Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
96
world-class
8,375 Ratings
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial 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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

BEER STATS
Ratings:
8,375
Reviews:
2,759
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
9.22%
 
 
Wants:
829
Gots:
2,338
For Trade:
94
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,375 |  Reviews: 2,759
Photo of Sammy
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

smooth thick chocolate more than coffee. Like a porter. Roasty aroma - not the main show. Beautiful black. 2003 edition. A bit acidic tempered by some food. Bit of carbonation - perfect.
Had a 2004 a year later, wasn't as great but will keep the rating. Had 2005, and dropped the rating to the average of the three-still very good. Thick though nowhere near the thickest RIS I have had.
Had it in late 2006 and it was great roast and chocolate and winelike, thick and mellowed 2-year old bottle.

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Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of Texasfan549
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of kylehay2004
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Excellent 3 finger, brown head which left lots of lace. This beer poured thick from the bottle. This is as dark as it gets with no real light getting through.

S: I caught the aroma of this beer as it poured a good foot from my nose. Roasty and a decent amount of coffee, caramel and chocolate and notes. Cocoa is apparent as well.

T: Initial coffee fades to a semi-sweet roasted flavor. Bit of a crisp alcohol character.

M: Oily, thick beer. Full bodied and moderate carbonation.

Overall: Well, this is a very nice beer. I definitely am not going to be drinking these often just because of the alcohol content but the beer is very complete and an all around top in its genre.

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Photo of jaydoc
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of GRG1313
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.95/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler fill from Stone Brewing Co.

2005 vintage.

Pours a used motor oil black with a 1 inch dark brown head that fades to a very small cap. You cannot see through this beer whatsoever when it's held up to the light. Thick ring lacing on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt, rich espresso, dark chocolate, and cinnamon. Taste is perfect with roasted malts and coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate, and faint soy sauce. There is a delightful bittersweet finish that lingers on the tongue after each sip. Carbonation is good but it seems a bit flat overall. Thick and creamy in the mouth. Drinkability is beyond exceptional. I am very happy I have been able to try their 5+ year aged IRS. Very sad I only got a liter of this beer. Hopefully some of the bottles I have aging in my cellar will taste this good one day.

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Photo of spycow
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of StonedTrippin
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

this one is a keeper for sure, especially at less than 8 bucks a bomber. pours a gorgeous and enticing coffee black color, heavy and rich, with a 1 inch light brown head that has the consistency of cool whip, thick and light. it just floats on top of the beer without ever getting smaller. smells quite spicy for the style, espresso beans radiate as well. there are also notes of milk chocolate, vanilla beans, and charred english malts. flavor is similarly complex, with the roasty coffee and chocolate flavors being most prominent. there is that spice character again, maybe peppercorns or anise or clove... great alcoholic sweetness in the finish. the feel is quite thick, almost motor oil thick. mellow carbonation lets the complexities linger, and the aftertaste is awesome. this is a bigtime beer, a good one to share with a lover. well worth its excellent reviews.

Edit: some age can really pop this off. Just enjoyed the chocolatey mellowness of a 2012 edition, and it was a sensation. Don't be afraid to cellar awhile!

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Photo of kjkinsey
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of djrn2
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%

Photo of Knapp85
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

One of Stone's best, The Russian Imperial Stout poured out as a deep thick black liquid with a brown foamy head on top. The lacing was very impressive here. The smell of the beer gives of plenty of roasted malts and chocolate, some hops, and even some sweeter notes from some dark fruits. The taste of the beer is packed with a heavy amount of malts and hops. The flavors evolve into a rich piney chocolatey combo with some fermented fruit in the far distance. The mouthfeel has a great thickness to it and coats the glass and mouth really well. Overall It's a damn good beer and I enjoy it every time I have it.

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Photo of t0rin0
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of nmann08
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of oriolesfan4
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of westcoastbeerlvr
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of metter98
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: The beer is jet black in color and poured with only a few beige bubbles floating on the surface and around the edge of the glass.
S: There are aromas of licorice and roasted coffee beans in the nose.
T: Like the smell, the taste is rather complex and has flavors of bittersweet chocolate, coffee beans and licorice.
M: It feels medium- to full-bodied and rather smooth on the palate. Some warming sensations from the alcohol are present.
D: This beer is definitely one that needs to be slowly sipped given its alcohol content; it would take me a long time to finish a 750mL bottle by myself. This is an excellent representation of the style so I will definitely try another of these again.

Note: 2009 release

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

Release '11: (reviewed 05/31/11)

An insanely masculine stout with ultimate creamy maltiness, aggressive roast, and a lush cocoa driven, coffee-centric flavor that completely defies what stouts should be.

Black as coal and with a voluptuous pour that exudes weight, creaminess, and viscocity- this inky black beer builds a thick top coat of foam adorns a medium tan color, carries a heafty retention and moderate lace. All this manifests in a very dessert-like appearance.

Malty, malty, malty rich aromas of slightly burnt toffee, nutty coffees, bittersweet cocoa, all come together in a way that reminds me of Whoppers malted-milk candies and chocolate covered espresso beans.

Flavors are all the same, except the malty sweet flavors erupt first, then with the quick rebuttal of coffee, cocoa, nutty flavors that demand attention at mid palate. All that coffee, chocolate, and nutty taste rounds out wonderfully with a bitter-sweet but cherry alcohol flavored finish that's reminescent of tirimasu and espresso bitterness.

Very lush and creamy textured, the early feel is robust and full. The beer makes a quick but even transition to a hearty malt mid palate, just before the bittering and drying finish. Though the beer never achieves full dryness or refreshment (It's not supposed to), rather holds onto a savory bitter chocolate semi-dry finish that lingers well into the next sip, making it a perfect compliment to a dessert or as a dessert itself.

Stone's Imperial Russian Stout is always at the epidome of what the style represents. With ultimate maltiness and supportive roast and complexities, it's amazing how effortless the beer seems at it's rudimentary levels, but how complex and succulent it becomes the more you delve into it's individual and unique flavors.

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Photo of biboergosum
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle, the 2008 version at the Stone event at Bar Volo in Toronto. I like the Cossack hat on the gargoyle on the label - awkward, but funny.

This beer pours a complete black abyss, save a teensy basal red cola edge, with two fat fingers of puffy, densely foamy, and a little soapy brown head, which lazily dissipates, leaving some attractive painted tree branch lace around the glass.

It smells of lightly roasted caramel malt, dry chocolate wafers, wet ash, pithy licorice, a further oaten graininess, warming alcohol, and mild earthy, citrusy, and piney hops. The taste is sweet, lightly-toasted caramel/toffee malt, bittersweet cocoa, dry coffee grounds, a hint of star anise, treacle, an underlying citrus/pine hoppiness, and a tame, but slowly enveloping, warm 'n cozy booziness.

The carbonation is practically non-existent, barely a tremor of frothiness to be found, the body thick, unctuous, and velvety smooth, like buttah, with the attendant oily creaminess. It finishes still sweet, sure, but with a slightly vodka-tinted citrus hop edge over top of all that solid-ass malt.

Hooo-weeee, is this a dangerously drinkable and enjoyable RIS, way too clean and approachable for its purported strength. I wanted to make nice and share this monster of a brew, but since all my new friends around me are drinking the same thing, methinks that tonight's Supa Bowl viewing is gonna be a fuzzy one.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.35/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

Served on-draught into a stem-goblet at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, California. Reviewed from notes. Expectations were above average; Stone is direly overrated but I heard good things about this brew in particular, and I like the style.

Paired with sweet potato fries.

A: Pours a half finger head of khaki colour, nice cream, okay thickness, and bad retention. Colour of the body is a nontransparent solid opaque black. I prefer the head colour of beers in this style to be more of a tan - the darker the better - but khaki does alright. I'm not anticipating a great beer, though. Due to the nontransparency, no yeast particles are visible (if they're there).

Sm: Vanilla, cream, chocolate, caramel, and hints of roast. A mild strength aroma. Roast should be more present given the style. I'm alerted.

T: Generic chocolate and tame cream over a dark malt (chocolate malt inclusive) foundation with underlying caramel. Some vanilla hints that don't amount to much. No real layering here. Not at all complex for the style. Stone played this beer surprisingly safe. Why is it they pick this style to do that on? They seem to force unwelcome flavours into most otherwise simple styles. Decently balanced but built without boldness, experimentation, or inspiration. As Imperial Stouts come, this is pretty generic.

Mf: Silky smooth and wet. Completely wrong for the style; a stout demands dryness and coarseness (from roast) overcome masterfully by cream. That isn't the case here. Too thin. Adequate carbonation.

Dr: Drinkable but unremarkable. Russian Imperial stouts like this one are a dime a dozen nowadays. There are far better beers in the style, even at the same or lesser price. It's decent, and I might pick it up in bottled form at a good price, but don't expect masterful brewing. I wouldn't recommend it to friends. In fairness, it'd be a pretty good beginner's Russian Imperial Stout. My main problem with it surrounds its lack of inspiration or specialization; as a generic example of the style it'd be a good introduction for people new to the style.

A decent candidate for aging, but I wouldn't do it meself.

Would pair okay with chocolate. Not real suitable to barbecue.

B-

 2,205 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Spring 2007 release, cellared since then, thanks K&C!

Jet black with the requisite mocha foam, no lace just a thin ring at the edge, and an abstract mesh of skim across the top. Slightly oxidized aroma, still plenty chocolatey, cocoa, malted milk balls, and molasses.

Similar flavor, hershey's and molasses, reduced down to a compact format. A bit of roasty malt in the background, any booze/hops are long gone on the palate. Thick, full, rich, sticky. Quintessential aged RIS? I guess so... Afterimage of toasted marshmallows and burnt chocolate edges. Nice enough, maybe not my favorite RIS but a soild one i'd never refuse. Plan to revisit when Stone shows up in Illinois...

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Photo of brentk56
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black color with a nice tan head; leaves some lacing in a dancing pattern

Smell: Roasted grains, dark chocolate, dark fruits (figs and dates), anise, coffee and alcohol

Taste: Rich and malty with a chocolate presence right off the bat, followed by a fruity bitterness; after the swallow, the coffee and dark dried fruit flavors (the label claims black currants and I will go with that as well as the figs and dates)emerge; a bit of hops return on the finish and provide a long lasting bitterness along with a residual touch of licorice

Mouthfeel: Rich, creamy and viscous; moderate carbonation; warms on the gullet for a long time after the swallow

Drinkability: A wonderfully rich and powerful stout but it's one and done

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Photo of oline73
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2010 bottle poured into my Colossus snifter.

Appearance: Pours a jet black color with a finger of mocha head that dissipates quickly to a ring around the edge of the glass.

Smell: Quite sweet, dark fruit and chocolate. Some toffee/caramel in there as well. Roasty coffee notes with warm alcohol at the end.

Taste: A lot like the smell, which is a very good thing in this case. More bitter roast than the smell, but the sweetness is still there to balance things out. Dark chocolate, coffee, and dark fruit. The finish is smooth with warming alcohol. Very well balanced.

Mouthfeel: The body is on the thick side with very minimal carbonation. The beer coats your mouth and it is quite slick at the finish of each sip.

Overall: A very good Imperial Stout. A tad bitter in the finish, but nothing to really complain about. Great balance and I would love to try this barrel aged.

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Photo of SocalKicks
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.86/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle(room temp – July 2005 release): Poured a pitch-black color stout with a bid foamy dark brown head with pretty good retention. Aroma of roasted malt with some coffee. Roasted caramel malt are easy to distinguish with some very easily distinguishable coffee. I was expecting a bit more complexity (liquorice, chocolate, plums…) or even more hops. Body was quite full and alcohol was well hidden. Overall, this is a very good imperial stout but I was expecting a bit more complexity and I still have to say that I would drink Expedition over this any day.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
4.34 out of 5 based on 8,375 ratings.
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