1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

Not Rated.
Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged
No picture uploaded.
Have one? Upload it now.
BA SCORE
98
world-class

514 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 514
Reviews: 109
rAvg: 4.45
pDev: 10.34%
Wants: 372
Gots: 41 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 514 | Reviews: 109 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

t0rin0, Feb 25, 2013
Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.53/5  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.

UCLABrewN84, Jul 08, 2012
Photo of zestar
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

zestar, Aug 12, 2013
Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +12.4%

spycow, Nov 15, 2011
Photo of Thorpe429
4.1/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

Thorpe429, Sep 28, 2010
Photo of nmann08
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

nmann08, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of BEERchitect
4.76/5  rDev +7%
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.

BEERchitect, Sep 20, 2009
Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev -10.1%

GRG1313, Nov 24, 2011
Photo of mikesgroove
4.43/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

cannot think you enough man. i know you dont want your name out there but you killed it.

Dark, black as night with only a tiny amount of tan head peaking up from the depths on this one. The aroma was heavenly. Rich vanilla notes just percolating up, rounding out a beautiful bourbon smell. Some light chocolate and a tiny pinch of coffee in there, but this one is dominated by the barrel influence. As I take the first sip it is much more of the same. Rich bourbon notes just roll across the tongue with precision, rich notes of vanilla, a touch of woody undertone and a sparkling coffee induced finish just round this together wonderfully. Could have used a bit more carbonation, but still very nicely done with a big full feel and a long drawn out finish.

Overall this was very solid indeed. I really think it influenced and change the character of the irs wonderfully, making an almost complete transformation. I would have this one again any day and was thrilled to finally tick it

mikesgroove, May 25, 2011
Photo of ygtbsm94
4/5  rDev -10.1%

ygtbsm94, Jan 12, 2012
Photo of womencantsail
4.4/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

womencantsail, May 24, 2010
Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.88/5  rDev +9.7%
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.

ChainGangGuy, Oct 20, 2010
Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

westcoastbeerlvr, Oct 11, 2013
Photo of JAHMUR
4/5  rDev -10.1%

JAHMUR, Mar 26, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

SocalKicks, Aug 18, 2013
Photo of MasterSki
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%
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?

MasterSki, Mar 16, 2010
Photo of drabmuh
4.22/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2004 IRS, IRS 10th Anniversary Blend, IRS 10th Anniversary GK's Mad Man Mix, and IRS Aged In Bourbon Barrels all tasted side by side at Churchkey last night.

Beer is black with a nice head that leaves very little lacing on the glass. Carbonation is low.

This beer only has a hint of bourbon to it and the rest is mostly sweetness.

Beer is nice, creamy, minimally bourbon but its still really good. The bourbon elevates the base beer well, I think the base is a 2008, its easy drinking and has this great sweetness to it on the front end. I would definitely have this again.

drabmuh, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of mendvicdog
4.25/5  rDev -4.5%

mendvicdog, Apr 03, 2013
Photo of mdfb79
4.54/5  rDev +2%
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.

mdfb79, Oct 05, 2010
Photo of Rochefort10nh
5/5  rDev +12.4%

Rochefort10nh, Dec 08, 2011
Photo of Gueuzedude
4.85/5  rDev +9%
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.

Gueuzedude, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of GClarkage
4.55/5  rDev +2.2%
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.

GClarkage, Apr 02, 2006
Photo of imperialking
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

imperialking, Dec 19, 2011
Photo of InspectorBob
4.5/5  rDev +1.1%

InspectorBob, Jun 24, 2013
Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev -10.1%

drewone, Feb 03, 2014
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing Co.
98 out of 100 based on 514 ratings.