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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

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Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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7,467 Ratings

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Ratings: 7,467
Reviews: 2,629
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.22%
Wants: 652
Gots: 1,766 | FT: 103
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: 7,467 | Reviews: 2,629
Photo of Maudite
3.81/5  rDev -12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

One of the better beers I've had from Stone.

A- Very little head, unless I agitated the glass (snifter), and then it was a delicate and rich milk chocolate that waned quickly leaving behind some sticky lacing. The body was as black as motor oil. Or shark's eyes.

S- Surprisingly, not much until it got to room temperature. Upon the initial pour there was a fairly discernible hop aroma. As it warmed it smelled of biter cocoa, iced coffee, very sweet and malty. It also smelled like jam; fruity, thick, sweet.

T- Espresso, roasty, almost smokey, like whiskey but black as pitch, sweet, dark fruitiness. As it warmed the alcohol was much more present and had a pleasant warming effect. There was an almost berry, port-like flavor with a dry, bitter, coffee finish.

M- Thick, sweet, coating, acidic, dextrinous. Not dry in a hoppy, or whit wine/champagne way, but in a coffee way. Definitely present long after swallowed.

D- My wife and I shared a bottle after dinner, and it was awesome. I would definitely drink this again, though not often. It's a strong bugger. I recommend trying it.

Photo of Kraken
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Yummm where to start. This hands down is the best RIS I have ever had. Smell taste body, its all fantastic. A bit of smoke on the nose. Pours black as night. Tastes of chocolate, coffee, slight smokeyness, vanilla, very mellow hoppiness, slightly porter-esq, mild hop bitterness in finish. Finish is nice and dry, not cloying like some other RIS. Alcohol is well hidden. Very well done!!

Photo of Sorgasm
3.47/5  rDev -20%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a - dark as night with a thick mocha head.

s - "is that beef jerky?" smokey as hell.

t - pretty straight forward. good flavor, but lacking the complexities i would expect from a truly exceptional imp stout.

m - thick n creamy; true to style.

d - nothing that dark and strong can ever be considered a session beer, but for the style it is very drinkable.

Photo of hopsleeroy
4.17/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2007 vintqage poured into oversized wine glass from bomber

a-Minimal head, but deep black with no light coming though

S-Milk chocolate, licorice, Caramel
T-So balanced. Dark slightly sweetened chocolate, mild roast coffee, mild fruit, little bitterness going down. Nothing jumps out at you but it is very balanced. Hardly any alcohol flacvor. Kind of a malted milk flavor at times which kept me from rating higher
M-Smooth and creamy with a light carbonation on the end
D-Can go down easy but not enough going on to keep me coming back.

Highly recommended RID especially at the price. Drink one now and lay a few down to taste how the flavor evolves.

Photo of nasty15108
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a small brandy snifter.

A - Thick and pitch black. Poured like oil and left a thick tan head. Coated the glass and clung to the sides like molasses.

S - Smokey, with slight hints of espresso and alcohol.

T - Roasted malts up front followed by a slightly bitter, warming alcoholic finish.

MF&D - Thick and rich. Great taste and superior quality. Not a session beer, but very enjoyable.

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

22oz bomber poured into tulip glass.

Pours a nice dark black with a thick creamy tan head

The aroma is not to strong but has a nice coffee, chocolate, roasted malts with a touch of alcohol.

The flavor is amazing. A nice creamy coffee with a hint of chocolate. Has a nice bitter coffee finish.

Has a nice full body very thick and creamy, gives you a nice warm belly. What an awesome beer will definitely be drinking more of these!!!

Photo of ckeegan04
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours a syrupy dark dark brown and leaves a foamy two finger head. Head has limited retention and quickly fades into brown foam layer. Excellent lacing all over the glass.

S - Roasted malts, coffee. Also a subtle hint of alcohol but not at all overpowering.

T - Cofee with a hint of alcohol. A little sweetness at the end of the drink.

M/D - Increadibly creamy. Nice balance of alcohol, sweetness, and bitterness. Nicely done.

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

I'm new to the BA, so my assessments of A,S,T,M,D aren't very descriptive yet. As someone who usually does not drink a lot of stouts, this one was great! I'm fortunate to have a friend to sells beer for a living and get great recommendations from him on a regular basis. I've tried about 20 stouts and next to Bells Expedition, this is by far my favorite. Glad I got a second bottle to age and can't wait until the day I decide to open it.

Photo of nrbw23
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Pours a dark black with a large foamy tan head with a nice lacing.

S- Also very nice some chocolate, tiny bit of coffee and maybe some plum here also. A lot going on in here.

T- Very nice and smooth. Slight chocolate and coffee at the beginning then a little fruity hoppy towards the end. Well rounded brew.

M- Medium to full. Chewy and thick.

D- Very drinkable but with the higher ABV can't drink a lot of these. Very nice.

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

Poured from a 22 oz bottle to a snifter, the liquid is dark close to black with light carbonation. The head is small, mocha, and leaves little lace.

The smell good lots of dark roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee notes.

The taste is good, not as bold as I expected, but a nice chocolate flavor and coffee in the finish.

The mouthfeel is good smooth creamy big body yet the carbonation is note as much as I expected. Just seems is could use a bit more.

The drinkability is good, a big flavor full brew, but not quite up to it's hype. Prosit, MK

Photo of rgb2807
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour is a beautiful extremely dark brown, almost espresso colored. The smell is subtle and relaxed, but complex hinting smoky coffee and chocolate.

It freaking tastes amazing. You get coffee taste upfront but then a very delayed chocolate finish. The balance is phenomenally well crafted, and you still taste this balance a few seconds after the sip has gone down.

Insanely drinkable for the alcohol content, though I couldn't drink a lot of them because it's so rich.

When I get my next paycheck, I'll grab another.

Photo of bort11
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to sirk0rebreg for this one. Received as part of the Brews-n-Tunes 3 BIF.

2008 release, 22 oz bomber, poured into a Duvel tulip glass. Others have mentioned a thin head with this beer. I had quite the opposite experience. A tall billowing mocha colored head. Gradually receded to a solid cap. Leaves a sticky lace ring around the edge. Color is pure black. So black that it creates a mirror in the glass. Looking into it reminds me of a M.C. Escher drawing.

Smell is a charred malt, hints of licorice and coffee. Taste is a full bouquet of dark flavors. Blackberries, anise, pepper, coffee, licorice all blended together.

Mouthfeel has a solid full body, chewy and sticky. This is very filling, and a bomber was almost too much for me. Note to others, don't try this one if you are tired. It'll knock you out.

Photo of DoubleJ
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Edition served on-tap at Stone's World Bistro in an 8 oz glass, on to the beer:

Not much of a head or sticky lacing on this one, but the color as expected is pitch black. The nose brings molasses and dark chocolate, and a brush-up of fruity alcohol. The carbonation is a little harsh in the begining, but the beer mellows out as it warms. The beer becomes sweeter in this case, with a 1-2 punch of choclate and molasses, with a rush of roasted character in the end. The high alcohol level in this one balances out the sweetness of the beer, and it makes this one a sipper.

So this is what a fresh Stone Imperial Russian Stout tastes like. I have a one-year old bottle of this which I'll take notes on one of these days, so comparing the two will be interesting.

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

A- 2008 edition served at cellar temperature and poured into my Dogfish Head snifter. This beer appears black with a thick chocolate milk head that stays around for a while, leaving a few sheets of lacing on the glass.

S- There is a substantial aroma of smoke followed by creamy chocolate, roasted malts, dark fruits, and coffee with some hops in the background. There's also a nice aroma of fresh baked raisin bread, or something similar to that. The alcohol is only slightly noticeable as the beer warms.

T- The roasted malts, coffee and chocolate flavors hit first, followed by a moderate hop bitterness and that same smokiness that was present in the aroma. The alcohol provides a bit of a kick on the dry and slightly bitter finish.

M- Oily and slick with some moderate carbonation bubbles. The mouthfeel is not as thick and rich as I expected it to be.

D- This is very drinkable for 10.8% ABV. The alcohol never gets in the way. However, the smokey flavor of this beer prevents me from wanting to drink a whole bomber.

A very good imperial stout that ages extremely well. Highly recommended.

Photo of Proteus93
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Black as night... a creampuff lighter brown head. Quite a nice looking glass, and it looks pretty thick.

S: A huge roasted malt aroma on the front, with coffee notes and molasses. A little bit of a dark fruit at the very back of it all, but the other scents battle with it a little. Great to sniff over a few times to pick out specific aromas. (edited the review after another just to up this from 4.5 - 5: some nuttiness and hints of chocolate come through on top of the other features. This is an amazing smelling brew).

T + M: Heavy, thick, and viscous paired with a little shimmer of carbonation in there. A rich malt flavour on the front, definitely roasted grains... followed soon after with a little sweeter prunish like flavour. This is all as it approaches the mid-tongue, where the coffee roast bitterness starts to become more noticable and comes out on the finish. Some dark, Belgian chocolate like flavours floating through there, and upon finish, it leaves a wonderful lingering flavour of it all coming together at once. Lovely.

D: Considering how huge it is, it's very drinkable. I'd like to try aging some as suggested to see how things go, as this is quite a fresh bottle, and I found it to be very smooth already. I'll certainly be going back for more.

Photo of dill
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

poured from a 22 oz. bottled marked "Early 2007 Release" into a pint glass.

A - this beer looks great in a glass. a nice deep black color with a mocha colored head.

S - it was poured cold and initially the only recognized aromas were wheat and a hint of alcohol. as it warmed a lot of coffee aromas started to come through, finally revealing some chocolate as it approached room temperature.

T - i didn't taste the chocolate as much as i smelled it. there was lots of coffee in the taste though as well as a bit of roastiness.

M - this beer feels great on the tongue. a nice creaminess with a hint of carbonation. a pleasure to drink

D - i was sad to finish this bottle off. i have some more from the same release that i will try at later dates and see how it develops. something i am very much looking forward to.

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

I have had 3 bottles of this beer, all were 2005 Vintage, drank between Nov. 07 and Feb. 08. I am lucky to have a local liquor store that has a supply of aged bottles, so I have not had this beer "new and fresh".

As for the 3 year old bottles I tried, myself and my 2 brothers unanimously gave it a huge thumbs-up. The first was drank on Thanksgiving day with a large turkey drumstick and appropriate sides. We drank some before dinner, and some with food, and the beer is outstanding either way.

Pours very dark, with nice brown foam. If you pour with some attention the foam will last until the glass is empty, which I find very pleasing.

Nice aroma, with all the things you hope to smell in a strong stout. Flavor does not in any way disappoint, full-flavored, very smooth, nice alcohol but not too pronounced either (perhaps owing to the fact that it was well-aged). Hops noticeable on finish. Very long finish, and due to its high-octane nature, can be enjoyed over a rather long session.

I would advise to share a bomber with a friend or loved one, as you will share a wonderful stouty experience together.

What more can I say, I don't drink stouts all that often, but when you are in the mood for one, you really can't go wrong with this one. Again, mine was well aged, so I advise you to lay a bottle down for a couple years and enjoy!

Photo of Mudpuppet
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Poured from a bomber into a snifter glass 2008 vintage. Pours a black with dark brown edges. No head on this beer.

S- Nice nose on this beer. Very dark malts with chocolate and coffee notes. Nice complementary nose.

T- Coffee and chocolate are the strongest notes in this. This is a really strong RIS showing from Stone. I was expecting more hops based on previous reviews but I don't get much in the way of hops at all.

M- Nice thicker creamy feel on the palate. Maybe a bit low on carbonation.

D- Nice brew. Not an easy drinker b/c of the ABV but I really enjoy this beer. I can and will have a couple glasses.


Photo of jayrod20
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22oz bomber. "Limited 2008 Spring Release"

Appearance: Dark as night with a nice pillowy tan head. After some time the head does dissipate, leaving some lacing around the glass

Smell: Some molasses. Big roasted coffee smell. Also a hint of some fruit, fig maybe?

Taste: This had a vicious mouthfeel. Syrupy, but not overwhelmingly so. I also got a good amount of hop flavor. This beer is so delicious and complex. I'm going to get a couple more bombers and age em to let some of the more vicious flavors mellow out. Hands down one of the best stouts I've ever had.

This was a great choice.

Photo of halfP1NT
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz bomber bottle.

Pours dark black like motor oil..looks opaque in the glass. Beautifull fluffy, khaki-colored head that thinned out quickly.

Smell is not very strong. Light aroma of dark malts, not the burnt smell I was expecting.

Taste is malty, coffee, slight chocolate bitterness. Not too rich or overly complex at all.

Thick mouthfeel, viscous, but low carbonation. This one was an easy drinker for the style, but the high abv made it a definite sipper. Very enjoyable, I will definitely pick this up again.

Photo of Scoobydank
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This goes out to my boy sloejams
L:Deep deep dark black espresso, crude oil looking beer. Can't see any damn light when looking through.
S:Roasted smokiness. With a slight baked effovensence. I am also picking up a smoked wood chips/ bacon smell(which is 100% a positive). Slight roasted coffee beans.
T:Super dark sweet chocolate. Just a tiny hint of licorice. Also a steely hopiness on the back end.
M:Thich, but in a great way. Very dry and very crisp.
D:Perfect consistency for the style. Awesome beer, once again stone is johnny on the spot.

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

This poured pitch black with a little dark tan head. It smelled like chocolate covered raisins or prunes with some alcohol notes. It tasted like sweet dark fruit and mocha, slightly bitter with some alcohol warming. It was somewhat oily with no carbonation and a smooth, warm aftertaste. Overall this was delicious, and could be one of my favorites! It was complex and interesting, yet very easy to drink.

Photo of IBUnit63
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours molasses and espresso brown with root beer barrel candy-colored head; tight and bready.

Balanced and mellow scent has it all - bready yeast, extra-dark roasted malt and slightly bitter hop backbone (earthy and grassy). Just realized that my cold is precluing me from smelling anything mortal so this must be good - may update later.

The balance and mellowness is both surprising and overwhelming. Not too much of anything but enough of everything. Dark espresso with a little licoricle and cinnamon sugar. Some earth, slate, grassy hops and gobs of malt.

Slithers down the throat nicely - with no aftertaste. Thick but clear.

Beautifully done. Extremely enjoyable.

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

This beer is insane. It does everything that I want a beer to do: look, smell, and most importantly--drink like a champion.

I made sure to stock up on this beer in 08, as the 07 IRS was a great experience. The 08 does not disappoint.

I split a bomber and aggressively poured a nice two-finger head into a snifter. I let the coffee and chocolate aroma linger. The smell is great, but not overpowering. You won't, for example, smell it from a few feet away. Put get your nose in that glass and enjoy.

The first sip of the 08 had me remember why I think this is one of the best beers that I've ever tasted. It punches you right away with the strong stout taste, but it then morphs into a smooth, hoppy aftertaste that is quite pleasurable.

Finish leaves the coffee taste as the beer's final statement. And what a wonderful statement that beer makes. I am completely satisfied. I need to buy some more!

Photo of trackstar1043
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours at deep and dark as midnight, rich tan/brown rocky head with increadible retention, that left the stickiest lace.

S - Rich and dark, burnt molasses and malts, deep flavors of rasins and fruits that are barely present to the dark flavors and alcohol strongs hold.

T - Strong and dark, burnt flavors and sting of alcohol are most present to the sweet molasses and malts, has a bitter hops finish.

M - Extremely deep and smooth, dark and demands respect with the 10.8% bite, leaves a impressive aftertaste.

D - Smooth but only for special occations for myself.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,467 ratings.