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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.

2,656 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,656
Reviews: 359
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 7.83%
Wants: 197
Gots: 412 | FT: 46
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:
Beer added by: WillCarrera on 04-17-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,656 | Reviews: 359 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of johnnyboy76
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of joefc
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of Maillard
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of artoolemomo
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- This is quite a beautiful beer which pours up a good amount of head. The head is a dark mocha/espresso color that is so brown that it has hints of purple. The body is a deep chocolate black that lets through no light and leaves no lacing. Minimal lacing

Nose- This soars with chocolate and roasted coffee. I can already tell that this beer is going to be delicious. There is some citrus and some caramel but this is brutally dominated by chocolate and coffee. This does not fade in the least such that if it weren't alcoholic, I could smell it all day long.

Taste- Coffee and chocolate and roasted notes rush right up to the forefront. Woody bitterness lingers in the finish but is overpowered by a more apparent expression of the espresso. This is not a beer to be taken lightly by any means. Caramel and even hints of coconut via oak start to reveal themselves. It is hard for me to account for all the notes in the flavor profile because everything is so staggeringly well integrated. The heat is quite noticeable but it fits in perfectly with the entire scheme of the beer. I will be grabbing more of these- to enjoy and to save for later. I don't know what I rated the basic Stone IRS but I feel that this is notch better. (That rating was a 4.5 and this was edging very close to a 4.75 even before I checked the score.) Not only that, this is excellent for a 7 dollar beer. Nuttiness comes in to play- think hazelnuts.

Mouthfeel- Between medium and heavy but seems a little light for a stout. Significant carbonation. Some grittiness. Some creaminess as well. One negative- perhaps a little over carbonated.

Drinkability- This shit is delicious. And it is dangerous. Did I mention this shit was delicious? And that it's dangerous. It's definitely sessionable but you might die.

Overall- At first, I was thinking maybe a 4.75 which would put it close to an A+ but it seems more like a solid A, 4.5. It's in the same league as its base and the espresso beans fit it perfectly.

Photo of mjweth2
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of UWBadgerFan4Life
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

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

22oz. bomber poured into a Duvel tulip (I am putting this at the top so that you see it. You really need to take a decent sip and then keep it in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, as well as swirl it around. It completely changes the mouthfeel and profile with each second. It is a great feeling.)

A: In the glass it is pitch black, but on the pour it is actually a really nice extremely dark brown. It produces a half a finger mocha head that diminishes just as rapidly. There is even a slight bit of lacing.

S: I get a lot of chocolate hazelnut espresso notes, like freshly ground coffee beans, with a sweet malt backbone to complement.

T: This is a phenomenal stout that is a great companion piece to their standard IRS. The espresso really complements the stoutness, but the espresso notes are quite faint and mellow. They don't really come out and greet your palate. However, the espresso is quite prevalent in the aftertaste and really dominates it. The aftertaste might be the best part. It makes you want to sip slowly and enjoy the taste in your mouth. All the malt is very smooth and a bit sweet. It is all like a slightly sweetened alcoholic espresso. As it warms the espresso begins to come through a lot more, which melds perfectly well with the surrounding malt of the stout. Also, the espresso 'bitterness' comes out more in the aftertaste as well, but not in a bad way like other similar stouts I have had.

M: It has a nice body that isn't too thick, which is nice. There is an even crispness from the carbonation that is prevalent throughout. However, you don't get that sharp crescendo or bite that some carbonation lends towards the end of the swallow, which is a good thing.

O: Finally, a good Odd Year release (though I didn't get to try the Belgo Anise IRS). It has finally paid off. I wish I had their regular stout to compare this to right now. They make a great stout and this is a great coffee/espresso stout. I will say that I haven't really had a straight shot of espresso though. However, I can really appreciate this and it taste amazing. All of the aspects are standouts and great examples of the style. You taste none of the alcohol at all.

Photo of Izzybone
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of Roman5150
4.66/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

bottle into duvel glass, purchased from Stones River Total Beverages in Murfreesboro, TN

appearance: pitch black. one of the darkest beers i've seen, 1 finger off-white head

smell: coffee. espresso. caramel. chocolate. there may be beer hidden somewhere in this...

taste: this is an alcoholic coffee, not a "beer". with that said, this is a well crafted amazing beer. I would drink this on the regular if it was available. I love the espresso kick, and there's heavy notes of chocolate, caramel, and the slightest, if at all, taste of earthy hops. Very smooth, the espresso completely disguises the 11% abv.

mouthfeel: carbonated iced coffee is the only way to describe this...

overall: An amazing, unique beer that is more coffee than beer. Stone never dissapoints, i don't even like coffee that much but this is just very enjoyable, i honestly didn't think i'd like it but I bought 2 because of all the hype. I'm glad I did, so drinkable for an 11%, this could be dangerous...

Photo of bmur112
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Michigan
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.59/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is a two finger khaki shade. I'm quite impressed with how well the head retains itself given its gravity, though there isn't significant lacing left on the glass.

S: Well, it's certainly a coffee bomb, that's for sure. I notice a bit of licorice and chocolate in a (vain) attempt to balance the big coffee, as well. Meh, who cares - I love coffee, so I love the aroma.

T: Just like regular Stone IRS, there's a lot of licorice flavors to open this one up. The coffee explodes after the midtaste - and it's my favorite feature of the brew. It's not really balanced though, because of how the coffee and licorice notes dominate everything. Nor is any real complexity is to be found. Ah well, I enjoy the coffee character, at least.

M: I like that the finish is mildly dry, because I find the regular IRS too hard to drink (even compared with other big imperial stouts). Given the ABV, it's pretty easy to down, but I think there's too much generic licorice sweetness that gets in the way of things.

O: Looking back at my review archive, I can't believe I gave the regular IRS a 4. Because of that, I don't blame Stone for adding a shitload of coffee to a (in my opinion) blah RIS. As a coffee stout, though, it doesn't compare with FBS or Wake-N-Bake. However, it's still pretty good at the end of the day - but I'm not sure where all the high reviews are coming from. At least it's better than Oak-Smoked Old Guardian, right? ...right?

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

22oz bomber poured into a snifter

A- Pours pitch black with a half finger of a dirty brown head. Nice alcohol legs on this beer.

S- Big espresso beans. This is a massive roasty beer. A very dry, smokey and charred smell. A bit of a sweetness and burnt sugar.

T- A big bitterness at first which balances out well with the dry roasty nature of this beer. Speaking of roasty, this beer is insanely roasty. Between the malt and the espresso beans, this beer leaves a smokey taste lingering on the tongue. There is a lot of coffee flavors and an underlying dark chocolate. Alcohol is well hidden. There is some hoppiness to this beer, especially in terms of bitterness but most of the hoppy flavor has been covered up.

M- Thick, warming, surprisingly well balanced. Dry, creamy and roasty. It is what it should be.

O- Awesome stuff. Personally I think its a notch above the already great base brew. Very espresso forward and balanced stout. Get it while you can.

Photo of TKEbeerman
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of SeaOfShells
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. poured into Firestone Walker tulip

A: A gentle pour unleashed a modest finger of head that hung around for a few minutes before receding and leaving a ring of lace where it once sat. Mocha colored head rests on a jet black body

S: Like a coffee house. Dark roasted coffee on a bed of roasted malts. The pungent coffee really brings out the sweet chocolate in the natural beer. Deep and complex.

T: Woah. The espresso took this beer to the next level. What was already one of my all time favorite Imperial Stouts, is elevated to god-like levels by the simple addition of espresso. Up front is a bitterness explosion from the coffee followed by roasted malts and sweet chocolate.

M: Full, creamy, slick, oily, chewy, rich, decadent. What else can be said? It's outstanding.

O: After the ABYSMAL 2011 odd year release, this is a breath of fresh air. The addition of espresso really adds to the beer, yet it doesn't detract from the base elements. Cheers to Stone for nailing this one.

Photo of IpaSipa
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of cfinch2
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of cmuir24
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of roblund
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of SadMachine
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of mecmd
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of PaulMc
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of CDCNAM
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Fomenting_For_Fermenting
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

When I stopped off at my local pizza place they had something special waiting for me. I thoroughly enjoy high gravity ales, so when I heard that they had just tapped a keg of Stone's Espresso Imperial Russian Stout I smiled and said "Yes Please!"
The beer arrived in a 10 oz. pilsner glass with about a quarter of an inch of light brown head on top. The aroma was dominated by alcohol and toasted malt but with a hint of floral hop aroma. The first sip gave a lovely broad roasted malt flavor with good balance, and a very solid flavorful presence. Despite the high gravity the alcohol did not dominate the malt. After a couple of sips a bit of bitter began to be noticed, but the malt character was still the main flavor. There was just enough sweetness, and all of the roast flavors of chocolate and coffee came through clearly. The head subsided fairly rapidly, which is one of the few criticisms I can offer of this beer. The impact of the broad and complex flavor sustained to the end of the glass, and the bitter became more apparent over time without ever becoming excessive. The soy sauce character that I expect in a sweet stout never really developed, but with all of the chocolate and coffee flavors I didn't particularly miss it. I could not taste any off profile flavors, particularly since I expect a Russian Imperial Stout to be a bit on the sweet side.
All told one of the most enjoyable beers I've had recently with very few weaknesses.
Thanks to Tom at Yeasty Beasty for procuring the most interesting beers to taste, and to Stone Brewing for making another fantastic beer!

Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,656 ratings.