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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.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,601 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,601
Reviews: 353
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 7.83%
Wants: 178
Gots: 421 | FT: 45
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: 2,601 | Reviews: 353 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by coldriver:
Photo of coldriver
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

coldriver, Aug 25, 2013
More User Reviews:
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 rhoadsrage
4.05/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2013 release
(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours an obsidian black body with a thick meniscus of cocoa tan foam that soon breaks up into a thick ring.

S- The inky black roasted barley has hints of cold espresso that grow with some dark graham malt sweetness in the finish. There is a vegetal, capsicum note and some iodine notes that grow in the finish aswell.

T- The inky black malt flavor has some green vegetal and capsicum quality without any heat to it and a dark chocolate malt finish. There is a cold espresso flavor in the finish that grows and compliments the other malt flavors. The black roasted bitterness lingers for a moment in the finish.

M- The full mouthfeel has a luscious thickness with a gentle alcohol warmth that finishes each sip nicely.

O- This beer has a nice rich depth to it with the espresso adding a nice quality to the beer without being over the top. It was delicious but the vegetal flavor was a bit odd and got in the way of the other flavors. I’m not sure if this would age out or get worse but it could really improve if the coffee flavor stayed and the vegetal note left.

rhoadsrage, May 28, 2013
Photo of jlindros
4.51/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been excited to try this for a while now, and finally got around to it.

Pours a nice dark creamy frothy thick 1 finger mocha colored head that fades semi slowly, a nice lacing, pitch black beer with not light coming through, kinda reminds me of the kaffee I got in Belgium.

Nose is great, just as expected, lots of dark malts, a little roast, with hints of dark chocolate and super dark intense cocoa. then loads of coffee and espresso, fresh roasted ground coffee beans, super pact espresso rich nutty like, a nice roast without being super acrid either. It also brings a light smoked malt character which is also interesting, and a light nutty caramel aroma somewhere under that, and even a faint vanilla character. So much fresh coffee and espresso roast!

Taste starts with loads of dark malts as expected, big creamy dark chocolate, so much chocolate, dark cocoa, a little thick milk chocolate, nice melting Belgian chocolate, a little vanilla and some nice caramel as well. Roasted malts are there but barely, but they lead teh way for the big coffee flavor, and fresh espresso beans, freshly ground and somewhat freshly roasted coffee, and a nice rich coffee flavor. It doesn't get acrid, at all, which is really interesting for how much fresh roasted espresso is in this, I can almost feel the caffeine seeping into my tongue. There is also a hint of warming booze, but not much, and with the mild sweetness and huge roasty coffee and dark chocolate, drinks like the abv is closer to 7%. Besides a mild bitterness from teh roasted coffee, there is also a light earthy hop presence, but barely. Finish is drier but a little sticky as it really coats the mouth, with more earthy bitterness, long fresh roasted espresso beans lingering for a long time, and a bit more dark chocolate.

Mouth is full bodied, nice and creamy, thick and somewhat lush, just a touch of booze.

Overall lives up to the hype, this beer is awesome! It's no Vietnamese Speedway, but it's not too far off. No flaws in this beer, everything in the right proportions, very tasty, and way too drinkable!

jlindros, Jun 14, 2013
Photo of stakem
3.91/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber into a matching Stone standard pint glass. The brew pours black in color with a finger of khaki head that fades to a thin film leaving a wall of patchy lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma includes plenty of coffee character with a backing of roasted grain typical of the base brew. Notes of bitter baker's cocoa mingle with a hint of mineral character and earthen aspects. A tinge of alcohol and fruity hops wrap things up in the aroma department.

The flavor is bitter and roasted. Fresh coffee, mineral and earthen aspects give way to bitter chocolate just like the aroma suggested. The 11% abv is present with a fruity accent and a bit of solvent burn across the back of the throat. More sips reveal an increased bitterness not just from the coffee/roasted grain but also from the presence of some hops.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. I gotta admit that I am a big fan of the standard stone IRS and everything about this brew seemed like a win. I was surprised to see a slight bump in alcohol level over the base brew, I expected it to be lower with the coffee edition. I think the alcohol is a little too forward and some aging might do that aspect good but if I had more of this, I would not hesitate in drinking it for fear that the coffee would fade leaving you with just a lightly different standard Stone IRS. Regardless, this is good stuff, get it while you can.

stakem, May 24, 2013
Photo of brentk56
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A rather thin mocha head sits atop the pitch black liquid, even after a somewhat hard pour; not much staying power, though there a more than a few dots of lace left behind on the chalice

Smell: I was expecting more coffee but this is really fruity, with prunes and dates interspersed with chocolate and coffee tones

Taste: Fruitier, too, on the palate than what I was expecting, with prune and date flavors forward pushing into the bitterness brought from the hops (it is a Stone, of course) and coffee; underneath, chocolate and coffee underpin the flavor profile with a bit of lactose softening the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation and some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Quite different from what I was expecting and the bitter hop flavors were a bit of a distraction for me; good, but there are other coffee stouts I prefer more

brentk56, Jun 29, 2013
Photo of MasterSki
4.09/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Whole Foods. Shared this with the lovely ladies at Debonair Social Club. Served in a fine plastic cup.

A - Creamy mocha foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and splotchy lacework. Very dark brown with some mild transparency at the fringes.

S - Iced coffee dominates, with modest amounts of baker's chocolate, raisins, dark fruits, a dollop of caramel, and perhaps a hint of anise. Still, very much an espresso-forward beer.

T - The taste is similarly coffee-heavy; it's a bit rough and diner-esque. More roasty, dark, an licorice-heavy than the aroma, but still a sweeter American-style stout on the whole. More of the base beer comes out as this warms, with notes of biscuit and caramel and less coffee as this reaches room temperature.

M - Surprisingly zesty carbonation. Tannic and gritty texture, medium body that becomes a bit creamier as the beer warms up. Some mild warming alcohol.

D - I drank the majority of the bomber as the ladies just weren't feeling coffee beer. Got a bit fatiguing near the end, but still largely enjoyable. Much better than the 'Belgian Anus' version of the IRS.

MasterSki, May 29, 2013
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 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
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Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,601 ratings.