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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

151 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 151
Hads: 1,023
Avg: 4.46
pDev: 23.09%
Wants: 545
Gots: 195 | FT: 18
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
Reviews: 151 | Hads: 1,023
Photo of mdaschaf
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at Brouwers stout fest. 2008 vintage.

A: Served in a goblet, BBL RIS was dark black with a very small brown head on top that dissipated quickly. No lacing on this beer, not overly surprising.

S: Plenty of bourbon right away, it really dominates the aroma, a bit surprising after 5 years. Some chocolate with a little bit of caramel and brown sugar.

T: Similar to the aroma, lots of chocolate (sort of like brownies) and bourbon. It was on the sweet side, with only some light roast. There was a bit of wood as well.

M: Full bodied with low to medium carbonation. Fairly smooth and surprisingly easy to drink, though that could have been because it tasted so good.

O: Been waiting to try this beer for a while, glad to have finally had the chance.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours pitch black and thick. Looks awesome. Capped by a half finger tan head that sinks down into the black pretty quickly.

S: Right away, you're smashed in the face with bourbon, charred oak, and roasted malt. There's really not hint of sweetness to be found here. The barest trace of vanilla and toffee is quickly chased away by a mob of bourbon, anise and wet earth.

T: A huge wave of roasted malt and bourbon crash over your palate right away. Burnt coffee, charred wood and unsweetened baking chocolate hit in the middle, leading into a burnt fudge and bourbon finish that lingers and gives a pleasant warmness. Mouthfeel is velvety and a touch slick. If you don't enjoy bourbon, forget about this one. But if you do, this is money. Stone absolutely destroyed it with this and Mikhail's Odd.

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Photo of xnicknj
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

on tap at RnH during Tap Takeover event. review from notes. 2008 vintage.

Pours a midnite black with a small brownish head which faded completely leaving little to no lacing.

Booze forward nose w plenty of bourbon and oak tannins along with some vanilla hints.

Plenty of coffee, chocolate, wood, and tingly bourbon in the flavors. Dark roasted malts, vanilla, and plenty of booze running throughout. Long warm finish with lingering alcohol heat.

Smooth, full bodied, relatively heavy drinking but super tasty. There's some hot tendencies but excellent execution making for a superb bal aged stout.

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Photo of capra12
4.47/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

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Photo of drowland
4.48/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Had at RBWG 2010 via growler. Black pour with a small tan head. Huge bourbon barrel characteristics on this - lots of coconut, vanilla, oak, tannins, etc. The flavor is surprisingly mild, lots of wood character but the stout is pretty subdued. It still works, though, because I love bourbon.

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Photo of dirtylou
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2008 Elijah Craig barrel aged RIS

on tap, Uber Tavern

appearance: served in a sharp uber tavern goblet - 11oz pour for $5. dark mahogany body, fully creamy chocolate head

smell: rich dark chocolate, potent bourbon, vanilla bean

taste: really nice layering of decadent flavors - the bourbon bite is considerably strong given the age, dark and creamy milk chocolate, espresso, roasted malt, vanilla and cream. Really nice - warms the body all the way to the core

mouthfeel: creamy and silky, strong alcohol warming

overall: great - worth the hype

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Photo of barczar
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2008 vintage.

Pours a jet black opaque color with a modest chocolate brown head that dissipates fairly quickly.

Chocolate, bourbon, and oak are accentuated by roast malt and coffee in the aroma.

Sweet and rich throughout, there are huge chocolate and soy flavors upfront, accompanied by deeply roasted malt that lacks the acrid character sometimes present. The aftertaste is fairly toasted and nutty. Bourbon weaves its way into the flavor throughout.

Body is fairly full, with low carbonation and significant alcohol heat.

Wonderful improvement to a wonderful beer. Not as much roast dominance as in the regular version.

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Photo of MasterSki
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
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?

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Photo of Kevinpitts
4.5/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Incredibly smooth barrel-aged stout. Subtle bourbon coffee flavor. Beer is on the thinner side, but this doesn't take away from taste. Drank new, but imagine this would age beautifully. Stellar beer!

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Photo of Huhzubendah
4.51/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally! An enormous thank you to GT2 for alerting me that this beer was in the market. Thank to RussianDragon and Jesse for hooking me up with a bunch of these. you guys are awesome.

The beer is near black with a thick, oily, beige head. Sparse lacing. The aroma offers big bourbon and oak notes, with chocolate and roast. Sweet chocolate with a grandiose bourbon presence. Sweetness is calmed by a graceful alcoholic warmth in the finish. A delightful beer to sip. At near 14%, I can make this last the duration of the hockey game (Blackhawks vs. Kings game 7). Go Hawks! Overall, an outstanding beer and top notch example of the style.

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Photo of ucusty
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
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.

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Photo of BMMillsy
4.52/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From trade. 500 ml bottle as Fyodor's Classic, 2014 Series, Batch No. 3 (2013 RIS. Pours pitch black with a small mocha head on top. Beautiful aroma of anise, vanilla, roast, bourbon, oak, some chocolate. Oh yea. Reminds me a bit of Black Note. Flavor is roast, bourbon, dark fruits, oak, chocolate, anise, light booze, and long lasting vanilla. Really beautiful finish on this one with definite whiskey tones. The mouthfeel is medium--only slightly lacking in body in the style and would love to see the thickness ramped up a tad--with low plus carbonation and a smooth bourbon vanilla warmth down the throat. Really nice!

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Photo of smakawhat
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. 2015 series Batch 1.

Deep black walnut body, a half finger tan head, dissolving to a simple puck with very fine bubbles and a whispy start tanned sheen top. Pretty basic, simple and solid without fault.

Real nice subtle aroma. Mild and soft char with a deep piping roast. Thick bodied malt, almost smokey, has a deep herbal woody tone to it hinting somewhere between black licorice and fruity dark qualties. Soft. Not boozy. Licorice notes comes out chewy and thick on the nose after some time. Very nice.

With that first sip, the slow creep comes, with utmost surprise and a big creeping palate. Excellent mouthfeel, deep and chewy with big round feel and mouth coating. Sweet dark malts slightly in the mid palate, a bit of sweet char and tobacco, but the finish is where this excels. Aftertaste grows and grows like a perfectly planted big aromatic licorice tree. Soft anise qualities turn to a deep thick chewy licorice note, black, bold, dry tannic finish but tolerable and rich, slowly growing with each passing second after the swallow.

Rich, luscious, the licorice angle on this is impressive and totally unexpected and as a black licorice fan I am loving it. Body jumps in and out with light character char, and silky roast, but all the great qualities have percolated to the top. Not going to be everyone's cup of tea I think, but works wonders for me.

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.54/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap for the first anniversary party at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

2008 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is exceptional and is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, cookie dough, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. There is also a slight port aroma that emerges as the beer warms up. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a fantastic nose and a great flavor.

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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.

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Photo of timc100
4.55/5  rDev +2%

Given how rich and intense IRS is, very excited to get into this one.

Appearance is very similar, maybe a bit thinner looking and very minimal head.

Subtle but enticing aroma of barrel char, vanilla, bakers chocolate, chalky cocoa, hints of dark fruit and touch of coconut.

Slick body, though thinner than the reg IRS. Intense flavors - bitter espresso and chocolate - barrel char. The finish is relatively short.

Very happy to have finally tried BA IRS - great beer. Would like to see some with age and side-by-side with a 2013 reg.

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Photo of hopdog
4.55/5  rDev +2%
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.

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Photo of GClarkage
4.55/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

04/01/06- On cask at the Triple Rock 3rd Annual Firkin Fest in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 8 or 9oz sampler glass filled to the rim. What a pour! From the wooden cask straight into the glass. Not sure what year this is from.

Appearance- Deep chocolaty brown in color with a 1/4 inch dirty brown head. Large streaks and chunks of lace left behind.

Smell- This is one rich smelling beer. Notes of hard alcohol (assuming that's the bourbon), lots of chocolatly goodness, semi-bitter hops and deep roasted malt. Smells like dessert.

Taste- Wow! I wasn't thinking I was going to like this since I was told it had lots of licorice flavor, which I am usually not very keen on. Very smooth and creamy right off the bat. A big hit of licorice comes into play, but it works wonders with the other flavors. Large chocolate (both milk and dark) swirl and mix together. Very sweet in flavor. Nice heavy bourbon note as well upon the first sip. Hops are there and make themselves know quickly as well. But, the overpowering flavor is the wonderful chocolate, roasted malt and licorice. I had to have another pour before I left and thus am paying for it now with a headache.

Mouthfeel- Rich, smooth and creamy with the slightest of carbonation. This would be one kick ass after dinner drink!

Drinkability- I have no idea what the abv is on this brew, but assume it's gotta be at least 10%. So, glad I got to try this wonderful brew and hope it eventually comes back soon.

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Photo of barleywinefiend
4.55/5  rDev +2%
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

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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 illidurit
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of mdfb79
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From 10/04/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey at their Stone Total Tap Takeover event. This was the 2008 IRS aged for 12 months in bourbon barrels, and I tried it side by side with a 2004 IRS.

a - Pours a dark, dark black color with one inch of light tan head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruit, roasted malts, and choolate. Smells amazing, like the normal version with some oak and bourbon. Luckily neither was overwhelming.

t - Tastes of smooth oak, bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, and light coffee. A touch hot.

m - Medium to full body, and low carbonation. Easy to drink for the high ABV.

d - I loved this beer; I sampled 14 Stone beers and this was my favorite one. I like the normal IRS a lot, but liked this a little better. The smell was amazing to me. I thought the taste was a bit hotter than the normal IRS, but that's to be expected. Would love to try again sometime.

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Photo of jrallen34
4.57/5  rDev +2.5%
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.

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Photo of Jjski
4.58/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cellared in the dark for a year, average 55F
Bottle batch 2014: the label states beer was brewed 1/29/13, then barrel aged on "American Oak Bourbon Barrels" for 12 months
Aroma of leather, dark licorice , raisin, whiskey, over-toasted dark bread
Tastes as it smells plus dark, chocolate malty roast,bourbon very present but well integrated. Light pleasant char.
Mouthfeel is distinct from other 'super stouts' - dry finish and slight chalky char ( very slight) work well to keep it smooth, not sweet. Still a tad thin for the category, but definitely not lacking. Just different than viscosities presented by BCBS or Eclipse.
Superb, but not better than the 2 aforementioned RIS. Drier, less sweet, and well put together. A year has done well on this.

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Photo of ccrida
4.6/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge bourbon nose, lots of coconut, vanilla, caramel. Taste is way more coconut, Elijah Craig shining through in a gloriously smooth manner. Really nice treat to sip the '08 version in spite of their snarky, classically Seattle hipster vibe (not kidding, the bar tender just shit on some guy looking for "Stella or Heineken", and responded by pulling him a Spaten without asking, saying "it's german too", in a way hostile attitude. Just because the guy ordered sucky beers doesn't mean he needs to make the customer feel like a loser...anyways, a great bourbon barrel RIS overall, smooth, balanced, with glutenous complexity.

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 151 ratings.