Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout
8,398 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

Bros Score:
User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 8,398 |  Reviews: 2,764
Photo of cetherid
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured into a tulip


a very dark stout. Held up to the light you get some brownish reddish hues, but very dark. About a fingers worth of mocha head that dissipated quickly.


roasted coffee and bitter chocolate. A little earthiness in there as well. Typical RIS. Nothing really stands out too much.


Better than smell. Nice roasted malts. A little sweet caramelness to it with a nice little hop bite. Subtle mocha aftertaste A little alcohol presence in there as well. Pretty darn tasty!


almost full bodied. Good amount of carbonation. A nice mouthfeel combo of sweetness and bitterness. A good balance.


pretty high. A little boozy but not TOO bad. Easily accessible as well and not terribly expensive. Would love to try this on tap. This bottle might be a little old (got as an extra in a trade) I can see myself getting a bomber of this every once in awhile.

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Photo of ShadyRigglesbee
4.2/5  rDev -3%

Photo of BeerResearcher
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This big brew pours a roofing tar black with a thin, fast-fading tan head and very little lace.
I was expecting a big wallop in the aroma department, but was surprised to find the need to search and concentrate for the answers. Sweet bready malt, faint hop and just a hint of the advertised 9.47 % abv are noticed upon close inspection.
Sweet, biscuity malt, toffee, sweet creamy coffee and some candy sugars blend well with sharp-edged white grapefruit, lemony sourness, orange zest and vodka-soaked pears.
Brown sugar, maple, milk chocolate and rummy flavors rise up.
The body becomes overly syrupy, and as far as "drinkability" goes, it's a bit thick.
While it is quite tasty, this is one-at-a-one-time sort of brew.
The advertised abv begins to make advances as it warms.

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Photo of ADZA
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is the 2012 edition and pours a dark black hue with a creamy two finger head that stays and nice lacing here and there,the smell is dark and milk chocolate,choc raisins,coconut,coffee and boozy alcohol,the mouthfeel is full lucious and really coats the mouth with tastes of dark and milk chocolate,creme caramel,choc raisins,cherries,a touch of boozy alcohol and finished with a cream coffee sweetness and overall a beautiful drop thats well worth a taste and be perfecy with a chocolate dessert cheers.

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Photo of Stretch270
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a stone tulip glass from a 1pt 6fl oz bottle.

Appearance - coffee brown in as light as you could call the appearance of the beer. It has foamy colored head like the laatte you get at Starbucks

Smell - from the strength of the appearance I actually expected a stronger smell especially coming from Stone. the overall smell is alcoholic with some chocolate and coffee. You also get a strong sense of anise, even though this wasn't the anise version of their IRS.

Taste - the flavor is anything but light in the 2011 version. As with the smell, the anise, coffee and chocolate that is not out of the ordinary when it comes to IRS, certainly is not what stands out, but the strength of the flavors certainly does. It is strong and if that is not your style when it comes to stouts this one might not be for you. But if you are looking for a light stout then you might be looking for the wrong thing anyway,

Mouthfeel - heavy heavy heavy certainly would be the word i would use to describe to describe the mouthfeel. My tongue got q serious workout trying to hole the beer up in my mouth. That said, it is exactly what stone advertises.

Overall - I think this is a great example of what an IRS is supposed to be. It is dark, full of flavor especially from some serious malt, with a nice hint of anise tossed in for good measure. I am sure there are better IRS out there, but I haven't had them.

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Photo of Trizzle
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Obsidian with a finger of tight, creamy bubbles. Not a lot of retention, nice lace.

Smells of dark roasted malts, espresso, some raisins and alcohol.

Instant hit of the big bitter roasted malt, some beef stock and high grade dark chocolate. Sweet fruits in the middle: raisins and blackcurrant. The booze is here, but only as a vehicle to the monster flavour. Finishes with lingering dry, tanin-y hops. Yummy.

Feels viscous and smooth. Body comes solely from malt selection as I'm not geting a lot of carbonation.

Will happily finish this 750ml, and would gladly share another... With myself even.

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Photo of mhatters
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Served on tap at Craft Ale House

Pours a jet black, inky color, the head is thin, and tan.

The nose is really well balanced of coffee, chocolate, and well roasted malts.

The flavor follows the nose, the roasted flavors intermingle brilliantly, lots of complex flavors. As the glass warms, it opens up even more.

Good mouthfeel, not light, not thick - just right

I could drink a bunch of these, not too alcoholic feeling. A great beer.

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Photo of CharlesRiver
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark as night, solid black! Very small white head even with a solid pour. Smell was sweet chocolate and coffee, but on the mild side. Some nice smokey notes were the first taste that hit me. Alcohol was more present in the end as it led to that warming feeling.

This beer has been in my cellar for over eight months and it could stay in there much longer. Smooth overall but could still use more time. I still rate Storm King above this.

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Photo of Kingrat831
4.2/5  rDev -3%

Photo of westlaunboy
4.2/5  rDev -3%

Photo of Beginner2
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Had again in 2016. The flavors seem the same. But the alcohol is a bit in-my-face.... maybe that is because I'm getting old. Rating lowered in Feel.

148 characters

Photo of chrisgn
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a BN Army pint glass. Limited Spring 2010 Release.

A- BLACK Opaque! Tan dissipating head with some decent lacing.

S- coffee then chocolate then alcohol.

T- Not too sweet, but coffee and chocolate notes are present. Alcohol is hidden in the taste, taste improves as it warms.

M- medium bodied stout, not too syrupy. Mouth in coated with flavor on each sip.

D- This is a sipper. 10.5% is no joke. Problem is this beer goes down easy. I do not enjoy really sweet boozy stouts so this beer is awesome! Classic RIS!

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Photo of baggio
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

[email protected] 2008 vintage.

Apperance: Very dark brownish with a mediumsized, brown, head.

Smell: Roasted malts, Chocolate, Coffee.

Taste: Coffee, Bitter chocolate, Dark caramel, Ripe fruit.

Mouthfeel: Medium body with low carbonation. Ends quite bitter.

Although this stout is quite drinkable right now i am sure it'll improve with another year in the cellar. Good stuff.

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Photo of cmgage
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Photo of swierczt
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle of Spring 2009 release.

A – Poured into snifter. Cola-colored black. Only 1 finger of dark tan head that dissipated quickly. Nearly no lacing left behind on the glass.

S – Overwhelming level of roasted malts and caramel. A hint of coffee and alcohol are apparent.

T – The complexity of malts is interesting. First sweet roasted malts that are a bit nutty come through. This gives way to a nice bitterness similar to drinking espresso or eating dark chocolate that lingers on your palate. Some hops can be noted in the finish.

M – Heavy on the palate. Medium level of carbonation. There is also a fair amount of burn from the 10.5% alcohol.

D – Nice representation of an Imperial Russian Stout. Liked it and would recommend trying. Glad I let it age for 2 years.

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Photo of CoastieSimon
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Great Example of a RIS. Pours very black and glugs as it comes out, thats how you know its going to be thick! 2 Finger Chocolate colored head. First sip is good can taste some of the booze and coffee up front but where this beer really shines is the aftertaste! A great coffee roasted aftertaste that leaves you wanting more and more. With an ABV of 10.5 I had one, and probably could have shared it with another person. Once again a great example of what an RIS should taste like.

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Photo of mwrecording
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured a typical black with a little bit more head than I've come to expected from bigger stouts.
Smells like roasted chocolate/malt, smells great!
I've gotten a different taste from this with almost every sip. Its some sort of combination of what you love in an RIS(or IRS?!)...bittersweet soft chocolate notes, roasted malty notes and a little bit of a boozy kick to it.

Mouthfeel - this is something that does make me say "OH, this is why I'm not drinking an Old Raspy or Brooklyn BCS"...the mouthfeel here is thick and maybe slightly chewy. It adds to the beer, not detracts.

Drinkability - I guess if I really wanted to do I'd have more than one of these a night but it being a powerful bomber(and you can slightly taste the booze)...I don't know why I would.

Good beer and its the first Stone beer I've been impressed by.

Now that I've had 6-8 sips since typing this has just gotten better and better. I don't like drinking my beers warm, so I poured this at what I guessed what 50ish degree's if not warmer...its more mellow and fun to sip.

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Photo of dzni
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A nice, inky black with an amber-coffee head (very slight head).
S - Chocolate and coffee dominate the nose. This is followed by cherries and maybe some spice. However, the chocolate/coffee is the most dominant thing.
T - Mainly, I get espresso and chocolate; and a bit of milky creaminess as it warms. Perhaps a little more spice as it warms - licorice for sure.
M - Heavy body and low carbonation, and even a bit of a creamy mouthfeel.
D - All around, this is a pleasant imperial stout; very nice. Of course, it would be difficult to drink too much of this with its high ABV.

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Photo of Richardberg
4.2/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: poured from a bomber into a pint glass. Inky black with a small tan head. Looks very viscous and absolutely opaque.

S: burnt grain, ethanol, black coffee, roasted almond, dark soy

T: crisp malty flavor with some complexity but not much as the nose. has a back current of alky bite but doesn't obstruct you.

M: nice and smooth, but not as full/rich as some big stouts

D: pretty damn good for a nearly 11% abv. One of the more enjoyable RIS I've tried.

March 2010 edit - recently enjoyed another bottle with more age on it ('08 vintage). less head; virtually none, really. a more noticeable smell of dark soy that translated into a more savory flavor (though the overall impression is still on the sweet/malty side). feel about the same, i.e. smooth but not exceptionally creamy. excellent drinkability remains.

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Photo of DaveBar
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Purchased at Champagne's outside Detroit MI for $7.99 for a 22oz bottle. Served at 6deg C in a tulip. 2015 edition

A- Opens well and pours a 2" high thick looking brown head that films out within 4mins. Pretty much black

S- Light for the style. Coco. Nutmeg

T- A touch light on the coffee and chocolate. It's there but mild compared to you big ones like Ten Fidy. Don't get me wrong this one is nice but not stellar. A bit spicier than most RIS's which I like.

M- A touch thin for an RIS. Would like to see some thickening up to get this rating up a bit

O- Very good RIS. I like it but when I go 4-5hrs to a different country to get only 24 beer I got to make them good selections and this one falls outside that level. It's good and if available in Canada for under $9.00 I would by it again.

Food Pairing

This nice brew went very well with....... A nice selection of cheese I found at the grocery store. Some Havarti for a creamy one, blue with a TON of blue in it as another, oka with mushrooms as a third and emmenthal from over the pond as a forth. This RIS pounded through all of these cheeses and the crackers and honey cleansed the pallet well.


 1,168 characters

Photo of BNarc
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2006 release

This is the 3rd straight year I've tried the SIRS, and ya I'm bragging.
As you pour this ink black bodied beer you think in black. Hosts a thick milk chocolate colored head about 3 inches thick-perfect. Leaves a little lace. Nose is a burnt zesty malt with a tingle of chocolate and anise. Enters the mouth with rich robust dark toffee, and burnt malt. This is a very heavy feel, but very fullfilling and welcome. Smooth and well balanced over the entire palate. Finish is mellow and easy for this type. Mouthfeel is very thick and broading. A nice sipping beer for those long cold evil nights.

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Photo of LotsofLupulin
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bottle, served in small Stone goblet. Year: 2012

A- Toasty head, pitch black color with little light diffraction. Only slight shines of ruby.

S- Very subtle smell: tobacco and licorice

T- Chocolate, coffee, anise, and alcohol. Hops balance the malty sweetness well.

M- Extremely viscous, almost creamy

O- A great beer, the nose just doesn't really punctuate until you have a sip, which isn't really a bad thing. Very thick and pronounced. Could mellow out some of the alcohol nicely with with age, overall a wonderful beer as is.

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Photo of edthehead
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Dark rich color with light mocha head that hangs around for a while nicely. Rich toasty coffee and chocolate nose and flavor. A little bit boozy and sweet, but pairs well with the overall experience. Nice full mouth feel. Typical Stone quality offering!

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Photo of hermit990
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 oz. bottle poured into a goblet. 2014 Vintage. Bottled on 03/05/2014. Reviewed on 06/24/2014.

Appearance: Pours a dark, opaque black. Viscous looking. Half a finger of tan head, recedes to a film. Slight alcohol leg presence. No visible carbonation.

Aroma: Dark, roasted malts. Chocolate/coffee notes. A bit of sweetness - dark fruit/alcohol. Some earthy/spice character on the finish.

Taste: Strong dark chocolate/coffee at the beginning. More of the sweetness comes out further down the tongue, raisin-like fruit character Aftertaste is bitter and earthy, finishing with a slight alcohol sweetness.

Mouthfeel: BIg, thick beer. Lots of body present as it coats the mouth. A bit of alcohol warmth present at the back of the tongue and throat.

Overall: Very good Russian Imperial Stout. A well executed example of the style. Fairly easy to find during its annual release if Stone beers are available in your area. At $8 per bomber (locally), it's definitely recommended to try.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 8,398 ratings
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