Stone Brewing

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Russian Imperial Stout
Ranked #235
Ranked #3,812
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: 124 | Ratings: 366 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of JayQue
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.

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JayQue from Virginia, Oct 27, 2019
Photo of dbl_delta
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.

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dbl_delta from Pennsylvania, Sep 06, 2019
Photo of jdurey
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.

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jdurey from Korea (South), Jun 24, 2019
Photo of KTCamm
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.

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KTCamm from New Jersey, Apr 29, 2019
Photo of WoodBrew
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.

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Photo of rajendra82
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.

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rajendra82 from Georgia, Apr 21, 2019
Photo of Thomas_Wikman
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

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Photo of chinchill
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.

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chinchill from South Carolina, Mar 08, 2019
Photo of Dinglehacker
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.

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Dinglehacker from Oklahoma, Feb 16, 2019
Photo of PatrickCT
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.

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PatrickCT from Connecticut, Jan 20, 2019
Photo of HattedClassic
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.

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Photo of rex_4539
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.

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rex_4539 from Greece, Dec 10, 2018
Photo of dd53grif
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.

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dd53grif from Michigan, Dec 01, 2018
Photo of Tilley4
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....

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Tilley4 from Tennessee, Nov 25, 2018
Photo of jopezu
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.

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jopezu from Georgia, Nov 20, 2018
Photo of CaptainHate
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.

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Photo of Lucular
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.

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Lucular from Maryland, Nov 05, 2018
Photo of jlindros
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.

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jlindros from Massachusetts, Nov 03, 2018
Photo of brewandbbq
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.

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brewandbbq from New Hampshire, Nov 01, 2018
Photo of arizcards
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!

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arizcards from Arizona, Oct 18, 2018
Photo of micada
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.

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micada from New York, Oct 16, 2018
Photo of barnzy78
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.

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barnzy78 from Illinois, Oct 07, 2018
Photo of Treyliff
4/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into a snifter

A- pours jet black in color with a thin creamy khaki head that reduces to a ring around the glass

S- charred malt and chocolate on the nose up front, followed by a strong fruity hop character. Undertones of blueberry, caramel & chocolate covered raisins

T- sweet and malty with notes of chocolate, char, caramel raisin & fig. Mid-palate brings out a bold fruity hop character that adds notes of blueberry & melon. The finish gives more fruity hops with a chocolate linger

M- medium body with moderate carbonation leads to a foamy mouthfeel and a slightly warming finish

O- the berry notes really come through with the hop addition, however a prefer the original IRS

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Treyliff from West Virginia, Oct 04, 2018
Photo of MaximalC
3.34/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Pours seal brown with a modest cap of khaki foam. The aroma features big time molasses and toffee with hints of baker's chocolate.

The taste features a hefty dose of peppery, herbal hops and molasses up front, with nearly as much cough syrup to match. Medium body and high carbonation make for a zestier mouthfeel than I expect from a RIS.

Overall, this is one of the coarser interpretations of the style I've encountered. True to form for Stone, hopping is over the top and makes no bones about the malt profile being a secondary consideration. I've always found their stouts to be overrated, and this does nothing to change that impression.

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MaximalC from Illinois, Sep 16, 2018
Photo of ChrisMon02
4.35/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle dated 2/28/18. Poured into a snifter.

Black as night, mocha head that lasts and leaves nice sticky lacing. Big roasted malt, bitter hops, coffee and anise on the nose. Taste follows the nose with an added berry flavor in the finish. This taste like a blend of Self Riteous and their regular IRS and I love that. Mouthfeel is medium and fits the style well. One of the best new beers of the year for me. I will be tracking a few six packs down so I can sip on this over the winter.

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Totalitarian from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 366 ratings