Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you select "auto-renew."

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join our email list →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.

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: 206
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 HopBomb515
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
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.

 876 characters

Photo of StoutItOutLoud
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
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

 701 characters

Photo of Flounder57
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
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.

 840 characters

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
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!

 489 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.02/5  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...

 1,442 characters

Photo of BSK_ONE
3.99/5  rDev -8.1%
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.

 700 characters

Photo of 57md
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
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).

 334 characters

Photo of brutusmuktuk
5/5  rDev +15.2%
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.

 277 characters

Photo of tmm313
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
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.

 804 characters

Photo of BuccoFan
3.86/5  rDev -11.1%
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.

 669 characters

Photo of cpetrone84
3.62/5  rDev -16.6%
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.

 339 characters

Photo of kevanb
3.18/5  rDev -26.7%
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.

 1,386 characters

Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 424 characters

Photo of TBoneJones
4.81/5  rDev +10.8%
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.

 854 characters

Photo of thegodfather1076
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

 1,529 characters

Photo of Benish
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

 1,201 characters

Photo of Tonerelia
1.97/5  rDev -54.6%
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

 426 characters

Photo of barnzy78
4.45/5  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.

 406 characters

Photo of bambam2517
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
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.

 534 characters

Photo of darthvohn
4.16/5  rDev -4.1%
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.

 477 characters

Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour yields a pitch black body and a thick brown topping.

Lots of roasty coffee and chocolate dominate the aroma with some underlying sweet vanilla. There is some plum-y dark fruitiness. Very inviting.

Plenty of bitterness pops out. There is a slight hop flavor still hanging on. Plenty of roasty malt and some dark fruit. The espresso beans provide a nice complimentary flavor. Chocolate envelops with dark bitter and sweeter milk.

Smooth drinking with lower carbonation and a bigger body. Stone has the mouthfeel of a big stout down.

At this point I’m sure it’s not where it was meant to be, but it is still delicious. The base beer is so great to begin with.

 673 characters

Photo of mlhyatt
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass

Appearance- pours jet black with a very nice half inch to an inch dark tan head.

Smell- great. I love the way the coffee smells in this one. Its has a little bit if a charred smell to it but the roastiness of it is not overwhelming.

Taste- this is where i was a little disappointed. The coffee just didn't blend well with this stout. I like my coffee beer to have a rich coffee taste but not so that it overwhelms the palate.

Mouthfeel- no burn. The alcohol was hidden pretty well for being an 11% abv. Smooth finish with that burnt coffee aftertaste.

Overall- a solid beer. The coffee taste was just a little too strong. But if you like coffee then you'll love this beer.

 723 characters

Photo of sweemzander
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours pitch black in color. Some tan froth and lacing too.

(S)- A great roasted espresso and cocoa aroma with even more roasted components coming from the base. Extremely inviting and I think is a more successful aroma than the regular/base beer. Big improvement here.

(T)- Fairly similar to the smell. Just great espresso and roast components with I think, a more chocolate forward maltiness than the regular.

(M)- A great carbonation level for the style. A great balance as well; just awesome with the espresso addition.

(O)- Definitely a fan of this variant. Everything you want a coffee stout to have. Well balanced and rich with the perfect amount of roast. I really might enjoy this more than the regular.

 783 characters

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

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass
A: Pitch black, 1/2-finger tan head
S: Dark, rich, burnt malt, tons of espresso, cocoa,
T: Bitter espresso but also a hint of cocoa that almost makes it reminiscent of chocolate covered espresso beans. Also some fig, molasses and a bit of hops
M: Full-bodied, smooth, bitter
O: Really enjoyable beer, big but well made

 363 characters

Photo of leaddog
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a dark chocolate brown/black (dark as night) with a finger of frothy mocha head.

Smell - Roasted malts, espresso coffee bean, hint of alcohol and dark fruits (cherry-like).

Taste - Roasted malts, espresso and dark fruits, then goes to a wood-like flavour (almost like oak).

Mouthfeel - Nice warming in the finish. Medium-to-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Good creaminess.

Overall - A solid RIS with good espresso bean notes and roasted malts. Pleasantly surprised by the wood-like finish at the end.

 530 characters

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