Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

8,368 Ratings
Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial 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

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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,368 |  Reviews: 2,755
Photo of NefariousR
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz. glass bottle into a pint glass. Bottles labeled as "Limited Spring 2010 Release."

A - Incredibly dark brown, no light coming through. Frothy tan head.

S - Roast coffee, malt, some sweetness.

T - Heavy roast flavor with malty sweetness in the aftertaste. A slight hint of fig and licorice.

M - Thick, but not syrupy. Pleasant carbonation.

D - Wonderfully complex, yet drinkable, and the alcohol isn't prohibitive.

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Photo of KAVSE
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 750ml bottle into Stone pint glass.

A: Black as the night itself. Khaki caramel head quickly dissipates. Brew pours very thick and syrupy forming only a finger of head.
Very light lacing.

S: Smells of thick malt, leather, caramel, coffee, chocolate, and faint alcohol. Smell is reminiscent of the smoothness of a Belgian Dubbel.

T: Incredible. This beer is complex and hits your tongue in stages. Syrup malt sweetness gives way to coffee and chocolate that fades into a delicate hop balance that finishes subtle with a hint of hop bitter.

M: Wraps around the tongue on both sides. Amazingly smooth and balanced along the tastebuds.

D: A high ABV makes this one a sipper but you won't want to put it down after one sip. Darn good!

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Photo of velosuds
4.62/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

From a 22 oz. bomber into a clear pint glass. Limited Spring 2009 Release.

"Thick, rich, and well, sinful." - From the label. Oh, my.

A-pours a beautiful dark brown, nearly black hue with a two finger tan head with strong retention. Lacing is even all the way down the glass. This is a beauty.

S-The aroma is resplendent. Deep, dark roasted chocolate malts with a vague hint of coffee. Prominent dark dried fruits and sugars, like figs, Turkish apricots, brown sugar and molasses. Amazing.

T-A delicious, nuclear malt bomb. It is adequately hoppy, but is balanced by deep, rich malt flavors reminiscent of figs, brown sugar, and chocolate fudge. This is truly imperial, and fitting for more than a Russian Czar. God, this is great.

M-Substantial yet smooth. The mouthfeel is delectable. If I could have only one beer, it just might be this. Although, a definite sipping beer, because you don't want to rush past any of its nuances, this can be enjoyed in large gulps. I love this beer.

D-This very drinkable. It must be, since I want more and don't have any. At 10.5% ABV the alcohol is not noticeable in the taste, but it definitely contributes to the overall character of this great beer. Extremely well done, Stone.

A note about value. I paid $6.49 for this bomber, which is almost half the price of The Abyss. When I am pinching pennies, I always choose this over The Abyss. It is almost as good, and maybe just as good since I cherish value. This is my very favorite Russian Imperial Stout. I am thankful for the style.

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Photo of kylehayworth
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this at a beer tasting at the UPL on 86th and Michigan. This was a 2009 bottle, can't wait to get some 2010.

A: Nice dark black/brown in color, with a similar head.

S: Good roasted malts, with a nice hint of chocolate/coffee.

T: I get a lot of uber dark fruits balancing with some bitter chocolate and roasted coffee undertones.

M/D: Has a moderate/low carbonation. Th alcohol tingle is hidden, which makes it easily palpable, especially for the 10.5%. What else but another great beer from stone, do they make a bad beer?

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Photo of irishking1977
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Pours thick and black with a fairly moderate creamy tan head that leaves some moderate lacing once the head recedes.

S: Mild chocolate, and massive malt attack. Little to no bitterness detected. Surprising, considering most of Stone's offerings do have some hops bitterness. Not bad, certainly, but unexpected.

T: Rich and sweet, with a major malt presence. It's the main component in this beer. Caramel and dark chocolate are also detected to a degree in the finish.

M: Very thick, smooth, and creamy. Lingers on the tongue for quite sometime. Coats the palate. Near perfect balance with moderate carbonation.

D: A thick, amazing stout that even though it is thick and creamy, it's easy to drink. Alcohol is barely detectable, though it does come through in the finish, and as the beer warms. I don't think I've been disappointed by any of Stone's offerings thus far.

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

A: pours a nice medium thick dark brown. 1.5 finger light brown head. quickly dissapates.

S: mostly malts. sweet and pleasantly complex

T: GREAT! sweet malt, roasted malt, slight hop bitterness. nicely balanced

M: very good. the carbonation is just right, no alcohol burn, long finish

D: probably too drinkable. I could go through a few of these at a time

This was the first bottle I opened from the 2010 release. If cellaring makes this better, I'm excited.

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Photo of beerhan
4.82/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Spring 2009 Limited Release.

What is there to say about this beer that has not been said? Honestly this is the only Stone beer that I have liked and well I have reassured my faith in them. The alcohol is hidden and I am pretty sure this went down faster than my morning coffee. Great Brew.

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Photo of mindlucent2007
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Beautiful looking, dark brown pour. Little head, with hardly any lacing on this bad-ass. The smell is dominated by coffee beans. This stout is tasty and complex. Right away I notice the smokey attributes. A serious roasting of malts, coffee, chocolate, and a bit of licorice. Slight alcohol at the end. On the heavier side, but not overdone by any means. Right on point in all areas for this beer style. Good amount of carbonation, which is medium.
A late night sipper. The brew that ends the session. Great job by Stone who has not let me down.

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

22oz bottle into a tulip. Bottled Spring 2009.

Appearance: Moderate pour down the side then middle of the glass yields a one and a half inch light tan head that dissipates slowly, leaving swatches of lacing. Color is dark brown / black, ruby red at the edges. Beer leaves minimal lacing.

Smell: The robust aromas you expect from a RIS: chocolate, coffee, roasted malt. Not a lot of dark fruit or hops influence. The main chocolate/roasted malt notes are deep and intriguing though; sweet, creamy, and developing further as the beer warms. Not much alcohol in the nose as well.

Taste: The smell tricked me; this is still a hoppy, alcohol-hot RIS after a year of aging. Neither aspect is abrasive or overpowering though, just strong and present along with the creamy coffee/chocolate/roasted flavors. The piny hops and alcohol really help to keep the almost too-sweet flavors in check. Some flavor very reminiscent of cookie dough emerges about halfway through, which is very nice. Despite a good amount of bitterness coming from the hops and the roasted malt, the balance stays strong throughout. The noticeable alcohol is a boon to the flavor rather than a distraction from it.

Mouthfeel: Full-bodied and creamy, with a hot finish.

Drinkability: A sipper that tastes so good you want to drink it fast anyway.

Like many Stone beers, Stone IRS is bold while still being balanced, and is a solid example of its style. If you're on a stout kick, or liable to be on one in the future, you'll want to keep a bottle of this on hand at all times. Also notable for the excellent value, $5-$7 a bottle or so, depending on where you are (I paid $6 in NYC).

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

From the Growler to my snifter, the body is pitch black with zero light penetrability joined with a light brown, camramel, dark sand dune like colored head that leaves prickly blotches of lace along the glass.
Sweet Roasted dark coffee malt, dark chocoloate and caramel accompanied by a hint of syrup on the nose. It tastes just as it smells; Chocolate-Coffee malts at the front, joined by subtle hints of maple and caramel.
The texture is almost milky, silky and very smooth. The carbonation isn't irritating at all.
Overall, this is a very solid beer for the style. I highly recommend this beer to any 'dark beer' lover. haha. cheers

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

A: Pours a dark, motor oil color, somewhat reddish when held up to a (bright) light. Thin mocha colored head around 1 finger thick which dissipated quickly to a fine lacing.

S: Definitely smells of coffee and some chocolate notes, also detected a general "roasted" smell and some indeterminable spices.

T: Chocolate and maltiness were most readily apparent, along with notes of coffee and anise (perhaps the spice I was detecting earlier?). The alcohol is not as present as one would expect for a 10.5% ABV brew.

M: Medium amount of carbonation, sits nicely on the tongue, somewhat syrupy with a very nice feel.

D: Very drinkable, goes down easily, would definitely have another, though with the high alcohol content one should be careful.

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Photo of nickadams2
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A_Pours a thick, dark ,reddish brown. Nice thin,mocha colored head.Good lacing.

S_Dark chocolate,dark fruits,molasses and coffee.Picking up a slight boozy smell.

T_Strong flavor. Dark fruits ,coffee, and roasty. Nice alcohol burn but not overpowering. Spot on for an RIS.

M_Thick. "Chewy" is an adjective commonly used for Imperial Stouts. Never used it but it fits like a glove for this beer.

D_It's a big beer but a bomber sometimes just is not enough.

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

Review is a 2010 bottle for the limited spring edition.

appearance - very dark, thick, solid tan head, looked at it through the sun and couldn't see anything

smell - roasty, caramel malts, chocolate

taste - very complex, coffee, liquor, chocolate hint

mouthfeel - thick and gummy

drinkability - very enjoyable and full of flavors. I did not mix with food as it was so overwhelming.

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Photo of AleWynch
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Limited Spring 2010 release - case date 3/31/10

A: Pours motor oil/dark chocolate with a nice 1 finger tan head (actually a little less than expected) laced nicely.

S: Big malt, Anise, faint banana-bread, little butterscotch, very interesting...not getting alcohol on the nose.

T: ABV hidden well, malts, chocolate, roast, bit of coffee, more complex as it warms...anise, molasses, caramel, bit of toffee and banana-bread in the finish. Sweetness balanced nicely with hops, but no distinct hop presence.

M: Clean, medium body, not cloying, little lighter than expected.

D: Excellent. Working on 2nd bomber with DH. Highly recommended.

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Photo of mht2113
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drinking a Limited Spring 2009 release.

Appearance- Pours a mocha brown color, very thick and dark, with a light tan head that hugged the glass throughout the pour and drink.

Smell- Rich toffee and coffee undertones with a slight chocolate finish to the aroma all of which persist against sweet alcoholic bitterness. The complex smells nearly knocked me out when I drew a deep breath. A true pleasure for the nose.

Taste- Extraordinarily complex. The initial taste mimics the smell, but beyond the initial tinge of alcohol comes an array of flavors that slowly morphs into a chocolate sensation.

Mouthfeel- A warm thickness that surrounds the mouth.

Drinkability- Very rich and creamy, like biting into savory chocolate mousse. Highly drinkable and delicious.

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Photo of Spider889
4.02/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Review is for the 2008 vintage.

Had in a bottle at Winking Lizard. I was surprised to see a vintage beer advertized on their World Tour bottle menu. Props to Winking Lizard, I hope this is a prelude of more to come in the following years.

Poured a black coffee color, no light gets through. Has the appearance of syrup on the pour but is actually fairly thin and watery in consistency.

Smelled of rich coffee beans and heavy roasted malt. Alcohol is also is in the nose, but then again, at 10.5% it's not surprising.

The taste was very pleasing. Rich, full of flavor: coffee, thick and chewy malt, muddled hops, and brown sugar. Very tastey and mellow.

I found the beer very drinkable. It was my second beer of the night but I felt pretty tipsy afterward, so the alcohol does a number on you yet I found it not as noticable as one would expect from such a high abv.

Overall I was impressed and would be happy to drink this vintage again and would love to try one with even more age on it.

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Photo of peensteen
4.57/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

just had this about an hour ago. Pours lovely, brown to black with a tan head. Smells like rich chocolate and coffee, lightly carbonated with a nice weight in your mouth. Warm going down and finishes nicely resonating with a rich coffee flavour. Highly recommended, try this if you have a chance, especially for those who are a fan of the Samuel Smith Imperial Stout.

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Photo of Mora2000
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2009 vintage consumed 4/3/2010.

The beer pours dark brown to black with a khaki colored head. The aroma is chocolate and roasted malt with some piney hops. The flavor is lots of bitter chocolate, coffee and some piney hops as well as roasted malt. As the beer gets to room temperature you start to get some other flavors including semi-sweet chocolate, caramel, toffee and brown sugar. Medium bitterness overall, much less so than when the beer is fresh. The alcohol is not that present in the taste but it is warming. Thick, creamy mouthfeel and low carbonation.

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

2008 vintage poured into a tulip.

Appearance: Deep dark black. Like midnight. Creamy, fluffy one finger mocha-colored head. Decent lacing.

Aroma: Chocolate is there first. Roasted malts, slight alcohol and mild coffee join in aswell.

Taste: The taste mimics the smell. This is delicious, absolutely delicious.

Feel/Drink: Rich, creamy mouthfeel. I can drink a couple of these but with the alcohol, I'm ready for something a bit calmer.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.03/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Spring 09 release. 22oz bottle into SN hop pint glass.

A: Jet black with a large thick dark coffee head that reduced into a thick film that lasted the whole beer and left some soapy lacing.
S: Roasted oats, dark chocolate malts, toffee and grassy hops. Very good.
T: Dark chocolate, nuts, grassy hops, espresso, roasted oats and alcohol notes.
M: Medium body slightly syrupy, thick and rich. Some bitter hops in the finish with sour coffee notes.
D: Very rich with great flavors and a great hop bite. Highly drinkable and recommended.

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Photo of TCgoalie
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A brown head appears over the black abyss in my glass. A tilt of the glass presents some nice lacing. I like looking at this, and now I will smell it.

I smell all kinds of chocolate, biscuit, a heavy hit of molasses, and a hint of maple bourbon-y sweetness. Coffee, anise...I could go on all day, so much to keep my olfactory glands happy.

I very much enjoy when the smell translates exactly to what I'm tasting. The hop flavor seems to come up front and blends into a big hit of bourbon. In comes a pleasant blend of chocolate, roasty coffee, anise, molasses, and tongue numbing alcohol.

I'm very much intrigued by the complexity of this brew. Each sip seems to conjure a different flavor. It is a mouthful, I can tell you that with a very creamy texture and sticky dry aftertaste.

Not the most drinkable beer, but the complexity makes me give the drinkability category a higher score.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.3/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle from Malt & Vine. 2009 spring release. Tasted blind with 14 other stouts. Pours a black with frothy tan head and great lacing. Incredible coffee and chocolate aroma. Nice sweet flavor with chocolate and molasses. Medium body an d a bit fizzy. Really interesting chocolate and bitter finish. Incredible brew, but still needs to mellow. Can't wait to taste this vintage in a couple years.

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Photo of joshstevens87
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A-pours a solid black with an inch or so of dirty tan head
S-a nice blend of coholate, liquorice, anise, with a bit of coffee giving a nice roastiness with maybe a bit of alcohol in the background
T-much of the smells described above with a bit more of an alcohol kick but is still well hidden behind a huge taste with a bit more bitterness than in the nose, not much hops but the beer is around a year old
M-a medium heavy body with a modest carbonation making it a very full beer with a very slight oily feel to it
D-a delicious beer with a great taste that can be drunk all night and can certanly lead to trouble

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Photo of tippebrewcrew2
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This review was taken from notes. I had this beer at a tasting with my buddy on a dark cold night and we decided to play some whiffle ball. We had a KBS and this beer. This beer held its ground against the KBS. Black, hearty, and warming is the only way I can describe this beer. Very complex with bitter chocolate overtones and a hoppy undertone. Velvety texture with a long bitter sweet finish. A true display of what Stone can do.

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

22oz bottle, 2008 vintage...served in a DFH oversized snifter

A - pours with a thin layer of bubbly dark tan foam, dissipates very quickly, leaving behind a smal ring around the glass and a few floating islands of bubbles. the beer is pretty much opaque pitch-black.

S - big and bold as I was expecting. huge roasted malt, bordering burnt toast. dark fruits are abundant, as well as bourbon, chocolate, malted candy, dark chocolate. earthy hops add a bitter punch.

T - starts off a bit sweet with the dark fruits taking over, before the more pronounced bitter flavors fight for attention. the dark roasted malts hit the tongue first, followed by chocolate, rye, coffee, black strap molasses...pretty substantial alcohol burn joins in with some earthy hop bitterness near the end. comes together quite nicely in the end. the aftertaste is of plums, raisins, burnt toast, chocolate.

M - medium bodied, maybe a touch thin. carbonation is very present but does a nice job of cutting through the intensely bold flavors. good, creamy finish with an awakening alcohol burn.

D - a solid, almost by-the-book RIS. two years has done well on this, and I'm looking forward to seeing what more time will do (got a case of this yesterday at a steal). dangerously drinkable, caught myself thinking gulp instead of sip. doesnt have the flashiness of some barrel-aged or infused stouts, but doesnt need it. superb.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
4.34 out of 5 based on 8,368 ratings.
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