Welcome to BeerAdvocate!

Looking to talk, rate or trade beer? Join today by creating your free account.

Dismiss Notice
Curious about recent updates to the site and app? Check the Announcements forum for updates.
Dismiss Notice
Love Belgian Beer?

Join us Sep 17 in Portland, Maine for Return of the Belgian Beer Fest, featuring hundreds of authentic Belgian beers and Belgian-inspired offerings.

Tickets + more: beeradvocate.com/belgian

Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
96
world-class
2,714 Reviews
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States | website

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:
2,714
Ratings:
8,223
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
9.22%
 
 
Wants:
787
Gots:
2,278
For Trade:
100
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Reviews: 2,714 | Ratings: 8,223
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...

 562 characters

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.

 864 characters

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.

 2,930 characters

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.

 561 characters

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.

 1,450 characters

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.

 569 characters

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.

 1,218 characters

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.

 884 characters

Photo of kirok1999
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

My first perfect rating. Because it simply is perfection in a glass. This 22oz was from summer of 05 yet still simply the best.

Appearance- Black with a caramel head nicely lacing the glass.

Smell- Great coffee smell, cherries or currants or both, sweet roasted malt and alcohol.

Taste- Sweet cherries as first then warms with the alcohol and chocolate. Enough hops to balance the brew, good carbonation and the sweetness dominates till the tingly finish. There is so much going on here it is hard to believe. My god, this is just too good.

Mouthfeel- Thick and oily, chewy and clingy.

Drinkability- The 22oz was gone way too quickly. Not sure I would want 2 of them as the abv is pretty high, but the incredible taste makes me want to try.

Re-reviewed on 3-6-07 and had to knock it down a few notches due to some much better stouts reviewed since. It's still a massive brew worthy of it lofty rating, just not the perfect 5 I gave it on first review.

 972 characters

Photo of LPorter33
3.41/5  rDev -21.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Purchased 22oz Bomber of limited early 2005 release from Bauer Wine & Spirits (Thanks, Nick!). I bought this many months ago and had it sitting in my fridge for awhile. I was waiting for the perfect moment and person to share it with, and just happened to get a random guest drop by tonight, so out came the bottle opener, in my desire to intoxicate her by my charm, i.e. get her drunk. So here goes....

Appearance = Thick and black as the darkest night. Liquid seems extremely dense and heavy. Very little carbonation and head which surprised me. Looks like Texas tea.

Smell = Dark, toasted malt with hints of really bitter baking chocolate. A bit of tanginess and sourness I'm guessing from the hops. Smells lighter than expected in the alcohol department. I was imagining a stronger presence of overpowering fumes.

Taste = Sweet, powerful and full of intense alcohol like flavors. This is a very well blended beer with the syrupy sweetness coming in nicely. It's just a bit too overwhelming for my taste buds. I can appreciate this beer and realize it's quite well made but it's not my ideal. It did go very well with a strawberry yogurt Zone Perfect bar though.

Mouthfeel = really thick and coating. I enjoyed the way it warmed the inside of my mouth. Like getting a massage for your gums.

Drinkability = I wouldn't be able to have more than a 1/2 bottle of a 1/2 bottle shared. It's just too overpowering. I think I need more food to compliment this beer, like a calzone from Bova's Bakery.

 1,514 characters

Photo of stewart124
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer has a midnight black color that cannot be seen through and it is topped by a thick brown head. As soon as I poured this there were huge amounts of malt in the nose. Coffee and anise are also present in the smell.
The taste is extremely strong. Body is syrupy with a huge silky feel. Alcohol is very present in this beer. My tastebuds are screaming for mercy. Black currants are present along with tons of roasted malts and coffee tastes. Very soothing taste and like the bottle says "sinful". I don't think I could drink anything else after this one as everything would be uncomparable. Really strong after taste of malts and hops not to mention the alcohol. Another masterpiece by Stone.

2008 bottle reviewed 2/16/13
Same expected color with just a hint of the tan head.

Pungent nose but without a hop bitterness. Strong stone fruits in the nose. Some oak and vanilla notes.

Smooth and a little less carbonation or body. More syrupy than I remember. Plenty more caramel and dark candied fruits. Some lingering bitterness at the finish. Alcohol is still obviously present but at first it drinks so easily. Half way through this starts to catch up with me.

Still a great Russian imperial stout. I believe I need to set aside another few of these for 5 years.

 1,273 characters

Photo of timtheenchanta
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Jet black spent oil color. Little head with little retention. Slight webby lacing. Roasted coffee smell with some alcohol smell bleeding through. Smooth thick feel with huge coffee taste and alcohol bite. Alcohol comes through heavy in the finish. Oddly enough, doesn't have warming feel as much as a cooling effect on the throat. Great RIS. Thanks to BeerBeing for this one.

 375 characters

Photo of beermanbrian
4.09/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black color with very small tan head. Was expecting a much larger more prominent head. Smell of cherries and plums, slight alcohol note that becomes more prominent as you drink, chocolate, coffee. It's all in there, everything you would expect from a IS. The coffee flavor stands out the most to me in the taste. Mouthfeel is actually a little thinner than i would have expected. Overall this is definitely an above average beer but it didn't quite live up to my expectations. Maybe I was hoping for too much but it just didn't blow my socks off.

 546 characters

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

Late Spring '03 release...picked this one up the first time I went to a Stone tasting at Colonial in Acton and met the man they call Grover.
Pours a deep, dark black with absolutely no light passing thru...agressive pour produces a full finger of tan colored head and some decent lacing sticks around.
Smell is inviting...cocoa powder, vanilla, sweet malt and no sense of alcohol.
The taste is where it shines...huge dark chocolate profile, a balanced sweetness, just the slightest coffee presence and a subtle bitter finish. The alcohol is very well hidden and the finish is clean.
Mouthfeel is quite thick and the carbonation is right on for the style.
I have one more of these and believe I will crack that one open soon too...will try it with this past years release just for comparison.
Thanks to Stone for another winner.

 833 characters

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

a - Black as night in cave on Pluto during an eclipse. I always hold my beer up to a bright light to see any subtle colors in the brew. No light goes through this one.

s - Sweet choco-molasses malt. The smell intrigues and invites. There are rich dark frruits; raisins & prunes mingled with the aroma of great port.

t - No dissapointment after all the promise that the aroma holds. There is sweet dark chocolate roasted malt that transmutes into an earthy, rich fruity flavor. The flavor stands up to chocolate desserts.

m - Thick and oily with subtle carbonation. Really works with the flavor.

d - Could drink way too many of these. Each sip invites another and now unfortunatlely I have sipped mine to bottom of the glass. I'll be heading out to the beverage store tomorrow.

 788 characters

Photo of JoeyHotrod
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Wow Wow Wow!

I knew I was in for a treat from the start. If the raves this beer gets weren't enough to convince me, all it took was a single solitary look.

The apperance is something to behold indeed. Think of the blackest black you've ever seen... and from there think even blacker! No way... no how, is a single speck of light getting through this dark as night majestic stout.

The head didn't last long and that would explan the 4.5, as opposed to a straight 5 score all around. To be fair the head while it was there, was quite a sight to behold. A darkish brown/tan color that was a perfect combination, to the black as black gets brew itself.

As I drink there was some definite lacing action going on, though it wasn't anything noteworthy.. a miniscule complaint, given the quality of the liquid within.

The smell... wow where to begin. Dark chocolate.. a hint of alcohol (well a hint by 10.8 percent standards anyway..) roasted malts, even a frutiness of sorts to it. So much going on really, that's hard to even put into words.

The Taste.... again wow about sums it up! Full bodied, with hardly a hint of the alcohol taste one would expect from a beer this strong. Don't get me wrong it's there, but trust me when I say it's well masked indeed. There's a hint of hops, but not the full fledged hop implosion one is apt to find in other Stone beers. I love hops as much as the next guy, but a nice change of pace in that regard and appropriate for the style.

Tasting further one notices definite coffee influences, as well as everything from coffee, to the darkest of chocolates. A whole lot going on here to say the very least. It's worth noting that as I slowly make my way through the glass, I become even more amazed about the well hidden alchohol. Stone deserves some definite cudos for masking it as well as they did.

Drinkabilty.... one bomber would likely be enough for most anyone, but it goes without saying that a person could quite easily 'convince' themselves to indulge in another bomber if need be.

Stone wasn't lying when they said this poured like used motor oil.. not so sure about the tasting even heavier part though. This is damn close to heaven in a glass and while heavy, made so well that even those not into the style, might be able to find some appreciation here.

World class all the way!

 2,353 characters

Photo of aforbes10
4.58/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

I bought two of these at CIty Wide in South Bend and im cellaring one for later. The other one we had last night at our South Bend Coalition of the Drinking club. This is the early summer 2005 release. Pours black, black, black. creamy caramel colored head with good lacing. fantastic overall appearance. Smells like roasted malts, chocolate, prunes. Taste was great. smoky roasted maltiness, coffee-also roasted, sourness like coffee grains, alcohol not totally hidden. Smooth in the mouth. smacks the roof of the mouth a bit for the first sip or two. Faaaantastic drinkability. i only give it a 4.5 though because im so optimistic about the one im cellaring that i want to leave room to give it a better score.

 712 characters

Photo of SupaCelt
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Early summer 2005 release: This Rusky Imp emerged from the bottle a deep and dark brown. Getting a decent head took some work, but I managed to get nearly an inch of ruby tinted cocoa fluff. Some reverse cascading took effect and I was afraid that it was going to overflow my glass. The head split in a hurry leaving only a ring. Lace factor was minimal due to small sips and a slickness that caused the little bergs to go sliding back into the mix. Every now and then a small carbonation bubble could be seen struggling through the thickness, but it was fairly light on effervescence.

Chocolate and raisinesque dark fruit notes dominated the nose. Vague coffee bean impressions were notable although very mute. The alcohol presence left its vaporous sting amidst the mostly sweet scents. I was unable to notice any trademark hop character, and overall the nose was pretty light.

The taste was basically the nose as interpreted by the taste buds. Scent and smell were nearly identical. Heavy on chocolate with over ripe vinous qualities. There was scarcely any bitterness in play. The finish remained juicy and wet without any dryness. Lip smacking and luscious come to mind as adjectives. The dark fruit qualities lingered on in the aftertaste quite nicely.

The mouthfeel was pretty thick. It held the clean and refined Stone character though. Where some brews have a thickness that includes an almost palpable grainy chunkiness, and sugary granulated feeling, this one was smooth and clean. It was simply dense. I have never palated anything I can think of that was similar to this with such a clean thickness.

The drinkability factor could be considered as pretty darn drinkable. This brew wasn't really a mammoth by any stretch. Sure the abv is up there pretty good, but the cleanliness makes this thing dangerously drinkable. A very solid brew, but I have to say that it appears to be greatly overrated. I was expecting more based on the numbers, but this just proves how irrelevant all of our opinions are. To each his own as they say.

 2,055 characters

Photo of doubleipa
4.92/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Summer '05 Release. Finally got around to rating this one. Aroma was light bread, strong coffee, dark chocolate, and roasted. Moderate yeast and a bit of dough. This baby pours black with minimal head. Excellent lacing that fully diminishes. This is one full bodeid brew that's oily/syrupy with only a little carbonation. This is my favorite RIS. As I have a bunch of these, I'll be adding my reviews as they age.

 413 characters

Photo of DarkerTheBetter
4.65/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

2005

This is clearly one of the darkest beers I’ve ever poured. No light comes through what so ever, not ever around the edges. The dark tan head is frothy and left only slight tracks of lace.

Smelled of dirty Hershey’s syrup, black liquorish, slight dark fruits and black roasted malts with a hint of alcohol.

Tasted of huge bitter black chocolate with a smokiness up against my palate. Finishes with the best roasted malt character I’ve ever encountered. The standard to which I here after hold all other imperial stouts. It doesn’t taste like bonfire, or coffee; just smooth roasted malt (and a lot of it, I might add). Marvelous balance!

The mouth feel was medium bodied with a surprisingly small amount of carbonation for an IS. Actually, the light mouth feel just helps the drinkability.

This is a marvelous beer and I highly recommend it.

 868 characters

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

Acquired in a beer trade.
Bottle states limited early summer 2005 release.
Poured from a bomber into snifter glass at almost room temperature.
Stone bombers are the coolest looking bottles I've seen, their gargoyle kicks ass!!!!

Appearance: O.K., here we go!!! First off, this beer is deep, dark black color, with a one inch thick creamy tan head. It has an inviting look about it. Some delicate tan lacing clings to my glass, but disappears after a few minutes.

Smell: Very balanced aromas of coffee, chocolate and dark fruits, like raisins or plums. Smells like what an Imperial stout should be.

Taste: Holy Crap!!! What an awesome taste!!! I already cannot wait to get more of this brew!!! So well balanced, it taste like it smells, coffee, chocolate and dark fruits. Roasted malts and hops are blended perfectly!! I wouldn't know this has an abv of 10.8%.

Mouthfeel: I must say this stout has the best mouthfeel of any beer I've tasted. Very creamy, not too heavy, not too thin, absolutely perfect!!!

Drinkablility: Even though this brew is 10.8% alcohol, it doesn't hit you too hard. It's hidden very well and the taste leaves you wanting more!!! Also, I've drank about half the bomber already, and I do not feel full at all!!!

Overall this beer lives up to its hipe!!!! This is the first beer that I can honestly say is worthy of a perfect score!! The only downfall is that Stone is not sold in MIchigan yet. So, I'll keep trading or make many trips to Toledo to pick my new favorite beer!

 1,517 characters

Photo of rhoadsrage
4.69/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

(Served in a snifter)

A- This beer has a blackish black body with a thin wisp of dark chocolate colored head that fades to a thin film around the edge. Even held up to the sun there is no sign of light or carbonation in this beer.

S- Even during the pour the aroma was breathtaking. Dark roasted grains with notes of coffee and black strap molasses, chocolate and port with some nice alcohol aroma at the finish. Prunes and raisins with a hint of dark cherries come through as it warms. Perhaps even a note of hops in the alcohol at the finish. There are some lighter notes of caramel and bready notes also.

T- The dark rich roasted grains and malts have a nice sweetness to them with notes of currants (like the bottle says) and brown sugar. Then a more robust taste comes through of dark roasted coffee with some cigar earthiness in the background. The finish has some vinous taste with a balance of hop bitterness and some alcohol kick.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with some silky texture and a nice alcohol warmth to balance the sweetness at the beginning.

D- Even though this is a big complex beer it has a lot of balance and smoothness in flavors. As it warmed in the snifter it really took on different flavors and smells. It wasn't heavy on the burnt flavors but had nice dark flavors of all sorts.


Thanks to karengarys for hunting the beast down for me.

 1,400 characters

Photo of Tallboy
4.79/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I am rather happy to report that this was my first time trying this brew.
and I knew from the moment my lips touched the bottle and I gently savored that warm sweet smell before sipping, that there was indeed something truely special at work here. It’s dark with huge coffee and chocolate flavors along with some rather imposing but welcomed fruit flavors .The mouthfeel is indeed fantastic experience as well. Overall a Great first tasting beer!

 449 characters

Photo of phisig137
4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

After much anticipation, I finally popped this bottle of 05 RIS, and enjoyed. It pours an absolute black like I'vew never seen before, and a caramel colored head that dissapates rather quickly. In the glass, this looks just incredible. First thoughts when smelling it remind me of malt extract that I brew with, "Whoppers"(the malted candy), and dates.

The flavor of this beer goes along with the aroma, with huge malt flavors, slightly sweet without being cloying at all, a bit of roastiness on the finish, backed by a nice hop profile, as well a a subdued smokiness.

All in all, this is one of the best imperial stouts I've ever had, partially because it is SO much different than the standard old rasputin, heresy, or other imperial stout. I cannot wait for the 3 bottles that I have in the cellar. I think 3-4 years will do quite well.

Next time you see it in the stores (I think I bought mine in april or may) pick up a few bottles. This is one beer well worth every single penny!

 997 characters

Photo of joecast
4.97/5  rDev +14.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

stone imperial stout. big bottle. big beer. 2005 release.

so right off the bat im thinking, "what is that? are you even trying to form a head? a pathetic attempt."
quickly, i bite my tongue. "ouch!!"
the blackness of the beer actually dims the room.
i reach for another light switch, but to no avail. looking through stone IS colored glasses makes everything appear dark.

and the smell?! agghh! no need for nose hair trimmers this month. gone in a flash. fig, dates, over-ripe plum to the point of producing their own alcohol. and alcohol. i swear this stuff will take off your nail polish. but still sweet, fruit, and mouth wateringly delicious.

hot damn. multiply the aroma a few times and get the taste. i swear there is ssome seriously good milk chocolate in there some where. it is that smooth.
of course the guys at stone cant show their sensitive side so they try to cover it with loads of roasted malt, bitterness out the you know what, coffee beans, and heat.
yeah, if i was a russian czar, i would still drink this. unimagineable smoothness when it approaches room temp.

mouthfeel is hard to describe. this stuff must numb the tongue cause i dont feel it past the front of my mouth. but on the front? goood.

and drinkability? well, ok, its 10+%abv makes it hard to session (ha!! thats an understatement). but after this, i doubt anything will taste the same. i've still got half a pint left and it has changed the way i think about beer. is it possible to cram too much of a good thing into one bottle? nah. just call it stone irs and leave it at that.

 1,587 characters

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
96 out of 100 based on 2,714 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • Return of the Belgian Beer Fest

    BeerAdvocate Brings its All-Belgian Fest to Portland, Maine on September 17, 2016. Tickets are on sale now.

    Learn More
  • Get the Mag

    Become a BeerAdvocate magazine print subscriber today.

    Subscribe