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Espresso Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Espresso Imperial Russian StoutEspresso Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,564 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,564
Reviews: 353
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 7.83%
Wants: 172
Gots: 417 | FT: 46
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: WillCarrera on 04-17-2013)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,564 | Reviews: 353 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Kuaff:
Photo of Kuaff
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I experienced a bomber of this last night. WHAT an experience! Into my snifter at cellar temperature, it went.

Espresso IRS LOOKS pretty much the same as the non-espresso version. A one-finger mocha head and a beautifully, banefully, balefully black body.

I give the aroma a five because I just really can't imagine it being much better. The standard IRS already has a fantastic scent, but THIS one's is both better AND stronger. Sweet, milky chocolate, raisins, prunes, vanilla extract, and bold, roasty espresso! And there's something else that keeps teasing and tantalizing my nostrils in tandem with all of this... something hiding in the vapors that emanate up from my snifter. Like a mysterious, leathery smokiness or something. That's how I'd describe it, but it's... kind of transient... like a ghost. An imperial stout with a haunted aroma! Mwahahahahaaaa...

All of the flavors of standard IRS return here in the same harmony they had already achieved in the original, but now the flavor profile has been injected with a noticeably higher dose of roasty, earthy espresso. The espresso wraps itself around and folds itself into the stock IRS flavors (see my review of that one for details) in an incredible way, somehow amplifying and enhancing the overall taste. It's kind of like how French cooks expertly fold layers of butter into dough when making croissants to create a delectable culinary masterpiece. Here, Brewers in San Diego have expertly folded espresso "into the fold" of what was already a near-flawless beer, creating an amazing alcoholic art piece.

Alcohol is just as well-masked in this one as in the original, and the ABV's been kicked UP from the original's 10.6% to 11% ta boot. Not bad. Nicely (and treacherously) concealed. The aftertaste leaves me feeling like I just ate a chocolate (rich, gourmet chocolate, mind you), and that's EXACTLY what I want my imperial stouts to do to me. I love an alcoholic beverage that appeases the chocoholic within me, hehe. As a final note on the taste, I also get some woodiness and maple syrup lingering along-side the expected roastiness in the fantastic finish. To sum up these last two paragraphs on the taste... devilishly DIVINE.

The feel is much like the standard IRS's, which didn't really need improving. It's got that "imperial," velvety viscosity. What's not to love?

It's so delicious that I wanna drink it faster! But I know I shouldn't. Yeah, it's one of THOSE kinds of beers... those darn deceptively alluring, potent brews that just have too much alcohol for their drinkability. And I don't mean it to sound like that's bad thing. It's an AWESOME thing. But the admonishment about how this stuff is almost "evil"in the customary Stone ale exposition on the back of the bottle... that warning is worth heeding. And hilariously fun to read.

Espresso Imperial Russian Stout might be my favorite of the whole style. And there are a LOT of contenders out there setting the bar high for Russian imperial stouts. Every once in a while I'm fortunate enough to taste something like this that rises sufficiently high enough above that bar for me to be able to say... it's out of this world!

Kuaff, Aug 04, 2013
More User Reviews:
Photo of oberon
3.99/5  rDev -8.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Pours jet black with no light getting thru this puppy,a half finger beige colored head atop.I f you like roasted aromas than you'll love this,the espresso roast along with big earthy/roasted notes,mild molasses-like sweetness and bitter chocolate round out the nose.Big earthy and roasted coffee flavors really hit ya on the palae with only a meager amount of sweetness,even the alcohol sweetness for such a big beer is rather subdued.A little prickly in the feel,I gotta say I like just the "standard" Stone RIS better although this isn't bad or anything.

oberon, May 24, 2013
Photo of braugon
4/5  rDev -7.8%

braugon, Jul 16, 2013
Photo of DanGeo
4/5  rDev -7.8%

DanGeo, Sep 05, 2013
Photo of tectactoe
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Stone's original IRS is a doozy, but one of my (only) complains about it is that it's got a bit too much anise and black licorice sweetness to it. I always thought a little more coffee would balance it perfectly, and viola - Stone Espresso IRS comes out the next year. Very excited to try this - it sounds delicious on paper. Bought a few bottles around town, but thanks to Chris for generously cracking one of his.

Espresso IRS pours a deep-ass, oily black - literally almost no traces of any color can be seen. It looks thick, heavy, and viscous as it plops into the glass as a small, tan, fine-bubbled head slowly rises from the bottom up. It quickly recedes to a mere skin atop the black hole, but a few spotty traces of lacing are still left on the glass. What would a Stone brew be without a little bit of lace?

Extremely deep roasted coffee beans fill the aroma - it's like the French roast that's over-roasted, charred, and burnt. Seriously, the aroma is ashy and roasty beyond belief. Some underlying cocoa notes spike about midway through after your nostrils get used to the coffee a bit, along with a faint sweetness - but make no mistake, the scorched coffee bean aroma is the king of this playground.

As expected, coffee hits first and foremost. Again, such a dark blend of beans it seems - triple shot, hold the cream. I'll say it again - roasted, bitter, ashy, and burnt like you wouldn't believe. Not only does this balance, but it nearly cancels out the abundant sweetness found in the original IRS. I'm not really getting any dark fruits or anise here - just coffee with the ever-so-slightest hint of dark chocolate. The palate after-coating actually contains a light nutty and woody flavor, but they still remain secondary to the coffee. Thick, chewy, and creamy on the palate with a huge body, ample carbonation.

Well this tasted at least as good as I thought it would be, and I thought it would be pretty damn good. It met my expectations of overriding the anise-like sweetness from the original IRS by not only balancing the sweetness with heavy, bitter roast, but nearly obliterating them completely. Needless to say, I'd choose this over the original IRS any day, so I'm sad that it will most likely be only a one-time release. Guess I need to stock up!

tectactoe, May 10, 2013
Photo of MadScientist
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: black beer with a creamy, long last head that is fittingly espresso colored

S: A medium-strong coffee \with dark stone fruit aromas, mostly of plum. A firm roast, some chocolate and a light malt sweetness. Moderate alcohol sweetness.

T: The flavor is of a medium-strong caramel malt sweetness braced against a firm hops bitterness rounded out by medium notes of coffee, chocolate and roast. Some light plum-like flavors show up as well as some light citrus hops. The balance is fairly sweet with a medium finish and a roasty, bitter aftertaste along with some coffee.

M: A full bodied beer with a medium level of carbonation and some alcohol warmth.

O: Like caramel and chocolate covered espresso beans followed with a short shot of alcohol. Safely negotiated the coffee addition without the wet coffee ground character found in some many failed attempts. A beer this good and only costing $6.69, it's a must buy.

MadScientist, Jun 16, 2013
Photo of jono0101
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

jono0101, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of brownbeer
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

brownbeer, Feb 14, 2014
Photo of abeerdude
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

abeerdude, May 17, 2013
Photo of Tiernan
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Tiernan, May 21, 2013
Photo of Spaten454
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Spaten454, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of tbryan5
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

tbryan5, May 18, 2013
Photo of SanFranJake
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

SanFranJake, May 06, 2013
Photo of SkiBum22
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

SkiBum22, May 04, 2013
Photo of Anstuart5
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Anstuart5, Aug 09, 2014
Photo of RebeccaMB
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

RebeccaMB, Apr 24, 2014
Photo of Ben7773
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Ben7773, Jun 27, 2014
Photo of SanDNigel
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22 OZ Bottle into Stone IRS Squatty Tulip

A- The darkest of caramels. Not quite black, with a dark tan head that doesn't want to leave the inside walls of the glass
S- A chocolatey-carmel with coffee. A mocha if you will, but with a touch of the alcohol ester you know is there
T- Chocolatey-carmel just like it smells, with a soft backbone of coffee's roasted bitterness. Theres a lot going on here. You get the alcohol up front but it finishes so sweet and smooth it makes you rethink the ABV
M- Teeny-tiny bubbles coat your mouth, eventually dissipating into an almost creamy/fatty beer juice
Its a really good beer. Great even. If it is what you are looking for than you can find it in this bottle (or on tap if you're lucky)

SanDNigel, Jun 04, 2013
Photo of sabitu
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

sabitu, May 12, 2013
Photo of bulldogg915
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

bulldogg915, Apr 20, 2013
Photo of Kjanisch7
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Kjanisch7, Jul 15, 2013
Photo of EastBay_Nick
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

EastBay_Nick, Jul 13, 2013
Photo of lordofthewiens
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Nocturnem Draft Haus.

In a snifter the beer was black with a small, cafe au lait- colored head.

Coffee aroma. Some roasted malt and chocolate.

Espresso coffee, slightly bitter. Chocolate.

Very flavorful. Easy to drink. Hard to guess it's 11% ABV.

Would drink this anytime.

lordofthewiens, Apr 27, 2013
Photo of thetommo
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

thetommo, Apr 27, 2014
Photo of DaftPatrick
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

DaftPatrick, Feb 28, 2014
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Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,564 ratings.