Dismiss Notice
We're celebrating 10 years of BeerAdvocate magazine with $10 print subscriptions for US residents.

Subscribe now!

Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged | Stone Brewing

Log in or Sign up to start rating.
BA SCORE
98
world-class
166 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score
Send samples
Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel AgedImperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States
stonebrewing.com

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13.50%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BEERchitect on 09-20-2009

BEER STATS
Reviews:
166
Ratings:
1,135
Avg:
4.47
pDev:
22.6%
 
 
Wants:
596
Gots:
224
For Trade:
13
User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 166 | Ratings: 1,135
Photo of pagriley
4.65/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottled Feb 2014. Poured into snifter

L - Pours inky black, slightly effervescent with fluffy 1 inch mocha head that lasts for ages
S - Bourbon up front with oaky vanilla, dark chocolate. tons of coconut
T - Barrel is prominent but balanced, with bitter chocolate, vanilla and a touch of raisins
F - Medium to lighter bodied for the style. A touch prickly, but a few swirls knocked out the excess carb

Overall, a very, very well executed beer. Classic barrel aged big stout. On the lighter side in terms of body, and the flavors are classically melded perfection

 575 characters

Photo of SomethingClever
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

500ml corked and caged poured into snifter

A: pure darkness head was mocha and quickly disappearing

S: lots of tobacco and anise

T: holy mother of god...pure sweet cocoa and tobacco light leather toffee, molasses , a little burnt sugar, bourbon hints of coffee not any huge sweetness

M: pretty full feel maybe slightly thinned by the slick oily bourbon feel

O: This beer is excellent. It is just drop dead gorgeousness in a flaunt yourself way its big on the mouth and huge on taste it bites and refuses to let go. The depth of flavor with the hints of coffee and deep cocoa and then huge leather and tobacco and leather with caramel and toffee blazing the way its a great beer.

 688 characters

Photo of Amguerra305
4.63/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Pours a touch thinner than the regular but looks darker and more opaque in the glass. Almost no head to speak and not a bubble that lingers. Smell is very boozy. Very strong vanilla barrel notes. Roasted undertone with caramel notes. The taste is roast forward with a hint of an anise note. Strong boozy back end. Not caramel in the actual taste but the smell of it kind of carries through along with the vanilla. Feel is thick and coating. Overall an excellent example of how a great RIS gets even better with barrel aging.

 525 characters

Photo of rrski198
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Done from brief notes at a Stone release event in Chesterfield, MO at itap.

2008 vintage

A: Small head, decent lacing, jet black.

S: Sweetness up front, mild anise, earthy smokiness. Awesome.

T: Bitter, spicy, oakey, sweet. Bourbon heavy on the back end.

M: Heavy, syrupy, heavy bourbon flavor punches the moutha nd leaves a nice spice. Average carbonation and quite filling.

O: Awesome beer. Great example of the style. I love how this has melowed out.

 462 characters

Photo of neenerzig
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 listed for this beer in this beer'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!

Eric

 2,189 characters

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

Jan 2014 bottle (brewed Jan 2013), opened Jan 2015.

A - Thick, deep espresso black body. Dark mocha head pours 1/2 a finger high with ok retention and lace.

S - Outstanding nose. Rich and thick with milk chocolate, brandy, oak, tons of vanilla, touch of nutmeg, and almonds. Great integration.

T - Medium roast latte, milk chocolate, warm scotch, hazelnut, vanilla, oak, caramel, toffee, and soft cream. Fantastic balance and integration. A shade boozy.

M - Super smooth, creamy, medium-full body. Almost perfect.

O - An awesome beer. Stone RIS is one of my favorite stouts, and I'd argue it's one of the best bombers you can buy for under $10. The BA version is an absolute treat, and is more than worth the hype.

 728 characters

Photo of fastsrt
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Draft
A: black, creamy brown head.

S: burbon, wood, vanilla.

T: burbon, oak, smooth, coffee, balance this is sweet and drinks with the best of them.

M: rich creamy, coating, nice finish.

D: better than the orginal, awsome brew will love to have it again.

 259 characters

Photo of THECPJ
4.62/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Reviewed from notes:

appearance: dark brown black with a 1 finger mocha head

smell: bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts,

taste: bourbon, vanilla, roasted malts, such a balanced BA. RIS

mouthfeel: mild carbonation, medium to full body,

overall: a very well balanced barrel aged ris. would love to get my hands on some more. great beer.

Cheers,
The CPJ

 353 characters

Photo of ccrida
4.6/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Huge bourbon nose, lots of coconut, vanilla, caramel. Taste is way more coconut, Elijah Craig shining through in a gloriously smooth manner. Really nice treat to sip the '08 version in spite of their snarky, classically Seattle hipster vibe (not kidding, the bar tender just shit on some guy looking for "Stella or Heineken", and responded by pulling him a Spaten without asking, saying "it's german too", in a way hostile attitude. Just because the guy ordered sucky beers doesn't mean he needs to make the customer feel like a loser...anyways, a great bourbon barrel RIS overall, smooth, balanced, with glutenous complexity.

 626 characters

Photo of TrojanRB
4.59/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

2014 release drank in May 2016.

Cork released without a pop....inky, oily black with a think caramel head that quickly disappeared

Nose has molasses and brown sugar. Prunes and plums as well.

This site lists ABV as 11.5%, but my bottle is labeled 13.9%. It's a big beer for sure, but it doesn't come off as boozy as that number would suggest.

Vanilla and fudge appear after a few sips.

Smooth without a bite. Has a bit of chew to it.

Really an excellent offering from Stone.

 480 characters

Photo of Jjski
4.58/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cellared in the dark for a year, average 55F
Bottle batch 2014: the label states beer was brewed 1/29/13, then barrel aged on "American Oak Bourbon Barrels" for 12 months
Aroma of leather, dark licorice , raisin, whiskey, over-toasted dark bread
Tastes as it smells plus dark, chocolate malty roast,bourbon very present but well integrated. Light pleasant char.
Mouthfeel is distinct from other 'super stouts' - dry finish and slight chalky char ( very slight) work well to keep it smooth, not sweet. Still a tad thin for the category, but definitely not lacking. Just different than viscosities presented by BCBS or Eclipse.
Superb, but not better than the 2 aforementioned RIS. Drier, less sweet, and well put together. A year has done well on this.

 753 characters

Photo of illidurit
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Stone Bistro for RBSG 08. Black color with black coffee highlights. Mocha head, moderate lacing. Brownie mix aroma with a huge, appealing bourbon note. Flavors of cocoa powder, dark chocolate, graham cracker, and smooth bourbon. No alcohol whatsoever. Very clean and surprisingly light on the palate. Mousse-smooth mouthfeel with a short burnt coffee finish.

 368 characters

Photo of mdfb79
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.

 937 characters

Photo of jrallen34
4.57/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

I had this on tap at EBF, 2008 version.

The beer is black with a medium tan head, good retention, but bad lacing.

The aroma is super sweet with with lots of syrup, vanilla and bourbon.

The taste is also pretty sweet with lots of vanilla and a bourbon finish.

The feel is heavy and warm.

Stone is one of my favorite stouts and this is a nice place on a good one.

 366 characters

Photo of More_betterness
4.56/5  rDev +2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Super excited for this one!

A: Pitch black body capped by an espresso brown head that recedes quickly. Some spotty lacing left on the glass.

S: Bold bourbon notes of caramel, vanilla, and oak. Hint of coffee, chocolate covered cherry, and bourbon soaked dark fruit as it opens up. Glorious.

T: Boozy bourbon and espresso upfront, caramel and bourbon soaked vanilla follow. A bit of dark cherry as well. Very low levels of residual sweetness for an RIS. Not as potent as the nose, but still fantastic.

M: Medium bodied for an IRS with medium/low carb levels. Flavor compounds are extremely palate coating despite the lack of viscosity compared to other examples.

O: Exactly what I should have expected when one of my favorite RIS was bourbon barrel aged. Fantastic offering from Stone, I can't wait to see what some age does to my extra bottle!

 848 characters

Photo of timc100
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%

Given how rich and intense IRS is, very excited to get into this one.

Appearance is very similar, maybe a bit thinner looking and very minimal head.

Subtle but enticing aroma of barrel char, vanilla, bakers chocolate, chalky cocoa, hints of dark fruit and touch of coconut.

Slick body, though thinner than the reg IRS. Intense flavors - bitter espresso and chocolate - barrel char. The finish is relatively short.

Very happy to have finally tried BA IRS - great beer. Would like to see some with age and side-by-side with a 2013 reg.

 541 characters

Photo of hopdog
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Brad for sending this one my way!

Poured a dark black color with a thin sized off white head. Aromas of bourbon, vanilla, woody, chocolate, some dark fruits, and I was getting a light smokiness. Tastes of bourbon, vanilla, wood (but lighter than in the aromas), dark fruits, chocolate, and caramel. The bourbon is there but not over powering. Alcohol content overall well hidden.

 388 characters

Photo of GClarkage
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

04/01/06- On cask at the Triple Rock 3rd Annual Firkin Fest in Berkeley, CA.

Presentation- 8 or 9oz sampler glass filled to the rim. What a pour! From the wooden cask straight into the glass. Not sure what year this is from.

Appearance- Deep chocolaty brown in color with a 1/4 inch dirty brown head. Large streaks and chunks of lace left behind.

Smell- This is one rich smelling beer. Notes of hard alcohol (assuming that's the bourbon), lots of chocolatly goodness, semi-bitter hops and deep roasted malt. Smells like dessert.

Taste- Wow! I wasn't thinking I was going to like this since I was told it had lots of licorice flavor, which I am usually not very keen on. Very smooth and creamy right off the bat. A big hit of licorice comes into play, but it works wonders with the other flavors. Large chocolate (both milk and dark) swirl and mix together. Very sweet in flavor. Nice heavy bourbon note as well upon the first sip. Hops are there and make themselves know quickly as well. But, the overpowering flavor is the wonderful chocolate, roasted malt and licorice. I had to have another pour before I left and thus am paying for it now with a headache.

Mouthfeel- Rich, smooth and creamy with the slightest of carbonation. This would be one kick ass after dinner drink!

Drinkability- I have no idea what the abv is on this brew, but assume it's gotta be at least 10%. So, glad I got to try this wonderful brew and hope it eventually comes back soon.

 1,474 characters

Photo of barleywinefiend
4.55/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared by JackCrow via growler

A: Poured a deep black and it still had good carbonation to it, nice tannish brown head.

S: MMMM. Very good. Bourbon, wood, vanilla, black and chocolate malt perhaps

T: Well put togther. Super flavor.Lots of vanilla, bourbon, dark fruits, roasted malt

M: Booze, roasted malts, vanilla

D: Very good! But at this ABV it would hurt and you would want more but probably could not or should not handle more. Drinkabiliuty among others of the style..GREAT

 485 characters

Photo of smakawhat
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.75

Poured from the bottle into a large snifter glass. 2015 series Batch 1.

Deep black walnut body, a half finger tan head, dissolving to a simple puck with very fine bubbles and a whispy start tanned sheen top. Pretty basic, simple and solid without fault.

Real nice subtle aroma. Mild and soft char with a deep piping roast. Thick bodied malt, almost smokey, has a deep herbal woody tone to it hinting somewhere between black licorice and fruity dark qualties. Soft. Not boozy. Licorice notes comes out chewy and thick on the nose after some time. Very nice.

With that first sip, the slow creep comes, with utmost surprise and a big creeping palate. Excellent mouthfeel, deep and chewy with big round feel and mouth coating. Sweet dark malts slightly in the mid palate, a bit of sweet char and tobacco, but the finish is where this excels. Aftertaste grows and grows like a perfectly planted big aromatic licorice tree. Soft anise qualities turn to a deep thick chewy licorice note, black, bold, dry tannic finish but tolerable and rich, slowly growing with each passing second after the swallow.

Rich, luscious, the licorice angle on this is impressive and totally unexpected and as a black licorice fan I am loving it. Body jumps in and out with light character char, and silky roast, but all the great qualities have percolated to the top. Not going to be everyone's cup of tea I think, but works wonders for me.

 1,434 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On tap for the first anniversary party at Beachwood BBQ & Brewing in Long Beach, CA.

2008 vintage.

Pours an opaque black with a foamy dark khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is exceptional and is of dark roasted malt, cocoa, cookie dough, vanilla, wood, and bourbon. There is also a slight port aroma that emerges as the beer warms up. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a medium amount of roasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a very good beer with a fantastic nose and a great flavor.

 718 characters

Photo of Dentist666
4.54/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2015 series, batch 01. 13% ABV.
Pours pitch black with 2-finger tan head (Delirium Tremens glass). Retention is average. Smell is rich, bourbon, coffee, chocolate, rye bread. Flavor - roasted malts, chocolate, licorice, bourbon notes, woody notes. Smooth, silky, low carbonated and surprisingly drinkable.

 306 characters

Photo of ucusty
4.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Draft at 2009 Brewvival Festival. Vintage 2008. This is the perfect use of a barrel. Silky, velvety, and vibrant. Dark pour with a thin tan head. Aroma is roast, bourbon, and oaky tannins. Flavor is espresso, roast, bourbon, vanilla and oaky tannins. Dry finish.

 262 characters

Photo of BMMillsy
4.52/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

From trade. 500 ml bottle as Fyodor's Classic, 2014 Series, Batch No. 3 (2013 RIS. Pours pitch black with a small mocha head on top. Beautiful aroma of anise, vanilla, roast, bourbon, oak, some chocolate. Oh yea. Reminds me a bit of Black Note. Flavor is roast, bourbon, dark fruits, oak, chocolate, anise, light booze, and long lasting vanilla. Really beautiful finish on this one with definite whiskey tones. The mouthfeel is medium--only slightly lacking in body in the style and would love to see the thickness ramped up a tad--with low plus carbonation and a smooth bourbon vanilla warmth down the throat. Really nice!

 623 characters

Photo of Huhzubendah
4.51/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Finally! An enormous thank you to GT2 for alerting me that this beer was in the market. Thank to RussianDragon and Jesse for hooking me up with a bunch of these. you guys are awesome.

The beer is near black with a thick, oily, beige head. Sparse lacing. The aroma offers big bourbon and oak notes, with chocolate and roast. Sweet chocolate with a grandiose bourbon presence. Sweetness is calmed by a graceful alcoholic warmth in the finish. A delightful beer to sip. At near 14%, I can make this last the duration of the hockey game (Blackhawks vs. Kings game 7). Go Hawks! Overall, an outstanding beer and top notch example of the style.

 639 characters

Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing
4.47 out of 5 based on 1,135 ratings.
  • About Us

    Your go-to website for beer (since 1996), publishers of BeerAdvocate magazine (since 2006) and hosts of world-class beer events (since 2003). Respect Beer.
  • BeerAdvocate Microbrew Invitational

    Join us June 2-3, 2017 in Boston, Mass. for beer, cider, mead, kombucha and sake from over 70 small producers.

    Learn More
  • 10 Years of BeerAdvocate Magazine

    We're celebrating 10 years of BA mag with $10 print subscriptions for US residents!

    Subscribe