Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout
Liked This Beer
4.33 w/ 8,381 ratings
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial 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

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,381 |  Reviews: 2,760
Photo of idResponse
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

An onyx brew that sucks everything else in the room away and leaves you purely focused on the beer and nothing but the beer. The smell then leaves you begging to taste what you know you are expecting. You are smelling the expectation of something so dark, so smooth so rich, yet so mellow that you could swill this stuff down faster than water itself. You finally take a swig and it tastes like a full compliment of laughing licorice soldiers with ginger helmets and their complimentary cavalry of mellow spice horses thundering across the plains of your tounge, You are forced to put more in your mouth uncontrollably. Once you begin to consume you will not wish to stop. Most excellent.

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Photo of ivegot3Dvision
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of CurtFromHershey
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 bottle, poured into a spiegelau tulip. Rich, almost black color. Huge dense beige head which would probably still linger if you left it sit out for a year. Ridiculous lacing. Sexy,sexy beer.

Smell is somewhat boozy, but like a fine liquor. Subtle aromas of vanilla bean and cappuccino.

Taste is much more chocolate malt forward than I anticipated given the nose, a welcome surprise. Strong roasty finish. No alcohol detected at all.

Mouthfeel is thick and creamy. Beer has certainly he'd its carbonation since '11.

Overall a great beer that probably deserves more credit. Somewhat overshadowed by the bastards I think. Will buy in the future. Thanks to danwho for this extra.

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Photo of halo3one
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 bottle

A - dark, thick, minimal light colored head

S - booze, malty, mocha, rich, complex

T - toasted malt, a little coffee, just the right amount of booze

M - smooth, thick

O - this is a great imperial Russian, especially for the price point and its wide availability.

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

22oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter. 2011 vintage

A: One finger tan head. Pitch black body.

S: Cocoa, licorice, roasted grains, some coffee, dark fruit and faint hops.

T: Chocolate, dark fruit, bitter roasted malt, caramel and molasses.

M: Full body, oily and creamy texture. Soft carb..right about where I want it in a stout. Moderately warming alcohol finish.

O: One of my favorite RIS. Amazing flavor and complexity for such value. Looking forward to buying a stash of 2012.

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Photo of timontheroad
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured very dark black, with a two finger bubbly brown head that receded to a quarter inch thick foam, great lacing. Aroma was coffee, dark roast malt and booze. The dark roast malts really stood forward in the flavor, with some coffee, dark fruits, and of course the alcohol. The mouthfeel was thick and creamy smooth - very nice. Overall, Stone hardly ever disappoints, and this beer is no exception.

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

2009 Vintage

A: Deep brown, at times black with a smallish cap of lightly browned head.

S: Rich cocoa liqueur, powdered chocolate, molasses, and ground coffee. Wow!

T: As with the nose, cocoa liqueur opens up with some dark berry sweetness differing slightly from other assorted dark fruits. The roast is not too heavy and works itself in more on the finish than blasting away with heavy char (I find that sometimes abrasive). Fading hop bitterness that is a bit on the earthy side but some piny residue as well.

M: Not as creamy as some RISs, but a velvety cushion intercedes between my tongue and where I believe the beer to lie. It floats heavily. Little perceived alcohol burn, but pleasantly so. It's good to know I"m drinking a big stout without being burned by the heat.

D: This is a wonderful anytime beer (assuming you like stouts at anytime as I do). I will be scouting older stores for some vintage bottles.

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

2010 Vintage. Poured from a 22oz bomber into my Bruery tulip.

Inky cavernous wall of liquid topped with a light frosting and slightly thicker collar of desert sand foam. Light lacing and thin oily legs.

Big aggressive aromatics - chicory, roast coffee, fennel, licorice or maybe light molasses, brown butter or possibly toasted brazil nuts, and a hint of dark fruit (figs, prunes?).

Quite roasty, and full of esters suggesting cocoa-dusted raisins. Lots of flavor, but primarily bready; I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop mid-palate, i.e. a heady dose of hops, but it never comes. Stone has stuck with a classic recipe here and resisted stamping it with their signature muscular over-dose of ingredients. Well done. There is a lingering sweetness, but the roast helps slowly dry out the finish. No diacetyl, and clean despite a hint of char.

Lush, rich, chewy, and full-bodied without being overly thick. Moderate carbonation with perhaps the faintest astringency. Alcohol is rather well concealed.

Powerful, yet compared to all the massive RIS out there, this is almost delicate.

While excellent on its own, this would be a superior addition to a BBQ marinade as well.

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

Appearance: jet black with faint cola highlight around the rim when held to a light.
Smell: Adult milkshake baby. Chocolate fudge mocha. Not incredibly complex, just damn good. I'm getting only a faint, pleasant hint of alcohol, just enough to enhance the richness.
Taste: Oh man, thank God,the taste matches the nose. Delish.
Overall: Hands down, my favorite Stone.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap at the Escondido brewery into tulip.
A: Pours extremely dark brown-black with 1/4 inch dark mocha head with good retention.
S: Dry dark chocolate, cacao nibs, vanilla, whiskey, and a hint of molasses.
T: Dark bittersweet chocolate, cacao nibs, whiskey, leather, molasses,vanilla, and a hint of dark honey.
M: Heavy body, yet delicately sweet. Drinks a bit lighter than ABV. Decadent and deep. Lingers and matures nicely on the palate.
D: An outstanding brew! Hits all the right notes and is ten times more drinkable than most RISs. Well done, Stone!

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Photo of vutoq
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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


2007 edition cellared by aerozeppl

Old ale smell. Nice. Can double/pass as a winter night sipper.

This one was so smooth. The coffee and a bit of caramel are still there. Rough edges are gone. Did I mean how smooth this one is?

A year made a big difference.

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

2007 bottle

Poured into the Stone Russian Stout snifter, pours a complete pitch black with a dirty dark head that doesn't hang aroung other than a ring around the glass, little lace. Smell is of chocolate, coffee, cake, sweet roasted malt and barley, this smells very nice and tasty. Taste is inviting, strong coffee notes, velvet chocolate, and just a bit of bitternes towards the end, I am also picking up a taste of wood in the mix as well, this is simply awesome. I had high expectations of this brew seeing the fine high reviews and believe me this is simply an awesome creation, now let me go back to enjoy the remainder of the bottle.

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

2007 Bomber Edition

Pours very dark (almost black) with a nice caramel color head.

Smell: Light aroma of high end coffee with hints of fruit

Taste: Very smooth, slight coffee / fruity taste, very yummy

This bomber was just what I need on a chilly Saturday in February. Very smooth and easy to drink, no way you could know that your are drinking a 10.8%

More than 1 bomber in a sitting could probably cause me some damage or a headache, so I'll save the other bomber for next year.

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

Thanks BenC for breaking out an '08-'10 vertical of this.

review of 2010:
a - dark black. light colored head.
s - smokey malts, some coffee
t - coffee and smokey. good amount of bitterness.
m - med-heavy body. thick and somewhat chewy, but carbonation keeps it from being too syrupy.

2009: smell is way sweeter than '10. dark fruit notes and vanilla. taste is sweeter as well. picking up honey and chocolate.

2008: smell i sweeter than '10, but less than '09. smokey cocoa nose. taste is super smooth, but seems to have lost some flavor over the '09. more chocolate malts.

overall - I think the best year was '09, but it may have been a bit too sweet. Somewhere between 1 and 2 years is about perfect. Actually at the end I mixed '08 and '09 together and enjoyed it quite a bit!

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Photo of Nick3
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer pours a liquid black color that looks as dangerous and ominous as the Warlock on the bottle. No head whatsoever, but a chocolate brown film rims the glass a the top of the brew. Smell is a smoky chocolate mocha and it makes me want to drink it now. Taste is expresso and chocolate. Alcohol is very well masked; could easily put a few of these down. Finish is roasted malts with a touch of hops. Full bodied almost syrupy with low carbonation. Wow, the best RIS I've ever had.

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Photo of blasass
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

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


Thank God I can get this in Texas now...spotted one at the HEB in Round Rock for 7.49 and snatched it up on sight.

Gave a hard pour into my New Belgium goblet...poured black as black, making a dense, bubbly, light brown head. Faded within minutes, leaving just a touch of spotty lacing.

Initial smell was dark roasted malt...a bit of chocolate mixed in, followed by some spices...pepper? cinammon? Very lovely...complex as hell.

Holy Moly! The first sip was smooth as hell! Taste followed scent...a creamy, chocolate latte, some sweet dark fruits, and then a slap of hoppy bitterness at the end. As with a lot of good strong stouts, the taste evolves as it warms...almost getting smoother, tastier...if that's even possible. The booze will certainly sneak up on you as you become distracted with how good it tastes.

This is easily one of the top beers I've very happy to finally have it in Texas!

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

Paid $6.99 for a 22 oz bottle at Total Wine.

This is the 2011 release. I served it in a Guinness pint glass at 49 degrees.

It was a jet black color with no signs of light even at the rim. A medium beige 1.5 inch foamy head with bubbles held up for several minutes gently clinging to the side of the glass.

A swirl and a sniff revealed roasted malts, molasses, sambuca, and dark roast coffee.

My first thoughts entering the mouth is thick, full outhfeel and balance. The 2nd sip revealed a complex roasted flavor profile along with ample hop bite that you would expect from Stone. Cuban coffee and licorice lead the flavor bill.

I was surprised that the flavors were no more intense given the color and forthright nose. Don't be mistaken, while not as intense or in your face as other imperials, this was a masterpiece of complexity, balance, and mouthfeel exceeding what one would normally find in an imperial.

The alcohol was present but well integrated into the structure and not at all boozy aside from the licorice reminiscent of sambuca.

The bottle suggests you buy a case and drink one every 3-6 months to see how it develops. I may actually do that. It was excellent.

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

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a tulip glass. Black as black can be, with a small dark tan head that leaves moderate lacing as it wanes.

Smells of dried fruit, alcohol, bitter chocolate and dark roasted malts. The aroma is very complex and enjoyable. Taking several whiffs before each sip is definitely working well for me.

Tastes of dark malt, chocolate, and prune, with a warm alcohol and bitter hop finish. Warm. This just warms you all the way down and makes you glad to be alive and drinking a beer.

This stout is rich, creamy and warm. The body is superb and it just makes your whole mouth happy.

All I can say about drinkability is that this bomber is a perfect end to a cold winter night after spending a couple hours outside.

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Photo of claminat420
4.47/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 bomber into my imperial stout glass.

Appearance- from a hardy pour it's the typical stout black with a frothy beige head that leaves some heavy lacing. poster child of stouts.

Aroma- a weird dark malt with a wiff of some hops. different and good. not boozy.

Taste- get some dark malts but balanced by hops. It feels like both sides battled and just left a taste of impartial stout goodness. alcohol is not detected. has a smoothness like a milk stout. slight chocolate with a slight dark fruit/ raisiny taste. has a bitterness that balances shit out. alcohol is well hidden which is great for 10+ abv. detecting a slight hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel- very slick. medium to heavy bodied. just awesome.

Drinkability- it would be wise to buy a case of this and occasionally drink them here and there. keep a few for down the road.

Overall- I don't know if it's just because it's aged for awhile but it's sooo slick. the slickness almost tricks you thinking it's light bodied. you do get the chocolate/dark fruit/ raisiny taste. has a smoothness like a milk stout. to be fair i'm no way a stout fan. 10 out of 10 times i'm going with an ipa but for some whacky chance I feel stout(or imperial) this one would be a great choice.

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

22 oz bottle, 2011 Release from back in the spring.

black, with thin soft tan creamy head. powerful aroma of chocolate, coffee, and a little alcohol. taste is in line with the aroma, coffee is the dominate flavor, with dark chocolate and a bit of charcoal smokiness. medium thickness, but very smooth carbonation.

overall a great RIS, could maybe be just a bit thicker, but that's nit picking.

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

22oz bottle poured into a tulip. 2011 Batch.

A- Pitch black with a finger of light brown head. The head recedes leaving a whispy beige coaster and a nice ring around he outside of the glass.

S- Roasted malt, coffee and chocolate in the nose. Mmmm.

T- Starts out with notes of roasted coffee, followed by chocolate, toffee and a bit of sweetness. Sweet roasted malt fills out the taste mid-palate and the finish is sweet with a lingering coffee bitterness.

M- Feel is silky smooth and creamy wih a nicely low level of carbonation. ABV is largely hidden by the excellent play of roasty, sweet flavors at work in the beer.

O- This is a great rendition of a big imperial stout. Fantastic coffee and chocolate flavors melded with a thick, creamy body, make for a very enjoyable RIS experience. One of my favorites and highly recommended.

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

This brew is from the year 2007, decided to give it a try today. Well, I must say that it aged very well, simply a fantastic brew. I have been milking this one for the past 90 minutes letting it warm to see how the flavors change. The pour resulted in a pitch black color brew with a limited but steady darker brown head that left nice lacing. The aroma is magnificent as the black roasted/burnt malt give off a intoxicating aroma of chocolate, dark fruit (raisin, dates) molasses and brown, slightly burnt sugar. Extremely inviting mixture along with a faint but present Alcohol smell. The flavor is very good, lots of burnt/roasted malts (not overly astringent) gives a thick but slick feel. Coffee, chocolate, dark berries come to mind. As it warms the flavors seem to come out even more, if that is possible mixed with a warming taste of alcohol with is fantastic. This brew aged extremely well, now I wish I let it age even longer but on such a cold night this is exactly what was needed! This is a sipper, an evening with this one is the perfect end to the day!

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 95.2% out of 100 with 8,381 ratings
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