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
98
world-class

139 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 139
Hads: 962
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 6.73%
Wants: 503
Gots: 171 | FT: 16
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 139 | Hads: 962
Photo of Chcshammonde
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Not much else I can say but soaringly fucking glorious. Wire-to-wire this is an incredible beer. So glad I could find and share with my friends. This BA stout is without question in a class by itself. I don't like to compare beers head-to-head, but this special ale is probably the best BA stout I've ever had. (314 characters)

Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Draft poured into a growler poured into a tulip

A: Pours a very thick, opaque black color with a light brown head that is really dark, considering. The texture is viscous like dirty motor oil...it's absolutely beautiful.

S: Aroma is equally amazing; sweet dark chocolate, heavy caramel, and a smooth bourbon accent. It's utterly enticing.

T/M: Taste has some alcohol twinge up front but is quickly masked by chocolate and caramel notes with a bit of toffee and nut in the finish. There's very little aftertaste but it leaves a warming sensation. It rolls on your tongue and down your throat, like a liquid trapeze artist made of black roasted malts and bourbon.

There are some apparent similarities with Sam Adams Utopias here, minus the complexity and overabundant strength, not to mention this one is actually carbonated, but it's the closest thing that comes to mind. It's like they took all the best qualities of Imperial Russian Stout and all the best qualities of a good bourbon and formed this monstrosity of a beer. I think I could drink this for the rest of my life, but I have to know which barrels they used... (1,128 characters)

Photo of mgoblue5743
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This might be the best beer I have ever tasted. I had it on tap, 08 vintage at Blind Tiger in NYC.

A: Dark, thick, limited head

S: Deep bourbon, coffee, vanilla

T: Very sweet, similar to Founders KBS, no aftertase, can taste the bourbon, chocolate and vanilla.

M: Very smooth, thick, delicious

D: Not particularly hot. I feel like I could drink several pints, though that would certainly knock me down. (409 characters)

Photo of KnowYourCraft
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours like oil, slow and thick, pitch black in color, leaves a good size espresso colored head that leaves little lacing around the glass, when you look at this beer you feel like you are staring into an abyss!

S: Tons of chocolate, booze, bourbon, some anise, tobacco, caramel, and vanilla. This beer makes its' presence known once you pop the cork! The best part about the aroma to this beer is that it is strong and does not fade, most other stouts have a smell that becomes faint after a minute or two of pouring, but this one is brash and in your face the whole time! It's superb!

T: Woah... Upfront there is loads of bourbon mixed with a perfect amount of booze, in the middle you get an awesome amount of chocolate, vanilla, a little anise, and caramel, then on the finish you get everything from the beginning and middle all perfectly mixed together with an addition of a hint of tobacco and hop bitterness, as it goes down you get a nice warmth from the booze. This beer is pretty well balanced with the characteristics that can make it unenjoyable, but for things that it needs plenty of to make it outstanding, and it has plenty of those ingredients! Superb transitions of flavors, and it gets even smoother as it warms as well! Definitely one of the best barrel aged stouts I have had!

M: Very thick, slightly oily, and a slight creaminess to it, fantastic, the feel suits this beer perfectly, makes you sip it, and enjoy it!

O: Phenomenal beer from Stone! I wish I can get my hands on more of these! You have to try this! (1,541 characters)

Photo of MtnSoup
4.97/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A wonderfully balanced beer that incredibly gets better every time I open a bottle. Strong bourbon flavor balanced with chocolate and vanilla malt. Perfectly balanced. The test piece for any bourbon barrel aged Russian imperial stout if you ask me. In a word? Perfection. (271 characters)

Photo of Snow81
4.95/5  rDev +11%
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 (452 characters)

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage Stone RIS aged in bourbon barrels . Opaque and black as a moonless midnight. Light brown hues along the edges of the glass and even after an aggressive pour only a couple bubbles rise to the surface. No lacing. Heavy bittersweet chocolate dominate the aroma with bourbon also detectable. Ridiculous flavors of baker's chocolate, vanilla, possibly some oak, and whiskey tantalize the palate. Medium bodied, though close to full, brew with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and perfect sweetness balancing the bitterness. Wonderfully crafted bourbon barrel aged russian imperial stout by Stone that will satisfy those with a desire for well hidden big bold alcoholic stouts and those with a sweet tooth. Well done! Awesome! (739 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
4.91/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - 4.5 - dark brown black beer with a nice mocha head that doesn't stick very long
S - 4.75 - huge bourbon and barrel notes, background is definitely chocolate, coffee and caramel. It's a little harder to pick up some of the dark malt notes in this one because the bourbon/booze is so strong.
T - 5 - Huge chocolate, coffee with bourbon barrel, smoke and toasted wood flavors. Burnt marshmallow, smores. It's one hell of a complex beer.
M - 5 - This is one thick beer when you drink it through the initial head. Wierdly, as the head dissipates the body of the beer seemed to as well, probably due to the dryness from the high alcohol content. Nonetheless, a damn good beer. Alc is present and a little in your face, aftertaste is chocolate, coffee, mocha latte, and roasted malts.

O - 5 - What a good beer. Parabola or Big Bad Baptist fits my own tastes better, but this beer is damn close to being just as good. I think the bourbon barrel qualities go great with the stone RIS flavors, and the aging helps everything meld together even better than it does in the original beer. (1,083 characters)

Photo of scottoale
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
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! (1,001 characters)

Photo of jampics2
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
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! (2,688 characters)

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Black, viscous-looking, leg-producing body with a quietly receding, dark brown head.

Smell: Big, beautiful bourbon presence on the nose marrying well with the robust dark roasted malts notes. It's altogether inviting.

Taste: From start to finish, it's a sweet, earthy roastiness stirred up with slowly melted barker's chocolate chunks, vanilla beans, burnt caramel sauce, dark brown sugar, oak wood (with some tannins breaking through), dark fruits, chilled coffee, shaved coconut and a fair share of burgeoning alcohol warmth. It's all quite bold, but it still maintains a quiet, easy-going mellowness.

Mouthfeel: Near-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, velvety mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Very nice. Look, I love Stone Russian Imperial Stone, but the deliciousness of the bourbon barrel version has been the highpoint of my beer drinking in the last several months. Oh, if only all the barrel-aged stouts could turn out this well. (949 characters)

Photo of brew3crew
4.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap for the stone tap take over at acre. 2008 RIS in bourbon barrels. MMM.

a-pitch black with no head what so ever. only knock on this beer

s-nice amounts of malt and bourbon mixed together to perfection

t-smooth bourbon with a nice malt backbone. Really well melded together

m-medium body and oh so smooth

o-this is one BAMF! Great beer. I had 3 glasses! (363 characters)

Photo of Gueuzedude
4.84/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

May 2008 Release; Sampled June 2008
A careful pour produces a half-finger thick, brown tinged, darker tan colored head. The beer is pitch black and color and quite opaque. Ample, spicy Bourbon aromas are noticeable without completely drowning out the Stout aromatics. Roast espresso aromas, charred prune notes, bit roast grain and a finish dominated by deeply toasted grain notes that lean towards toasted, not quite burnt whole grain bread. The aroma has some sweetness to it, that is accentuated just a bit by the Bourbon-alcohol aromas. When intensely scrutinizing the aroma the Bourbon notes are big up front, but then disappear and allow that pure stout notes to come through, but then things start to meld together as toasted barrel notes of coconut , vanillin mix with dark, rich, sweet malty chocolate aromas. This has a very nice aroma to it, much better than I was expecting as the Bourbon barrel notes are quite well integrated; the Imperial stout aromatics are still allowed to shine here & really show quite well as they mix with the barrel notes.

Fairly thick and viscous up front, the beer gets a bit thinner towards the finish as some boozy, Bourbon notes kick in. Creamy feeling with a huge, richly, dark malt sweetened, chocolate flavors are accentuated by the barrel with flavors of vanillin, a light coconut note and a rich, burnt fruit character. This last reminds me of a mix of deeply roasted, burnt, succulent figs, moist prunes and raisins. While not overly thick or viscous this really has an unctuous, creamy fullness that just engulfs the palate; when warmed up a bit it even manages to over-power the thinning effect of the Bourbon booze in the finish. When cooler the hop and roast grain notes combine to give this beer a substantial, but sometimes overlooked, bitterness.

The bitter, burnt roast notes are what really define this beer; not necessarily in the way you might think though as these notes are very well integrated and never allowed to become harsh, sharp nor astringent. Instead the roast character plays an almost supporting role (if you can imagine such a thing in an Imperial Stout), creating a rich, roast malt depth & balancing act that provides touches of bitterness, a light roast acidity and a deep black coffee note that serves as a light foil to the sweet, concentrated, chocolate like, thick malt character that is so nice in this beer. The texture, especially, really starts to come in to its own as the beer warms up; the boozy Bourbon notes that thinned out the finish are tamed and this beer remains a creamy, viscous, palate enveloping experience from the start to long, lingering finish of each sip. Even the aroma gets increasingly better as it warms up; accentuating more of the chocolate, toasted coconut and vanillin notes.

This is far better than I was expecting; I had thought I was burnt out on Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stouts, but this shows I just need a nice, well balanced example to keep me interested in the style. Perhaps just a touch too boozy in the finish, this beer otherwise is a classic example of the marriage of Bourbon and Imperial Stout. I really did not expect to love this; I assumed that at most I might find it interesting and slightly enjoyable, instead this is just down right tasty & easily the best use of a Bourbon barrel in a beer that I have had. Stones Imperial stout requires some age on it to be at its best, this beer manages to display those characteristics as well as an added boost of complexity from the Bourbon barrel that was not overdone. I almost feel guilty for liking this beer as much as I do, especially since I was expecting to be able to easily tear it down. This really needs to be served on the warm side of cool; it started out at 50°F / 10°C, but still really becomes phenomenal the longer I wait. I have about a half ounce left and it seems to be at its best after sitting in my glass for the last hour and a half; damn there it goes, unexpectedly I am left wanting more. (3,994 characters)

Photo of breadwinner
4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

If these things weren't like $20 a pop, I'd have like 20 cases of them lining my cellar. Incredibly rich, decadent feel, straight up bourbon fudge brownie palate. Booze seeps through a touch on the nose, but overall this is a stellar brew. (239 characters)

Photo of Houser
4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

i thought this beer was fantastic. so smooth. taste is so much better then the smell, but marshmallow, vanilla, chocolate, and bourbon mesh together so well. (159 characters)

Photo of CHickman
4.81/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 Series, Batch No. 1 (2014 Stone RIS aged 7 for months in American Oak Kentucky Bourbon Barrels - 13% ABV): Pours pitch black with a small creamy tan head that was full of tiny bubbles, fading rather quickly and leaving decent spotty lacing.

Smells of vanilla, molasses, toffee, caramel, bakers chocolate, burnt coffee grinds, dark chocolate bar, bourbon, toasted coconut, Whoppers candy, oaky/woody notes, red wine, charred wood and brown sugar. The nose is very sweet and boozy, but does not cross the line into cloying and too sweet. There are more complexities to this nose, but all of the aromas above are so pronounced and evenly distributed that it is simply wonderful to inhale with the bourbon, char and earthy/oaky notes making the base beer smell even better. A perfect nose for a bourbon barrel aged RIS, I love the way this smells - it's exactly what I hoped for, nothing more to say.

Wow, the flavor picks up right where the nose left off with rich vanilla, dark chocolate bar, bourbon, molasses, toffee, caramel, bakers chocolate, burnt coffee grinds, toasted coconut, Whopper's candy, Carvel hot fudge, oaky/woody notes, red wine very much like an oaky merlot, charred wood, maple syrup, light piney hops, mild licorice, some dark fruit and brown sugar. Like the nose the taste is sweet and boozy, but the booze is not hot or offensive, it's just present. Flavor also does not cross the line into cloying and too sweet, as the battle for attention shifts from bourbon to chocolate to char to sweet malt and then back to chocolate milk and then to coffee, then vanilla...etc., you get my point. It's dynamic, it's very complex and it's all over the place like a hyper toddler, but throughout this ADD drinking experience this beer really stands out as a delicious and better version of the base beer. This is a slow sipper that hides the 13% ABV very well, but I found myself drinking this faster than I should have because it was so damn smooth. I had Founders KBS a few times on tap this year, as well as Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Coffee Stout, Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, Goose Island Bourbon County Vanilla Rye, Central Waters Brewer's Reserve Bourbon Barrel Stout and Lagunitas ScareCity #3: High West-ified Imperial Coffee Stout and Fyodor's Classic is right up there with them at the top of the class. Outstanding beer.

Mouthfeel is slick and creamy smooth across the tongue with some heat that warms your belly, a medium chewy body that's a tad thin but still nice, and a nice charred, sweet aftertaste that's slightly bitter but full of rich, complex malt, chocolate and bourbon flavors. The lingering sweetness is a little ashy but the vanilla and roasted dark chocolate wash away any questionable flavors and leave a wonderfully complex coating that fades as good as the brew tasted.

World class indeed, I highly recommend this beer and plan to order another bottle online ASAP if there are any left. One of, if not THE best, RIS's of all time. (3,003 characters)

Photo of bwd110
4.8/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Flying Saucer, 2/17/2010

What good fortune to be in Houston and seeing Greg Koch's twat about this beer tapping... 2008 vintage.

Served in a Stone IRS tuilp...

A: Opaque black with a baby dark tan head that recedes quickly. Looks like a big bad mutha.

S: Big bourbon whiff... Can this beer possibly be hot? Smells like it might, nice undertones of chocolate and dark roastiness.

T: Good God.... Shot of whiskey up front, but not at all hot and boozy, very well balanced with a nice roasty flavor and humongous chocolate finish with hints of vanilla... Impeccable.

M: Robust, but smooth and velvety.

D: So much better than your standard 08 Stone IRS. Really impressed... I actually think this one destroys KBS. Glad to have had the opportunity. (760 characters)

Photo of jsanford
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
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> (674 characters)

Photo of TurdFurgison
4.79/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jason for this beer, probably the best of the night before the last Jackie O's release. My pour was dark black and opaque, with an insanely appetizing aroma. All of the usual goodness of Stone IRS, plus bourbon! Actually this smells exactly how you'd expect, and that's pretty damn good. Sweet and malty, bourbony with chocolate and vanilla. Nice...

It tastes just as good, insane. Move over BA Speedway, this is pushing to become the highest rated BA stout from the San Diego area. Thickish but adequately bubbly, excellent stuff. (546 characters)

Photo of SQNfan
4.77/5  rDev +7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Hand bottle from thickerfreakness...thanks!

This one is right up my alley! It poured black in color with a think brown head that faded rather quickly. The nose is filled with crème, hazelnuts, coconut, milk chocloate, vanilla and some woodiness at the end. In the mouth it was full-bodied and quite rich with a sweetness that is wonderfully balanced by just enough grip. The finish lingers on and on with flavors of chocolate dipped hazelnuts. In fact, especially in the finish, this reminds me of a wonderful mignardises to end a great meal...and this can be treated the same! (579 characters)

Photo of BEERchitect
4.76/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bourbon barrels are a lot like bacon. They just make everything better!

This insanely rich beer hold all of the greatness of the original, Pitch black, dense viscosity, and slow simmering carbonation. The beer patiently releases a very dense sheet of mocha foam that favors brandy-style legging over meaningful lace. The beer intimidates, just by its glare.

Rich and sultry aromas of Belgian chocolate, whipping cream, bold roast coffee, singed toffee, and walnut exude from the glass with mouth watering and calming effects. Bourbony alcohols accompany toasted oak, vanilla and caramel- all becoming more pronounced as the beer warms and unlocks its powerful scents.

And so go the beer's flavor... with its light carbonation, all the savory goodness of espresso, brownie batter, bittersweet chocolate, deep caramel, and malted milkshake seep into the mouth with awe-inspiring effects. Nothing short of amazing, the flavors trend toward walnut-type bitterness that links into oak, vanilla, cherry wood, light sherry, and unmistakable bourbon to round out the finish. Even notes of chocolate covered raisins introduce themselves with alternating sips.

Rich, dense and truly sultry on the palate, the stout's creamy viscosity delivers a pleasant weight that melds into the mouth and seems to seduce the taste buds. Warm alcohols balance its weight in finish to provide an extended finish and infinite aftertaste.

Of course this '08 version is now in its 5-years of maturation so the savory notes and low rate of carbonation are more prominent than when younger, but its incredible power in flavor and effects is something rarely experienced in the beer world. Its such a digestive that it will surely compare favorable with the best tawny ports, cognac, brandy, or scotch. (1,775 characters)

Photo of CasanovaCummins
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nice dark pour that is loaded with a warm malty flavor. Plenty of rich, chocolatey notes. More hot chocolate than coffee flavors to be sure. What is really impressive is how well it maintaims both richness of flavor and integrity to its mouthfeel to the last drop. A lot of vig stouts weaken after sitting in the glass, but this one is consistently great all the way through. Considering I'm not too keen on the ashey notes of most Stone stouts, this one has flavors that over-ride those notes yet still have a hint of them there. Best Stone brew I've ever had. (561 characters)

Photo of davod23
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
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. (747 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Malt and Vine, Redmond WA (Stone event), 5 dollars for about 10-12oz pour

This one was 2008 vintage - so awesome!

A: Black with half finger mocha head, not too much lacing.

S: oh man... HUGE bourbon smell - even after 4 years of aging. Oak, vanilla,chocolate aroma, Some nutty scent, roasted malt.

T: It reallyl follows the nose - Bourbon, oak, chocolate, sweet brown sugar, believe it or not, it was still a bit boozy, but not too overwhelming.

M: Still had some carbonation remaining, thick, syrupy, and sticky. You can still feel the alcohol burn.

O: I am glad I got to try this one. This one is 100x improved version of Stone's regular RIS - but then again, I love bourbon aged beers in general. Maybe not for everyone, but man, this one was amazing. I wonder though how this beer would have tasted fresher - probably not as good and too hot and boozy. Anyway 2008 vintage was near perfect.

O. Aweseom (927 characters)

Photo of SpeedwayJim
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%
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. (1,307 characters)

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.