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Espresso Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Espresso Imperial Russian StoutEspresso Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.

362 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 362
Hads: 2,703
Avg: 4.34
pDev: 7.83%
Wants: 204
Gots: 408 | FT: 38
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co.
California, United States | website

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout | 11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WillCarrera on 04-17-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 362 | Hads: 2,703
Photo of buschbeer
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1 PT. 6 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black with an inch of mocha head that leaves a little lacing.

There is the obvious coffee smell. I also get some chocolate and roasted malt.

The coffee hits my palate first. It gives way to some burnt toast and has a bitter, black coffee finish.

Full mouthfeel with low carbonation

Almost three years did not hurt this beer at all. It still tasted great with plenty of coffee flavor and aroma to go around.

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Photo of BeerIslander
4.79/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage

Pour: Black as midnight, dark mocha colored head.

Smell: Roasted espresso beans, molasses, taffy, delicate hints of caramel, dark chocolate

Taste: Coffee, chocolate, nicely roasted malt

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant, some carbonation (but not too much), a nice and light roasty finish, and I can't taste the alcohol at 11%

Overall: Stone has cranked out a masterpiece, and I hope that they make it again. This is perfect for aging for a couple of years. What a find.

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Photo of justinp444
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vintage 2013. Poured into a tulip it has a inch thick head of light beige with a pitch black body.Smell of fresh roasted coffee, chocolate roasted malt, licorice, vanilla, and caramel. Taste is tons of espresso, slight chocolate, bitter roasted malt, a fresh coffee aftertaste, slight vanilla, and some caramel. Mouth feel is full and rich with a good amount of carbonation for a crisp taste and a full body. Aged to become a bit more bitter, but a whole lot more complex on the nose and a tad bit creamier to me.

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Photo of hophugger
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amazing deep chocolate, almost black color with a couple fingers of tan head, fizzy and clinging to all sides of the visible glass. Aromas of heavily roasted coffee, espresso and sweet malts. Taste is amazing. This 2 year old beer has great flavors of espresso, roasted, quality coffee beans, sweet and slightly bitter maltiness and balances so well together. Aftertaste is so clean, with only a touch of bitterness and a nice lingering roast coffee flavor. Definitely, the most balanced and flavorful Coffee stout I have ever had. If you have the chance, do not miss it...2103 odd year release. Hope they make it again !!!!!!!!

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tasting notes. Rich espresso and dark malt on the nose. Very rich espresso and malts with hints of sherry or port. Surprisingly not a hop bomb. Fruit, some chocolate. Very smooth, a very good Russian Imperial Stout. Very fine, soft carbonation. Creamy, chewy. This is stupendous.

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Photo of arvidkoval
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/28/13

L- Pitch black. Tan head.

S- Espresso nose.

T- Espresso, some dark chocolate, just a general roasty malt flavor. Bittersweet finish.

F- Nice feel, wouldn't mind it being a bit thicker though.

O- This is way better than the regular IRS in my opinion. DELICIOUS!

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Photo of Catracho5
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass. This is the 2013 release reviewed in 2015

A: Black with some light coming through on the edges, nice creamy mocha head, some lacing, viscous, looks really nice.

A: Big roasted chocolate, coffee aromas, roasted malts, some alcohol, smells really great.

T: Roasted chocolate, dark fruits, malts, bitterness on the back end, some coffee, finishes really dry. Taste great, easy drinking.

M: Lots of carbonation, dry, viscous, smooth on the palate.

O: Pretty good, not a lot of coffee but after two years I'd expect some decrease in coffee presence. I've never had this fresh or Stone Imperial Russian Stout. Reminds me of Narwhal with a bitter finish. I think that maybe the coffee residue coming through, it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Canada_Dan
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013, 8 oz pour served in a snifter. On tap at Freshcraft in Denver
Look- midnight black with a creamy brown head that sticks to the sides of the glass. This one's got legs.
Smell- dark roast coffee, sweet roasted malts and chocolate. Booziness is faint but there and there's a sweet smokiness like pipe tobacco also present.
Taste- Love the coffee flavor, so upfront and carries through the entire sip. Alcohol is well hidden . Getting more dark, dry chocolate but also some sweetness from the roasted malt.
Feel- Thick mouthfeel but not over the top. Perfect for the style.
Overall- Not sure how I passed this beer up so many times. One of the best coffee stouts I've had no doubt. World class

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%

Very similar to the reg version. Subtle yet delightful coffee notes on the back end that give this a nice twist. The yr of aging I gave this one helped add to the smooth, mellow nature of it compared to a fresh IRS, but may have led to the espresso notes being more in the background than if it were fresh. Very good

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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%

Smooth and sweet, this one! I may choose the Espresso over the more highly regarded Stone RIS the next time I get the opportunity. As soon as I got a whiff of this beer, I knew it was a Stone product (blind taste test)! The smell instantly grabbed my attention, it was like drinking beer in a coffee shop!

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%

Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a Firestone Walker snifter.

A: Dark - essentially black - and opaque. Forms a half-finger of tan creamy head that fades quickly. Low visible carbonation. 4.5/5

S: Coffee, creamy lactose sweetness, roasted malts, some nuttiness, and leathery musk. 18/20

T: Bitter, dark roasted coffee, roasted malts, lactose, dark nuttiness, touches of mocha and tobacco, and just hints of anise. Despite a year plus on this bottle, there is still a noticeable hop bitterness in the hang with the roasted coffee and sweetness. 39/45

M: Medium body for the style with a sticky mouthfeel. The alcohol presence is fairly well-hidden for the listed ABV. Average carbonation sensation for style. 8.5/10

O: This was quite tasty, especially for the reasonable price point I remember paying. Over a year on this bottle seems to have agreed with the brew quite well. 18/20

Estimated final score: 4.28
Calculated final score: 88/100
Old BA score: 4.40

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Photo of Buschyfor3
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%

Serving: 22oz bomber poured into a snifter

A: Sluggish, inky black pour, completely opaque; what head that did percolate up on the pour quickly dissipated to nothing more than a mocha colored ring around the circumference of the glass; looks just as imposing like its namesake base stout.

S: The first inhale brings about prominent notes of dark-roasted coffee beans, burnt sugar and bittersweet chocolate; perhaps a hint of some dark fruits around the edges (like plum or prunes); some sweetness does break through the roasted overtones, coming across as a bit like caramel and lighter milk chocolate; alcohol does not seem as prominent on the nose as I remember from the original Stone IRS.

T: Following the nose, the initial wave of flavor brings a wealth of dark-roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate – think chocolate covered espresso beans; the bitter notes from the coffee/espresso is then cut through by some sugary tones akin to a lighter milk chocolate bar and some caramel or toffee; the malt presence rises mid-sip, with a dark, bready, molasses flavor punctuated with faint hints of dark fruits (reminiscent of fruitcake); finish sees the return of roasted coffee overtones with a pleasing bitterness that lingers until the next sip; alcohol does begin to creep up near the end of each sip with a bit of warming sting, particularly as the beer warms in the glass.

M: Thick, chewy, with a nice presence on the tongue; definitely full bodied; carbonation is soft.

O: At 11% ABV, the Espresso IRS is a heavy hitter, but the alcohol punch seems more tempered this time around. I cracked this bottle with the better part of 6 months age on it. I wouldn’t call it rough or “hot” (like I called a fresh ’09 IRS in a previous review), but another 6 months would suit this beer just fine from a drinkability standpoint. The alcohol is there, and it’s held in check until near the end of the bottle, but you get the sense that the hearty roastiness from the rich espresso and dark malts is there to take command of the palate from the first sip and try to overpower any suggestions of spicy, fusel alcohol, instead of smoothing out the alcohol burn from the get-go. But the reality of this type of beer is that it is a sipper, and once the beer reaches room temp, the alcohol begins to break through the palate with more and more prominence. Another 6 months would just give enough extra time to let the espresso notes mellow, accentuate more of the sweetness – chocolate, dark fruits, molasses, vanilla - that is present in the base stout, and simmer down a bit more of the alcohol sting. As part of Stone’s ongoing odd-year release series, 2013’s offering is miles better than 2011’s Belgo-Anise variant, and a nice new twist on one of the most popular Russian Imperial Stouts on the craft scene.

Final say: I'd rate this just a notch ahead of the original IRS simply due to slightly improved drinkability. For a direct comparison to another espresso-variant RIS, I'd say Great Divide's Espresso Oak Aged Yeti edges out Stone here, but not by a wide margin.

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Photo of roger617
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 'vintage' Bomber poured into snifter 8/8/14. I remember having go this when it first came out on tap and enjoying it quite a bit, excited to see what a year has done to it.

A: Pours black in color with half a finger of mocha head that reduces fairly quickly and leaves a thin collar around the edge. Viscosity appears thick and creamy.
S: Chocolate, roast, slight char, carmel, sugary sweetness. There's a nice balance, more so than I recall when it was fresh.
M: Chocolate, coffee, char, a little bit of heat. Very smooth for 11%, and a nice variant of an already nice stout.
M: Carbed well, leaves a slightly dry aftertaste, with a hint of bitterness.
O: I hope they do this one again, I really enjoy it all around. The espresso addition adds another level of flavor that compliments the base very nicely.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.1/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25

From a bottle dated 3/18/13 into a snifter at fridge temp; allowed to warm.

Look: pours with very little head that quickly fades to a cinnamon-colored ring. Very dark brown that has a distinct ruby tinge where the light shines through.

Smell: I love coffee and I love beer (bit of a snob with both), but I almost never really enjoy the smell of coffee stouts; I enjoy this more than most. Cinnamon, chocolate, stale coffee, and maraschino cherries all make an appearance.

Taste: after getting past a fairly strong alcohol burn, this is just overflowing with chocolate, coffee, roasted marshmallows, fig, smoke, cherry, and cinnamon. Starts off sweet, ends bitter, neither to an unpleasant extreme.

Feel: a bit thin, especially given the abv and style. Also maybe a touch over-carbonated.

Overall: this is close to greatness, which is saying a lot for a style I don't tend to love. The harsh notes in the taste and the somewhat thin body are the major aspects that keep it from climbing into the next tier.

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Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I happened to find four of these a few days. I am very glad I did because it is very inexpensive and already has a year on it. The espresso is probably a bit muted because of the age but it blends very well together. Some vanilla flavors as well as chocolate mix very well with the obvious espresso. I enjoyed this more than the regular stone RIS and I can't wait to open another bottle in 6 months.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.76/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber 2013- poured into a snifter, inky black and a four finger frothy beige head. Nose- only faint coffee in the nose which is surprising, predominately sweet milk chocolate nose. Taste- much more espresso coming through in taste and actually has a fairly bitter finish between the coffee beans and the hopping. Not too sweet, has nice dark fudge quality with a slight acidity to it. Medium bodied, not cloying at all. very sold.

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Photo of tmbgnicu
4.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap at Sabatini's in Exeter, PA. Quite frankly, this is my favorite non BA stout. It pours black as night, it smells of coffee, caramel, heady malt. The taste is incredible, liked being hugged by a cup of coffee, it's clean and crisp but maintains the characteristics you expect from a stout. I have two bottles of this sitting in my cellar, and I can't wait to open one. I wish Stone brewed this one every year.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.59/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter. Bottled 3/28/2013.

A: Pours near black¬ with a finger of dense and fuzzy dark brown head that faded into a soft collar. Soapy patches of spotty lace was left down the glass.
S: Rich notes of smooth coffee and chocolate fudge dominate. I get deep notes of roast, slight caramel, faint licorice, booze and dark chocolate. Smells like the original, but with a touch more coffee.
T: Potent flavors of bitter dark chocolate, bitter black coffee, and a kiss of balance caramel and brown sugar sweetness. I get some slight peat, slight vanilla, and mild char. There is a sharp kick of anise in the finish, and the aftertaste is a touch boozy and rough.
M: Full body, thick and chewy mouthfeel, frothy but soft carbonation. Definitely bitter, and a bit rough around the edges.
O: A solid and potent stout but could use some polishing. Sips well, but I prefer other coffee stouts to this.

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Photo of Florida9
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: appear black in the glass though the edges show the beer to be a dark reddish brown. Forms a moderate sized mocha colored head though there is little staying power as it dissipates fairly quickly. Some light lacing.

S: full of dark malts, toasty malts, and darkly roasted coffee with strong alcoholic quality.

T: taste is quite pleasant. Mild sweetness. Dark malts. Dark coffee. Maybe a slight earthiness. But really there isn't a whole more going on other than dark roasted malts and deeply roasted coffee though that isn't a bad thing.

M: full bodied. Lower carbonation. Mild bitterness. Slight coffee acidity.

O: I found this one in the cellar and figured it was past it's prime. Pleasantly surprised it was still alive and well. Quite enjoyable and always impressed withStones ability to produce a well made RIS at a very affordable price.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Whole Foods in DC. From notes.

A - Poured black with a finger of beige head. Minimal spotty lace and not much in terms of retention.

S - Bold. Huge coffee and milk chocolate notes. Much stronger coffee notes in the glass as opposed to from the bottle. Lot's of roasted malt and chocolate.

T - Big milk chocolate and beastly coffee element. Finishes a bit sweet like iced coffee. Holy hell it's a solid take on the style. Layers of roast and chocolate with lot's of coffee.

M - Mild to medium carbonation, full creamy body, strong coffee bitterness.

O/D - Solid, strong coffee stout. Great base beer with a great added coffee element. Complex and tasty. Properly crafted.

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Photo of Phyl21ca
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a nice medium size dark brown foamy head with good retention and some lacing. Aroma consists of espresso notes with nice dry floral notes and no astringency. Taste is also dominated by espresso notes with no astringency and dry roasted malt notes also noticeable. Black chocolate notes are also very enjoyable. Body is quite full with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Body is about average for style with good carbonation and no apparent alcohol. Very enjoyable coffee stout from a brewer that rarely disappoint.

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Photo of philbe311
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
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…

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Photo of scotorum
4.6/5  rDev +6%
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.

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Photo of Tony49er
4.68/5  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

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Photo of rangerred
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

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Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 362 ratings.