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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.

6,672 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 6,672
Reviews: 2,570
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%
Wants: 488
Gots: 1,422 | FT: 78
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: 6,672 | Reviews: 2,570 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Gueuzedude


4.88/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2004 Bottling, Sampled June, 2004
Pours a pitch black color that supports a deep brown creamy head. Rich dark malt aromas waft from my glass, and are joined by notes of rum, burnt raisins, toasted biscuits, and a fair amount of grain character. The taste is intensely malty, and it almost has a saltiness to it. It is quite rich, yet somehow light for an Imperial Stout. There is a nice low level of malt sweetness here that balances the roast character, and each of these components is in some way muted by the interaction of the other. This beer is definitely rich and creamy from the front end to just before the finish, after this the burnt, roast malt flavors kick in and linger around a bit

2001 Bottling, Sampled June 2004
I have been saving this bottle for quite a while. Since I am going to be getting a case of the 2004 pretty soon I decided that now would be a good time to try an aged sample.

It pours motor oil black with a deep dark brown thin head. It is quite a clear deep brown color when held up to the light through a thin cross section. The aroma is ripe with notes of dried prunes, raisins, miso, and sherry. There appears to be at least some oxidation character in the nose. Underneath the other aromas I get hints of espresso, and roasted barley. The beer is still quite thick and viscous; it is fairly sweet up front with strong dark malt flavors just dominating my palate. This is incredibly tasty and has aged quite well in my closet. It is slightly oxidized, which adds more complexity to this already complex beast, there is a hint of sherry and some port notes, but none of the wet cardboard type oxidation flavors. It is quite fruity up front with notes of prune, raisin, and cherry. The finish is dry and slightly astringent from all of the dark malt notes that includes espresso, burnt toast, and roasted barley.

Did I say that this is damn tasty? It is quite smooth, and just slides viscously down my throat, coating my entire mouth with lingering flavors that refuse to dissipate entirely. I take another sip and the process begins anew. The middle of this beer is laden with smooth dark malt flavors, but the burnt/ roast character of this beer really only hits you at the very end. As this beer slowly disappears and as it continues to warm up, it just gets better and better. This beer is awesome right now; I am definitely going to have to age quite a few of the 2004 vintage.

Serving type: bottle

06-14-2004 23:30:43 | More by Gueuzedude
Photo of Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +14.9%

11-30-2011 23:48:33 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of XmnwildX12


3.75/5  rDev -13.8%

12-13-2013 03:20:11 | More by XmnwildX12
Photo of smcolw


3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wonderful beige head that leaves ring lace after each sip. Nearly black in color--no light shines through.

Burnt sugar smell. Also, interestingly, there's a sourness that I associate with older fruit.

Strong roasted barley flavor which defers from the typical coffee flavors. Lots of black patent malt. The aftertaste has some hop, but it's still a mostly dark malt. Appropriate body for the style.

I like this beer, but it isn't my favorite from Stone. That said, it is another great beer from them.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2008 00:09:14 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays


4.22/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber, 2007 edition

A: Dark black, with a thick tan head, excellent lacing, a beautiful looking stout.

S: Dark chocolate, espresso notes, dark fruit, a bit of spiciness like anise and nutmeg are there as well.

T: Definitely dark chocolate, more so than other RIS's and a fair bit of coffee, dark fruit, roasted malts, the alcohol makes its presence known with a whiskey type burn, not as big, but definitely enough to show you that it is there. (3.5 fresh, 4.5 aged 2+ years).

M: Big, robust, but definitely smooth, the alcohol just adds to the character of an already big beer, very well done.

D: A delicious big stout, not something that you'd wan't to drink everyday, but a great occasional treat, best when aged for 2 years.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2007 03:09:19 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of BlackHaddock

United Kingdom (England)

4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brown botle containing 1 pint and 6 fl oz. Spring 2009 release, drank Jan 2010. Poured into a Westmalle chalice and my huge 'Judas' tulip.

Looked very impressive, dark, black in fact jet black. The head was a full tan coloured head covering on both glasses.

The aroma was all darkness, roasted coffee, toasted malts and dark chocolate.

The taste followed the smell to the letter. The ground coffee was the most forward of the flavours, it also stayed the longest in the aftertaste. The alcohol content began to arrive towards the end of the moutfeel and was more prominent as the beer warmed.

Really enjoyed this beer, most likely the best beer from the USA I've had so far. Can't remember what score I gave Ten FIDY, but this is better in my opinion.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2010 19:05:29 | More by BlackHaddock
Photo of mendvicdog


4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

10-09-2012 21:21:29 | More by mendvicdog
Photo of Gavage

New Jersey

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This one pours a strong black color with a thin dark brown head. The nose was dominated by alcohol more so than other imperial stouts, but coffee, roasted malt, and licorice were noticeable. The flavor kicks butt. Roasted malt, coffee,chocolate, caramel, licorice, plums, and alcohol were flavors I could pull out during the drink.

Very thick bodied. Smooth on the tongue. I noticed a chocolate and mellow coffee aftertaste. Very creamy finish.

This one turned me off slightly at the start on the aroma due to the very dominant alcohol smell, but the flavor turned the tables. The alcohol level was much more tolerable by the tongue and was balanced in the other flavors. I will need to try this one again soon.

Serving type: bottle

01-09-2004 23:51:26 | More by Gavage
Photo of kojevergas


3.35/5  rDev -23%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a stem-goblet at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, California. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were above average; Stone is direly overrated but I heard good things about this brew in particular, and I like the style.

Paired with sweet potato fries.

A: Pours a half finger head of khaki colour, nice cream, okay thickness, and bad retention. Colour of the body is a nontransparent solid opaque black. I prefer the head colour of beers in this style to be more of a tan - the darker the better - but khaki does alright. I'm not anticipating a great beer, though. Due to the nontransparency, no yeast particles are visible (if they're there).

Sm: Vanilla, cream, chocolate, caramel, and hints of roast. A mild strength aroma. Roast should be more present given the style. I'm alerted.

T: Generic chocolate and tame cream over a dark malt (chocolate malt inclusive) foundation with underlying caramel. Some vanilla hints that don't amount to much. No real layering here. Not at all complex for the style. Stone played this beer surprisingly safe. Why is it they pick this style to do that on? They seem to force unwelcome flavours into most otherwise simple styles. Decently balanced but built without boldness, experimentation, or inspiration. As Imperial Stouts come, this is pretty generic.

Mf: Silky smooth and wet. Completely wrong for the style; a stout demands dryness and coarseness (from roast) overcome masterfully by cream. That isn't the case here. Too thin. Adequate carbonation.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. Russian Imperial stouts like this one are a dime a dozen nowadays. There are far better beers in the style, even at the same or lesser price. It's decent, and I might pick it up in bottled form at a good price, but don't expect masterful brewing. I wouldn't recommend it to friends. In fairness, it'd be a pretty good beginner's Russian Imperial Stout. My main problem with it surrounds its lack of inspiration or specialization; as a generic example of the style it'd be a good introduction for people new to the style.

A decent candidate for aging, but I wouldn't do it meself.

Would pair okay with chocolate. Not real suitable to barbecue.


Serving type: on-tap

05-20-2012 21:59:08 | More by kojevergas
Photo of GClarkage


4.83/5  rDev +11%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

11/26/04- Purchased at Bevmo in San Mateo, CA

Appearance- Pours a very black and thick used motor oil color. Head is brown and about 3/4 inch. Not very much lacing to be had though.

Smell- Mmmmm, chocolate and heavy burnt coffee malt.

Taste- Damn, this is the best stout I have ever tasted. I need to re-taste Rasputin on tap because it's been over a year since I have had it. But, I'm pretty sure this tops it. About the perfect combo of chocolate and coffee I have ever had. Nice hops finish in the background.

Mouthfeel- Perfect except it's a tad too carbonated to me which makes for a slightly less than smooth swallow.

Drinkability- Brutally drinkable! This may be my highest rating to date. From the first sip I didn't want it to end. Too bad I had to share a 22 oz bomber with two other people. Only 8 oz at the most for poor me :( The alcohol comes through pretty hard at the end. Already noticing a tinge of buzz after my 8oz. Fricking phenomanal beer. Like drinking a smores with a cup of coffee. But minus the marshmallow and plus the buzz. Sounds good to me.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2004 05:58:23 | More by GClarkage
Photo of imperialking


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%

12-19-2011 04:40:10 | More by imperialking
Photo of corby112


5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a dep dark black with a chocolate/coffe colored head. Aromas has hints of roasted malts, coffee, alcohol, and chocolate. Full bodied with a lot of roasted malt flavor. Also, chocolate, alcohol(not overpowering thought), and roasted coffe flavor. One of the best stouts I've ever tasted. Excellent!

Serving type: bottle

12-02-2008 05:59:46 | More by corby112
Photo of MarkyMOD


4/5  rDev -8%

06-13-2012 05:57:33 | More by MarkyMOD
Photo of weeare138


4.78/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Much thanks to egajdzis for this bottle...
Appears a dark, cloudy black with a dark tan head and spotty lace. The head slowly fades into a small film and leaves tons of lacing around the lass.
Smell is of fudge brownie, malty ovaltine, chocolate, along with citrusy hops coming through everything.
Taste is of chocolate fudge with a nice malted richness and mild vinous notes.
Mouthfeel is of smooth chocolate with hops that compliments the brew perfectly.
This is a phenomenal beer.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2006 17:14:53 | More by weeare138
Photo of yourefragile

District of Columbia

4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz "Spring 2007" bottle poured into a snifter

A: A rich deep, dark chocolate color that is completely opaque. A thick, fluffy dark mocha colored head with that dissipates to a ring and some small bubbles in the middle. A lot of thick, sticky lacing.
S: Strong aroma of roasted coffee and surprisingly almost as strong, darker fruits. Slight hint of alcohol in background, barely any chocolate or malt detectable to me.
T: In general this is a very pleasant, smooth easy drinking, yet complex RIS. Coffee flavors are present throughout and are strongest in the aftertaste. A strong fruit sweetness (grape, currant) is also present in the body and is slightly bitter. Not surprisingly, hops are also near the finish for balance. Even after aging for a year there is the slight taste of alcohol, but not unpleasant. Not a very strong malt or chocolate presence.
M: Thick, full body, almost syrup like, very little carbonation. Finish is very smooth and non-abrasive.
D: I was feeling the alcohol from this beer from the first few sips so drinking a bomber alone is a little tough. I think this is an excellent RIS and surprisingly drinkable bit there's really nothing here that wows me (not a bad thing, but keeps me from rating this higher). Was much sweeter (from fruit flavors) than expected. After I'm done reviewing this beer I feel like I shortchanged it and that it probably deserves a higher rating, so I take that to be a good sign for this beer.

Serving type: bottle

02-06-2008 02:03:41 | More by yourefragile
Photo of lacqueredmouse


4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Pours very thick, a dark, dark opaque brown, with a rising head of incredibly fine brown bubbles, about the colour of chocolate shavings. Lacing is insane: tiny intricate patterns making a miniature Jackson Pollock print on the inside of my glass. Hell yes, what an amazing looking beer.

Wonderful roasted chocolate notes on the nose, big, rich and sweet, but with lightly smoky notes of wood-fired barbeque, burnt toffee, coffee bean and an odd light ozone character. Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing. Very raw and fresh, full of body and attitude, but also just plain tasty.

Smooth and slick mouthfeel is what I notice initially, thick and shiny like melting high-fat icecream. The taste is deliciously bittersweet, full of rich high-cocoa chocolate, mocha coffee and toffee. Only later do the true carbonised characters come through, with a black, high-roast character just lingering on the edges of the palate. Just so damn smooth, rich, sweet and delicious.

Hell yes, what a delicious beer. A rip-roaring RIS that is also a delicious treat. Raw, but refined. Heavy, but smooth. A perfect balancing act, showcasing the art of the Imperial Stout. Bravo!

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2009 02:26:12 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of barleywinefiend


3.83/5  rDev -12%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to my man Adam back in WA for hooking me up with my first vintage's) Stone IRS.
2008 12oz
Poured a deep, ddep brown almost like burn motor oil with good carbonation and big thick brown head. Nose is deep roasted malts, cocoa, espresso and a skunk soured twinge. Taste is big roasted malts, coffee, dark chocolate. Mouthfeel is medium with a big burnt taste and ABV is more noticable to me.

Serving type: bottle

05-20-2009 20:41:06 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest


4.2/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Let's get straight to the point on this one. It's an amazing beer, but I don't think it's worthy of #3 on Best of BA. Pours black with light brown head and smells a bit sherry-like, chocolatey brandy maybe with a bit of alcohol. The roasted flavors really came our in the flavor. Chocolate, burnt coffe, espresso, more chocolate, and warming alcohol; quite tasty and it really lingers. It has a nice thick mouthfeel, but it took me a while to get through maybe 5-6 oz. I'd call it a great beer, but not an epic.

Serving type: bottle

07-07-2006 17:44:04 | More by tempest
Photo of wl0307

United Kingdom (England)

4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Purchased from a very good Britain-based beer shop, "Beers of Europe", through on-line order. Coming in a light brown, 12 Fl. Oz. slim bottle, "Limited Spring 2008 Release" and "Enjoy By 01.01.2013"; served cool in Hapkin's branded flower bulb-shaped sniffer.

A: jet black in colour, the carbonation is low and the dark khaki frothy head lasts pretty well.
S: so deep and complex and oily, the aroma is initially thickly treacle-ish and roasty, but the flowery hop aroma never falls far behind as much as the sour hints of coffee syrup, vanilla chocolates, licorice, chillies and super sweet & fat black dates. A swirl brings up the bouquet of American hops as well as some settled alc., sweet walnuts and sweet tobacco. Overall the aroma is quite heavy as the back label warns, but it's still enticing and manageable probably thanks to a good balance.
T: upfront comes a lubricating swallow of sweet black malts, treacle, sweet roast walnuts and black prunes, leading towards a lively aromatic flavour as of Chinese roasted walnut-date cake topped (bizarrely) with a little chocolate shaving; the creamy yet increasingly dry and bitter aftertaste of aromatic flowery hops replaces the fruitiness, roastiness, and creamy malts, rendering a truly chewy and surprisingly spicy mouthfeel to last until the very end along with a faint suggestion of banana-oil esters. A faint burn of alc. concludes each sip, but only just.
M&D: creamy soft on the carbonation, fulsome on the flavour while the alc. treads elegantly as a much lighter stout. I disagree with the back label's statement, as I don't feel any guilt/sin while tasting the ale, but I think it's to do with how mellow this bottled ale has turned into in less than a year's time~~ Compared with the other American RIS tasted recently (incl. Great Divide's Yeti, Flying Dog's Imperial Russian Porter, Left Hand's RIS, and Brooklyn's Black Chocolate Stout), I find this one the most balanced amongst them all, as the hops seem to have melted in the magical mixture. In many ways this is not unlike a balanced English RIS added with a bit more hop aroma+flavour - highly enjoyable.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2009 20:28:10 | More by wl0307
Photo of zestar


4.25/5  rDev -2.3%

04-29-2013 08:48:30 | More by zestar
Photo of oriolesfan4


4/5  rDev -8%

06-26-2013 00:58:41 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of Billolick

New York

4.63/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at BT in NYC, sheesh, Stone is just crushing folks at the Tiger this week! Their I.S. hardly seemed like the appropriate brew for a warm summer night in the big town, but this one had to be tried and enjoyed. Poured black and gooey with a solid dark tan head. Coffee and chocolate in the nose. Body/mouthfeel is rich, thick and motor oil in feel. Big and bold flavors of roasted malt, coffee, raisins, prunes, chocolate. Finishes dry with uggodly hops. This stuff has the style nailed. Classic sipper. I imagine this stuff would age very well also.

Serving type: on-tap

07-02-2004 12:33:45 | More by Billolick
Photo of akorsak


4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2006 12:15:46 | More by akorsak
Photo of orangesol


4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at Al's of Hampden into a nonic pint.

A - Pours jet black with a small half finger tall tan head, dissipating down to almost nothing, leaving very little lacing down the glass.

S - Lots of dark roast, bittersweet chocolate, dark roasted coffee, and some vanilla sweetness. Not as sweet and roasty as some of the others, more of a balanced nose.

T - Rich coffee, chocolate, and lots of dark roast mix well to form a well rounded stout. Finish is roasty, but not to the point of being overpowering, and it lingers for a good amount of time. Easily one of the best beers on the market today. I am glad I have a few of these in the cellar.

M - Heavy body and flavor with moderate carbonation. Thick viscous feel with a good amount of lingering roast in the finish.

D - Very high. I have always loved this beer and I would even say it is one of my all time favorites. You would be hard pressed to find a better beer for your money.

Serving type: on-tap

03-07-2011 19:24:22 | More by orangesol
Photo of stakem


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2007 presented in the form of a brown swing top 2 liter growler that was filled at the Warwick hotel during the Stone takes over the Warwick event. The event took place on 4/9 and this review is from notes taken the following weekend of 4/16 when the growler was shared with those who could not make the event.

The growler surprisingly enough opened with a very resouding thud. I was worried that the growler fill might have left this brew a little flat when compared to the draft version but to much excitement that wasn't the case.

Poured into a Stone pint glass, it appears a very dark brown to black color with a darkly tanned head that doesn't retain all too well. Nose is bitter smelling roasted malts with chocolate sweetness and a slight touch of soy sauce blended with coffee. Rounding out the aroma is some citrus hops and alcohol. Taste is a big malty sweet monster of a brew laden with alcohol and notes of bitterness from both hops and burnt grains (that also exhibit the flavors of coffee and bitter dark chocolate.) There is a residual sweetness that lingers tasting almost like dark fruits that blends with the alcohol laden dark chocolate and coffee that makes this dangerously drinkable and quite smooth. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated this vintage was a real sweet and alcohol burning treat. As it warms, there are notes of licorice coming through with the ever increasing alcohol presence that was previously hidden by the malt sweetness.

I've had this brew a number of times in varying years and serving types. They have always been an enjoyable experience with their own unique characteristics. While fresh this brew is quite bitter but time let's it smooth out and become a little more sweet (like this example.)

Serving type: growler

05-19-2010 15:29:43 | More by stakem
Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 6,672 ratings.