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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Stone Brewing Co.

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel AgedImperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged

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BA SCORE
99
world-class

885 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 885
Reviews: 142
rAvg: 4.48
pDev: 8.71%
Wants: 472
Gots: 137 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BEERchitect on 09-20-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 885 | Reviews: 142
Reviews by drowland:
Photo of drowland
4.48/5  rDev 0%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had at RBWG 2010 via growler. Black pour with a small tan head. Huge bourbon barrel characteristics on this - lots of coconut, vanilla, oak, tannins, etc. The flavor is surprisingly mild, lots of wood character but the stout is pretty subdued. It still works, though, because I love bourbon.

More User Reviews:
Photo of GabrielBelm0nt
4.67/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fyodor's Classic was the best BBA beer that i've had. By the time it had been a good while after the release of it (last one in the shelf).

Appearance of it was pitch black, not one ray of light could pass. Very low carbonation, which I prefer. Even as I was pouring, you could tell it was incredibly smooth.

Smell - I could definitely smell a lot of vanilla, oak, and hints chocolate. While the vanilla and oak smells were overpowering, I was still able to get hints of the chocolate. You could distinctively recognize each smell. There is also a good smell of bourbon towards the end of the whiff.
Vanilla (strong), Oak (strong), Chocolate (mild), Bourbon (strong).

Taste - It was definitely very smooth, got mostly vanilla, and some oak.
At the end, you get a real nice kick of bourbon which went really well with the lingering vanilla taste for me.
Vanilla (strong), Oak (mild), Chocolate (weak), Bourbon (strong)

Mouth - Full bodied and the bourbon aging really makes it hit you. Definitely a bit sticky from the BBA.

Overall - Fantastic RIS, you don't miss out on anything in this beer, really hits the spot. 1 will definitely do the trick (at least for me it does). Nice and high ABV. Cannot wait to have another.

Photo of kingcrowing
4.4/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a mini chalice. 2008 vintage aged in Elijah Craig bourbon barrels, at the Uber tavern in Seattle, WA with UA8, review number 1,000!

Pours a super dark oily black with a very small dark brown ring of foam with a tiny bit of lacing. Nose is bourbon, light booze, and some creamy chocolate malts.

Taste is awesome, bourbon, sweet dark chocolate, alcohol is there but not overwhelming its rich and flavorful. Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy but still smooth and very tasty. Finish is sharp and oaky. Very nice beer.

Photo of ehammond1
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On Tap

Stone 15th Anniversary Celebration
CSU, San Marcos
San Marcos, CA

(Aged 3 years at the brewery)

2008 Stone IRS Aged in Bourbon Barrels

Dark black with a small brown head. Specks of lacing down the glass.

Rich aroma filled with chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, and a very mild addition of vanilla and wood from the barreling. Smells far more similar to the original than I would have expected, which, fortunately for me, is one of my favorite smelling beers of all time.

The chocolate sweetness is combined with a decidedly vanilla character from the barreling, along with roast, coffee, and dark fruits. The alcohol is exceptionally well hidden. Though this is divine, I think I prefer the original IRS. It's just so perfect, it doesn't need the barreling.

Medium to thick bodied.

A delicious barrel aged beer, though I actually still prefer the standard IRS.

Photo of glid02
4.67/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Brewvival.

Pours black with a small dark brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of large amounts of bourbon, vanilla and butterscotch backed up by roasted malt and unsweetened chocolate flavors. They certainly didn't waste any time before throwing the beer in this barrel.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as intense. Smooth roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by boozy butterscotch and lighter vanilla flavors. Midway through the sip the IRS portion of the beer asserts itself a bit more with dark chocolate and black malt flavors. Near the end of the sip the bourbon flavors take back over before a mildy bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a nice thickness with smooth and soft carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and went back for a few more. Very easy-drinking for such a big ABV.

Overall this was one of the beers I was most excited about and it didn't disappoint. Well worth a shot if you see it around.

Photo of timc100
4.55/5  rDev +1.6%

Given how rich and intense IRS is, very excited to get into this one.

Appearance is very similar, maybe a bit thinner looking and very minimal head.

Subtle but enticing aroma of barrel char, vanilla, bakers chocolate, chalky cocoa, hints of dark fruit and touch of coconut.

Slick body, though thinner than the reg IRS. Intense flavors - bitter espresso and chocolate - barrel char. The finish is relatively short.

Very happy to have finally tried BA IRS - great beer. Would like to see some with age and side-by-side with a 2013 reg.

Photo of mdaschaf
4.47/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Brouwers stout fest. 2008 vintage.

A: Served in a goblet, BBL RIS was dark black with a very small brown head on top that dissipated quickly. No lacing on this beer, not overly surprising.

S: Plenty of bourbon right away, it really dominates the aroma, a bit surprising after 5 years. Some chocolate with a little bit of caramel and brown sugar.

T: Similar to the aroma, lots of chocolate (sort of like brownies) and bourbon. It was on the sweet side, with only some light roast. There was a bit of wood as well.

M: Full bodied with low to medium carbonation. Fairly smooth and surprisingly easy to drink, though that could have been because it tasted so good.

O: Been waiting to try this beer for a while, glad to have finally had the chance.

Photo of Snow81
4.95/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2008 Vintage

Appearance: Black, no light penetrates this beer

Head: Small light brown head that dissipates quickly

Smell: Big burnt malts with a caramel toffee thing going on and a little heat

Taste: Smokey burnt malts with bourbon all over the place, a little caramel on the back of the palate with subtle heat

Weight: Heavy to medium body with medium to low carbonation

Finish: Burnt roosted malts with a touch of heat on the back of the palate

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ineedabeerhere (Joe) for this one. Opened at a tasting 5/29/10. 4oz. pour from a 64oz. growler into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a .5 finger upward climbing mocha head with great retention. Beer is opaque and pitch black. Lacing is patchy and stringy with decent stick.

S: Sweet soy sauce (It's been a while...), prunes, raisins, and other dry dark fruit. Barrels are apparent but linger in the background. Also chocolate, licquorice, and brownie.

T: Sweet soy sauce and prunes. Hints of anise, chocolate, brownie, and licquorice. Bourbon barrel booziness backbone provides a great staging area for the complexities in this one. Cocoa powder towards the end with a messy finish. Aftertaste is soy sauce, chocolate, and booze.

M: Medium to full-bodied, just the right amount of carbonation, and rather smooth and oily in the palate. For 11.5%, incredibly subtle on the palate. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste.

D: Does bourbon barrel aging make everything better? I'd definitely argue against that but not in this case. Stone IRS is a great beer and this just seems infinitely better. Outstanding complexity and the barrel-aging adds a whole new dimension to this alread solid brew. A rarity but if you can, seek it out. Definitely worth the effort to try this one.

Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Elijah Craig barrel aged RIS

on tap, Uber Tavern

appearance: served in a sharp uber tavern goblet - 11oz pour for $5. dark mahogany body, fully creamy chocolate head

smell: rich dark chocolate, potent bourbon, vanilla bean

taste: really nice layering of decadent flavors - the bourbon bite is considerably strong given the age, dark and creamy milk chocolate, espresso, roasted malt, vanilla and cream. Really nice - warms the body all the way to the core

mouthfeel: creamy and silky, strong alcohol warming

overall: great - worth the hype

Photo of hooliganlife
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pour was jet black, a bit thick with a nice oily appearance. little to no head.

a nice strong but well blended bourbon. sweet vanilla and roasted malt with hints of dark chocolate.

this was quite rich and bold. the bourbon blended very well with the stout. the vanilla integrated perfectly and really smoothed out and already smooth and hoppy stout. there was a bit of citrus hidden around.

very full and thick but drank easy. a bit resin like.

this was amazing, everyone was raving about it. i loved every sip and even at 11.5%, it went down stupid easy.

Photo of Alieniloquium
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500 mL bottle poured into a snifter. Labeled as Fyodor's Classic, but clearly described as Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Russian Stout.

Appearance - Deep black body. Nearly inky. Small khaki head. Thin collar and a few wisps.

Smell - Dark chocolate. Fudgy. Bourbon is secondary, but quickly becomes dominant. Sharp oak. Lots of vanilla.

Taste - Bitter chocolate right up front. Oak amplifies it. Bourbon builds. Slight sweetness, but it's overpowered by oak and bitter chocolate.

Mouthfeel - Thick. Medium carbonation.

Overall - A step above other Bourbon stouts. The quality of the base beer truly impresses.

Photo of davod23
4.74/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Great beer. Best beer of the Storm.

Appearance is business as usual. Black. Some legs when swirled. A bit of a tan head that sticks around a while, which was a nice surprise.

Aroma: Huge chocolate cookie aroma. Bourbon is very present, very upfront, but also not hot - it is sweet. Reminds me a fair bit of 2010 Older Viz. Dark, dark chocolate.

Taste: Delightful. The bourbon is well-integrated into the base beer, adding a great layer of complexity on top of the brew. Rich, dark, fudgy. No flaws to be found.

Mouthfeel is perfect for me. It's very full-bodied, a low-but-present level of carbonation, velvety. Excellent.

Drinkability was very good, considering the strength this beer was presenting.

Outstanding beer. Bottle this, please.

Photo of thagr81us
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Had at the Stone Tap Takeover in Charlotte. 2008 Vintage. Served from tap into a tumbler. Poured pitch black with a minimal dark tan head. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, bourbon, sweet chocolate, and a smokey note. The flavor was of malt, chocolate, subtle coffee, dark chocolate, and subtle bourbon. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall it is my honest opinion that barrel aging did this brew a lot of good. The bourbon flavor mid-way through the sip pulled everything together quite nicely. Also the flavors on this one came in waves rather than just an explosion on your palate. This brew completely stole the show for me at this event and is currently my new favorite brew from Stone. Great job!

Photo of Gmann
4.35/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Notes from the Blind Tiger on 9/15. Apparently this was the 2008 RIS BB Aged Stout.

Pours a jet black color with a smallish tan head that settles into a light cap. The aromas are nice and quite mellow. I picked up some coffee, roasted malt, and a noticable but not strong bourbon note. The taste is the same as the aroma just better. The coffee, roasted malt and bourbon flavors mix very well together and are quite smooth and very drinkable, despite the high ABV. The stout is full bodied with some tingly carbonation; sweet all around but does finish with a roasted malt bitterness. A world class stout; great flavors in great balance. The aging worked very well with this brew. Highly recommended.

Photo of hopsbreath
4.02/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Portland International Beerfest. Two tickets at $1 each got you a 4oz pour of this. On-tap for the couple days I went, and I had a bunch of it. 2008 batch aged in Elijah Craig barrels.

A: Black with dark brown edges, nice finger of head recedes to a glass ring, no lacing. 4/5

S: Wonderful aroma of coconut, spice, chocolate and massive booze. 4.5/5

T: Heavy on the booze and wood. Possibly the most barrel forward stout I've had. Pepper and ash when cold. Cocoa and caramel are better appreciated as it warms up. 4/5

M: Surprisingly thin side of medium, slightly tongue numbing, spritzy. 3/5

O: A good -bal stout to be sure. Not quite in the echelon of my favorite stouts but a solid example none the less. 4/5

Photo of Bung
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

08 From notes, Stone takeover at Duckworths.
Deep black/brown pour, a dark tan head.

Aroma has a good dose of oak, vanilla, Mocha, roast malt and caramel. Hint of coffee.

Taste, roast malt, caramel, oak, light vanilla. Finishes with roast coffee, anise, barrel. Excellent.

Mouthfeel is the best feature here. Smooth as silk, full body. Creamy, coating, abv very well hidden.

Drinks well enough for such a big beer, could drink a bunch of this stuff.

Best of the event for me.

Photo of CooperEllis
4.3/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On draft at Rattle 'n Hum. I sampled only 4 brews at the 40 Taps and took review notes on three of them.

2008. 8oz pour into something between a small snifter/oversized wine glass.

The pour was a very nice dark color, minimal head and very little lacing. Bubbles at the edges of the glass.

Aroma is overpoweringly bourbon. After letting it settle for 5-7 minutes the aroma rounds with more of the roasted malt, full bourbon, slight vanilla extract/alcohol.

The taste is similarly hot with bourbon out of the gate. There isn't much to do but let it sit for a bit and breathe (not a problem, just worth noting). I'm sure this could have breathed for a good deal longer and perhaps have warmed a bit in the glass but I didn't allow it to. The taste was exceptional. Solid bourbon flavors heavily compliment the malts. This brew still had a good deal of sweetness to it, but the bitter notes were enhanced greatly by the traces of alcohol (both obvious bourbon and faint vanilla extract). The finish was sticky but not sticky-sweet.

Mouthfeel was to be expected, very full, ominpresent on the palate from the begining of the glass through the last sip.

It's hard to say this is highly drinkable in general. However, if what you're reaching for has to be a BBA IRS, this would certainly be one of the first I would reach for. Because I didn't allow it to breathe fully, I'm marking this a 4. However, initially it's closer to a 2.5, and with proper care it may well be a 5.

(27th)

Photo of Catracho5
4.72/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type: 500 ml bottle poured into a Belgian style Tulip.

Appearance: Pitch black, with a tan creamy head that dissipated fairly quickly. A little lacing and some tiny bubbles that remained around the edge and some in the middle. Looks great in the glass.

Smell: Heavy bourbon smell, getting some alcohol, but surprisingly for a 13.9% ABV, the alcohol smell is not prevalent. I am not getting any other aromas on the nose. A little dark cherries, has a great aroma.

Taste: You get the woody, bourbon flavor right up front, some dark fruity flavor, the alcohol is on the back end and lingers in the aftertaste. Great flavor!

Mouthfeel: Like motor oil but not as thick as some other barrel aged stouts I have tried. Some carbonation, the alcohol warms the palate and the belly.

Overall: I have tried several BA stouts and this one has to be the smoothest. I was surprised at the quality because Stone has not greatly impressed me with their beers. This one is world class. What a great beer worth the $20 I put down. I am going to get another bottle to cellar.

Photo of JohnGalt1
4.45/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Certainly one of the highlights of the Stone Tap Takeover.... I had 4 nice pours of this at Bier Thirty courtesy of Chris and Kammy!! Thanks a bunch for helping make this happen.

2008 Vintage.

Pours thick and coating.. the head is dark brown and frothy... lasts forever.. the brew stains the glass with each swirl.

Aromas are awesome... brownie batter... Tootsie Roll.. oaky bourbon.. scattered chocolate covered toffee..

The flavor delivers big time!! Vanilla and chocolate battle things out... never any real "bourbon", just the elements that make bourbon fun! Very integrated.. burnt.. bitter.. so yummy.

Much better than I expected... I don't give Stone a fair shake... I need to re-up my cellar and normal expenditures.

4.5/4.5/4.5/4/4.5

Photo of jegross2
4.71/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Reviewing the elusive Bourbon Barrel Aged Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Company out of Escondido, California. An ineffably generous friend sent me this long-time personal white whale out of the blue a couple of weeks ago (thanks Mike!). With one of my close beer drinking friends having a baby in less than a month and the other leaving town for a couple of months on business, now seemed as good as a time as ever to share this brew.

Score: 97

2008 vintage elixir from a 1 liter growler, served in a Hunahpu's snifter and enjoyed on 03/15/14. Review is from iPhone notes.

Appearance: Pours a deep brown cola color with ruby-caramel highlights and a finger of khaki head that settles to a ring around the glass. Poor lacing and retention, but good oily legs. 4/5

Smell: Dark chocolate, whiskey and figs. A little bit of dark cherry, and a kiss of lovely oxidation. Not overly complex, but extremely pleasant smelling. 4.75/5

Taste: Tastes like dark chocolate and whiskey, with a touch of fruit! No booziness, not sweet, not very bitter; just balanced and with a lasting finish. A delicious cocoa powder flavor develops in the finish as this brew warms. The taste, like the nose, is very straightforward, but it marvelously delivers in a no frills, no nonsense way. 4.75/5

Mouthfeel: Medium-plus bodied, good carbonation. Incredibly creamy mouthfeel with a light dryness to the finish. Almost perfectly balanced -- not too sweet or too bitter. 4.75/5

Overall: For a beer I have long sought after, there is little more I could have asked for here. I was not in the least bit disappointed given my high expectations and this beers reputation. What this one lacked in depth and "evolving flavors" as it warmed up and breathed, it more than made up for in sheer deliciousness. This was one of the easiest to drink barrel aged stouts I have tackled in a long while. Just wish I had more than 1 liter to go around. Thank you again Mike for sending me this treat. Prost!

Cost: Unknown (received as a thank you gift).

Photo of jsanford
4.79/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at the Stone Bistro. 2008 Vintage.

A - Inky black with a thin, mocha-colored head that recedes to a slight haze.
S - Sweet, dark roasted malt, caramel, vanilla, ash, oak, and high-quality bourbon. Phenomenal.
T - Very close to the nose, tons of dark malt, oak, caramel, vanilla, and bourbon. So smooth and drinkable despite the ABV, this one has aged wonderfully. Amazing.
M - Thick and creamy, with a medium-full mouth-feel and lowish carbonation. Slight burn from the bourbon in the finish, but that's fine with me.
O - Phenomenal beer, the highlight of my San Diego trip. An amazing take on an already legendary beer, I really want this bottled!<hint, hint>

Photo of mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

cannot think you enough man. i know you dont want your name out there but you killed it.

Dark, black as night with only a tiny amount of tan head peaking up from the depths on this one. The aroma was heavenly. Rich vanilla notes just percolating up, rounding out a beautiful bourbon smell. Some light chocolate and a tiny pinch of coffee in there, but this one is dominated by the barrel influence. As I take the first sip it is much more of the same. Rich bourbon notes just roll across the tongue with precision, rich notes of vanilla, a touch of woody undertone and a sparkling coffee induced finish just round this together wonderfully. Could have used a bit more carbonation, but still very nicely done with a big full feel and a long drawn out finish.

Overall this was very solid indeed. I really think it influenced and change the character of the irs wonderfully, making an almost complete transformation. I would have this one again any day and was thrilled to finally tick it

Photo of scottoale
4.85/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this yesterday at O'Brian's... fresh from Stone. Served in a pint glass, dark licorice brown (near black) with a small cocoa-brown cap. Very low in carbonation ofcourse.

Smell was strong of liquour, prunes, licorice with some notable smokiness. The acoholic fumes disperse flavor aplenty, gotta taste it!

BIG, dark rich flavorsome maltiness fills the mouth. Black licorice, prune, dark fig, black grape, molassas, bit-o-chocolate, wood, smoke in a somewhat chewy, sweet concoction. The complexity is marvelous and the balance is unique, very sweet overall. This stuff has massive flavor that just makes you want more, no joke.

Big body, it's a sipper for sure. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth and creamy and plenty of alcohol (10% ABV+) that warms your inside.

A very delicious stout that makes the bottled stuff almost seem bland by comparison (though it's far from bland). Another great BIG beer made even better (and bigger) from who else? Stone silly! Cheers to another great beer!

Photo of Absolut
4.54/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Tastes of bourbon, mocha, coffee, vanilla.

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 885 ratings.