Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
BA SCORE
4.33/5
Outstanding
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.60%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ranking:
-
Reviews:
2,778
Ratings:
8,449
pDev:
9.24%
 
 
Wants:
836
Gots:
2,328
Trade:
90
 
User Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 2,778 | Ratings: 8,449
Reviews by jspaner:
Photo of jspaner
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark as night, as it should be. Smells terrific, chocolate & coffee, with faint roasty malt aromas. Tastes great, dark chocolate & coffee flavors,with some roasted malt & bread flavors. The alcohol taste is there, but not overpowering. Tastes & feels great, rich & smooth. Very little lacing on the glass. Overall it's an excellent beer!

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More User Reviews:
Photo of do_ob
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 oz bomber shared between two snifters. Pours pitch black in appearance with a 1 finger head of medium-brown colored foam. Sweet, bitter chocolate, roasted malt, and strong coffee-bean flavors on the nose. Light notes of vanilla and toffee accompany. Medium-heavy weight, and very dense and creamy. Loads of bitter chocolate and expresso up front with a mild sweetness setting in middleways. An awesome blance of roasted malt sees this one through to the end. The aftertaste is composed of strong, toasty malt, bittered chocolate, and intense coffee.

Overall, an excellent example of the style with a little added sweetness. Sickeningly sweet, and euphorically roasty, this beer is world-class in all aspects.

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Photo of Bear1964
4.69/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

Pour into a Pint glass from a 22oz bottle, pitch black pour with a fluffy tan head that turned into some very solid lace that hung on the glass from start to finish. Aroma held vanilla and alcohol notes with some roasted malts trying to peek out...they remained covered until the first taste. The taste is bitter/roasted coffee and malts with the alcohol present but not over powering, deep roasted flavors and some wood hints show up as the tasting goes on. The mouthfeel is so dead on for the style, thick/heavy on the tongue while leaving a nice roasted mild coffee/roasted flavor at the end. Overall I'm very impressed with this offering, I love RIS as a whole and I've had a lot of Stones products...this is a winner and I will pick it up when I can.

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Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Late Spring 2003 release. Glossy sable. No highlights, no edges, no nothing. It isn't possible for a beer to be more light nullifying than this one is. The head is one of the darkest that I've ever seen. It's a menacing shade of cocoa brown, the perfect color compliment to the beer on which it rests. It also puts the lie to the notion that high-ABV beer tends not to have large, persistent heads. Even though there isn't a glass smothering amount of lace, there's more than enough not to spoil a world-class appearance.

The nose is outstanding. It practically oozes heavily roasted black malt with all of the aromas that go along with it. Bittersweet chocolate fudge swirls around chunks of crushed coffee bean with generous lashings of molasses. The faintest hint of alcohol is more than welcome since it gives the aroma a seriousness that all good RISs possess. Perhaps nearly three years in the bottle is a bit too long to expect hops to persevere. However, I still have hope that they'll make a cameo on the palate.

Stone RIS is phenomenal! It's everything that I had hoped for and so much more. I have never experienced a more mind-blowing, darkly delicious, megaton malt bomb in my life. First and foremost, it possesses a monolithic malt backbone that gives granite an inferiority complex. Rivulets of melted chocolate, espresso, blackstrap molasses and the finest ouzo combine to create a raging river of mouthfilling (and belly warming) bliss.

The hops haven't completely faded, although I'm sure they're a shadow of their former 2003 selves. As is usually the case, they make an appearance on the finish when the malt deluge has finally begun to abate. I'd love to taste this beer fresh, but I have to say that it's an ass kicker of the highest order when aged. It's amazing how long the flavor lingers. The licorice/anise/ouzo hangs on seemingly forever.

This particular vintage clocks in at 9.47% and it feels every bit of that (even if it doesn't taste like it). This is a beer that is brewed to be sipped. It's doing an admirable job of warming me up, which I needed since I just came in from snowblowing half a foot of snow off my driveway. Each mouthful leads me to thank the boys at Stone for such an incredible beer. Although I don't usually buy in cases, this is a 'case beer' if there ever was one.

The mouthfeel is, in a word, perfection. It's as if the brewers read my mind and designed it especially for me. I've had thicker Imperial Stouts, but none that possessed this degree of heavy silkiness. Try as I might, I cannot find a flaw. Perfect mouth presence, perfect coating finish, just... plain... perfect.

SIRS is Stone's finest creation and is infinitely deserving of a place in the pantheon of the greatest beers ever created. I've run out of adjectives for 'great', but I haven't quite run out of beer. So if you'll excuse me, it's time to savor the final few swallows. Stone Russian Imperial Stout is a tour de force and is the finest stout in existence, bar none.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
4.78/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 Vintage - Bottle purchased at Ledger's in Berkeley

Better reviewers do a far better job on this masterpiece than I can ever match so I’ll simply add this: Believe the hype. Believe every word of it. Stone’s RIS is nearly perfect. Jet black. Bubbly dark tan head. Vinous aromas, dark fruit, chocolate, and a massive, unparalleled roastedness. Flavors of huge burnt dark roast coffee, nuts, vanilla, chocolate, dark fruits, everything one could ask for. Mouthfeel is perfect. Smooth, balanced, well hopped, partially covered to fading alcohol. Drinkability isn’t really applicable here. My brain tells me that drinking three would be suicide by my toungue says, more, more, more! I guess that’s high.

Highly recommended.

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Photo of kscaldef
4.39/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Revisiting 2012 vintage in Mar 2014.

A: unchanged, S: predominantly dark chocolate, which some dark fruit. T: Deliciously chocolatey, alcohol burn is gone. M: whatever bothered me 2 years ago is completely gone, mouthfeel now is near perfect. O: aging seems to have done wonders for this.

Original review follows:
---

2012 Vintage

A: Extremely dark, no more than a millimeter of beer on the edge permits any light through. Decent sized, dark mocha head. Leaves no lacing on the glass. (4)

S: Chocolate and overripe banana. Prunes and raisins. Heavily-roasted coffee beans come out as it sits and warms (4)

T: Tons of rich chocolate, with supporting notes of nuts, cherries, dates, and figs. Some alcohol apparent, but not excessive. Little hop character, some alcohol bitterness in the finish. (4)

M: Very smooth and unctuous in the mouth. However, it leaves an unpleasant grainy sensation that lingers for quite a while and really detracts from the beer. (2)

O: This beer is a miniature tragedy. So good, up to the finish which is really unpleasant. I could just drink faster, so as to experience more taste and less aftertaste, but that's probably a poor choice with a 10.5% beer. So, I'm torn. Half of the time I like this beer, half of the time I dislike it. Unfortunate. (3)

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Photo of miguellunarusso
4.81/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2014 vintage... Bitterness died down, chocolate, coffee, toffee nose and mouth. Full body is an understatement. Best stout I have had, hands down

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Photo of Czarkazm
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottled 2/21/2014. Darker than average, mahogany pour. Absolutely opaque in the glass with a dark cocoa colored head and streams of carbonation rising up all over the place. Aroma seems pretty muted for some reason, but I get strong notes of roasted malt, char, dark fruit, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, and oak. Medium-full mouth feel with good carbonation, very well balanced and easy to drink. On the taste, I get lots of dark malts, bitter, unsweetened coffee, slight licorice, vanilla, bakers chocolate, and raisins.

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Photo of stortore
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22 ounce bottle into a snifter. 2015 edition, had this on 4/1/16.

Pours a dark chocolate color, fully opaque, with a quickly dissipating short head and some lacing. The smell is heavily roasted malts, chocolate, vanilla, cocoa, a little smoke. A bold and robust aroma. The taste is a little more malt forward than the nose, lots of chocolate, cocoa, molasses, vanilla, some caramel, still a little smoky. Intense flavors. Very smooth, creamy, full bodied, the taste lingers for a while.

A classic of the style, and one of my favorites. This is one RIS everyone should try.

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Photo of FaradayUncaged
3.71/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours an amazing black with brown head but quickly downhill from there. Smells of burnt malts and boozy alcohol that carries through the taste and finish. Mouthful is a plus but overall seems like maybe some age is a good idea. The burnt flavor and smell is all too powerful and dampers what seems like an otherwise pleasurable experience.

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Photo of gibgink
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Sampling of 2009 vintage. Was amazed from all the roasted characteristics that were still coming from this bottle after so many years. A true classic that can withstand the test of time.

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Photo of Jason
4.17/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz brown bomber, “Limited Spring 2002 Release” on the label gives you an idea of freshness … not that it matters being that this brew is a towering 9.47% abv.

Appearance: Big pillowing foamy tan head is slow to form as the bubbles of carbonation struggle to the top of this thick crude oil black brew. The head does dissipate but the there is a lace that sticks around for the show.

Smell: The aroma is full of highly roasted coffee (French Roast), fruity esters (dried black currants), slight molasses, mild char, and vague solvent alcohol and lost of roasted grain.

Taste: Nearly syrupy from a huge malty body, carbonation is at a medium crispness with an extremely viscous mouth feel. First the flavours go sweet with maltiness are fruity flavours of black currant and prune. Malt sweetness upfront is more of a mild molasses with a deep following of roasted grain and a chocolaty backing that sticks around until the finish. Hop are thrown in for good measure but don’t seem to get in the way too much. Alcohol flexes quick with a faint solvent flavour as well as the fruitiness providing some esters for more complexity. A smoothness creeps in out of nowhere and pulls the flavours in further which saturates the taste buds. Deep within, after the brew warms up a bit there is a dark caramel flavour that sits next to beer heaven. After the initial wave of flavour there seems to be a Zen of balance as all of the flavours meld together in perfect formation. The roasted grain lingers with an endless trail cleaning up all other flavours in its wake.

Notes: Devastatingly flavourful, highly drinkable and very deceiving for a brew at 9.47% abv. This beer shows-off Stone Brewing’s prowess to take a style a bring it to a greater level than others.

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Photo of funjack5150
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Just picked up three bottles today of the 2014 release, super surprised to find it at the beer store. I hear the 2015 release comes out tomorrow. Went home chilled two bottles and put one in the cellar. I get a lot of chocolate its kind of nice. Sipping on a glass of it right now, well watching March Madness, what could be better?

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Photo of JJKBeerLvr
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Sampled August 2014 from bottles in pint glass.

Appearance: Very dark color, dark tan head that lasted for a while.

Smell: Sweet with strong coffee aromas, with some toasted/burnt hints.

Taste: Full-bodied with great balance of malt and hops. Dominated by toasted coffee, but with some chocolate flavor as well. Taste starts sweet with malts, then comes the roasted coffee flavors, and then a little bitterness from the hops. Overall a great combination.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied, but smooth.

Overall: Great stout. Best if you enjoy a combination both strong hops and malts. I will buy this again.

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

I have versions of this from 2011-2016, hopefully its enjoyable! dark in color with a brown hue and nice brown head with good retention. On the nose is dark fruit, booze, tobacco, leather, burnt malts, very roasty and some spice present. similar note on the palate, plus some slightly bitter chocolate notes. mouthfeel is about right for the style.

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Photo of hobbes2112
4.72/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bomber bottle.

Pours a midnight black with a medium level deep brown head. Pretty significant lacing. Smell is all dark. Dark chocolate, dark malt, dark caramelized sugars, alcohol (ok that one isn't dark.) I drank this one very slowly in 4 small glass increments. The first was pretty cold, possibly too cool. That was a much different, smaller beer than the later and warmer cups. I'd recommend this one warm only...you are missing out on the best parts when it is cold. I like the coffee notes that come with warmth. Mouthfeel is great, really astringent aftertaste that screams bitter cocoa with hops. I have a hard time giving out drinkability scores above 4 for beers this strong (in the alcohol sense) because you really can't drink them in a session manner.

Top notch.

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Photo of jh1982
5/5  rDev +15.5%

Photo of mcallister
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Been waiting to try this on tap and now is the time. 2007 edition.

Completely opaque nearing midnight. Head is thick and tightly wound. A rich shade of mocha. Falls leaving little lacing into a foamy top.

Rich with dark chocolate semi sweetened. Hints of roasted coffee, mollasses, toffee, cooking caramel, with black currant, black cherry, vanilla bean, and an alcoholic expression.

Thick, chewy, full, rich, forever finishing mouthfeel. Nice somewhat citrusy hop, bitter hop finish. Rich and roasty flavors with a tingly feeling on the toungue. Anise lending toward black licorice. Full and oozing fudge and dark chocolate. RS is decent and I like the inclusion from keeping this bone dry. Black chocolate covered cherry, chocolate covered raisin, rum soaked raisin, and vanilla fill out the mouthfeel with both black currant and read currant esters.

Delicious and easy to drink. Needs some time to tame itself however.

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Photo of Buannaich
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%

Photo of StargherKing
4.13/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Been looking forward to this one for a while. Pours dark, jet black, with coffee-colored head. A less beer-savvy friend watched the pour and asked if I was drinking beer or motor oil. Smell was coffee, caramel, some fruity notes (grape? currant maybe?), and just a hint of toffee. The taste is bitter, a lot more hops than I was expecting (though since this IS a Stone brew I suppose I should have known), with a strong coffee/toffee flavor, undercurrents of caramel and that same grape/currant flavor that I noticed in the aroma. Mouthfeel is very thick, but it seems like the carbonation and bitter hops keep it from coating too much. Personally, the 10.8 ABV on this one hit me like a load of bricks. Reading the bottle, they reccomend buying in bulk and cellaring to enjoy the aging...I may just have to try that.

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Photo of Floydster
4.31/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Naja's Place this summer

Served in 12 ounce goblet

Very easy to drink for how much alcohol it contains

Probably would enjoy more in winter time because it is a warm beer, but still was amazingly good in August

Best beer offered by Stone Brewing

Wish this was a year round release, not just 3 months

Like the 2007 a lot better than the 2006 version because it has a more aggressive flavor

Highly recommended

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Photo of ne0m00re
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

06/04/10- Had this one on-tap at Bob's Bar in a snifter.
A: Black with very red--yet thin--hues, good lace/collar/film that is a tan color.
S: Very smokey (with a burnt charcoal characteristic), nice espresso, dark chocolate, and less caramel than expected from the style.
T: Sweeter than expected from the aroma, very smokey burnt, deliciously roasted with some oats, but very smooth.
M: Creamy and frothy and really good, only mildly syrupy.
D: Really good. Equivalent to Old Raspy.

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Photo of GOGRANDE
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%

Photo of jumbopanda
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of Fatehunter
3.96/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pitch black pour from the bomber into a tulip glass. A dirty tan short head formed. Held up to the light, not even on the edges is the light coming though. Looks beautiful.

S - Dark malt, caramel and ALCOHOL.

T - Malty, but not too sweet. There is a coffee kind of bitterness. Alcohol lingering minutes afterward.

M - Full bodied, my tongue is going numb from the alcohol. Light carbonation. Excellent.

D - This is perfect for a cold, stormy day in front of the fireplace. It will warm you up nicely. It hits the notes for a Imperial Russian Stout. Even though Stone gives fair warning on the bottle that it is loaded is alcohol, I would prefer a little less on the nose. Minor complaint. Excellent stout.

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Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 8,449 ratings