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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

151 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 151
Hads: 1,023
Avg: 4.46
pDev: 23.09%
Wants: 545
Gots: 195 | FT: 18
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 151 | Hads: 1,023
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.

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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.

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Photo of barczar
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage.

Pours a jet black opaque color with a modest chocolate brown head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Chocolate, bourbon, and oak are accentuated by roast malt and coffee in the aroma.

Sweet and rich throughout, there are huge chocolate and soy flavors upfront, accompanied by deeply roasted malt that lacks the acrid character sometimes present. The aftertaste is fairly toasted and nutty. Bourbon weaves its way into the flavor throughout.

Body is fairly full, with low carbonation and significant alcohol heat.

Wonderful improvement to a wonderful beer. Not as much roast dominance as in the regular version.

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Photo of pepsican
4.08/5  rDev -8.5%
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.

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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

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Photo of JohnGalt1
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
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.


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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap for the first anniversary party at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

2008 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is exceptional and is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, cookie dough, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. There is also a slight port aroma that emerges as the beer warms up. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a fantastic nose and a great flavor.

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Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
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

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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

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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.

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Photo of THECPJ
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts,

taste: bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, such a balanced BA. RIS

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium to full body,

overall: a very well balanced barrel aged ris. would love to get my hands on some more. great beer.


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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.

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Photo of FosterJM
4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
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.

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Photo of drowland
4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
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.

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Photo of bobhits
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5


2008 Stone RIS bourbon barrel

Pours jet black, blacker than black, not even the sun can more than barely light the very edges of this black as night imperial stout. A decent head pours though the weight of this (and the growler factor) quickly kills it. Just a jet black, opaque milkshake of a beer is left over here.

Aged RIS through and through, dark burnt molasses, coffee, faded floral hops, and yes bourbon goodness from start to finish.

I like a bit of heat to my bourbon barrel aged beer. I like a strong bourbon flavor there as well. To put it simply this is heaven on earth! I doubt these were good bourbon barrels, there's a certain sour/heat effect that reminds me more of heaven hill and Jim Beam than a pappy or pogue quality bourbon, but that almost seems to be a perfect contrast to the RIS. A 2008 RIS right now is an over the top sweetness attack that frankly I'm not overly fond of. My fear was that instead of getting the amazing flavors that a fresh RIS from stone has, this one would be overly sweet and the bourbon barrel would add enough vanilla notes to just take things over the top. Instead this beer is a true flavorful master piece. Chocolate and molasses do a dance on the tongue battling for dominance while the oak and vanilla flavors from the bourbon coat every second of the experience.

This beer is hot. There's no nice way to put it and at the supposed 10-11% range this claims it's too hot for the age. Still milk shake thick, enough carbonation to keep things creamy, and motor oil thick. It isn't bourbon county stout but it is really really trying to be.

The closest beer to this I have to say is bourbon county stout. Not just the body but the flavors as well. The difference is this tastes closer to a fresh bourbon county stout than an aged one. I had the 06 version of this years ago. It did not do it for me to say the least. This beer in contrast is simply great. Search it out at reasonable cost.

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Photo of ccrida
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge bourbon nose, lots of coconut, vanilla, caramel. Taste is way more coconut, Elijah Craig shining through in a gloriously smooth manner. Really nice treat to sip the '08 version in spite of their snarky, classically Seattle hipster vibe (not kidding, the bar tender just shit on some guy looking for "Stella or Heineken", and responded by pulling him a Spaten without asking, saying "it's german too", in a way hostile attitude. Just because the guy ordered sucky beers doesn't mean he needs to make the customer feel like a loser...anyways, a great bourbon barrel RIS overall, smooth, balanced, with glutenous complexity.

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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.

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Photo of kingcrowing
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
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.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
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

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Photo of Marty30
4.33/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Aces&Ales Strong beer festival. 2008 vintage.

A. Very black all the way through,About a half inch tan head. Tiny bit lacing almost non existant.

S. Tons of bourbon some oak and vanilla,dark fruits play the back up roll here.

T. Boubon dominates here,very nice. Some oak and vanilla and a touch of leather. Little bit of chocolate and figs,raisons.No alchohol detected.

M. Feel is thick but kind of fluffy is that can be understood? Leaves a nice bit of boubon aftertase.

Overall one of the definate stand outs of the night really excited I got to try this. I hope I get to try this again some day.

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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.

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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.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.74/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on the eve of the August 27th JO's release. Big thanks to Jason for sharing this. 08 vintage from growler. ~4 oz from a tasting snifter.

3.5 A: Black. Pour yielded no head.

4.5 S: The barrel aging is done extremely well. The bourbon portion is perfect. Incredibly smooth with leather, melon, prune, and plum. However, the underlying stout can't stand tall alongside. Some chocolate and roast, but does not seem to have the subtleties that the regular has at this age. Still, bourbon forward or not, smells delicious.

3.5 T: I have no idea where the Stone IRS went. This tastes a bit like watered down bourbon rather than a bourbon enhanced stout. There's just a little chocolate and a little roast. However, the bourbon itself makes this still taste great. Leather, melon, prune, and plum. Alcohol is very well hidden.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Could be creamier though.

3.5 D: Decent, but stout that can't stand tall above barrel treatments should not be put into barrels. I'm completely shocked that Stone IRS is one of these.

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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.

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Photo of ehammond1
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
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.

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.