Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
8,427 Ratings
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.60%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,427 |  Reviews: 2,773
Photo of Brewtuber
1/5  rDev -76.9%

Photo of sonicgrub
1/5  rDev -76.9%

Photo of MattCarlock
1/5  rDev -76.9%

Photo of oaktree42
1/5  rDev -76.9%

Photo of PatrickMDunleavy
1/5  rDev -76.9%

Photo of sallmadsen
1/5  rDev -76.9%

Photo of paulmr1968
1.5/5  rDev -65.4%

Photo of Tonerelia
1.65/5  rDev -61.9%
look: 3 | smell: 2.25 | taste: 1 | feel: 1.25 | overall: 2

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,

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Photo of kendellmarie
1.75/5  rDev -59.6%

Photo of Jshrum78
1.76/5  rDev -59.4%
look: 2.25 | smell: 1.25 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.75 | overall: 1.75

Looks better than it tastes, but I'm not very fond of the hops.

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Photo of sfprint
1.79/5  rDev -58.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Bought from Ledgers in Berkeley, CA.

A: It looks quite frightening actually. It poured more like tar or molasses than a beer. Little carbonation. Looks like a super dark, dense, flat cola, tar pit.

S: Unique smell, having problems identifying it exactly. Very strange. Although the bottle cap states that its 100% natural,part of the smell it has i would associate with chemicals, the other part with rubber, or rubber cement.

T: Wow, quite different from other Russian Imperial Stouts I've had. The alcohol is very strong in the taste, and it unfortunately doesn't taste very natural to me. The aftertaste is unpleasant, very bitter, like a some kind of garden weed. In the body, I do taste coffee, but it's not good coffee. Somewhat sweet.

M: Initially it goes down very smooth, but then the aftertaste creates this bizarre, mouth puckering sensation like you've consumed something potentially poisonous.

O: Bleh. Maybe I've drank this beer too soon. On the back it recommends trying it every 5-6 months, and since it was "released" this spring, and it's only June, maybe it wasn't the right time to drink? I will go read the other reviews now and try to see what everyone else see's in it. It's definitely disconcerting that my experience is so far different from the other reviewers here.

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Photo of philipquarles
1.87/5  rDev -56.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

Spring 2009 release. Pours a used-motor-oil black with a creamy dark beige/light brown head that disappears to leave a bit of lacing. Smells of Drambuie-soaked raisins, dates, and other dark fruits, as well as a load of chocolate and some brown sugar. It would be pleasant if it weren't overpoweringly boozy. The more it warms, the worse it gets. More cocoa and dark fruits in the taste, and again, loads of alcohol. The initial chocolaty sweetness turns to intense bitterness from heavy hopping. Slightly astringent as well. Warming alcohol-laden finish. Thick body with nice carbonation. Too intensely boozy to be very drinkable. This might have the potential to be nice after a couple of years, but a fresh bottle tastes like chocolate macerated in port with a few dabs of soy sauce added for good measure. Poured half the bomber down the drain.

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Photo of mrasskicktastic
1.9/5  rDev -56.1%
look: 4 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Spring 2007 release

A - Black brew with an excellent cascade. A bit of lacing is left on the sides.

S - Molasses, licorice and a hint of fresh pitch. Burnt pith and alcohol. As the beer warms, only slightly. A pretty unpleasant smell.

T - Molasses, soy sauce, sour, licorice, black pepper, alcohol. Aftertaste is a bitter scorched malt and some sourness.

M - Thick, syrupy, smooth, a bit refreshing.

D - This beer is not very good at all. I neither hate nor love Stone beers, and I neither hate nor love extreme beers - but, objectively, this is just bad. A little short of drain pour. Truthfully, I don't think age will make a worthwhile difference in this one. I'll let it sit for a few years I think and then crack it open. I am really sad that I bought two when I saw it. Very few times that I say this, but "at least it is strong." Barring the one I bought synchronously (which I might just trade), I won't have this again.

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Photo of chugalug06
1.92/5  rDev -55.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

2011 bottle aged 1 year; update: This brew has soured horribly... Much worse then 2009 Abyss... I won't touch any of my previous scoring, this was a drain pour.

For the record, this is not the Belgo Anise version

A - Awesome big fluffy tan head. Some lacing. Head quickly recedes. Brew is thin oil black.

S - Weird. Not sure how I feel about this scent... Very weird chocolate scent, some licorice too.

T - Not impressive. Weird dark malt with over amounts of chocolate. also, some cheep Folgers taste.

M - Carbonation is a little too high. Bitterness is nonexistent. Dryness/sweetness is too high, doesn't fit style. Brew is was too thin, too.

O - Not impressed with this Stone offering. I hope it flattens out with age, I still have two more... If anyone would like a Belgo Anise version, please let me know!!! What happened to Stone brews setting the pace for the rest of the West Coast? Close to a drain pour...

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Photo of MChristian
2/5  rDev -53.8%

Photo of Ecliptica
2.03/5  rDev -53.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 1

When I finally saw this for the first time at Julio's Liquors in Westborough, MA I was excited - one of the highest rated beers on BA and not available in Louisiana where I usually am and usually purchase beer. It was an automatic purchase, even at $8.00 a bottle.

Poured the brew in a pint glass that I brought back with me from my favorite bar in New Orleans and the beer poured as expected, a completely opaque black that absolutely refuses to let light pass through it, no ruby tints as with most other Imperial Stouts. This is as black as black can be. The beautiful tan head leaves zero lacing behind.

The smell can best be described as a licorice-laced espresso. There is a hint of fruity esters somewhere in there and it's actually quite complex and quite leading. I don't know why it doesn't taste like it smells.

Although the beer is 10.80% ABV, the only distinguishable taste is the alcohol. I'm getting very little fruit and NO chocolate whatsoever. It tastes almost like soy sauce, leaving the mouth dry and wanting more. . .but certainly not more of this beer.

The beer is nowhere near as thick or as smooth as it should be considering the vigorous pour, and as I mentioned above, there is a quite bitter and sour aftertaste that leaves the palate desiring more liquid and I continued to drink the brew even though I knew I wasn't enjoying it.

Drinkability. . .::sigh::. . .I don't even know. This is probably the second beer I've had in the last couple of months that almost resulted in a drain pour. I'm just left wondering why it's rated so high. . .is it because it's a Russian Imperial Stout? Is it because of the high ABV? Is because the brewery itself is known for producing quality beers (this is the first one that has let me down, FWIW)? I'm just confused, I don't recommend this at all, and between this and the Harviestoun Old Engine Oil (Aged in Malt Whiskey Casks) that I had last week, I've been having pretty bad luck with choosing my beers lately.

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Photo of Seebeej
2.06/5  rDev -52.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Don't get this again. Smooth taste for alcohol, but stick with other stouts.

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Photo of Erdinger2003
2.2/5  rDev -49.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

2006, cellared for one year. In proper storage conditions.

This beer pours out a good head, soft and tan/brown. The color is dark brown with a black color in the middle. The head falls very fast and leaves a slight lacing. The smell is boozy and harsh with some off flavors, I have had these off flavors before I just can't put my finger on it. The taste is slightly roasty, alcohol presence is noticable. Their are off flavors again. Mouthfeel isn't very good, it leaves my mouth dry and want of more, not more of the beer, but something. Overall, this was a bad experience. If the 2007 is like this I will not buy this again.

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Photo of Kudashov
2.24/5  rDev -48.3%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

This brew was going to be enjoyed while watching my beloved Boston Red Sox . I got neither . The Sox game was called off and this beer was not enjoyable . When poured , the color and the crusty bubbled head was nice and very impressive . The head reminded me of the inside of a Crunchie Bar that my folks would bring back to the States from Ireland . The aroma is coffee and boozy . Burnt and overwhelmingly bitter . I have enjoyed the Storm King and Brooklyn Black Chocolate stout . The latter is one of my favs . Stone makes some very tasty brews but this was a mess . It was not a drain pour but it will not be bought again .

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Photo of kustard
2.25/5  rDev -48%

Photo of KISSFR33K
2.25/5  rDev -48%

Photo of julielynndubee
2.25/5  rDev -48%

Photo of Bejogle
2.29/5  rDev -47.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 1.5

Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a snifter.

This beer is opaque black in every sense of the word, with a really impressive, pillowy tan head. The head subsides very quickly, however, and leaves only slight lacing.

The smell was not very interesting really, smelled pretty much like a Guinness if Guinness made malt liquor, lots of hints of fusel alcohol.

The taste was worse than the smell, unfortunately. There is no presence of chocolate or coffee flavors at all in this beer as there are in other RIS'. It tasted pretty much like a mixture of cough syrup and the fusel alcohol i mentioned before. I don't understand where people are getting the complexity.

Mouthfeel was good, thick and oily like a RIS should be, but the taste ruined the experience and therefore the drinkability.

I was hoping it was just a bad bottle but I bought another one and it had the same exact problems. I really really wanted to enjoy this beer because of its high rating, but I'm starting to think it's rated so highly simply because its a seasonal from a reputable brewery and because its so high in ABV. I won't be buying this again, sticking to Old Rasputin.

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Photo of AleDaddy
2.36/5  rDev -45.5%

Photo of DerBayer
2.43/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

The aftertaste of creamsoda

A - Nice tar colour but the off-brounish brackish head ruins it for me

S - Complex smell of aniseed, caramel and spice

T - At firt quite good you taste the spice then some faint chocolate then ... American cream soda - OUCH

M - Too flat flat flat I m afraid

D - At first this is slightly moorish then quickly creamsoda overkill and you dont know if you re in 21st century London or a 1950s american movie

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Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 8,427 ratings