Stone Brewing

Write a Review
Beer Geek Stats: | Print Shelf Talker
Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #12
Ranked #231
4.47 | pDev: 8.28%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Notes: Formerly Fyodor's Classic

Stone Imperial Russian Stout is a thick, rich and sinful beer that’s heavy on the palate and massively aromatic with notes of anise, black currants, cof fee and roastiness.

This profoundly complexed beer will overwhelm all but the most stalwart beer fanatics with its level of intensity. Rich coffee, bitter and milk chocolate characteristics abound, while dark charred oak, rich vanilla and caramel from the bourbon barrels synergistically elevate and further enhance the ultra-intense taste of the original beer. The name we chose for this heady creation, “Fyodor”, is a tip of the hat to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, one of the greatest, most influential novelists of Russia’s Golden Age.

43 IBU
Reviews: 236 | Ratings: 1,417 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by brewnic:
Photo of brewnic
brewnic from Minnesota

4.74/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Feb 10, 2015
More User Reviews:
Photo of woodychandler
woodychandler from Pennsylvania

4.66/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Welcome to my Happy New Russian Stone Beer Sunday (Week 729)! I have all three (3) of Stone's 2018 Small Batch Series in readiness. This week, I have been reading "The Greatest Russian Stories of Crime and Suspense" as edited by Otto Penzler & yesterday, during my neighborhood church's Attic Treasures monthly rummage sale, I scored two (2) souvenir glasses from St. Petersburg. Additionally, St. Amandus had his birthday on Saturday so it seems as though the Beer Gods want today to happen. Don't like my idea? As they say in Moscow, "Toughski shitski, comrade!"

From the Bottle: "Small Batch Escondido"; "2018 Series Batch No. 1"; "Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout Aged in Bourbon Barrels"; "Ages Well Store at Cellar Temp (55 F/13 C) or Below"; "Brewed January 25, 2018"; "Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout is a thick, rich and sinful beer that’s heavy on the palate and massively aromatic with notes of anise, black currants, coffee and roastiness."; "In the Mash [-] Roasted Barley, Unmalted Oats and Pale, Amber & Black Malts"; "In the Boil [-] Warrior Hops"; "Whirlpool [-] Belma Hops"; "Unfiltered and Aged 8 months in American Oak Kentucky Bourbon Barrels"; "IBUs 43"; "Bottled October 2018"; "Cellar Notes [-] This profoundly complexed beer will overwhelm all but the most stalwart beer fanatics with its level of intensity. Rich coffee, bitter and milk chocolate characteristics abound, while dark charred oak, rich vanilla and caramel from the bourbon barrels synergistically elevate and further enhance the ultra-intense taste of the original beer. The name we chose for this heady creation, 'Fyodor', is a tip of the hat to Fyodor Dostoyevsky, one of the greatest, most influential novelists of Russia’s Golden Age."

Lots to transcribe, but I'm going to be with this beer for some time. I began by unhooking the cage & exposing the cork, all while keeping my L thumb on the cork. It was a wasted effort as the cork was an immovable object! Grrr. 8={} Where's my corkscrew?!? F**k! Since I am not an oenophile like my beloved maternal uncle, I only have a cheapie in my inventory. The cork fought me mightily, but in the end, I was triumphant! Eureka! Success in the face of adversity! Onward! I slowly filled one of my St. Petersburg glasses, being careful not to disturb any lees on the punt. It came up pretty quickly with foam, forming two-plus fingers of fizzy, foamy, rocky, deep-brown head that quickly reduced to wisps. Color was Black/Opaque (SRM = 44), allowing ZERO light penetration. Khrushchev nodded in agreement, having kept the Nazis from penetrating at the Battle of Stalingrad. The nose penetrated my sinuses & gave me pause. What had I gotten myself into? Was I going to be like Lee Harvey Oswald - a person interested in Russian lore & literature, only to be rebuffed by the Russians? Eek. It had the distinctive coconut odor that I associate with Bourbon Bbl.-aging. Its booziness was not overwhelming, but it was like sniffing the air of a shark tank from above. All seemed calm & peaceful from that vantage point, but danger lurked below & in my glass. Mouthfeel was thick & full, very viscous. It lay upon my tongue like a beached whale, refusing to move or to be moved. No problem as I took in its liquified fudge brownie taste. Highly chocolaty in a deep, dark, Baker's chocolate way with a smoky charcoal aspect & the Bourbon really beginning to kick in. I remember the first time that I sipped Bourbon. I was quite young & an adult slipped me some at a NYE party at my parents' house. This beer evoked that memory. It is not that I do not like Bourbon, but I prefer Rye. In fact, where I had eschewed liquor for many, many years thanks to repeated liberty incidents, it was the resurgence of Rye whisky that brought me back to the fold. I am older & (hopefully) wiser now so my imbibing in distilled liquor is done in small amounts. While typing that last bit, I found myself absentmindedly licking & smacking my lips. It was just THAT tasty! Yum! Stone recommends storing at Cellar Temps, but I would encourage drinking it at Room Temp. It was really blossoming & opening up as it warmed. The flavors were bonding more than they had been at the outset so that it no longer seemed quite as boozy & it did seem more chocolaty as a result. The coconut & charcoal smokiness remained a constant throughout. Phew. Anise! How did I miss it? This is why I always transcribe information! Of course. I would almost say "treacle", but that would be imprecise. Anise. That also helps to account for that charcoal sharpness that I had noted. Now, a question - Too late for me, but how would/will this age? I have a feeling that it would really smooth out to become eminently drinkable. It is quite the drink now, in its youth, but as it ages, I think that it has real potential. Finish was dry, quite bitter in the way that black coffee & Baker's chocolate are bitter. I was duly impressed throughout.

Feb 10, 2019
Photo of Phyl21ca
Phyl21ca from Canada (QC)

4.36/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color stout with a small dark brown foamy head with minimal retention or lacing. Aroma of light roasted malt, black chocolate with some strong vanilla and bourbon notes with some woody notes also perceptible. Taste is also dominated by strong bourbon notes and vanilla which mix in well with the black chocolate and light roasted malt notes. Woody notes and residual sugar notes re also perceptible. Body is full with nice creamy texture with low carbonation and some warming alcohol is present. World-class barrel-aged stout!

Sep 21, 2015
Photo of BEERchitect
BEERchitect from Kentucky

4.76/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bourbon barrels are a lot like bacon. They just make everything better!

This insanely rich beer hold all of the greatness of the original, Pitch black, dense viscosity, and slow simmering carbonation. The beer patiently releases a very dense sheet of mocha foam that favors brandy-style legging over meaningful lace. The beer intimidates, just by its glare.

Rich and sultry aromas of Belgian chocolate, whipping cream, bold roast coffee, singed toffee, and walnut exude from the glass with mouth watering and calming effects. Bourbony alcohols accompany toasted oak, vanilla and caramel- all becoming more pronounced as the beer warms and unlocks its powerful scents.

And so go the beer's flavor... with its light carbonation, all the savory goodness of espresso, brownie batter, bittersweet chocolate, deep caramel, and malted milkshake seep into the mouth with awe-inspiring effects. Nothing short of amazing, the flavors trend toward walnut-type bitterness that links into oak, vanilla, cherry wood, light sherry, and unmistakable bourbon to round out the finish. Even notes of chocolate covered raisins introduce themselves with alternating sips.

Rich, dense and truly sultry on the palate, the stout's creamy viscosity delivers a pleasant weight that melds into the mouth and seems to seduce the taste buds. Warm alcohols balance its weight in finish to provide an extended finish and infinite aftertaste.

Of course this '08 version is now in its 5-years of maturation so the savory notes and low rate of carbonation are more prominent than when younger, but its incredible power in flavor and effects is something rarely experienced in the beer world. Its such a digestive that it will surely compare favorable with the best tawny ports, cognac, brandy, or scotch.

Sep 20, 2009
Photo of neenerzig
neenerzig from Ohio

4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I picked up a bottle of this at the brewery when I visited the brewery for the third time in my life back in July of last year. This bottle is 2015 Series Batch # 1. It was bottled in March of 2015 after being barrel aged for 7 months. Comes in a 500 ml bottle with a cock in the top. This batch also clocks in at 13% AVB, which is 1.5% higher than what is currently listed for this beer in this website's's data base, so evidently this beer's ABV % changed at least in this batch I have a bottle from. Poured into my tulip glass, this beer pours a very dark brown, almost black color of course that is not at all interested in letting in any light whatsoever. Has a tan head that's about an inch thick when first poured before settling to a very thick ring lining the inside of the glass along with a big cluster of foam on the beer's surface. Has decent lacing. Aromas of dark roasted malts, hints of licorice, dark fruits such as plums and raisin, very toasted bread, and bourbon are present. The taste is pretty much the same, with a toasted, bread like maltyness upfront that gives way to hints of licorice and plum and raisin sweetness that gives way to oak and vanilla, a hint of chocolate, and a bit of bourbon. All the different flavors really blend together extremely nicely. This is also one of the least hoppy beers I have had from Stone, and one of a very few if not the only one I think I've ever had from them where I can say that there really is no discernible hop presence at all in the flavor profile. And for this beer that is just fine indeed. This one really needs to sit and warm up a bit for all the flavors to really make their presence known properly. Has an extremely smooth, just slightly crisp, smooth and frothy, slightly chewy and oily, medium to full bodied mouthfeel with light to moderate carbonation. This one really coats the inside of my mouth and the flavors linger for quite awhile after each sip. Has a fairly dry aftertaste. A damn fine beer from Stone. This fantastic beer is yet another reminder of why if I had to narrow it down to one single brewery out there, Stone would have to be my number one. This is an exceptionally good beer!


Jan 10, 2016
Photo of mdfb79
mdfb79 from New York

4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

From 10/04/10 notes. Had on tap at Churchkey at their Stone Total Tap Takeover event. This was the 2008 IRS aged for 12 months in bourbon barrels, and I tried it side by side with a 2004 IRS.

a - Pours a dark, dark black color with one inch of light tan head and low carbonation evident.

s - Smells of bourbon, oak, vanilla, dark fruit, roasted malts, and choolate. Smells amazing, like the normal version with some oak and bourbon. Luckily neither was overwhelming.

t - Tastes of smooth oak, bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, chocolate, and light coffee. A touch hot.

m - Medium to full body, and low carbonation. Easy to drink for the high ABV.

d - I loved this beer; I sampled 14 Stone beers and this was my favorite one. I like the normal IRS a lot, but liked this a little better. The smell was amazing to me. I thought the taste was a bit hotter than the normal IRS, but that's to be expected. Would love to try again sometime.

Oct 05, 2010
Photo of Kevinpitts
Kevinpitts from Illinois

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Incredibly smooth barrel-aged stout. Subtle bourbon coffee flavor. Beer is on the thinner side, but this doesn't take away from taste. Drank new, but imagine this would age beautifully. Stellar beer!

Aug 11, 2015
Photo of daave1
daave1 from California

5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Perfect. Period. End of sentence.

Apr 25, 2015
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Thanks to rudzud. 2014 vintage.

Pours a decent creamy dark colored small head that fades pretty quickly, pitch black color, decent legs too.

Nose big malts, lots of different dark malts, lots of black malts, roast and cocoa, chewy fudge, little char and nutty notes, caramel, mild vanilla barrel, roasty intense dark malts and little booze, touch of dark fruits.

Taste sweet candy, caramel, fudge, thick choc and candy, thick fudgey chewy cocoa and caramel, rich, then big booze, hot booze, bitter tannic roast and booze, vanilla barrel and fudgey, etc. Finish is drier but sticky, big roasty bitterness and tannic char, big fudgey cocoa and some bitter earthy spicy hops, etc.

Mouth touch fudgey heavy, rich, decent carb, hot booze.

Overall food but there are many better bourbon stouts out there, decent, tasty, but hot too.

Oct 04, 2014
Photo of GabrielBelm0nt
GabrielBelm0nt from California

4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Fyodor's Classic was the best BBA beer that i've had. By the time it had been a good while after the release of it (last one in the shelf).

Appearance of it was pitch black, not one ray of light could pass. Very low carbonation, which I prefer. Even as I was pouring, you could tell it was incredibly smooth.

Smell - I could definitely smell a lot of vanilla, oak, and hints chocolate. While the vanilla and oak smells were overpowering, I was still able to get hints of the chocolate. You could distinctively recognize each smell. There is also a good smell of bourbon towards the end of the whiff.
Vanilla (strong), Oak (strong), Chocolate (mild), Bourbon (strong).

Taste - It was definitely very smooth, got mostly vanilla, and some oak.
At the end, you get a real nice kick of bourbon which went really well with the lingering vanilla taste for me.
Vanilla (strong), Oak (mild), Chocolate (weak), Bourbon (strong)

Mouth - Full bodied and the bourbon aging really makes it hit you. Definitely a bit sticky from the BBA.

Overall - Fantastic RIS, you don't miss out on anything in this beer, really hits the spot. 1 will definitely do the trick (at least for me it does). Nice and high ABV. Cannot wait to have another.

Aug 13, 2014
Photo of _RL_
_RL_ from Maryland

4.14/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

2013 bottle into a snifter. No head at all. Pours thick but not oily or sludgy. Smells initially of strong booze but that smell dissipates as the glass warms and the beer opens. Tastes of bourbon, with slight hints of chocolate and oak. Incredibly smooth. My bottle is marked at 13.9% and the beer tastes at half that abv. Mouthfeel is thin, especially for the style. Overall it is good, but might be better fresh. Would definitely like to try a newer bottle.

Jan 23, 2016
Photo of LADaveBN
LADaveBN from California

4.91/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

2015 series from 500mL bottle. After drinking a 2012 Parabola a week ago I decided to pop this one open to compare. Strikingly similar but this was superior, though not by much. Barely any carb, just a hint. Jet black. Nose is what excels here over the Parabola. Just one man's opinion. Bourbon, dark chocolate, oak, vanilla. Beautiful. Taste is bourbon and oak on the front. Followed by a smoky chocolate with a great bitter coffee finish Feel is viscous. Coats the mouth and lingers for almost a minute. Overall this is the best BBA RIS I've ever had and the highest rating I've ever given as of this review.

Aug 25, 2015
Photo of richj1970
richj1970 from Alabama

4.24/5  rDev -5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 500 ml bottle. 2017 vintage

A: Very dark brown tending towards black. Smallish one finger mocha head that settles quickly with little to no lacing.

S: Bourbon, chocolate fudge, tobacco, charred oak, and vanilla.

T: Rich dark chocolate, bourbon, and vanilla with nice barrel notes. A subtle sweetness that comes off like honey or molasses.

M: Full bodied with a syrup like quality. Finish is very dry with prominent alcohol heat.

O: Excellent stout. My only complaint is the price. At 500 ml, this should be $10 not $19.

Nov 19, 2017
Photo of NWer
NWer from Washington

4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Jun 15, 2015
Photo of TheBeerAlmanac
TheBeerAlmanac from Kentucky

5/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Draft poured into a growler poured into a tulip

A: Pours a very thick, opaque black color with a light brown head that is really dark, considering. The texture is viscous like dirty motor oil...it's absolutely beautiful.

S: Aroma is equally amazing; sweet dark chocolate, heavy caramel, and a smooth bourbon accent. It's utterly enticing.

T/M: Taste has some alcohol twinge up front but is quickly masked by chocolate and caramel notes with a bit of toffee and nut in the finish. There's very little aftertaste but it leaves a warming sensation. It rolls on your tongue and down your throat, like a liquid trapeze artist made of black roasted malts and bourbon.

There are some apparent similarities with Sam Adams Utopias here, minus the complexity and overabundant strength, not to mention this one is actually carbonated, but it's the closest thing that comes to mind. It's like they took all the best qualities of Imperial Russian Stout and all the best qualities of a good bourbon and formed this monstrosity of a beer. I think I could drink this for the rest of my life, but I have to know which barrels they used...

Jul 14, 2011
Photo of krl2112
krl2112 from Illinois

4.43/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Feb 01, 2019
Photo of Knoxrb12
Knoxrb12 from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Mar 01, 2014
Photo of D_Min
D_Min from Canada (BC)

4.47/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

May 28, 2015
Photo of jeezie
jeezie from California

5/5  rDev +11.9%

Nov 16, 2011
Photo of cocoapuph
cocoapuph from California

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Sep 06, 2012
Photo of nollie77
nollie77 from Ohio

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Jul 21, 2014
Photo of epim00
epim00 from California

4.25/5  rDev -4.9%

Jan 02, 2014
Photo of brayton
brayton from California

3.8/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

May 10, 2015
Photo of Sean9689
Sean9689 from Illinois

4.37/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Twisted Spoke for the Stone Chicago Release. Poured into a beautiful plastic cup!

A - Pours black, thin mocha-colored head, very viscous and oily.

S - Chocolate, bourbon, slight oak, sweet dark fruit.

T - Just like if you added bourbon to the RIS. Yeah, I know, not very exciting, but it sure is damn good. Chocolate, bourbon, some oak. A bitter sweet dark chocolate finish.

M - Full bodied, rich and smooth, almost zero carbonation, creamy finish.

D - I had one pour plus a drink or two out of Masterski's as well. This was an awesome BA RIS that was probably my favorite Stone beer of the night.

Apr 02, 2010
Photo of mdeluna
mdeluna from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +0.7%

Sep 18, 2014
Fyodor from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 98 out of 100 with 1417 ratings