Espresso Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

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Espresso Imperial Russian StoutEspresso Imperial Russian Stout

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BA SCORE
96
world-class

357 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 357
Hads: 2,685
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 2.53%
Wants: 206
Gots: 414 | FT: 41
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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 357 | Hads: 2,685
Photo of jbaker67
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black with a smooth white head. Aroma of roasty malts, mocha, coffee, dark chocolate and syrup. Taste is roasty, malty and syrupy with loads of mocha, coffee and dark chocolate notes. Finish is smooth and slightly roasty with notes of coffee, mocha, dark chocolate and hints of vegetables. Quite tasty and well balanced. (332 characters)

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.89/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Situations like this really make me hate Stone Brewing Company and all of their "Arrogance" that comes with the label itself.

22 oz. bomber poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. While pouring the liquid seems to come out a dark cola color, but as it pools into the glass it really looks like a jet black color. I gave it a reasonably aggressive pour which resulted in a huge dark tan bubbling head with various sized bubbles. The head eventually dissapates to a ring that grips to the glass and that portion stays for the entire session. Decent lacing, but could be a little better.

Smell is pretty outstanding. I always thought the regular version of this stout has coffee in it, but it's intensified here. First whiff gives you a nice slightly more bitter than sweet dark chocolate followed be the hints of coffee. I say hints of coffee, because the coffee is overwhelmed by the aromas of espresso. As indicated on the label, this beer is clearly brewed with some type of espresso bean, and my guess is since it's brewed by Stone, it's some type of high class espresso bean.

I was on the fence on this one, because I think Stone's regular IRS is perfect the way it is, but I decided to treat this as a "coffee/espresso" style stout and give this a perfect rating, because it truly is about as perfect a flavor you can get from a espresso style stout. Lots of (again) more bitter than sweet chocolate. After that it's followed by a nice rich coffee and espresso flavor. There's a feint sprucey hop finish at the end that meshes together perfectly with everything, totally digging it. This is about as perfect a coffee style stout as you can get.

Mouthfeel is awesome, without a doubt full bodied, the flavor lingers for quite some time. Gentle carbonation provides a nice smooth feel with a rich yet fresh bitter finish from the coffee/espresso and whatever hops may have been used. I would not doubt that this would be a high alcohol beer, but by tasting it by itself I would not have guessed 11%, I would have said a little lower, something I think Stone is good at when it comes to their stouts. Drinkability is crazy good here, I love the way this one is all the way around. As I said before I hate Stone Brewing sometimes, they will regularly brew a one time only beer that is so good, it should be rotationally brewed, and this is another that should be added to the list. (2,386 characters)

Photo of Thepleasantimbiber
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

11/8/13. Bomber purchased at Vendome Liquor in Beverly Hills. Poured into a Stone IRS tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours beautifully thick and black, with a half inch head forming at the very tail end of the pour and then dissipating quickly. Light lacing. Zero light passing through this.

Smell: Surprisingly, upon first whiff the initial burst I get is chocolate, not espresso, though that comes through in the background. Sweet toffee aromas and roasted malt are also big here. A hint of alcohol, but thats to be expected with a beer of this ABV.

Taste: Ahhh yes. Here's the espresso, though any bitterness that might have come with the coffee flavor is rounded out by the sweetness combo of the rest of the flavors. Think dark and milk chocolates mixing with espresso goodness in a super smooth package, where the alcohol burn is minimal, if noticeable at all.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful and thick, chewy without getting into syrup territory. Very smooth as previously mentioned.

Overall: This is an exceptional beer by any measure. Already a big fan of the Stone IRS, I feel that this brew has enhanced several things that I loved about the original, far beyond the influx of espresso beans. Difficult to pin down exactly, but it's as if the espresso addition took elements that were already coexisting wonderfully and erased any lingering looseness or disparity between them, impressively improving upon something that was fantastic to begin with. No single characteristic dominates, no profile is lost at the expense of another. The name highlights an addition, but the joy is in a near-perfectly unified whole. (1,614 characters)

Photo of hopsputin
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 batch. drank 11/8/13

a: dark dark black - color of motor oil (not the consistency though). has some dark purple and deep ruby red notes. real nice looking tan 3 finger bubbly head, which fades a little quicker then i would have liked, and hangs around at like 1.5 fingers

s: espresso beans right away. rich espresso - bitter, chocolate, oaky, lots of roasted malts, lactose, and some dark fruit to close it off. very rich and creamy smelling

t: this is a big beer and you can taste that right away. definite alcohol presence from the get go. fades to oak and a bitterness that is a combination of raw espresso, toasted malt, and bittersweet chocolate. ends with something like burnt malts and alcohol. a hint of raisin, grape, and plum on the backend

m: full - rich and creamy for sure. not much carbonation at all

o: well, i knew this would be packing heat - i just wish i had let it sit a little longer (was afraid for the coffee taste to fade though). it has all the flavors i'd look for in a coffee stout, however they are masked a little bit too much by the alcohol presence, in my opinion. (1,105 characters)

Photo of mdcflacal
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice dark color. Thin head. No light passes through except on the edges.
Roasty and somewhat sweet aroma.
Nice, full mouthfeel.
Great balance of roast malt taste, coffee, sweetness, and bitterness.
I just really enjoy the execution of this big coffee stout. (257 characters)

Photo of Furlinator
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 odd year release. Bottled on 03/28/13.

Pours opaque black with 1/4 inch of tan head that settles to a film on top and leaves faint lacing.

Smell is of spent coffee grounds with faint vanilla accents. Very inviting.

Taste is of black coffee up front with faint dark fruit sweetness, roasted malt and a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

This feels somewhat thin for a Russian imperial stout in terms of viscosity but, the aroma and flavors are big and impressive. ABV is well hidden. World class. (554 characters)

Photo of wedge
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled On: 03/28/13

Opaque, pure blackness in a glass covered with a dense slab of tan creaminess that leaves some strings and spots of lacing behind. Extremely smooth deep malty aroma with surprisingly no big booze presence. The coffee is on the brighter, fruitier, oilier side rather than super dark and heavily roasted. Rich, dark chocolate cake, molasses, and some fruity esters. Huge, smooth, mocha flavor...again, more of a fruity coffee roast, which I love, tons of dark chocolate, some vanilla bean, and nuts. Heavy, creamy, and impeccably smooth. The alcohol is amazingly well-hidden too, though the sheer weight of the beer and a slight heat in the throat lets you know that this is a serious beer. Not much astringency at all, just beautifully blended coffee and chocolate notes - not too sweet, not too roasted - very, very nice. (843 characters)

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

A: Extra opaque and really close to black. Head is two fingers of frothy coffee foam colored head. Lace is spotty.

S: Thick and potent aromas of bright roasted coffee beans, molasses, tobacco, purple meaty fruits, and a touch of vanilla. A nicely well rounded aroma. Light and heavy. Not overly roasty nor too fruity but right in the middle. The coffee isn't overwhelming or stale in any way.

T: Sweeter than expected but not overly so. Chocolate syrup, anise, fruity coffee, bitter and tingly... Caramelized roasted coffee beans. A deep array of flavors. Alcohol is present but not sharply.

M: Velvety smooth texture and blankety big body.

O: This beer does kick some ass. Not to be taken lightly. (703 characters)

Photo of B-29Pilot
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Had this gem in both bottles and in a couple of growlers.

A- Thin tan head with light carbonation. Pours an oily charcoal black that leaves a thin coat on the glass.

S- Very strong roasted espresso with a nice earthy, almost woody undertone.

T- Starts like the typical Russian Imperial Stout from Stone, then quickly changes gears to a wonderfully strong coffee bean flavor. Slightly boozy edge to it that blends very well with the strong espresso flavors. As it heads towards warmer temperatures the coffee flavors really ring out.

M- Smooth and full bodied, with a slight warming as it goes down.

O- I have a few of these in my stash still. This is one of the beers from Stone that I chase down when I see one of the stores putting it out on tap. As a fan of their normal RIS releases, I can say that this one is an excellent odd year release for them, and I will continue to grab some when I see it.

Serving type: bottle/growler (937 characters)

Photo of maxcoinage
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber split with my bro, poured into tulip glass with an inch mocha colored head. Color is pitch black.

Aroma - roasting coffee beans, dark chocolate

Taste - Amazing! Intense coffee flavor of course, chocolate, some vanilla, dark fruits

Mouthfeel - thick and slick, a bit creamy, low to medium carb.

Overall - enjoying this very much as a liquid dessert. Being a coffee junkie this is just fantastic! Wishing I would have purchased more than one bottle. (464 characters)

Photo of wordemupg
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

650ml bomber poured into tulip 10/10/13, thanks MasterSki and Sean9689 for the bottle

A black liquid with a 1/2in cola edge, two fingers of mocha foam slowly falls to a thick film leaving a collar of lace followed by a few random patches

S dark chocolate, sweet espresso, chocolate covered cherries, a little licorice and booze, smells straightforward but solid

T dark roast comes out stronger in the mouth, lots of burnt coffee and char, tastes a little intense but that's fine by me, some vanilla and booze but still well hidden for 11%

M thick liquid and it creams up nicely, bitter as all hell and heavy char on the finish just keep going

O one intense coffee stout that I should've opened hours ago because I need to sleep tonight, if you like dark roast and coffee you should drink this, and booze, how did I forget that one?

Caffeine and heavy amounts of liquor always make me feel a little off but I'll get by I'm sure. A big intense brew that would provide a good kick start to any day, best served early in the morning on an empty stomach before important events. (1,084 characters)

Photo of Gryphon69
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

bomber
Dated: 2013 "odd year" release
oversized wine glass

A- Black, cant see through it, decent head that was almost chocolate milk color, faded to a ring of the same color.

S- Coffee, dark roasted malts, chocolates, some mild dark fruit sweetness, followed by some alcohol graininess

T- Dark chocolate, coffee, mild dark fruit sweetness, and a big alcohol kick from start right thru to the finish, not like a BA, more grain alcohol presence. Pretty good balanced flavor

M- Thick, full body, slight syrupy / creamy mixture.

O- Good flavor and balance, taste follows the nose and then some. Deffiantly on the get some more list, recommend this to anyone who likes big full flavored coffee stouts, or just plain good stouts.

Further down into the bomber and guess what - man this is good beer. Go get some lol. (817 characters)

Photo of tarheels86
3.67/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

651mL. Darker pour, deep cola to near black. Larger brown latte foam. Good formation, sort of detergent like dwindling foam. Webby lace. Not as dense or rocky as expected. Nose has a hefty dose of detergent soap at first, then a decent amount of green coffee/green bell pepper. Taste is pretty good- mild warming alcohol, cinnamon graham cracker, vanilla, small liquor like Wild Turkey. Finishes dry, fairy bitter. Hints of lemon acid. Alcohol evident. Disappointing. (467 characters)

Photo of woosterbill
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bomber into a Gandhi-Bot tulip.

A: Pitch black body under a finger of fine brown foam. Minimal retention, no lace. Intense but rather forgettable.

S: Coffee, predictably, dominates. Alongside the rich roasted espresso are notes of pepper, dark chocolate, cinnamon, and walnut. Emphasis is on the spice. Excellent.

T: Dark chocolate up front, followed by nutty coffee, spicy alcohol, and rich brownie batter. More coffee and spice on the finish and aftertaste. Really good, but a little on the hot side.

M: Medium to full bodied with moderate, creamy carbonation. Terrific.

O: Excellent beer. Stone IRS has always impressed me as a beer that's better with some age, but this treatment is terrific as-is. The coffee is prominent without drowning out the base beer goodness, and it's just a delicious brew all around. Great beer, great value.

Cheers! (853 characters)

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

Poured from a bomber into a goblet borrowed from a Holiday Inn kitchen in Albany NY. The date on the bottle is 03/28/13, and it was consumed on 8/27/13.

A- Not much of a head to speak of, but that was likely due to the pour, which looked like oil. The head was tan and the body was opaque black and had almost purple highlights on the edges.

S- Very strong roasted espresso bean is the first and most obvious aroma. There is also some sweet, roasty grains and some mild, earthy hops.

T- Starts sweet and almost mild but quickly builds to a bitter, straight espresso flavor with robust, roasted grains. There is a bit of a hoppy finish, but this beer is all about the roasty, bitter espresso beans and dark malts. Some bitter dark chocolate, and a good amount of alcohol flavors that I've come to expect from any Russian Imperial Stout worth its weight in barley.

M- Syrupy and full bodied. Not much carbonation. Nice alcohol burn in the back of the throat without being hard to drink.

O- Fantastic! Very warming and rich. Just about everything I could hope for from a relatively fresh Russian Imperial Stout. I'd love to get a whole case and taste them as they age as the bottle suggests. (1,194 characters)

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

Black as coal and a tremendously strong brown head, this stout was as Regal as any Imperial I've come across.

The scents are mesmerizing with sweet chocolate malt, caramel, cream, barley, espresso, burnt coffee and more chocolate.

The flavors are rich with an espresso sweetness and a chocolatey goodness. Graham cracker and marshmallow finish with vanilla and coffee. There is a bit of char or Smokey tones and then a peppery touch. It reminds me of a Jalapeno beer with an earthy and surprising kick.

The feel is thick and somewhat creamy and it gives very little away to carbonation. The 11 pct ABV is presented in a bit of warmth but this stout is truly special. (669 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After passing by this bottle several times (a local beer guy told me it was "the worst thing he'd ever put in his mouth") I saw it relatively cheap & bit. 22 oz. of beer, bottled on 3/28/13, split with my wife.

Pour is computer matte black, low carbonation. Roasty coffee notes aren't as rough on the nose as expected, with some additional bitterness that seems more hoppy than espresso. But who knows. Mild.

Espresso Imperial Russian Stout avoids a common coffee-stout pratfall: there's actually a stout in here. Sure, the coffee/espresso leads with a knee, but it's properly restrained (whether by a few months in the bottle or design) by a nice smattering of chocolate, rich malts, lactose, even some black licorice. Bitterness (chocolate? hops? coffeee delta?) kicks in after the lesser players have passed by, & one is left with the pleasing impression of beer & coffee lounging on the back of the throat. Drinking this too fast for a big, headache-inducing stout.

This is, if I may say, a routinely very good beer. Nothing stands out, but it's well-crafted & the tastes are integrated with a deft touch. I don't always drink Stone, but when I do, I'd drink this. Or Oaked Arrogant Bastard. Wait, definitely that. (1,224 characters)

Photo of KingdomBobcat
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A-Dark brownish black, pours mocha head with some light lacing that resides to a mocha ring around the glass.
S-lots of chocolate, coffee, roasted malt
T-chocolate, definite coffee, noticeable booze
M-smooth, very flavorful, perfect IRS
O-I had this on tap a few months ago and had been on a bottle search since, was not disappointed (333 characters)

Photo of DIM
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a: Looks like a stout.

s: Espresso is present, but not quite as potent as I had hoped. Still, it plays nicely off of rich chocolatey cake batter. The alcohol is very well disguised.

t: Ahhhh, thats what I was hoping for. Strong but smooth pitch perfect roasty espresso all but dominates. Some rich, dark chocolate peeks through in the middle, but the finish is long, dark espresso perfection.

m: Big and chewy with creamy carbonation.

d: Pretty much exactly what I hoped it would be. Magnificent. (501 characters)

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Lovely black pour with a full, tan head.

S - The smell of coffee is strong, with hints of the roast and helping of booziness for good measure. Exactly what you'd hope for.

T - This confirms what you've hoped. A full, robust hit of coffee and lush fruit and chocolate notes, but nothing out of balance or overpowering here. Delicious.

M - Clean. This beer could easily tip into heaviness, but it manages to avoid it.

O - This represents an excellent example of the style. The coffee, which is a natural match for the chocolate notes so common with stouts, but can come off as an afterthought with some "coffee" or "espresso" stouts, is front and center and a welcome addition to Stone's already fine Imperial Russian Stout. (730 characters)

Photo of mothman
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Tan head. Black in color. Lots of lace.

Dark chocolate, raisins, molasses, caramel, and roasted malts. Huge coffee and espresso tastes throughout the beer and in the finish. Lots of roast. Vanilla.

Mouthfeel: roasted and dry. Smooth still. Full bodied. Good carbonation.

Overall, a really solid imperial stout. The coffee is right where it needs to be. Right amount of roast. Well done stone. (396 characters)

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

The Espresso Imperial Russian Stout pours an opaque dark brown to black with little to no tan head. The aroma held coffee with the strong IRS notes of dark chocolate and even some dark fruits as well. The taste was perfect with just enough espresso to compliment the IRS while not overpowering it. The strong bitter espresso played off the Stone IRS flavors of chocolate, dark roasted bitterness and a hint of anise. It was a beautiful symphony of deep dark Russian Stout flavors that kept rolling through crescendo after crescendo with every sip. The flavors left a lingering bitterness on my palate along with a subtle dark fruit sweetness. Another excellent beer from Stone. (677 characters)

Photo of Treyliff
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Stone goblet

A- Pours black as night with a one-finger creamy light-tan head that retains long after the pour, leaving spots of lace around the glass as it settles. The head is reminiscent of cappuccino

S- Lots of chocolate up front; dark chocolate, chocolate milkshake and cocoa powder. Bitter espresso notes kick in with some roasted coffee aromas. Notes of vanilla, red licorice, and just a touch of fruity esters

T- Huge chocolate flavors follow the aromas, picking up bitter dark chocolate, cocoa and milk chocolate. Intense roasted coffee notes kick in mid-palate with notes of vanilla and fig. The finish is dark and bitter with a coffee/chocolate linger that seems to last forever

M- Low carbonation and slightly viscous body lead to a creamy mouthfeel and a velvety finish. There's a bit of alcohol warmth on the finish, but overall hidden pretty well for 11%

O- Big, bold and bitter, exactly what one would expect from this beer. The coffee seems to showcase the chocolate flavors. This is definitely a sipper and has enough flavor to last for hours. This falls just below FBS on my scale of coffee stouts. Another winner from Stone. Can't wait to see what some age does to my other bottles (1,220 characters)

Photo of hosehead83
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a "bomber' bottle into a goblet.
Deep and dark with garnet highlights, a short, sturdy cap of tan foam.
Aroma-Strong coffee and dark malts
Taste-Coffee bean, dark chocolate, deep dark roast and strong coffee flavor. Big, bold flavor with every sip. Some dark fruit notes emerge after warming a bit. A slow-sipper and a great "cigar beer". Coffee lovers only. (370 characters)

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

2013 batch (duh). Released about 6 months ago.

A: Pitch black pour with a big and dense medium brown head. Head fades at a moderate pace, with decent retention. Moderate thin soap bubbles of lacing left behind.

S: Mild espresso, black malts and hints of anise. Pretty mellow aroma overall.

T: Ahh there we go. Sharp espresso up front. Chocolate mixes in and sweetens it up, gives it more of a mocha flavor. Burnt malts with a hint of anise. Finish is sharp and acrid espresso with a long lasting bitter coffee aftertaste.

M: Heavy, thick and viscous.

O: A wonderful odd year release (let's all forget about belgo anise). Not a major departure but the espresso offers a welcome level of complexity that really works well with the base beer. At the same time, I feel like the espresso's strength wipes out some of the subtleties and complexities of the base beer. It's delicious but I think I still prefer the normal version. Not a knock against this, the base version is simply one of the best RISes of all time. (1,018 characters)

Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 357 ratings.