Imperial Russian Stout - Chai-Spiced
Stone Brewing

Imperial Russian Stout - Chai-SpicedImperial Russian Stout - Chai-Spiced
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Stout - Russian Imperial
3.98 | pDev: 11.56%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Very Good
Imperial Russian Stout - Chai-SpicedImperial Russian Stout - Chai-Spiced
Notes: First Release: March 2015

This one-time-only beer, a fascinating addition to our “Odd Beers for Odd Years” series, incorporates cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, a dash of black pepper and a dose of black tea to emulate the aroma and taste of authentic chai tea. Combine these strikingly piquant ingredients with the classic version of Stone Imperial Russian Stout―with its incumbent flavors of chocolate, black currants, coffee and roastiness―and an already profoundly rewarding beer ascends to new, flavorful dimensions.
Reviews: 191 | Ratings: 793 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of shigg85
shigg85 from Japan

4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Drinking this on tap in Tokyo in 2020. It has aged well. Lovely warm chai spice of cardamom and nutmeg. Awesome stout underneath with smooth alcohol presence. Love this!

Feb 15, 2020
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SHODriver from North Carolina

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured into a snifter to a black beer topped by a dense finger of light tan head which fades slowly to a collar around the edge of the glass with minimal lacing.
S: Smells of chai and not much else. Surprisingly overpowering the base beer on the nose. It's a little minty but that's probably the cardamom. There's also a bunch of other warming spice notes that are well blended together.
T: Taste is slightly roasty before all the chai notes come in. There's a little coffee and bitter dark chocolate along with some tea like notes along with a lot more chai spice. On the swallow there's cardamom(mintyness), more spices, some lingering espresso, dark chocolate, and slight dark roasted malts.
M: This beer is fairly full in body with a slightly silky mouthfeel. Carbonation is on the low end but is adequate for the style while the beer has a drying finish.
O: Overall this is an interesting one. It has some nice flavors that work surprisingly well with the base beer. I was certainly suspect of this one but the execution was well done. It may be a little too heavy on the adjunct but overall it's an interesting drink if you're open minded. This one is drinking really well too despite being about four years old.

May 29, 2019
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Treyliff from West Virginia

4.34/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

22oz bottle poured into a snifter
2015 Release

A- pours deep black in color with a one-finger creamy khaki head that eventually reduces to a ring around the edge of the glass

S- plenty of spices on the nose, actually reminiscent of a pumpkin spiced stout; cinnamon & cardamon lead the way, followed by with clove and ginger noticeable as well. I'm actually surprised how strong the spicing aromas still are after 3 years. Beyond the spices, undertones of the base beer pop through, dark charred malt, dried figs & chocolate. Quite complex aroma

T- an onslaught of spicing follows the nose; heavy cinnamon & cardamon dominate up front, with clove & ginger both making an equal presence at the mid-palate. Beyond the spicing, notes of charred malt, dark chocolate, fig & raisin all show up. The finish gives more spice blend with a light notes of herbal black tea and a peppery linger

M- medium-thick body with moderate carbonation leads to a creamy mouthfeel that continues into a smooth and velvety finish

O- even after three years, this is still loaded with spices. Not for the faint of heart, but outstanding for the style

May 16, 2018
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GarrettB from Colorado

3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

April 24th, 2015 - The Russian Imperial Stout is *very* amenable to spicy permutations, and that shows here in the delicious Chai Spiced version. The color and head are all the same as the undecorated version (though I could be led to believe that the head is just a little bit more dusky) but the nose has radically changed. Where once I smelled heavy chocolate malts, all I get is chai spices. It is as if I've dunked my head into a barrel of the stuff, snorting the heady mixture of sub-continental spice. If the nose bludgeons with spice, the flavor is more nuanced. The chai is clearly present but blends with the existing heavy malt bill creating something akin to a spiced chocolate - a mixture I find utterly delicious.

Apr 06, 2018
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kitch from Hong Kong

3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A 22 fl. oz. bomber, 2015 odd year release, bottled on 23rd March 2015. Poured into a snifter glass.

Appearance: Black in colour with a thin half finger brown head that dissipated quickly to a ring around the glass, while leaving some sparse lacing.

Aroma: Strong cinnamon and cardamom with roasted malts, cocoa and chocolate in the background. There were also hints of ginger and clove.

Taste: Follows the aroma quite closely with lots of spices, cinnamon and cardamom, spicy ginger and clove with hints of roastiness, cocoa and chocolate in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium to full bodied with low carbonation.

Overall: Almost three years on, and the “Chai” is still dominating the aroma and taste. Personally I would say it was still a bit too dominating while the nice flavours of the base Imperial Russian Stout were overpowered.

Jan 25, 2018
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hoptheology from South Dakota

2.51/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Stone Archive Bottle Release, official re-release of 2 year vertical.

Rich dark black color with a 1/2 finger of almond head.

Aromas of licorice, molasses, and faint chai spice.

Flavors are of dark chocolate, and then rubber, old spices, molasses, rubber cement, ethanol, tobacco.

Feel is hot and boozy with a medium plus body.

Overall, to think that Stone re-released this and it tastes as horrible as it is, in the state that it's in, totally destroys any foresight they may have had for releasing this beer. It furthers my gross dislike of this brewery. This beer is a rubbery, ethanol-soaked mess.

Dec 14, 2017
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q33jeff from New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Following up the regular imperial Russian stout with the Chai spiced version. Similar, but the extra spice takes away from the roasty stout flavors (IMHO). Still a really nice beer, just a tad below the regular offering.


Aug 12, 2017
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TheRougeBastard from North Carolina

4.16/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aged well...the Chai is really pronounced here, this is an amazing beverage, in fact, if this maybe should be called a "hard spiced chai-tea"!!! Good Googly Moogly this is amazing, desert in a bomber! Extremely well-done Stone!!!!! Please beew this again!

Jul 27, 2017
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Lone_Freighter from Vermont

4.24/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This was poured into a snifter. The appearance was a nice looking dark brown close to black color with a one finger creamy off white to tan foamy head that dissipated in a smooth slow manner. The smell started off with the chai spice leading into some slight cinnamon, coffee, light chocolate with a roasty sweet quality - invasive yet having a sticky fresh rich quick spices to blend into the aftertaste and ends up leaving a dry finish. On the palate, this one sat about a medium on the body with a decent sipping quality about it. Carbonation is low allowing the spice to take over and be the harshness. The black tea-like qualities really help to smooth things out. Overall, this was a very nicely done Russian imperial stout. Stone did everything right and added their twist with the Chai tea, I would love to have this again.

Jul 09, 2017
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Tsar_Riga from Indiana

4.06/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Dark body, light tan head, moderate lacing.

S - Strong hit of tea spices, cinnamon and cardamom.

T - Strong spicy flavor, malty core, a bit of chocolate. Mild bitterness in the close.

M - A bit sticky, with just enough dryness in the close to keep it from becoming heavy or cloying.

O - An interesting experiment, with decent balance and a nice spice profile. The stout aspect is dialed way back, and if there's a knock, it is that the spice eclipses the best IRS flavor notes.

Jun 11, 2017
Photo of lic217
lic217 from Connecticut

3.75/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Great look and a solid feel. However, it is very one dimensional. it is all chai on the mouth and nose. I gave it. 3.75 because it is a chai spiced imperial stout, but it would have been nice if it was milder to allow the res of the beer to show. This beer was brewed in 2015 (its now 2017).

Mar 15, 2017
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Franziskaner from Missouri

4.02/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black in color an impenetrable to light. There's a fingernail of brown around the rim and the majority of the top. The chai tea leads the aroma, but I'm also getting some undercurrents of dark roasted barley. I'm tasting refreshing chai tea with dark roasted barley playing second fiddle. The mouth is very sticky, chewy, and thick.

Feb 05, 2017
Photo of Just-the-sip
Just-the-sip from California

4.67/5  rDev +17.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Look: Black. So so black. Some carbonation and about a finger knuckle length of head that slowly dissipates. Looks like coffee out of a nespresso machine.

Smell: Where do I begin? Pumpkin, raisin and a bit of molasses. I would have been happy just smelling this all day. It's unbelievable.

Taste: Now the best part. Milky full. This is a think beer and sweet. Good for dessert. You can really taste the chai at the front and center. Back half has a hint of black pepper and very small butter coffee taste. Stone has hidden the high Abv well. I couldn't taste the booze at all. This is dangerous.

Feel: Thick and milky feeling. Exactly what you want from a Russian Imperial Stout.

Overall: Boom done! What a find. I had no idea the sheer magnitude of this beast. Amazing beer and will look for it now when it's out again. I drank a bottle with the stamp of 2/25/15 on it. Blew my taste balls off. This is what I'm looking for in a Russian Imperial Stout. Only $9 at some hole in the wall liquor store. They have no idea what they have on hand.

Jan 24, 2017
Photo of Jadjunk
Jadjunk from Georgia

3.77/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"This beer, the latest 'Odd' transsubstantiation, takes inspiration straight from the spice aisle, incorporating an array of ingredients assembled to emulate the flavors of authentic chai tea. Cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, a dash of black pepper and a dose of black tea combine with Stone Imperial Russian Stout's incumbent flavors to take it deep into exotic, previously unfathomed territory." Brewed in the style of a Russian Imperial Stout, available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft. 2015 variant on an annual release.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a creamy froth consistency of a medium brown color over a very dark brown body. Retention is above average and lacing is light and spotty. 4

(Smell) Aromatic cinnamon and cloves forward, with undertones of cardamom and ginger- tea is aromatically slight by comparison, slightly herbal and peppery. These aromas dominate the aroma, with little impressions made from the malt base alone. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) A bit more balanced in flavor, with more rich chocolate body creeping through, nicely complimented with a blend of clove and cinnamon, undertones of herbal tea and cardamom generate some more depth against the subtle fruit and earthy bitterness of the base stout. Finishes moderately dry and softly peppery. 3.75

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, moderately oily, lightly residual, medium dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a medium frothiness and a medium crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is slightly earthy spicy, peppery dry and earthy bitter over sweet. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) A much more gracefully executed spin than anticipated, although the sheer volume of flavor from the additives detracts significantly from Stone IRS significantly- I was hoping for more cardamom and ginger than cinnamon and clove, but these flavors all play nicely against the Russian stout base, not too overdone but very strong nonetheless. 3.75

Stone Brewing's
Chai-Spiced Imperial Russian Stout

Dec 07, 2016
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scottfrie from California

4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bottle into tulip. Bottled 2/25/15.

A: Pours a thick inky black color with a finger of dark brown head that faded into a bubbly film and collar. Wispy streaks and soapy spots of lace were left down the glass.
S: Smells strongly of chai spices with cardamom, clove, and cinnamon dominating. I get notes of ginger as well a touch of dark chocolate, anise, and roast from the base beer.
T: Follows the nose with rich flavors of the base RIS beneath spicy notes of spiced chai. I get all of the spices from the nose as well as a touch of black tea, brown sugar, vanilla, and fudge. The finish is full of bitter dark chocolate, and the aftertaste has lingering notes of cinnamon and cardamom.
M: Full body, thick and chewy mouthfeel, solid bitter punch in the finish with no alcohol heat whatsoever. The carbonation is fuzzy and non-distracting.
O: A great combination of spice flavors that complement the base beer well. Not something I could drink all the time, but a solid beer all-around.

Oct 28, 2016
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Ciocanelu from Romania

4.1/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Black color with brown head. Aroma is really spice forward with lots of cinnamon and apple pie. Taste starts sweet and spicy but gets quickly bitter and roasty with some dark chocolate. Medium body with soft carbonation. Really tasty but a little too spicy for my taste.

Oct 09, 2016
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pezhead_79 from Indiana

3.69/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

The Chia spices really overpower this version of the Imperial Russian Stout. It is a little too off putting for me, but I'm not a Chia tea drinker either. If you do enjoy Chia, then this will be very enjoyable.

Jul 06, 2016
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Jroll1975 from West Virginia

3.46/5  rDev -13.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I have really enjoyed everything I've tried from Stone to this point and was looking forward to this beer on a recommendation from a friend. I found this at a growler station in a grocery store in Columbus and instantly got excited. The beer looks exactly like the original RIS, the smell was pleasant with a lot of spice reminding me of autumn and winter. I found the taste to be overpowering with the spice, I would drink again but find it hard to drink more than one due to how spicy it is.

Jul 02, 2016
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805FIG from California

4.6/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured like molasses, almost no head. Smell: very faint sweet malt. Taste is very unique. The nose tastes just like the standard IRS but the finish has an amazingly balanced and spicy bite. The beer tastes mostly of milk chocolate and cinnamon, but the finish has cloves, ginger, bitter expresso, etc. The mouth feel is pretty light and extremely malty, with each taste you pick up a different ingredient of the spice combination that makes up the finish. Very deep and complex stout, haven't tried anything remotely simliar. Very interesting beer.

May 23, 2016
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DJChaseTheBase from Illinois

4.78/5  rDev +20.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this out of a 22oz Bomber @ Spiaggia Chicago. This was a perfect beer to be paired with a 14 course meal. The chai chocolate tones are well pronounced throughout the entire taste w/ a very nice spicy aftertaste. This was an extremely wonderful beer. Not really a mouthful of a stout, but a well balanced beer.

May 10, 2016
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BeerDawgs from Georgia

4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A 22oz bottle with a bottled on date of 2.25.15

L - Pitch black with 1 finger of tan head, and little lacing left on the glass

S - Chai spices, pumpkin, spices

T - Nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin, spices, and the chai and tea hit at the end. All the flavors overwhelm the stout taste. Very nice.

F - Full body and well carbonated

O - Another great side project on the Imperial Russian Stout base.

Mar 18, 2016
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Hayes86 from Michigan

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It tastes just as it sounds which is why the rating is what it is. Disclaimer. I am not a big fan of chai so i wasnt a big fan and wont be getting it again. Thank God for my gf who loved it.

Feb 26, 2016
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Flounder57 from Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 oz bottle was poured into a snifter.

Appearance: A one finger mocha head was poured that reduced to a thin layer. It is a pitch black color with no vision of anything. Spotty lacing down the glass as the beer was drank.

Smell: You definitely get that chai tea aroma up front followed by toasted, roasted, earthy, milk chocolate, and warm boozy alcohol.

Taste: Still a dominating tea and spice flavor. Goes to show that spices don't fade like hops do. All other aromas smelled followed suit with bitterness, chewy notes, and warm alcohol in the rear.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium to full bodied, lingering mild tingly bitterness, sipper, warm alcohol, a little chewy, and medium carbonation.

Overall: Pretty interesting. Another nice variant of the base beer. Pretty cool for almost being a year old too.

Feb 23, 2016
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daisyapplegirl from Connecticut

4.75/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I can see how this is a hit or miss for some people. Spiced beer is very good for spicy or spiceful resonance food pairings. This beer is complex, rich, full bodied and interesting. Definitely a hit for me.

Feb 10, 2016
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WoodBrew from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Now.....this beer is not sessionable....way to much going on and big abv. However....this bottle is definitely worth sharing with your friends. There is no way I could drink more that 4-6oz of this one at a sitting. It really is amazing how Stone creates all these different beer flavors. This one poured an opaque black with no head and no lace. The scent had a lot going on....I most sensed cinnamon, pumpkin and raison. There was also a lot going on with the taste....for me it had a spice…possibly from black pepper, cinnamon, pumpkin and dark fruit (plum/raisin). The mouthfeel was fuller in body with smooth carbonation. Overall it was great....but for me only in small doses.

Feb 07, 2016
Imperial Russian Stout - Chai-Spiced from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 793 ratings