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Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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BA SCORE
96
world-class
2,731 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:
2,731
Ratings:
8,308
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
15.9%
 
 
Wants:
809
Gots:
2,331
For Trade:
100
User Reviews
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Reviews: 2,731 | Ratings: 8,308
Photo of TheBungyo
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Just as a driver's ed teacher would say "the car is not a toy" a wise beer drinker might say the same of this beer. Yank off the cap, and gaze in wonder as the glass slowly fills with magnificent ebony liquid. This liquid is so dark that the head looks more like the froth on top of a chocolate milk shake. Nose seems restrained to me. I get loads of choclate and espresso. Taste starts off with sweet chocolate syrup, giving way to cocoa and then coffee. Finish is like your mouth after swallowing a mocha. I suppose I would have liked a tad more bitterness.
Now the mouthfeel is where this beer shines like a spotlight. It coats the mouth like an oil spill. The carbonation is like a fragile work of art. Delicately spilling over the tongue and the rest of the mouth. If I had the means I would be happy to drink this whenever I craved a stout. The reputation is well deserved.

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Photo of maddamish
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Highlights:

Taste: Like most stouts, this one is best consumed just under room temp. I made the mistake of chilling it in the fridge for 3 hours. When I first tasted this stout I was unimpressed. But the more it warmed up the more it showed it's true character. Chocolate, coffee and dark malts swirl together to give this beer depth. This is the sort of beer you just sit back and contemplate.

Ap: This stout is as thick as they come. Pitch black and as dark and syrupy as used motor oil. The head was thick and creamy.

Thoughts: This is just as good as the Victory Storm King Stout in all categories except taste. But This is not a 4.5 beer in the taste department so I deducted .5 from the drinkability score. I think storm king has a little more going on in the taste department but that is not to slam this great. beer. But there can only be one top stout and this one makes a good case for that title. Excellent in every way.

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Photo of deuschbag
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

2006 edition

stone imperial russian stout pours a pure blackness color. no light what so ever shinning threw. has a nice little dark brown head that fades away quickly.

this had a really really extreme alcoholic aroma. it was a little of a turn down at first, but as i dipped my nose deeper in into the snifter, i smelt some hops and beef jurky which kind of cought me off guard. very unique.

taste is great. a great hop and chocolaty malt flavor. everything is perfectly balanced. not one thing overpowers another.

feels nice and smooth on the palate. smooth and very chewy.

another great drinkable brew by stone. this one's a sipper though so be carefull with it.

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Photo of TheManiacalOne
4.53/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2006 release poured from a 22oz. bottle into a pint glass.

A: The beer is a deep brownish black, with a thick brown head that fades slowly and leaves a thick lace on the glass.

S: It has a rich coffee roast & dark chocolate aroma with a little bit of hops & alcohol. The smell has a robust quality to it that lets you know right away that this beer doesn’t mess around.

T: The taste is an excellently balanced, rich flavor of coffee & chocolate, roasted malt and a touch of hops. As Stone does so well, it’s not overly sweet, but not bitter and STILL masks the 10.80% ABV.

M: Full-bodied, extremely smooth, medium carbonation, leaves a clean finish without any syrupy or oily residue which I would attribute to the fact that the sweetness isn’t excessive.

D: This beer is treacherously drinkable because it’s so smooth & tasty and the ABV is well hidden in the taste. It also is not filling unlike other stouts that I’ve had. Given all of that, this beer can do some heavy damage if you go with it for some time. Unfortunately for me, I won’t be able to test myself beyond the one bomber that I had.

This is an excellent beer. I know that by the time I make it back to the store where I got this beer, it will all be gone. While I consider myself lucky to have gotten the beer, I’m cursing myself for not buying more of it. I guess I learned my lesson for next year.

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

Limited spring 2006 release pours from the STD.Stone 22oz. bomber a rather thick, black-licorice with a cocoa brown inch of foamy head. Very stout indeed.

Comes to the nose sweet, dark and alcoholic...whoa! Black currants, dark roasted coffee, black patent malt and a truck load of alcohol fill my nasel cavity.

Initially sweet, strong , black malt of a coffee flavor loads the tastebuds. Powerful, almost puckering rich, toasty (almost burnt) flavor that doesn't quite know when to quit...astonishing complexity. When you finally do find the time to swallow this amazing elixer, it goes down, ever so smooth and warming, with the pefectly bitter balance of a finish. A lingering, gourmet coffee like aftertaste that satisfies, yet makes the taste senses yearn for more...and more...and...

This is a full bodied beer if there ever was one...thick, some what chewy, velvety smooth in the mouth with a warming of alcohol, that make it a stout that's a "must try, or you'll really be missing out" great STOUT!

Can't recommend this one enough, get some or you'll be sorry. And don't forget to get some for your thirsty cellar !!!

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Photo of bennetj17
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New 2006 release. Thick inky black pour, no real head, just dark tan swirly foam. Aroma is nice and strong, with intense coffee notes, very roasty, with hints of light chocolate and black currant/dark fruits. Alcohol not very strong in the nose. The taste is rather dry, and mostly like coffee, with chocolate undertones. Moderately bitter, the alcohol taste is slight, but becomes strong over time. Thick mouthfeel, but smooth and slick feeling. This beer goes down easily, until the alcohol catches up to you, but I am looking forward to cellaring for awhile, because as it stands this stout lacks the depth to be a top 10 or even top 100 brew yet.

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

22oz brown bomber served, bit by bit, in a snifter. 2006 Vintage.

I usually say that a beer "pours" from the bottle...but that is an understatement for a beer of this magnitude. I would say that this beer...well, disembogues from the bottle as thick Russian crude oil would from a pipeline. Coming to rest in the glass, it sits thicker and blacker than any beer I have laid eyes upon...the minimal head is a dark coffee color. As it sits in my snifter, it actually bubbles and churns as would the brew in a witch's cauldron. I'm almost afraid to take a sip.

So, for the moment, I take a sniff instead. Holy moly. Coffee, dark chocolate, prunes, molasses, brown sugar, bread dough, some earthy tones, a clean sweetness and slight but sharp background alcohol scent...it actually tingles the inside of my nose when I take a deep sniff.

How can I refuse a sip after this nasal fiesta? The first thing that rushes across my tongue is a rich creamy sweetness, which is rapidly followed by a building of molasses and semi-sweet chocolate bitter sweetness on the middle tongue. As the beer settles across the back of the tongue an intense coffee and dark chocolate bitterness flows forward to envelope the palate and rises upwards to fill the nose. Upon swallow, a slow and long lasting alcohol warmth fills the throat and the bitterness rolls back to a semi-bitter dark chocolate that plays with the back of the tongue for many minutes. The mouthfeel of this beer is thick and syrupy, with just enough tingle of carbonation, both of which do nothing but accentuate the flavors.

All in all...easily the best Imperial Stout I have ever had. The best beer ever? Well, I do like a balanced brew, and on that end this could use some cellar time to mellow, but honestly, I also love a big, in your face brew from time to time, and I have never, ever, never, ever had a brew this big and in your face. I loved every sip of it and would open more, if I weren't saving it for future tasting. Yeah, fantastic beer...it definitely belongs where it is on the Best of BA list, and recognition as my first every solid 5 rating.

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Photo of cproioi
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wow what could be said about this brew that would do it justice? Poured a beautiful black body, no light what so ever passed through it at all, with a dark tan head. First smell it had a coffee aroma. However, what stood out to me the most was the fruity smell to it. As it warmed the beer started to give off a pleasant alcohol scent.

Now comes the first drink, oh wow I was dearly thrown from the chair it was such a big complex taste. It tasted very nicely of malts. Sorry but words excape me right now. All I have to say about taste is one must try this beer.

When the beer enters your mouth the first thing you notice is how thick and syrupy it is. It comes in a just coats your mouth. On the way down your throat it gives off a nice alcohol warming feeling. This is a beer to be taken slowly and to let it warm so one can pick apart all the flavors. I really liked this beer I'm going out soon to buy more. One for right when I get home and others too cellar.

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Photo of phishgator
3.83/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This poured into a snifter. The dark choclate/black color produced a rether big tan head. The aroma is the common roated coffee beans and then some spicy (hop?) aroma. The taste is bitter up front and a little astringent in the end. There is coffee, bitter sweet choclate, and a little plum twist. The astringence detracts from the mouthfeel and the drinkability. The alcohol warms you rather quickly; the heat is just a tiny bit present. The body is big, but not overly filling. A good stout!

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Photo of lflesh
4.15/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

i love stone. that being said; i was slightly dissappointed with years ris. its a good beer, but i was a little let down. the nose was there. i got chocolate and coffee. it looked dark and brooding. the taste was there, but it felt a little thin and taste was short. i was looking for the choc-coffee after taste to carry on. that being said; this was a good beer- maybe i was looking for more. you cant do wrong by trying this beer if you like this style.

music: richard ashcroft: keys to the world

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

22 oz bottle purchased at Bauer Wine and Spirits in Boston. Poured into an St. Bernardus glass.

I tend to be a little bit critical (compared to the rest of BA) of Stone beers, but this is, in my opinion, one of the best beers, and the very best stout, in the world. This is US beer experimentation at its best. It takes a style that is traditionally pretty easy-drinking, because of the lack of bitterness, and makes it in-your-face. This beer is very malty, with strong notes of semi-sweet dark chocolate, plus some coffee. But, it also has a stong bitterness (without an overt hoppiness) that defines the finish. It is HUGE, with absolute hop/malt balance. Drinakbale, but with a great bite, Stone RIS is a fantastic beer.

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Photo of libertygrails
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Appearance - Thick like crude glugs out the bottle. Aggressive pour yields a lite-chocolate colored foamy head that disappears quickly. Opaque to light. Scant lacing seen.

Smell - Fried plantain, caramel, dark roasted Starbucks-esque coffee, butter 'n molasses. Amazing nose here!

Taste - Roasted coffee flavors pulling through fried plantain(banana), caramel and butter among others....
Warms immediately. Big.

Mouthfeel - Slick oily quaff. This is a liquid meal. If you think you can drink this and still "Fast" you are cheatin'.

Drinkability - A very, very Big Beer on all fronts and i'm only half through. One of these is plenty. If you can drink this as a "Session Beer" you are a Pro Wrestler that wears a mask. :)

Beautifully done again, Stone! Will prolly go with Ye Olde Rasputin in a pinch though. Never thought i'd be a Stout enthusiast. Things change, don't they?

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Photo of OStrungT
4.87/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Just picked up a case of the 2006 release.

This beer pours a thick tar like black. It has a dark brown head that fades a little fast. It leaves many laces. Absolutely no light shines through the murky depths of this beer.

This beer has a rich coffee like aroma. It smells very malty. Roasted barley is present. It has a dark chocolate aroma also. It smells slightly hoppy.

This beer has a strong chocolate like flavor. It tastes slightly of coffee. The alcohol content is apparent in the flavor. This beer is a little more hoppy than I expected. It has a small taste of dark fruits. Plumbs and rasins.

This beer is very thick. It is low in carbonation. It is surprizingly smooth, considering how massive a beer as it is. It leaves a bittersweet chocolate aftertaste. The alcohol warms slightly as it goes down.

Although this beer is high in alcohol, I have had it as a session beer before. I get a little buzzed, but it works. I think I could drink this beerall week long. I would like to install a drinking fountain in my garage that pumps this beer out.

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Photo of ktsaiucla
4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

First review...

Spring 2006 Release
22 oz. bottle
Served in a Stone IRS specialty glass (17 oz.)

Purchased a case yesterday (4/18/06).

This beer is black! Smelled predominantly of roasted coffee in addition to a slight fruitiness. Just by smell, it is easy to tell that there is a lot of alcohol in this beer.

Head maybe about half a centimeter; though it wasn't an aggressive pour.

Taste is chocolatey and fruity, but finishes off bitter, like French roast coffee. Very balanced, as no one flavor really sticks out. Flavors get more complex as it warms, though retaining its balance.

Halfway through, I'm a little tipsy.

Great mouthfeel, but not as "chewy" as, say, an Alesmith Speedway Stout. Thick, and almost syrupy. Very smooth. Doesn't feel like a "chore" to drink sometimes, as with the aforementioned beer.

Very, very drinkable. Can be dangerous, as I don't really notice the alcohol until it warms.

Definitely recommended!

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Photo of Hibernator
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Imperial Russian Stout
2004 Release
22 oz brown bottle
Served in a St.Sebastiaan tulip glass

This beer has been on my radar for some time now. I was so glad to spot it at New Beer Distributors in NYC

Pours a jet black. Appears like ink. Thin, light brown lacing around the top of the beer. There is no looking through this beer.

Whiffs of roasted coffee, prunes and dairy sweetness.

An extremely sharp and complex beer. Highlights of specialty dark chocolates, freshly dripped espresso shot and roasted malts enriched in dairy creamer. The mouthfeel is mighty syrupy and slick. Light soy sauce resemblance. Dark fruits dipped in warmed chocolate sauce. Agressive hop finish.

Well, I’ll put this one up there with North Cast Old Rasputin and Rogue Imperial Stout. Not only one of the best Imperial Stouts I’ve had, but one of the best beers.

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

Stone Russian Imperial Stout looks every bit as crude as Siberian oil. It's black and opaque regardless of the angle it's observed at and no light no matter how strong can change that fact. It's like the ocean in the middle of the night in the middle of winter. Its head is a wicked brown shade, thick and coloured like a mound of chocolate mousse.

Chunks of melted bittersweet chocolate, a generous splash of coffee, fortified dark fruits, more than one vanilla pod and maybe a dash of sherry are decadent and alluring enough that I keep my nose literally pressed right up against the rim of the glass (any lower and I'd be half way to drowning myself). Warming is most welcomed.

Of all the Imperial Stouts I regularly revisit, Stone's has probably become the most familiar to me. Its intensely tar-y flavour is thick as home insulation and its leafy bitterness can be quite aggressive when fresh. But specifically, it's the flavours of black tea and tobacco leaf and the smoky, singed cedar wood overtone that I find so distinguishable.

This Spring 2008 release is now over two and a half years old and doesn't exactly brim youthfulness. Its flavours are slightly oxidized and seem to be coming under fire of a lactic-type sourness. Both the sweetness and bitterness have begun drying out and leave the mouthfeel with a raw, drying, unfurnished feel that's a little like licking dry rope.

Despite that Stone's beers are arguably the most prototypical examples of American craft brewing, their RIS is actually much closer to the traditional, modest, English-style model than virtually any other American rendition I can think of. It is not belligerently strong and its flavour profile (dark fruits, anise, cold coffee) is neither obnoxious nor excessive.

Correspondingly, this lends itself to a much quieter and much more gracious drinkability. While some US Imperial Stouts command the world's attention be on them and are so bold so as to provoke standing, shouting grunts of "U-S-A, U-S-A", this one invites a fireplace, or a good book, or a hearty meal, or a game of cards, or silent, solitary, discerning and high-minded reflection on things much bigger than the beer itself.

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Photo of Viggo
4.43/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Haven't had this one in a while. Pours an opaque black/brown, small tan head, some thick lacing on the glass, and nice retention. Smell is killer, roasty chocolate and coffee, vanilla, sweet and malty, some alcohol. Taste is roasty sweet, very chocolate and coffee, vanilla, some licorice/anise, little cherry, very smooth for such a beast. Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied, with low carbonation, super smooth, 2005 edition. Thanks DrJay!!

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

With well over 400 reviews on this one, I'm not adding anything I'm sure hasn't already been said. But after drinking Stone's Imperial Russian Stout I had to in the very least say that this is the very best stout I've ever had. The look, the smell, the taste, everything was heavenly. It poured out like coffee syrup with a scent so intense I swear smelled soy sauce. The head was thick and nearly as black as the beer. The feel was creamy soft. The taste...oh my...so many favors danced on my tongue, I'm not good enough a writer to express them all in words...

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

2005 Release. Served in the proper glassware, a Stone Imperial Russian Stout goblet. The bottle states, "Expect our version of this mysterious brew to pour like Siberian crude...", this is an understatement as far as appearances go. Thick, blackness that formed a frothy, tannish head that disappeared rather quickly to nothingness. As the glass sits upon my desk, I can see my reflection in the still liquid pool like black lacquer.

The smell of sweet, alcoholic roastiness mixed with what I can only imagine is the anise. I am unsure of the aroma of anise, and even the taste for that matter. Or is it the currants?

Taste is how it smells, but only more powerful. The alcohol really stands out as it warms up. Not very thick, which is surprising. This is a very drinkable beer, especially for this style. Sits on top of my list of favorites for this style.

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

** Early Summer 2004 Release **
Stone Imperial Stout, 10.8%
Sampled ~18 Months Old

Presentation: Classic silver and blue screen printed bottle. Has the added “Russian” moniker over and above the ‘Imperial Stout’ title of the previous 2 years samples which I have in my cellar. The reverse wording on this years bottling is rather funny and heavily slanted toward the Russian labeling.

Appearance: Incredibly dark on the pour, jet black with little in the way of forgiveness to oncoming light, its all absorbed. Yet held to a powerful light, the edges reveal a thick black molasses composition which glimmers with a dark brown Marmite consistency, the high alcohol rolls down the sides of my Stone IRS Goblet with a resilient viscosity long after the color leaves. Relatively low conditioning but a firm brown coca head forms on the pour, yet it settles down to a thick bubbly halo ring with a thin spiraling milky way covering. Minimal lacing, only the odd bubble remains trapped in the thick heavy coating after a gentle swirl.

Nose: Oh yes, this is the real deal. As soon as the cap was off that feint but very familiar odor of currants, warm raisins and dark sinful fruits filled the air. Deeper inhalations picks up a big contribution from the alcohol, roasted Turkish coffee beans and rich thick coffee cream liqueurs wrapped in a thick bitter Austrian dark chocolate.

Taste: This is soooo smooth. Rich, thick, luscious and intensely packed with all the flavors associated with the great Imperial Russian Stouts. Garibaldi biscuits thick with pressed currants, plums and some date like sweetness. Malt soaked molasses contribute wealth of luxury to the body, sharp blackcurrant in the back third and a mature port-like alcohol wraps up the finish with a lip-licking feeling of self-satisfaction.

Mouthfeel: At a year old this is damn silky, smooth yet thick with a little toffee on the tongue, soft and chewy but it still has a stiff alcoholic backbone. Sit back and sink into this treat, it will break your fall.

Drinkability: Tremendously dangerous, a Five Star Sinner. It should be a sipper but I could happily quaff this to my hearts content or until my Liver gives out.

Overall: Last night I came across a “lost” Review for a 2003 Bottle of Stone Imperial Stout, and it inspired me to immediately pop a bottle of my 2004 IRS stash into the Fridge and gave it a day to cool off. I just added the 2003 Review which is a year old, and seemingly following my own advice in that Review, so is this bottle of 2004 Imperial Russian Stout. I have to say that I still hold firm that this brew is best enjoyed with about 12 months under its belt. An utterly brilliant creation and definitely one of Stones premier offerings. It can’t be long before the 2006 Release appears, heck, this 2004 bottle still has a $3.49 price sticker on it……barrr-gain. Each Bomber is worth twice that coin in my book.

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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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Photo of tattooedtolley
4.7/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber

Appearance: Pours solid black, one of the blackest I have ever seen. A dark brown head settled quickly.

Smell: Awesome roasted malt aroma. Sweet with a slight fruity smell. Very inviting aroma, it's easy to tell that this beer will have tons of taste.

Taste: All the sweetness seems to be up front and levels out with the roasted flavor of malts, some coffee, and a bit of chocolate. I was suprised by the amount of carbonation in this imperial stout, it was more than I had thought it would be, which to me is excellent and gives it a bit of crispness. I made the big mistake of tasting this beer soon after taking it out of the fridge, big mistake. The flavors kind of ran amuk and at first I was put off by it but I knew it was too cold and I allowed it to sit for a bit. Once I came back to it, this beers flavor was incredible. I am a fan of imperial stout and I must say this is the best one I have ever had.

Mouthfeel: Very thick and syrupy.

Drinkability: I will most likely not drink this beer again so early in the day. I would rather save it as an after dinner drink or a dinner. I could have put down another bomber but I began feeling all that alcohol sneaking up on me, the alcohol is not very noticable while drinking but afterwards you can sure feel it.

Not much to say other than if you like the style go buy this beer. I got mine for $6, to me that is a super impressive deal for this awesome beer.

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Photo of Crosling
3.28/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Opaque. Black. Gentle aroma of rich malts, providing chocolate, coffee and roasted notes accompanied by a thick resiny hop leaf and scents of dark fruits, vanilla and brandy. Intense raisin, black licorice, molasses and brandy character ending with a huge dose of anise and a hint of chocolate and coffee. All, somewhat put together by a well hopped profile and a cunning bitterness. It’s a nice beer, no doubt, but to me, it’s too hoppy and it’s a little to fruity, thin and sweet. After about 8 months in the bottle, after its allowed to mellow, its a 4+ for sure.

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Photo of kpantz
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Executive Summary: A hefty, hefty stout that requires planning to drink - quite the gastric investment, but well worth it!

Appearance: Pours a devilishly opaque deep brown/black into my snifter, with a mocha colored head that retains fairly well. Lacing is good, but not too resilient.

Smell: Raisin, plum, alcohol, deep malt all mix together to portend a fantastic flavor.

Taste: Exactly what I like in a stout. Deep roasted malt flavors, with a bit of hop character to balance. Chocolate and coffee flavors bounce around, and I swear I sense cherries. Warming alcohol flavor as well - this is a hell of a brew to cozy up with after a cold dog-walk.

Mouthfeel: Perfect for the style. Thick, without being too sticky. Really embraces the mouth and the tongue, immersing you in the deep texture.

Drinkability: This is where I knock it down a bit. Not because it's high in alcohol (though it is), but more because it's just such a strong, aggressively flavored stout. There are far more drinkable imperial stouts (Victory Storm King, Samuel Smith, Weyerbacher Old Heathen/Heresy) - this one is just so bold that I can only down one bomber without either switching to something else or stopping altogether.

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

Pours an opaque black with a thin, dark khaki head that settles to a ring almost immediately. Aroma is strong and rich with notes of sweet macerated fruit (prunes?) and a dark vinous quality.

Taste is sinfully rich and sweet. Tons of roasted malt, black patent, bakers' cocoa, molasses, coffee and espresso flavors. Hop flavors early, adding a fruity little bitter heat to the otherwise malt-heavy profile. Finish is slightly to the sweet side, some burnt sugars in the aftertaste, although the alcohol is well-hidden. Turns a little more bitter as it warms, a little more acidic.

Mouthfeel is thick, quite viscous, but remains drinkable. Impression is of a very, very strong, alcoholic espresso (which ain't bad at all). Some cocoa flavors in this beer would pair very well with dark chocolate. It's not a Dark Lord-type of evil, but don't leave it alone with your grandmother.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
4.34 out of 5 based on 8,308 ratings.
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