Stone Brewing

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Stone Brewing
California, United States
Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #322
Ranked #6,804
4.09 | pDev: 7.33%
Mar 02, 2023
Mar 10, 2018
Built from the backbone of Stone's classic Imperial Russian Stout, Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout certainly celebrates the hallmarks of the style - it pours jet-black with a fluffy chocolate head and tastes of deeply dark fruit flavors with rich chocolate and coffee overtones. Yet, however old world in nature, this particular rendition of an IRS is flavored with new world hops, intensifying its berry flavors and aroma while subtly introducing a juicy melon undertone. The result is a spectacularly sinful delight. Don't say we didn't warn you, comrade.
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Photo of BitteNochEinWeissbier
Reviewed by BitteNochEinWeissbier from Pennsylvania

4.03/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
12 oz bottle
Bottled On Date: 02/20/18
Consumed on: 01 March, 2023
Glass: Tulip Snifter
ABV: 10.6%
Serving Temp: 50.2 F

Black with a 1-finger high light brown head. The head dissipates to a ring with a thin film and islands over the beer. Pretty good lacing.

Deep, dark malts and char. Notes of bittersweet chocolate. A vague whiff of anise. There is an underlying earthy note that brings some light bitterness.

Similar to the nose. The relatively (for an RIS) mild earth and bitter notes lead off and quickly meld with the dark malts into a nice bittersweet chocolate flavor. As the sip progresses, the bitterness increases and a hint of smoke can be detected. The sip finishes lightly bitter and maybe even a touch spicy and dry. The alcohol is well-hidden.

Smooth and mouth-coating. The alcohol provides some warmth. The body is medium-full, if not heavier.

A solid RIS. When fresh, this beer was too bitter and too dry for my palette. But 5 years of cellaring has taken those edges off and produced a fine, enjoyable beer.
Mar 02, 2023
Rated: 4 by NickMunford from Wyoming

Jul 16, 2021
Rated: 4 by tdm168 from Pennsylvania

May 29, 2021
Photo of BennyPhD
Reviewed by BennyPhD from Texas

4.83/5  rDev +18.1%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
One of the best Russian Imperial Stouts (RSI) ever. Stone just seems to keep hitting home runs for this beer drinker. I have only found it on draft at a bar in a Charlottesville Virginia shopping center and in Charlottesville's only pay by the ounce bar. Both while on vacation in Charlottesville. Needless to say, I would only visit these bars if I was walking to/from the bar. But it was worth it. If you have half a mind to try a Totalitarian....well, that's all it takes.
Feb 02, 2021
Photo of qrazvan
Reviewed by qrazvan from Romania

4.06/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
An well made RIS, with dark chocolate, expresso and bit of hazelnut notes, dry and bitter, with a creamy body. Very pleasant and appealing smell.
No unnecessary add-on's. Great.
Dec 01, 2020
Photo of NCSapiens
Reviewed by NCSapiens from Indiana

3.94/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Poured out of a can at a cold temperature this wasn’t anything special. A dry coffee bitterness predominates. Definitely not an “undertone of coffee” with “rich chocolate” and “dark fruit flavors”, as billed by the brewer. But as it warmed more subtle hints of fig, prune, raisin, and perhaps a bit of chocolate poked through and toned down the coffee. On the other hand, the alcohol became more noticeable as well. Maybe this is better on draft? My main advice is to let this sucker warm up and also ignore the tasting notes. Overall it isn’t bad, but it is schizophrenic and less than the sum of its parts. The base imperial stout is decent, then the dark fruits kick in and ultimately submit to a dry bitter coffee. Really weird.
Nov 25, 2020
Rated: 4 by RMW66 from Australia

Jun 06, 2020
Rated: 4 by csfcmitchell from Texas

Jun 01, 2020
Rated: 4.02 by prototypic from Ohio

Apr 26, 2020
Rated: 4 by eldoctorador from Chile

Feb 25, 2020
Rated: 4 by jmbeerdude91 from Arizona

Feb 06, 2020
Rated: 3.88 by Scotty_Karate from Michigan

Nov 16, 2019
Rated: 4.27 by GracelandII from Virginia

Nov 02, 2019
Photo of JayQue
Reviewed by JayQue from Virginia

4/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Pours a dense black color with no light coming through. Medium size foamy light brown head. Head retention is pretty good for a high octane beer. Aroma was not that robust. Roasted malt and some coffee. Flavor was more pronounced. Malt dominates, not all that sweet with a mild coffee bitterness and flavor. Good rich mouthfeel and a little alcohol bite even though it was aged for @ a year or more. This is a good RIS but a fairly simple one. No complex chocolate/dark fruit presence that I could detect. One of several good strong malty stouts I have had the pleasure to try. Doesn't stand out as exceptional among these.
Oct 27, 2019
Rated: 4.12 by lastmango from Pennsylvania

Oct 21, 2019
Photo of dbl_delta
Reviewed by dbl_delta from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
Growler into pint glass. Pours an opaque black with a substantial dark tan head. Initial impression is bitter dark chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. Mouthfeel is smooth and fairly thick. Alcohol is incredibly well hidden. Finish is slightly astringent and leaves a lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue. Everything improves as it warms, so I'd suggest letting it sit a bit. This might be a great candidate for cellaring too.
Sep 06, 2019
Rated: 3.75 by dsshuck from Delaware

Aug 12, 2019
Rated: 4.18 by firkingroovin from Illinois

Aug 04, 2019
Rated: 4.25 by jkermitj from Mississippi

Jun 28, 2019
Photo of jdurey
Reviewed by jdurey from Korea (South)

4.21/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Aggressively poured from the bottle into a Duvel tulip. Pours black with a two finger mocha head that recedes very quickly. Smells delicious with heavy chocolate, slight toffee, coffee, and hints of alcohol. Taste follows the nose to the T on the front end, though the alcohol and coffee creep up in the aftertaste which is fairly dry. Feel is a bit syrupy and heavy. Alcohol becomes more pronounced as the beer warms. That said this stout is 10.6% abv and the alcohol is supremely understated for such a strong beer. Be careful! This is one expensive brew here in South Korea, and is overall a fantastic choice for a one-off. Not one I’ll have often due to the price and high abv. A session beer it is not, but have one after a good meal and it hits the spot.
Jun 24, 2019
Totalitarian from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 373 ratings