Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

2,742 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: 2,742 | Ratings: 8,338
Photo of Everydayoff
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

650ml bottle poured into a sniffer. This one is 2016 release.

Very deep brown to almost black with some reddish tinge as a showcase, the pour forms up thick creamy tan head that stands proud against the time with good retention before slowly subsiding to some long-lasting bubble sheet on the surface. It doesn’t go anywhere until the last sip. There are plenty of sticky lacing patches and spots left on the glass-side.

Wide varieties in a nose comprising of dark chocolate, crème brûlée, espresso coffee, cocoa, caramel, dark bread, molasses, vanilla, some oaky bourbon, a little bit smoky, and deep roasted with some astringency. There is also subtle ester reminding of black currant and a bit berries tart as a compliment to add some complexity. The aroma is very aromatic especially when it started to warm and opened.

Bittersweet dark chocolate is the most prominent and conquered the taste buds at first, then followed and mingled by crème brûlée, espresso coffee, cocoa, caramel, dark bread, molasses, vanilla, some oaky bourbon, a little bit smoky, and strong roasted with much astringency comparing to the aroma. Hop tries to intervene in the middle with some fruity notes of sour berries and slight black currant. Alcohol heat is there a bit subtlety at the almost end while the end is mixed up by its big sweetness, roasted bitterness and astringency that also leave a long tail in the aftertaste.

The body is full yet rather syrupy with medium carbonation that is considered as crisp enough and suitable to carry all the things well under the smooth palate, very dry finish.

This one is very direct and solid without doubt. Do not underestimate its strength even the booziness is not fully pronounced being tastefully balanced by its rich roasted malty goodness, great sipping brew and perfect to enjoy as the last glass or as the dessert of the session.

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Photo of weareallfalafel
4.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bought this at work on a whim, and boy, am I glad I did! Not too pricey, either at 10 bucks for the bomber. So, poured from the bomber into an 11oz snifter. Pours thick and opaque with just under an inche of khaki colored head, tight and small bubbles and some lacing. Looks exactly how you'd expect a good Russian Imperial Stout to look in the glass. Smell is huge on roasted character, dark chocolate, coffee, and caramel and brown sugar. Knocked it out of the park on that! Taste follows suit, with bold, aggressive, yet loving layers of burnt sugars, dark, dark malts, some toffee, a very slight hop bite, and the tiniest touch of booze in the finish. Fantastic, and once again, exactly what you'd expect from an awesome Russian Imperial Stout. Feel is full bodied, chewy AF, smooth and luxurious, coating the palate in all of the many layers of flavors this baby brings to the party. Overall, I'm impressed all around. Not just with the beer itself, but also with the fact that it was affordable, found at a place that does not usually stock stuff this good, and that Stone, a brewery I know mostly for their hop-forward IPAs, could nail the style so well. Layers and layers of flavor, found at a pretty basic grocery store and for a good price? Sign me the hell up! A rare 5/5, for me!

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Photo of Boccu
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Pours nice and dark. Nice head that fades quickly. No lacing. Aroma is dark chocolate, espresso and malt. Taste dark chocolate, espresso grinds, light alcohol finish. Very nice stout.

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Photo of fireazzi
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had the 2012 vintage of this beer. Very nice standard beer. Great chocolate notes. Has a really boozy taste and not too thick. Pours a very dark brown almost black in color.

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Photo of BergBeer
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Look: Pours a viscous opaque black with a moderate mocha head. Slight activity.

Smell: Bitter espresso, light anise, rich dark chocolate, brownie batter, and roasted malt. Noticeable alcohol.

Taste: Dates, bitter roasted espresso, dark chocolate syrup, chocolate cake, light anise throughout, finish is boozy with more dark fruit notes.

Feel: Thick and boozy. Drink heavy while coating the palate. Moderately bitter. Alcohol is warming not harsh.

Overall: A solid Russian Imperial Stout. It's big, heavy, and complex. I particularly enjoyed the espresso richness that the body brings. This will certainly help we weather this upcoming winter

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Photo of headbangingteacher
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

This is one of my favorite all around beers. The pricing is great, it holds up incredibly well, and it is one of Stone's best made beers. Fresh,this beer is great,but a year+ and it becomes excellent. The chocolate comes a little more forward and the classic roast Fla or from the style settles nicely in balance with it.

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Photo of Nightmare1972
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Strong beer on the nose, not because the 10% but because the roastiness coffee and some chocolate notes. Pours basically a bitch black decent head from the bourbon style snifter glass. Not hard to find and also enjoyable to drink

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Photo of ragnar3
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2013 Vintage - poured from the bottle into a tulip. Rich chocolate with a well balanced roastiness. Solid mouthfeel, minimal apparent alcohol at 10+%.

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Photo of BrownAleBollocks
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2016 vintage. Pours a viscous opaque black, reminiscent of motor oil, with a two finger fluffy mocha color head. Aroma is dark fruit, black currant, dark and bittersweet chocolate, a roasted malts. Taste follows with big dark fruits, definite black currant, big notes of dark and bittersweet chocolate especially as it warms, roasted malts, and slight alcohol. Mouthfeel is great with a smooth body, slight prickle from the carbonation, and a warming effect from the alcohol. Overall, this is a wonderful RIS that is a terrific sipper and would go well with dessert or after dinner as its own stand alone.

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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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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
4.34 out of 5 based on 8,338 ratings.
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