Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
96
world-class
2,742 Reviews
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
Reviews:
2,742
Ratings:
8,337
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
9.22%
 
 
Wants:
811
Gots:
2,336
For Trade:
100
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,742 | Ratings: 8,337
Photo of doppelmeup
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Can a beer with this much hype live up to it's expectations? My quest was to find this out tonight. I bought several bombers of this on a trip to NJ, two weeks ago, but with surprising willpower held off drinking any of them until tonight. So here goes. Does it live up to the hype?

Poured this into a tulip glass. It looked like I expected. Totally black, with no light shining through. About a half inch of toffee colored head, which dissipated fairly quickly, leaving a ring around the edges. The head renewed itself each time I swirled the glass. Even as I approached the bottom of the glass, I still could not see my fingers through the beer. So far so good.

This beer didn't have as much of an aroma as I was expecting. I could smell cocoa, coffee, some sweetness and some bitterness, but nothing overpowering. It did smell good, though.

Now for the big moment, tasting this beast. Coffee, bittersweet cocoa, toffee. Not overly sweet or bitter, but you could taste both at once. Really good, but a bit on the rough side. Alcohol was fairly well hidden, but it was still apparent.

Mouthfeel: Thick, chewy, warming. Similar in texture to a doppelbock. Not too much carbonation to cut through the thickness.Warmed the throat all the way down to the stomach.

This came across as quite strong, and I don't think I could drink a lot of it in a row. I split the bomber with some friends, and my third was enough for one sitting.

Overall, this was a good beer, but I don't think it lived up to the hype. I'm skeptical that any beer could really do that, however. After all, what would you expect from the number two beer in the Beer Advocate world? But I've had a few others that I liked better, like Celebrator, for example. I think at this level, the beers are all pretty good and most is left to personal preference.

I've got two more bombers stashed away to age, so I'll be curious as to how they taste in a year or two.

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Photo of Gusler
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Release 2005:
The beer upon extraction the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass the color of a Raven and in my opinion, that’s about as dark as it gets, head is dinosauric in size, the texture creamy and the color chocolate brown, as it slowly vanishes, the lace forms a thick sheet of lace to surround the glass. Nose has a that deep burnt grain aroma that to me means “Imperial Stout” , hints of dark, deep roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, sweet and malty , the start is sweet, grain profile delightful, the top full and rich. Finish has a light to moderate acidity, hops are dynamic in their spicy bite, very dry and lingering aftertaste, definite tummy warmer this beer, another of Stone’s great lineup that I eagerly await each year.


Release 2004:
The beer after defection from the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass as black as a starless night with the head modest and frothy in size, the color that of rich chocolate, the lace a thin and clinging sheet to the glass. Nose has a deep roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate aroma, toasted grains and a sugary sweetness, the start is rich in malt, sweet with the top as full as they get. Finish has a benign acidity, the hops majestic in their spiciness, quite dry and long lingering aftertaste and a noticeable belly warming, another great release of this magnificent beer, and to think at one time I thought it to strong; your palate does change over the years

Release 2003:
The beer as it sets in my 30 plus year old “Chimay Chalice”, is as black as they come, the head is prodigious in size, a beauteous chocolate brown color and spumous in texture as it evaporates in the blink of an eye, the resultant lace forms a “Victoria Secrets” like sheet of lace “See-through” got to love that? Nose is dominated by the toasted grain aroma, backed up by the coffee, chocolate, and a fresh and pleasing crispness I find so appealing. Start is ambrosial, thickly malted with the top as thick as the “Ice” in Maine Today! Briskly acidic, hops spanking in their spiciness and the aftertaste desert bleached bone dry, and my most highly ranked Imperial, and one of my most favorite Stone Brewing Creations, which is a tie with the rest of their beers, except for that Levitation stuff, just kidding “Arrogant Nipple”, I mean Greg!

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Photo of Domingo
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

(This is for the 2006 edition)
This bottle came from Whole Foods of all places.
Pours a murky black color. No light making it through this one. Probably the darkest brew I've ever encountered. Head is present and a nice brown color, too. Just the right amount of lacing.
Smells of raisins, brandied cherries, MALT (note the capital letters), and a little alcohol, too. There's a little hop flavor in there, but it's masked or perhaps a milder variety of hops.
Flavor is chocolate, coffee, booze, malt, and sweet fruit all rolled into one. Hops are there in the finish but are playing a back-up role. It's really balanced, which is great coming from a brewery known for hops. Possibly the maltiest beer I've ever had...which for me is exactly what I like!
Mouthfeel is perfect. Just the right mix of thicknees and going down easy. Short of the ABV (which is nearly 11%), I could drink this until I have no more.
An AMAZING beer worthy of all the praise given to it.

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Photo of Phocion
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Wow. That's the only word I can use to describe this beer. I'm not surprised at all it's ranked #2 on this site. Went to a local liquor store after work, and they had just gotten in several cases of this stuff, so I picked up a couple for just under $5 a piece. One of the perks of living in northern San Diego County..

Poured into a Stone pint glass, this is probably the darkest beer I've seen, pure black with a dirty beige head.

Smells very sweet, coffee and chocolate.

I left this in the fridge too long tonight, I have to admit the first couple drinks were very disappointing. The only real taste I could pick up was the coffee flavor, so I decided to let it warm up for a bit. Fifteen minutes later I tried again, and this beer is incredible. The coffee is still there, and the chocolate as well. There's a definite hoppy bite, but it's not as overpowering as most Stone brews. Paired with the sweet chocolate and coffee, this is incredibly well balanced. You can taste the alcohol as well, but for nearly 11% ABV, it's surprisingly well-hidden.

As with most Russian Imperial Stouts, this is a very heavy beer. Definitely full-bodied.

Not the most drinkable beer, but for 10.8% I suppose it's not too bad. I doubt I'll have any problems finishing the bottle, but I'm pretty sure I won't want another one tonight.

I'm not much of a stout fan, but this beer might have just converted me. I'm definitely going back tomorrow and am going to try to pick up a case of this stuff. I can't think of a better after-dinner drink, and I can tell right away this would go extremely well with a nice, creamy Connecticut-wrapped cigar.

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Photo of jaluria
3.62/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appeared a viscous, opaque, black with a soft, mocha-colored head that dissipated quickly and left behind some lacing. The surface was covered in small bubbles that seemed to be immovable. Aromas of plums, dark chocolate, alcohol, and coffee. The taste was similar with the addition of bittersweet candy. Smooth with a suprisingly bitter finish. Hops were present in the background. Dry, chewy, and viscous in my mouth. Quite enjoyable, but too rich to enjoy repeatedly.

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Photo of IPALOVER
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Can anyone say "dessert?" This beer is definitely that-- a rich, heavy, Imperial Russian stout that tastes like coffee and chocolate. Given the choice of a piece of cake, a bowl of ice cream, slice of cheesecake, or any other incredible edible dessert, I would pass them all up in favor of the Stone Imperial Russian Stout.

I liked the way the beer poured-- created a nice, creamy head, but dissipated a bit as I drank. No lace on the glass, but I don't expect that with a beer with as high an alcohol content as this one. It took me almost two hours to drink the 22 oz serving, and as the beer warmed to room temperature the flavor became more "coffee like." Yum.

I'm a huge fan of Stone-- I like that all of the beer they brew has an incredible hoppiness that I can taste. Although not as hoppy as their Ruination Ale, I can definitely taste hops in this beer. Just a tad of a bitter bite at the end.

Great job, Stone! I'll keep a bottle of this to age-- I bet the flavors will just get richer with time!

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Photo of cameraman
4.82/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I waited to make this my 50th review and man was it worth the wait. This beer pours black and is opaque with a small beige head forming. The aroma is amazing, chocolate and coffee scents with some currants in there as well, followed by little bit of hops. The taste is wonderful, it starts a tad bitter, then a sweet taste of chocolate comes in, ten ends with a nice clean finish, there is alot going on in this beer. The alchol is present in the flavor and the mouthfeel as well, which is more dominated by the thickness of this beer. It is almost like a syrup, it coats the palate and lingers there for sometime making you wanting more. Drink this beer slowly and enjoy one the premier beers in the world.

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Photo of sloejams
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

This pours dark as night, slightly syrupy with a chocolatey slight head. It looked real nice in my Stone Imperial Russian Stout tulip glass. Yeah I'm pretty fucking rad.

The aroma is slightly subdued: expresso, roasted malt and dark chocolate. The sip is smooth and full of body. The taste is complex: the coffee, the chocolate adding a slight sweetness. A lot is going on and it's all quite pleasant. The texture is brilliant.

While there's undenying the alcohol content (at 10.80% ABV), the warmth it provides is not overbearing and it's quite drinkable. I imagine having this aged a year or two will bring out some other characteristics. Pretty damn good now too.

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Photo of BillyB
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Wow!
Probably the best stout I have ever tasted.
Dark brown maple syrup color and aroma.
Thin tan head.
Aromas of oak, nut, maple,anise, black currant, coffee.
Smooth, velvety coating mouthfeel.
FULL BODIED!
Very drinkable for a 10% abv.
Coffee with cream? Tootsie Roll.

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Photo of kdmorse
4.82/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Summer '06 Release

So much hype. So long of a wait (just arrived locally last week). So economical ($6/bottle).

A: Pitch black topped with 1-2 fingers of chocolate brown head. No lacing to speak of. Doesn't lure me in, but does intrigue me.

S: Sweet alcohol and raisins. Chocolate and coffee hints. Subtle and enjoyable, but doesn't amaze me. More than good, but not quite there yet.

T: Coffee and chocolate. Sweet and subtle. Hops seem to appear afterwards. Balanced and clean finish.

M: Creamy and full. Heavy and light all at once. Dense and thick then it disappears.

D: Wanted this to be hard to drink, but I can't put it down. Could buy a case (especially at that price) and drink it all day. +10% does not show up at all.

Notes: Once it got in my mouth, it was perfect. There was so much build up. Was it justified or overhyped? I think it was justified, but not the perfect beer yet. We will see how it does in a few months and years (4 in the cellar so far, and more to join them soon).

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Photo of soulgrowl
3.75/5  rDev -13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2.5

2006 release:

Appearance: Black and completely opaque. Kind of unimpressive ruddy brown head with sub-par retention. Still, this is one mean-looking brew.

Smell: Burnt sugar and burnt coffee, anise, light tamari notes, figs, hazelnuts, and peaty tannins. Subtle alcohol. Mild DMS. This doesn't seem as strong as last year's model.

Taste: The darkest chocolate, the blackest coffee, and the spiciest 151-proof rum en flambé. Rough black currant, vanilla extract, and anise. Finish is lush with chocolate and somewhat acrid. This is a rude, rude brew. I dig it, but it does not live up to the hype, in my opinion.

Mouthfeel: Lighter than anticipated but still damn thick. Pleasantly clean yet still exceptionally creamy and chewy. I wouldn't be able to tell for sure without a side-by-side comparison, but I think this is an improvement over last year's.

Drinkability: Pretty rough on the palate and the tract, but fairly savorable. Would probably benefit from some time in the cellar. I really can't believe this is the second-best beer in the world, but what do I know?

Edit: I am having trouble finishing the bomber, so down goes the drinkablity score. Honestly, people, what is with the obsession over this beer? I'm not sure that tasting heavier than "Siberian crude" is really such a good thing.

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Photo of ej285701
3.43/5  rDev -21%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

2006 release, 22 oz bottle

Pours out thick and black from the bottle into a Chimay goblet, with a light brown half inch head.

Like the bottle says, the aroma is of anise, dark fruits, alcohol, and roastiness. However alcohol seems to be the most dominant.

Taste is similar to the smell, anise, dark fruits and alcohol. Some roastiness in there as well, but not as much as the smell. No hops to balance the sweetness. Very cloying.

Nicely cabonated and a fairly light body for an imperial stout. The carbonation is lost about half way through my glasss however.

Average drinkability. The sweetness definitely hinders this. It seems like a chore to finish the whole bottle. The 2005 release was so much better than this. It seems odd that this was the same recipe. My other two 2006 release bottles will remain in my basement for a year or two, hopefully developing some positive characteristics.

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

22oz bottle, served in my Sam Adams Chocolate Bock glass.

One of the nicest pours I've encountered. Absolutely black, but perhaps a bit thin to the pour.

Smell was not strong at first, but the aroma of chocolate and coffee/cream peaks though, especially after the first sip.

Taste - awesome, I agree with many of the other comments - much sweeter than previous years. More so, I can barely taste the hops until the beer is about room temperature. So, colder for those who are in less favor of hops - and warmer for those who enjoy IPAs and hops. It is a win-win.

I feel this may get a bit better in time, maybe 6 months to a year, so I am reserved about rating it 5's, as I agree that should be a rare thing given.

Alcohol is not an issue with this beer, I would have guessed about 6% with this, certainly not 10.8%. They did an excellent job at not making this too strong.

Overall, absolutely worth a shot - of you find it in the stores, pick up a few. Try one, save some, try them again. Definitely worth it.

Enjoy and Cheers.

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Photo of jwc215
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured jet black with a fairly thin, but extremely well-retained tan head.
The smell was mainly of rich, roasted coffee with a touch of alcohol. It was slightly thin, but what was there was very inviting.
The taste was incredible...I drank it before reading the label -which describes it perfectly - It was a complex mixture of coffee, licorice (anise), chocolate-like berries (black currants)...and a slight charcoal-like smoke malt...but, as my roommate (who had the good fortune of sharing it with me) pointed out - each one was like a different level. It was like eating a rich layer cake. You could taste the different levels individually.
The mouthfeel was silky smooth. Perfect.
The drinkability...well, if it weren't for a budget and alcohol-content - I could drink it endlessly...
This is a beautiful beer...
I was prepared to be a bit disappointed because of the hype, which is sometimes overrated. But, in this case the hype was well-grounded!

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Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

(2005 Vintage)

Appearance: Oh my, yes. Pours out a rich, inticing jet black body. The foamy tan-colored head recedes quickly.

Smell: The welcome aroma delivers a sweet scent filled with rich espresso, roasted barley, molasses, and anise. A soft scent of port wine can also be found here. Lastly, an inspiriting alcohol vapor fills the nose.

Taste: While tasting this beer I scribbled some complimentary notes down on a notepad, but didn't get all of them because I went through the world's entire supply of ink and paper in the process.

The world's entire supply of ink and paper, I said.

That said, this brew is tremendously malty, with sharp notes of coffee and chocolate. Undertones of vanilla and molasses are present as well. Hop flavor is gentle, barely peeking through the immense gamut of flavors present. Yes, the alcohol is apparent, but quite soothing.

The long finish leaves a sustaining roasted flavor on the tongue. Delicious.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and quite chewy at times, while maintaining an unequaled velvety texture.

Drinkability: The very best RIS I've tasted yet.

So, yeah, I liked it. I had very high expectations for this beer, and it met every single one of them.

Thankfully.

(My thanks to AndoBrew for sharing this one with me.)

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Photo of clabaugh
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pitch black liquid graced with a rich and foamy chocolate milk head. The head bubbles ominously, evoking images of the contents of a witch's cauldron. Good retention. Lacing is somewhat shy.

Smell: Chocolatey malts, currants, spice, and alcohol. A spot medicinal in the nose. Not the beer's best attribute.

Taste: Sumptuous chocolate, roasted malts, and oh those currants. If it weren't written on the bottle, I would have never put my finger on that taste. Caramel and sugar, and perhaps some vanilla. Superb flavor.

Mouthfeel: Intensely creamy and warming. Robustly full body, and a tinge of carbonation. Quite luxurious on the tongue.

Drinkability: Rather addicting really. Delicious flavor leaves one yearning for more. The alcohol doesn't hide in the taste, but regardless, this one is highly drinkable.

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Photo of jslot38
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Presentation: 22 oz Bomber, Spring '06 Edition

Appearance: Absolutly pitch black. Deep tan to dark toffee head that settles down to a top covering quit quickly. Lacing is decent.

Smell: Deep malts of chocolate, coffee beans, toffee. Dark fruits with caramel drizzled on top.

Taste: Suttleties of the smell quickly overwhelme the tongue. Protruding out of this black liquid comes tastes of dark chocolate, coffee (no sugar or cream thanks), toffee with a splash of caramel. A bit of hops creep up on you, but are pushed back by the onslaught of malts which ends with some roasted nuts and toast.

Mouthfeel: Absolutly one of the smoothest beers I've ever had. Slight carbonation, slicked from the slight levels of hops which seem to have a greater effect on the mouthfeel than the taste palate.

Drinkability: 10.8%... go figure... never would have known this as the alcohol is hidden to near perfection. Could drink quite a bit of this... pass that bomber back over here. Unfortunately did not live up to the quite high expectations I had, but certainly a very enjoyable experience.

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Photo of pbr85
4.06/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Bomber to pint glass
A: Pours jet black with a nice inch, dark brown and chocolatey head.
S: Chocolate, berries. Not much aroma.
T: Taste is very interesting and very good. Chocolate and blackberries mix well and distinctly remind me of a Godiva chocolate bar with fruit. Good, but odd at the same time...definetly something that you have to try.
M: So creamy and thick. Sticks to your tongue.
D: No trace of the alcohol. Don't think I could drink more than a bomber in a night. Definetly a stout that I would buy a few times a year as a treat to myself.

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Photo of NiceGuyMike
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet sweet sweet

a: Very dark brown, almost black with decent tan head. Nearly no lacing.
s:Smells of chocolate malts
t:Sweetness permeates every aspect of this brew. Even the alcohol, which is very well hidden, has a sweetness about it.
m:Chewy, meaty mouth
d:A bit sweet for my tastes but good.

Notes: first time I had this I had some roquefort cheese and white grapes. Very nice indeed. I followed that with some Indian foods including a vegi dosa. The Indian food went perfectly with this brew. I'd give it all fives if rating was on that.

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Photo of asabreed
4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A green-as-green-can be bomber from the Spring 2006 release. Luckily I have two more I'm cellaring so I can see what happens hopefully much later down the road. But of course I had to crack one open now.

I figure the Duvel tulip would be a good outlet for tasting this sucker, so here we go.

Appearance: Blacker than the back of your eyelids. Yes, this is as opaque as can be. I recently washed the glass before I poured it in, so there's not much lacing and not much head, but I'm giving it a 4 on the account of the fact that it has to be the glass. I need to make it a point to never do this again.

Smell: Even green this is awesome. Lots of dark, rich, unsweetened chocolate, tons of malt and the tinge of bittering and curbing hops to quell it all. There's some mocha, some fresh ground coffee beans, a bit of black licorice, some dark dark cherries and fruit, and the slightest amount of anise. I don't get the toasted and burnt feel of the malt as much, though--could it be the hops that are making this so?

Taste: Smooth, really smooth--tons of malt, chocolate, the oh-so-nice-amount of bitterning hops, and finally some burnt and toasted malt characteristics. Finishes with notes of raisins, toffee, slight vanilla, dark fruit, unsweetened and strong chocolate, and, once again, the lingering presence of the hops to sustain its longevity. I can't imagine this later down the road. Green's my new favorite color, ya'll.

Mouthfeel: Hugely thick and coating with the carbonation levels high when they need to be high, though they're the back-up singers, so to speak, in the mix. This does nothing but contribute to the finish. Silktastic.

Drinkability: Yes, I'll have another. My advice is drink one now and save a bunch for later. On the bottle they suggest a case! That's why I love Stone. They know what they're about, and if I had the funds right now I would snag one in an instant. There's a reason this beer is so highly regarded.

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Photo of cheers2beers
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Served into a snifter:

Appearance: This stout pours a deep dark black liquid with possibly the darkest creamy looking head that I have ever put eyes on. As I swirl this fine beer in my glass I notice the syrupy legs running down ever so slowly, Leaveing behind minimal laceing.

Smell: The aromas are woody, a sweetened chocolately coffee bean malt, a vague trace of soy sauce, a touch of cherries, some bready and/or doughy notes as well. All of these combine to create a most superb scent. Not much hops in the nose, but I can definitely detect an alcohol presence. Very nice aromas indeed!

Taste: The flavors are absolutely stunning. Very much like the nose the flavors consist of milk and dark chocolate, cafe latte coffee with a hint of vanilla extract, a quaffable alcohol sweetness that makes this beer very smooth. It has the bready notes as well as a nice roastiness that seems to balance everything to become one. Oh yea, did I mention that this beer is balanced, wow!

Mouthfeel: Smooth and silky redefined! The alcohol helps to make this not so thick as it is satiny smooth. Just a pleasure to drink. Its like thin motor oil. A full mouthfeel that is on the leaner side of heavy with a carbonation that is really not detected aside from the wonderful head.

Drinkability: The high abv % does not hurt the drinkability at all. In fact, im in a very pleasant if not giddy mood now. This is just about as close as you can get to a perfect Imperial stout. I concentrated very hard on not being swayed in my review by the hype that this beer gets. But let me be the first to say BELIEVE THE HYPE!

-Cheers2Beers-

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Photo of jabocu
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006

I got three bottles of this stuff, and after this first one, I am sure am glad. My plan is to open up the next one in 6 months, and the next 6 months after that.... hopefully I can wait.

Poured a deep dark black color with a medium tan color head almost like old used motor oil. Had a fusal hops, with chocolate and coffee. Very nice aroma. The flavor was more of the same with lots of chocolate and coffee. A very sweet almost like molasses. Has a fusal hob bitterness that helped mellow it all out very nicely. Wonderful flavor. Mouthfeel is chewable. This was one of the thickest mouthfeels I've had. Mild carbonation. Exceptional beer.

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Photo of waldowin
3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Pours an absolutel black, with a very, very sparse flecking of tan foam. It would take one heck of a pour to get a head out of this.

Smells of soy, beef jerky, dates, and apricots. Not sure where this soy/teriyaki smell is coming from, but it's pretty distinct.

Tastes of plums, rum, cinnamon, sourdough, and a hint of soy sauce (again with that element, it's almost distracting).

Mouthfeel is big, bold, and a warming alcohol finish. Just enough carbonation to keep this heavy, heavy syrup from becoming a fork-and-knife event.

With the alcohol, and the persistant aftertaste of soy sauce, I really think last year's batch was much easier to drink, which is really too bad. I had my hopes set extremely high for this beer.

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

Sampled on-tap at the Brookline Publick House, to match with the huge-ass order of ribs I had there.

Appearance: I just love staring at the black hole sun that only seems to radiate out of RIStouts. Great creamy mocha head looked like a fine Italian espresso.

Smell: It even smelled like a good coffee, with some sprinkles of lake champlain Tanzanian dark chocolate. Piney hop effluves slowly creeped up and alcohol in the finale was and soothing.

Taste: Surprisingly smooth at first, the hop astringency gradually comes along in the end, making a kind of wave that's creamy, then just a bit sweet, then bitter and warm from the alcohol. I wouldn't drink tons of this stuff, but when I have a feel for a RIS I wouldn't mind having some of this.

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Photo of BradBLR
3.84/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2006

I bought a couple of bottles of this because I am a Stone fan more than I am a fan of stouts. When I first poured this into my glass I was blown away. It was as dark as old used motor oil and the head was a dark chocolatey brown color. I actually took it outside and held it up to the sun and I could not see through it... cool!

The smell was not overpowering, but a nice chocoalte coffee aroma. The taste was good, I was not blown away maybe because I am not a fan of stouts. But this was by far the best stout I have ever had and it had nice very balaced hoppy flavor. The after taste was a nice malty flavor that diappeared quickly. The one think I noticed was the lack of the flavor of alcohol, it a beer that is 10.8% you should taste some alcohol, but I did not really taste it. The mouthfeel was good, nice and thick and it coated you mouth well.

Overall a really interesting beer that I enjoyed. I think was made this beer really unique is the fact that it is so new and already balanced really well without the taste of alcohol... Give it a try if you get a chance.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
4.34 out of 5 based on 8,337 ratings.
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