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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.

6,928 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,928
Reviews: 2,583
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 523
Gots: 1,512 | FT: 85
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: 6,928 | Reviews: 2,583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Shaw
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I bought a bottle of the 2004 vintage while visiting San Diego and brought it back to Florida to share with my friends.

This is a very approachable Imperial Russian Stout, much more so than Rogue's, which I must admit I like a little better. Stone's take is a lot creamier and smoother. Stone keeps the roasted malt flavors on a tight leash while Rogue lets them run wild.

I find it interesting that Stone releases a beer I would think of as a winter warmer in early summer. And while this beer certainly can be laid down, I see no need to. It's ready to drink now!

Shaw, Oct 13, 2004
Photo of thecoldesquire
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Wow! This is an excellent beer. This is the 2004 edition of this lovely brew.

Appearance: Thick and black, like motor oil. Watching this thick beer pour into the glass was amazing. Black as midnight. I have to knock points for having little head, actually almost no head.

Taste: When cold, you really don't notice that it is such a strong beer. As it warmed, you get a nice alcohol flavor. Hints of chocolate and coffee. Very good.

Mouthfeel: Creamy

Drinkability: surprisingly good for such a strong beer.

thecoldesquire, Oct 12, 2004
Photo of BadBadger
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is a mighty fine stout. It pours a deep black, with beautiful brown foamy head. The smell is of sweet roasted malts. The taste carries on the malty wonder of the smell, nice roasted malts. A warm full and smooth mouthfeel. This is a very tasty stout and there is really no hint of the high ABV in either the aroma or taste. Definitely a beer to be searched out and enjoyed.

BadBadger, Oct 11, 2004
Photo of bigchris1313
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Black as night. Black like a black hole. Black. White to light beige head, perhaps 1" thick, but that could just be due to how I pour.

Smell: Mixture of chocolate, coffee, and a tiny hint of alcohol.

Taste: Chocolate. I've been a chocoholic all my life and this is simply the most choclatey brew I've ever had. It is like dark chocolate, bittersweet in nature. Some bitterness, but overpowered by some coffee and massive chocolate flavor. Perhaps I was (subconsciously?) only tasting what I wanted to taste, but this thing was amazingly chocolatey.

Mouthfeel: Something like whole milk, but without that mild oiliness to it. I like to joke with my less-enlightened buddies that they'd need a knife and fork to navigate the glass.

Drinkability: I don't really know how many of these things I could drink repeatedly, as this gem clocks in at 10.8% alcohol by volume. Although not the infinitely drinkable yet amazingly delicious perfection that defines Stone's IPA, this brew could be consumed for a good while.

bigchris1313, Oct 11, 2004
Photo of bashiba
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thank you chilidog for the chance to try this exceptional beer.
Wow what can I say that already hasn't been said, but this beer is fantastic. From picking up the beautiful Gargoyle Bottle to the last drop a great experience.

Appearance - Pours a thick black color which no light penetrates with a small coffee tan colored head that continues to lace down the side of the glass until the very bottom.

The smell is not quite as strong as I would have guessed but there are hints of Blackened Malts, Espresso, Chocolate, Kurant, Anise. All fighting to escape. Great.

The taste is simply WOW - what an explosion of flavor. I am instantly hit by the power of the Sweet Black Malts and a fruity Kurant Flavor. It is quickly followed by a strong Anise and Coffee flavors. There is some nice hoppiness at the end along with the nice warming alcohol notes, but overall the flavor is dominated by the amazing complexities and not so much the hops or malts. Very Cool.

The Mouthfeel is a combination of a creamy fuzziness with a nice warming charachteristic. Great

The drinkability is fantastic, I got the bottom of the glance and imediatly wanted more. The only bad thing I can say about this beer is that I can't get it on a regular basis and now that makes me very sad because I want another.

bashiba, Oct 05, 2004
Photo of koolkat
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer pours a nice thick syrupy black liquid that almost sticks to the glass as you pour it. I know Im in for a treat when I finally get to drink this. The flavor dosent dissappoint, it is very powerful wich much more of a malt tone than I expected from Stone given their other beers. The hops are well prononunced yet not overly powerful like in Arrogant bastard. All in all a very nice beer, but I doubt many people could handle this as a session beer it would just overwhelm you.

koolkat, Oct 03, 2004
Photo of Padron4KM
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a thick black with a decent sized coffee brown head. minimal lacing. Veiwed from above it took on an almost port-like apperance (dark with a clear layer on top) Aroma was dark fruit(prune,plum) coffee, liquorice, alcohol. flavor was rich, thick coffee (espresso) unsweetend chocolate, with a touch of bitter/sweetness in the finish. I hope there is still a bottle left at the store, because this is one for the cellar

Padron4KM, Oct 02, 2004
Photo of altctrlsdelete
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a light-destroying black with a chocolate milk colored, finger-and-a-half head. Roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee notes explode from the glass into my nostrils, held up by a stiff hop bitterness. Taste is perfect, with a wonderful burnt chocolate flavor taking center stage and supported subtly but expertly by roasted coffee goodness and balancing hop bitterness. A wonderfully viscous mouthfeel highlighted by the spicy alcohol notes.

The simplest description that comes to mind is a perfect cross between Victory's Storm King and Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout -- two personal favorites in the style. A nearly perfect imperial stout that leaves you in awe of what can be accomplished with malt, hops, yeast, water, and talent. Thanks yet again, Stone!

altctrlsdelete, Sep 28, 2004
Photo of RenoZymurgist
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Limited Edition 2004 Release, 22 oz. Bomber.
Poured a jet black brew with a moderate off white head that dissipated after about one minute. The aroma was clean without having any defects but it was hard to pick up much except a little roasted barley and alcohol. The taste was very nice as the rich malty sweetness was balanced very well with the sharp contrast of the roasted grains. The hops made a brief appearance right before being run over by a warm alcohol and then finishing clean with a touch of roasted flavor lingering. Very drinkable though not a session beer as one bomber is enough to get a nice buzz.

RenoZymurgist, Sep 27, 2004
Photo of henrysunset
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

black as night, opaque as imaginable. Tan cremy head, but with short retention

smells godly, really rich and coffee-like. Tinge of bitterness makes it even better.

tastes strong and good. Malts are excellent and everywhere. tastes a bit "cooked" with a hint of charred flavor.

Coats the throat instantly. Smooth as can be, where did the 9.5% go??

thick but entirely drinkable. I better like it, because it comes in a big bottle! (and I do like it)

henrysunset, Sep 26, 2004
Photo of beerceller99
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. "spring 2002 release". Jet black color with a slight dark tan head. Has an incredible smell that is earthy, fruity, yeasty and nutty. Big bodied with a chewy mouthfeel. Huge flavors of plums, huckleberries, sweet bread, almonds, and semi-sweet chocolate.
This is the liquid version of Liberty Orchards fruit chocolates. Finishes with a strong alcohol taste on the breath.

Excellent, one of the best stouts around and aging quite nicely.

beerceller99, Sep 25, 2004
Photo of baugherlager
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Oh my god this beer is amazing! Felt like cossacks were dancing on my tongue! I just bought this and and wasn't disappointed at all. Very thick reminds me of crude oil like they say on the bottle.

I wish they made cologne that smelled like this stuff it smells amazing like chocolate, burnt coriander, and molasses. Very pleasant and thick smelling.

The taste of this beer just makes my mouth water. It tastes very complex of chocolate, soy sauce, coriander, and black patent malt, with alcohol on there to back it up and more malt also with a hop edge in the back with the after taste.

I can drink this beer even if it is warm although it would probably take me 2 hours to down it.

Overall it is a really good Russian imperial stout. Stone is once again amazing! This beer is really worth the price

baugherlager, Sep 25, 2004
Photo of waughbrew
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Black with brown head. Sprucy pine tree sap with molasses and dirty honey. Caramel nail-polish-remover and oreos. Cocoa crispies with rancid milk. Boom, thick and chewy. Roasty rust that I can imagine dripping out of an old pipe in a basement. Sweet and nasty. End is cleaned up but stings with alcohol-soaked-cashews.

Impressive and insanely drinkable. Where did those 22 ounces just go? I want more.

waughbrew, Sep 24, 2004
Photo of HappyHourHero
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Spongy, dark brown colored head left strings of lace. Strong aroma consisting mostly of chocolate and raisins. Matte black looking beer. Flavors of bitter chocolate, coffee, a bit of marshmallow, creamy alcohol, and raisin. A thick chewy beer that's just right.

HappyHourHero, Sep 20, 2004
Photo of odeed
3.4/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2004 bottle....damn this is black!!!not something to be messed with at all!(but really,what stone is right?)
pours almost no head,with VERY BLACK apperance.not much carbonation,and has a little syrupy taste to it.for serious imperial stout lovers only.

odeed, Sep 20, 2004
Photo of cerevisiaephilus
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Finally getting around to trying this one compliments of my roomate Logos.

Decent looking beer. Dark as all hell. No red around the edges when held up to the light. But the head is a bit skimpy even when roused.

Nose is quite nice. Definately get the roasty toasty scents and maybe a bit of hops, but I also get some nice dark chocolate dank cherry cake notes and some breadyness to boot.

Taste is a little disapointing. Definately the massive roasty toasty notes backed up by massive hop bitterness and flavor, some smooth caramel crystal malt flavors there as well and a touch of wineyness but finishes a bit chalky, like some of the second tier Imperial stouts I've tried like Great Lakes. Little disapointed.

Nice mouthfeel. Very appropriate, but not quite perfect.

Pretty drinkable for such a big beer, but awfully bitter after a couple sips. Woudl like something a little smoother.

cerevisiaephilus, Sep 15, 2004
Photo of daledeee
4.74/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

It's tough at the top. The differences are sometimes only slightly discernable. A recent trip to the Chicago area afforded me a chance to try the Stone Imperial.

A 22 oz bottle. It took me an hour to relish the rarified brew.

It poured a beautiful black, and I mean BLACK. The head was nice with a tawny color. At the end of the pour the last drops of the brew danced across the head defying gravity. I knew then this would be a magical experience.

The aroma is unbelievable. Coffee and chocolate with malt. This is the best smelling beer I have ever enjoyed.

The flavor of this drink is worth savoring for as much time as you have. It is so well balanced and tasty that you will want one every day. The flavors burst free when they hit the palate. A perfect balance of chocolate, malt, coffee and hops. The aftertaste is just as fulfilling. A little more bitter at the end.

I have only given a few 5's across the board. There are a few categories for this brew that deserve 5+. So enjoyable, so drinkable. And yes, a good buzz. Nice high alcohol content.

NOTE: A few years since the first review. I have since tried many imperial stouts. This one came across as a little dry and not as dynamic as I first thought.

daledeee, Sep 12, 2004
Photo of Ricochet
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Zorro, another BA, Provided this one for me. (I provided Ballantine by request and Thirsty Dog's Imperial)

This stuff was CHEWY. It was so damn good, I'd have to say it was the best stout I'd tasted thus far.

Dark as all get-out and thick. Rich smell , just made me smell a few times and enjoy just that. Mouthfeel was very thick and deep. Drinkability was really good. This was thick, not very strong and made me think I could have more than one despite what this beer can do to you.

Taste? Very very complex, typical like a stout but not with the heavy alcoholic taste like most imperials. This beer was warm , tasty, complex and will be a fave for wintery nights if I can find this in Cleveland.

Ricochet, Sep 09, 2004
Photo of kennyo
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

dark as night, pitch black with a deep dark tan, about 3/4", lasted about a minute and then it was gone.

Aroma - Malt, dried fruit, chocolate, alcohol

Taste - Malty, alcohol, bittersweet chocolate, roasty, DELICIOUS

Big beer, a sipper not a pounder, took me about an hour and a half to finish this. Wonderful

kennyo, Sep 08, 2004
Photo of RocketWidget
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark, chocolate brown, with a frothy brown head that dissipates rather quickly. Smells of fruity currants and malty sweetness. Taste is unique for an imperial stout. Very fruity, with undertones of coffee, malt, and cinnamon. Alcohol has an impact on the aftertaste, and burns the throat slightly. A very unusual imperial stout because of the fruity, spicy elements.

RocketWidget, Sep 06, 2004
Photo of yankeeheel
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

The early summer 04 edition. Black as night with a coffee colored head. Not a whole lot in the way of retention or lacing. Heavy hanging licorice and charcoal smell. Taste is huge gobs of fruity fig, choclate and ash. There is nothing you can do but submit. Epic is an understatement. Finishes with that ever so subtle astringet burn. I'm floored. If this can't fill your palate try lighter fluid. Suprisingly drinkable for a young, strong, beer with high ABV. My other bottle is going underground for a few years.They should rename this stuff Hammer because it's like drinking steel.

yankeeheel, Sep 06, 2004
Photo of soper2000
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

First time sampling this stout and I got ahold of the 2004 edition at a local store. As I was pour this I was able to anticipate the creamy mouthfeel as it felt I was pouring oil into my pint. Appearance is black as night with a medium sized tan head. Nose has a bit of alcohol which was preceded by notes of chocolate and coffee... mmm... roasted malts. Taste is simply wonderful, lots of chocolate and slight bitterness. A slight sensation of alcohol follows but it is pleasant and warming, not strong at all. Mouthfeel is gloriously thick. Drinkability is decent for a brew of this strength. All and all I think i might have a new favorite Imperial Stout. I will definately try to stock up on this one for the comming winter.

soper2000, Sep 02, 2004
Photo of deejaydan
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Quarre for the sample....

Pours a nice midnight black with a quickly fading head... decent lacing left on the glass..

Nice aromas of Chocolate, some roastiness there as well...

Taste is smooth.. an nice balance between the sweetness of the malt, the roastiness, and the hops.

Mouthfeel & Drinkability-- this is where it shines.. very very easy to drink.. dangerously so... the low carbonation level makes it go down easy, and the alcohol is hidden well. A bit thin though for an imperial.

All in all, a very good beer, I'd rather have an expedition though.

deejaydan, Sep 01, 2004
Photo of Ninjaworm
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to CSquared for Sharing his bomber with Randallflagg and I. This is the second time I have enjoyed this beer.

Apperance: The beer is tar black with a coffee brown head that quickly disappears to a 1/8” head with little lacing. I held a lighter up behind my pint glass and I did not see any light come through!

Smell: Chocolate followed by coffee, which melds, into a buttery alcohol nose.

Taste: Smooth silky coffee and chocolate that is followed by a brandy flavor that blends into a bitter sweet chocolate finish.

Mouthfeel: Alcohol is very present with a lingering chocolate/coffee flavor after swallowing.

Drinkability: Excellent tasting beer that is a bit big to enjoy that many in a row but is wonderful Imperial Stout.

Ninjaworm, Aug 30, 2004
Photo of crookedhalo
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Late Spring 2003, Bogartski while you can, 9.47% ABV edition. Pours opaquely deepest brown to black with a medium brown head that fades into thin lacing. French roast coffee, scorched malt, dark fruit, toffee, raisin, black strap molasses and a big alcohol punch prevalent in the nose. Throw a lot of hops in there, too, but they're trying to keep their head above water like a mafia victim with concrete shoes that gets lost in the riptide. Malty, floral and sweet, with residual flavors complementary to that of almost any stereotypical dark ale; coffee, chocolate, dark, plummy fruits. But this monster does have some leafy and grassy hops manage to poke its head out like a prarie dog seeing if the coast is clear. Oops, the coast isn't clear, here comes the black patent malt monster. There's a mineral and salty background, not unlike Le Coq. All things considered, this has to be the finest imperial stout from the U.S. I've ever had, and I've had it a good number of times before I got around to reviewing it.

crookedhalo, Aug 30, 2004
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 6,928 ratings.