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

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged
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BA SCORE
98
world-class

516 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 516
Reviews: 109
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 374
Gots: 41 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BEERchitect on 09-20-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 516 | Reviews: 109 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by jampics2:
Photo of jampics2
4.85/5  rDev +9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to encounter this beer on tap at Brewzilla, the grand tasting of Cleveland Beer Week 2010. Served in several 5oz pours over the course of the evening. The first glass was handed to me by my friend Brian Wright, who smiled and said "enjoy". The seventh glass was handed to me by my friend Brian Wright, who frowned and said "you aren't driving tonight, are you?" For the record, no I was not, we stayed down the street!

Back to the first glass...if Steven Hawking was a beer aficionado, he may have written a book called "Behavior of particles in a 'Stone BA IRS' hole". I can almost hear his sweet robotic voice lecturing about how nothing can escape the darkness that is this beer. A beautiful cappuccino colored head is its first victim. It hangs out for a few minutes, and then gets sucked into the vortex, never to be seen again. Some lace is left behind as a reminder of what was and what will never be.

But an anomaly occurs that makes me question everything. Light has no mass, but it's still drawn into this beer due to the warping of space and time. However, apparently, the most amazing scents of roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, and coconut break free. Maybe the perfect smelling beers have no photon mass, or, maybe, the smell is more powerful than science itself!

To make this beer drinking experience even better, Mitch Steele, head brewer at Stone and a really nice guy, was on hand and served as my co-pilot on the first journey. We had a toast and I took my first sip, throttling full-blast towards the event horizon. I swear I could taste both the particles and the anti-particles; they were utterly exceptional. The roasted malt reminds me of dark chocolate and a touch of Sumatra coffee. Some caramel and dark fruit make an appearance. The wood has added touches of vanillin, coconut and just a hint of tannins. The bourbon is present but not dominant enough to eclipse any other element. The smoothness of the barrel treatment is elegant without being too weak. As it warms, it becomes a chocolate, vanilla and coconut dream.

The beer is velvet in liquid form. The body is full and the carbonation is creamy. The only problem with the mouthfeel is the touch of noticeable alcohol that breaks up the party for a split second. That being said, I enjoyed this beer more than anything I've had in the last 10 months of reviewing. That's over 415 beers since my last score this high. It's truly a stand-out and makes a legendary beer even better. I hope every beer lover has the chance to try this someday! Thanks and cheers to Mitch and Greg for sending this to Ohio and for Jay for his insight to put it at Brewzilla! Cheers, ya bunch of STONE-ers!

jampics2, Nov 03, 2010
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4.4/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

kingcrowing, Oct 16, 2011
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4/5  rDev -10.1%

JeffNev, May 03, 2013
Photo of ehammond1
4.43/5  rDev -0.4%
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.

ehammond1, Aug 30, 2011
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4.65/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

glid02, Mar 01, 2010
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4.48/5  rDev +0.7%
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.

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 516 ratings.