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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

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7,355 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,355
Reviews: 2,614
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 613
Gots: 1,676 | 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: 7,355 | Reviews: 2,614 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of bruachan
3.48/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

this is a "limited early summer 2004 release". don't remember where i picked it up

not even going to bother talking about the appearance

super sweet, dextrinous aroma. some deeply roasted malts play around too, but it's mostly sweet that i smell. i would have expected the flavors and mouthfeel to be more melded and muted, but the heat is still there. it transitions right into the bitterness, too, which is a little odd. i get some oaky vanilla, but nothing like the yeti that actually spent time in oak

Photo of MVassar
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Resembles a cup of black coffee. Very dark brown. Short-lived mocha head, with no lacing.

Roasted coffee, roasted nuts, dark fruit, and raw sugar in the nose. Very enticing.

Sweet malt, syrupy, rich fruit. Raisins, molasses, chocolate.

Creamy, thick mouthfeel, with a long finish. Low-key carbonation.

Delicious for dessert, but not one I would consume in great quantities.

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

Pours a deep black with a small brown foam that disappears quickly.

Aroma is very strong and easy to pick up. Unsweetened roasted chocolates, a hint of bourbon, and burned coffee.

Flavor is quite intense. Dark chocolate flavors make the base, yet added hardly any sweetness. Some alcohol could be tasted in the form of dark fruits like raisons and dates. The flavor that I’ll forever remember, though, is a smoky & woody ashtray taste. Unique and mostly enjoyable.

Mouthful is very thick and heavy. In fact, one of the heaviest I can remember in recent history. Carbonation was low, but hardly a factor with the thickness.

Drinkability is a sipper. I didn't find the alcohol to be very apparent, actually. It was the thickness and the dark flavor that slowed this down. This bottle probably lasted over an hour with me at a party.

This is a 2006 bomber I saved until New Year's Eve. A fitting event for such a bottle. I offered some to everyone there, but they were intent on mixed drinks and MGD. Although I thought the ABV of this beer was masked by its strong flavors, it should be noted that I had put away a growler of Grumpy Troll Russian Imperial Stout and a 6-pack of New Glarus Spotted Cow earlier that day. My tongue may have been impaired.

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

2006 offering poured from a 22 oz. bomber into a snifter glass.

A: Dark as night black with absolutely no light visible from any angle of the snifter. The cinnamon brown head poured one finger thick and dissolved in seconds to a slight ring of tiny bubbles around the glass. No lacing what so ever.

S: Roasted coffee. Dark chocolate. Dark fruits. Oak or wood with a slight smoke spirit. Alcohol.

T: A dark bitter chocolate with roasted coffee are noticable right off the bat with a sweet or sugary molasses touch. A slight citric hop bite is followed by the taste of dark fruit or currants. The alcohol kicks in with a taste of oak aged bourbon. This beer finishes with an earthy and smoked aftertaste.

M: Syrupy and luxuriously thick. Slight if any carbination. A dry aftertaste comes from the alcohol.

D: I had this beer with a fine dinner on New Year's Eve. A perfect combination with the surf and turf I enjoyed. This beer is not for the faint of heart. This is a sipper that is to be savored over time. The favors really come out as the beer warms. Leaves you with a calm warming feeling all over. All said.... This was a treat! A great representation of the style. A fantastic beer from start to finish!

Cheers and a Happy New Year to All!

Photo of jasonjlewis
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer had a decent head that faded a bit too quickly for my taste. The smell was strong of chocolate malts, the alcohol was not too overbearing. Apple phenol, my favorite smell, was present. Taste was incredibly balanced and malty. I can't believe this is 10.8% alcohol. The malting of this beer is superb and thick. I was afraid the alcohol would be overbearing. Not too bitter either, I've heard the ibus on this beer weere very high, but the balance doesn't make it very noticeable. This beer was pretty easy to drink. A very nice RIS.

Photo of beerphan
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle -> american pint
sping 2006 release

Pours jet black with a one inch brown head that leaves quickly and leaves no lace.

Nose: Roasted chocolate malts, licorise, dark fruit and alcohol.

Deep thick chocolate blast with some intense alcohol. Definately a sipper. Smokey wood bourbon finish that warms the throat considerabley.

Mouth is thick and chewy with a low carbonation and a slick feel.

I don't think i would drink more than one of these in a sitting, but definately a good choice for a scarey movie on a snowey night.

Photo of jlh8643
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A 2005 bomber version. Pulled it out of the fridge and let sit for about 30 mins. Very dark with ruby highlights around the edges when held up to the lights. A mediocre tan head that fell away all too soon leaving some whisps of foam arounds the edges. Roasted and dark malts dominate the nose. The hop aroma was subdued after about 18 months in the bottle but I knew some was there. Dark fruits, caramel and roasted, coffee notes deliver a long full finish.

If it wasn't for the disappointing initial appearance I would have rated this a bit higher. Overall I very much enjoyed this brew.

Photo of Frozensoul327
3.53/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: Dark black opaque color with a short lived head of foam that took off in no time. No lacing, and what appears to be a low level of carbonation. Woul'd've been nicer if it had more of a head.

S: Rich, roasted chocolate malts, notes of unsweetend cocoa and raw molasses. Notes of bourbon and chocolate liquor hide in the background. Java notes swirl in and out of perception's view.

T: Dense dark chocolate flavors come out swinging. A hearty dose of warming alcohol kicks in shortly after, followed by a wallop of bourbon laced nuances: coffee, smoke, wood, grain. Nice.

M: Dense, heavy, thick. A measureable amount of carbonation is noted, but is overpowered by the magnitude of the liquid it's contained in.

D: Fair. It's not bad. Very much a sipper. Seems to be more akin to a imperial java stout, or something along those lines. Well made, just not my bag.

Photo of NJpadreFan
3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Stone- Imperial Russian Stout

Appearance- Dark black with a thick tan head. Heavy lacing throughout the beer.
Smell- Strong alcohol, burnt coffee beans, cherries, and raisins.
Taste- Very sweet, sugary sweet smokey malt mixed with a roasted coffee bean and fruit flavor. Dried fruits of raisin and cherries come through.
Mothfeel- Sweet!! Syrupy sugary sweet with huge doses of alcohol.

Overall- Not a bad sipper, but you better like it over the top sugary sweet!!!

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

Served at cellar temp in a pint glass. 2006 version. Has been in my cellar for 7 months. Appearance is coal black. No light shows through even when held up to the light. Brown head briefly appears but quickly dissipates.
Smell is sweet with strong roasted smell and some fruits.
Taste is of roasted malt. Again, some fruit is noticeable in the background. Bitterness mostly from the roasting and only slight hop presence. Some alcohol is tasted as well. Mouthfeel is smooth, very smooth. Carbonation is light.
Wow! This is one great beer. It is much smoother than many other impy stouts thatI have had in the past. Alcohol is not as obvious as I would expect for a beer of this strength. I am eager to try my other cellared bottle in a year or so. Definitely a nice Christmas Eve treat.

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

Poured out a dark dark dark brown, with a tan creamy head, lasting a long time. Nose was malt, sour cherry, stone fruit, alcohol, sherry. The taste was incredibly big, complex, and balanced. Lots of dark fruit, sheryr, muted alcohol, cherry, and cassis. There was a nice silky mouthfeel, amazingly drinkable. Really lovely beer.

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

Appearance: Pours black, nearly no light passes through. No head, thin dark brown lacing that disappears quickly. Few high lights of dark coffee color.

Smell: Sweet and alcoholic notes, black currant and anise as described on the bottle, light roastiness.

Taste: Light roastiness upfront, gentle hop bitterness quickly fades into thick, sweet, black currant, molasses, some coffee, very complex, and moderate alcohol warmth at the end (especially for the abv).

Mouthfeel: Very thick and heavy, not particularly creamy. Pleasant and appropriate for the flavor.

Drinkability: Very drinkable for the style, other than the headrush from the ABV, great flavor, pleasant warming, coats the mouth and the glass.

Photo of sman262
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

nice 700th review

Grats to JoshD for hooking me up.

This has to be one of the hoppier stouts ive had in a while, latly ive been drinking goose island Bourbon county and founders breakfast, and man on man was this a nice change of pace. I love the copper head and the darkness of a great stout, smell was awesome, reminded me of dark lord, rolling over the the maltyness and hops really came out. overall i would have to say that i have to get over to FFF and check this out on tap.

Photo of scruffwhor
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a Bellevue snifter from a 22oz bottle.

Appearance- Jet black, used motor oil. Nice and viscous. Deep brown head of about an eighth of a finger. Looks like a black cognac in my snifter.

Smell- Lots of cream, coffee, wood, and toffee with a veil of black draped over it all.

Taste- Starts very dark and sweet from the vanilla and cream roasted malts. The middle is a little more woody, but still dark. The finish lets the hops get some say so by imparting an almost viney smokiness to the finish.

Mouthfeel- Not as viscous as Dark Lord. But still viscous. Just what I'm looking for in a good RIS.

Photo of alysmith4
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My first try of anything Stone.. and my first Russian stout at that! Very deep in flavor, complex with roasted coffee and toasted fruit flavors. Detected a touch of coffee and cherry flavors, and some herbal, medicinal flavors.

Not my favorite style, but a well-crafted flavor with carefully brewed complexities. Definitely worth a try, even if you don't like this style.

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

2006 Edition. Poured into a Duvel tulip.

The darkest beer I have seen in a long time. Non-opaque and jet-black. The head was lacking, and only produced a ring of lace at the end of the pour. This lace will last until the end of the drink, I guarantee it.

I set the beer down on the counter... and waited. Waiting for what you might ask? I was waiting for my nose to calm down, as the fragrance was being permeated throughout the room. I could smell the beer almost a foot away. Insane. The smell is excellent overall. Strong current of chocolate/coffee malt, along with fruity esters. Caramel and chocolate take center stage. With undertones of ripe cherries, and graham cracker. It's quite hard to take this beer away from my nose. It's smell is just incredibly pleasant and true to the RIS style.

Mmm, the first sip was delicious. Lots of complexity going on initially, and even more after each sip as the beer warms. A strong blast of malt on the get go. Chocolate with perfect balance. Right in the median between bitter and sweet. After the initial blast of malt, comes a hoppy note which produces exceptional balance. Citric in nature, and goes well with the overall flavor scheme. After the hops fade, comes a long lingering dark coffee flavor which resembles espresso almost exactly. Pushing up against it is a large roasted grain note, which lasts long after the sip is gone. Talk about beer for breakfast? This one could pull it off, with ease. The mouthfeel is creamy, a bit oily, and right on for the style. Drinkability is great for a beer of this size.

I am having trouble expressing words right now, much less conveying them to type. It's almost unbelievable how good this beer really is. After the large amount of hype and good word I have heard about this beer, it did have a lot to live up to. I'd proudly like to say, that this beer is definitely world-class, and that it does indeed live up to the hype - and past it...

Hands down, one of finest Stouts on the face of the earth.

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

Details- Thanks to dbalsock for the sample straight from San Diego. 22 oz. bottle - Spring 2006 release, and enjoyed on Dec. 2nd 2006.

Appearance- Pours very dark and very thick. Didn't observe much lacing. I would like to see the head be a bit bigger too.

Smell- Darkly roasted malt, hints of black currants, a definite coffee bean aroma, very dark chocolate (of the milk variety).

Taste- Very dark chocolate that is truffle-like. Gets creamy as it warms. Coffee. Alcohol, but it has either become or always was surprsingly mellow. Delicous, and especially delicious as it warms to room temperature.

Moughtfeel- So thick and creamy as it warms. Doesn't get any better than this.

Drinkability- I sipped on this for about an hour- but when it approached room temperature I found myself wanting more and more, and it was surprisingly drinkable. I bet this would be even better with another year or so of aging. A great beer that I look forward to trying again.

Photo of amatuerbeerguy
3.35/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

With an opaque color on the pour. Which included a tan head that shot up to the glass top, then almost as fast went away. No lacing apparent.

Aroma has coffee, dark chocolate, only noticeable aroma.

Flavor of coffee, chocolate, roast, and alcohol warming.

Mouth feel was low/medium body, with little to no carbonation.

Overall it is an average/below average RIS. I have had it before, and it was better this may be a bad bottle.

Photo of kimcgolf
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Pours to a thick black, used motor oil look, with light tan head that lingers long and leaves decent lacing. Aroma is malty roasted nut and molasses. Flavor is more of the same, and as the beer warms, the 9.4% alcohol becomes more noticeable. Sweet, long finish tops this off and makes it a most enjoyable beer.

Photo of mattf311
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours motor oil black with about a quarter inch of foam. Smells of dark chocolate with a bit of coffee. Also tastes of dark chocolate / coffee with a hint of sweetness... It's a nice balance. A very thick brew -- practically a milkshake -- with no carbonation. A nice sipping beer on a cold day with a piece of dark chocolate.

I thought it was a great beer but I expected more of a wow effect from the taste given its acclaim. It is an excellent interpretation of a russian imperial stout but I found myself prefering old rasputin. Will do more research on this subject...

Photo of mmmbeer
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber, released in early summer '05 - served lightly chilled in a big chalice. It pours thick and black, with a small, lightly fizzy orange/brown head that reduces to a collar, then fades away. It is quite aromatic, with dark and sweet chocolate, coffee, charred/burnt, nutty, smoked?, roasted, and sweet malts, tobacco juice, currant, blackberry, apple?, oranges?, other berry/tropical esters, and a bit of a lactic quality. Insanely complex. Just as complex on the palate, with cocoa, tobacco, leather, coffee, Jagermeister?, blackened/charred/burnt malts, roasted and vinous malts, plum, currant, blackberry, and green/piney hops that leave a medium bitterness. The body is thick, fairly carbonated (thanks to bottle-conditioning), and incredibly smooth - swishing the beer in your mouth turns it into an almost milkshake consistency that you damn near have to chew. It leaves a long, roasted and hoppy finish and hides the alcohol surprisingly well (in flavor; you can feel it going down). Overall a dangerously drinkable beer from one of my favorite breweries.

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

Poured blacker and thicker than Saudi Arabian crude with a small brown head.

The aroma was of rich roasted malts, chocolate, some hops, and herbal notes.

The flavor of the beer was richly roasty without being harsh or ashen. The malts cascaded through a variety of flavors. There were notes of dried fruits, herbs, and licorice. The hops were well balanced and didn't follow the normal Stone edict of coarse bittering.

The mouthfeel was full and creamy. The carbonation was spot on. Very drinkable for such a big beer.

I'm not normally super impressed by Stone's beers, but this one was exceptional. It's deservedly at the top with the likes of 3F Dark Lord, Bell's Expedition Stout, and Alesmith Speedway Stout.

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

Couldn't hold out another day. This is the Spring '06 batch. Call me weak for opening it in Fall '06. But I...LOVE...STONE... (thanks to my Portland peep, msubulldog25, for the bottle!)

Pours out a jet-black ink. The oil was utterly opaque, with a moderate light brown head. Small patches of lace form, but nothing too outrageous.

The aroma is mighty. Booze, tangy cherry, coffee beans, juicy black currants, melted chocolate.

Flavor has as much depth, balance and variety as the aromas, and mirrors those listed above. There's also a generous hops element, but they are well-incorporated. Smokiness/roastiness comes out stronger in the flavor than in the aroma, and along with the fruitiness, the chocolate/lactic sweetness, and the coffee-like heartiness...is there really a better stout out there, Russial Imperial or otherwise? There's a ton of action here, lots of things going on, but everything remains focused, and every sip is a joy. This is effing brilliant.

Mouthfeel lacks the viscosity you get in many other Russian Imperials, being remarkably buoyant and airy despite its strong looks, aromas and flavors. It doesn't lack thickness, but also doesn't feel heavy or sticky.

Is there anything Stone can't do? This is incredible.

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

"Limited Spring 2006 Release."

Appearance: Jet black with a thin head and steady lacing.

Smell: Dark fruits, chocolate, sweet currant and espresso.

Taste: Really very remarkable. Chocolate and sweet bread lead the charge, followed closely by currant and espresso. Dark fruits, such as plums and a bit of cherries fill out the middle and a touch of a spicy alcohol presence round out the end.

Drinkability: Mouthfeel is velvet smooth, and drinkability are excellent for the style.

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

Bottle says, "Limited Spring 2006 Release."
This was everything I was hoping it would be and more. I wanted so badly to like this, and I hoped, terribly so, that it wouldn't have the West Coast style "citrus and pine" hops in it like Rasputin or Czar or so many others. This...this is a masterpiece in brewing.
It poured black. Absolutely black. In fact, when held up to a light bulb, no light passed through it, even the edges. Head was like the foam on a glass of Coca-Cola, and dwindled down to a ring of frost around the edges in about 30 seconds.
Smell reminds me of raisin bran cereal. Very malty and deep with a raisin / stewed fruit smell. Alcohol is present as well. Magnificent.
Taste isn't as rich as I was thinking (or hoping) it would be. All the attributes in the smell are present in the taste. There is an extraordinarily profound presence of heavy malt immediately noticeable that stays with you the whole time. There is also a very brief manifestation of alcohol as soon as you swallow, but it vanishes as quickly as it arrived. In fact, to be nearly 11%abv, the alcohol in this is concealed exceptionally well.
Mouthfeel is without equal. Well, there maybe another stout out there that *can* equal this, but certainly not exceed it. This is just a glorious creation, coating your mouth with its decadent and nearly oily presence with each sip. Very, very heavy. Beautiful. Rasputin has a mouthfeel similar to this, but it also has a hop presence that I am not particular fond of. This drink, is a sensational marriage of nearly everything I like in a stout. Many, many thanks to Ding for bringing me this most splendid brew!!

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,355 ratings.