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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

514 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 514
Reviews: 109
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 370
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: 514 | Reviews: 109 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.03/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage at Stone's 15th anniversary party

Look: Black in color with not real head no retention but it does leave a small film on the glass when you drink it down

Smell: Bourbon oak roasted malts vanilla and chocolate. Pretty straight forward

Taste: Again bourbon upfront backed up by quite a bit of roasted malts. Finishes with touches of vanilla and chocolate

Mouthfeel: Full body low carbonation

Overall: I can't believe how much bourbon is still present after all the age that has been put on it. I would like to try a fresh batch if they do it again. Good beer from stone but not great I thought the alcohol was just a bit distracting

DarthKostrizer, Jun 05, 2012
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.03/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter at Acre.

Appearance: As expected, this is pitch black with just a hint of mahogany and ruby in the edges.

Smell: The aroma is full of bourbon; it is in the forefront to the point where it kind of drowns out the other wonderful smells. Molasses, dark fruits, and a bit of anise and chocolate are pushed to the periphery.

Taste: The flavor is again a bit strong on the bourbon for me, considering that the base beer is so good. It starts strong and stays on the palate through each sip. Behind that, some molasses and vague dark fruit sweetness start out, with vanilla, oak, and roasted malt rounding out the front. The roasted malt has a tinge of burnt character and flows into a coffee bitterness nicely as the sip progresses. The finish is lightly bitter with more bourbon.

Mouthfeel: This has a dry, woody, oaky feel, which makes it feel less full bodied than the original. Medium carbonation is on the creamy side.

Overall: If I had this on its own, it would be a fine beer. The only issue is that Stone had the audacity to make IRS so good that drowning the flavor our with bourbon is a downgrade. Some people might like the bourbon treatment to be over the top, but I prefer it to be more nuanced.

KickInTheChalice, Aug 22, 2011
Photo of cpetrone84
4.05/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark black color with a tan colored head.

S-the nose bings loads of roasted malts and some notes of dark chocolate. bourbon and wood play lightly underneath.

T-a touch of dark fruits add some additional balance to the beer, roasty malts are the focus with a bit of bitter dark chocolate. vanilla and oak make a nice presence with a pleasant bourbon finish and touch of heat.

M-full bodied and chewy wit a creamy syrupy texture and soft carbonated finish.

D-pretty well balanced beer with a nice barrel presence adding a fair bit of complexity amongst the roasty stout with light sweetness intermixed.

cpetrone84, Feb 18, 2011
Photo of tewaris
4.05/5  rDev -9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.5% ABV
Served in a 10 oz. Chalice like glass.

Darkest of burnt browns upon close inspection, -bal IRS looks every bit a top notch American Imperial Stout. Came with a surprisingly good thick and creamy dark tan head that left a good amount of lacing as it dissipated, when it did.

Smells decadent, full of chocolate and cream and hints of vanilla. No booze and no acidity. Very different from the base beer in many respects.

Bitter chocolate and bourbon dominate the taste; in fact this is one of the most chocolaty beers ever and a worthy contender to BCBS 08. The roast has completely mellowed out and makes for a staggeringly smooth drink that gracefully goes towards a bitter heavy bittersweet finish.

The finish is very clean, perhaps because the beer is excessively carbonated? Really, the bubbles are irritating after a point and the body seems thin as well. Even then I was digging this beer until it came to room temperature and got very very boozy. A very good beer that could have been exceptional had it been lower on carbonation, a little bigger on body, but most importantly less boozy.

Scores: Appearance 5/5, Aroma 4.5/5, Taste 4/5, Mouthfeel 3/5, Overall 4/5

tewaris, Mar 31, 2011
Photo of pepsican
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This made a great friday morning breakfast. Thanks to wetherel for the hand bottle. Black pour with thin tan head. Heavy chocolate in the aroma, with oak, bourbon, and alcohol rounding it out. Flavor was much less sweet and bourbony than the aroma lead on. Smoke, tobacco, some chocolate, toffee, bourbon, and vanilla. Thick boozy finish. Very nice.

pepsican, Jan 08, 2013
Photo of DefenCorps
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Church Key today. This is the 08 IRS aged in bourbon barrels for 12 months.

Jet black with a dense dark brown head that falls off to nothing really quick. Dark brown highlights are present. The nose has great barrel character. Vanilla, bourbon and moderate heat are noticeable. Chocolate, fudge and a little cream are also present. Well integrated.
The palate opens with bourbon heat, flavors of bourbon with vanilla, almost too much, along with some oak, all of which whelm the base stout. Dry and tannic on the finish, there's more tannins than I care for. Medium-full in body with light carbonation, there's a nice blend of heat and vanilla on the finish. As I mentioned, too much tannin character for my liking, though. Solid stuff, I thoroughly enjoyed my pour

DefenCorps, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of maljay26
4.08/5  rDev -8.3%

maljay26, Sep 23, 2014
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown although not quite as dark as many imperial stouts. Pours with a creamy off white to tanish head. Not too much lacing. Smell is bourbon, oak, caramel, hints of vanilla, strong roast, and a bit of brown sugar. Quite a bit different than the standard IRS. Taste isn't quite as complex and I was let down a bit by the bourbon character that came through after a very promising nose. Feel was fairly full and seems about right; not too much heat. A nice barel-aged stout, but didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Thorpe429, Sep 28, 2010
Photo of FosterJM
4.1/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1090th Review on BA
Draft to 4oz taster

WinterStorm 2012
2008 Vintage

App- A pitch black pour. Very chocolate syrup in appearance. A 1/2" of head formed and then fell to about an 1/8" of bubbles with maybe at most a couple dots of cling.

Smell- Smelled really divine. A lot of rich bourbon with that booze not wofting up and had touches of oak and rich vanilla all over it.

Taste- The booze on this one is still very hot. The barrels still need some time to mellow which I thought was odd. Very prickly booze and then after comes a bit of creamy RIS malts and some vanilla and oak char notes.

Mouth- A medium to low body on this one with a medium prickly carbonation. Residual booze and a bit of creamy vanilla.

Drink- Overall, this wasn't as smooth as I would have hoped but it was a nice BBA RIS with good flavors, just lacked a little balance.

FosterJM, Feb 06, 2012
Photo of stakem
4.13/5  rDev -7.2%
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.

stakem, Oct 03, 2010
Photo of AgentZero
4.15/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

AgentZero, Feb 20, 2012
Photo of BeerAndBourbon
4.15/5  rDev -6.7%
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.

BeerAndBourbon, Aug 27, 2011
Photo of kbutler1
4.15/5  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.

kbutler1, Mar 30, 2011
Photo of SkunkWorks
4.18/5  rDev -6.1%
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.

SkunkWorks, Oct 04, 2010
Photo of JDV
4.2/5  rDev -5.6%
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.

JDV, Jul 01, 2008
Photo of Drucifer
4.21/5  rDev -5.4%
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.

Drucifer, May 22, 2013
Photo of Spider889
4.22/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

Spider889, Oct 26, 2010
Photo of beagle75
4.22/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

beagle75, Feb 12, 2011
Photo of drabmuh
4.22/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

drabmuh, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of readbaron
4.22/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

readbaron, Aug 31, 2011
Photo of tarheels86
4.23/5  rDev -4.9%
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

tarheels86, Nov 13, 2012
Photo of woodchipper
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

woodchipper, Apr 27, 2014
Photo of Cynic-ale
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Cynic-ale, May 10, 2014
Photo of LXIXME
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

LXIXME, Today at 07:30 PM
Photo of Keith425
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

Keith425, Sep 05, 2014
Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 514 ratings.