Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged | Stone Brewing

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel AgedImperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States | website

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:
165
Ratings:
1,118
Avg:
4.47
pDev:
22.6%
 
 
Wants:
589
Gots:
221
For Trade:
15
User Reviews
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Reviews: 165 | Ratings: 1,118
Photo of KickInTheChalice
4.03/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served on tap in a snifter at Acre.

Appearance: As expected, this is pitch black with just a hint of mahogany and ruby in the edges.

Smell: The aroma is full of bourbon; it is in the forefront to the point where it kind of drowns out the other wonderful smells. Molasses, dark fruits, and a bit of anise and chocolate are pushed to the periphery.

Taste: The flavor is again a bit strong on the bourbon for me, considering that the base beer is so good. It starts strong and stays on the palate through each sip. Behind that, some molasses and vague dark fruit sweetness start out, with vanilla, oak, and roasted malt rounding out the front. The roasted malt has a tinge of burnt character and flows into a coffee bitterness nicely as the sip progresses. The finish is lightly bitter with more bourbon.

Mouthfeel: This has a dry, woody, oaky feel, which makes it feel less full bodied than the original. Medium carbonation is on the creamy side.

Overall: If I had this on its own, it would be a fine beer. The only issue is that Stone had the audacity to make IRS so good that drowning the flavor our with bourbon is a downgrade. Some people might like the bourbon treatment to be over the top, but I prefer it to be more nuanced.

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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

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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.

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

Same size as BCBS, twice the price, harder to obtain if not in SoCal and not as good. These $20+ Stone BA 500MLs are a joke from a brewer which has a reasonable price point on it's other brews. It's a solid BA stout. Nice flavor, viscous enough, no boozy heat.

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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.

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Photo of wulfie85
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Definitely the biggest surprise of the night. I did not expect a lot out of this beer, but it was amazing. The aromas were very well balanced and light, due to the age of the bottle. The flavors were like liquid brownies. Absolute perfection!

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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.

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Photo of breadwinner
4.82/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

If these things weren't like $20 a pop, I'd have like 20 cases of them lining my cellar. Incredibly rich, decadent feel, straight up bourbon fudge brownie palate. Booze seeps through a touch on the nose, but overall this is a stellar brew.

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Photo of ChrisPro
4.38/5  rDev -2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Draft at Back in Black '09 at Brouwer's. Pours a very dark black with dark tan head. Incredible aroma that is dominated by rich caramel and bourbon. The only negative is that this is a bit sweet and rich, but the molasses flavor was balanced incredibly well with the strong bourbon background and a touch of the hops. This is an incredibly smooth beer that goes down far easier than the 10.8% would indicate. An amazing beer. Doesn't get much better than this.

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Photo of samie85
3.67/5  rDev -17.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had this on-tap at the Twisted Spoke Stone launch yesterday, 4/01/10. Reviewed from notes.

A-Pours a pitch black with the slightest bit of head.

S-Smells of bourbon, vanilla, oak and some roasted notes.

T-Roasted malt and bourbon upfront with some vanilla and alcohol notes. I was hoping for something a little more nuanced.

M-Really smooth and warming mouthfeel. Thick bodied with barely there carbonation.

D-This was a pretty nice way to end the night but it's not even approaching being a very drinkable beer. It's still pretty hot and I'd like to see what a couple more years would do to it.

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Photo of bobhits
4.67/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Growler

2008 Stone RIS bourbon barrel

Pours jet black, blacker than black, not even the sun can more than barely light the very edges of this black as night imperial stout. A decent head pours though the weight of this (and the growler factor) quickly kills it. Just a jet black, opaque milkshake of a beer is left over here.

Aged RIS through and through, dark burnt molasses, coffee, faded floral hops, and yes bourbon goodness from start to finish.

I like a bit of heat to my bourbon barrel aged beer. I like a strong bourbon flavor there as well. To put it simply this is heaven on earth! I doubt these were good bourbon barrels, there's a certain sour/heat effect that reminds me more of heaven hill and Jim Beam than a pappy or pogue quality bourbon, but that almost seems to be a perfect contrast to the RIS. A 2008 RIS right now is an over the top sweetness attack that frankly I'm not overly fond of. My fear was that instead of getting the amazing flavors that a fresh RIS from stone has, this one would be overly sweet and the bourbon barrel would add enough vanilla notes to just take things over the top. Instead this beer is a true flavorful master piece. Chocolate and molasses do a dance on the tongue battling for dominance while the oak and vanilla flavors from the bourbon coat every second of the experience.

This beer is hot. There's no nice way to put it and at the supposed 10-11% range this claims it's too hot for the age. Still milk shake thick, enough carbonation to keep things creamy, and motor oil thick. It isn't bourbon county stout but it is really really trying to be.

The closest beer to this I have to say is bourbon county stout. Not just the body but the flavors as well. The difference is this tastes closer to a fresh bourbon county stout than an aged one. I had the 06 version of this years ago. It did not do it for me to say the least. This beer in contrast is simply great. Search it out at reasonable cost.

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Photo of scottoale
4.85/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Had this yesterday at O'Brian's... fresh from Stone. Served in a pint glass, dark licorice brown (near black) with a small cocoa-brown cap. Very low in carbonation ofcourse.

Smell was strong of liquour, prunes, licorice with some notable smokiness. The acoholic fumes disperse flavor aplenty, gotta taste it!

BIG, dark rich flavorsome maltiness fills the mouth. Black licorice, prune, dark fig, black grape, molassas, bit-o-chocolate, wood, smoke in a somewhat chewy, sweet concoction. The complexity is marvelous and the balance is unique, very sweet overall. This stuff has massive flavor that just makes you want more, no joke.

Big body, it's a sipper for sure. The mouthfeel is velvety smooth and creamy and plenty of alcohol (10% ABV+) that warms your inside.

A very delicious stout that makes the bottled stuff almost seem bland by comparison (though it's far from bland). Another great BIG beer made even better (and bigger) from who else? Stone silly! Cheers to another great beer!

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Photo of Catracho5
4.72/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Serving Type: 500 ml bottle poured into a Belgian style Tulip.

Appearance: Pitch black, with a tan creamy head that dissipated fairly quickly. A little lacing and some tiny bubbles that remained around the edge and some in the middle. Looks great in the glass.

Smell: Heavy bourbon smell, getting some alcohol, but surprisingly for a 13.9% ABV, the alcohol smell is not prevalent. I am not getting any other aromas on the nose. A little dark cherries, has a great aroma.

Taste: You get the woody, bourbon flavor right up front, some dark fruity flavor, the alcohol is on the back end and lingers in the aftertaste. Great flavor!

Mouthfeel: Like motor oil but not as thick as some other barrel aged stouts I have tried. Some carbonation, the alcohol warms the palate and the belly.

Overall: I have tried several BA stouts and this one has to be the smoothest. I was surprised at the quality because Stone has not greatly impressed me with their beers. This one is world class. What a great beer worth the $20 I put down. I am going to get another bottle to cellar.

 1,070 characters

Photo of hwwty4
3.63/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

2008 Vintage

Served on tap at Waldo Pizza at the Total Tap Takeover. It was poured into a large snifter. This beer pours an oily India ink black with a decent 2 inch head that leaves just a bit of lacing on the sides of the snifter. The nose is big bourbon with dark chocolate and mild coffee. Little bit of oak and a bit of coconut. Heavy, heavy bourbon. The flavor is much the same with the bourbon playing front and center, drowning out everything else. Notes of chocolate and coconut with a bit of molasses play second fiddle. Too much Bourbon. The mouthfeel is nice and oily. Overall, this beer has just to much booze. I'd rather have the regular version.

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Photo of Stevem68
4.44/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a rich midnight black color with a thin mocha head. Aroma is mellow bourbon and roasted malts with a subtle sweetness. Flavor is rich roasted malts with a little chocolatieness and a smooth mellow boozy finish. I get a hint of vanilla too. Very smooth drink and overall a really good beer.

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Photo of brew3crew
4.84/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

On tap for the stone tap take over at acre. 2008 RIS in bourbon barrels. MMM.

a-pitch black with no head what so ever. only knock on this beer

s-nice amounts of malt and bourbon mixed together to perfection

t-smooth bourbon with a nice malt backbone. Really well melded together

m-medium body and oh so smooth

o-this is one BAMF! Great beer. I had 3 glasses!

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

Nice nose and mouthfeel. Was a little thin but nice barrel notes, chocolate, roast. Wouldn't necessarily seek out again as there are better BA stouts for less $$

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Photo of ColdPoncho
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to Jason for this one. Tried it at Jackie O's recent release. From notes.

A - dark dark black body with a ring of tight brown head.

S - grainy and yeasty, but also a lot of chocolate and bourbon.

T - a crapload of bourbon, some generic stout flavors, like chocolate and dark roasted malts, and there is some heat in there too.

M - thick, syrupy and smooth.

O - Nice big and complex beer.

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

Big thanks to @grant35 and his Southern Cali fish taco eating hermanos for this bottle

A- Pitch black, thinnest of lacing with no legs. This poured with little carb; but it drinks just fine.

S- Tons of chocolate upfront, toffee caramel are in equal proportion. The bourbon barrel isn't totally hidden, but for a 14% ba stout, it is amazingly hidden.

T- Big chocolate upfront followed by toffee then a nice malt backbone. The barrel is noticeable, but not 14% noticeable. For those who think BCBS is too hot fresh, this is your brew at the same ABV.

M- Pretty smooth, somewhat creamy but not crazy noticeable. The only know is the lack of carb that I stated above shows just a bit too much here, which doesn't make sense.

O- A fantastic BA stout! The complexity of the chocolate and how this is drinking at 14% is why I rated this so high. I love the base, and Stone nailed the BA version

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Photo of _RL_
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.

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Photo of tewaris
4.08/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

11.5% ABV
Served in a 10 oz. Chalice like glass.

Darkest of burnt browns upon close inspection, -bal IRS looks every bit a top notch American Imperial Stout. Came with a surprisingly good thick and creamy dark tan head that left a good amount of lacing as it dissipated, when it did.

Smells decadent, full of chocolate and cream and hints of vanilla. No booze and no acidity. Very different from the base beer in many respects.

Bitter chocolate and bourbon dominate the taste; in fact this is one of the most chocolaty beers ever and a worthy contender to BCBS 08. The roast has completely mellowed out and makes for a staggeringly smooth drink that gracefully goes towards a bitter heavy bittersweet finish.

The finish is very clean, perhaps because the beer is excessively carbonated? Really, the bubbles are irritating after a point and the body seems thin as well. Even then I was digging this beer until it came to room temperature and got very very boozy. A very good beer that could have been exceptional had it been lower on carbonation, a little bigger on body, but most importantly less boozy.

Scores: Appearance 5/5, Aroma 4.5/5, Taste 4/5, Mouthfeel 3/5, Overall 4/5

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

Appearance: BLACK. Held right in front of a light bulb and it is still pitch black. Nice lacing, good head retention. Head was an espresso color.

Nose: Malt, caramel,woody, whisky, vanilla, chocolate, cocoa powder, licorice, tar notes, nutmeg, figs, plums, and raisins.

Taste: Vanilla bean, malt, wood, dark muscat grapes.

Mouthfeel: Starts like an imperial stout, finishes like a great bourbon.

Notes: Paid $18 for a 500ml bottle, and I would (having now tasted this) have gladly paid twice that.

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Photo of Phil-Fresh
4.46/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2014 Bottle.

A: Moderate roasted grains, light esters anise-like, slightly vinous, with ample bourbon on the finish.

A: Jet black color, totally opaque with a moderate light tan head that has adequate retention. There is light lacing in the glass.

T: Big malt, highly roasted grains have a bakers chocolate, coffee like character, light esters of anise, raisins, lightly sweet, with ample bourbon, coupled with a light bitterness and warming on the finish.

M: Full bodied with moderate carbonation, lightly viscous. Smooth and hides its high ABV well.

O: Delicious; a super well executed RIS, with light anise aroma and flavors, well complimented by the bourbon barrels. Incredibly smooth for being such a big beer.

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

A: Pours like oil, slow and thick, pitch black in color, leaves a good size espresso colored head that leaves little lacing around the glass, when you look at this beer you feel like you are staring into an abyss!

S: Tons of chocolate, booze, bourbon, some anise, tobacco, caramel, and vanilla. This beer makes its' presence known once you pop the cork! The best part about the aroma to this beer is that it is strong and does not fade, most other stouts have a smell that becomes faint after a minute or two of pouring, but this one is brash and in your face the whole time! It's superb!

T: Woah... Upfront there is loads of bourbon mixed with a perfect amount of booze, in the middle you get an awesome amount of chocolate, vanilla, a little anise, and caramel, then on the finish you get everything from the beginning and middle all perfectly mixed together with an addition of a hint of tobacco and hop bitterness, as it goes down you get a nice warmth from the booze. This beer is pretty well balanced with the characteristics that can make it unenjoyable, but for things that it needs plenty of to make it outstanding, and it has plenty of those ingredients! Superb transitions of flavors, and it gets even smoother as it warms as well! Definitely one of the best barrel aged stouts I have had!

M: Very thick, slightly oily, and a slight creaminess to it, fantastic, the feel suits this beer perfectly, makes you sip it, and enjoy it!

O: Phenomenal beer from Stone! I wish I can get my hands on more of these! You have to try this!

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Photo of neurobot01
4.25/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 vintage at fridge temp into a snifter, allowed to warm.

Look: light-eating black with barely any head. Beautiful like a precious stone.

Smell: sweet chocolatey Jesus. A hint of bourbon, maybe some astringency, but mostly just chocolate.

Taste: chocolate, bourbon, oak, and tons of bitterness. Not overly sweet, and really no alcohol heat.

Feel: silky, thick, and medium-dry.

Overall: for me, the bitterness is a bit overwhelming in the taste. I do like that the sweetness isn't overbearing. Good, but not great.

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Imperial Russian Stout - Bourbon Barrel Aged from Stone Brewing
98 out of 100 based on 165 ratings.
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