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

Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged
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BA SCORE
99
world-class

366 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 366
Reviews: 105
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 10.29%


Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.50% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BEERchitect on 09-20-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 366 | Reviews: 105 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of Thorpe429
Thorpe429

Illinois

4.1/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark brown although not quite as dark as many imperial stouts. Pours with a creamy off white to tanish head. Not too much lacing. Smell is bourbon, oak, caramel, hints of vanilla, strong roast, and a bit of brown sugar. Quite a bit different than the standard IRS. Taste isn't quite as complex and I was let down a bit by the bourbon character that came through after a very promising nose. Feel was fairly full and seems about right; not too much heat. A nice barel-aged stout, but didn't quite live up to my expectations.

Serving type: growler

09-28-2010 22:42:26 | More by Thorpe429
Photo of fastsrt
fastsrt

New York

4.65/5  rDev +4%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

09-15-2010 21:36:11 | More by fastsrt
Photo of mgoblue5743
mgoblue5743

New Jersey

5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This might be the best beer I have ever tasted. I had it on tap, 08 vintage at Blind Tiger in NYC.

A: Dark, thick, limited head

S: Deep bourbon, coffee, vanilla

T: Very sweet, similar to Founders KBS, no aftertase, can taste the bourbon, chocolate and vanilla.

M: Very smooth, thick, delicious

D: Not particularly hot. I feel like I could drink several pints, though that would certainly knock me down.

Serving type: on-tap

09-15-2010 19:33:50 | More by mgoblue5743
Photo of capra12
capra12

New York

4.53/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

Serving type: growler

05-31-2010 01:18:28 | More by capra12
Photo of SpeedwayJim
SpeedwayJim

New York

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Ineedabeerhere (Joe) for this one. Opened at a tasting 5/29/10. 4oz. pour from a 64oz. growler into a snifter. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a .5 finger upward climbing mocha head with great retention. Beer is opaque and pitch black. Lacing is patchy and stringy with decent stick.

S: Sweet soy sauce (It's been a while...), prunes, raisins, and other dry dark fruit. Barrels are apparent but linger in the background. Also chocolate, licquorice, and brownie.

T: Sweet soy sauce and prunes. Hints of anise, chocolate, brownie, and licquorice. Bourbon barrel booziness backbone provides a great staging area for the complexities in this one. Cocoa powder towards the end with a messy finish. Aftertaste is soy sauce, chocolate, and booze.

M: Medium to full-bodied, just the right amount of carbonation, and rather smooth and oily in the palate. For 11.5%, incredibly subtle on the palate. Finish is messy with a lingering aftertaste.

D: Does bourbon barrel aging make everything better? I'd definitely argue against that but not in this case. Stone IRS is a great beer and this just seems infinitely better. Outstanding complexity and the barrel-aging adds a whole new dimension to this alread solid brew. A rarity but if you can, seek it out. Definitely worth the effort to try this one.

Serving type: growler

05-30-2010 15:52:13 | More by SpeedwayJim
Photo of ucusty
ucusty

North Carolina

4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at 2009 Brewvival Festival. Vintage 2008. This is the perfect use of a barrel. Silky, velvety, and vibrant. Dark pour with a thin tan head. Aroma is roast, bourbon, and oaky tannins. Flavor is espresso, roast, bourbon, vanilla and oaky tannins. Dry finish.

Serving type: on-tap

05-29-2010 16:00:17 | More by ucusty
Photo of womencantsail
womencantsail

California

4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jacob and Jer for bringing this one to the Bruery 2nd Anniversary tasting.

A: A jet black pour out of the growler with a sturdy tan head on top.

S: The amount of vanilla in the nose is absolutely astounding. The stout notes are still there--chocolate and roast, but the bourbon itself was somewhat muted.

T: Even more vanilla as the beer hits the tongue. Quite sweet, especially when compared to the base beer. A mild bourbon presence and some nice tannins from the barrel.

M: Quite medium to full bodied with a low, rolling carbonation. Not quite as thick and chewy as the IRS tends to be, but quite nice.

D: This one can catch up with you rather quickly. A pleasure to have been able to drink and I wish that there weren't so many beers to try so I could have enjoyed this one a bit more.

Serving type: growler

05-24-2010 21:42:06 | More by womencantsail
Photo of Overlord
Overlord

California

4.45/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a dark brown/tan head. Always is a very good looking beer. Huge thanks to Jerz for letting me try this, very nice of him and much appreciated.

Smells like the familiar background of chocolate/dark fruit/soy prune blend of IRS, with a bunch of vanilla added in. The bourbon is actually pretty muted in the aroma.

Tastes much as it smells. The Stone IRS slurry, nicely aged and blended with some bourbon and heaping amounts of vanilla. Mmm...good stuff, and clearly superior to the "regular" version.

Mouthfeel is good, though not as sludgy as some like in their RIS's.

Serving type: growler

05-23-2010 22:16:27 | More by Overlord
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by JackCrow via growler

A: Poured a deep black and it still had good carbonation to it, nice tannish brown head.

S: MMMM. Very good. Bourbon, wood, vanilla, black and chocolate malt perhaps

T: Well put togther. Super flavor.Lots of vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits, roasted malt

M: Booze, roasted malts, vanilla

D: Very good! But at this ABV it would hurt and you would want more but probably could not or should not handle more. Drinkabiliuty among others of the style..GREAT

Serving type: growler

05-16-2010 18:38:36 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of samie85
samie85

Illinois

3.65/5  rDev -18.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

04-03-2010 03:41:24 | More by samie85
Photo of Sean9689
Sean9689

Illinois

4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Twisted Spoke for the Stone Chicago Release. Poured into a beautiful plastic cup!

A - Pours black, thin mocha-colored head, very viscous and oily.

S - Chocolate, bourbon, slight oak, sweet dark fruit.

T - Just like if you added bourbon to the RIS. Yeah, I know, not very exciting, but it sure is damn good. Chocolate, bourbon, some oak. A bitter sweet dark chocolate finish.

M - Full bodied, rich and smooth, almost zero carbonation, creamy finish.

D - I had one pour plus a drink or two out of Masterski's as well. This was an awesome BA RIS that was probably my favorite Stone beer of the night.

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2010 20:08:23 | More by Sean9689
Photo of ChrisPro
ChrisPro

Illinois

4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

03-28-2010 20:19:59 | More by ChrisPro
Photo of MasterSki
MasterSki

Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Growler generously supplied by Maltzilla. Thanks Diego! Looked like it was from Charleston Beer Exchange(?) - no idea how old it was. Served in a pint shaped taster glass.

A - Looks like Stone IRS. Big dark tan foam with excellent retention and lacing. Black body with a hint of brown at the fringes.

S - Milk chocolate, marshmallow, moderate bourbon barrel influence provides lots of vanilla and somewhat understated whiskey flavors. Very well balanced and integrated, with reasonably well-hidden booze.

T - The taste has more bitter dark chocolate, notes of vanilla, oak, and bourbon and the regular stout notes of dark fruit, coffee, and roasted malts. It doesn't have that slight metallic quality I pick up in the regular Stone IRS, and the bitterness is better attenuated. It's an excellent well-crafted barrel-aged stout, but didn't blow my mind like some others I've had.

M - Rich, creamy, medium-full body. A lower but sufficient amount of carbonation. Similar to the base beer and very good for the style.

D - This was an unexpected treat. It was exactly what I expected and not a disappointment at all. jw347 told me it was better when fresh, but it was quite good even after an indefinite period of time in Diego's fridge. Why don't they make more of this?

Serving type: growler

03-16-2010 18:40:20 | More by MasterSki
Photo of tpd975
tpd975

Florida

4.4/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a beer I have been after for awhile. Thanks to Diego for the share.

A: Pours dark black with a tight mocha head. Nice retention and lace noted.

S: Wonderful roasty aromas. Dark fruit and nice bourbon barrel notes.

T: Nice roasted malt. Light dark fruit and molasses. Big chocolate with mild coffee. Nice barrel notes. More oak than bourbon and vanilla, though they are there.

M: Rather full in body, nicely carbonated.

D: Good really happy to have had the chance to try this one.

Serving type: growler

03-14-2010 02:09:43 | More by tpd975
Photo of glid02
glid02

Georgia

4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Brewvival.

Pours black with a small dark brown head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of large amounts of bourbon, vanilla and butterscotch backed up by roasted malt and unsweetened chocolate flavors. They certainly didn't waste any time before throwing the beer in this barrel.

Tastes similar to how it smells, though not quite as intense. Smooth roasted malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by boozy butterscotch and lighter vanilla flavors. Midway through the sip the IRS portion of the beer asserts itself a bit more with dark chocolate and black malt flavors. Near the end of the sip the bourbon flavors take back over before a mildy bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is great. It's got a nice thickness with smooth and soft carbonation.

Drinkability is very good. I finished my glass quickly and went back for a few more. Very easy-drinking for such a big ABV.

Overall this was one of the beers I was most excited about and it didn't disappoint. Well worth a shot if you see it around.

Serving type: on-tap

03-01-2010 21:16:05 | More by glid02
Photo of Duhast500
Duhast500

Rhode Island

4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-25-2010 18:35:24 | More by Duhast500
Photo of jrallen34
jrallen34

Illinois

4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at EBF, 2008 version.

The beer is black with a medium tan head, good retention, but bad lacing.

The aroma is super sweet with with lots of syrup, vanilla and bourbon.

The taste is also pretty sweet with lots of vanilla and a bourbon finish.

The feel is heavy and warm.

Stone is one of my favorite stouts and this is a nice place on a good one.

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2010 14:07:22 | More by jrallen34
Photo of TommyW
TommyW

Massachusetts

4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Serving type: on-tap

02-22-2010 00:19:52 | More by TommyW
Photo of twiggamortis420
twiggamortis420

Texas

4.28/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to the Flying Saucer Houston and Stone for having this nice event in our neck of the piney woods. 2008 vintage aged in bourbon barrels. Pours a nearly black color with an uber-dark brown foam. Moderate retention and lacing. Good looking brewski.

Smell is utterly ridiculous. Vanilla infused whiskey, peanut butter and Nilla wafers. Not much hops but still manages to be mighty complex. Chocolate drizzled Little Debbie Nutty Bars are what this mutha smells like...yea, with some shaved coconut topping! Great nose here.

Very tasty coconut-wood-vanilla flavor with some tannic bourbon in there. Bourbon/whiskey notes come out to play more as I sip upon the glass as opposed to fading more and more into the background. Hop bitterness and even a touch of hop flavor creeps in at the end. There is the omnipresent malt sweetness that is well balanced with the roasty malt aspect. Couple more years and this thing will most likely be pure bliss! Overall it is a pretty boozy, bittersweet chocoholic treat, isn't that what we want in a bourbon barrel aged RIS?

Serving type: on-tap

02-21-2010 04:46:02 | More by twiggamortis420
Photo of bwd110
bwd110

Pennsylvania

4.83/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Flying Saucer, 2/17/2010

What good fortune to be in Houston and seeing Greg Koch's twat about this beer tapping... 2008 vintage.

Served in a Stone IRS tuilp...

A: Opaque black with a baby dark tan head that recedes quickly. Looks like a big bad mutha.

S: Big bourbon whiff... Can this beer possibly be hot? Smells like it might, nice undertones of chocolate and dark roastiness.

T: Good God.... Shot of whiskey up front, but not at all hot and boozy, very well balanced with a nice roasty flavor and humongous chocolate finish with hints of vanilla... Impeccable.

M: Robust, but smooth and velvety.

D: So much better than your standard 08 Stone IRS. Really impressed... I actually think this one destroys KBS. Glad to have had the opportunity.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2010 04:45:00 | More by bwd110
Photo of champ103
champ103

Texas

3.68/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A 2008 keg on tap at the Houston Flying Saucer 02/17/10. Enjoyed with many BA friends.

A: Pours an opaque black color. A one finger tan head forms, and recedes to a ring that sticks around. Light lace is left behind.
S: Sweet vanilla is up front and dominate. Roasted malt and chocolate follows. Warm bourbon lingers.
T: Sweet vanilla and chocolate again. Warm bourbon is a little to prevalent. Good but a little one dimensional.
M/D: A full body that is low on the carbonation. Smooth and creamy. Plenty of hot alcohol. A slow sipper.

A little one dimensional. One thing I look for in a barrel aged beer is a big dry oak character, and I really did not get any here. This seems like it needs at least another year to be great. Still very enjoyable, and something I would recommend if you find some.

Serving type: on-tap

02-18-2010 03:49:26 | More by champ103
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect

Kentucky

4.76/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bourbon barrels are a lot like bacon. They just make everything better!

This insanely rich beer hold all of the greatness of the original, Pitch black, dense viscosity, and slow simmering carbonation. The beer patiently releases a very dense sheet of mocha foam that favors brandy-style legging over meaningful lace. The beer intimidates, just by its glare.

Rich and sultry aromas of Belgian chocolate, whipping cream, bold roast coffee, singed toffee, and walnut exude from the glass with mouth watering and calming effects. Bourbony alcohols accompany toasted oak, vanilla and caramel- all becoming more pronounced as the beer warms and unlocks its powerful scents.

And so go the beer's flavor... with its light carbonation, all the savory goodness of espresso, brownie batter, bittersweet chocolate, deep caramel, and malted milkshake seep into the mouth with awe-inspiring effects. Nothing short of amazing, the flavors trend toward walnut-type bitterness that links into oak, vanilla, cherry wood, light sherry, and unmistakable bourbon to round out the finish. Even notes of chocolate covered raisins introduce themselves with alternating sips.

Rich, dense and truly sultry on the palate, the stout's creamy viscosity delivers a pleasant weight that melds into the mouth and seems to seduce the taste buds. Warm alcohols balance its weight in finish to provide an extended finish and infinite aftertaste.

Of course this '08 version is now in its 5-years of maturation so the savory notes and low rate of carbonation are more prominent than when younger, but its incredible power in flavor and effects is something rarely experienced in the beer world. Its such a digestive that it will surely compare favorable with the best tawny ports, cognac, brandy, or scotch.

Serving type: on-tap

09-20-2009 00:46:57 | More by BEERchitect
Photo of hopdog
hopdog

Pennsylvania

4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Brad for sending this one my way!

Poured a dark black color with a thin sized off white head. Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, woody, chocolate, some dark fruits, and I was getting a light smokiness. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, wood (but lighter than in the aromas), dark fruits, chocolate, and caramel. The bourbon is there but not over powering. Alcohol content overall well hidden.

Serving type: growler

05-14-2009 21:24:07 | More by hopdog
Photo of gford217
gford217

Georgia

4.35/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 2006 growler courtesy of throwitallaway. Big, big thanks Dustin! Pours like used motor oil with a dense one-inch brown head. Huge nose on this one with a big bourbon aroma to complement vanilla, chocolate, brown sugar and roasted malts. Bourbon hits even harder in the taste then eases into the roasted malts and smeet molasses and vanilla before finishing with a slight coffee bitterness and, of course, the bourbon. Mouthfeel is super smooth with the bourbon really making its presence felt on the tongue. This is one big mother of a beer and I am glad I was given the opportunity to try it. Definitely a sipper, but a damn fine one.

Serving type: growler

08-07-2008 00:31:00 | More by gford217
Photo of illidurit
illidurit

California

4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Stone Bistro for RBSG 08. Black color with black coffee highlights. Mocha head, moderate lacing. Brownie mix aroma with a huge, appealing bourbon note. Flavors of cocoa powder, dark chocolate, graham cracker, and smooth bourbon. No alcohol whatsoever. Very clean and surprisingly light on the palate. Mousse-smooth mouthfeel with a short burnt coffee finish.

Serving type: on-tap

08-06-2008 21:13:57 | More by illidurit
Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 366 ratings.