Stone Brewing

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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #264
Ranked #4,123
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
Reviews by BlurryVisi0n:
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BlurryVisi0n from New York

4.09/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter glass from a 22oz bomber.

Appearance: Thick brown tinted black body with a somewhat thick head rising roughly one finger's length off the body coming off a tan color. Settles after one sip with sticky lacing on the glass.

Smell: Espresso and a chocolate syrup like scent. It's light and potent at the same time if that can ever happen.

Taste: Heavy malts, little maltier than what I remember the original IRS considering I had a vintage bottle two days ago. Has a slight caral tone and hints of bitterness which linger for a while.

Mouth: Thin body with a full car carbonation which dissolves a bit after a few sips.

Overall: Good beer and great gift from the wife. I definitely liked it but lately been spoiled with a few other beers in this category that hold a closer place in my heart. Always in a glass. Salud!

Jun 11, 2018
More User Reviews:
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BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

No bells. No whistles. No barrel aging. No vanilla or lactose. No chocolate or coffee. With relatively no complication whatsoever, Stone's imperial stout is just an imperial stout that's brought into the modern craft beer era. I'm not sure if this is even allowed.

Nevertheless, here it is. Totalitarian pours with the expected espresso black austere of their classic Imperial Russian Stout and crowned with a similarly thick mocha meringue. Sweet char lifts to the nose along with a robust perfume of cocoa, coffee, smoke, dark fruit, earthen spice and a twinge of alcohol spice. Malty and sweet on the front of the tongue, burnt sugars abound. Off of molasses and more of toffee, caramel and nougat, all seem toasty, roasty and even charred about the edges.

Beating the middle palate into total submission, the premiere roast of those espresso, bittersweet chocolate and black walnut flavors are paramount. Sweetness is in full support of the roast and resists a tendency to fade toward dryness. Blackcurrant, blueberry and red grape esters seem heavily charred while a campfire late palate of licorice and brandy add a spice to accompany any hop complement that in itself seems coffee and cocoa-like.

Full bodied with a sensation of marshmallow and char, the creamy textures that rise early eventually develop into a malty dry texture at the aid of spicy alcohol and hop resins. Shy of ash or any roast derived astringency, the finish comes with a soilish roast of Turkish coffee and a long linger of burnt, smoky dark chocolate.

Mar 21, 2018
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LiquidAmber from Washington

4.2/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Fremont small snifter. Pours a very dark mahogany brown, appearing opaque black in the glass with a thin brown head that dissipates to patches with slight lacing. Aroma of dark toasted malt with light char, cocoa and a little coffee. Flavor follows, with dark toasted malt with moderate char, cocoa and dark chocolate, fresh coffee and a little hint of caramel. Finishes with great dark charred malt and lingering dark chocolate and coffee. Medium bodied with light creaminess and good carbonation. A fine Russian imperial stout that hits all the marks for the style profile. Perhaps a little more char than a classic RIS, but all for the better. The malt char fits in well with the other flavors. Both the chocolate and coffee flavors tastes authentic and high quality. This is one of best non-barreled stouts Stone has done. I'll certainly be drinking it again.

Mar 30, 2018
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dertyd from California

3.83/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

The beer pours out a dark dark brown, black in the glass, with 1 finger of malt ball center colored head-------------- the aromas are of dark chocolate, coffee and dark fruit-------------- the flavors are of dark chocolate, coffee, hop bitterness and roasted malts, the beer has a medium to full mouthfeel, with a overly bitter finish--------------- overall this is a nice Russian imperial stout, it's just not my favorite take on the style I like the more sweet and richer style vs the overly bitter-----

May 24, 2018
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BucannonXC5 from California

4.14/5  rDev +1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Type: 22-oz. bottle
Glass: Ball 16-oz. mason jar
From: 5 Star Liquor in La Mesa, Calif.
Price: $8.99
Purchased: March 24, 2018
Consumed: March 24, 2018
Reviewed as: Russian Imperial Stout
Misc.: Bottled on Feb. 21, 2018

Had been wanting to try this and figured not was just as good a time as any to try it. Had given the original Stone Imperial Russian Stout at 4.18 back on Oct. 27, 2011. Online description read, “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.” OK.

Poured a pitch black color with three fingers of khaki tan rocky head. Could see just a few bubbles coming up from the sides of the glass. Average watery lacing. World-class foamy retention. (Sight - 4.00)

Smelled bitter dark chocolate, dark fruits, purple grape, blackberry, cocoa, espresso, semi-char wood, vanilla (wishful?) and molasses. (Smell - 4.25)

Tasted about as good as the nose. Got dark fruits, purple grape, blackberry, anise, licorice, bitter dark chocolate, espresso, semi-char wood, cacao, dark chocolate syrup, molasses and burnt sugar. Nowhere near 10.6 pct. ABV. (Taste - 4.00)

Full body. Creamy-to-sticky texture. Average carbonation. Long, warming finish. (Feel - 4.25)

This was excellent, although I feel like I overrated it just a smidgeon. Would like to compare this to the original Stone IRS. (Overall - 4.25)

4.14 | 92 | A-

Apr 10, 2018
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SomethingClever from Ohio

4.3/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

12 oz bottle poured into a nonic pint.

A: Jet black body with no light getting through with a creamy khaki mocha head that is creamy in appearance that disappears too quickly.

S: Bakers chocolate, licorice, light char, a little coffee, and some roasted malts. A little alcohol is noticeable in the nose.

T: Lots of dark chocolate, lots of deep roasted malts edging towards burned a little coffee and some licorice finishing sweet.

M: thick body nice lush feel on the tongue, it finishes fairly dry.

O: If this is the same beer as a their Russian Imperial Stout this must be more dialed in, 2016 was a boozy mess. This beer clicks much better, although the alcohol is still there. It's smoother than the 2016.

Apr 07, 2018
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Gajo74 from New York

4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a viscous looking ink black color, with a hint of vinous ruby red. A modest creamy head shows decent retention and yields lacing.
Aromas highlight a rich malt base. Nutty, hazelnut like, biscuity, chocolate, nougat and some light roast. There is a light amount of dark fruit, along with a light alcohol spice that is, to its credit, not boozy.
Sweet on the tongue but not cloying. Flavors of chocolate, dark caramel, brown sugar and molasses. A nice espresso roast and charred malt begins to develop in the mid palate. It adds bitterness and balance. The alcohol, although clearly evident, is actually masked well enough. Not at all boozy, instead it provides more of a kick and slight warming.
More on the high side of medium bodied than full. Despite the high ABV, this is amazingly drinkable. The carbonation is moderate to gentle. Sweet and sticky at first, it then turns roasty and bitter, making the finish dry. Smooth and creamy, yet, with an alcohol spice that tingles the gums.
I feel like I have had some Russian Imperial Stouts that kind of missed the mark lately, however, this one has restored my faith in the style. A delicious brew! Thanks Stone!

Apr 17, 2018
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HenryPorter7777 from Oklahoma

4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours dark black with a 1/2” foam that settles upon warming; light lacing to finish. The things that stand out are the chocolate/coffee balance with the slight edge to chocolate, and; the great mouthfeel due to the flaked oats and Belma hops. Just a very slight edge to some sweetness.Other things going on are dark fruits and a very slight hop edge, but all in alignment; nothing offensive. This beer is “all there” at 10.6% ABV, with a 70 IBU rating that is only noticed within the beer’s balance. Once again, STONE.
Note: Second tasting September, 2018:
My “new” emphasis here would be on IMPERIAL, and less on slight chocolate/coffee/sweetness. No changes in regard to the fact that this is very well done.
Additional note: Shared with JA ——and he loved it.

Mar 18, 2018
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oberon from North Carolina

4.19/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours into a goblet jet black except for a thinner but well retained deep beige head atop.Dark roast coffee,licorice,and charred dark fruit in the nose.Big time coffee dark roasted malts on the palate,a bit of caramel underneath the roast and char,very smooth feel.For the style the sweetness is at a low level,love the big roasted/charred element of the beer.Really like this and it goes down real easy for what it is.

Mar 26, 2018
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Zorro from California

4.46/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.25

Lightproof black colored beer with an exceptionally tall head brown colored head. Fair warning, pour a little short or it will foam over the top.

Smells sweet and full of char from a good 3 feet away. Smells sweet and of coffee and chocolate. Lots of patent malt in this one. Toasted grain scent. Scent of Russian black bread. Faint scent of smoke and medicine cabinet.

Starts out sweet thick and fairly salty. After taste tingles the tongue with licorice. Lots of chocolate and coffee. Alcohol is detectable in this one. Some might find the vodka note not to their liking. This does have the taste of Kahlua to it. There is a taste of rum here that is quite pleasant.

Mouthfeel is thick, milkshake thick.

Overall a nice RIS. This isn't the same as the old Stone RIS. This is both sweeter and a little more bitter than the older Stone RIS.

Apr 20, 2018
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russpowell from Arkansas

4.16/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours an effervescent ebony with 2 fingers of cocoa colored head. Average head retention & lacing, nice viscosity

S: Cocoa, iron, a little smoke late

T: Follows the nose, smokeyness & dryness & Baker's Chocolate up front. Richer chocolate, dryness, woodyness, a little vanilla & some iron as this warms. Finishes dry with a bitter/slightly sweet chocolate edge & some subtle, well done smokeyness

MF: Fairly chewy, slight carbonation

A very good take on the style, ABV is well concealed. Very much worthy of purchase

Apr 05, 2018
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Rbodacious from Virginia

4.17/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Mar 21, 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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CHickman from New York

4.13/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

The basic R.I.S. done very well with lots of char and smoky notes, dark chocolate, burnt wood, smoked grains, burnt coffee grinds, mild metallic accents and late piney additions which help tame the charred elements. The way this hides the 10.6% ABV could be the best engineered part of this brew. Another tasty Stone stout.

Apr 07, 2018
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tp1962 from Illinois

5/5  rDev +22%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Very good imperial stout! I had it for first time today. Will be getting this again!

Aug 12, 2018
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DoubleSimcoe from Pennsylvania

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

Mar 17, 2018
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bottmfeedr from Texas

4.23/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Apr 29, 2018
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leefx from Arkansas

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

Mar 31, 2018
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GratefulFC from Arizona

4.05/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours black as the night. Smell is chocolate at Christmas. Taste is chocolate, cherries, raisons all up front. Bold. Bitterness comes in at the end.

Aug 05, 2018
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BlackBeerPirate from Illinois

4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Taste: Complex, smokey, rich, roasted malts, tobacco, dark cocoa, vanilla coffee beans dark fruit and oats in the finish. Same with the nose. Black, opaque, tan head with sticky lace on the glass. Full body. Solid and some boozyness at the end. 70 IBUs

Apr 23, 2018
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Tstromer from Texas

4.43/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

L- dark murky pour with a rocky caramel colored head
S- vanilla at first with a surprisingly slight hoppy after scent
T- A chocolate smokey flavour that is very bold and smooth
F- creamy and again very smooth
overall a great beer, one of the better imperial stouts ive had!

Mar 23, 2018
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LarrysDeerGut from Illinois

4.29/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Mar 24, 2018
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stakem from Pennsylvania

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

Bottle into a tulip appears black with dark brown head a finger tall that slowly fades.

Aroma of chocolate, molasses, anise, tobacco and an enhanced fruity to floral accent.

Taste is roasty char, bakers chocolate earth tobacco and anise. Slightly solvent booze and a fruity mingling with hints of molasses but finishes somewhat drying.

Medium to fuller bodied, modestly carbonated and very familiar yet unique with the fruity hop accent. Im a fan

May 21, 2018
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Shockengr from Pennsylvania

4.08/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Look is super dark black, I tried to shine a bright light thru it and no light passes thru, nice tan head and lacing.
Very light smell of roasted coffee and tobacco.
Clean initial taste, slight warming with a coffee flavor and finishing with a lasting toasted hops presence.
Well balanced and not heavy mouth feel.

Mar 19, 2018
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DrDemento456 from Pennsylvania

4.34/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Really hope this beer can fill the void of their regular RIS being retired. Into a tulip
A - Very nice looking beer pitch black goodness that pours quite thick with a full 1/2 inch of mocha foam to boot.
S - Actually smells quite traditional with ashy char, bittersweet chocolates and a touch of anise mixed with shoe leather.
T - Bitter earthy hops make way for some char ash and a touch of bitter coffee and finishes rather fruity. Bitter but balanced with a touch of tobacco.
M - Very full yet velvety smooth. Quite a good beer and drinkable as well.

Overall it's been ages since I have has a great tasting RIS from stone the only thing that could make this better would be a coffee version and if they made that I WOULD buy as much as I can. Still worthy of picking up for around 15 bucks a sixer.

Apr 10, 2018
Totalitarian from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 91 out of 100 with 370 ratings