Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

2,748 Reviews
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

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Reviews: 2,748 | Ratings: 8,352
Photo of TheDoctor
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Service: Bottle
Bottled: Mar-23-2016

Pours a thickish jet black with two+ fingers mocha head that slowly settles to a full, but skimpy film. Okay retention; some specks of lacing. (4)

Rich bitter chocolate/coffee melange. Cacao nibs, Mexican coffee, molasses, hard water, coffee. (4.25)

Mmmmmm. Thick, smooth roasty caramelization, coffee, baker's chocolate, molasses, cream. (4.5)

Silky, full bodied, slight roasty astringency, lingering warming finish. (4.25)

This was a really enjoyable stout.
Solid and tasty, big but not unfinishable. It looks lovely in the glass. Fluffy brown head, opaque squid ink liquid. The aroma is rich and melded together into a single roasty aroma. Lots of coffee and bitter chocolate. The first drink surprises me at how smooth and soft and incredibly rich it can be. Layers of caramelized roast, brown sugar, cocoa powder, coffee grounds. It is almost fluffy in the mouth with medium carbonation. Verges on sticky-sweet but never crosses the line on either account.
Would have again. (4.25)

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Photo of Hyptochrons
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
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 Reema
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Serving type: 22 oz bottle into a snifter glass, 2016 version bottled on 032316.

Pours a deep mahogany brown color when light is held up to a thinner part of the glass, though it is essentially black. Looks decadent. Aroma of roast, slight coffee, tiny amounts of anise spice, slight hoppiness, and plenty of dark chocolate. Taste reflects the smell. Initial sips reveal coffee and malt roastiness, dark chocolate, and a not over the top hoppiness. Retro-nasal reveals more of the anise and dark fruit (plum) characteristics of the beer. Feel is thick, with moderate carbonation as to not be flat, which fits the heavier notes on this beer. Overall, this is an amazing beer. Definitely buy this one as taste, aroma, and especially the price cannot be beat.

If this was ever in a 4 pack or 6 pack format, this would be my go-to RIS.

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Photo of gandres
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

22 ounce bottle poured to wine glass
Sight: Black, big brown foam that dissipates slowly
Smell: pleasant, hint of toasted grains, nuts, coffee
Taste: very good, low bitterness
Feel: long finish, lively carbonation, creamy, some alcohol, good follow through and lingering aftertaste
Overall:excellent beer, repeat: yes, look for: yes
Drank: 9/27/2016 9:00 PM

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Photo of rodbeermunch
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Well here is the standard appearance wise. Jet black, thick, oily. Did they come up with the oft used terminology "used motor oil"? Possibly. Aroma hits hard in the alcohol, roast and chocolate malt category.

Taste makes me think it is more on par with an American Imperial Stout moreso than Russian, the dark fruit notes just aren't there, the hopping is pretty damn big, so you get more of a hop based bitterness opposed to the yeast in a Russian version. This stuff is so chewy and covers the alcohol so nicely.

I realize that adjuncts and barrels are all the rage these days, but this is a remarkably consistent old school straight up no frills stout that is affordable and widely distributed.


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Photo of bushbeer75
4.19/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

poured from a 22 fl. oz. brown bottle - bottled on 3/5/15

Stone Imperial Russian Stout filled my snifter with a color that is black as coal. The head produced was generous, dark tan and foamy with good retention. The nose first picked up a nice aroma of roasted coffee and toffee with dark fruit also noted. The taste is a lot like the nose and is very well balanced. Rich flavors of chocolate, coffee, burnt toast, and a touch of hops are present. Mouth feel is full, smooth and creamy. Carbonation is medium.

Stone R.I.S. is a very flavorful and quite an easy drinker. An enjoyable R.I.S.

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Photo of CaptainHate
4.73/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This is a pleasant surprise; I remember being impressed by this years ago when I was just drinking stuff willy nilly with no context for what I was experiencing. I was soooo glad a cold front blew through because I didn't want to experience this while sweating like a hooker waiting for a blood test. Granted this should be imbibed in the dead of winter while reading Tolstoy and listening to Shostakovich but allowances have been made.

The color is as dark as Rasputin's soul with very little head. The smell was oddly muted with no hint of the licorice and molasses taste, along with other tastes, which struggle heroically to hide the alc. It felt great too. Honestly I can't think of a thing Stone should do differently.

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Photo of h0wdy
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Look: Deep as night coloring to it!
Smell: I detected a solid whiff of licorice and I thoroughly enjoyed that.
Taste: This tastes like a winner and I actually got too much of a wide range of tastes to accurately describe it other then the taste agrees with the smell of it.
Feeling: This beverage packs a real punch to it. A nice beverage to enjoy with the end of your night.

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Photo of edthehead
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark rich color with light mocha head that hangs around for a while nicely. Rich toasty coffee and chocolate nose and flavor. A little bit boozy and sweet, but pairs well with the overall experience. Nice full mouth feel. Typical Stone quality offering!

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Photo of Newbeergeek1
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Pours black/nice head. GREAT taste. I rate a lot of beers highly because no one thing overwhelms me. This is one of those beers. One of the best RIPs I've had.

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Photo of stortore
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
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 Stevem68
4.34/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep dark chocolate color. Aroma is chocolate roasted malts. Flavor is a rich creamy roasty chocolate maltiness. Has a very smooth rich feel and overall a really delicious beer.

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Photo of jspaner
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
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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Photo of beerbart
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Hard to beat.
Nearly coal-black, the darkest black coffee.
A rush of chocolate and vanilla, both, at once.
Slippery-smooth, so easy going down.
A hint of alcohol but through a glass darkly, so rich and --
remember when "dank" meant good?
Whew. It's a hale fellow well-met... at midnight.

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Photo of devo1980
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer is SOOO Good! Exactly what you want a Russian Stout to be. Smooth and Strong. High-alcohol but very nicely hidden. The look, taste and feel are excellent. Highly recommend.

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Photo of JLK7299
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This was one of the first beers I had off the top 250 and it was very memorable! Will not be afraid to go back on a consistent basis as it is tasty and packs a punch!

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Photo of SmangTown
3.56/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

L- Very dark almost black color. Brownish tan colored head and little bit of lacing that goes away.
S- Very boozy. A little roasty with hints of coffee
T- Boozy with mild notes of toasted coffee. Kind of bitter compared to some stouts I've had.
F- light with mild carbonation.
Overall- average at best. I'd recommend for trying an imperial Russian stout. Easy to drink but nothing special. Wasn't a fan of how boozy it was.

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Photo of Ryan4120
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

L - deep black with a minimal brown head
S - earth, smoke, roast, malt, molasses, and maybe a hint of coffee - not too strong on the nose though.
T - earthy, smoky, hoppy with the roasted malt flavors one would expect in a stout. There's a very nice bittersweet chocolate and espresso taste mixed in the forefront of the taste.
F - Medium body, with a moderate amount of carbonation - I almost feel like this one could use a fuller body, however it has a good mouthfeel. Some booze on the back end.
O - A very good, very strong, very complex stout with great bittersweet chocolate, espresso, and earthy hop notes.

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Photo of FBarber
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2016 Vintage.

Pours jet black with a nice thick frothy tan head. Head dissipates slowly leaving a thin tan film along the top.

Smell is initially boozy, but notes of unroasted coffee beans, roasted malts, dates and prunes come through. Unique smell for a Imperial Russian stout.

Taste is roasted malts with notes of dates, prunes, giving way to a bitter finish that has some notes of what I can only describe as black licorice. Not a ton of sweetness in this, and its pretty dry. Bit of a boozy flavor coming through on the back end. Nice balance between the flavors and bitterness even if it comes across as a bit hoppy for a Russian Imperial stout.

Feel is very hefty but smooth. Mild carbonation, but the boozy finish keeps a nice tingle on the tongue.

Overall a very good beer from Stone, but not the best example of the Russian Imperial Stout. Still a very good beer in its own right.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had it on tap at Beer Shop and Tasting Table NYC. It poured a dark and thick black with a nice tan and mocha colored head. The aroma is comprised of mostly of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and alcohol. The taste aligns with the aroma. Overall, a chocolate sweetness coats the tongue. This is balanced by a slightly bitter roasted malt and coffee, as well as an alcohol finish that also has a bit of licorice. This beer truly has great balance; sweet but not cloying, bitter but not astringent, alcoholic but not boozy. My favorite thing about it is the feel. It is full bodied but bordering on medium, thus, making it extremely drinkable. I had the pleasure of drinking KBS the night before and it was interesting to compare these two. I put this one right up there with the great stouts, and unlike the KBS which almost defies category, this one feels beer like and is more accessible. It was a real treat!

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.97/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$ 8.99/bomber ($ 0.408/0z) at Oppermann’s Cork and Ale, Saginaw, MI
2016 vintage (10.8%) bottled 03/13/16 at 55 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter
Aroma predominately licorice, lasts
Head large (5.5cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy with rocks, diminishing to an irregular two to five mm frothy rung and partial layer
Lacing poor to none – few small spots of small bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor of dates and licorice, slightly sweet. No coffee, no roasted malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl, no hops.
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 4, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 4.

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Photo of beercam
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer blasts Beer Advocate's ratings off the charts. 5's easily across the board. A perfect Imperial Russian Stout, Coming from Stone, I just trust the in the crafting process wholeheartedly.Brewed at the steady, religious fanaticism of precision that one can expect from stone, with productions such as the best by IPA's which wow'ed all and likely not one went over expiration.

Anyways, i stray, but, look, this is a reallly strong beer. It's black and thick and hits your gut like a coal train. But, like, a funky, soul train, powered by pure love dug straight out of mother earth, og nature, out of a healthy, greater reality. But we see the truth and run. And then remember. And find the answer. Drink this beer as soon as you can

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Photo of Cnote_crafty_1
2.47/5  rDev -43.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2016 release - 1Pint 6 Fl. Ounces bottle
10.8% ABV. dated 03.13.2016 had in a tulip glass

Nose: there is not much smell that I can pick up from the bottle, or from the glass. All I really get are normal, actually average stouts smells of grains, beer smells. I don't get any chocolate, coffee, or anything interesting.
Look: oilly black, hardly any carbonation except for directly after it was poured and there was a 2 inch head. The head is the most dark brown I have ever seen on a stout.
taste: it is honestly just like a regular stout taste of malted barley, then a bitter finish with lots of boozeyness to it. I thought the aftertaste was actually pretty bad. It's like a dry finish with a ton of booze burn. I hate the bitterness. It's not a good bitterness that I typically find in stouts that I like. The burn on it is almost like the burn from a glass of vodka. Not smooth at all. In fact the buzz is going right to my head, past the midway point of the bottle.
It is weird because there are so many good reviews of this stout. They always say that you can't taste the alcohol, but I really tasted it right on the finish. That is the worst part of it is that nasty alcohol burn that lies on the back end. It's like having an o.k. stout that kicks you in the ass at the end like you just drank grain alcohol. I need a freaking chaser, or something! I hate to say this about a Stone beer, but that is just how it is. I usually love Stone stuff, not this right now.

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Photo of BB1313
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32oz growler filled at Heinen's in Shaker Hts., Ohio

2016 vintage. Growler poured into a snifter. Pours black with a mocha head that fades leaving solid retention and little lacing. The aromas are full of chocolate and cocoa malts. It smells like a chocolate chip cookie. Subtle hints of anise in the mix along with some dark fruits. The aromas might not be overwhelming, but they're not bad at all. The flavors are very bold. Lots of chocolate. Lots of dark fruits, especially raisins. Hints of vanilla and caramel. More subtle hints of anise. This isn't really a bitter or hoppy stout, which is just fine by me. Very robust. It's slightly warm, but it's absolutely not hot or boozy. Alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is full-bodied, but isn't heavy at all. Carbonation is active. It's not thick like a milkshake or anything, but still has a nice body to it. It's very smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a really nice Imperial Stout. It's not flashy, but just bold and traditional to the style. The craftsmanship is very impressive. Well done. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of BrokenEdge
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This particular bottle was just barely a month old when I drank it so I'm eager to try one with some more age on it and see how it develops. Appearance is damn near perfect for a RIS, nearly black in body with a thick tan head. Pours thick, not the thickest stout I've seen but close. Smells kind of like toasted nuts, dark chocolate, and a little coffee. Flavor is awesome. In addition to dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee: licorice, raisins, vanilla, smoke, leather, whiskey, etc. Alcohol is just slightly detectable especially as it warms, but it isn't unpleasant or harsh. Feel is a tad on the thin side, but not awfully so. Still feels full and smooth as it goes down, with a lingering finish with flavors that continue to develop on the palate. The reputation of this beer is well deserved and I'll be buying more while it's in season!

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
4.34 out of 5 based on 8,352 ratings.
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