Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout
8,385 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: 8,385 |  Reviews: 2,761
Photo of DerBayer
2.43/5  rDev -43.9%
look: 2 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

The aftertaste of creamsoda

A - Nice tar colour but the off-brounish brackish head ruins it for me

S - Complex smell of aniseed, caramel and spice

T - At firt quite good you taste the spice then some faint chocolate then ... American cream soda - OUCH

M - Too flat flat flat I m afraid

D - At first this is slightly moorish then quickly creamsoda overkill and you dont know if you re in 21st century London or a 1950s american movie

 437 characters

Photo of DoctorDog
2.44/5  rDev -43.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Presentation: 12 oz. bottle into a mug. Labeled as "Limited Spring 2008 Release."

A- Black, completely opaque in appearance. Pours with massive, cascading brown/tan head, which fades slowly to a thin ring, leaving moderate lacing.

S- Hoppy burned alcohol.

T- Hoppy burned alcohol. No coffee or chocolate notes to be found. The astringent equivalent of letting an aspirin sit on your tongue for a few seconds before swallowing. Excessively drying.

M- Thin and watery.

D- Between the alcohol content, poor taste, and excessive drying, this one gets low marks in my book.

Future outlook: Very disappointed in this one. Doesn't look like this one is my cup of meat.

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Photo of dwarvenspirits
2.45/5  rDev -43.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

This was the 2005 limited early summer release editon of this beer.

KAA-POW! That's the first thing that came to my mind, then "WOW!" This beer is a one beer per night drink. Definitely sip this monster beer because it's so thick and syrupy that you can only sip it. The worst part about this beer was the overpowering taste of alcohol. You can smell it when you pour it when you drink it, even when it's just sitting there. This definitely needs another year or two to age just to mellow out the alcohol in it. The color is rich and black and there is a roasted smell with the complements of coffee. The flavor is chocolate, at least what I could tell throught the hot alcohol flavor. Drinking this beer is like putting vodka in a stout and ruining the flavors of the stout. And I also think this definitely needs more hops added to it for bitterness just to balance out the sweet malty taste of it and the incredible alcohol flavor. I was really disappointed with this beer. The Stone Ruination IPA was fantastic but this RIS is horrible.

 1,044 characters

Photo of Cnote_crafty_1
2.47/5  rDev -43%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.75

Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2016 release - 1Pint 6 Fl. Ounces bottle
10.8% ABV. dated 03.13.2016 had in a tulip glass

Nose: there is not much smell that I can pick up from the bottle, or from the glass. All I really get are normal, actually average stouts smells of grains, beer smells. I don't get any chocolate, coffee, or anything interesting.
Look: oilly black, hardly any carbonation except for directly after it was poured and there was a 2 inch head. The head is the most dark brown I have ever seen on a stout.
taste: it is honestly just like a regular stout taste of malted barley, then a bitter finish with lots of boozeyness to it. I thought the aftertaste was actually pretty bad. It's like a dry finish with a ton of booze burn. I hate the bitterness. It's not a good bitterness that I typically find in stouts that I like. The burn on it is almost like the burn from a glass of vodka. Not smooth at all. In fact the buzz is going right to my head, past the midway point of the bottle.
It is weird because there are so many good reviews of this stout. They always say that you can't taste the alcohol, but I really tasted it right on the finish. That is the worst part of it is that nasty alcohol burn that lies on the back end. It's like having an o.k. stout that kicks you in the ass at the end like you just drank grain alcohol. I need a freaking chaser, or something! I hate to say this about a Stone beer, but that is just how it is. I usually love Stone stuff, not this right now.

 1,520 characters

Photo of FirstBrewsoon
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%

Photo of herrorara
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%

Photo of hattrick95
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%

Photo of Nutwood
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Had this on tap in a shaker pint after work.

The appearance is striking and maybe a bit strange. Pours a drk, seemingly purplish black. The head came to one finger and was dense, with a bit of an odd buised purplish dark brown hue.

Aroma was agressively boozey, to the point of overpowering the faint roasted malt and a bit of vinous fruit note. I did not get much in the way of chocolate or coffee. There was a hint of hops present.

Flavor here was a bit off for me, more like a burnt barleywine with some molasses and caramel. I found the alcohol to be pushy and distracting, and I was put off by a presence of what seemed to be some fusel heat in there.

The mouthfeel was again all alcohol, along with some decent body and moderately low carbonation.

Overall I would not cite this as a good example of Russian Imperial Stout style. I get the impression that Stone was trying to push the envelope and sacrificed flavor for alcohol content. It's missing the roasty malt goodness and full flavor, balance, and body that smooths out the alcohol. If you want to try this beer, do it early in your session and consider making it a one beer session.

 1,150 characters

Photo of jophish17
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%

Photo of spouse
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%

Photo of eldoctorador
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Photo of GraduatedCashew
2.5/5  rDev -42.3%

Photo of MakeBeerGreatAgain
2.55/5  rDev -41.1%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 2.25

Photo of mikeal1917
2.74/5  rDev -36.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

I spotted this number at my local Beer store.

Appearance: Amazing dark chocolately brown color with small head

Smell: Quick pungent, with a chocolate definitely pronounced initially

Taste: Unless your a fan of strong brews, think beer is quite bitter, and the chocolate doesn't match it very well in my opinion, and that was gently chilling it as the guy at the store advised.

Mouthfeel: thick brew rolls down your palette, feel a lot like milk, nice and smooth

Drinkability: Both the price and thickness will keep this beer as a once in awhile beer in small amounts

given the average of the beer, I'll probably end up trying it again just to be sure, but as of now not that impressed

 691 characters

Photo of Shafaegalo
2.75/5  rDev -36.5%

Photo of RoyFokker
2.75/5  rDev -36.5%

Photo of backslide311
2.75/5  rDev -36.5%

Photo of shade13
2.75/5  rDev -36.5%

Photo of phishbone23
2.75/5  rDev -36.5%

Photo of gjoker321
2.75/5  rDev -36.5%

Photo of Stebow1289
2.84/5  rDev -34.4%

Photo of Dijeriduster
2.84/5  rDev -34.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2010 version in a one liter growler to a tulip

A - Very dark to black with a dirty head that is thick. Maybe one finger in my tulip. Looks mean.

S - Something is missing here. Its very robust but the booze comes thru a little and its not as roasty as I've had in the past. Smells sweeter as well...

T - Eh not up to my par for Stone IRS. Keeping in mind that I loved '09 I just don't think this one has it as much. It was rather sweet and boozy, again lacking the roasty flavours I love in IRS.

M - Was thinner then usual, still felt thick upon quaffing but faded to thin as it went down. Didn't have the slight creaminess I've had in the past.

D - I know there was controversy over the change this year to belgian yeast. Clearly they also changed the base recipe as well. While I am stoked to try the belgian one, I don't think I'll be aging this years version.

 869 characters

Photo of Liquids
2.86/5  rDev -33.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

On vacation in NYC, treated myself to a bottle of this over everything else available at Whole Foods in NYC, especially as no Stone over the border in CT, and it should be amazing. I let it warm to room temperature to get the full experience in the evening when I'm back in the room.

Great looking bottle, pours a thick and syrupy (for a liquid) pitch black. Head is creamy and darker brown hue. Aroma is sweetish molasses, charred malts, and alcohol.

Taste - a disappointment. Sure I like big beers too, but this is just straight up boozy. Everything else is an afterthought to my tongue. Plenty of malt flavor behind the booze, and some hops which are more so dominated by the alcohol. Trying it later after chilling it, the booze is present but less so, with more hop flavor, but still boozy. It's hard to imagine anyone likes this so much except that they like the *idea* of drinking bigger darker thicker beer and enjoy the sensation of alcohol burning the tongue and nose.

Mouthfeel is good and thick. Drinkable? This has to be the least drinkable beer I've tried for those that I could get one I know who likes drinking good beers would think this was worth any amount of money but to get drunker faster. I drink for the flavor, so this is a disaster. I finished it as cold as I could get it over a few days, a small glass a day--all I could stand. Surprisingly, Victory Imperial Stout is hands down better in my book...this wouldn't make it into my glass again unless it were free. Stone is not for me.

 1,523 characters

Photo of ThisWangsChung
2.95/5  rDev -31.9%
look: 4 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

2012 scores (4.5/3.5/4/4/4.5)

After having the 2013 vintage (and the Espresso version), I can now safely say this isn't quite for me. While it looks good and has a big feel, I just don't care for all the licorice in the flavor profile. And that's the problem here - it's too licorice dominant with no real complexity, depth, or even bold flavor. The thick, viscous mouthfeel means little if it doesn't have a great taste to prop it up.

I've got another bottle, and that one won't be cracked open until after tax 2014. Right now, I can think of quite a few readily available imperial stouts that wipe the floor with this one.


Poured into a Williamsburg Winery wine glass.

A: Pours a damn near pitch black body with good thickness and viscosity. The head is a two finger light tan color with excellent texture, decent retention, and solid lacing.

S: All the usual RIS notes are here; slight soy, dry baker's chocolate, roasted malt, coffee, leather, and tobacco nicely mingle on the nose. While it's a nice melange, it's too subdued, much to its detriment.

T: The flavor starts off with some dark fruit notes (raisins, currants, plums) along side some leather and licorice. Afterward, it progresses toward dark chocolate and roast notes, and it finishes salty and slightly boozy. There are hints of tobacco and piny hops throughout the flavor progression. Balance is decent, but not impeccable, as it slightly leans towards fruitiness. On the plus side, it featured the kind of complexity I was expecting from a beer of this caliber.

M: Decently heavy with good viscosity and low carbonation, with a dry finish, almost to the point of causing the mouth to water. The aftertaste lingers nicely with dried dark fruits. Touches of alcohol can be felt on the tongue, throat, and stomach.

O: A tough beer to digest at first - but one that rewards its drinker with good complexity and a breadth of flavor storytelling. It isn't immensely drinkable, but then again, something like this should be savored slowly. Given its price point, it's one I can heartily recommend.

 2,085 characters

Photo of JFresh21
2.99/5  rDev -30.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

2013 vintage edition

This beer tastes like oak. The booze is well masked for 10% but its lacking the depth and flavors that make a stout great, chocolate and coffee. Stick with breakfast stout.

Not great but a well crafted beer if you dig the oak flavor.

 256 characters

Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 4.33 out of 5 with 8,385 ratings
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