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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: 1,024
Avg: 4.46
pDev: 23.09%
Wants: 548
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: 1,024
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.

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Photo of Urbancaver
4.38/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Jason!

Pours a dark dark brown. A nice bit of tan head. Smells smooth and bourbony. A bit hot. Sweet roasty and quite enjoyable. On the tongue it's thick and quite boozy but still really tasty. I love the balance. The mouthfeel is stellar. Overall this is a top notch example of a bourbon barrel IRS

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Photo of hopsbreath
4.02/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Portland International Beerfest. Two tickets at $1 each got you a 4oz pour of this. On-tap for the couple days I went, and I had a bunch of it. 2008 batch aged in Elijah Craig barrels.

A: Black with dark brown edges, nice finger of head recedes to a glass ring, no lacing. 4/5

S: Wonderful aroma of coconut, spice, chocolate and massive booze. 4.5/5

T: Heavy on the booze and wood. Possibly the most barrel forward stout I've had. Pepper and ash when cold. Cocoa and caramel are better appreciated as it warms up. 4/5

M: Surprisingly thin side of medium, slightly tongue numbing, spritzy. 3/5

O: A good -bal stout to be sure. Not quite in the echelon of my favorite stouts but a solid example none the less. 4/5

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Photo of nomomentwasted
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this on tap at the International Beer Festival in Portland back in July. Served from a tap into a 4oz tasting glass. Apparently, this is the 2008 IRS aged in Elijah Craig barrels, for the record. $1 for a 4oz taster? I'll have one...or four.

Appearance: Doesn't get much more glorious in the stout department than this. Creamy, thick, viscous, blacker-than-black brew with beautiful lacing and a dense tan billowy, foamy head. Very inviting.

Smell: Strong notes of German Chocolate Cake, vanilla, smoked oak, light char, and somewhat-muted Bourbon. Suprisingly tame for such a huge beer, and the bourbon is more of a component, not the center-stage. The vanilla, however, simply become more rich and inviting as the beer opens up.

Taste: In a word, stellar. Fantastically rich vanilla and cake-like chocolate notes are met with boozy-rich bourbon, oaky notes that finishes thick and chocolatey. Does not leave without a nice like of burning booze, and while many aspects of the beer became even more delicious as the beer warmed, there was an uptick in a bit of oxidation/soy sauce. Still, the flavor is overwhelmingly positive, and how a bourbon stout should be done in my estimatio, with the whiskey contribution being integrated and even rather than boisterous and heavy-handed.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, viscous, thick, chewy, fantastic. I wish all stouts were this silky and rich. Ain't no thin finish here, that's for sure. World-class.

Overall: Very, very impressed. The normal Stone IRS is delicious in its own right, and occasionally bourbon beers do the base beer a disservice by simply tasting like bourbon and losing the greatness of the underlying beer. Not here, and not by a long shot. Makes an outstanding beer better, and comes highly recommended.

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Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
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.

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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!

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

Pitch black with a small, creamy dark tan head. Good head retention.

Aggressive bourbon flavour with lots of oak. Spicy alcohol with nice chocolate notes. Good.

Smooth creamy chocolate with a big hit of bourbon. Good oak and vanilla flavour. This is a big ass stout which packs a punch.

Medium body with moderate carbonation. Nice.

A really solid BBA stout. For me the bourbon flavour is a touch over the top but it is still a good beer.

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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...

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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

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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>

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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