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

Not Rated.
Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel AgedImperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

140 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 140
Hads: 965
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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 140 | Hads: 965
Photo of maximum12
3.5/5  rDev -21.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Two 10 oz. glasses at The Happy Gnome's Stone Release Party on 3/30/11. 2008 vin-taaage. Welcome to MN Stone & thanks for bringing some excellent kegs with you!

First, you might ask, why two glasses? When my limit was two glasses, & there were so many good beers? Well, I was convinced I was given the wrong beer the first time around. Turns out I was wrong.

Black, of course, minimal bubbly excitement. The smell is a blast of smokiness that gets more & more pronounced as the beer warms, crowding out the malts & chocolatey sweetness that arrives initially. I swear, I was served the bourbon Smoked Porter, but no!

The second glass tastes just like the first. The bourbon is subtle, refined, restrained, just nipping around the edges of my taste buds & liver. Supremely smooth & creamy. But there it is again, the smokiness, creeping upwards, until at half-glass, it's dominating & crowding out the other tastes. WTF? After the second glass I really wish I'd have had something else.

Good beer, but in the company of other BA stouts this one would suffer by comparison. Glad I tasted it, but I'm going to stick to my beloved Oaked AB from now on, thank you very much Stone! (1,180 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 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 champ103
3.72/5  rDev -16.6%
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. (802 characters)

Photo of DavoleBomb
3.74/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on the eve of the August 27th JO's release. Big thanks to Jason for sharing this. 08 vintage from growler. ~4 oz from a tasting snifter.

3.5 A: Black. Pour yielded no head.

4.5 S: The barrel aging is done extremely well. The bourbon portion is perfect. Incredibly smooth with leather, melon, prune, and plum. However, the underlying stout can't stand tall alongside. Some chocolate and roast, but does not seem to have the subtleties that the regular has at this age. Still, bourbon forward or not, smells delicious.

3.5 T: I have no idea where the Stone IRS went. This tastes a bit like watered down bourbon rather than a bourbon enhanced stout. There's just a little chocolate and a little roast. However, the bourbon itself makes this still taste great. Leather, melon, prune, and plum. Alcohol is very well hidden.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Could be creamier though.

3.5 D: Decent, but stout that can't stand tall above barrel treatments should not be put into barrels. I'm completely shocked that Stone IRS is one of these. (1,063 characters)

Photo of Duff27
3.98/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Bourbon Barrel aged version

A- Black with mocha colored head. Good head retention/lacing,

S- Chocolate, sweetness.

T- Sweet chocolate, roasted malts. Hints of coffee. Bourbon barrel finish. Boozy.

M- Extremely thick mouthfeel.

D/O- Drinkability is low but a pretty special aged beer here. It reminded me a lot of '10 BCS. After I finished this I couldn't stomach another impy stout, even though there were others I wanted to try. (439 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 francisweizen
4.02/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On Tap:

A: Dark black, mocha head, not much else going on.

S: Big time bourbon, all up in my face. A bit of vanillin and roasted malts on the back end. some green hops as well.

T: Big time bourbon! Vanilla! Oak! slight hops and biscuity malts

M: Coating, a bit too much. Super thick and hot

O: Great, but young and hot. Give me a bit less booze, and bit more age and this will be really really phenomenal. (410 characters)

Photo of DarthKostrizer
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 vintage at Stone's 15th anniversary party

Look: Black in color with not real head no retention but it does leave a small film on the glass when you drink it down

Smell: Bourbon oak roasted malts vanilla and chocolate. Pretty straight forward

Taste: Again bourbon upfront backed up by quite a bit of roasted malts. Finishes with touches of vanilla and chocolate

Mouthfeel: Full body low carbonation

Overall: I can't believe how much bourbon is still present after all the age that has been put on it. I would like to try a fresh batch if they do it again. Good beer from stone but not great I thought the alcohol was just a bit distracting (648 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.03/5  rDev -9.6%

Black in color. Tan head. Chocolate and roasty. Boozy. Coffee. Hot bourbon. Licorice and molasses.

This beer has too much alcohol showing. Could probably use another year or two in the cellar. (193 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 cpetrone84
4.05/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark black color with a tan colored head.

S-the nose bings loads of roasted malts and some notes of dark chocolate. bourbon and wood play lightly underneath.

T-a touch of dark fruits add some additional balance to the beer, roasty malts are the focus with a bit of bitter dark chocolate. vanilla and oak make a nice presence with a pleasant bourbon finish and touch of heat.

M-full bodied and chewy wit a creamy syrupy texture and soft carbonated finish.

D-pretty well balanced beer with a nice barrel presence adding a fair bit of complexity amongst the roasty stout with light sweetness intermixed. (614 characters)

Photo of pepsican
4.08/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This made a great friday morning breakfast. Thanks to wetherel for the hand bottle. Black pour with thin tan head. Heavy chocolate in the aroma, with oak, bourbon, and alcohol rounding it out. Flavor was much less sweet and bourbony than the aroma lead on. Smoke, tobacco, some chocolate, toffee, bourbon, and vanilla. Thick boozy finish. Very nice. (349 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 DefenCorps
4.09/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at Church Key today. This is the 08 IRS aged in bourbon barrels for 12 months.

Jet black with a dense dark brown head that falls off to nothing really quick. Dark brown highlights are present. The nose has great barrel character. Vanilla, bourbon and moderate heat are noticeable. Chocolate, fudge and a little cream are also present. Well integrated.
The palate opens with bourbon heat, flavors of bourbon with vanilla, almost too much, along with some oak, all of which whelm the base stout. Dry and tannic on the finish, there's more tannins than I care for. Medium-full in body with light carbonation, there's a nice blend of heat and vanilla on the finish. As I mentioned, too much tannin character for my liking, though. Solid stuff, I thoroughly enjoyed my pour (776 characters)

Photo of Thorpe429
4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
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. (536 characters)

Photo of FosterJM
4.12/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

1090th Review on BA
Draft to 4oz taster

WinterStorm 2012
2008 Vintage

App- A pitch black pour. Very chocolate syrup in appearance. A 1/2" of head formed and then fell to about an 1/8" of bubbles with maybe at most a couple dots of cling.

Smell- Smelled really divine. A lot of rich bourbon with that booze not wofting up and had touches of oak and rich vanilla all over it.

Taste- The booze on this one is still very hot. The barrels still need some time to mellow which I thought was odd. Very prickly booze and then after comes a bit of creamy RIS malts and some vanilla and oak char notes.

Mouth- A medium to low body on this one with a medium prickly carbonation. Residual booze and a bit of creamy vanilla.

Drink- Overall, this wasn't as smooth as I would have hoped but it was a nice BBA RIS with good flavors, just lacked a little balance. (852 characters)

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.13/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Chocolate, bourbon and vanilla on the nose. Tastes between chocolate, vanilla, oak and charred bitter malts. Was expecting this to be outrageously bold, but the flavors are balanced. Finishes very dry. (201 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 AgentZero
4.17/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at SmallBar.

A - Black beer with a bit of a tan head that rose up a finger and faded to a tight ring. Didn't stay around for long but looked nice.

S - This is nicely smoothed out with some impressive bourbon. I've never felt like Stone RIS was the biggest of stouts, but it's held up pretty well in the barrel.

T - Bourbon, chocolate, roast. Taste is quite nice, and very smoothed out. Really no heat on this with all the appropriate flavors.

M - Medium bodied, could be a little bit fuller, with some moderate carbonation.

O - Really nice beer. Stone RIS is very nice brew, and it did well in the bourbon. Could drink a lot of this one. (650 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 stakem
4.17/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at the Alewife for the Stone total tap takeover event on 10/1/10. 2008 Stone IRS aged in bourbon barrels. This was the beer I was most excited about trying from the list of 40 different offerings.

The color of this brew pours pretty much the same as the normal IRS; black with some lighter brown shown around the edges when held to the light. The head appears as a creamy darkly tan cap that receeds leaving leggy patches of lace along the glassware.

The aroma of this brew is sweet with a big oaky vanilla character that is so bold it is almost like a perfume. Behind the vanilla scent are notes of chocolate, roasty grain goodness and overall this is just one fine, sweet smelling brew. In the background is some mellow whiskey influence that tingles the nose with the presence of alcohol.

The taste of this brew is big and boozy with the normal presence of IRS' alcohol content being taken to the next level by the whiskey contribution. The alcohol warms the entire mouth and throat when swallowed. The heavily roasted grain comes across slightly bitter and roasty with a flavor of chocolate and some woodsy notes with a slight bit of vanilla throughout. Some bitter chocolate lingers in the mouth mingled with hops and the burn of the alcohol. It is surprising how much more concentrated the alcohol's presence is in this brew. The additional alcohol flavoring is welcomed but it hurts this brew by being outright dominating.

This is a medium bodied brew with a light, enjoyable level of carbonation. Drinkability is decent for a sipper. My initial impression of this brew was pretty much mind blowing. I absolutely loved everything about it right out the gate but as the experience continued it got to me. I would not be able to drink more than one glass of this which is difficult for me to admit because I love imperial stouts and usually enjoy barreled versions even more. I would love to try this again in a year or more to see if it calms down a bit to let the other flavors come forward. (2,009 characters)

Photo of Jeffo
4.19/5  rDev -6.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Originally had a hand bottle at a party at Moeder Lambic a few years back, but got a recent bottling of this from ScottO a while back, so I thought I'd give this version a proper review. Cheers man!

From a 500ml bottle into a snifter
2013 Imperial Stout aged in Kentucky bourbon barrels for 12 months
Brewed 29 Jan 2013
Bottled February 2014
IBU: 38
Quingenti Millitre 2014 Series batch 3

APPEARANCE: A transparent black pour yields a 2+ finger, medium looking, bubbly tan head with good retention. Black body with no carbonation evident. Head recedes to a full cap. A ring remains until the end leaving some falling dots of lacing down the glass.

SMELL: Lots of bourbon, oak, vanilla, coconut and cream on the nose. Toffee and butterscotch are there as well, with milk chocolate tying it together. Lots of barrel here, though a very nice barrel at that.

TASTE: Bourbon, oak and coconut up front. Lots of barrel again. Coconut, vanilla and milk chocolate at the swallow with a bold and lingering finish of bourbon, vanilla and coconut again, oak, toffee and milk chocolaty sweetness, some bitter, pure chocolate and a hint of burnt malts as well. Very flavorful. Really like the barrel flavors here. Some alcohol lingers as well.

PALATE: Medium-thinner body with medium levels of carbonation. A bit abrasive on the palate, goes down with a bit of a scratch and finishes rather sticky. Some heat lingers.

OVERALL: Loved the nose and flavor profile on this. The barrel is strong, but the character it imparts on the beer is really enjoyable. The look is okay and the feel could be fuller and less abrasive, but this brew is a whopping 14% after all. Not as boozy as others at this ABV. Overall, this is a good beer I was happy to sip on for an evening. If you can get one, give it a shot. Thanks again ScottO. Recommended. (1,831 characters)

Photo of tarheels86
4.2/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Tap at Alewife Baltimore for Stone Total Tap Takeover. Poured near ink black with ruby highlights. Tan bubbles cling onto the sides of the glass but no head forms. Aroma is beautiful buttery bourbon, coconut, vanilla, oak, rich smokiness. Taste is a giant smack in the face of unsweetened, bitter chocolate, smoked malt, hot bourbon moving very quickly to silky chocolate, coconut, vanilla ice cream. Palate goes from soft to chalky and bitter cacao powder. About six seconds after tasting this I knew exactly why it is in the ratebeer Top 20. Everything is there: the aroma, the body, the palate. It is like Bourbon Country Stout with a little less richness and less of a superlative palate. 10/24/2010 8/4/9/4/16=4.1 (718 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)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 140 ratings.