Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Brewing

Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #28
Ranked #554
4.35 | pDev: 9.2%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
Reviews: 2,780 | Ratings: 8,454 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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Sigmund from Norway

4.04/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottle, kindly shared by gunnar. ABV 10.5%. Pitch black colour, moderate to low tan head. Nice aroma of dark malts and chocolate. Fine roasty flavour, notes of strong coffee and dark bitter chocolate.

May 08, 2021
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Geelawn from Connecticut

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

So I let my stout age in my cellar for about 8 months and all I can say is wow. It really aged awesomely. I am super happy I chose to wait on this one because this stuff is dope. Stone for life

Mar 06, 2019
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JiffyJeff from Canada (AB)

3.43/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pitch black. A small amount of head appeared. Sweet smell of dates/ fruity. Can taste molasses. Notice the strong alcohol taste. Not a very sticky feel.

Mar 01, 2019
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MonDak_Joe1953 from Minnesota

4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a 22oz bottle of the '2014 RELEASE'. Label displays 11%ABV.
Nearly opaque black colored body, with the thinnest of bottom edge showing dark brown back lit highlights. Two finger tan creamy head, which recedes to thin cap and ring. Leaves behind some rings of lacing.
Aroma of dark roasted malts, coffee, chocolate, black licorice, and dark fruits.
Taste is dark roasted malts, which express dark chocolate and dark roast coffee. The dark fruit shows up close to the end. The black licorice is a minor note throughout.
Full mouth feel, super creamy. Good carbonation.
The alcohol is there but not super strong. This beer is good for sipping but is really quaffable for such a higher ABV%. Excellent overall and great that it needs no adjuncts to bring forth complex smells and flavors. It's a loss that this is no longer brewed.

Bottle Notes:
Brewed in the authentic, historical style of an imperial Russian stout, this beer is massive. Intensely aromatic (notes of anise, black currants, coffee, roastiness and alcohol) and heavy on the palate, this brew goes where few can - and fewer dare even try. The style originated from Czarist Russia's demand for ever-thicker English stouts. Expect our version of this mysterious brew to pour like Siberian crude and taste even heavier!

Feb 26, 2019
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IronLover from Pennsylvania

4.24/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled in March 2016. Black in color. Poured with a moderate, creamy, espresso tan foam with medium low retention. Rich, dark roasted and grainy malt aromas with dark chocolate and earthy, tobacco-like notes and light booziness. Rich and full bodied with medium light carbonation and a velvety smooth feel. Pleasant boozy warmth from the middle to the end. Roasted malt flavors up front with notes of dark chocolate and charred grainy malt. Medium earthy hop bitterness through the middle followed by chocolate and dark malt flavors. Bitterness transitions to warming booziness to the end. Finished semi-dryly with bitter dark chocolate and roasted maltiness with a light boozy heat. Great aromas and rich flavors with a fabulous feel and pleasant warmth.

Feb 03, 2019
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TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.17/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 version - bottled 03/05/15, so just short of 4 years. Pours a thick black with brown head, reddish highlights. Smell is sweet roasty coffee, bit of dark fruits, licorice, and faintly chocolate. Tastes more of the dark chocolate but still with coffee, hints of the licorice, a bit oaky. Smooth rich mouthfeel - notes of the booze - but a bit of that lingering coffee bitterness at the finish. Warm and inviting of another sip.

Jan 17, 2019
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Nass from Florida

3.33/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

I am getting big dark fruits, some baker's chocolate, very little coffee, some roasted malts. It's a little too hoppy for a RIS. This is not supposed to taste similar to an IPA. God damn it Stone! Every batch of beer you brew does not have to taste like an IPA, get over yourselves. I am appalled by this beer. Cheers! B-

Oct 13, 2018
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Sabtos from Ohio

4.18/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Stark, syrupy black, this has a deep mocha foam that is still able to persist in a thick creamy collar after three years in a keg.

Chocolatey and rich, this is also woody and slightly bitter with notes of licorice and nutty molasses through a medium-thick body with a semi-dry, sticky finish.

2015 IRS on draft.


In June 2021 I tested the aging challenge on the back of my 2008 bottle, and the results were mind-blowing.

It's chocolate syrup up front, cigar skins in the middle with a little cedary hop and malt acidity, and nutty wafer in the exhale. Its overall bitterness is as pleasantly tempered as it can possibly get at this point, combined with a warming sting on tip of tongue. As it warms, a hint of mocha develops, but so too do notes of Jack & Coke.

The slick but medium body still has a crackly but fine carbonation coming into a powder dry finish.

Other than being nearly still in appearance, I don't know how any signs of oxidation hardly seem to be present here.


Having a 2009 bottle in July 2021, to my surprise I find it a touch more oxidized than the 2008, primarily developing notes of prune and tobacco, while still exhaling wonderful cacao and peanut brittle. It's a dichotomy but it's still overall pleasant, and bitter of mocha liqueur with a finely crisp carbonation

Sep 03, 2018
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untitledeuphoria from New York

4.29/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2015 vintage on tap at Stone RVA. Never had this one fresh, but it with a few years it was quite decadent. Rich amora, balanced flavors, and an incredibly smooth mouth. Why did they stop making this?

Apr 01, 2018
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GarrettB from Colorado

4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

April 9th, 2015 - This is a well aged (7 years) version of the Imperial Russian Stout - a legendary brew by itself. Seven years of meditation have mellowed out the scent, polishing away any malt bitterness or alcohol, leaving only the gentle smell of the woods. The flavor is lusciously smooth, with the lightest glaze of vanilla skating on a sheen of smooth restraint. It's boozy, yet it doesn't taste like it is. There's also a glimmer of steak sauce and soy sauce to plumb into the depths and retrieve some flavor, but the dark magic here is all in the way this beer expresses a great deal of flavor in the most restrained fashion.

Mar 05, 2018
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detgfrsh from Texas

4.32/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2015 release. Pours black with only a few brown bubbles. Smells of roasted malts and chocolate. Thick feel. Taste is similar to the smell, roasted malts, chocolate, and some dried fruit sweetness. Very good.

Feb 17, 2018
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kevintaraross from Maryland

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5



Jan 28, 2018
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kitch from Hong Kong

4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A 22 fl. oz. bomber, 2016 release, bottled on 23rd March 2016. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Black in colour with a just under one finger brown head that dissipated fairly quickly to a ring around the glass while leaving only sparse lacing.

Aroma: Roasted malts, chocolate and coffee with some sweet dark fruit, plum, black currant and cherries.

Taste: Similar to the aroma with roasted malts, lightly burnt smokiness, dark chocolate and coffee, followed by dark fruit sweetness of plum and prunes.

Mouthfeel: Creamy, smooth, full bodied with light carbonation.

Overall: Great aroma and nice taste at the beginning, but perhaps feeling that it was a bit too sweet towards the end, after finishing a full bomber by myself. Alcohol is well hidden though, and it’s a great bottle to share.

Jan 24, 2018
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Vader444 from Scotland

4.44/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2016 version poured into snifter and consumed over about 2 hours.

Simply a very good RIS. Not quite on a par with my favourites (Expedition and Founders IS) but pretty close. Certainly felt the effects after a bomber all to myself! Cheers

Dec 28, 2017
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CNoj012 from New York

4.23/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled On 03/13/16

This beer pours a completely opaque pitch black color with a half finger, foamy light brown head. The head eventually settles to an 1/8 inch ring around the edge of the glass that lasts the duration and leaves a bit of spotted lacing in it's wake.

Smell is subtle yet complex. It is made up of rich roasted malts, milk chocolate, caramel, bitter black coffee, dark fruits and black licorice

Taste is very similar, but with the addition of a big dose of smokey char that adds a bit more depth.

Feel is full bodied and viscous bordering on chewy. Light carbonation.

Overall this is a great beer. I was not sold on the smell, but as soon as that char hit my palate I changed my tune. I'm a sucker for smokiness as Even More Jesus is my favorite non BA stout, and although I would not put this beer on that level, it is still quite nice.

Dec 12, 2017
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.15/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Deep, dark, forbiddingly black with a fingernail of beige around most of the rim and about a size of a quarter in the middle. There's a plethora of dark roasted barley, black licorice, and plums. I'm tasting an aggressive presence of dark roasted barley along with black licorice and coffee. The mouth is thick, chewy, and sticky.

Dec 02, 2017
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rex_4539 from Greece

4.64/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

L: Jet black color, half finger brown head, superb lacing, nice carbonation.

S: Sweet, chocolate, alcohol, coffee. Smells wonderful.

T: Sweet, chocolate, alcohol, coffee. Fantastic.

F: Thick, dense, full flavored.

O: A great Russian imperial stout from Stone.

Nov 09, 2017
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Dzu from Russian Federation

4.4/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured from tap into pint glass.
L: pitch black with a tan foam glass.
S: butter, coffee, cream.
T: chocolate, sweety,
F: tight body and soft carbonation.
O: awesome one. Recommended!!

Oct 03, 2017
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andrewh995 from Arizona

4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark black with a thin brown head. Smells of rich chocolate, caramel, and some coffee. Tastes of sweet chocolate, caramel, roasted malts, coffee, and a slight orange zest. Not much alcohol at all. Medium-heavy body and light carbonation. Overall a very delicious RIS. I found the 2010 version on draft somewhere so this is very aged.

Sep 20, 2017
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Vidblain from Minnesota

4.09/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had several bottles of Stone's Imperial Russian Stout over the years, but those generally pre-date my "serious" days of beer criticism and enjoyment. So I opened a 2015 to see how my impressions were holding up.

Imperial Russian Stout has been widely venerated for quite some time now - with good reason. It ages well. It has a recipe that has been consistent and well balanced for quite some time. Like many other Russian Imperial Stouts, it is quite heavily hopped - so it has potential to mature over long periods of time, only gaining complexity as the hops become more subdued.

I wish that I had had the forethought to open a comparable Russian Imp alongside Stone's, but here were my impressions: the beer pours quite dark, with a nice head of very light brown foam. It smells quite hoppy still, but also warm and chocolatey. The taste is quite accurate to the smell - the hops are pungent and hit the back of my tongue quite powerfully. Much like Surly Darkness, I found myself wishing that I had aged this for much longer. Those hops hang on forever! Still, the beer has admirable complexity and flavor. The hops are strong and pronounced, but there is still a very pleasant sweetness to it.

I like this beer a lot. I have a 2011 and a 2013 that I have yet to open. My follow-up on those in the future.

Sep 02, 2017
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briandschorr from North Carolina

4.68/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Amazing. I am a big fan of Stouts and Porters and this is one of the best Stouts out there. Moderate dark fruit ester and a wonderful opaque color. I agree with the comments about a significant herbal hop character. The nose is a complex blend of chocolate and caramel with coffee coming through in a subtle way. A wonderful thick foam that breaks down at just the right speed and leaves not much lacing. This is a beer to be enjoyed slowly. For me, it's a step away from a masterpiece.

Aug 04, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

3.9/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance had a nice dark brown close to a black color with a one finger white to off white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. The lacing was there as it speckled the glass adequately. The smell had a super nice blend of roasted chocolate tones to a slight coffee beans with light vanilla and anise. The taste was very nice as it allowed a super nice sweet and roastiness to invade the tastebuds in a slight boozy pummeling of sorts. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with more of sipping aspect assigned to this brew. The carbonation finishes roasty and smooth. Overall, very nicely done imperial stout well worthy of having again.

Jul 09, 2017
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maltznhopz from Nevada

4.28/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 3/3/16: 22oz bomber poured into a snifter.
L- pours pitch black with a small tan head that dissipates rather quickly.
A - smells of malts, chocolate and caramel.
T - the flavor I got was lots of dark fruit, hint of chocolate, toffee, little bit of caramel and heavy roasted malts. As it warms you can sense some oakiness in the finish.
M - creamy and smooth mouthfeel with almost no noticeable alcohol. Hardly any carbonation.
O - the annual stone RIS has never disappointed. Must try brew every year for me.

Jul 01, 2017
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GoBearsWalter34 from Illinois

4.84/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L- Black! A one-finger, tan, creamy head. Stays entirely for warm-up.
S- Perfect!. Sweet Chocolate and caramel malts. Slight roasted coffee and black licorice.
T- Sweet with bakers chocolate and roasted coffee. Huge caramel in the end. Slight dairy feel and taste. Sweetness offset well by bitter hop. Slight black licorice worked in. This is one of the best ever.
F- Awesome! feels like putting my head in a big vat of chocolate perfection and sucking in and not getting full.
O- Some beers you consume, others you experience...this one you experience!

Jun 23, 2017
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-steve- from Canada (ON)

4.06/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Black and opaque. Thick, brown foam that quickly dissipates leaving little lacing.
Smell: Chocolaty, caramel goodness. Mahogany, coffee. So excited to try this beer.
Taste: Chocolate, thick and boozy. This is a decadent brew.
Feel: Viscous beer coating the tongue with multiple flavours.
Overall: Wonderful beer.

Jun 05, 2017
Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 8454 ratings