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

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

435 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 435
Reviews: 106
rAvg: 4.47
pDev: 9.84%
Wants: 342
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
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: 435 | Reviews: 106 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jdprmd
jdprmd

Missouri

5/5  rDev +11.9%

02-28-2012 07:02:52 | More by jdprmd
Photo of Snow81
Snow81

Minnesota

4.95/5  rDev +10.7%
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

Serving type: on-tap

04-02-2011 16:33:34 | More by Snow81
Photo of scottoale
scottoale

California

4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
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!

Serving type: cask

05-19-2006 10:19:16 | More by scottoale
Photo of ChainGangGuy
ChainGangGuy

Georgia

4.88/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Appearance: Black, viscous-looking, leg-producing body with a quietly receding, dark brown head.

Smell: Big, beautiful bourbon presence on the nose marrying well with the robust dark roasted malts notes. It's altogether inviting.

Taste: From start to finish, it's a sweet, earthy roastiness stirred up with slowly melted barker's chocolate chunks, vanilla beans, burnt caramel sauce, dark brown sugar, oak wood (with some tannins breaking through), dark fruits, chilled coffee, shaved coconut and a fair share of burgeoning alcohol warmth. It's all quite bold, but it still maintains a quiet, easy-going mellowness.

Mouthfeel: Near-full body. Medium carbonation. Smooth, velvety mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Very nice. Look, I love Stone Russian Imperial Stone, but the deliciousness of the bourbon barrel version has been the highpoint of my beer drinking in the last several months. Oh, if only all the barrel-aged stouts could turn out this well.

Serving type: on-tap

10-20-2010 16:54:40 | More by ChainGangGuy
Photo of brew3crew
brew3crew

Ohio

4.85/5  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!

Serving type: on-tap

08-17-2011 23:19:46 | More by brew3crew
Photo of Gueuzedude
Gueuzedude

Arizona

4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

May 2008 Release; Sampled June 2008
A careful pour produces a half-finger thick, brown tinged, darker tan colored head. The beer is pitch black and color and quite opaque. Ample, spicy Bourbon aromas are noticeable without completely drowning out the Stout aromatics. Roast espresso aromas, charred prune notes, bit roast grain and a finish dominated by deeply toasted grain notes that lean towards toasted, not quite burnt whole grain bread. The aroma has some sweetness to it, that is accentuated just a bit by the Bourbon-alcohol aromas. When intensely scrutinizing the aroma the Bourbon notes are big up front, but then disappear and allow that pure stout notes to come through, but then things start to meld together as toasted barrel notes of coconut , vanillin mix with dark, rich, sweet malty chocolate aromas. This has a very nice aroma to it, much better than I was expecting as the Bourbon barrel notes are quite well integrated; the Imperial stout aromatics are still allowed to shine here & really show quite well as they mix with the barrel notes.

Fairly thick and viscous up front, the beer gets a bit thinner towards the finish as some boozy, Bourbon notes kick in. Creamy feeling with a huge, richly, dark malt sweetened, chocolate flavors are accentuated by the barrel with flavors of vanillin, a light coconut note and a rich, burnt fruit character. This last reminds me of a mix of deeply roasted, burnt, succulent figs, moist prunes and raisins. While not overly thick or viscous this really has an unctuous, creamy fullness that just engulfs the palate; when warmed up a bit it even manages to over-power the thinning effect of the Bourbon booze in the finish. When cooler the hop and roast grain notes combine to give this beer a substantial, but sometimes overlooked, bitterness.

The bitter, burnt roast notes are what really define this beer; not necessarily in the way you might think though as these notes are very well integrated and never allowed to become harsh, sharp nor astringent. Instead the roast character plays an almost supporting role (if you can imagine such a thing in an Imperial Stout), creating a rich, roast malt depth & balancing act that provides touches of bitterness, a light roast acidity and a deep black coffee note that serves as a light foil to the sweet, concentrated, chocolate like, thick malt character that is so nice in this beer. The texture, especially, really starts to come in to its own as the beer warms up; the boozy Bourbon notes that thinned out the finish are tamed and this beer remains a creamy, viscous, palate enveloping experience from the start to long, lingering finish of each sip. Even the aroma gets increasingly better as it warms up; accentuating more of the chocolate, toasted coconut and vanillin notes.

This is far better than I was expecting; I had thought I was burnt out on Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stouts, but this shows I just need a nice, well balanced example to keep me interested in the style. Perhaps just a touch too boozy in the finish, this beer otherwise is a classic example of the marriage of Bourbon and Imperial Stout. I really did not expect to love this; I assumed that at most I might find it interesting and slightly enjoyable, instead this is just down right tasty & easily the best use of a Bourbon barrel in a beer that I have had. Stones Imperial stout requires some age on it to be at its best, this beer manages to display those characteristics as well as an added boost of complexity from the Bourbon barrel that was not overdone. I almost feel guilty for liking this beer as much as I do, especially since I was expecting to be able to easily tear it down. This really needs to be served on the warm side of cool; it started out at 50°F / 10°C, but still really becomes phenomenal the longer I wait. I have about a half ounce left and it seems to be at its best after sitting in my glass for the last hour and a half; damn there it goes, unexpectedly I am left wanting more.

Serving type: growler

06-14-2008 04:51:26 | More by Gueuzedude
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jampics2

Ohio

4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I was lucky enough to encounter this beer on tap at Brewzilla, the grand tasting of Cleveland Beer Week 2010. Served in several 5oz pours over the course of the evening. The first glass was handed to me by my friend Brian Wright, who smiled and said "enjoy". The seventh glass was handed to me by my friend Brian Wright, who frowned and said "you aren't driving tonight, are you?" For the record, no I was not, we stayed down the street!

Back to the first glass...if Steven Hawking was a beer aficionado, he may have written a book called "Behavior of particles in a 'Stone BA IRS' hole". I can almost hear his sweet robotic voice lecturing about how nothing can escape the darkness that is this beer. A beautiful cappuccino colored head is its first victim. It hangs out for a few minutes, and then gets sucked into the vortex, never to be seen again. Some lace is left behind as a reminder of what was and what will never be.

But an anomaly occurs that makes me question everything. Light has no mass, but it's still drawn into this beer due to the warping of space and time. However, apparently, the most amazing scents of roasted malt, bourbon, vanilla, and coconut break free. Maybe the perfect smelling beers have no photon mass, or, maybe, the smell is more powerful than science itself!

To make this beer drinking experience even better, Mitch Steele, head brewer at Stone and a really nice guy, was on hand and served as my co-pilot on the first journey. We had a toast and I took my first sip, throttling full-blast towards the event horizon. I swear I could taste both the particles and the anti-particles; they were utterly exceptional. The roasted malt reminds me of dark chocolate and a touch of Sumatra coffee. Some caramel and dark fruit make an appearance. The wood has added touches of vanillin, coconut and just a hint of tannins. The bourbon is present but not dominant enough to eclipse any other element. The smoothness of the barrel treatment is elegant without being too weak. As it warms, it becomes a chocolate, vanilla and coconut dream.

The beer is velvet in liquid form. The body is full and the carbonation is creamy. The only problem with the mouthfeel is the touch of noticeable alcohol that breaks up the party for a split second. That being said, I enjoyed this beer more than anything I've had in the last 10 months of reviewing. That's over 415 beers since my last score this high. It's truly a stand-out and makes a legendary beer even better. I hope every beer lover has the chance to try this someday! Thanks and cheers to Mitch and Greg for sending this to Ohio and for Jay for his insight to put it at Brewzilla! Cheers, ya bunch of STONE-ers!

Serving type: on-tap

11-03-2010 14:59:26 | More by jampics2
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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 jsanford
jsanford

Georgia

4.8/5  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>

Serving type: on-tap

05-17-2011 20:12:16 | More by jsanford
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TurdFurgison

Ohio

4.8/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Big thanks to Jason for this beer, probably the best of the night before the last Jackie O's release. My pour was dark black and opaque, with an insanely appetizing aroma. All of the usual goodness of Stone IRS, plus bourbon! Actually this smells exactly how you'd expect, and that's pretty damn good. Sweet and malty, bourbony with chocolate and vanilla. Nice...

It tastes just as good, insane. Move over BA Speedway, this is pushing to become the highest rated BA stout from the San Diego area. Thickish but adequately bubbly, excellent stuff.

Serving type: growler

09-03-2011 03:08:58 | More by TurdFurgison
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 abeerdude
abeerdude

California

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

06-22-2012 17:34:40 | More by abeerdude
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SkiBum22

New York

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

07-09-2014 22:54:58 | More by SkiBum22
Photo of Callmecoon
Callmecoon

California

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

04-18-2013 04:59:11 | More by Callmecoon
Photo of whatname
whatname

Pennsylvania

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

10-06-2013 12:48:42 | More by whatname
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
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fthegiants

California

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

03-25-2014 23:08:44 | More by fthegiants
Photo of davod23
davod23

California

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

Great beer. Best beer of the Storm.

Appearance is business as usual. Black. Some legs when swirled. A bit of a tan head that sticks around a while, which was a nice surprise.

Aroma: Huge chocolate cookie aroma. Bourbon is very present, very upfront, but also not hot - it is sweet. Reminds me a fair bit of 2010 Older Viz. Dark, dark chocolate.

Taste: Delightful. The bourbon is well-integrated into the base beer, adding a great layer of complexity on top of the brew. Rich, dark, fudgy. No flaws to be found.

Mouthfeel is perfect for me. It's very full-bodied, a low-but-present level of carbonation, velvety. Excellent.

Drinkability was very good, considering the strength this beer was presenting.

Outstanding beer. Bottle this, please.

Serving type: on-tap

02-07-2011 18:45:01 | More by davod23
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Hobbit

Oregon

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

08-02-2013 00:57:27 | More by Hobbit
Photo of thagr81us
thagr81us

South Carolina

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

Had at the Stone Tap Takeover in Charlotte. 2008 Vintage. Served from tap into a tumbler. Poured pitch black with a minimal dark tan head. Maintained phenomenal lacing throughout. The aroma was comprised of malt, bourbon, sweet chocolate, and a smokey note. The flavor was of malt, chocolate, subtle coffee, dark chocolate, and subtle bourbon. It had a heavy feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall it is my honest opinion that barrel aging did this brew a lot of good. The bourbon flavor mid-way through the sip pulled everything together quite nicely. Also the flavors on this one came in waves rather than just an explosion on your palate. This brew completely stole the show for me at this event and is currently my new favorite brew from Stone. Great job!

Serving type: on-tap

10-12-2010 13:55:46 | More by thagr81us
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md655321

Michigan

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

12-14-2013 18:39:53 | More by md655321
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Beermister

California

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

01-09-2013 02:45:38 | More by Beermister
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Hopsiam14

Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

05-01-2013 03:48:03 | More by Hopsiam14
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HoudiniRN

Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

05-25-2014 20:46:53 | More by HoudiniRN
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emmgee

Virginia

4.75/5  rDev +6.3%

03-02-2013 01:17:51 | More by emmgee
Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
99 out of 100 based on 435 ratings.