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

Not Rated.
Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel AgedImperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

144 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 144
Hads: 985
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 6.73%
Wants: 514
Gots: 181 | FT: 19
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: 144 | Hads: 985
Photo of sweemzander
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap pour at Timmy O'Tooles in Chicago for the Stone Solidarity event.

(A)- Pitch black color with some tan froth & lace.

(S)- A rich caramel body with some dry vanilla, cocoa, licorice, and oak.

(T)- Very similar to the smell. Lots of licorice, but is balanced well with a deep oak and vanilla with caramel and raisin.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Not over-the-top but showcases the barrel aging well.

(D)- The regular version of this is always fantastic, but this definitely ups it a notch in strength and body. Excellent. (542 characters)

Photo of jdense
4.32/5  rDev -3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Aces & Ales, Las Vegas NV, 11.24.10, $5 a glass.

3/4 finger brown head, fairly slow dissipation with average lacing. Huge aromatics, the bourbon notes up front, but balanced by a goodly dose of chocolate and vanilla, not much coffee. Taste is big, with the bourbon and chocolate up front, vanilla a toffee/brown sugar sweetness but not cloying, and char from the barrel in the middle, leading to bittersweet chocolate and a bit of resiny hops in the finish, yummy. Medium full mouthfeel, almost creamy, not a lot of effervescence. Dangerously drinkable at this ABV. This was a really good beer, one of the best I've had this year. Worth seeking out for fans of barrel-aged stouts. (691 characters)

Photo of HuskyinPDX
4.31/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2008 on tap right now at Brouwer's.

A - Served a very dark brown with a dark tan head the clings to glass and forms a small thin layer over the top.

S - Bourbon, chocolate. A touch of heat. A nice malt background.

T - Bourbon up-front. Subtle chocolate, malty background.

D - Mild carbonation and heavy body. Nice balance for an 08.

O - Nice to try this one. It's held up well nicely for an 08. (404 characters)

Photo of CooperEllis
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
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) (1,484 characters)

Photo of JoEBoBpr
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Imperial Russian Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels
Poured into a pint glass.

A - Pours a deep dark brown to black with a thin light cream head that dissipates rather quickly. (4.0)

S - There is tons of complexity in the nose. Starting with some boozy heat and sweetness from the bourbon. Mixes of burnt caramel, brown sugar, chocolate and some slight grassy hop. (4.0)

T & M – Tons of complexity. Nice sweet bourbon notes some slight wood and some nice heat. Vanilla sweetness with a mild chocolate cake notes. Some slight hop notes on the back end are felt but these definitely take a back seat. There is some nice roasted malt notes that blended well with the chocolate and the vanilla notes. Nice rich and creamy stout with lower carbonation and some good bourbon and boozy heat. (4.0)(4.5)

O – Good beer from Stone with some nice Bourbon and chocolate balance and a rich flavor profile.(4.5) (905 characters)

Photo of ArrogantB
4.3/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Rackhouse Pub this was 2010 IRS aged in a Stranahan's whiskey barrel but I put it here anyway. Dark black and had the most minimal tan head, like a millimeter or so. Smells like whiskey and roasted grain reminiscent of the regular IRS aged for awhile. The taste is really, really good, whiskey, wood, roasted grain, so different than the regular IRS which is already a good beer. This is very strong but I was very pleased that I ordered it. (451 characters)

Photo of DCon
4.26/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Enjoyed on-tap @ the iTap House in Chesterfield, MO. Poured into a Snifter and enjoyed only one as it was $5. This was the 2008 Version of this beer and in Bourbon Barrels (hence the name above).

Appearance- Dark Maple Brown color but almost black. Has a Half a finger of a Dark Tan Head and has sudsy lacing.

Smell- Huge whisky smell with a deep alcohol scent, almost like rubbing alcohol. Very roasty and has many aromas I couldn't catch but possibly there will be a second time.

Taste/Mouthfeel- Has a rich flavor, very strong and profound! Let it be known that this is an Imperial Russian Stout! It has a beginning dark chocolate taste with a wood background. The alcohol is very warming and the bourbon is a bold characteristic that stays after the finish even. Has a Medium-Full Body, Viscosity of a Root Beer, and surprisingly smooth!

Overall- While sampling the Chipotle Pepper Smoked Porter first (which I wasn't fond of), I went straight for this Russian Stout since it was very limited. Being aged in bourbon barrels gave it a great flavor and aroma characteristic. Could actually drink these all night even though it is a 11.5% stout. Will be recommending to friends and drinking again! (1,204 characters)

Photo of JulioH
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%

Good beer.

Pours a dark beer. Forms a nice head. Smell has nice coffee, some vanilla. Taste is bitter, almost like drinking an espresso without sugar. Has a high alcohol content and taste. Thick beer. (201 characters)

Photo of jlindros
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to rudzud. 2014 vintage.

Pours a decent creamy dark colored small head that fades pretty quickly, pitch black color, decent legs too.

Nose big malts, lots of different dark malts, lots of black malts, roast and cocoa, chewy fudge, little char and nutty notes, caramel, mild vanilla barrel, roasty intense dark malts and little booze, touch of dark fruits.

Taste sweet candy, caramel, fudge, thick choc and candy, thick fudgey chewy cocoa and caramel, rich, then big booze, hot booze, bitter tannic roast and booze, vanilla barrel and fudgey, etc. Finish is drier but sticky, big roasty bitterness and tannic char, big fudgey cocoa and some bitter earthy spicy hops, etc.

Mouth touch fudgey heavy, rich, decent carb, hot booze.

Overall food but there are many better bourbon stouts out there, decent, tasty, but hot too. (835 characters)

Photo of ColdPoncho
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for this one. Tried it at Jackie O's recent release. From notes.

A - dark dark black body with a ring of tight brown head.

S - grainy and yeasty, but also a lot of chocolate and bourbon.

T - a crapload of bourbon, some generic stout flavors, like chocolate and dark roasted malts, and there is some heat in there too.

M - thick, syrupy and smooth.

O - Nice big and complex beer. (399 characters)

Photo of TommyW
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at the EBF 2010.

A- Black body with a thin, tan head that fades to a ring.

S- Roasted and burnt malt with notes of bourbon and alcohol.

T- Big body of roasted and burnt malts with a strong bourbon taste that I really enjoy. Lingering dry finish of burnt flavors.

M- Medium/full body with an easy carbonation.

D- The aging really creates a more mellow version of the normal RIS, and the additional bourbon flavor is very nice. (437 characters)

Photo of neurobot01
4.25/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage at fridge temp into a snifter, allowed to warm.

Look: light-eating black with barely any head. Beautiful like a precious stone.

Smell: sweet chocolatey Jesus. A hint of bourbon, maybe some astringency, but mostly just chocolate.

Taste: chocolate, bourbon, oak, and tons of bitterness. Not overly sweet, and really no alcohol heat.

Feel: silky, thick, and medium-dry.

Overall: for me, the bitterness is a bit overwhelming in the taste. I do like that the sweetness isn't overbearing. Good, but not great. (521 characters)

Photo of Spider889
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

One of the beers I was really looking forward to at BREWzilla, and one of the first to taste that night. 2008 vintage.

Very dark, thick black color. The Stone reps were pouring well, all of their beers had head on them which I appreciated. This one had a pretty tall dark cinnamon colored head.

Smelled like a bourbon stout all right. Decadently sweet, lots of vanilla and chocolate notes. Mild coffee. Slightly boozy in the nose. Mild oak notes and slight hints of the maltiness of the base beer.

Overall this was my second favorite bourbon stout (of the three or four) at the event. The bourbon asserts itself but balance is the name of the game here. The bourbon and oak lend lots of aid to the already wonderful IRS base beer (of which the '08 is drinking superbly on its own right now). Roasty, almost burnt maltiness with mild coffee flavors. Plenty of sweet chocolate and vanilla. Dry oakiness and bourbon flavors laced throughout.

Slightly boozy, but not as much as 11.5% could be I suppose. Light, smooth carbonation. Drank really well, and I hope I get to have an encore tasting of this some time. (1,112 characters)

Photo of beagle75
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Draft service into a half-pint goblet at Stone Bistro.
2008 vintage.

A: Opaque black color with a fine ring of dark beige foam. Scant lacing remains on the glass.

S: Soft bourbon sweetness backed up by layer upon layer of chocolatey roasted malt. The bourbon is the more dominant of the components that make up this smell, but it is not harsh or particularly boozy.

T: Begins off-dry, solidly malty at first but then turning toward dark spice with an emphasis on cloves, caraway, and star anise. The middle displays a balance of chocolate, roasted grain, and bourbon, with a definite edge that is both acidic and alcoholic. The finish finds this beer turning relatively smooth and mild, with cooling herbaceous qualities.

M: Thick viscosity, coats the palate like paint early but is rapidly dispersed, with low carbonation.

D: With fluctuating flavors and a moderating smell, this beer is memorable--even epic--at its best, but it can also seem harsh on occasion. Still, this is the most drinkable version of Stone Imperial Russian Stout that I have tried to date--which seems remarkable when one considers that it is my first and only tasting of the stuff from the bourbon barrel. Those in other states that see this on more regular occasion will hopefully not take it for granted. (1,287 characters)

Photo of JDV
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Growler shared by thickfreakness (thickerfreakness). Thanks Charles!
Pours Dark black with a short lived tan head. Smell is bourbon, chocolate and a slight doughy-ness along with a bit of vanilla. Tastes is rich and chocolatey, with some bitterness. Light vanilla flavor and balanced light bourbon flavor too. Medium to full bodied with moderate to light carbonation. Solid mouthfeel. I liked this way better than the non-BA version. (433 characters)

Photo of Drucifer
4.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Bangers & Lace in Chicago; 2010 vintage

A: Black with a dark brown head; moderate carbonation

S: Pretty even split between dark fruits and bourbon, not much else

T: Big dark fruits followed by subtle bourbon/oak/vanilla/roast

M: Full bodied, but not too thick. It's pretty typical for the style

O: A very interesting offer from Stone. It's definitely tasty and I'm quite surprised how fruity it is. I enjoyed it quite a bit more as it warmed up and highly recommend it if you see it on tap. I do prefer the non-BA version, but this is still a very good beer. (573 characters)

Photo of tarheels86
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Alewife Baltimore for Stone Total Tap Takeover. Poured near ink black with ruby highlights. Tan bubbles cling onto the sides of the glass but no head forms. Aroma is beautiful buttery bourbon, coconut, vanilla, oak, rich smokiness. Taste is a giant smack in the face of unsweetened, bitter chocolate, smoked malt, hot bourbon moving very quickly to silky chocolate, coconut, vanilla ice cream. Palate goes from soft to chalky and bitter cacao powder. About six seconds after tasting this I knew exactly why it is in the ratebeer Top 20. Everything is there: the aroma, the body, the palate. It is like Bourbon Country Stout with a little less richness and less of a superlative palate. 10/24/2010 8/4/9/4/16=4.1 (718 characters)

Photo of SkunkWorks
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had on tap at the Rattle n Hum for the Total Tap Takeover Tour, so its a year 2008. Served in a wine glass.

look: jet black with no head and thin, red/brown highlights when held up to the light. There's no lacing in the glass.

Smell: the bourbon barrel vanilla and bourbon smell comes across heavily at first to the point of being almost overbearing. Behind that is the IRS smells that we all know and love... the chocolate, roasted grain and alcohol.

Taste: probably the booziest beer I have ever had. The taste is overwhelmed by the bourbon flavor and this amplifies the taste of the alcohol. I feel as though I am drinking a black bourbon and not a beer. Behind the bourbon taste, you have hints of chocolate, vanilla, and roasted grains. The finish is the alcohol bite along with some hop bitterness but my mouth is left tasting like chocolate between sips.

Feel: medium in body, which was a surprise to me because I remember the bottled Stone Imperial Russian Stout being very thick. There's not much carbonation but just enough to remind you that this actually a beer and not really a liquor.

Drink: I'm rating it high even though its very difficult to drink because I'm rating against the style and I have a hard time drinking any Russian Imperial Stouts and this is no exception. Its less drinkable than the regular RIS from Stone because of the bourbon flavors.

Overall, it was enjoyable but I probably wouldn't get it again. I don't think bourbon barrel aged stouts are really my thing but I'm not going to hold that against this beer. Its still very good and worth a try especially if you are a fan of Stone's Imperial Russian Stout. (1,652 characters)

Photo of drabmuh
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 IRS, IRS 10th Anniversary Blend, IRS 10th Anniversary GK's Mad Man Mix, and IRS Aged In Bourbon Barrels all tasted side by side at Churchkey last night.

Beer is black with a nice head that leaves very little lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

This beer only has a hint of bourbon to it and the rest is mostly sweetness.

Beer is nice, creamy, minimally bourbon but its still really good. The bourbon elevates the base beer well, I think the base is a 2008, its easy drinking and has this great sweetness to it on the front end. I would definitely have this again. (576 characters)

Photo of readbaron
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Snifter served at Acre's Stone takeover.

Stoked that I got to try this rare treat.

Looks like your standard (delicious) BA stout. Inky black, thick, no head.

Whoa! Bourbon alert. There's nothing subtle about the BA on this one - super strong bourbon aroma right from the get go. If you struggle to swim through the booze you're rewarded with some dark fruit, anise, and chocolate.

Taste is also bourbon heavy, but not as much as the nose, especially as it warms. There's vanilla, quite a bit of anise, dark fruit, some oaky, coffee, roasted malt bitterness. Fairly complex.

Mouthfeel is dry and a bit thin from the oak aging.

Overall, bourbon is a bit overpowering on this. I have to say that I prefer the regular RIS (especially with a bit of age on it). Still, this is an awesome beer. (793 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
4.19/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Originally had a hand bottle at a party at Moeder Lambic a few years back, but got a recent bottling of this from ScottO a while back, so I thought I'd give this version a proper review. Cheers man!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
2013 Imperial Stout aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for 12 months
Brewed 29 Jan 2013
Bottled February 2014
IBU: 38
Quingenti Millitre 2014 Series batch 3

APPEARANCE: A transparent black pour yields a 2+ finger, medium looking, bubbly tan head with good retention. Black body with no carbonation evident. Head recedes to a full cap. A ring remains until the end leaving some falling dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon, oak, vanilla, coconut and cream on the nose. Toffee and butterscotch are there as well, with milk chocolate tying it together. Lots of barrel here, though a very nice barrel at that.

TASTE: Bourbon, oak and coconut up front. Lots of barrel again. Coconut, vanilla and milk chocolate at the swallow with a bold and lingering finish of bourbon, vanilla and coconut again, oak, toffee and milk chocolaty sweetness, some bitter, pure chocolate and a hint of burnt malts as well. Very flavorful. Really like the barrel flavors here. Some alcohol lingers as well.

PALATE: Medium-thinner body with medium levels of carbonation. A bit abrasive on the palate, goes down with a bit of a scratch and finishes rather sticky. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Loved the nose and flavor profile on this. The barrel is strong, but the character it imparts on the beer is really enjoyable. The look is okay and the feel could be fuller and less abrasive, but this brew is a whopping 14% after all. Not as boozy as others at this ABV. Overall, this is a good beer I was happy to sip on for an evening. If you can get one, give it a shot. Thanks again ScottO. Recommended. (1,831 characters)

Photo of AgentZero
4.17/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at SmallBar.

A - Black beer with a bit of a tan head that rose up a finger and faded to a tight ring. Didn't stay around for long but looked nice.

S - This is nicely smoothed out with some impressive bourbon. I've never felt like Stone RIS was the biggest of stouts, but it's held up pretty well in the barrel.

T - Bourbon, chocolate, roast. Taste is quite nice, and very smoothed out. Really no heat on this with all the appropriate flavors.

M - Medium bodied, could be a little bit fuller, with some moderate carbonation.

O - Really nice beer. Stone RIS is very nice brew, and it did well in the bourbon. Could drink a lot of this one. (650 characters)

Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.17/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Jason - you are a god and the supreme hero of my univese.

A. Black with just a puny white head; after a half hour there is no head at all.

S. Vanilla with some chocolate and bourbon.

T. Nice sweetness that helps to balance the bitterness with bourbon and vanilla.

M. A reasonably thick body with fairly low carbonation.

D. Thick and smmoth with a good balanced flavor. (373 characters)

Photo of stakem
4.17/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Alewife for the Stone total tap takeover event on 10/1/10. 2008 Stone IRS aged in bourbon barrels. This was the beer I was most excited about trying from the list of 40 different offerings.

The color of this brew pours pretty much the same as the normal IRS; black with some lighter brown shown around the edges when held to the light. The head appears as a creamy darkly tan cap that receeds leaving leggy patches of lace along the glassware.

The aroma of this brew is sweet with a big oaky vanilla character that is so bold it is almost like a perfume. Behind the vanilla scent are notes of chocolate, roasty grain goodness and overall this is just one fine, sweet smelling brew. In the background is some mellow whiskey influence that tingles the nose with the presence of alcohol.

The taste of this brew is big and boozy with the normal presence of IRS' alcohol content being taken to the next level by the whiskey contribution. The alcohol warms the entire mouth and throat when swallowed. The heavily roasted grain comes across slightly bitter and roasty with a flavor of chocolate and some woodsy notes with a slight bit of vanilla throughout. Some bitter chocolate lingers in the mouth mingled with hops and the burn of the alcohol. It is surprising how much more concentrated the alcohol's presence is in this brew. The additional alcohol flavoring is welcomed but it hurts this brew by being outright dominating.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light, enjoyable level of carbonation. Drinkability is decent for a sipper. My initial impression of this brew was pretty much mind blowing. I absolutely loved everything about it right out the gate but as the experience continued it got to me. I would not be able to drink more than one glass of this which is difficult for me to admit because I love imperial stouts and usually enjoy barreled versions even more. I would love to try this again in a year or more to see if it calms down a bit to let the other flavors come forward. (2,009 characters)

Photo of kbutler1
4.16/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft. On tap at Stub & Herbs Stone Tap Take Over night to celebrate Stone entering the MN market. 2008 vintage. Poured into a tall tulip glass a dark brown/black color with a dark reddish tinged mahagony brown head that left thick sticky lace all over the glass. The first whiff yields a strong dark chocolate aroma that fills my nose. Along with the chocolate, notes of molassess, vanilla, and slight bourbon are also evident. Medium velvety mouthfeel with ever so slight carbonation. Cocoa and chocolate are the dominant flavors along with the vanilla and bourbon. The bourbon is slight and doesn't overpower this beer. The alcohol is evident only by the warming effect it has as I drink this down. Nice, drinks way easier than it should. (741 characters)

Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 144 ratings.