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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

145 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 145
Hads: 987
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 2.47%
Wants: 515
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: 145 | Hads: 987
Photo of gueuzedreg
4.66/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to @grant35 and his Southern Cali fish taco eating hermanos for this bottle

A- Pitch black, thinnest of lacing with no legs. This poured with little carb; but it drinks just fine.

S- Tons of chocolate upfront, toffee caramel are in equal proportion. The bourbon barrel isn't totally hidden, but for a 14% ba stout, it is amazingly hidden.

T- Big chocolate upfront followed by toffee then a nice malt backbone. The barrel is noticeable, but not 14% noticeable. For those who think BCBS is too hot fresh, this is your brew at the same ABV.

M- Pretty smooth, somewhat creamy but not crazy noticeable. The only know is the lack of carb that I stated above shows just a bit too much here, which doesn't make sense.

O- A fantastic BA stout! The complexity of the chocolate and how this is drinking at 14% is why I rated this so high. I love the base, and Stone nailed the BA version (895 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 KnowYourCraft
5/5  rDev +12.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A: Pours like oil, slow and thick, pitch black in color, leaves a good size espresso colored head that leaves little lacing around the glass, when you look at this beer you feel like you are staring into an abyss!

S: Tons of chocolate, booze, bourbon, some anise, tobacco, caramel, and vanilla. This beer makes its' presence known once you pop the cork! The best part about the aroma to this beer is that it is strong and does not fade, most other stouts have a smell that becomes faint after a minute or two of pouring, but this one is brash and in your face the whole time! It's superb!

T: Woah... Upfront there is loads of bourbon mixed with a perfect amount of booze, in the middle you get an awesome amount of chocolate, vanilla, a little anise, and caramel, then on the finish you get everything from the beginning and middle all perfectly mixed together with an addition of a hint of tobacco and hop bitterness, as it goes down you get a nice warmth from the booze. This beer is pretty well balanced with the characteristics that can make it unenjoyable, but for things that it needs plenty of to make it outstanding, and it has plenty of those ingredients! Superb transitions of flavors, and it gets even smoother as it warms as well! Definitely one of the best barrel aged stouts I have had!

M: Very thick, slightly oily, and a slight creaminess to it, fantastic, the feel suits this beer perfectly, makes you sip it, and enjoy it!

O: Phenomenal beer from Stone! I wish I can get my hands on more of these! You have to try this! (1,541 characters)

Photo of pagriley
4.65/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottled Feb 2014. Poured into snifter

L - Pours inky black, slightly effervescent with fluffy 1 inch mocha head that lasts for ages
S - Bourbon up front with oaky vanilla, dark chocolate. tons of coconut
T - Barrel is prominent but balanced, with bitter chocolate, vanilla and a touch of raisins
F - Medium to lighter bodied for the style. A touch prickly, but a few swirls knocked out the excess carb

Overall, a very, very well executed beer. Classic barrel aged big stout. On the lighter side in terms of body, and the flavors are classically melded perfection (575 characters)

Photo of breadwinner
4.82/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

If these things weren't like $20 a pop, I'd have like 20 cases of them lining my cellar. Incredibly rich, decadent feel, straight up bourbon fudge brownie palate. Booze seeps through a touch on the nose, but overall this is a stellar brew. (239 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 travolta
4.67/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Appearance: BLACK. Held right in front of a light bulb and it is still pitch black. Nice lacing, good head retention. Head was an espresso color.

Nose: Malt, caramel,woody, whisky, vanilla, chocolate, cocoa powder, licorice, tar notes, nutmeg, figs, plums, and raisins.

Taste: Vanilla bean, malt, wood, dark muscat grapes.

Mouthfeel: Starts like an imperial stout, finishes like a great bourbon.

Notes: Paid $18 for a 500ml bottle, and I would (having now tasted this) have gladly paid twice that. (503 characters)

Photo of SomethingClever
4.63/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

500ml corked and caged poured into snifter

A: pure darkness head was mocha and quickly disappearing

S: lots of tobacco and anise

T: holy mother of god...pure sweet cocoa and tobacco light leather toffee, molasses , a little burnt sugar, bourbon hints of coffee not any huge sweetness

M: pretty full feel maybe slightly thinned by the slick oily bourbon feel

O: This beer is excellent. It is just drop dead gorgeousness in a flaunt yourself way its big on the mouth and huge on taste it bites and refuses to let go. The depth of flavor with the hints of coffee and deep cocoa and then huge leather and tobacco and leather with caramel and toffee blazing the way its a great beer. (688 characters)

Photo of CasanovaCummins
4.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Nice dark pour that is loaded with a warm malty flavor. Plenty of rich, chocolatey notes. More hot chocolate than coffee flavors to be sure. What is really impressive is how well it maintaims both richness of flavor and integrity to its mouthfeel to the last drop. A lot of vig stouts weaken after sitting in the glass, but this one is consistently great all the way through. Considering I'm not too keen on the ashey notes of most Stone stouts, this one has flavors that over-ride those notes yet still have a hint of them there. Best Stone brew I've ever had. (561 characters)

Photo of Catracho5
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type: 500 ml bottle poured into a Belgian style Tulip.

Appearance: Pitch black, with a tan creamy head that dissipated fairly quickly. A little lacing and some tiny bubbles that remained around the edge and some in the middle. Looks great in the glass.

Smell: Heavy bourbon smell, getting some alcohol, but surprisingly for a 13.9% ABV, the alcohol smell is not prevalent. I am not getting any other aromas on the nose. A little dark cherries, has a great aroma.

Taste: You get the woody, bourbon flavor right up front, some dark fruity flavor, the alcohol is on the back end and lingers in the aftertaste. Great flavor!

Mouthfeel: Like motor oil but not as thick as some other barrel aged stouts I have tried. Some carbonation, the alcohol warms the palate and the belly.

Overall: I have tried several BA stouts and this one has to be the smoothest. I was surprised at the quality because Stone has not greatly impressed me with their beers. This one is world class. What a great beer worth the $20 I put down. I am going to get another bottle to cellar. (1,070 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 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 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 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 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 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 (730 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
4.91/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - 4.5 - dark brown black beer with a nice mocha head that doesn't stick very long
S - 4.75 - huge bourbon and barrel notes, background is definitely chocolate, coffee and caramel. It's a little harder to pick up some of the dark malt notes in this one because the bourbon/booze is so strong.
T - 5 - Huge chocolate, coffee with bourbon barrel, smoke and toasted wood flavors. Burnt marshmallow, smores. It's one hell of a complex beer.
M - 5 - This is one thick beer when you drink it through the initial head. Wierdly, as the head dissipates the body of the beer seemed to as well, probably due to the dryness from the high alcohol content. Nonetheless, a damn good beer. Alc is present and a little in your face, aftertaste is chocolate, coffee, mocha latte, and roasted malts.

O - 5 - What a good beer. Parabola or Big Bad Baptist fits my own tastes better, but this beer is damn close to being just as good. I think the bourbon barrel qualities go great with the stone RIS flavors, and the aging helps everything meld together even better than it does in the original beer. (1,083 characters)

Photo of More_betterness
4.56/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super excited for this one!

A: Pitch black body capped by an espresso brown head that recedes quickly. Some spotty lacing left on the glass.

S: Bold bourbon notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. Hint of coffee, chocolate covered cherry, and bourbon soaked dark fruit as it opens up. Glorious.

T: Boozy bourbon and espresso upfront, caramel and bourbon soaked vanilla follow. A bit of dark cherry as well. Very low levels of residual sweetness for an RIS. Not as potent as the nose, but still fantastic.

M: Medium bodied for an IRS with medium/low carb levels. Flavor compounds are extremely palate coating despite the lack of viscosity compared to other examples.

O: Exactly what I should have expected when one of my favorite RIS was bourbon barrel aged. Fantastic offering from Stone, I can't wait to see what some age does to my extra bottle! (848 characters)

Photo of capra12
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes, special thanks to Ineedabeerhere for bringing this to our ATSF tasting yesterday,

Appearance: Poured into a cigar city snifter, jet black with a small frothy head. Little lacing.

Smell: This is good, I get the sweet over roasted grains/soy sauce and an earthy component that separates the BA stouts from the "reg. stouts". Tons of chocolate, prunes, raisins, and a hint of licorice/anise.

Taste: Opens with an earth and bourbon soaked raisins, the roasted malt profile is really smooth here and really brings out the dark chocolate and subtle coffee notes in the background. There is an subtle licorice profile that emerges at the finish that I didn't expect. Leaving a dark fruit and boozie aftertaste.

Mouthfeel: I think this is what made this brew for me, medium bodied with such a complex flavor profile. Moderate carbonation and leaves a sticky film on the palate.

Drinkability: I would love to have this again, I recommend this to those seeking a solid BA RIS that doesnt carry the heavy body that most BA RIS do. (1,047 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 timc100
4.55/5  rDev +2%

Given how rich and intense IRS is, very excited to get into this one.

Appearance is very similar, maybe a bit thinner looking and very minimal head.

Subtle but enticing aroma of barrel char, vanilla, bakers chocolate, chalky cocoa, hints of dark fruit and touch of coconut.

Slick body, though thinner than the reg IRS. Intense flavors - bitter espresso and chocolate - barrel char. The finish is relatively short.

Very happy to have finally tried BA IRS - great beer. Would like to see some with age and side-by-side with a 2013 reg. (541 characters)

Photo of Samuel906
4.72/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Wow... this is quite simply put, a tremendous beer. I had this randomly at a bar and didn't have a chance to take proper notes, and I feel like I could have written about this beer for days. So many fantastic aspects. The taste and smell is bourbon, bourbon, bourbon for days. Silky smooth, rich chocolate, roasted dark coffee, vibrant bright vanilla, chewy malts and the perfect amount of boozey warmth. One of the best Russian Imperial Stouts I've had the pleasure of having, and I really hope I can find this in a bottle. (524 characters)

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

Draft
A: black, creamy brown head.

S: burbon, wood, vanilla.

T: burbon, oak, smooth, coffee, balance this is sweet and drinks with the best of them.

M: rich creamy, coating, nice finish.

D: better than the orginal, awsome brew will love to have it again. (259 characters)

Photo of john0721
4.11/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500ml bottle pour into a Stone Imperial Russian Stout Tulip.

Poured black with a light brown head which diminished quickly.

A nutty, caramel nose, with a touch of vanilla.

Caramel, vanilla, some cask wood in the flavor.

I consider Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts a style independent of Imperial stouts and rate them accordingly. This one is a very good one, which I will buy again. (381 characters)

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. (614 characters)

Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 145 ratings.