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Espresso Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Espresso Imperial Russian StoutEspresso Imperial Russian Stout

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2,220 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2220
Reviews: 342
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 7.59%

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: 2,220 | Reviews: 342 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of philbe311


4.19/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A – A fairly active pour yields a full fingers worth of slightly late to develop light brown colored crisp frothiness with a bit of a rocky top… Decent retention… The color is a somewhat flat inky black that doesn’t allow any light to permeate… Largely still with a few streaks of carbonation seen towards the top of the glass…

S – A very nice nose… There is an undeniable coffee presence, but it isn’t nearly as potent as I would have expected… A strong vanilla presence… Caramel… Brown sugar… Molasses… A light bit of soy sauce… Raisins… A terrific Russian Imperial Stout aroma, but I wish the coffee were a bit more pronounced…

T – Starts with a tad of sweetness… Vanilla… Dark fruits… Caramel… Molasses… There’s a bit of roasted malts buried a bit beneath the surface… You have to wait quite a bit, but the espresso really emerges on the deep finish… It’s has a very deep dark roasted character…

M – On the lighter side of full bodied… Dense… Even and consistent… Limited carbonation… Starts lush… The middle is chewy and viscous… The finish is intensely dry…

D – There is no doubt this is an excellent brew, but I have some mixed feelings… This is a world class Russian Imperial Stout, but the espresso presence isn’t as in your face as I would have liked… Other than the name on the bottle and in the ferocious espresso on the finish of each sip, I would otherwise stuggle to identify this as a coffee beer… All that being said, I can’t knock it much because it’s still an outstanding brew…

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2014 11:14:15 | More by philbe311
Photo of scotorum


4.56/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from the 22 oz., bomber into a Samuel Smith English tulip pint.

a: Black with no clarity evident. Inch and a half tall dark tan head receded evenly to thick surface foam and dense patterned lacing.

s: Black coffee and dark chocolare

t: Sharp bite of strong black coffee and hops. Bitterness lingers at the sides of the tongue, and alcohol throat burn lets you know there is 11% alcohol in there.

m: Super smooth. Just great.

o: A stupendous coffee stout! A new favorite, although with such a high ABV the high-balancing effects of the caffeine are not enough to offset more than half of the alcohol content.
Dangerously tasty and sippable in the extreme.

Serving type: bottle

03-29-2014 03:20:40 | More by scotorum
Photo of Tony49er


4.69/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type- Poured into a tulip glass

Appearance- Dark black ink color, typical Imperial Russian Stout color, thick mocha head

Smell- Classic Imperial Russian roasted notes, dark and milk chocolate notes, tons of espresso in the nose, some bitterness in the nose from the espresso and roasted malts

Taste- Tons of espresso but not too over powering in the front of the palate, roasted malts, coffee bitterness, dark and milk chocolate in the back end of the palate for great sweetness... Very well balanced and age had really mixed all of the complex flavors together to make this beer even better

Mouthfeel- Thick Imperial Russian Stout mouthfeel, smooth creamy dark and sweet chocolate in the mouth

Overall- I have had the regular Stone Brewing Co IRS but I must say I LOVE this one this is an A+ beer for sure...just wish they released this beer more then once but I am glad I ended up getting a few bottles of it...A classic IRS but just up a notch with great espresso added...If you are ever able to find this GET IT...CHEERS

Serving type: bottle

03-17-2014 04:17:10 | More by Tony49er
Photo of rangerred


4.3/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a snifter out of a 22oz bomber.

Pours a very dark brown, but not nearly pitch black with a half finger dark tan head. Head retention is surprisingly good considering the strength and lacing is excellent.

Aroma has lots of milk chocolate up front with some lightly roasted coffee. This has about a year of age on it so I'm not sure what effect this has had on the nose. Notes of dark caramel and roasted malt as well.

More coffee is present in the flavor along with lots more milk chocolate. Strands of cooked caramel and some toffee balanced out by a fairly stout bitterness. A little hint of alcohol becomes present towards the finish. Silky smooth mouthfeel and a pretty sticky finish.

Overall, a very impressive imperial stout and another home run from Stone. I would like to try this fresh sometime.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2014 01:56:17 | More by rangerred
Photo of HopBomb515

New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Black as the darkest night. Thick on the pour. Thin khaki head settles and mostly disappears rather quickly. Some sticky malty based almost film like lace down the glass as you drink.

S - Big amazing aroma here. Sweet fruit, espresso, toasted malts, toffee, chocolate, black licorice and some smoke.

T - Not as coffee forward as I thought, and that's ok. The base beer gets a chance to shine. Roasted malt and licorice, espresso hits big and then some hop bite through the middle and some of that smoke from the nose, finishes slightly sweet with some fruitiness on the end and some alcohol heat.

M - Perfect carbonation, silky smooth at the same time with a stickiness and coating feeling on the pallet.

O - If you've had the regular IRS then you will be pleased to see that this beer showcases and then elevates it with some wonderful espresso flavor. Well done.

Serving type: bottle

03-10-2014 01:21:04 | More by HopBomb515
Photo of StoutItOutLoud


4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

an abbreviated review of a 22-oz bomber shared on 3-8-2014

opaque black appearance with 1/2-inch dark tan head, dissipating slowly and leaving a minimal collar

dark roast coffee and malts in the aroma, but there are more potent, more pleasant coffee beers

dark roast and chocolate gives way quickly to vegetal hop bitterness on the palate

i did not enjoy this beer as much as a year ago; would be inclined to blame the lapse in time and (perhaps) less than perfect cellar conditions, but the hops are not absent; on the contrary, they overpower the (albeit few) other elements of the beer. certainly, there are coffee beers (e.g., the Prairie Bomb I got to sample a day earlier) with more going on

Serving type: bottle

03-09-2014 18:46:42 | More by StoutItOutLoud
Photo of Flounder57


4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Review #800

22 oz bottle was poured into a large snifter. 2013 odd year release

Appearance: This beer poured a one finger mocha head that reduced to a thin layer . It is s pitch black color with no vision of bubbles coming up through the glass. Super frothy lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: Roasted espresso, chocolate, caramel, toffee, toasted malts, and a little smoke.

Taste: espresso coffer, delicious milk chocolate, caramel, toffee, toasted malts, a little smoke, a little bitterness, and some warm booze.

Mouthfeel: Super creamy silky chocolately smooth, full bodied, low to medium carbonation, and a little booze

Overall: This is probably one of the best RIS I have ever tasted. It was solid, balanced, and tasty the whole through down to the last sip. I need to find more of these odd year release bottles.

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 00:45:02 | More by Flounder57
Photo of craftbeersweden


4.76/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Systembolaget in Sweden.

A clear, dark brown, almoust black beer. One finger high head with a beigebrown colour.

Nose: Roasted malt, espresso coffee, cream, dark bread, vanilla icecream, dark chocolate, dried fruit and vanille.

Taste: Espresso, roasted malt, licorice, hops and oak. A creamy mouthfeel with a soft texture.
The alcohol is well hidden. A great sweetness from the malt that is balanced of the bitternes from the coffee.

GREAT imperial stout! - Go get it!

Serving type: bottle

03-02-2014 00:28:01 | More by craftbeersweden
Photo of StonedTrippin


4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

a very unique beverage, worthy of all the high praise for sure, but somewhat of a stranger for an imperial stout, and in many ways more of a quad than a stout. its dark a dreamy for sure, sudsy and fading tan head less than an inch on the top, but deep brown to black in color, with just the faintest red glow along the perimeter of my globe glass when i hold it to a florescent bulb. the nose is surprisingly yeasty, and yeah, this has a bit of age on it thanks to careful cellaring by drlovemd87, but it hasnt lost a step. almost belgian yeast, with all the incumbent fruit esters on the nose, a shot of lazily pulled, slightly bitter espresso, counteracted by sweet chocolate malt and an warming alcohol presence. the taste is similar, oddly quad-like, with more raisin and molasses character than dark bitter malt and coffee, although this is indeed coffee driven. no bitterness, no acid, just warming booze, interesting leftover candy style sugar, berry espresso, and a creaminess of the feel that is sensational. do i reckon this is one of the top 250 in the world? probably not to be honest, but its a well made beer that brings something a little different to the table for the style, and in a coffee stout polluter beer-scape, this leaves a notable impression. smooth and heavy in feel, it has just the right vibe. worth a try because its weird, aging like a quad and all. give it time, malt comes to play. well hidden 11% abv too...

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 05:41:13 | More by StonedTrippin
Photo of BSK_ONE

New Jersey

3.99/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured from a bottle into a tulip glass. Dark brown with lines of red around the rim. Almost no head dispute the aggressive pour. Nice lacing though.

S: Best quality of the beer. Espresso, coffee beans, and chocolate very prevalent and invite you to take that first sip.

T: 11% alcohol is well hidden. Coffee flavor a come to the forefront, then the chocolate appears, some licorice and roasted malts finish it off. Very nice!

M: Smooth, warming and non offensive.

O: I've always felt like an outsider for not liking Stone beers as much as the next guy. This was going to be my last chance beer. This one was very good! I enjoyed it a lot and felt that not only was it tasty, but Multi-tiered.

Serving type: bottle

02-28-2014 02:01:01 | More by BSK_ONE
Photo of 57md


4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance is dark brown to black with over a finger of tan head that lasted quite some time. Mild roast in the nose. The roasted malt, creaminess and residual sweetness found in the standard RIS can be found in this offering as well. In addition, notes of chocolate and coffee are apparent (surprisingly, more chocolate than coffee).

Serving type: on-tap

02-23-2014 01:00:25 | More by 57md
Photo of brutusmuktuk


5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing beer. Has a jet black color with a foamy brown head. Aroma is coffee and malts. The taste is espresso coffee with some malt and chocolate. The beer goes down smooth and has a nice full body feel. One of the best beers I have ever had - almost perfect in every category.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2014 22:36:14 | More by brutusmuktuk
Photo of tmm313


4.38/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottled: 3/14/13
Enjoyed: 2/18/14

A- Pitch black. Poured very little head. Thick alcohol legs.

S- Coffee, dark fruits, and roasted malt up front. Caramel, booze, dark chocolate, and hop spice when you really dig in.

T- Wow. This one's a roller coaster. Espresso, dark fruits, and toffee hit you up front. Big roasted malt in the middle. Licorice appears and fades away as the lightly lingering initial flavors and roasted malts transition into earthy hop spice, a little char, and espresso in the finish. Super smooth, slight burn from the booze from the back of the tongue into your stomach. God, I love Stone.

M- Thicker side of medium body. Smooth and slick on the tongue. Drying with a light woodsy, charred aftertaste.

O- Why waste words? As always, Stone knows what the hell they're doing.

Serving type: bottle

02-19-2014 00:37:48 | More by tmm313
Photo of BuccoFan

District of Columbia

3.84/5  rDev -11.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into 12 oz. snifter glass from 22 oz. bottle, aged for about five months. Pour is pretty pitch black and leaves a very thin head. Aroma is a very inviting mix of malt, coffee and chocolate. Mouthfeel is relatively solid, with a slight carbonation, and a little more thin than I expected. Taste is underwhelming, actually.

I guess tastes can vary on how much bean you want to be able to taste in the coffee family stouts. This one is very subtle in its expresso taste, and, thus, for me, a tad bit disappointing. Finish is also not as complete as I think I was expecting for an 11% Stone stout. A good stout, as it's a Stone, but just not what I was hoping for.

Serving type: bottle

02-08-2014 01:28:05 | More by BuccoFan
Photo of cpetrone84


3.65/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour is black with dark caramel head. The nose has a strong roasted coffee up front, touch of anise, slight dark malt and caramel. Taste is even more roasted coffee, notes of dark chocolate, roasted brown sugar and caramel with some faint berry sweetness in back. Body is thick and viscous, strong carbonation to balance, sticky and chewy.

Serving type: bottle

02-02-2014 23:25:05 | More by cpetrone84
Photo of kevanb


3.16/5  rDev -27.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

650ml bottle, 2013 Odd Year Vintage, poured into a Stone IRS Snifter.

The beer pours a deep jet black color, hues of cola brown, opaque and heavy with a thick, taut caramel head, about a finger high that has moderate retention and leaves a few big spots of lace behind. The aroma is heavy on the coffee, roasty but not over the top, lots of bittersweet chocolate, stone fruit and rich grain, touches of phenol alcohol at the end. It's a surprisingly simple aroma given the complexity of the base beer, but the coffee really takes over. The flavors mirror the nose, super intense coffee, ripe bean and cold brewed flavor with big chocolate flavor with rich grain, dark stone fruit and a bit of brown sugar. Again, the coffee really dominates and reduces this beer into it's simplest form. The mouthfeel is regrettably thin, carbonation is high and crisp, zips across the tongue, coats moderately well, but this isn't as rich or silky as the base beer can be. The finish is a bit weak and unremarkable, doesn't really do anything other to reinforce how simple and boring this beer became.

Verdict: I had high hopes for this beer and it really just fell short. The coffee was just too dominant, even after almost a year, which really put things out of whack. The balance is poor and the thin body didn't do this beer any justice. Perhaps the 2015 Odd Year Beer will be more interesting.

Serving type: bottle

01-31-2014 04:32:04 | More by kevanb
Photo of TreyIsWilson


4.34/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a pitch black with a one-finger tan head. Light amount of lacing.

S - Roasted malts with coffee and chocolate.

T - Starts off sweet chocolatey taste. Sweetness fades into a nice roasted coffee bitterness. Finish is slightly smokey.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation. Big thick creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol hardly noticeable.

O - Awesome beer. Stone really let the espresso shine. Very tasty and well balanced.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 03:08:55 | More by TreyIsWilson
Photo of TBoneJones


4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Stone Espresso bottled March in '13 (posted from prior tasting notes)
Deep black with a frothy tan head.
Nose is cocoa, dark chocolate, coffee, licorice, raisin.
Taste is strong roasted coffee and malts. Bold, bitter stout with enough sweetness rolling in on the backend to make this Stone stout a favorite (surpasses their regular RIS of this same year in my book). I didn't realize to check the abv until after I took a couple of initial sips; I noticed that while I barely smelled any, I can tell this is a bit above the 9% I assumed it was.
Mouth feels nice and thick, smooth. Certainly more drinkable than you'd expect with an 11% abv.
A highly impressive stout. I wish this was the regular RIS of the year; the espresso played not the central role, but instead was a contributing factor to a very well-rounded, creamy, top-notch imperial stout.

Serving type: bottle

01-29-2014 02:17:53 | More by TBoneJones
Photo of thegodfather1076


4.41/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: Very nice looking bottle in the Stone gargoyle tradition with all font and graphics painted on. Front label states “Ale Brewed with Espresso”, “2013 Odd Year Release”, and gives ABV information. Side label gives cellaring information. Back label gives a great back story and description of the beer and web info. Bottle on date 3/14/13.

Appearance: An aggressive pour from its 22oz brown bomber into a 16oz snifter led to a 2 finger thick light brown tightly packed head atop an oily thick jet black beer that is completely opaque. Head retention was a solid 3min 30sec before fading to a thick coating and with very good lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smell is heavy on the deep dark roasted espresso beans with a bit of charred smokiness and a bit of woodiness. Intoxicating.

Flavor/Taste: Taste is dominated by deep roasted coffee malts with a bit of dark chocolate on the front end. Mid point is dominated by a deep dark charred roasted espresso. Back end is dominated by that deep dark roasted coffee with a bitter coffee aftertaste. Alcohol is masked very well.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: This is a full bodied beer with thick creamy and velvety mouthfeel that is very drinkable.

Overall/Comments: Wow. This is a very welcome variant on a an already excellent beer. Very tasty and easy drinking. This will come up and bite you because of the easy drinking nature and high ABV. If you can get your hands on it I would suggest doing so. Consumed 10/26/2013. Classified as a Russian Imperial Stout @ 11%ABV.

Serving type: bottle

01-24-2014 19:52:51 | More by thegodfather1076
Photo of Benish


4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle poured into Pizza Boy snifter glass.

Appearance: a thick and creamy brown foam built up. Very little lacings around the glass except for that leftover foam at the outer edges that escape to the glass. Looks almost like drinking a big glass of espresso.

Smell: instantly coffee hit my noes. Contrary to it being 'espresso,' the aroma is really like any other coffee beer. It presented that nice aroma of roasted coffee beans as well as the roasted malt from the beer.

Taste: Starts out mildly sweet and than the bitterness catches up. Hard to say if the bitter counterpart is from the hops, coffee, or both. PIcked up a ton of coffee followed by a very smoky finish. This beer seems kind of savory. It's very easy to drink, the alcohol is hardly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel, not so thick but still satisfying.

Overall: an outstanding brew - especially considering it was bottled 03/28/2013. The coffee is intense, however I have not tried this fresh. Much better than the regular Stone RIS in my opinion. Sometimes drinking a coffee stout is better than drinking a barrel-age coffee stout because you can appreciate the coffee more, just like this one.

Serving type: bottle

01-15-2014 02:54:55 | More by Benish
Photo of ChrisChagnon


4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 Bottle

This beer is just dark as night, thin head if anything. Fades really quick and just looks like oil

Smell is espresso with chocolate and you can definitely smell the booze here, as expected with the huge ABV

The taste is a small bit of espresso, which does show up a bit more as it warms, but mostly chocolate and malt is what I got from it

Oily and just coats the inside of your mouth. A really thick taste, but the alcohol is hidden fairly well as opposed to what I thought from the smell

I have another bottle that I am going to age a little longer and see how it tastes. This is a good beer though

Serving type: bottle

01-11-2014 20:16:06 | More by ChrisChagnon
Photo of Tonerelia

New Jersey

1.94/5  rDev -55.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

Poured into snifter looked like motor oil with the same consistency, low if any carbonation even when poured more aggressively than normal.

Smell was strong and of sheer alcohol, there was almost no smell of anything else present.

taste was so hoppy, I do understand that, that is Stone's style but jeeze for a stout to be the hoppy good lord.

Overall I certainly will not be purchasing this again,

Serving type: bottle

Serving type: bottle

01-04-2014 20:03:42 | More by Tonerelia
Photo of barnzy78


4.46/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - jet black, creamy tan head hangs around for a bit
S - espressso, rich dark chocolate, booze
T - sweet, dark chocolate, espressso, molasses, burnt caramel, roasted barley, booze, earthy piny hops linger
M - thick and creamy, full bodied, lower carbonation
O - I've been hanging on to this one for almost a year. Nice to drink as my first beer of 2014. I knew it would be good and it did not disappoint.

Serving type: bottle

01-02-2014 00:12:04 | More by barnzy78
Photo of bambam2517


4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In comparison to the standard RIS from Stone, I prefer this a little less. I'm a big coffee drinker as well, but in my opinion the coffee bitterness imparted on this brew leaves it a little off-balance and less interesting taste-wise. They are near identical in appearance, and the nose on both is nice ( The espresso smell is present in both, but much more prevalent in this version of course.) Taste is so dominant in bitter strong coffee that the subtle dark fruit goes missing and the sweet milky chocolate is too far scaled back.

Serving type: bottle

12-20-2013 22:09:24 | More by bambam2517
Photo of darthvohn


4.16/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass Used: Snifter

Appearance: Jet black

Smell: Char, roasted malt, strong coffee and dutch cocoa powder.

Taste: Pleasantly bitter espresso, cocoa, and roasted/charred malty goodness. Pretty close to the nose.

Mouthfeel: A bit slick, oily. Low-medium carbonation. Overall pleasant. Alcohol is hidden extremely well.

Overall: I picked this one up on a whim and was blown away. Recommend to anyone who loves espresso and IRS. I will definitely pick this up when available.

Serving type: bottle

12-15-2013 03:50:07 | More by darthvohn
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Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 2,220 ratings.