Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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Imperial Russian StoutImperial Russian Stout
8,427 Ratings
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:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,427 |  Reviews: 2,773
Photo of andrewh995
4.35/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark black with a thin brown head. Smells of rich chocolate, caramel, and some coffee. Tastes of sweet chocolate, caramel, roasted malts, coffee, and a slight orange zest. Not much alcohol at all. Medium-heavy body and light carbonation. Overall a very delicious RIS. I found the 2010 version on draft somewhere so this is very aged.

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Photo of JustCamIt
4.24/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Samact
3.79/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Photo of Vidblain
4.09/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've had several bottles of Stone's Imperial Russian Stout over the years, but those generally pre-date my "serious" days of beer criticism and enjoyment. So I opened a 2015 to see how my impressions were holding up.

Imperial Russian Stout has been widely venerated for quite some time now - with good reason. It ages well. It has a recipe that has been consistent and well balanced for quite some time. Like many other Russian Imperial Stouts, it is quite heavily hopped - so it has potential to mature over long periods of time, only gaining complexity as the hops become more subdued.

I wish that I had had the forethought to open a comparable Russian Imp alongside Stone's, but here were my impressions: the beer pours quite dark, with a nice head of very light brown foam. It smells quite hoppy still, but also warm and chocolatey. The taste is quite accurate to the smell - the hops are pungent and hit the back of my tongue quite powerfully. Much like Surly Darkness, I found myself wishing that I had aged this for much longer. Those hops hang on forever! Still, the beer has admirable complexity and flavor. The hops are strong and pronounced, but there is still a very pleasant sweetness to it.

I like this beer a lot. I have a 2011 and a 2013 that I have yet to open. My follow-up on those in the future.

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Photo of FirstInLine
3.59/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Photo of Hybridlion
4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of briandschorr
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Amazing. I am a big fan of Stouts and Porters and this is one of the best Stouts out there. Moderate dark fruit ester and a wonderful opaque color. I agree with the comments about a significant herbal hop character. The nose is a complex blend of chocolate and caramel with coffee coming through in a subtle way. A wonderful thick foam that breaks down at just the right speed and leaves not much lacing. This is a beer to be enjoyed slowly. For me, it's a step away from a masterpiece.

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Photo of RDW
4.62/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Photo of Lone_Freighter
3.9/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The appearance had a nice dark brown close to a black color with a one finger white to off white foamy head that dissipated within about a minute. The lacing was there as it speckled the glass adequately. The smell had a super nice blend of roasted chocolate tones to a slight coffee beans with light vanilla and anise. The taste was very nice as it allowed a super nice sweet and roastiness to invade the tastebuds in a slight boozy pummeling of sorts. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with more of sipping aspect assigned to this brew. The carbonation finishes roasty and smooth. Overall, very nicely done imperial stout well worthy of having again.

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Photo of YalovaIA
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of mpolewan
4.45/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Photo of maltznhopz
4.28/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Bottled on 3/3/16: 22oz bomber poured into a snifter.
L- pours pitch black with a small tan head that dissipates rather quickly.
A - smells of malts, chocolate and caramel.
T - the flavor I got was lots of dark fruit, hint of chocolate, toffee, little bit of caramel and heavy roasted malts. As it warms you can sense some oakiness in the finish.
M - creamy and smooth mouthfeel with almost no noticeable alcohol. Hardly any carbonation.
O - the annual stone RIS has never disappointed. Must try brew every year for me.

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Photo of StormAles
4.1/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of Gobearswalter34
4.84/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

L- Black! A one-finger, tan, creamy head. Stays entirely for warm-up.
S- Perfect!. Sweet Chocolate and caramel malts. Slight roasted coffee and black licorice.
T- Sweet with bakers chocolate and roasted coffee. Huge caramel in the end. Slight dairy feel and taste. Sweetness offset well by bitter hop. Slight black licorice worked in. This is one of the best ever.
F- Awesome! feels like putting my head in a big vat of chocolate perfection and sucking in and not getting full.
O- Some beers you consume, others you experience...this one you experience!

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Photo of pezhead_79
4.02/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Photo of Alpha-Leader
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Photo of -steve-
4.06/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Black and opaque. Thick, brown foam that quickly dissipates leaving little lacing.
Smell: Chocolaty, caramel goodness. Mahogany, coffee. So excited to try this beer.
Taste: Chocolate, thick and boozy. This is a decadent brew.
Feel: Viscous beer coating the tongue with multiple flavours.
Overall: Wonderful beer.

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Photo of RabbleRouserRye
4.54/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Ordered this at the bar the other night and my buddy said it's to warm to be drinking Imperial Stouts. Well glad I didn't listen to him because this is possibly one of the very best Imperial Russian Stouts I have ever had. The roasted malts in this were perfection and it was one of the smoothest beers I have ever had.

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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 Michiganman2325
4.71/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 5

Photo of AugustusRex
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

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 dazedman
4.16/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Photo of akopczyk
4.75/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 8,427 ratings