Espresso Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Brewing

Espresso Imperial Russian StoutEspresso Imperial Russian Stout
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Stout - Russian Imperial
4.36 | pDev: 7.8%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Retired (no longer brewed)
Espresso Imperial Russian StoutEspresso Imperial Russian Stout
Reviews: 383 | Ratings: 2,739 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Rschis16
Rschis16 from Maryland

4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Half finger dark cream colored head, awesome retention for an 8 year old beer. Black in color. Aroma is highlighted by dark chocolate and semisweet chocolate with a rich coffee and roasty malt underbelly. Complex flavor, especially as it warms. Dark and semisweet chocolate mingle with rich dark roasted malts and give an illusion of coffee flavors. The coffee itself is muted, potentially due to the age, but the aftertaste is still there and leaves you with a rich creamy bitterness lingering in the back. That helps balance the richness of the malt bill and even overpowers any hot booze flavors, creating a mellow but complex flavor profile. There's a vanilla flavor in the creaminess there too that's such a perfect little relief note. This is a big and bold sipper, lots of great stuff going on in there to enjoy.

Feb 05, 2021
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rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.97/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from October 27, 2013.

Pours the immense used motor oil descriptor that was all the rage a decade ago. Firm brown head, 1/2". Tough to imagine this style looking much better than this. The aroma was less of the mild dark fruit presence from the base RIS, and more of the roast and coffee like presence.

Taste was another big ass chewy massively roasted stout that leaned more American than Russian thanks to the espresso addition. Big, bitter, bold notes of roasted barley, coffee, chocolate malt.

I really should check my Stone rack in the cellar for one of these. They were about the first brewery to get good at hiding double digit alcohol. This must have led them to decide to make that super awesome Mikhail's Odd barrel aged version. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw this on a shelf.

Jun 03, 2020
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GuyFawkes from Illinois

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

Pitch black.

Minimal dark khaki lace; minimal lace.

Coffee bean nose. Nice.

Thick, chalky mouthfeel.

Bitter dark chocolate gives way to sweet roasted coffee. Complex & delicious.

Mar 17, 2019
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Dspader1 from Minnesota

4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2013.. Worthy of a review for sure.. looks very dark no head whatsoever.. smell of coffee and vanilla.. taste starts very bitter from coffee and ends with a boost of vanilla.. overall very enjoyable surprise for me.

Mar 21, 2017
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Hyptochrons from Massachusetts

4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

well this bottle from 2013 has held up really well. pours dark brown with a creamy white head that hangs around and leavs some lace. aroma is intensely roasty, burnt malts, espresso, raisins, pipe tobacco, leather, dark chocolate, hint of dark fruits. on the palate is molasses, chocolate, mouthfeel is medium-full bodied and pretty chewy. still, a touch of booze comes through, but in my opinion its subtle enough that it adds to the overall profile.

Nov 10, 2016
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SoCal_Matt from California

4.88/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

This has to be one of my favorite beers. I have had it bottled, on tap, as well as several growler fills. Pours a very dark brown with a good amount of khaki head. Pure coffee on the nose with hints of chocolate, vanilla/cream, and alcohol. Taste is bitter espresso, chocolate, some burnt sugar, and slightly creamy finish that has a hint of vanilla. Feel is thick with more carbonation than you would expect, and finishes very smooth. Overall, I love this beer. It is not longer bottled so anytime that it is available for pours or fills, I rush to Stone to get some. If you love coffee in your beer as much as I do, this is about as good as it gets.

Jul 17, 2016
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Bierliebhaber3 from Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

This stout pours a pitch black color with a medium dark tan head. The smell is a potent mix of espresso and alcohol. I’ve tried the classic Stone Imperial Russian Stout and it is fabulous, so I was excited to try this. It has a really nice full, malty body as any good stout should have. The taste of espresso is strong, but unlike most flavor additives to beer I don’t necessarily mind that, though I would have perhaps made it very slightly more subtle. There is also a roasted malt, molasses, slightly chocolate aftertaste and a slight bitterness that is by no means overpowering. The taste of alcohol is present, which isn’t at all surprising considering this is 11%, however it is not at all overpowering or even as strong as the smell suggested. There is a creamy mouth-feel that lingers in your mouth even after a minute or so. This is really a great coffee stout. I don’t know if I necessarily like it better than the original, which is probably a top beer for me, but it is certainly complementary to it and undoubtedly worth trying in its own right.

Jun 12, 2016
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HopHunter19 from Missouri

4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

A - dark brown black beer with a big mocha head that dissipates eventually but leaves some lacing, moderate alcohol legs present on the glass
S - big smooth coffee, milk chocolate, caramel, cream
T - smooth espresso/coffee, milk chocolate, caramel, cream, very slight oxidation (it is 3 y old at this point)
M- so smooth, but heavy mouthfeel, alcohol completely covered, aftertaste is coffee, espresso, milk chocolate
O- damn close to being a chocolate milk shake in beer form. Great beer.

May 20, 2016
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stevoj from Idaho

4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2014 Release. Black and slick, dark roast malts smack you in the face. Deep and rich, an immersive experience, one of the best out here....and i'm not a coffee/beer fan

May 18, 2016
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colts9016 from Idaho

4.67/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass at 52 degrees.
An inky dark black abyss resides in this glass with an equally ominous dark tan creamy one finger head. The head has good retention.

A rich roast coffee note, dark chocolate, grainy, toasty, nutty, caramel, floral, molasses, brown sugar, and vanilla.

The beer explodes with coffee, and dark chocolate, grainy, yeasty, nutty, dark fruits, floral, molasses, vanilla, resin, and caramel.

The beer is creamy, chewy, smooth and slightly bitter with an alcohol warming note.

Amazing, is the best word I can use. Simply put this is an awesome beer Stone RIS itself is a great beer, and this one is too. I love coffee and RIS, it could not be better. A very balanced beer with bold yet refined subtle nuances.

May 13, 2016
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papat444 from Canada (QC)

3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black body, aroma of coffee beans arises. Rich espresso, fudge, rum balls, macadamia nuts. Has a bit of a bitter finish but this was a nice sipper.

Apr 30, 2016
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Jadjunk from Georgia

3.54/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

"This odd Year edition was brewed in the authentic historical style of an imperial Russian Stout, but with the addition of severl hundred pounds of espresso beans from our friend at Ryan Bros. Coffee. Actually, they could be considered historically accurate, since the Russian nobility were as fond of earthy breakfast beverages as they were of hearty dark beers. Catherine the Great herself bolstered her finesse for ruling an empire by drinking five cups of black coffee every morning during her lengthy reign. While we couldn't fit five cups of coffee in every bottle of this darkly delicious libation, we assure you that the deep, rich espresso flavors are unmistakable and meld beautifully with the roasty bitterness of the dark mals. Catherine would have whole-heartedly approved." Brewed in the style of a Russian Imperial Stout, available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft. 2013 Exclusive variant on an annual release.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a fizzy frothed head of a caramel brown tone over a very dark brown body. Retention is average and there is no visible lacing. 3.5

(Smell) Earthy, acidic coffee bean notes, moderate roasted barley grains, milky chocolate, toasted bread malts, exposed alcohol. Fairly rich aromas with a pleasing, but admittedly faded coffee bean presence. 3.75

(Taste) Smooth burnt chocolate and roasted malt presence with very trace coffee notes, acidity remaining in full. Tangy and smooth with a charred finish. More than a sliver of alcohol peeking through, very exposed and hot. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Textures are slick, slightly chewy, very dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a mild frothiness and a fully crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, shy of heavy overall. Balance is roasty, earthy bitter, acidic and boozy over sweet. Alcohol presence is moderate/heavy. 3.25

(Overall) No, the espresso does not hold up with time. No, you should not wait any longer before trying this beer if you have it at all, and no, it's almost certainly not as good as it was when it first arrived on shelves. The roastiness, acidity and burnt chocolate character still lingers boldly, and the sweetness of the body and coffee beans has fermented out and faded in time. It's drinkable, but far from outstanding, edging on even enjoyable. I'm kind of kicking myself for forgetting about this beer, and am looking forward to Stone brewing possibly considering bringing this back during their 20th anniversary encore series. People loved it, and I'm sure I would too. 3.5

Stone Brewing Co.'s
Espresso Imperial Russian Stout

Apr 29, 2016
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ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

3.69/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Props to the nose on this as it held on to the coffee pretty damn well. It's still showing and offers a nice sort of sweet and creamy coffee beverage aroma.

Not nearly as much coffee on the tastebuds, but shit, this is 3 years old. What bums me a bit is how much of a solventy, unmistakeable alcohol flavor this has towards the finish. One, I'd expect less given the time transpired and two it's even too much for a fresh beer. Still, there are some velvety chocolate and brownie notes, vanilla, and earthy hops to enjoy.

Starts off delectably sweet and creamy and full-bodied. So much promise. Then comes an injection of alcohol that feels like like rubbing alcohol. Such a disappointing presence as it undoes the beer without question. Thankfully a spike of bitterness and roast follow to close things out, allowing me some respite from booze.

Not sure why there's so much blatant booze on this but it screws with the beer. It doesn't ruin it, but it ain't helping either.

Apr 27, 2016
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ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Looks as good as the best RIS beers.
Smell: Roasted malt, bitter coffee, molasses, burnt sugars.
Taste: Raisin, plum, fig, and then coffee.
Feel: Not as thick and chewy as I expected, but good enuff!
Overall: This is a very well done beer and certainly worth a taste.
Incidentally, this was bottled 3/13/2016 and I think 6 months buried in the cellar would improve it immensely.

Apr 18, 2016
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chinchill from South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz 2013 bottle at 2016 ASMF.

Strongly flavored with enough coffee, dark grains or hops to completely overpower the others in most beers. In this fine brew, however, they coexist in good balance.
Even after over 2 years, this is still a little boozy, but this works well for this strongly flavored brew. The coffee strength is surely lower than when fresh but is still the last thing to fade from the long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: with the base beer a favorite, this coffee-added version should be a winner and it doesn't disappoint.

Apr 08, 2016
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larryarms847 from Illinois

4.37/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich and thick motor oil black as I would expect from Stone's IRS, a thin half-finger layer of foam that dissipates rapidly.

As a coffee fan, the aroma of this is truly outstanding. Huge roasted coffee and espresso notes power through, smells like a coffee house.

After smelling the sweet sweet coffee aroma from this, I expected more in flavor but that's where things started to fall off. Rich notes of espresso and roasty goodness, but overall not as complex as I was hoping.

Heavy-bodied, low carbonation, slick, roasty, bitter, decent.

Overall, truly outstanding in aroma, but lacks complexity to make this a more interesting beer. If you're looking for straight espresso, this is it. But if you're looking for something to ponder over, this is not that.

Mar 04, 2016
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buschbeer from Ohio

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

1 PT. 6 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black with an inch of mocha head that leaves a little lacing.

There is the obvious coffee smell. I also get some chocolate and roasted malt.

The coffee hits my palate first. It gives way to some burnt toast and has a bitter, black coffee finish.

Full mouthfeel with low carbonation

Almost three years did not hurt this beer at all. It still tasted great with plenty of coffee flavor and aroma to go around.

Jan 28, 2016
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BeerIslander from Washington

4.79/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage

Pour: Black as midnight, dark mocha colored head.

Smell: Roasted espresso beans, molasses, taffy, delicate hints of caramel, dark chocolate

Taste: Coffee, chocolate, nicely roasted malt

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant, some carbonation (but not too much), a nice and light roasty finish, and I can't taste the alcohol at 11%

Overall: Stone has cranked out a masterpiece, and I hope that they make it again. This is perfect for aging for a couple of years. What a find.

Dec 14, 2015
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justinp444 from Michigan

4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vintage 2013. Poured into a tulip it has a inch thick head of light beige with a pitch black body.Smell of fresh roasted coffee, chocolate roasted malt, licorice, vanilla, and caramel. Taste is tons of espresso, slight chocolate, bitter roasted malt, a fresh coffee aftertaste, slight vanilla, and some caramel. Mouth feel is full and rich with a good amount of carbonation for a crisp taste and a full body. Aged to become a bit more bitter, but a whole lot more complex on the nose and a tad bit creamier to me.

Nov 26, 2015
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hophugger from Virginia

4.6/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amazing deep chocolate, almost black color with a couple fingers of tan head, fizzy and clinging to all sides of the visible glass. Aromas of heavily roasted coffee, espresso and sweet malts. Taste is amazing. This 2 year old beer has great flavors of espresso, roasted, quality coffee beans, sweet and slightly bitter maltiness and balances so well together. Aftertaste is so clean, with only a touch of bitterness and a nice lingering roast coffee flavor. Definitely, the most balanced and flavorful Coffee stout I have ever had. If you have the chance, do not miss it...2103 odd year release. Hope they make it again !!!!!!!!

Sep 13, 2015
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pat61 from Minnesota

4.75/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tasting notes. Rich espresso and dark malt on the nose. Very rich espresso and malts with hints of sherry or port. Surprisingly not a hop bomb. Fruit, some chocolate. Very smooth, a very good Russian Imperial Stout. Very fine, soft carbonation. Creamy, chewy. This is stupendous.

Aug 11, 2015
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arvidkoval from Alaska

4.36/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/28/13

L- Pitch black. Tan head.

S- Espresso nose.

T- Espresso, some dark chocolate, just a general roasty malt flavor. Bittersweet finish.

F- Nice feel, wouldn't mind it being a bit thicker though.

O- This is way better than the regular IRS in my opinion. DELICIOUS!

Mar 13, 2015
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Brolo75 from California

4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass. This is the 2013 release reviewed in 2015

A: Black with some light coming through on the edges, nice creamy mocha head, some lacing, viscous, looks really nice.

A: Big roasted chocolate, coffee aromas, roasted malts, some alcohol, smells really great.

T: Roasted chocolate, dark fruits, malts, bitterness on the back end, some coffee, finishes really dry. Taste great, easy drinking.

M: Lots of carbonation, dry, viscous, smooth on the palate.

O: Pretty good, not a lot of coffee but after two years I'd expect some decrease in coffee presence. I've never had this fresh or Stone Imperial Russian Stout. Reminds me of Narwhal with a bitter finish. I think that maybe the coffee residue coming through, it's definitely worth a try.

Feb 28, 2015
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Canada_Dan from Colorado

4.48/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013, 8 oz pour served in a snifter. On tap at Freshcraft in Denver
Look- midnight black with a creamy brown head that sticks to the sides of the glass. This one's got legs.
Smell- dark roast coffee, sweet roasted malts and chocolate. Booziness is faint but there and there's a sweet smokiness like pipe tobacco also present.
Taste- Love the coffee flavor, so upfront and carries through the entire sip. Alcohol is well hidden . Getting more dark, dry chocolate but also some sweetness from the roasted malt.
Feel- Thick mouthfeel but not over the top. Perfect for the style.
Overall- Not sure how I passed this beer up so many times. One of the best coffee stouts I've had no doubt. World class

Dec 19, 2014
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Bosoxfan20 from Missouri

4.27/5  rDev -2.1%

Very similar to the reg version. Subtle yet delightful coffee notes on the back end that give this a nice twist. The yr of aging I gave this one helped add to the smooth, mellow nature of it compared to a fresh IRS, but may have led to the espresso notes being more in the background than if it were fresh. Very good

Nov 23, 2014
Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 2739 ratings