Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 10.60%

Availability: Spring

Notes / Commercial Description:
None provided.

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews & Ratings
Reviews: 2,778 | Ratings: 8,449
Photo of Riff
4.32/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Pours a solid black color with a light tan head about a half finger thick. Smells of milk chocolate and dark fruits, with a malty background. Tastes of chocolate, roasted malts, a slight bit of bitterness throughout, fading to some dark fruit. Hint of coffee and slight hint of alcohol. Medium heavy body, creamy. Fantastic, solid Russian stout.

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Photo of CTHomer
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 release.

A: opaque; very dark brown - virtually black; 1 finger medium brown head that receded to a splotchy cap; light lacing;

S: mostly milk chocolate; a hint of coffee; as it warms, dark fruit becomes prevalent;

T: deeply roasted grains up front; milk chocolate comes in quickly, but by the middle, it's all dark fruit through the finish;

M: full bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish; hides the ABV well;

O: complex aromas and flavors;

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Photo of Jtee
4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

From a 650ml bottle served at 20 degrees Celsius into a snifter. The bottle has been aged for 14 months.

Look: The beer looks like your standard, well-built imperial stout. It pours an opaque black with red highlights along with two fingers of dense, mocha head that settles to a cap within two minutes. Poor lacing.

Smell: Strong roasted malts and dark fruit esters right off the bat. Additional malty notes of coffee, black licorice, dark chocolate, and bonfire smokiness. Faint caramel. Hop-wise there's a strong herbal presence. Some mineral and metallic notes have increased during the aging process. I'm also noticing a tiny note of wet cardboard which I attribute to the bottle not always being at the right temperature during the cellaring.

Taste: Strong, rich, and bitter. Roasty-burnt dark malts with notes of coffee, dark chocolate, and licorice. Moderate dark fruit esters. Just like in the nose, there is a significant herbal hop character that shoots through the malts. The finish is long, strong, and warming.

Feel: Full body with medium-light carbonation. Heavy and thick with some chewiness. There's a considerable alcohol warmth without it being hot. A notable astringency.

Overall: In a word: intense. Big aroma and flavour bound to take your senses for a ride. My kind of beer and just short of world-class. Buy yourself a bottle when you get a chance.

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Photo of EMH73
4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a half inch tan head that dissipated quickly but left decent lacing. Smells of roasted malts, coffee and chocolate. Tastes of dark chocolate, coffee, bitterness of coffee grinds, roasted malts, hint of smoke and dark fruits. Lightly carbonated, medium to heavy bodied, thick and creamy mouth feel. Excellent beer, to be sipped and savored.

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Photo of ThrewRedButter
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2009 Vintage because whatever

L - Black as my heart with less than a finger of khaki-colored head

S - roasted malts, coffee, milk chocolate, cherry

T -intense roast with smoke and tobacco, dark chocolate and dark coffee grounds

F - smooth, no alcohol, a big sipper

O - damn good RIS, no surprise it's stood the test of time

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Photo of JohnnyHopps
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- The stout was very black in appearance with a mocha colored head and lacing on the sides of the glass.

Smell - Sweet chocolate malts comes through in the nose.

Taste - The sample was a 2010 vintage. It was like a riverbof smooth chocolate. Any bitterness seems to have gone away with age.

Mouthfeel - The carbonation was very modest which allowed the sweetness to shine.

Overall- If this beer were released differently, it would be a whale.

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Photo of yesterdayfaraway
3.26/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

***bottled 3/5/2015
***Today is 3/21/2017

L: pours a see through black with a film of head that fades fast. Pitch black in the glass
S: dark malt, dark roast coffee and dried cherries.
T: much like the nose. Big flavors. The bitterness is huge, hard to drink honestly.
F: quite dry finish and big bitterness. Medium thickness.

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Photo of crisis1290
4.5/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Russian Imperial is simply outstanding. We cracked open a bopttle that might have been 3 years old. Super smooth to say the least. Dark pour . Smell of roasted malts, coffee , caramel, with chocolate and mocha espresso. What a rooler coaster of flavors and all are spot on. This should be no suprise based on the quality of Stone over the yeras.

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Photo of kevinlater
4.8/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

2016 release. dominant on the roast and dark chocolate with some prune-y dark fruits that open up ever so slightly on the finish. perfect bitterness to cap the richness off. a phenomenal imperial stout
2016 release, bottled 03/23/16. all of the above plus a bit of licorice/anise flavour. one of the best imperial stouts ever!

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Photo of Harrison8
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours black with a finger of caramel-colored head. Retention is short, with fair lacing, but this bottle has also been aged. Aroma is huge, dark, and complex, with notes of caramel, earthy barley, and bread malts. Flavor profile is dark and complex. Notes of caramel, peat moss, earthy barley, and bready malts form a filling, huge, experience of a stout. Mouth feel is filling, thick, with a consistent graininess to it. Overall, this beer packs a presence. It's huge and dark all the way around. A very earthy, and simple, but tasty flavor profile combined with a huge, but not over compensating, presence relegates this beer to an excellent sipper.

Served in a teku. 2015 version.

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Photo of CoreyC
4.59/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 so maybe close to 4 years old
Really good. I see why this is so highly rated and regarded for aging. Very, very smooth. No bite whatsoever. Chocolate forward flavor with the roasted malts.
Highly recommend, specifically if you like to age RISs.

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Photo of Cramshawbar
3/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Not sold on this. Kind of watery despite the booziness and much too sweet and syrupy for the style. Not that I like stouts much mind you, except a select few. I received two as gifts, I will finish and forget them.
The highlight here is the nose. All else is forgettable.

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Photo of trygelski1
4.73/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

22oz bomber poured into an East End Brewing snifter:

Look: Pours an amazing jet black color with a nice dark tan head of about an inch. Not much lacing present which is the only thing keeping this from a 5 rating for look. Love the jet black color of this beer.

Smell: Heavy aroma of dark fruits on the nose along with some chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts.

Taste: Notes of licorice, dark fruits, chocolate, coffee, and maybe a hint of alcohol burn but this is smooth for the ABV.

Feel: Medium to heavy bodied.

Overall: This is one of the best Russian Imperial Stouts that I have had. Disappointed this beer is not being brewed for a 2017 release as I would have definitely picked up a case again. Hopefully this one makes an appearance in 2018 as I would definitely buy this again.

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Photo of Davepoolesque
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2012 Bottle. Bitter dark chocolate, dark fruits, vanilla and roasted malts. Medium bodied. Holding up extremely well. This is a superb regular stout. Shorter, dry finish. Delicious.

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Photo of StJamesGate
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Viscous jet with tan ring. 4
Ash, honey, and black currant. 4
Anise candies, black strap molasses, chocolate liqueur, camp coffee, truffley end and clean green finish. 4.5
Chewy, smooth, almost heavy. 4.25

Dense flavours! Big, chewy, no heat, not overly ashy… how’s it’s done. “All the evil in this world concentrated in one bottle,” says Steph. The prototype. 4.5

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Photo of buschbeer
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

1 PT. 6 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black and is topped with an inch of dark mocha head that leaves a little lacing.

I smell chocolate as soon as I pour it. I also get some cocoa and a little coffee.

The taste begins with milk chocolate. It begins to bitter through the middle and finish with bitter chocolate and coffee.

Full mouthfeel

This is a great example of a RIS. The flavors have held up well over four plus years.

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Photo of AustinWadkins
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours thick like sludge with a 1/2 in tan head that quickly collars around the glass

Smells include smoke, roasted coffee, chocolate, molasses, dark fruits, alcohol

Taste is oak, smoke, dark fruits, roasted coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, and a bit of bourbon

Overall a fantastic brew! Very drinkable and smooth given the abv!

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Photo of gatornation
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pulled a 2010 from the cellar. Poured a thick dark black color with a tan head that stayed fresh but this thru out. Smell of roasted malts and coffee with some tobacco and hops . Roast and creamy with chocolate and mocha espresso, very good. this vintage is six years old and im very impressed with how it has held up. Mouth feel was creamy with some hops very smooth on the finish, with ABV well hidden. A weel made stout at a great price that ages very well.

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Photo of Red5StandingBy
4.26/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 1 Pint 6 oz bottle (2015 vintage) with bottle date of March 5th 2015 into stein glass.

L: Pitch black, head forms slowly as if the bubbles struggle to get to freedom. Thin layer of head, tan color.

S: Coffee, anise, alcohol, molasses, wood smoke.

T: Coffee again, chocolate, licorice, fruity esters, smoke. Wonderfully complex, you go through a train ride of flavors where the alcohol isn't too overpowering even at 10.6% which is insane. Some bitterness from the dark roasted malt and some hops, this is unrealistically smooth.

F: Wonderfully smooth and crisp from medium carbonation. Medium body.

O: Wow, this really blew me away, Stone has just done an outstanding job with this. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

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Photo of DraconusDesanctus666
4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a bomber dated 3/03/16 (9 1/2 months aged), into a Cigar City snifter.

Thin brown head that dissolved quickly.Jet black in color,no light through the glass,with light carbonation.

On the nose I get coffee,espresso,caramel,and a little bit of earthy hops,and sweet malts.A little hint of alcohol.

On the palate I get coffee,hops, caramel,and some booze.

The body is full,with a boozy warming finish that is dry and chalky.Even at almost 10 months aging,I still get the hoppy fizzle in my mouth.

As far as RUSSIAN imperials go, this is one of my favorites,right up there with Marshal Zhukov's.

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Photo of Everydayoff
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo of weareallfalafel
4.93/5  rDev +13.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

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

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Photo of Boccu
4.46/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

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

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Photo of fireazzi
4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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

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Photo of BergBeer
3.92/5  rDev -9.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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

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

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

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

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

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Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 8,449 ratings