Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

2,668 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 2,668
Hads: 7,868
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 15.9%
Wants: 715
Gots: 2,056 | FT: 114
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: 2,668 | Hads: 7,868
Photo of brianlg
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Spring 2009 bomber. Pours dark black color with a chocolate milk colored head. Just beautiful. I love imperial stouts. Anyways, Stone's IRS smells very sweet, of chocolate, coffee, and malts malts malts. The taste is perfect. This might be the best tasting beer I've had. Even more so than KBS. Tastes so damn smooth, and of coffee, chocolate, toffee, candy, it's very sweet in a good RIS way! So damn delicious, a bomber is not hard to kill. Mouthfeel is near pefect as well, nothing bad to say about this beer. It's very smooth. The alcohol is hidden extremely well. Drinkability.. lets just say I'm going to pick up many bottles of this whenever I go out next. Fucking loved it.

 681 characters

Photo of jeffjfindley
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I had two of these in the past couple of weeks, one was an 05, the other an 06.

A syrupy pour yields a stormy black beauty with a walnut colored head with a touch of red in it. The smell is toasty and malty, and doesn't for a moment try to disguise the alcohol contained within. In the 06, in addition to noticing more hop character due to the aging of the 05, I also noticed a character similar to that of a Belgian Strong Dark. I'm guessing that they used a Belgian yeast in the 06, but I'll have to try the 05 again to see if it's there too. Anyway, the smell and flavor are both outstanding.

As with every other drop of beer from Stone, the mouth is delighted by the feel of this gorgeous, gorgeous beer. If this is a session brew, it's gonna be a very short session. That having been said, this is wonderfully sip-able, and goes great with a steak.

 860 characters

Photo of mrnobody
4.79/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber poured into a Duvel tulip.

A: Pours an impenetrable black with a finger and a half of coffee coloured head; not much retention but leaves some lacing.

S: Very rich smelling: dark chocolate, licorice, booze, coffee but all well integrated.

T: OMG! Where to begin? It's like there's a party in my mouth and everyone's invited. ;) Rich and sweet but with tons of complexity. Layers upon layers of all the elements from the aroma.

M: Creamy and full bodied with an ideal level of carbonation.

D: Drinkability is through the roof! An exceptional stout.

 567 characters

Photo of Tallboy
4.79/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am rather happy to report that this was my first time trying this brew.
and I knew from the moment my lips touched the bottle and I gently savored that warm sweet smell before sipping, that there was indeed something truely special at work here. It’s dark with huge coffee and chocolate flavors along with some rather imposing but welcomed fruit flavors .The mouthfeel is indeed fantastic experience as well. Overall a Great first tasting beer!

 449 characters

Photo of philipt
4.79/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Oh my, oh my, oh my!!! This beer is incredible. I've never found imperial stouts to be anything special, until now. Stone Imperial Stout blew me away! This changes everything...

Pours incredibly black in color. Not much head (which is the reason I gave it lower marks for appearance). The aroma is so complex I don't know where to begin. Malt, bread, chocolate, currant, plus an untold number of other characteristics. Wow, this is a thick, heavy brew! It is malty, bready, lightly sweet in taste. There are also hints of coffee and chocolate. The alcohol is evident and provides a good balance with the sweetness. Too complex in taste to comment on everything.

Just an absolutely incredible ale. I must have more, and soon. Could very well be #1 on my personal list.

 773 characters

Photo of penguinjive7
4.79/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black as night with a thumbs worth of tan head with little retention or lacing until swriled around a bit.

Smell is of dark roast coffee, a bit of molasses, and dark chocolate.

The molasses hits the tongue right away immediately followed by the dark roasted coffee. The chocolate then splits through and blends with what seems to be a slight dark fruit flavor, possibly prunes or dates. All of these swirl together in a nice creamy finish. The alcohol is very well masked.

The mouth feel is nice and viscous. The carbonation is balanced perfectly. Just where it all should be for the style.

For a mighty RIS, this one is extremely drinkable. The description on the bottle does it justice. An exquisite brew!

 726 characters

Photo of jbphoto88
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a dark velvety brown, with a nice hearty viscosity. A chocolate colored head mounds and rises above the beer a full inch. Rocky bubbles and creamy froth dissipate to a thick collar and some scattered oil coated bubbles. It might be because of the dark and thick characteristics but this beer feels heavier (by weight) then most. Its not a struggle to lift the glass to my lips but it is a little beefier then others.

Smell is bittersweet chocolaty and of heavenly roasted malts. There is a hint of coffee beans and a deep rum fruit nose.

Taste mimics the scents except the malts dominate the flavors with the chocolaty, coffee-ness delicately backing them up. The malts do not eclipse the hops, there is a moderate bitterness to the tongue and a lovely astringency in the finish. The mouthfeel is fantastic. Its smooth and creamy which coats the palate with rich flavors. There is a light chalkiness associated with the aftertaste but it is light and not distracting.

A must try. This is a fine beverage that has great personality. I love the big flavors, thickness, large scents and wonderful warmth. I'm now angry that they don't sell this in my state. WTF Texas?

 1,174 characters

Photo of smuttanator
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Ahhh, the beer that got me into imperial stouts. This beer is just about the model of what a drinkable RIS should taste like. Nice roasted flavors, a small alchohol burn, and medium body make this one of the best of its kind (and by the far the best of mass produced RIS beers). I love that these now come in 12oz bottles.

 322 characters

Photo of Murph
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Pours a super black color with a nice creamy brown head that lasts nicely. Big roasty chocolate is huge in the nose, almost a chocolate cake like smell, very nice. Big chocolatey malts jump right out with some more subtle roasted coffee type flavors in the background. The great warming finish has nice dark fruit tones to it that leaves a great amount of flavor lingering on the tongue for a bit. Silky smooth and fairly heavy, this is one great brew. I am going to have to grab a few bottles to cellar as this is one great brew.

 535 characters

Photo of fostwal
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This brew pours smooth and tastes even better. It is an extremely smooth drinking beer. Possibly the best stout that I have ever tasted.
Appearance: Pitch black. No light can get through this.
Smell: The smell is very light. Distinct, but not overpowering.
Taste: Unbelievable! The thickness in the pour really comes through in the taste. Ok. Maybe that goes into the mouthfeel category. So, I will combined them. The rich malt blend flows smoothly over the tounge. It only has a very slight bite at the finish. I really would not know that it was 10.5% if it wasn't on the label.

 582 characters

Photo of Lupe
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Foamy coffee head sits atop a black as night brew. Head slowly dissipates to a fine ring and leaves behind some sticky lace.

Aroma is rich and full with dark roasted coffee, chocolate milkshake, berry fruitiness, and rum-raisin, adding light alcohol with the fruit.

Initial blast of sweet maltiness with dark fruit, berry, and molasses. Rich roasted grain, dark chocolate, and espresso come next. Leafy hops show up in the background, adding a twist but not getting in the way. Alcohol also pops in adding some more complexity. Mild spice, oak, and smoke are also present. Carmel sneaks in after warming. After each individual flavor has their say, all the different flavors blend into a strong yet well balanced deliciousness. So flavorful.

Slightly thick, very creamy, slick, and smooth. On the lighter side of being full bodied. Highly drinkable and very deceiving for a beer at 10.8% abv. After the bottle was gone I wanted more - Truly a sign of drinkability with a beer of this size.

This beer's greatness doesn't show right away but builds, and midway through the bottle you realize it's just outstanding.

 1,118 characters

Photo of Globetrotter
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Picked up a bomber at the Whole Foods Market in Arlington, VA. Oh, if only something like this were actually available in Russia!

Pours black as coal under a 1.5 finger burgundy head that lingers forever, with good thick lacing. A beauty to behold. The nose is treated to strong roasted malt sensations, while the mouth is mildly carbonated with a very thick body. Luscious. There is lots of roasted malt flavor, with good hops backing leaving a pronounced dry impression. There's sweet caramel here, too, but it is quickly blown away by the smokey nut and dark chocolate, which in turn yields to espresso. Ideal blend of bitter and sweet in the aftertaste. This is a truly great stout.

 689 characters

Photo of WaltTrombone
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

WOW! This beer is entirely worthy of it's acclaim!

This was a bottle of the Late Spring 2003 release, and if it tastes this good now, I can only imagine how good it'd be after cellaring for a while!

It poured as black as motor oil after 15,000 miles, with a fluffy tan head that had good staying power and left sheets of lace behind. Aromas were of malt, coffee, currants, raisin, prunes, leather. Tastes bombarded my happy tongue, with raisin, prune, espresso, grapefruit. There was some alcohol warming after just a few sips, and followed by flavors of caramel, blackberry, chocolate, and anise.

The mouthfeel was thick, silky and smooth, with a fine carbonation. It finished with espresso, malt, and prune.

Outstanding beer!!! I can see why it's rated so highly. If any other brewery were to put the word "Imperial" on it's offerings, I would doubt it, but this beer is truly worthy of the adjective!

 915 characters

Photo of zdk9
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Pours black as night with a finger of dark brown head. Not really too much lacing. This beer would look prettier with more, but really with the smell and taste it has, I'm not sure it needs to be a looker.

S- Smells, well boozy. Like bourbon, combined with deep roasted coffee, perhaps, a coffee infused bourbon. Some dark fruit notes, kinda fig or raisin. A really inviting smell, and strong enough to satisfy my nose.

T- This beer tastes even more delicious than it smells. The bourbon is still there, but with an even more vanilla presence. And the roast is there, but is even stronger, combined with a bit of both dark bittersweet, and milk chocolate. I'm not going to say a lot about the taste, but it's complex and awesome and amazing and I wish I had bought another bottle of this.

M- Chewy, like a piece of chocolate cake topped with a coffee bean.

D- Really great. The alcohol isn't hidden per say but only shows itself in bourbon flavors and not too much in the actual burn. So I am really loving this beer. Cheers

 1,035 characters

Photo of germaniac
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is an awesome beer. Pours out darker than Martha Stewarts heart. Minimal head, just enough to lace the glass with it's passing. A huge roasted malt smell is the first thing to assault the nose, followed by a expresso/ coffee scent. Very nice. Yes, there is a big taste of alcohol, with just a little sweetness thrown in with the malted goodness. Raisins and plums provide a nice tartness that rounds out the flavor extravanganza. This is beer that demands you to pay attention to it. Raw around the edges, perfection just may lie within. It can only get better with age, as far as I'm concerned. Best consumed while writing angry letters to the government, or penning your manifesto.

 688 characters

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

Wow!!! As soon as I opened this bottle the air around me was permiated with the thick and full aroma of this stout.

The apperance was pitch black. A tan head slowly formed and discipated leaving a nice lace.

The smell was overwhelming, mostly coffee with a lot of hop aroma.

The taste was exceptional. First I could taste a nice coffee flavor and the alcohol at the end with hops all over the place. Very robust and different. In a class of its own.

Mouthfeel was excellent, it felt thick and creamy with a moderate ammount of carbonation to spice it up.

Despite the wonderful traits to this brew It was very rich and full and difficult to drink after half of the 22oz bottle.

A hunk of white cheddar cheese complimented this fairly well in my opinion. This beer could be a meal in itself. Everything I would look for in an imperial stout. Go Stone Brewing!!!

"Mmmm Beer..." Homer Simpson

 912 characters

Photo of ktrillionaire
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A – Bubblin’ crude. Creamy foam head, not much retention.

S – Bittersweet chocolate, cola, mandarin, molasses, Shirley Temples, teriyaki

T – Hidden alcohol, and very smooth flavor. Roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, raw cocoa, espresso, burnt toast, sour cherry; the flavor profile is beyond multifaceted. As it warms it gets more complex. Smoked salmon and chocolate cherry cordials are evoked.

M – Great viscosity and light creamy foaminess.

D – If you can get it, get it. Its not a fast drinker, but it is a delicious sipper. I take about an hour per tulip.

 604 characters

Photo of MadCat
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2011 release, 10.5% abv.

Appearance: Black as night, with a big muddy brown head that leaves considerable lacing

Smell: Smells of rich dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malts, black currant

Taste: Rich and decadent, intense dark chocolate, dark roast coffee, roasted malts, black currant, plums, caramel, and some bit of hops in there. It has a good balance between sweet and bitter, with sweet winning out. No booziness or alcohol taste.

Mouthfeel: Full body, medium carbonation, rich, thick and velvety smooth

Overall: This is a top brew for me, and my favorite from Stone by far. I'm glad I grabbed a few bottles this year, it will be tough for it to last me until next release. Probably one of the best, if not the best, Russian Imperial Stouts out there.

 762 characters

Photo of jsprain1
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours a solid black color, maybe slightly brown when held to light, with a tan head, thick and creamy looking that lasts fairly long and leaves splendid lacing.
S- Roasted coffee, slight alcohol aroma, slightly fruity (kind of a distant blackberry aroma in there, but that could just be me) and a very slight, but perfectly place charcoal aroma.
T- It has the expected coffee/ roasted malt flavor. Aggressive, followed by a a perfect balancing hoppiness. The finish has an alcohol warmth to it. There is a certain vanilla flavor in there as well.
M- Thick. Not too thick, but perfectly thick. Carbonation is spot on. This is like coffee meets silk for my tongue.
D- Not much that one can do to improve this guy. this is pretty much everything an imperial stout should be. The alcohol definitely slows you down and makes it a slow drinker. But this is one that I will come back to frequently.

 895 characters

Photo of rootbeerman
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

poured into pint glass
A: pours dark brown against the glass, looks like runny chocolate syrup pouring from the bottle. four finger head due to bad. pouring, settled very slowly to a finger and a half and laced well. pours almost like it has a widget

S: brown sugar, coffee and caramel. smells thick if thats possible

T: smoky sweet, coffee, dark roasted malt, no noticeable hop. strong coffee and smoke aftertastes

M: creamy and syrupy coating,

D: very drinkable, defiantly not session-able one bomber is enough for one sitting

 536 characters

Photo of Mancer
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a jet black color with a two finger high medium brown head. The fine bubbles of the head eventually dissipated to a thick and sticky lace that clung to the glass. The initial smell of the beer was roast, followed by dark chocolate, roasted/burnt caramel malts and subtle hints of coffee. The initial taste of the beer was that of dark chocolate, roasted caramel, roasted barley, lightly roasted coffee and a (go figure) roasty aftertaste with alcohol on the nose. This brew had a full body with light carbonation.

I have waited one year to try this beer. So upon finding this beer I was excited and boy did this beer not let me down. Fantastic! This is one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts that I have tried. The full on roast flavor is so rich that this beer is a dessert to any pallet. Another great beer by Stone!

 837 characters

Photo of taez555
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer poured a pitch black, crude oil looking, body with a tiny orange/tan head that died quickly.

The nose to this beer was simply amazing. Rich milk chocolate, fresh malt, alcohol, slight smoke, roasted coffee, a slight licorice or anise touch. In my notes I wrote “oh my fucking god!!!” I guess I liked it.

The body was very thick and rich yet completely smooth. Chocolate, coffee, black liquorice, a hint of wood, smoke. The bitterness is very mellow coming mostly from the soft roasted barley. Alcohol touches, wood, a slight hop taste. It actually starts simple on the first sip but as it passes across the tongue it ends with a more pronounced malt flavor followed by a soft sour bread sort of ending.

Simply an amazing beer. It actually almost reminds me of a nice german bock beer mixed with stout at times. The fresh malt flavor though reminds me of going on a brewery tour. It’s really an amazing beer. A must try. I can still taste it days later.

 974 characters

Photo of ChanChan
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Stone Imperial stout Limited Spring 2010 release.
Poured into a regular stemglass.

Appearance: Dark, medium bodied can-not see any light shining through the beer. This comes with a two finger mocha colored head that does not last long. The lacing left behind is respectable.

Smell: The first whiff of this beer gives off a heavy scent of coffee, There are some hops as well but not much else.

Mouthfeel, the mouthfeel is medium bodied at first. As the beer warms up the mouthfeel becomes heavier much more pleasant! Also, as the beer warms up I feel a bit of tanance in the mouth.

Taste: This beer is sweet, At around 55degrees farenheit I notice a presence of caramel, hops, coffe and bitter chocolate. As the beer warms up I can also taste more malt and a pleasant breadiness.

Final thoughts: This is a great example of what an imperial stout can be. At under 8 dollars for a22 OZ bottle this beer is a steal. Imperial stout bombers are usually well over ten dollars. If SRIS was over ten dollars I would have to reconsider how much of it to consume, but at this price it is a joy to have this beer and feel like I have made a great purchase every time!!!

 1,166 characters

Photo of thegodfather2701
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This is my 100th review so why not review my favorite beer. These two reviews are based on notes taken from a 2008 and 2009 vintage.

2009 Vintage from notes taken on 5-23-09

A-Poured into my Chimay chalice it is pitch black with a dense, thick, tan head that slowly dissipates. There is some cascading but no lasting lacing on the glass. Beautiful beer.

S-Complex nose consisting of chocolate, brown sugar, molasses, and alcohol. Smells delicious.

T-Coffee, chocolate, cream, and brown sugar are dominant. There is some alcohol sweetness. The chocolate really comes through as it warms.

M-Nicely carbonated and creamy.

D-Very drinkable RIS. It is complex and delicious. Its high alcohol content make it hard to drink more than one bomber.

Overall, an exceptional RIS. It is great fresh and can't wait to age some bottles for future enjoyment.

2008 Vintage notes taken from Spring 2009 after roughly a year of aging.

A-Poured into my Chimay chalice. It is pitch black and thick. A tiny tan head dissipates almost immediately and leaves no lacing. A seductive looking beer.

S-Smells sweet, chocolate, grapes, dark fruits, and alcohol are present. It smells absolutely wonderful.

T-Extraordinary, it is so complex I wish I had the palate to do it justice. Rich milk chocolate, espresso, cream, dark fruits, and a hint of alcohol. Like all exceptional beers each sip leaves you thirsting for more.

M-Moderately thick with some carbonation.

D-This beer is deceptive as the alcohol is well hidden making it dangerous. It is so complex it needs to be sipped slowly to properly enjoy it.

Overall, it is a wonderful example of the style. My favorite beer hands down.

 1,676 characters

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

All this review should say is: HOLY F@#K, but I'll elaborate. This is by far the most looked forward to beer of the year for me, and lemme tell ya, the difference between bottle and cask makes this even rape harder even more. My first cask-conditioned beer, and wow, I was drunk halfway through my glass. This HAS to be stronger than the bottle! HAS TO BE! Slightly absurd! Felt nitro-y as well, VERY creamy and smooth, bitter, and alcoholy at the same time, but it blends oh so perfectly. Hard to scoff down, but it is one beast of a beer. Drink a chalice and you are DONE.

 574 characters

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,668 ratings.