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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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 362 | Hads: 2,703
Photo of jhamp9
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Jet black pour with a mocha head that fades down to a film.

Aroma is dark chocolate, espresso, and wood. Some molasses in there as well.

Taste has a nice chocolaty sweetness up front that goes into coffee, char, and faint caramel. Finishes bitter with a coffee aftertaste.

Slick on the palate but dries out. Warms on the way down.

Really good beer. Coffee is there but more subtle than I expected. Alcohol is concealed.

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Photo of Fcolle2
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce 2013

A: slight mocha head dissipates rather quickly. Very dark no light passes through this beer. Minimal lacing

N: very subtle coffee notes. Resembles black licorice.

T: bitter from the espresso transitions to sweet dark chocolate with a warm alcohol finish. Roasted malt flavor lingers pleastly

M: Thick, coats the mouth entirely

O: delicious. I Definitely am going to age a few to let the alcohol mellow and coffee/chocolate notes to thrive. At $6.99 a bomber I can't pass this up when I see it

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Photo of Sarlacc83
2.81/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle split with my wife.

A: Pours like oil and develops an almost gold mocha head. Nice legs.

N: Coffee, roasted malt, and hops. A lot of smoke and licorice. Has an off putting smell in here - kind of earthy vegetable. Fresh moss and baker’s chocolate.

T: Thick acrid smoke, hop bitterness and espresso. Very little sweetness to be found here and it’s very unbalanced. Alternates between stale coffee drinking and a decent beer.

M: Oily and thick. Booze is pronounced, and this is excessively drying to the point of being desiccating.

O: Husky graininess and an unworkable imbalance in between the decent drinking points make this a pass for me. It gets worse as I drink it, to the point where my wife won’t touch hers, and I either got a bad bottle or this needs to be drank really cold. (Mine was cellar temp.)

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Photo of rlee1390
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A-Black in the glass, two finger deep brown head.

S-Good deal of coffee, some roasted malt and more coffee. Chocolate as well.

T-Nice roasted coffee, great balance. Dark chocolate, mild bitterness, tad bit go roasted malt. Some spices.

M-Medium bodied, nicely carbonated and a tad creamy

O-It is difficult for Stone to miss. A well crafted beer the balance is great. What a coffee stout should aspire to be.

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Photo of arfenhouse
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: Black with light brown head. Decent retention.

S: Roasted coffee bean and charred grain. Sweet vanilla. Small bit of chocolate and some alcohol heat.

T: A shot of espresso with unsweetened chocolate upfront. A decent amount of sweet vanilla and chocolate come in. A bit of bitter cocoa, toasted grain, and black coffee twang in the end and into the aftertaste.

M: Medium-full body with medium carbonation. Wet and sticky.

O: Tasty, big, roasty, sweet, and bitter IRS. Espresso is a nice addition to the blend.

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Photo of tubeyes
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A Thick and black as night, min brown head, some nice lace.
S cherry like espresso coffee cocoa goodness.
T coffee espresso chocolate marshmellow, some estery hop dark chocolate bitterness on end
M pillowy almost chewy well carbonated mf, chocolate espresso aftertaste.
O very impressive beer, heavy, brutal, tasteful, very strong but not overly offensive well rounded beer. Had on tap in large snifter at OSDH Denton, happy American Craft Beer Week!

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Photo of PicoPapa
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

On tap at 2 Bros. in Salem, CT. Pours a pitch black color with a half inch of light brown head. Lots of lacing. The aroma is a big whiff of coffee and espresso with some dark chocolate and roasted malts. Flavors of espresso, dark chocolate, earth, roasted malts and hints of licorice. Super smooth and easy to drink. I'd say more drinkable than the regular IRS. Nice alcohol presence throughout. Medium bodied with a velvety mouthfeel. Overall, this odd beer for odd years is a hit and way better than the Oak Smoked Old Guardian. Worth seeking out.

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Photo of FreshHawk
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A - Deep black with a medium sized, creamy, smooth, thick, cafe head. Really nice retention leaving a thick layer of lace.

S - Chocolate covered coffee beans is what first comes to mind. Plenty of espresso, dark and bittersweet chocolate, and roasted malt. Notes of vanilla and cream sweetness. Subtle anise aroma shows up now and then but not strong or consistent.

T - Similar to the nose. A lot of both espresson and dark/bittersweet chocolate. Some baker's chocolate and slightly sweet chocolate flavors in there. Subtle sweet vanilla and cream. Stronger roasted malt and coffee on the finish. No real anise flavors on the tongue. Subtle caramel background.

M - Medium to light body. Slightly above average carbonation for the style. Pretty creamy and smooth.

D - Easy drinking coffee stout. Everything is well integrated and balanced. Alcohol really well hidden. Overall, this beer works well and has me wanting more.

Notes: Really nice coffee stout. Big, bold flavors but everything melds together. Chocolate and coffee are huge here, but the mix together so well. Subtle sweetness, subtle bitterness, but not a subtle beer. Wonderful and definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Vonerichs
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

IRS is one of my favorite beers to begin with, so I was pretty excited to try this variation.

Dark black body with a mohagany hue around the edges. It has a nice short but dense coffee colored head.

The sweet black licorice still dominates the nose with berry and earthy hops. The espresso adds more depth. Notes of fudge, too.

Dessert in a glass. Fudge brownies with coffee. Currant and anise. Earthy hop long lasting finish.

Big and sticky sweet mouthfeel. Moderate carbonation.

This is the best odd beer of the series so far. It makes perfect sense and was pulled off flawlessly.

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Photo of estlinska
4.71/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a large tulip glass on 5/13/13. This beer pours perfectly black as tar with absolutely no light penetration. There is a touch or ruby color to the edges, but it's overall just a black hole. The head though, is big and frothy and very dark mocha colored. This thing looks great in the glass. On the nose, there is, of course, a beautiful dark roast espresso up front. This smell is a little overbearing on the remaining smells of the beer, but it's not a bad smell. It smells fantastic, but lacks some complexity present in the original concoction of the Imperial Russian Stout. There are some faint chocolates and some of the citrus smells there in the background, but espresso is big and it is very enticing. The taste is fantastic. The original IRS is a little harsh with the heavy hand of hops, but the espresso smooths this beer our amazingly. The coffee works well with some fruit and citrus notes. It produces a nice symbiosis. The mouthfeel is very big and full with some easy alcohol warming that does not overwhelm the beer. There is a slightly heavy sweetness at the bad end, but nonetheless takes very little from the beer. Overall, this beer is fantastic and is probably even a slight improvement to the original beer.

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Photo of TheSevenDuffs
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 03/28/13. Poured in to tulip.

A - Black with one finger of mocha colorued head.

S - A huge espresso aroma dominates with some roast. Fairly one dimensional nose.

T - A big espresso hit up front with a good hop presence to provide some bitterness. Some roast, smoke and a touch of licorice. The hop profile creates a perfect compliment for the bitter espresso flavours, preventing this from being one dimensional.

M - Medium body with a good chew. Light to moderate carbonation.

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Photo of richj1970
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 22 oz bomber into tulip glass.

A: Pours pitch black with 1-2 finger tan creamy head. Nice lacing.

S: Lots of coffee mixed with some smoky and roasted malts. A bit of vanilla and chocolate.

T: Coffee flavors up front with lots of nice smoky and roasted flavors. The coffee is more up front as the beer warms.

M: Nice body that coats the tongue nicely.

O: Very nice brew. I really enjoy stouts with big chocolate and coffee flavors so this one feels right at home. I picked up 4 bottle to start and may have to go back for more before they run out of stock...

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Photo of portia99
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a Dogfish Head signature glass.

A - Pours with a bit of a thinnish body out of the bottle. In the glass this sits with seemingly excellent clarity judged only by what I can see thru the edges which consist of an almost cola-like appearance. Head is non-existent, even on a semi-aggressive pour with only the faintest of collars apparent. No lacing.

S - Certainly lives up to the name with lots of coffee aromas up front. Fair amount of creamy vanilla takes hold too. Burnt espresso roastiness, faint licorice. As it warms, coffee becomes more and more dominant...and more and more enticing. Complexity is lacking a bit, but hardly more than a minor concern.

T - Oh yeah...heavy handed coffee and espresso flavors, burnt and dark roasty with light acidity and some acrid charred flavors. Some licorice flavors come thru and a rather potent alcohol component as well. Pretty tasty overall.

M - Body is thicker than it appears in the pour but still only manages at best a medium level body...seems a bit on the thin side for the style. Coffee flavors dominate throughout with burnt, acrid and roasty aspects as one would expect. Carbonation is on the lower side and fits well with the character of the beer. Would like a bit more body in an imperial stout, but otherwise pretty darn good.

O - One of those beers where the appearance and the aroma set you up to expect a good beer, but then the flavor impresses even further. Typically I find the opposite with impressive look and aroma, then so-so flavor. This one "surprises" a bit in the positive direction. I really enjoy the standard Stone RIS so I expected/hoped this would even be a notch above...for flavor I think this accomplishes that feat. Glad I've been able to grab a few of these to put in the cellar to enjoy periodically in the future.

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Photo of rodkin
4.24/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

On tap at Three Kings.

Appearance is black with a small foamy head.

Smell is coffee, bitter chocolate, hint of vanilla.

Taste is espresso, chocolate, vanilla, slight anise, roasted malts. Surprisingly well balanced. The coffee takes center stage, but it definitely doesn't dominate.

Mouthfeel is smooth, medium thickness, slightly oily.

I really like the addition of coffee. I would definitely say it improves the base beer.

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

This brew looks great - a perfectly opaque ebony, with a light tan head. The bubbles linger for a long while, leaving nice traces along the inside of the glass. Very frothy. The aroma is an extraordinarily fresh and natural scent of roasted coffee beans. After a taste, the espresso notes are joined by roasted malts and unsweetened chocolate. It's pleasantly bitter, and the finish is quite crisp, with a slight tang of hops detected as well. Overall, it's very full bodied, but also balanced drinkable. Preferred over the regular Stone Imperial Russian Stout for sure, and as coffee stouts go, this is in the top echelon.

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Photo of MaineBrewing
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - poured a pitch black oil color with dark tan 1.5 finger head. Absolutely no light showing through abyss. Sticky lacing and a smooth creamy cap.

S - up front is roasted malt dark roast coffee beans. Bakers chocolate and vanilla.

T - very complex deep malt forward character with coffee throughout finishes very bitter with loads of hops and coffee grind flavor. Very intense, and enjoyable.

M - Thick with medium carbonation, certainly a slow sipper.

O - overall this is just a big beer, maybe not truest to the RIS style, overly hoppy and bitter, coffee throughout. Very enjoyable. Probably not the most descriptive review I've ever written I am distracted by this delicious beer and am going to kill the other half of the bomber now, hope they make this again because it is just plain ridiculously good.

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Photo of hornsup
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bottle poured into a CCB snifter

A: Pitch black with a mocha colored lacing around the edges, some small bubbles grace the sides.

S: Smells like roasted malts, dark chocolate, fresh raw coffee beans and a touch of booze

T: Heavy on the coffee, get the slight whole milk taste and espresso flavor. More roasted, smoky flavor but its subtle.

M: Full mouthfeel, slight carbonation at the front end that transcends into and milky, smooth (ha, I know)

O: A very well balanced RIS, gets a slight nod over the original because I like the subtle coffee flavors and what it adds to the beer. One of the most drinkable stouts I've ever tasted. Not overly sweet, could drink two bottles of this in a sitting enjoying every sip.

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Photo of Beerisheaven
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Eagerly looked forward to trying this. Bomber bottle from the frig to my waiting Selinsgrove tulip.

A- Very nice, pretty generous head that settles down to a bubbly head and retains some lacing throughout the experience. Pours a deep brownish black.

S- The typical Stone RIS, with dark malts, some char, chocolate, licorice, and coffee. If they ramped up the coffee, I think it would be better all around. Still very nice, but I was expecting more from the coffee.

T- Pretty much follows the nose. It is all there with everything in he nose joining the party. Again, I would have liked more coffee. Very enjoyable as I have always liked the regular RIS. I found the coffee adds a bit of bitterness at the expense of the dark fruit flavor in the regular RIS.

O- very good, kick up the coffee and you have something here.
M- Very pleasant. About what should be expected.

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Photo of Halcyondays
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours black with a medium tan head, excellent lace, creamy look.

S: Lots of upfront coffee with vanilla and dark malt. Straightforward coffee stout smell, but done well.

T: Sweet brown sugar and creamed coffee with a lot of dark chocolate. Less coffee than in the smell, this really has a taste of a one year old regular IRS fresh which is really cool.

M: Very smooth and creamy - velvety. Dangerously drinkable for its size.

O: This is a great bottle of beer and better fresh than regular IRS. Sub $6 a bomber for a beer like this is a steal.

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Photo of brewtus
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A- poured pitch black with a single finger tan head. Laces very well
S-lots of roasted malt, dark fruit, dark coffee, some vanilla
T- tons of roasty malt, dark fruits again, slightly smokey, dark chocolate, trace amounts of vanilla and cinnomon , balanced amount of roasted coffee that lingers through the after taste. Amazing.
M- velvety smooth, thick, but drinkable
O- this is a great variation of the already amazing IRS. The coffee flavors aren't over the top and are not too bitter. The texture is amazing and it's so well balanced. I could have used a little mo coffee flavor, but I'm a coffee nut. This is so enjoyable

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Photo of BlackBelt5112203
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz bottle poured into a snifter at cellar temperature.

L – Pitch black color with a 2.5-finger, bubbly, brown head that fades relatively quickly into a cap of tan-colored froth. There are some patches of lacing on the side of the glass and definitely some noticeable legs.

S – A lot of the usual aromas are here with molasses, chocolate, vanilla, coffee, a bit of licorice, and touches of dark fruits. The coffee is certainly there but not nearly as potent as I expected from a beer labeled as an “espresso” stout.

T – Follows the nose pretty closely as it starts off sweet with molasses, chocolate, and dark fruits like plums and currants. As the taste progresses, the coffee becomes much more evident, and its bitterness builds. Spicy licorice appears at the finish.

F – Medium-to-full-bodied with pretty good carbonation, a velvety smooth and slick mouthfeel, and a bittersweet and mildly dry finish. Sweet chocolate, bitter roasted coffee, and spicy licorice all linger for bit. There’s a mild warmth from the alcohol but not nearly as much as I was expecting from a beer of this magnitude.

O – This is a nice RIS. I don’t find it much different than the ordinary Stone Imperial Russian Stout, except that there’s a bit more coffee and chocolate and less hops. I was expecting a blast of espresso to hit me with the aroma and the taste, but that just did not happen. I suppose that’s actually not that bad as it’s better for a beer to be balanced. Still, it’s very tasty and insanely drinkable for an 11% brew. Cheers, Stone!

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Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.2/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 3/14/13.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy super dark khaki head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. A foamy lattice of lace coats the glass on the drink down. Smell is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, alcohol, and earthy espresso aromas. Taste is much the same with bittersweet chocolate and espresso flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness and an alcohol kick on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a good beer with some rich aromas and flavors and a boozy presence that begs to be sipped slowly.

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Photo of boilermakerbrew
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A- Pours very thick and black. Very small, chocolate brown head forms and retains ok, with a fair amount of lacing. Really, really thick and dark.

S- Giant coffee notes are the first and pretty much only thing in this one. None of the malts from the regular IRS get through the big coffee shroud. Not complex, but plenty enticing.

T- Big, bitter coffee up front. Great quality coffee flavor melds with the deep, roasted malts of the IRS. Coffee is strong, bitter, and dominating throughout. The beer ends with a bite from the coffee and little to no lingering after taste.

M- Thick, creamy, and hidden alcohol heat. The only thing that keeps this from being immensely drinkable is the intense dark coffee flavor.

Overall, this is a great addition to an already stellar beer. I loved IRS, and adding the espresso just gives it a slightly different feel. For the price point for IRS and this espresso variant, I'm not sure you can find a better coffee stout.

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Photo of alexgash
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle.

Very dark oily brown-black body. Nice finger of dense, light peanut brown head. Great lacing up the glass too. Lots of coffee and espresso roastedness on the nose. True to its name. Plenty of earthy peaty roasted barley, dark chocolate, and dark fruits as well. Hints of vanilla and licorice. Heady and complex.

Roasted coffee bitterness up front. Notes of dark chocolate, caramel, and dark fruits fill in. Flashes of sweetness. Some licorice, peat, and vanilla. Coffee and roasted malt bitterness start crescendo-ing mid-palate, culminating in a big, bold, dryer, bitter finish. Some warming alcohol notes, and still plenty of lingering dark chocolate and boozy dark fruits. Big, full-bodied, syrupy feel. Intensely espresso-y and delicious. Well done Stone!

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Photo of Gatch
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

On-tap at Lord Hobo in Cambridge.

Nearly perfect appearance. Thick black liquid with a frothy medium brown head. Leaves behind great lace and retention. Huge notes of char, roasted malt, super dark coffee, dark chocolate, and a bit of smoke. That's in both the nose and taste. Incredibly smooth, creamy deliciousness. Nicely balanced flavor with a great body and proper carbonation. Heavy on the roasted and charred flavors but that's just the high quality espresso coming through. One of the most espresso forward beers I've had which is very different from plain ole coffee. Stone incorporated it so well. A bit of sweet and warming booze in the finish that only complements this near masterpiece of a beer. If you've ever had dark chocolate covered espresso beans, that's what this beer is. Exceptional.

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