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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

156 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 156
Hads: 1,054
Avg: 4.46
pDev: 22.87%
Wants: 571
Gots: 214 | FT: 19
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

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: 156 | Hads: 1,054
Photo of samie85
3.67/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at the Twisted Spoke Stone launch yesterday, 4/01/10. Reviewed from notes.

A-Pours a pitch black with the slightest bit of head.

S-Smells of bourbon, vanilla, oak and some roasted notes.

T-Roasted malt and bourbon upfront with some vanilla and alcohol notes. I was hoping for something a little more nuanced.

M-Really smooth and warming mouthfeel. Thick bodied with barely there carbonation.

D-This was a pretty nice way to end the night but it's not even approaching being a very drinkable beer. It's still pretty hot and I'd like to see what a couple more years would do to it.

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Photo of scottoale
4.85/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this yesterday at O'Brian's... fresh from Stone. Served in a pint glass, dark licorice brown (near black) with a small cocoa-brown cap. Very low in carbonation ofcourse.

Smell was strong of liquour, prunes, licorice with some notable smokiness. The acoholic fumes disperse flavor aplenty, gotta taste it!

BIG, dark rich flavorsome maltiness fills the mouth. Black licorice, prune, dark fig, black grape, molassas, bit-o-chocolate, wood, smoke in a somewhat chewy, sweet concoction. The complexity is marvelous and the balance is unique, very sweet overall. This stuff has massive flavor that just makes you want more, no joke.

Big body, it's a sipper for sure. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth and creamy and plenty of alcohol (10% ABV+) that warms your inside.

A very delicious stout that makes the bottled stuff almost seem bland by comparison (though it's far from bland). Another great BIG beer made even better (and bigger) from who else? Stone silly! Cheers to another great beer!

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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

Growler

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 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 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 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.

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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 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

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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 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.

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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.

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Photo of _RL_
4.14/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 bottle into a snifter. No head at all. Pours thick but not oily or sludgy. Smells initially of strong booze but that smell dissipates as the glass warms and the beer opens. Tastes of bourbon, with slight hints of chocolate and oak. Incredibly smooth. My bottle is marked at 13.9% and the beer tastes at half that abv. Mouthfeel is thin, especially for the style. Overall it is good, but might be better fresh. Would definitely like to try a newer bottle.

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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!

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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.

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Photo of YodersBeerEmporium
4.24/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice nose and mouthfeel. Was a little thin but nice barrel notes, chocolate, roast. Wouldn't necessarily seek out again as there are better BA stouts for less $$

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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 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.

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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.

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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 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.

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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.

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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 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!

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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 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.

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 156 ratings.