Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged - Stone Brewing Co.

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel AgedImperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged

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BA SCORE
98
world-class

139 Reviews
THE BROS
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Reviews: 139
Hads: 962
rAvg: 4.46
pDev: 6.73%
Wants: 503
Gots: 171 | FT: 16
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: 139 | Hads: 962
Photo of Spider889
4.22/5  rDev -5.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

One of the beers I was really looking forward to at BREWzilla, and one of the first to taste that night. 2008 vintage.

Very dark, thick black color. The Stone reps were pouring well, all of their beers had head on them which I appreciated. This one had a pretty tall dark cinnamon colored head.

Smelled like a bourbon stout all right. Decadently sweet, lots of vanilla and chocolate notes. Mild coffee. Slightly boozy in the nose. Mild oak notes and slight hints of the maltiness of the base beer.

Overall this was my second favorite bourbon stout (of the three or four) at the event. The bourbon asserts itself but balance is the name of the game here. The bourbon and oak lend lots of aid to the already wonderful IRS base beer (of which the '08 is drinking superbly on its own right now). Roasty, almost burnt maltiness with mild coffee flavors. Plenty of sweet chocolate and vanilla. Dry oakiness and bourbon flavors laced throughout.

Slightly boozy, but not as much as 11.5% could be I suppose. Light, smooth carbonation. Drank really well, and I hope I get to have an encore tasting of this some time. (1,112 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 kingcrowing
4.4/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap poured into a mini chalice. 2008 vintage aged in Elijah Craig bourbon barrels, at the Uber tavern in Seattle, WA with UA8, review number 1,000!

Pours a super dark oily black with a very small dark brown ring of foam with a tiny bit of lacing. Nose is bourbon, light booze, and some creamy chocolate malts.

Taste is awesome, bourbon, sweet dark chocolate, alcohol is there but not overwhelming its rich and flavorful. Mouthfeel is a bit syrupy but still smooth and very tasty. Finish is sharp and oaky. Very nice beer. (528 characters)

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 (307 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 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 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 Duhast500
4.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from the tap into a tasting glass.

The color is a dark black with a finger or deep brownish head with some nice lacing left on the glass.

The smell is pretty strong and kicks right out with a deep bourbon flavor that leads into a toasty woody flavor. Some coffee and toffee flavor all seem to be just in the background.

The taste of this beer the same as the aroma. The Whiskey flavor lets it's presence known with a nice warm flavor that encases the maple flavor that tryst to come through. A nice Oak flavor is there is the flavor with a nice coffee or espresso flavor.

The feel of this beer is big, a heavy ABV gives off a very warm slightly deep flavor and mouthfeel. For a beer on the stronger side it does feel smoother than expected. (751 characters)

Photo of Drucifer
4.21/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Bangers & Lace in Chicago; 2010 vintage

A: Black with a dark brown head; moderate carbonation

S: Pretty even split between dark fruits and bourbon, not much else

T: Big dark fruits followed by subtle bourbon/oak/vanilla/roast

M: Full bodied, but not too thick. It's pretty typical for the style

O: A very interesting offer from Stone. It's definitely tasty and I'm quite surprised how fruity it is. I enjoyed it quite a bit more as it warmed up and highly recommend it if you see it on tap. I do prefer the non-BA version, but this is still a very good beer. (573 characters)

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

i thought this beer was fantastic. so smooth. taste is so much better then the smell, but marshmallow, vanilla, chocolate, and bourbon mesh together so well. (159 characters)

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. (1,236 characters)

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

Bottle named Fyodors batch 3 vintage 2014 from Stone Escondido. Poured into New Belgium globe.

A-Pitch black beer with a beautiful lasting beige head. Great lacing!

S-Malty caramel aroma, vinous, woody, barrel notes, whisky, vanilla, chocolate, cocoa powder, licorice, tar notes, nutcreme, figs, plums, and raisins.

T-Great taste, super thick vanilla, wood, roasted malts, alcohol, fudge and chocolate.

M-Mouthfeel is thick and very well balance.

O-Overall a great BA russian imperial stout was a surprise to find and only $18! (532 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 Furlinator
4.69/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours opaque black. The 1/2 inch khaki head quickly fades to a thin ring on top and leaves faint spotty lace.

The smell is of dark chocolate, pipe tobacco, dark fruit and vanilla.

The taste is of dark chocolate, sweet dark fruit, black coffee and earthy, herbal oak.

The texture is heavy bodied and creamy with low carbonation.

No aging necessary. This beer is absolutely world class as-is. Huge dark chocolate, sweet dark fruit and subtle bourbon. Underrated because of its availability, this one will go toe-to-toe with any bourbon barrel imperial stout twice its age. (577 characters)

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

Draft at Back in Black '09 at Brouwer's. Pours a very dark black with dark tan head. Incredible aroma that is dominated by rich caramel and bourbon. The only negative is that this is a bit sweet and rich, but the molasses flavor was balanced incredibly well with the strong bourbon background and a touch of the hops. This is an incredibly smooth beer that goes down far easier than the 10.8% would indicate. An amazing beer. Doesn't get much better than this. (460 characters)

Photo of sukwonee
4.74/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Malt and Vine, Redmond WA (Stone event), 5 dollars for about 10-12oz pour

This one was 2008 vintage - so awesome!

A: Black with half finger mocha head, not too much lacing.

S: oh man... HUGE bourbon smell - even after 4 years of aging. Oak, vanilla,chocolate aroma, Some nutty scent, roasted malt.

T: It reallyl follows the nose - Bourbon, oak, chocolate, sweet brown sugar, believe it or not, it was still a bit boozy, but not too overwhelming.

M: Still had some carbonation remaining, thick, syrupy, and sticky. You can still feel the alcohol burn.

O: I am glad I got to try this one. This one is 100x improved version of Stone's regular RIS - but then again, I love bourbon aged beers in general. Maybe not for everyone, but man, this one was amazing. I wonder though how this beer would have tasted fresher - probably not as good and too hot and boozy. Anyway 2008 vintage was near perfect.

O. Aweseom (927 characters)

Photo of Dentist666
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 series, batch 01. 13% ABV.
Pours pitch black with 2-finger tan head (Delirium Tremens glass). Retention is average. Smell is rich, bourbon, coffee, chocolate, rye bread. Flavor - roasted malts, chocolate, licorice, bourbon notes, woody notes. Smooth, silky, low carbonated and surprisingly drinkable. (306 characters)

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. (601 characters)

Photo of dpgoblejr
4.95/5  rDev +11%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage Stone RIS aged in bourbon barrels . Opaque and black as a moonless midnight. Light brown hues along the edges of the glass and even after an aggressive pour only a couple bubbles rise to the surface. No lacing. Heavy bittersweet chocolate dominate the aroma with bourbon also detectable. Ridiculous flavors of baker's chocolate, vanilla, possibly some oak, and whiskey tantalize the palate. Medium bodied, though close to full, brew with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel and perfect sweetness balancing the bitterness. Wonderfully crafted bourbon barrel aged russian imperial stout by Stone that will satisfy those with a desire for well hidden big bold alcoholic stouts and those with a sweet tooth. Well done! Awesome! (739 characters)

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! (1,001 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 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! (363 characters)

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. (1,958 characters)

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. (399 characters)

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)

Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 139 ratings.