Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

BA SCORE
96
world-class
8,362 Ratings
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
Ratings:
8,362
Reviews:
2,750
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
9.22%
 
 
Wants:
820
Gots:
2,336
For Trade:
96
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
Ratings: 8,362 |  Reviews: 2,750
Photo of punkhim
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of Greywulfken
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A: poured into my Ommegang glass (somewhere between a footed pilsener and a tasting glass): two finger light brown head; settles in a cap over the pitch black beer

S: roasted malt, black coffee/espresso, and vanilla notes

T: I have been blessed to have tasted some great RIS's and this one might just be the best tasting overall: sweet roasted malts with layers of mocha, cocoa, coffee, and vanilla; hidden dark fruit and a distant dry/bitter backbone; tidbits of anise

M: silky, creamy, rich; glides over the tongue and sings to the palate; just a little sticky; full-bodied and viscous

O: I give a lot of beers good reviews because I usually buy good beers, but I have never gone with 5's across the boards - it's just like saying the beer is perfect, and once you've had the "perfect" beer for a style, what's the point of having another? To be reminded of what less-than-perfect tastes like? Also, what is the perfect RIS? It's subjective, right? This was as close to perfection as they come in a RIS. Silky sweet, but with a drying balance; sublimely mellow, infinitely drinkable, and with a nice high abv.

 1,115 characters

Photo of shebby
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of Jaldama
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of lpotter
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a Deschutes snifter

A: Pours a thick, deep black with a 2 finger mocha colored head. Nice retention that dissipates slowly, leaving a good amount of carbonation bubbles around the side of the glass. Alcohol legs are definitely present.

Sm: Huge amounts of roasted malt on the front. Coffee, and chocolate dominate, followed by fruity esters. A hint of caramel and vanilla. Alcohol is subtly present.

T: Almost spot on to the smell. Roasted malts are the key player here. It's so much like sipping on a freshly brewed cup of dark coffee that you could crack this thing open in the morning to have with breakfast. The finish is smooooth, and the bitterness is well balanced by the sweetness of the malts. The 10.5% ABV is well hidden and only briefly noticeable as it warms on the way down.

Mf: Full bodied all the way. Deliciously thick and creamy with just the right amount of carbonation to keep you interested.

O: Another gorgeous beer from Stone and an RIS at its best. I'm excited to try this with a little age on it.

 1,058 characters

Photo of MikeConklin
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of seancake
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of 6demonbag
5/5  rDev +15.2%

Photo of sigmamartin
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%

Photo of johnnyboy76
4/5  rDev -7.8%

Photo of DrFunkenstein
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of DM1293
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This is an ironic beer to me. I'll explain why in a bit.

Appearance - The darkest stout I've ever seen. A moderate head, endures a fair bit of time.

Smell - All the notes I would expect from a stout as well; really good coffee, chocolate and roasted malt. Not too powerful, but not faint.

Taste - All those notes I mentioned? Imagine them well balanced. This beer is incredible. You could almost call it an oatmeal stout for how smooth it is. It does everything I like about stouts (good coffee, toasty malt, chocolate notes to round it out) and keeps it just at that. No bitterness, not overtly sweet. And that just freaks me out. I was expecting some real good robust roasty-toasty bite to this, but this is Stone at its smoothest ride.

Mouthfeel - Its also creamy. REALLY creamy. It lingers on the finish as well, pleasantly so. And the carbonation is spot-on.

Overall - Now let me explain something. This beer does everything right. I've given another perfect score. But that doesn't mean this would be my go-to stout still. That...bothers me. Its an excellent beer no doubt, I've bought two bottles, one to age out and see how it changes. But at the same time, I can't think of times when I'd really crack this one out to drink casually. Another thing thats holding it back in my mind is that it might be a touch too rich. I know stouts tend to be, but this is pretty heavy.

Its kind of hard to explain. Not to mention this seems to be brewed only during certain times and is a little on the hard side to get at times (the man who was from Stone that I talked to mentioned this being distributed during a couple months every year).

But these are minor gripes. Get it while you can if you love a good stout. As for me? This thing is like fine wine at cheap wine's price (Six bucks? Oh you better believe its worth it). A perfect brew that I'll enjoy sampling again come the end of this year, and once more before then as I crack the other bottle open among friends.

EDIT: Do not try this beer very warm! Make sure its either chilled or semi-cooled (less than room temp). I feel it becomes a lot stronger in the bitterness and the chocolate notes are overpowered by the coffee roastiness. It becomes an entirely different beast depending on the temperature. I prefer it cold and my scores are based on that.

 2,318 characters

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

A: Pours jet black with a large and dense medium brown head. Fades very, very slowly, leaving thick sheets of lacing on the glass.

S: Wow, stunning roasted malt character. Char with some wonderful cocoa and bitter coffee. Has a creamy sort of character to it, almost like a touch of lactose. Hints of dark fruit that I cannot yet identify, cherries or currants maybe? Touch of anise.

T: Very creamy roasted malt up front. Very nice bitter chocolate follows along with some dark fruit. Currants, cherries with maybe just a hint of fig? Roasty bitter coffee kicks in afterwards and finishes off the flavor with a touch of earthy hops. As it fully warms I get hints of anise here and there.

M: Incredibly smooth, creamy and thick. Amazing.

O: This is one of the best non-barrel aged RISes of all time in my opinion. You almost have to give it extra credit for being so widely available and easily attained. Not to mention quite cheap! The mouthfeel is honestly the best part. It's a great combination of heft, creaminess and smoothness without being too cloying or too syrupy. Otherwise, surprisingly fruity RIS, making it more balanced than most which are usually just hardcore roasted malt and nothing else.

 1,214 characters

Photo of yamar68
4/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an expected black/mahogany with a brief finger of brown froth. Good lacing and consistent beading.

The nose features dark, sweet malts. Some espresso, caramel, plenty of intrigue without the booze.

Tastes super smokey, borderline rauchbier in a good way. Lots of toasted grains beneath the smoke, caramel and toffee. No discernible booze.

The feel is spot on. No lingering harshness, but a bit of smoke that keeps things interesting. Well done.

Overall, I can see why this beer is a standard in the cellar. Smokey, malty, hoppy, but still approachable. Bravo!

 570 characters

Photo of Snellgg5
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%

Photo of partypak
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of Giovacchini
4.38/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A- dark dark brown with a thin tan head.

S- coffee, raisens, bittersweet chocolate, alcohol, roasted malt.

T- coffee, leather, chocolate, roasted malt, alcohol, molasses, and ash.

M- creamy mouthfeel with subtle carbonation. Alcohol warmth going down.

O- I like my IRS's from time to time and I have to say this a solid brew. It is a great beer and I look forward to aging a couple bottles.

 394 characters

Photo of kchannel9
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of Sharkophile
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from a bomber into a pint glass, pitch black with a massive coffee-colored head with excellent retention. Looks every bit as an RIS should. Also, as usual with Stone's beers, the message etched on the bottle is entertaining to read.

S: HUGE roasted aromas of chocolate, espresso, slight fruitiness, light hops and alcohol.

T: Like heaven. Molasses, chocolate and espresso dominate the foretaste, with licorice (from the hops?) and burnt raisin flavors following with more roasted flavor. A bit of alcohol adds to the complexity in the long, bittersweet finish. Dry. Charcoal in the finish. Wow.

M: Full body does not do it justice, and the carbonation is low. Heavy on the pallet.

O: Simply fantastic.

 715 characters

Photo of mrsdrabmuh
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

Photo of beerFool28607
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%

Photo of MEsoJD
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

[Poured into a generic tulip glass]

I: oh boy oh boy, this is one of those brews you feverishly wait for, and the time for Stones 2012 release of it's Imperial Russian Stout has come. I was browsing Bevmo and noticed that this beautiful brew was out again. I've come across this stout before, but haven't had the chance to officially review. I'm pretty confident this new release won't disappoint.

B: [10.5% ABV. 1 Pt. 6 Fl. OZ. 2012 Release] Bottle contains a good amount of info (as Stone bottles normally do). ABV, ingredients, back story, and even a recommendation. Label is nice and simple, and worthy of my mantle.

A: A dark black body/no transparency whatsoever with a fluffy mocha head (moderate dissipation), and decent lacing.

S: Very aroma heavy. Chocolate, toffee, roasted malt, and a boozy alcohol presence.

T: Chocolate, sweet roasted malt, coffee, toffee, caramel, and a bourbon presence throughout. There's no long lasting aftertaste, and bitterness is mild for this hop head.

M: Thick silky smooth finish, Full bodied, moderate/low
carbonation, and very apparent alcohol presence (maybe overbearing for some).

O: Very pleasing... bold, but a smooth stout for men. I suggest drinking at room temperature, letting it sit in your mouth for a little, and swallowing slow. Hopefully I can grab another bottle for aging, but even this fresh release taste great. The texture in the mouth is some damn pleasing, it dares you to take just one sip. If it's one gripe I can find with this brew, it would be the head and the lacing, but that isn't a big deal. This is one of the best Imperial Russian Stouts you can find out there. I highly recommend and would suggest to experienced beer drinkers. Worthy of the beer mantle!!!CHEERS!!!

 1,755 characters

Photo of swaghawk
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%

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

22oz bottle poured into an oversized snifter. 2011 vintage

A: One finger tan head. Pitch black body.

S: Cocoa, licorice, roasted grains, some coffee, dark fruit and faint hops.

T: Chocolate, dark fruit, bitter roasted malt, caramel and molasses.

M: Full body, oily and creamy texture. Soft carb..right about where I want it in a stout. Moderately warming alcohol finish.

O: One of my favorite RIS. Amazing flavor and complexity for such value. Looking forward to buying a stash of 2012.

 494 characters

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
4.34 out of 5 based on 8,362 ratings.
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