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Stone Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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2,731 Reviews
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

For Trade:
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Reviews: 2,731 | Ratings: 8,308
Photo of SmangTown
3.51/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

L- Very dark almost black color. Brownish tan colored head and little bit of lacing that goes away.
S- Very boozy. A little roasty with hints of coffee
T- Boozy with mild notes of toasted coffee. Kind of bitter compared to some stouts I've had.
F- light with mild carbonation.
Overall- average at best. I'd recommend for trying an imperial Russian stout. Easy to drink but nothing special. Wasn't a fan of how boozy it was.

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Photo of FBarber
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

2016 Vintage.

Pours jet black with a nice thick frothy tan head. Head dissipates slowly leaving a thin tan film along the top.

Smell is initially boozy, but notes of unroasted coffee beans, roasted malts, dates and prunes come through. Unique smell for a Imperial Russian stout.

Taste is roasted malts with notes of dates, prunes, giving way to a bitter finish that has some notes of what I can only describe as black licorice. Not a ton of sweetness in this, and its pretty dry. Bit of a boozy flavor coming through on the back end. Nice balance between the flavors and bitterness even if it comes across as a bit hoppy for a Russian Imperial stout.

Feel is very hefty but smooth. Mild carbonation, but the boozy finish keeps a nice tingle on the tongue.

Overall a very good beer from Stone, but not the best example of the Russian Imperial Stout. Still a very good beer in its own right.

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Photo of Gajo74
4.59/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had it on tap at Beer Shop and Tasting Table NYC. It poured a dark and thick black with a nice tan and mocha colored head. The aroma is comprised of mostly of roasted malts, chocolate, coffee and alcohol. The taste aligns with the aroma. Overall, a chocolate sweetness coats the tongue. This is balanced by a slightly bitter roasted malt and coffee, as well as an alcohol finish that also has a bit of licorice. This beer truly has great balance; sweet but not cloying, bitter but not astringent, alcoholic but not boozy. My favorite thing about it is the feel. It is full bodied but bordering on medium, thus, making it extremely drinkable. I had the pleasure of drinking KBS the night before and it was interesting to compare these two. I put this one right up there with the great stouts, and unlike the KBS which almost defies category, this one feels beer like and is more accessible. It was a real treat!

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Photo of Ozzylizard
3.97/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$ 8.99/bomber ($ 0.408/0z) at Oppermann’s Cork and Ale, Saginaw, MI
2016 vintage (10.8%) bottled 03/13/16 at 55 degrees into a hand washed and dried JK snifter
Aroma predominately licorice, lasts
Head large (5.5cm, aggressive pour), light brown, creamy with rocks, diminishing to an irregular two to five mm frothy rung and partial layer
Lacing poor to none – few small spots of small bubbles
Body dark brown/black, opaque
Flavor of dates and licorice, slightly sweet. No coffee, no roasted malt, no alcohol, no diacetyl, no hops.
Palate full, creamy, soft carbonation

Appearance 3.5, Aroma 4, Flavor 4, Palate 4, Overall 4.

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Photo of beercam
4.9/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer blasts Beer Advocate's ratings off the charts. 5's easily across the board. A perfect Imperial Russian Stout, Coming from Stone, I just trust the in the crafting process wholeheartedly.Brewed at the steady, religious fanaticism of precision that one can expect from stone, with productions such as the best by IPA's which wow'ed all and likely not one went over expiration.

Anyways, i stray, but, look, this is a reallly strong beer. It's black and thick and hits your gut like a coal train. But, like, a funky, soul train, powered by pure love dug straight out of mother earth, og nature, out of a healthy, greater reality. But we see the truth and run. And then remember. And find the answer. Drink this beer as soon as you can

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Photo of Cnote_crafty_1
2.47/5  rDev -43.1%
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.

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Photo of BB1313
3.96/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32oz growler filled at Heinen's in Shaker Hts., Ohio

2016 vintage. Growler poured into a snifter. Pours black with a mocha head that fades leaving solid retention and little lacing. The aromas are full of chocolate and cocoa malts. It smells like a chocolate chip cookie. Subtle hints of anise in the mix along with some dark fruits. The aromas might not be overwhelming, but they're not bad at all. The flavors are very bold. Lots of chocolate. Lots of dark fruits, especially raisins. Hints of vanilla and caramel. More subtle hints of anise. This isn't really a bitter or hoppy stout, which is just fine by me. Very robust. It's slightly warm, but it's absolutely not hot or boozy. Alcohol is well hidden. Mouthfeel is full-bodied, but isn't heavy at all. Carbonation is active. It's not thick like a milkshake or anything, but still has a nice body to it. It's very smooth and dangerously drinkable.

This is a really nice Imperial Stout. It's not flashy, but just bold and traditional to the style. The craftsmanship is very impressive. Well done. Very enjoyable.

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Photo of BrokenEdge
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This particular bottle was just barely a month old when I drank it so I'm eager to try one with some more age on it and see how it develops. Appearance is damn near perfect for a RIS, nearly black in body with a thick tan head. Pours thick, not the thickest stout I've seen but close. Smells kind of like toasted nuts, dark chocolate, and a little coffee. Flavor is awesome. In addition to dark chocolate and dark roasted coffee: licorice, raisins, vanilla, smoke, leather, whiskey, etc. Alcohol is just slightly detectable especially as it warms, but it isn't unpleasant or harsh. Feel is a tad on the thin side, but not awfully so. Still feels full and smooth as it goes down, with a lingering finish with flavors that continue to develop on the palate. The reputation of this beer is well deserved and I'll be buying more while it's in season!

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Photo of dcscientist
4.23/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Once again Stone shows that they know what they're doing. This is an excellent beer, just as heavy and intense as advertised. Got pretty much every flavor and aroma that was mentioned in the description, then decided to stop worrying about that and just enjoy it. Great on a wintry weekend when you're staying home. Would definitely like to buy another and age it for a while, but that means I'd have to wait to drink it.

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Photo of jaypaul522
4.12/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured very dark with a big head. Aroma was chocolate, malts, and some fruit - maybe raisins or plums. The taste is complex, and very strong with a finish where the alcohol shows through but not unpleasantly. Overall, a very good stout.

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

It's boozy and it's thick but it's an imperial stout so what do you expect. I poured it cold and let it sit a few minutes then drank it and let the buzz creep in. Definitely worth the try if you like stouts or anything by Stone Brewing.

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

Pours pitch black with a slightly darker than tan head.
Big and foamy.

A big aroma of chocolate, roasted malts, and maybe figs or raisins. A belgian-esque aroma to this.

A fairly thick mouthfeel but not huge.

Good roast character up front in the flavor. Slight chocolate flavor comes through as the roasted notes fade. A faint nuttiness in the finish.

The roasted malts arent overpowering, allowing this stout to have a moderate sweetness, almost milk chocolate-like.

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Photo of Catracho5
4.35/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bomber poured into a snifter. This is a review of 2015 Stone RIS

A: Pours black with a mocha colored head, no head retention, some slight lacing, nice creamy collar after the head died down, low carbonation, no light comes through.

A: Dark coffee, dark fruits like plums and figs, roasted malts, slight aroma of alcohol coming through, pretty solid aroma.

T: Has aged well, touch of espresso up front, moderate coffee like bitterness in the middle, finishes with dark fruits that linger in the aftertaste, well balanced and the ABV is well-hidden.

M: Oil like mouthfeel, while heavy, not as heavy as other RIS, dry coffee like finish with a good amount of carbonation to add some mouthfeel, solid.

O: Not mind blowing, but very good, outstanding, good balance of espresso and dark fruits, oil like mouthfeel, definitely going to pick up another bottle or two for the cellar.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours inky black with half-finger of brown foam, almost as viscous as Ten Fidy. Promising start! Aroma is surprisingly mellow - just mild toasted malt and a faint nutty-sweet. Taste is amazing, beginning with a blast of roast, semisweet in the middle, never harsh or over-bitter. Mouthfeel is medium, much lighter than expected. Finishes a slight bitter begging for another sip. This stuff has danger written all over it. 2nd favorite by only a slight margin.

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Photo of zshaft
4.29/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

pour from bomber into flute glass. freaking black as night. almost like looking into a black mirror. head dissipates quickly. nose is dark roasty malts with licorace. taste is lucky booze up front with lithinner mouthfeel than expected. burnt toast with some candy sweetness mid palate. sight wiskey taste in the end palate but masked by some coco and vanilla flavors. nice warming sensation as it goes down. ive had this beer before and prefer the espresso version. but this is a great russian stout with tons ofcomplex layers to it. mouthfeel to me is a little thin but great beer.

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Photo of claminat420
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2011 bomber into my imperial stout glass.

Appearance- from a hardy pour it's the typical stout black with a frothy beige head that leaves some heavy lacing. poster child of stouts.

Aroma- a weird dark malt with a wiff of some hops. different and good. not boozy.

Taste- get some dark malts but balanced by hops. It feels like both sides battled and just left a taste of impartial stout goodness. alcohol is not detected. has a smoothness like a milk stout. slight chocolate with a slight dark fruit/ raisiny taste. has a bitterness that balances shit out. alcohol is well hidden which is great for 10+ abv. detecting a slight hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel- very slick. medium to heavy bodied. just awesome.

Drinkability- it would be wise to buy a case of this and occasionally drink them here and there. keep a few for down the road.

Overall- I don't know if it's just because it's aged for awhile but it's sooo slick. the slickness almost tricks you thinking it's light bodied. you do get the chocolate/dark fruit/ raisiny taste. has a smoothness like a milk stout. to be fair i'm no way a stout fan. 10 out of 10 times i'm going with an ipa but for some whacky chance I feel stout(or imperial) this one would be a great choice.

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Photo of mwilbur
4.47/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Poured on-tap at the Escondido brewery into tulip.
A: Pours extremely dark brown-black with 1/4 inch dark mocha head with good retention.
S: Dry dark chocolate, cacao nibs, vanilla, whiskey, and a hint of molasses.
T: Dark bittersweet chocolate, cacao nibs, whiskey, leather, molasses,vanilla, and a hint of dark honey.
M: Heavy body, yet delicately sweet. Drinks a bit lighter than ABV. Decadent and deep. Lingers and matures nicely on the palate.
D: An outstanding brew! Hits all the right notes and is ten times more drinkable than most RISs. Well done, Stone!

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Photo of ebin6
4.54/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I feel I must demarcate this beer:

Kinda hot, but there's an underlying smoothness. The chocolaty flavors that shine with some age don't yet dominate. Fairly hoppy for an IRS/RIS.

Aged (~3 years):
The bite smooths out, the chocolate notes shine through, and a sublime beer for aging commences. While I consider Bell's Expedition the premier RIS for aging, Stone's in only a hair behind.

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Photo of q33jeff
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Chocolate, barley.Dark Black Pour. Small, but creamy head. Caramel, Dark Chocolate. Great Flavor. High Alcohol.A really nice beer

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Photo of XBeerBellyT
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Had one aged for about 6 years. It was pretty amazing. All booze was settled. Had tons of chocolate and fudge flavors up front with little bitterness to finish. Mouth feel was rich and creamy, something I'd expect for something cellared that long. Great beer, will try one that is 'fresh'.

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Photo of floridadrift
3.98/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

L: Black, dark brown head that dissipates
S: Smoke, roasted malt, raisins
T: Raisins, toffee, burnt sugars, roasted malt, dark fruits, smoke
F: Mildly thin
O: A classic example of a RIS

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Photo of Ksmoove27
4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2015 Vintage bottle (22oz) dates 11/2015

Look: deep black with a thin brown head. Great lacing

Nose: dark fruits: raisins, prunes, figs, cocoa, fruitcake, massive dried fruit, cherry

Taste: Smokey, roasted malt followed by the dark fruit flavors. Very nice. Alcohol is well masked

Feel - Medium to heavy dank goodness. A little bitterness to the tongue and medium carbonation.

Overall: Love the dank goodness here...The fruit makes it different than the Yeti, Old Rasputin, etc.

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Photo of gibgink
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Sampling of 2009 vintage. Was amazed from all the roasted characteristics that were still coming from this bottle after so many years. A true classic that can withstand the test of time.

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Photo of Shippy
4.04/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2015 vintage poured from a bottle. Black with a tan head. Aromas of chocolate and dark fruits, with some brown sugar sweetness. Roasty flavor follows with more chocolate and dark fruits, raisins, dates. Feel, along with the flavors, is very rich and smooth. Full bodied. Overall, a tasty and rich imperial stout with a nice touch of heat. Very well crafted.

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Photo of ClavisAurea
4.42/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2015 Vintage bottle (22oz) dates 02/2015 from my cellar served at cellar temps in a snifter

Appearance: creamy black with a thin brown head. Tons of cling to the side of the glass.

Nose: this thing is just pouring off dark fruit notes from the moment I opened the bottle. Raising, prunes, figs, cocoa, fruitcake, massive dried fruit, cherry

Taste: hit of bitterness in the front leads to all of those dried fruits, cherry, raisins, prunes, figs, plums, spice cake, fruitcake, middle is chewy with more fruit, finish is a bit boozy with a lingering roasty and bakers chocolate bit. Very nice.

Overall: fruit bomb here. I can't believe all of the dried dark fruits in there. It reminds me of an aged Samuel Smith Imperial Stout with all the fruit but more intensified. That is high praise. I do feel like Samuel Smith's is more balanced but this is still an excellent beer.

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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
4.34 out of 5 based on 8,308 ratings.
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