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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.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

7,290 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,290
Reviews: 2,601
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 587
Gots: 1,635 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 7,290 | Reviews: 2,601 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of eballard
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I tasted the 2006 release of this beer. This beer pours as black as black can be with a dark brown head that settles into a light lace. The beer smells richly malt and of roasted coffee. It has a creamy malt sweetness and hints of caramel. There is a sweet fruitiness that settles into a light alcohol flavor. It has a smooth creamy feel with a crisp bite from the high alcohol content. In all this is a great example of an imperial Russian stout. If you like stouts that are over the top strong this is a must try.

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

A: Jet black with a coffee with cream colored small ring of head.

S: Smell is full of rich alefruits and a strong presence of alcohol.

T: Flavor is a big chewy amalgum of vinuous complexity, roasted coffee, chocolate and alcohol. As I sip, chocolate covered cherries come to mind, as this beer has the ability to go from chocolatey to fruity from one sip to the next.

M: The ale is very smooth, going down like the oil it resembles. The flavors in the beer are excellent, providing an ever-changing spectrum.

D: The 10.8% is steep and the alcohol is not well hidden. One bomber is more than enough for an evening.

Photo of stouty1
3.78/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

WOW! This shocked my pallete! Was hard to get down the first couple sips. I am glad I waited to review this to get a couple more sips in. Sips is all you can get. Limited Spring 2006 release.

Poured a deep dark purple black, no transmission of light what-so-ever! No head either. I poured aggressivley too and maybe was only able to get about a 1/4" max. Gone! Faster than I could get it up to my nose for a sniff.

Smells of dark chocolate and dark roasted malts. Seems to be a theme going here. Some fruit essence in there somewhere.

Almost like drinking whiskey. Harsh at first with a smooth finish. Coffee and chocolate mixed with a tinge of sweetness finishes with a brandy-like flavor. Medium body despit the sluggish motor oil appearance. This is once a night beer due to the high octane level. Maybe would have been better with some aging.

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

I brought this back from San Diego shortly before the new carry-on restrictions against liquids came into effect. Phew!

It poured from a 650 mL bomber like motor oil and sat utterly opaque in my pint glass. A thick tan head with large bubbles sat atop this wonderous creation. The smell was inviting, with roasted malts, chocolate and some blackcurrant. There was a definite whiff of alcohol, but it wasn't overpowering and not indicative of the 10.8 per cent ABV wallop this beer packs.

Likewise, this is an eminently drinkable beer and hides its alcohol well going down. The low carbonation and full body made for a smooth mouthfeel. Roasted malts gave way to a rich, chocolately flavour that remained semi-sweet and never crossed over into bitter or burnt. It finished nice and dry.

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

Wow, this is amazing. Appearance, yeah it's black, can't see a thing through it. Smell is, well, I get more coffee, but it's great just to breathe it in. Very smooth, alcohol content is very well hidden. This is pretty good stuff. Only thing I could ask for is a bit more carbonation and head retention.

Photo of murrayswine
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Recieved from Boolshot in a trade.

Pours a beautiful deep black into my chalice, with a thin head and steady lacing.

The smell is huge and amazing. Dark fruits, chocolate, butter, rum, coffee, and brandy cream.

The taste is first dried cocoa, then plum, grape, and mint, followed by coffee roast.

This beer is absolutely phenominal, It's only true better is Dark Lord.

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

appearence: poured a motor oil black w/ a 1 inch mocha coffee creamy head. The head last the duration of the brew and left some great lacing. Love how intimidating this brew looks.

smell: well-balance w/ roasted coffee and malt, caramel and a hint of alcohol.

taste and mouthfeel: begins w/ a sweet caramel blast and strangely enough I got a nice expresso coffee at the end. The flavor was long lasting w/ a strong but welcoming taste of alcohol (like a IRS should have). The mouthfeel was exceptional w/ a full, thick, creamy body that followed w/ a pleasant soft carbonation. Nice warm feeling going down from the alcohol.

drinkability: although thick, syrupy and smooth, this beer is better sipped. Careful this brew packs a punch at 10.8% ABV and 1 22oz. bottle will start you off just fine.

Overall, this brew is awesome. Make sure you drink at 50 - 60 degrees to get the full and intense flavor it has to offer. Several months ago I bought 6 bottles and one thing I 've realize is how hard it is to keep them stored. Must restock for the winter. Thank you Stone for making one hell of a brew.

Photo of BlackJeremiah
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition, cellared for five months. Poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a Stone Russian Imperial Stout snifter.

A: Black, no undertones because it is thoroughly opaque. Noticably viscous when pouring, like engine oil. Even the roughest pour produces 1/2" of head, tops, which settles to a negligible coffee-colored froth in moments. Gorgeous, like gleaming onyx or the space between stars.

S: Sweet, fresh-baked bread, chocolate, currant and espresso. Very inviting, very complex. Aeration and a second sniff brings out the currant and notes of fennel and mutes the bread. Obviously there are layers here, and the scents meld very well.

T: After five months, the highly disparate flavor profile I remember from its release is already melding and aging nicely, if perhaps faster than I anticipated. That being said, it's really very remarkable. Chocolate and sweet bread lead the charge, followed closely by currant and espresso. Overtaking all four of these quickly is the fennel/pine tar hop bitterness, which does well to mask the alcohol until the tail of the aftertaste, where the RIS lets you know it is 10.8% ABV.

M: Thick and chewy viscosity matches its flavor profile so well. It's really like drinking used oil, if used oil were delicious and aromatic. I love thick stouts, and this one definitely has the presence on the palate to qualify.

D: I've commented before that high ABV beers just don't seem as drinkable to me. This one is an exception. Of all my cellared beers, the Stone RIS is the hardest for me to age. I love sipping on one or two throughout an evening, and it is really one of my favorite beers. However, if you are one of those that find stouts too thick and filling, you should adjust the drinkability rating down one point. The flavors and hop presence make this beer easier to drink than a still, bland stout, but it's still VERY thick.

Photo of Wasatch
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2008 Vintage
Revisted: 25 Jun 10
Two years later

Pours a very nice black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy/creamy tan head, which dissapates quickly, with basically no sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice roastiness, coffee/chocolate/toffee notes. The taste is malty, sweet, slight roasty, nice notes of chocolate/coffee/toffee. Medium body, the alcohol is hidden pretty well with this one, but kinda watery. Very drinkable still, but not holding up as well as I thought it would.

2008 Vintage

Pours a very nice black color, nice carbonation, nice little fizzy/creamy tan head, with some nice sticky lacing left behind. The nose is malty, with some nice roastiness, coffee/chocolate/toffee notes. The taste is malty, sweet, slight roasty, nice notes of chocolate/coffee/toffee. Medium body, the alcohol is hidden pretty well with this one. Very drinkable, a joy to drink again, highly recommended.

2007 Vintage

A - Pours a black in color, some carbonation, nice creamy tan head, lots of lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet/roasted malts, and toffee/caramel, slight smoked scent.

T - The taste is awesome of sweet/roasted malts, with nice undertones of toffee/caramel. Nice warm feeling going down.

M - Medium body.

D - Very Drinkable. Another awesome brew from Stone, they have not dissapppointed yet.

2006 Vintage

A - Pours a black in color, some carbonation, nice creamy tan head, lots of lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet/roasted malts, and toffee/caramel, slight smoked scent.

T - The taste of awesome of sweet/roasted malts, with nice undertones of toffee/caramel. Nice warm feeling going down.

M - Medium body.

D - Very Drinkable. Another awesome brew from Stone, they have not dissapppointed yet.

2005 Vintage

A - Pours a black in color, some carbonation, nice creamy tan head, lots of lacing throughout the drink.

S - Scents of sweet/roasted malts, and toffee/caramel, slight smoked scent.

T - The taste of awesome of sweet/roasted malts, with nice undertones of toffee/caramel. Nice warm feeling going down.

M - Medium body.

D - Very Drinkable. Another awesome brew from Stone, they have not dissapppointed yet.

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

2005 version.

Pours a deep jet black, with a dense one finger head that settles very slowly to a thick layer of foam, leaving behind a solid sheeting of lace.

Smell; dark roasted coffee mixed with bittersweet chocolate. There's a nice presence of dark fruits, and I'm also getting a little bit of anise.

Taste; the aroma of this beer is really good, but the flavor is incredible. The coffee and chocolate flavors come through much more prominently than they did in the nose. Dark fruits, such as plums and a touch of cherries, fill out the middle, and a touch of that anise and a spicy alcohol presence round out the end. Although the alcohol is noticeable, it's only a little, and doesn't detract from the beer at all.

Mouthfeel is full bodied, rich and very creamy, with a very good drikability that would be higher if this were not such a thick beer.

Whenever I try a beer with the magnitude of hype that surrounds a beer such as Stone's IRS, I'm always a bit worried that it won't live up to it. However, with this one, I had no reason to worry. What a great beer.

Photo of WeisGuy
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2006 version

a - pitch black color, large tan head with retention around the edges, nice lacing, very viscous on the pour

s - lots of roasted malt, coffee, slightly spicy, alcohol and sweetness present as well

t - sweetness and roasted malt up front with a strong coffee taste evolving into a long bitter finish with notes with hints of alchol, very complex and beautifully balanced, quite smooth drinker

m - moderate carbonation, more lively in the mouth than many stouts, full-bodied, very viscous and coats the mouth well

d - very drinkable for a strong RIS, 10.8% abv may make one bottle enough for me though, very well balanced and complex taste makes me want to keep on drinking it all night though

This brew lived up to - and exceeded - all of the hype for me. I've wanted to try this ever since I got into craft beer last spring, but just finally got my hand on a bottle last night while in DC. The extremely well balanced and complex taste makes Stone IRS one of my all-time favorites. I only wish I had readier access to this amazing brew!

Photo of laintringulis
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2003 bottle served in a wide mouth goblet.

I have throughly enjoyed this beer before, but this older vintage is truly blissfult.

Pours deep black with mahogany tones, large creamy head. Nice lacing.

More complexity in the smell. Increased oakiness, smokiness, and bourbon smells. Still has a strong coffee smell with caramel and chocolate undertones. Has a sherry-soy taste without being too much.

Tastes great. Full coffee flavor, nice roastiness and spiciness that ties it all together. I'm in heaven.

I could drink this stuff all week long. Easy to drink and enjoy. Thank you, hubby for this supreme beer treat!

Full bodied, chewy. Very smooth on the finish.

Photo of orsulacp
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The bottle said this was a limited early summer 2005 release. It poured into the hotel water glass with a big fluffy tan head that slowly disappeared; I need to travel with the proper glassware. The body is black, there is no light getting through at all. It had the look of olive oil being poured, very thick and viscous. The smell was really muted, only solvents getting through, and an alcohol bite. The taste was very complex. There was coffee with sweet cream, dark fruit (prunes), a spicy herb that I can't identify, and a bit of alcohol bite at the end of the sip. This beer is way more complex than my palate. It has a velvety smooth texture with a good level of carbonation. It is very drinkable for something this high in abv and complexity of taste. I am very glad I bought this. I think the Storm King is still my favorite because I like the hops.

Photo of jtw5877
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

What a great beer, this one made me remember what love about Imperial Stouts. A multi dimensional beer that similiar to belgians has flavors that appear as it warms. Nice rich dark roasted malt, chocolatey coffee goodness, throw some hops in for good measure and you have one hell of a beer. I would fill the fridge with it if i could afford it. Way to go Stone.

Photo of ppoitras
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22ozer bottle from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA. Spring 2006 vintage.

Poured into a heavy glass chalice, formed a 3/8" dark brown head above the opaque dark brown/black brew. Head quickly falls, but here's plenty of sticky lacing. Aroma is heavy on the dark grains, with glimpses of dark fruit, and plenty of alcohol apparent. Taste is sweet chocolate and bitter coffee at the same time, some hoppy bits, with warming in the mouth and down the throat. Mouthfeel is velvet smooth, and drinkability are excellent for the style. Always worth revisiting, for a new vintage or just a new bottle.

Photo of stoner420
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark brown, almost black, with a creamy head. Aroma is chocolate, coffee, alcohol, malt, great. Taste is like it smells, coffee, chocolate, nice malty flavors. Texture is a little too syrupy and sweet, but just a little. Overall a heavy, very enjoyable stout, but for me its best in small amounts.

Photo of boulevard2
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bomber 2005

Pours a coffee colored stout with cappachino like head with heavy retention. This beer oozes with chocolate and smoothness. Something I 'd excpect in Willy Wonka's fridge. A champion stout and one I'd been dying to taste. A wonderful after dinner beverage or just for dessert. Now I know why this is at the top of the list and hope I can snag a few bottles of this and hold on for those cold winter months ahead. Another great brew from stone who continues to impess me each time!

Photo of akahn
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is based on an 06 bottle.

This beer is quite a bit more rounded out than the 04 I had. Broader, stronger carbonation, sweetness that is better balanced, fading seamlessly into a bitterness and heat, but less pronounced alcohol. This beer is absolutely exceptional.

Photo of mjc410
3.95/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The pour into my little used (of late, anyway) snifter brings up a very sparse, large bubbled head, with a light coffee color. Lacing is almost nonexistent, but usually expected for the ABV. Of course, the beer is black as night. The nose is coffee, roast, a bit of licorice, a little unsweetened cocoa, and some caramel. Starts sweet, with a nice cocoa/coffee middle, ends with a lingering roasted taste that leaves chocolate in your mouth. Hides the alcohol very well. Mouthfeel is lighter than I'd like. Really, this is a very good impy, and I'm glad I came back to it.

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

This is the best imperial stout I have ever had. And I've had lots of 'em! The only reason I gave it a 4.5 for drinkability is the high alcohol content. You simply can't drink as much as you would like to! The last time I had this was from a bottle, but before that was on tap, and if possible, it may have been even better on tap.

Photo of kosmoraios
3.15/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Woah. Trying to review for the style here...

Pours black as night into my pint glass. Tan head lasts for a minute or so.

Aroma is of roasted malt, coffee, dark caramel, pumpernickel bread and alcohol.

Taste is of chocolate, coffee, alcohol. There is a dark, almost burnt malty taste to this ale. Alcohol is very prevalent as it warms. Pretty agressive and bitter. There is some sweetness that offsets this at first, but as the ale warms, it starts to become a challenge to drink.

Mouthfeel is chewy, oily. Not a very drinkable ale, unless it's 20 below outside with freezing snow blowing sideways.

Photo of stephendr
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thick India ink color- anisette and alcohol present in the nose – thick chewy body- spicy, toffee, coffee, and citrus taste- long sweet aftertasteThick India ink color- anisette and alcohol present in the nose – thick chewy body- spicy, toffee, coffee, and citrus taste- long sweet aftertasteThick India ink color- anisette and alcohol present in the nose – thick chewy body- spicy, toffee, coffee, and citrus taste- long sweet aftertaste

Photo of Higravity
3.58/5  rDev -17.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

2006 Spring Release. Pours dark as hell with a nice top of chocolate foam. Smells of roast alcohol with a sweetness and earth spice. Taste is pretty right on with the smell but the alcohol pops out a little too much in the finish. The body was good for a ~11% beer and was good for the style. The 22 went down very easy and if it was sold in the area for a reasonable price I would have another. Thanks Indybeer.

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

This is nothing short of an incredible Imperial. I've been reading about it for quite some time and finally had the fortune of grabbing two 22 oz. bottles from my local shop. My only regret is that I didn't buy the entire stock. It pours a very thick and leaves a lovely mocha colored lace across the top. Unlike some of the Imperials I've had lately, this one is B-L-A-C-K ... tar black, with a tinge of chocolate brown towards the top of the glass just below it's mocha head. Some have mentioned that carbonation cannot be seen ... it's because this baby is like a lunar eclipse ... no light is getting through this one.
It's notes are of coffee, toffee, chocolate, and a smooth tinge of alcohol to round out its robust finish. It's malty alright ... but not overpoweringly sweet. Some may be dismayed when they hear coffee, but this one was even enjoyed by my coffee hating buddy.
Though opaque in color, the alcohol and malts give this a smooth finish with a hint of sweetness. It warms the palate and fills the mouth with a myriad of flavors ... each complementing the other ... no one true flavor coming through unlike some of the Imperials I've tried that seem to have one defining note.
The mouthfeel is smooth with a light carbonation. It wraps itself around your tongue and holds on for dear life. The taste lingers even after you have had your last sip.
This was incredible. I'm really ticked that I didn't buy more since it's such a phenomenal beer. I'm hanging on to my second one for next winter as I've heard this baby only gets better with age. If you find the 2006, grab it fast. It's definitely worth it!

Photo of yemenmocha
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours nearly opaque black. Not much lightpasses through. Nose has baker's chocolate with 3 musketeers bar candy aromas. Reminds me of hot cocoa on Christmas morning as a child.

Big chocolate is present on the palate as well, but is more dark chocolate than milk chocolate. Malt is still there to round it out, nice and roasty, hops in there (though more tame in my aged bottles now), and it has a seamless integration of these components. Balance.

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 7,290 ratings.