1. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.

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
96
world-class

7,300 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 7,300
Reviews: 2,602
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 9.45%
Wants: 593
Gots: 1,652 | FT: 94
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
Sort by:  Recent | Likes | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Stone Imperial Russian Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 7,300 | Reviews: 2,602 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrewShalvoy
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of itracy63
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of AKuehn47
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of cwelsh55
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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

This beer pours a dark black with brown tones and has a thick tan head that lingers with the entire pour. The smell is of dark chocolate, plums, raisins, black cherries and no alcohal to be smelt. As I tasted this beer the bitterness from the hops kicks to the fore-front as well the malty chocolate essence and finishes sweet caramel and nutty. This beer is so smooth I could drink it all day.

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Pours a midnight black with a two-finger tan foamy head. Light amount of lacing.

S - Aroma of dark roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee.

T - Taste is awesome. Starts off with sweet chocolate followed by flavors of coffee and roasted nuts. Finish has a nice earthy bitterness.

M - Full body with medium carbonation. Nice creamy mouthfeel with a sticky finish.

O - This is one of the best RISs i've ever had. Lots of big rich flavors. Highly recommended.

Photo of chefbigjon
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of beertaster13
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Best Stout I have ever had, hands down. Have had this 2003 bottle cellared for exactly one year. Pours a dark motor oil black with the darkest head I have ever seen, brown/tannish with dark black hues. Lacing sticks to the glass like it is possesed. Head not as thick as most stouts however. The smell is a sweet caramel/molasses with mocha beans. Hints of irish roasted coffee and toffee. Small tone of bananna as well. The taste was rich and full of mocha. The roasted malts was mixed with the powerful alcohol to create a monster. This is overpowering, but not to the point where it is undrinkable. A very full bodied stout, this stout is dangerous because you can drink alot because so good but I don't recommend it, it will mess you up. Pray to the gargoyle, for it will haunt you in your dreams.

Photo of Erdinger2003
2.17/5  rDev -50%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2006, cellared for one year. In proper storage conditions.

This beer pours out a good head, soft and tan/brown. The color is dark brown with a black color in the middle. The head falls very fast and leaves a slight lacing. The smell is boozy and harsh with some off flavors, I have had these off flavors before I just can't put my finger on it. The taste is slightly roasty, alcohol presence is noticable. Their are off flavors again. Mouthfeel isn't very good, it leaves my mouth dry and want of more, not more of the beer, but something. Overall, this was a bad experience. If the 2007 is like this I will not buy this again.

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

Vintage 2010. Poured from a 22oz bottle into my tasting snifter. Pours a dark black...completely black as night in the glass...with a massive toffee colored frothy head with very decent retention. Held up to the light, there's a slight brownish rim amoungst all the darkness! Leaves a nice display of semi-sicky lacing.

Aroma is sweet and bitter. Chocoalates for the sweetness, and roasted malts and coffee for the bitters. A very faint booziness chimes through.

Flavor is very much like I though it would be...which means it isn't disappointing in the least. Lots of coffee notes, a heavy deep roast...along with the bitter/sweet coffee flavor throughout. The hop factor is subtle. There's a nice booziness to the mouthfeel, along with a semi-thick medium body, mild carbonation, and delicious! A very tasty stout from Stone.

Photo of lilnicky068
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of bulldogg915
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of MUSHROOMCLOUD
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2005 Release

Jet black, sun-blocking, motor oil like liquid with a 1/4" tan head. The head fell down to a swirly cap rather quickly. Some lacing.

A intense roasted aroma and alcohol dominated the nose in its preliminary stages. As the beer warmed sweet dark fruits and malts were detectable. No doubt this beer has some hops but they are in the shadows.

The first thing that hit my tastebuds was saltiness. That faded quickly and was a strange sensation. As the beer opened up I detected licorice, espresso and burnt toast. This is a very deep complex tasting brew. I tasted some earth and nuttiness as well. The alcohol is very prominent in the taste right now as well. Best way to describe this RIS is intense!

The mouthfeel is thick, rich, full-bodied, and creamy. The beer has a very long finish with its burnt, roasted character swirling around the mouth long after it has been swallowed. It is definitely alcohol forward right now. Good for sipping, has a big warming effect.The drinkability will definitely improve with age. This could easily be part of the Vertical Epic series, I don't doubt at all that it will hold up that long.

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

22 oz. Bottle poured into my Duvel Tulip. This is the 2010 release aged for one year.

Appearance: Very dark brown almost black. Little to no head both initially and throughout, mostly just a dark tan ring with minimal lacing.

Smell: Depth jumps out, again big chocolate first then big coffee.

Taste: Just like the nose with bitter dark chocolate is up front on this aged bottle, coffee mixes in nicely throughout the beer; and both flavors dominate. I find the dark chocolate flavor lingers pleasantly in the finish.

Mouth feel: Again very smooth but somewhat thin feeling on the palate, definitely thinner than other RIS's.

Overall: A very rich beer and I was glad to have the bomber but like Founder's breakfast stout it is nowhere near as delicious as the Belgian De Struise stouts.

Photo of jjboesen
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In the 19th Century, trade routes had opened between England and the Baltic States; and, since many porters of the day would not endure the journey, the brewers made their beers especially strong - much like they did with IPAs. The result is this exquisite style of beer (It is called "Russian" due to the fact that it was enjoyed by those folks.

Stone's version is a big and toasty concoction that starts out with a giant head of billowy cream-colored foam. It retains sweet aroma of anise combined with chocolate. The palate is greeted with a heavy but smooth malt blast that fades into biscuity warmth.

The mouthfeel is exciting; there is a warm blanket that covers the palate; and yet, despite the alcohol, which is subtle, this one is deceptively smooth at initial sip.

As I mentioned, this beer became very popular in Russia; in fact, the mad monk Grigory Rasputin is said to have particularly enjoyed it - I guess when he wasn't seducing the Czarina. (Maybe some brewer should name an Imperial Stout after him ... Naaahh!)

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

"Limited Spring 2006 Release." Brought up from my increasingly warmer cellar, then chilled for about 15-20 minutes in the freezer, then set out for a few minutes before opening. Poured into a 17-ounce snifter, the 2006 Stone Imperial Russian Stout is dark like a 90% cocoa Belgian chocolate bar -- nearly all light in the room is absorbed by this beer's blackness -- with a dense cafe con leche colored foam cap that disperses within a minute to a thin cover and ring. Aromas of semi-sweet chocolate, deeply dark plums, and raisins soaked in spiced rum. I also pick up a scent which reminds me of Coco-Wheats or Malt-o-Meal. The flavors I initially detect are raisins, rum-stewed prunes, powdered cocoa, and a twangy mineral finish. Earthy and bitter aftertaste. After warming a bit, some gigantic roasted malt flavors emerge, yielding a much fuller chocolate presence as well as an essence of toasted grain. Huge oil-slick mouthfeel which I imagine in time will become pure velvet. The nearly 11% alcohol content is barely noticeable other than in a lower esophogeal warming. Nearly perfect; this will only improve in mouthfeel and flavor with some age on it. Absolutely deserving of the hype.

Maximum respect to dmeadows for the trade to Stone-starved Western New York!

Photo of Xandrose
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of Digimaika2
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pitch black with a frothy head that fades to a beautiful ring of mocha bubbles. Nice and thick viscosity when poured.

S: Dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, with a caramel malty sweetness. Alcohol is there but nicely hidden. I've never been able to smell so much dark chocolate in a brew before. Smells delicious.

T: Smoky dark chocolate notes are prevalent up front along with a roasted caramel malt flavour. A more subdued dark coffee taste in the background, with hints of licorice and vanilla. Warming alcohol is certainly there, but not the focal point. Lingering yet pleasant cocoa bitterness at the end. Overall beautifully balanced.

M: Perfect. Thick and creamy motor-oil, with slight carbonation.

D: This is one heck of a great beverage, from a brewery that certainly knows whats going on. I could very well sip several of these in an evening. I definitely recommend this to RIS lovers and dark chocolate lovers alike.

Photo of MisledTitan
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of Tayloraphilips
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of lsummers
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours black as oil with a half finger rich brown head. Not too much lacing but definite alcohol legs.

Smells of dark roasted oats and cocoa with a hint of coffee and dark fruits. Tons of roasted notes.

Taste hits right off the bat with the roasted cocoa and subtle coffee notes. There's a slight hop feel in there that I'm surprised isn't getting completely covered up by the dark roasted character. A portion of the taste reminds me of the dark fruity notes that quads might have. Definitely a flavorful offering that doesn't disappoint. A hint of it's abv does come through but what's nice about it is the subtle hops and roasted malts help cover this up.

Mouthfeel is actually quite moderately carbonated. It is viscus but the carbonation helps it feel a touch lighter than it is.

Overall, this is a fantastic example of a Russian Imperial Stout. It's so flavorful and balanced yet offers something you can't really find in other RIS's. It's hard to explain but this is that one beer you need to try if you like the style. Not for the newcomer for sure, but definitely for someone wanting to explore the style.

Photo of Snellgg5
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of simont1
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Afroman
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%

Photo of ghostwalker
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours absolutely black. How much more black could it be? None! None more black. Not much of a head, might have used the wrong glass for this one, (a Sam Smith's Imperial Pint). The head that did form was very dark brown, left some nice lacing too.

Dark, rich, malty nose with coffee highlights.Very nice, made my mouth water.

Flavor is outstanding! Mouthfeel as well. Heavy, but in a really good way, very rich and chewy. Coffee, chocolate, black currants, raisins and a wonderfully warm and soothing alcohol presence. Overall, the best flavor I could have possibly expected, they nailed everything the Imperial Stout style is about.

Drinkable? Hell, yeah! But not an all-night kind of beer. It's more like have 1-2 during a great afternoon college football party, interspersed with something like a nice hoppy IPA, (Harpoon IPA sounds good to me). The alcohol can definitely sneak up on you, but the flavor keeps it's appeal.

I had heard so much about this beer that I went out and bought the last 3 bombers I could find. Now that I have had one, I believe the hype. Too bad this is only a seasonal, I will hoard the remaining two and await this year's batch eagerly!

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 7,300 ratings.