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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,675 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,675
Hads: 7,916
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 15.9%
Wants: 734
Gots: 2,086 | FT: 111
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,675 | Hads: 7,916
Photo of stonefan55
4/5  rDev -7.8%

this is a beer that got me into stouts, I was never really a fan of regular popular stouts but this ones pretty good and at 11% abv it has a nice burn on it. awesome choice for a stout for sure...

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Photo of breadwinner
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Incredible value on this big old RIS, which is redolent of dark chocolate, roasted barley, and perhaps a touch of coffee to my palate. Probably ages like a dream too. Fantastic stuff.

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Photo of asmangat
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Revisiting 2004 vintage in November 2014.

A: consistent with current vintage but lacing is darker.
S: predominantly chocolate, marshmallow, with a lot of dark fruit.
T: Deliciously sweet, chocolatey, almost butterscotchy...no alcohol burn whatsoever.
M: Very rich mouthfeel that lingers beautifully.
O: Aging for this long seems definitely worthwhile. For some reason its way better than 2005 IMHO.

Can't ask for anything more in a Russian Imperial Stout!

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

Pours a very dark brown almost black like oil, with khaki colored head. Coffee, roast, raw cocoa, and some toffee on the nose; follows onto the palate. Finishes with roast.

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Photo of dabarton
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Cask Conditioned 2 Years:
Cask-conditioned for 2 years at Deep Ellum in Boston. Thick and syrupy 8 ox pour into a straight glass. Rich, complex, and outstanding, this beer just about knocked me off my stool with how good it was. The high alcohol content after 2 years of aging made it quite dense, but decidedly an incredible sipping beer.

I have not yet had a young version.

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Photo of WestCoastLibations
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Sifting through the U.S. Embassy Commissary in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, you can imagine my surprise when I saw this 22oz. gem sitting on the shelves! Probably overpriced and definitely well-traveled, I picked up a few to take with me, a bit of Southern California by way of Vladivostok to Ethiopia.

I read the label's warnings reminding me that this was gonna pout like black strap molasses, which it did, into probably the most non-Stout-friendly glass there ever was. Not to worry. With the 22 ounces divided over about three 7-ounce pours, it was a blessing in disguise, allowing me to collect my thoughts before the next round of self-annihilation.

It poured Black with a minimal brownish head allowing for a Chocolate aroma to whiff out into the still Ethiopian air. At 6%, there is a surprisingly strong taste of alcohol, and at an elevation of over 2,000 meters in the world's third highest capital, it hits you like a Czar on an African land grab.

The taste is complex, to say the least, and although not a beer that pairs well with particularly anything in East Africa, it fit the bill on its own accord, drank with nothing but the accompanying of music on a Wednesday afternoon. The mouthfeel is not as bitter as I was expecting, a rather smoove ride from lip to belly and back up to the Temple.

Overall an absolutely amazing treat to behold in Ethiopia, and I imagine as good as its gonna get over the course of the next nine months here. With preparation in mind, I have stocked up, but will spare any more rambling reviews for the remaining encounters with this delicious Imperial Russian Stout...

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Photo of MarkQ617
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Outstanding offering and a testament to the genre. Dark black color as you'd expect, with an inviting coffee colored head. Taste is rich with grains and coffee. The texture is outstanding, smooth and almost creamy. Exactly what you want in an imperial Russian.

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Photo of Brutaltruth
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

enjoyed from a 2014 release bomber. This always excellent Russian imperial stout pours a thick black with moderate dark tan head and great clinging lacing. Nose of bakers dark chocolate, vanilla, coffee, deeply roasted grains, and slight alcohol. Flavors are heavily roasted grains, dark bakers chocolate, dark rich coffee, to the front and sides, with vanilla and coffee on the aftertaste and fantastic warmth from the alcohol rounding it out. Smooth mouthfeel has a bit of bittering hops in the background providing balance to the sweetness of the chocolate and dark roasted malts. One of the best examples of the style available.


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Photo of humuloner22
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I don't know why but for some reason after all the stouts, imperial stouts, etc., that I have drank this one had escaped me. I found this one in a hell of a deal a while back in the four pack of bombers. I have heard this one aged out well and considering its getting into stout season for me, I thought I would crack this one open.

Color: Like black as night, you cant get any darker than this one. Poured fairly aggressively and it maintained a large head but settled fairly quickly.

Aroma: Roasted malts and booze, maybe a bit of dark chocolate, but no coffee or hops.

Taste: Well balanced. Good amount of carbonation to make the mouthfeel more robust, but it isn't super thick either, just about right, great for a sipper. It is a bit boozy in the taste, but not overly so considering the amount of alcohol that is in it. Malts, dark chocolate, some bitterness, but its also balanced by some sweetness, some say coffee, I detect some but this is nowhere in the same league as other stouts in regard to coffee, which is not a bad thing, I am just saying. It does have a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue, nice finish. This is why I love stouts!

Overall: Well made and considering the deal I got, with this, it makes it even better. Also, I should add that this was the 2014 edition. Well done guys, I will purchase this one again.

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Photo of Eman17
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black with a finger head, tan in color that lasts quite a bit.

S: Pretty boozy nose, also some chocolate, dark fruits and a bit of coffee.

T: A lot of dark fruits with a bit of coffee and chocolate combined with a bit of a boozy finish.

M: Very complex and full in body with a nice creamy aspect, more or less perfect.

O: Fantastic RIS.

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Photo of Jeffreychason
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Bottled 2012. Smooth initially, a little empty on the back end. Still boozy, but smooth almost creamy, chocolatey, real nice beer. Well done imperial

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Photo of xboxhueg
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Best RIS I've had to date..absolutely awesome. BIG coffee and chocolate aromas and on the palate. A lot less bitter than I was expecting, very smooth and alcohol is very suppressed. Even at the edges of the glass this beer is pitch black. I'm going to go back to the totalwine and pick up a case..it's that good.

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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%

Poured from a 22oz bottle with a bottled on date of 2/21/14; into a snifter.
Appearance - black syrup out of the bottle, but presents with a slight brownish cola tint on the bottom of the snifter. Thin brown head that leaves decent lacing.
Smell - coffee, vanilla bean and bourbon.
Taste - heavy roasted coffee bean, chocolate and bourbon; huge flavors!
Feel - bold and complex feel, heavy and creamy! Booze certainly noticeable, but hard to sit the glass down!
Overall - would love if Stone offered this in a 12 oz bottle in a 6 or 4 pack or as apart of the mixed 12. The price is definitely reasonable, but if this would go the way of Sublimely...I'd consider this a must have.

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Photo of uvachief
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Potent Russian Stout. Pours to a full 2 fingers of head. Dark chocolate color. Traditional stout aromas of coffee and chocolate. Big and creamy in the mouth. Smooth and thick going down. Very tasty. A 750ml bottle resulted in a nice mild buzz.

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Photo of Sarge3130
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz. bottle dated 2/20/14 poured into Heavy Seas Snifter

A: Jet black with one finger of tan head. Nice lacing when swirled
A: Bitter roast, milk chocolate, ash, dark fruit
T: Heavy roast, raisins, chocolate and alcohol
M: Medium body. maybe a little thin for a RIS and not being barrel aged
O: I really enjoyed this beer especially after it warmed up to room temp. Nice milk chocolate and drank very well for 11%. price point is great too at under $10. solid 4.25

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Photo of beerdedking
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%

22 oz. bottled 2/21/14.

Poured into snifter, this RIS leaves a tan head that dissipates quickly. A quick sign that this is a hoppy stout.
Nose reveals scents of toasted caramel and dark fruit. This is a wonderful RIS that hits all the right buttons. Black cherry quickly sliding to a slightly overdone Colombian roast coffee.
The maltiness isn't as complex as other RIS offerings, thus I've subtracted a touch off the total score, but as you'd expect, being a Stone brew, it finishes with an herbal and earthy hop finish.
Even considering this is 7 months old. Perhaps, in another few months the hops might fade a bit more to allow the malt to come through.

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Photo of rudzud
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Received as an extra in a trade. Spring 2009 vintage! Woohoo!

A - Poured into my Duvel tulip a deep dark brown nearly black hue with a good dark chocolate hue head thats abou ta finger in thickness that fades to leave thin wisps and a light halo. Solid 4.25 (x .05 = .213)

S - Aromas of bakers chocolate, light leather, anise, roast malts, faint alcohol, light vanilla, faint smoke, light darker fruits that shows signs of it's age. Very pleasant, clearly an aged RIS. 4.25 (x .2 = .85)

T - Taste is not quite as good as the nose. Faint metallic twinge, darker fruits. Very strong signs of age. Leather, old coffee grounds, chocolate, dark bakers chocolate/cocoa. Vanilla is nearly nonexistant, along with the smoke. The booze is there too. It's tasty, for sure, but I think fresher is better for this in my opinion. 4 (x .45 = 1.8)

M - Mouthfeel is silky, lightly carbonated. Big time sipper thanks to the alcohol. 4.25 (x .1 = .425)

O - Overall this is a tasty RIS that while delicious I think may be a bit past its prime. The dark fruits pop a bit too much here and pull ones attention away from what really makes this beer world class. 4 (x . 2 = .8)

Total Rating Score: 4.09
Serving Type: Bottle

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Photo of Phigg1102
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%

Jet black pour, with a small amount of tan head that left a minimum amount of lacing. At first all I got was coffee in the taste and aroma, but after letting it sit awhile a bunch of great chocolate, vanilla, oak, and caramel flavors all came whirling together in beautiful unison. Perfect mouthfeel for the style, rich and decadent. I waited awhile to try this and realized I will buy it more often.

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Photo of tmm313
4.89/5  rDev +12.7%

Pristine. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel, nougat, vanilla, coffee, roasted malt, grape, orange, grapefruit, wood, oats, cocoa, etc. mixed to near perfection. As balanced as balanced gets. Silky and viscous.

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Photo of LXIXME
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Simply said this is what I like about trying different beers, once in a while you get to drink a beer that states the style without having overbearing qualities. And having said that this beer does just that, it has all the qualities of a Imperial Russian Stout and yet I can not discern any particular aspect that carries the beer, nothing overdone or overbearing----just a gosh darn tasty stout.

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Photo of Wobbly
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%

Very good beer but disappointing, given some of the reviews here. From CA, I would take Old Rasputin any day. Nationally, give me KBS from Founders or Bourbon County from Goose Island. Still, a solid interpretation of a challenging style that is getting reduced too much in the U.S. right now to obviously big flavors and alcoholic contents which do not always behoove the style. Frankly, this is another example that tells me Stone is a very good brewery, but not a great one (despite the hype).

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Sampled August 2014 from bottles in pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark color, dark tan head that lasted for a while.

Smell: Sweet with strong coffee aromas, with some toasted/burnt hints.

Taste: Full-bodied with great balance of malt and hops. Dominated by toasted coffee, but with some chocolate flavor as well. Taste starts sweet with malts, then comes the roasted coffee flavors, and then a little bitterness from the hops. Overall a great combination.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, but smooth.

Overall: Great stout. Best if you enjoy a combination both strong hops and malts. I will buy this again.

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Photo of Bowers-Brew
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Feb. 2014 release - tasted fresh and again at 6 months. 55deg. in tulip glass.

A - Jet black with ~1.5" head when poured aggressively.

S - Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, malt, smoke, and alcohol

T/M - Initial tasting was mostly bitter chocolate , alcohol, and a little thin. At 6 months the coffee, vanilla, and other flavors start to emerge and the texture is creamier.

O - As with most beers of this style, it gets better with age. I thought the fresh bottle was okay, but many of the components were harsh (hops, chocolate, alcohol). It comes together nicely and will probably be even better at the next 6 month interval. Prost!

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Photo of JulioH
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good beer, although I think there is better.

Pours a dark beer. Forms little foam. Nose reveals roasted malts, chocolate, and alcohol. Taste is hindered by the alcohol level. Drinking this imperial feels like drinking vodka. If you like that, rate it favorably. I don't. On the good side, after letting it sit for a day, the alcohol dissipates and this beer is much more enjoyable, although not great. Body is a bit thin.

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Photo of Bear1964
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Pour into a Pint glass from a 22oz bottle, pitch black pour with a fluffy tan head that turned into some very solid lace that hung on the glass from start to finish. Aroma held vanilla and alcohol notes with some roasted malts trying to peek out...they remained covered until the first taste. The taste is bitter/roasted coffee and malts with the alcohol present but not over powering, deep roasted flavors and some wood hints show up as the tasting goes on. The mouthfeel is so dead on for the style, thick/heavy on the tongue while leaving a nice roasted mild coffee/roasted flavor at the end. Overall I'm very impressed with this offering, I love RIS as a whole and I've had a lot of Stones products...this is a winner and I will pick it up when I can.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,675 ratings.