Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine and get 12 issues / year of fresh beer content delivered to your door each month.

Already subscribe? to manage your subscription.

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.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

144 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 144
Hads: 985
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 2.47%
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 144 | Hads: 985
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 mikesgroove
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

cannot think you enough man. i know you dont want your name out there but you killed it.

Dark, black as night with only a tiny amount of tan head peaking up from the depths on this one. The aroma was heavenly. Rich vanilla notes just percolating up, rounding out a beautiful bourbon smell. Some light chocolate and a tiny pinch of coffee in there, but this one is dominated by the barrel influence. As I take the first sip it is much more of the same. Rich bourbon notes just roll across the tongue with precision, rich notes of vanilla, a touch of woody undertone and a sparkling coffee induced finish just round this together wonderfully. Could have used a bit more carbonation, but still very nicely done with a big full feel and a long drawn out finish.

Overall this was very solid indeed. I really think it influenced and change the character of the irs wonderfully, making an almost complete transformation. I would have this one again any day and was thrilled to finally tick it (987 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 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 ratedz
4.42/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Stone release party at the Flying Saucer in Kansas City.

2008 vintage poured into a small snifter glass.

A - Pitch black with little to no head.

S - A lot of bourbon followed by some roasted malts, chocolate, oak, and a hint of vanilla.

T - Very complex and tasty. Like the nose, there is a fair amount of bourbon here along with some vanilla and bittersweet chocolate. A few bitter hops are hiding in the back, but are easily overpowered by the other flavors.

M - Thick, smooth, and creamy.

O - An excellent barrel aged imperial stout. Big and bold and one of the most enjoyable barrel aged stouts I've had (and I've had several). I'd like to see this bottled at some point! (699 characters)

Photo of rrski198
4.62/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Done from brief notes at a Stone release event in Chesterfield, MO at itap.

2008 vintage

A: Small head, decent lacing, jet black.

S: Sweetness up front, mild anise, earthy smokiness. Awesome.

T: Bitter, spicy, oakey, sweet. Bourbon heavy on the back end.

M: Heavy, syrupy, heavy bourbon flavor punches the moutha nd leaves a nice spice. Average carbonation and quite filling.

O: Awesome beer. Great example of the style. I love how this has melowed out. (462 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 hooliganlife
4.45/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

pour was jet black, a bit thick with a nice oily appearance. little to no head.

a nice strong but well blended bourbon. sweet vanilla and roasted malt with hints of dark chocolate.

this was quite rich and bold. the bourbon blended very well with the stout. the vanilla integrated perfectly and really smoothed out and already smooth and hoppy stout. there was a bit of citrus hidden around.

very full and thick but drank easy. a bit resin like.

this was amazing, everyone was raving about it. i loved every sip and even at 11.5%, it went down stupid easy. (559 characters)

Photo of birchstick
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Poured into a snifter at the Total Tap Takeover at the Soulard iTap

A - pours a black color without much of a head in a snifter

S - a lot of deliciousness in the nose going on - sweet bourbon and chocolate malt tons of molasses with some vanilla. If you would have put a bcbs in front of me I couldn't tell the difference

T - follows the nose to a t. Starts off with sweet chocolate and a ton of molasses with charred oak. Finishes with a lot of spicy bourbon and sweet vanilla and molasses. I cant believe how much heat there is left In this. Overall this is really sweet and hot. Awesome stuff!

M - nice full body that goes down smoothly.

D - I can't believe this is an 08. Lots of molasses and lots of bourbon still lingering around. This could use some more time to mellow. However, I love heat and thought this was really good. It's like a BCBS and KBS hooked up and birthed another barrel aged beer together. Thanks for bringing this one Stone! (956 characters)

Photo of bld81
4.44/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap:
Appearance: jet black, one inch dark brown head waiting for me to look away, minimal lace

Smell: Rich molasses first, bourbon and light coffee

Taste: rich bourbon and dark chocolate give some sweetness, at first no vanilla but noticed later

Mouthfeel: creamy coating, low carbonation

Drinkability: very good, less of a sipper than I expected, some heat lingers
The complexity and balance make this a good choice when you can find it. (445 characters)

Photo of hwwty4
3.63/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

Served on tap at Waldo Pizza at the Total Tap Takeover. It was poured into a large snifter. This beer pours an oily India ink black with a decent 2 inch head that leaves just a bit of lacing on the sides of the snifter. The nose is big bourbon with dark chocolate and mild coffee. Little bit of oak and a bit of coconut. Heavy, heavy bourbon. The flavor is much the same with the bourbon playing front and center, drowning out everything else. Notes of chocolate and coconut with a bit of molasses play second fiddle. Too much Bourbon. The mouthfeel is nice and oily. Overall, this beer has just to much booze. I'd rather have the regular version. (661 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 maximum12
3.5/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Two 10 oz. glasses at The Happy Gnome's Stone Release Party on 3/30/11. 2008 vin-taaage. Welcome to MN Stone & thanks for bringing some excellent kegs with you!

First, you might ask, why two glasses? When my limit was two glasses, & there were so many good beers? Well, I was convinced I was given the wrong beer the first time around. Turns out I was wrong.

Black, of course, minimal bubbly excitement. The smell is a blast of smokiness that gets more & more pronounced as the beer warms, crowding out the malts & chocolatey sweetness that arrives initially. I swear, I was served the bourbon Smoked Porter, but no!

The second glass tastes just like the first. The bourbon is subtle, refined, restrained, just nipping around the edges of my taste buds & liver. Supremely smooth & creamy. But there it is again, the smokiness, creeping upwards, until at half-glass, it's dominating & crowding out the other tastes. WTF? After the second glass I really wish I'd have had something else.

Good beer, but in the company of other BA stouts this one would suffer by comparison. Glad I tasted it, but I'm going to stick to my beloved Oaked AB from now on, thank you very much Stone! (1,180 characters)

Photo of jera1350
4.7/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2008 which was on-tap at The Muddy Pig for the Stone Release Party.

Pure black in color with a frothy tan head that reduces to a collar, but leaves some lace.

Big bourbon smell up front with complementing sweetness from the malt. Very rich and robust smell.

Exceptional tasting. The bourbon is very prolific, but not extremely hot or boozy. The age on this is beautiful in this regard. The bourbon is followed with lots of malt sweetness. There are some woody notes along with blackstrap molasses. This is right there with Bourbon County Stout for me.

Full, soft and smooth feel. Very nice.

Overall, this has to be top three in terms of barrel aged RIS. Such a drinkable beer too. I hope I can come across this one again at some point. (748 characters)

Photo of tewaris
4.08/5  rDev -8.5%
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 (1,187 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)

Photo of francisweizen
4.02/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap:

A: Dark black, mocha head, not much else going on.

S: Big time bourbon, all up in my face. A bit of vanillin and roasted malts on the back end. some green hops as well.

T: Big time bourbon! Vanilla! Oak! slight hops and biscuity malts

M: Coating, a bit too much. Super thick and hot

O: Great, but young and hot. Give me a bit less booze, and bit more age and this will be really really phenomenal. (410 characters)

Photo of cpetrone84
4.05/5  rDev -9.2%
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. (614 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 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 HopHead84
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2/6/2011

2008 vintage on tap at Stone Winter Storm 2011. I'm very excited to try this again.

A: Black. The beer is Black. Creamy light brown head.

S: Huge brown sugar chocolate chip cookie aroma. Big vanilla with a little caramel. Bourbon is stellar. Incredibly rich, the dark chocolate profile is outstanding.

T: Rich dark chocolate with brown sugar and well integrated bourbon. Moderately sweet. Light molasses. Booze is really mellow. Chocolate profile is great.

M: Full body with upper low carbonation. Silky and sticky mouthfeel.

Overall: Top notch stuff. They should put this on more often. The best beer of the day and up there with my favorites of the style. (672 characters)

Photo of TriGuy20
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 Stone Bourbon Barrel Aged on tap poured into tulip.

A: Dark oil black with great mocha head.

S: Man the bourbon really comes out on this one. Bourbon/ Dark Chocolate/ Espresso/ Vanilla/ Cereal/ Toffee/ Burnt Toast

T: Bourbon and espresso hit you up front on the mid palate you get some roasted malt followed by a nice toffee and bitter chocolate finish with more bourbon.

MF: Very pleasing MF, however, not as thick as some in this style.

D: Very easy to drink, however, this is definitely a sipper. (509 characters)

Photo of Duff27
3.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bourbon Barrel aged version

A- Black with mocha colored head. Good head retention/lacing,

S- Chocolate, sweetness.

T- Sweet chocolate, roasted malts. Hints of coffee. Bourbon barrel finish. Boozy.

M- Extremely thick mouthfeel.

D/O- Drinkability is low but a pretty special aged beer here. It reminded me a lot of '10 BCS. After I finished this I couldn't stomach another impy stout, even though there were others I wanted to try. (439 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 DoubleSimcoe
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Stone BB RIS on tap at mighty Max's in Baltimore, MD, served in a giant goblet.

Listed as 10.80%, and coming out of a handle labeled as "Stone Smoked Porter Aged in Bourbon Barrels". Confusing! But I was told this is indeed the Russian Imperial Stout.

Appearance: A very dark hickory brown, almost black. Very faint lacing, carbonated but thin head.

Smell: Bourbon and more bourbon! Oak and vanilla. Some creamy chocolate. Gorgeous.

Taste: Starts sweet and finishes slightly bitter from some subtle hops. Well balanced, similar to nose, more creamy dark chocolate and vanilla. Smooth sugars throughout the mouth.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, low carbonation. Full flavor, medium body. Boozy as it warms up.

Drinkability: Understandably not very high. The alcohol is noticeable after a while, and it does hit. A total sipper, but what a delicious sipper! Impressively tasty. (882 characters)

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