high hopes for this, and they were met and exceeded. It's the middle of the summer, but this beer is just as drinkable now as it would be in the middle of the winter, when I tend to sample stouts and heavier brews.

The pour was great...not the best I've ever seen, but this was a rich, dark beer that had the aroma and body to back it up. A beautiful, toffee-like frothy head arose as I let the motor-oil like liquid out of my big bottle, and the scents were just as lavish. There's lots of chocolate, espresso, coffee, figs, and a bit of caramel here, and the balance among them all is strong, yet subtle that one doesn't predominate over the other. Don't be mistaken, this is a strong beer and even if the alcohol isn't very detectable, it will sneak up on ya during your drinking session!

The aftertaste of this retains the roasty, bitter aspects quite well, but loses the depth that can be found up front. No matter, the 10.8% ABV is not really a factor here, unless ya like your beer to slowly sneak up out of nowhere and make it's presence known once it's too late to turn back. In that case, Stone has done their job wonderfully here and even though it's not hoppy like many of their well-known beers, it's just as good and worthy of it's own big bottle and limited release. Perfect for year-round quality beer-drinking sessions, or those who aren't afraid to get introspecitve with a stout. Highly recommended!

Photo of travisd13
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Served from a 22oz. bottle into a snifter just under cellar temp. Bottled date is 05 and 07.
Sat down with some friends and compared the two.

A - Poured both with a small quarter inch head. The head on both was a thick dark tan. The 07 appeared to be much thinner than the 05. Both very dark in color… but I’ve seen darker.

S – Smells of coffee in both and some what hoppy / piney smell in the 07. Light alcohol presents in both vintages… more so in the 07.

T – Both are tasty in their own ways. The 05 seems to have more of a balanced presentation of flavors lead by hints of coffee and chocolate. The 07 with coffee and some chocolate present also a hint of hops.

M – The 05 is thick and smooth with a lasting finish. The 07 is thinner with a clean finish.

D – I’m finding the 05 much more drinkable than the 07. That’s fine with me because I’ve got a case of 07 in the cellar. With any hope the 07 will develop as well as the 05. Hands down this is still one of my favorite stouts and at $5 a bomber it’s a steal of a deal.

Photo of Kudashov
2.24/5  rDev -48.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This brew was going to be enjoyed while watching my beloved Boston Red Sox . I got neither . The Sox game was called off and this beer was not enjoyable . When poured , the color and the crusty bubbled head was nice and very impressive . The head reminded me of the inside of a Crunchie Bar that my folks would bring back to the States from Ireland . The aroma is coffee and boozy . Burnt and overwhelmingly bitter . I have enjoyed the Storm King and Brooklyn Black Chocolate stout . The latter is one of my favs . Stone makes some very tasty brews but this was a mess . It was not a drain pour but it will not be bought again .

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

Pours black as oil with a huge foamy chocolate milk head that laces for days. Smells of roasted malts, french roast coffee, molassas, fig and slight alcohol. Tastes of dark chocolate notes, dried dark fruits, coffee notes, caramel, molassas and list goes on and on. Nice warming effect and a touch of alcohol finish. Feels full in the mouth with a perfect touch of carbonation. Smooth as silk and the alcohol is extremely hidden considering the high ABV. Crazy drinkable for such a robust stout, I could polish off another bomber or two easy...then wake up the next morning with memories of a delicious brew. A must try.

Photo of soupyman10
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got a bomber of this - impossible to find in Philly where I've been living, but back in Michigan it seems to be everywhere. This one pours a totally black, with light red-brown head that dissolves a little quickly (although that could have been the pour). Nose is lots of licorice, molasses, black current, spices, and a touch of light alcohol. Smells excellent. Somehow, the taste tops it. Coffee, chocolate, dried fruit, molasses, roasted malt, breadiness, and some light licorice. Body is full and creamy, with perfect carbonation. This is a fantastic beer, with a great flavor and body. The only slight problem is the quickly vanishing head and the somewhat mild nose. Otherwise, incredible. Cellaring would only make it better, too.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,359 ratings.