Stone Brewing

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #270
Ranked #4,159
4.1 | pDev: 7.32%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Notes: 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.
Reviews: 127 | Ratings: 370 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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BennyPhD from Texas

4.83/5  rDev +17.8%
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
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qrazvan from Romania

4.06/5  rDev -1%
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
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NCSapiens from Indiana

3.94/5  rDev -3.9%
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
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JayQue from Virginia

4/5  rDev -2.4%
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
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dbl_delta from Pennsylvania

4.12/5  rDev +0.5%
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
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jdurey from Korea (South)

4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
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
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KTCamm from New Jersey

3.63/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

12/12/18...pitch black, light tan ring of foam. Nay, Almost no foam. Hearty coffee nose, some plum raisins embed in the aroma. Espresso, Heavy booze and thick astringent flavors. Cough syrup was never this good. Hidden cherries.

Apr 29, 2019
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WoodBrew from Ohio

4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

I tried this at the Daily Growler in Powell, OH. It poured an opaque dark with tan head that did not leave much lace. The scent had bold chocolate notes with roast highlights. The taste was nicely balanced and easy to drink with chocolate cake foundation. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with good carbonation. Overall it was a solid beer.

Apr 26, 2019
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rajendra82 from Georgia

4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Classic RIS look, with an opaque black body, brown head, and low carbonation. The aroma was that of chocolate, dark skinned fruit, coffee, and caramel. The taste packed an intense coffee flavor backed by bitter chocolate and toasted grain. The body was dense, but not sticky. The alcohol hit hard, but didn't burn much. Powerful but approachable, this totalitarian was a benevolent dictator.

Apr 21, 2019
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Thomas_Wikman from Texas

4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

This is a pretty nice and complex Russian Imperial Stout

Look: black with a thin mocca colored head

Aroma: coffee, chocolate,

Taste: chocolate, coffee, vanilla, maybe fruit and berries, pretty tasty

Feel: full creamy body

Apr 01, 2019
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chinchill from South Carolina

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle
This is a rich, bold, fairly traditional RIS. The flavor has hints of vanilla, chocolate and coffee, but not as much coffee as the aroma suggests.
Mouthfeel: smooth and very full bodied, but a bit too much alcohol heat.

Mar 08, 2019
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Dinglehacker from Oklahoma

4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into imperial pint glass. Beige ring and a long patch of lace. Solid black.

Sweet coffee nose, taste follows with bitterness and roast. A bit of dried fruit bitter like a doppelbock.

Mouth is heavy but smooth. Medium dry.

A good imperial offering from Stone.

Feb 16, 2019
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PatrickCT from Connecticut

3.67/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Black body. Nice beige head. Dies down to a broken ring and some sticky lace.
Not much in the aroma. A hint of weak coffee and some roasted malts. Kind of musty.
A taste of roasted malts, bakers chocolate and some raisin with some dark stone fruit skin bitterness.
Nice smooth body, dry finish, espresso bitterness and some peppery heat. The carbonation has held up.

Jan 20, 2019
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HattedClassic from Virginia

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a nice looking creamy light brown head that dissipates fairly quickly. The beer itself is a dark chocolate black that looks nice. It isn't something crazy but just solidly made.

The smell is a bit odd. It has a strong berry note that seems to not have aged well after being aged for almost a year. The other stout notes are still fairly solid with a good roasted note to them and a sweet chocolate.

The taste is still fairly good. The berry notes are still dominant but less so with the roasted malt and chocolate notes coming out more in the finish.

The body is heavy and fairly with smooth was a slightly dry finish to it.

Overall, this is a pretty solid IRS and worth getting.

Jan 13, 2019
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rex_4539 from Greece

4.65/5  rDev +13.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

L: Jet black color, half finger brown head, excellent lacing, light carbonation.

S: Chocolate, coffee, vanilla. Nice!

T: Roasted coffee, chocolate, bittersweet. Very good!

F: Full bodied, full flavored.

O: A landmark Russian imperial stout.

Dec 10, 2018
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dd53grif from Michigan

4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a brown-black color with a foamy tan head that disappears quickly. Aromas of strong coffee and chocolate syrup . Taste is somewhat bitter. Good mouth feel.

Dec 01, 2018
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Tilley4 from Tennessee

4.48/5  rDev +9.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

I'm a huge fan of the regular offering so I knew I had to grab this as soon as I saw it. I will say that I am not at all disappointed that I did. Big roasted chocolate character as expected and a pretty crazy kick of hops that I didn't expect. They don't dominate, mind you, but they are fairly prevalent... brings a uniqueness to the beer... can I say I enjoy it more than the base beer? No I can't say that but I will say I do enjoy it quite a damn bit...and its growing on me even more as I sip...

10.5% is NON-EXISTENT.... as in...I'm not getting any booze at all... dangerously drinkable... brushing the floor off of my cheek drinkable...

Very enjoyable... liking this a lot....

Nov 25, 2018
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jopezu from Georgia

4.25/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

pours an oil slick with a light head that poofs. nose; dark chocolate, dates/raisin, creamer, & light hops. taste; roasted malt, char, licorice, dry cocoa, piney hops, raisin, & ethanol; slightly metallic aftertaste. heavy carbonation & mouthfeel. nice ris with some definite roast & hops, offset with baker’s chocolate & lactose character.

Nov 20, 2018
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CaptainHate from Ohio

4.02/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 ounce bottle into a long stemmed tulip. This was recommended to me by the beer guy at the local grocery store who knows I like RISs particularly at a reasonable price. And that's where this fits in because we seem to be living in a great time for big stouts that are done with a lot of care but are kind of indistinguishable from each other. And imo that's a good thing.

Nov 15, 2018
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Lucular from Maryland

4.21/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This reminds me a bit of Narwhal. It's a big roasty stout with an almost-aggressive hop presence. Bitter chocolate, coffee, dark roasted malts, and pine are the predominant flavors.

Nov 05, 2018
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jlindros from Massachusetts

3.9/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 2/20/18
Pours a mild fizzy darker colored thicker head a little lacing, decent legs, pitch black beer

Nose nice old school RIS, stout like dark malts, a little roasty notes, some cocoa and creamy milk chocolate, oatmeal notes, a little roasted coffee

Taste brings sweet milk chocolate, a bit of a sweet milk stout notes, creamy oats and milk chocolate, a little cocoa, hints of dark fruits in the background, plenty of roasty charred malts, stout like bitter roast, a touch acrid, roasted coffee, a big spicy bitterness kicking in late, turning acrid roasty and spicy bitterness almost too much, flash of alcohol tingle

Mouth is heavier bod but not a ton, a bit creamy milky, mild alcohol burn, decent carb

Overall not bad, way too much of the spicy hops and acrid bitter roast esp combining late, not too bad of a RIS in general other than that.

Nov 03, 2018
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brewandbbq from New Hampshire

4.18/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle.

Pours opaque black with a minimum head of tan. Zero retention or lacing. Coffee, char, and dark bakers chocolate in the nose. Full bodied with a viscous, chewy mouthfeel. Dark chocolate with espresso and Oreo shells on the palate. Rich, roasty and fairly dry. Finishes with lingering chocolate -covered char bits.

Nice stout but I'm not picking up on any of the "new world character " said to contain.

Nov 01, 2018
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arizcards from North Carolina

4.04/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Picked up a 12 oz single from the Craft Beer Hop Stop 5-28-18 for $2.83. Bottled on 2-21-18; consumed on 10-18-18. Cold stored in the Beer Fridge since purchase.

Beer poured black with a very nice tan head that is leaving some lacing behind.

Nose is nice with hints of anise and bakers cocoa.

Taste is a nice blend of dark cocoa, anise, and a hint of dark fruits over a large malt based. Highly hopped to balance the sweetness nicely.

Mouthfeel is full bodied and very smooth and satisfying.

Overall a nice brew that i am glad i tried!

Oct 18, 2018
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micada from New York

4.03/5  rDev -1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Feb 2018 bomber, poured room temp to a tulip glass. Super dark, clear mahogany / chestnut brown. Lots of carbonation makes for a fast fizzy head that fades fast, but leaves a small head with scant lacing. Smell is char. First sips are smoky, dark chocolate and pit fruit. Rather crisp mouthfeel, but not so overtly hoppy as some reviews indicated. Malt lingers with an aftertaste of perhaps bitter plum, some nuttiness as it warms. Alcohol has a little bite, but not distracting. Overall, tasty. I picked it up half price, so a super value, with two more to cellar! There’s a night of the gargoyle event this Friday, tapping a 2014 base RIS, which might be a good idea to attend...if only bowling wasn’t in the way.

Oct 16, 2018
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barnzy78 from Illinois

4.15/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

12oz, bottled on 02/22/18. Black body capped with a foamy light brown head. Roasty and chocolatey aroma: dark cocoa, coffee, roasted barley, anise, sharp black patent malt, earthy hops. Bold flavors as expected with notes of dark baker's chocolate, roasted barley, caramel, anise, char, dark fruit/perhaps berry, tobacco, and piney/earthy hops; in the very background is melon and mango? Very full body, very creamy, alcohol is warming but not hot, resinous hops stick to the palate creating a long bitter finish of hop, char, and dark chocolate. I can taste the "new world" hops but thankfully the malt base is so huge that it masks the hops enough to make this work pretty well. It's good, but I miss the original IRS.

Oct 07, 2018
Totalitarian from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 370 ratings