Espresso Imperial Russian Stout
Stone Brewing

Espresso Imperial Russian StoutEspresso Imperial Russian Stout
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Stone Brewing
California, United States
Russian Imperial Stout
4.34 | pDev: 7.83%
Feb 05, 2021
Apr 17, 2013
Espresso Imperial Russian StoutEspresso Imperial Russian Stout
Notes: None
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Photo of Rschis16
Reviewed by Rschis16 from Maryland

4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
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
Photo of rodbeermunch
Reviewed by rodbeermunch from Nevada

3.97/5  rDev -8.5%
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
Rated: 4.31 by JoeLacy from Ohio

Sep 15, 2019
Photo of GuyFawkes
Reviewed by GuyFawkes from Illinois

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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
Rated: 4.19 by khargro2 from Tennessee

Dec 19, 2018
Rated: 4.31 by OtisCampbell007 from Tennessee

Dec 17, 2018
Rated: 4 by 1971bernat from Virginia

Jan 03, 2018
Photo of Dspader1
Reviewed by Dspader1 from Minnesota

4.44/5  rDev +2.3%
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
Rated: 4.44 by Erik-P from Canada (BC)

Mar 15, 2017
Rated: 4.44 by sanitarium16 from New Jersey

Feb 06, 2017
Rated: 4.46 by npachl from Wisconsin

Jan 30, 2017
Rated: 4.48 by bcsbeer from Florida

Jan 07, 2017
Rated: 4.24 by Superheatnsubcool from Washington

Dec 27, 2016
Rated: 4.5 by jkhobbs99 from Texas

Nov 26, 2016
Photo of Hyptochrons
Reviewed by 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
Rated: 4.78 by Wenzl from Massachusetts

Nov 07, 2016
Rated: 4.5 by Doomcifer from Rhode Island

Oct 15, 2016
Photo of SoCal_Matt
Reviewed by SoCal_Matt from California

4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
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
Photo of Bierliebhaber3
Reviewed by Bierliebhaber3 from Massachusetts

4.63/5  rDev +6.7%
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
Rated: 4.5 by sposter4 from Pennsylvania

Jun 04, 2016
Photo of HopHunter19
Reviewed by HopHunter19 from Missouri

4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
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
Photo of stevoj
Reviewed by stevoj from Idaho

4.26/5  rDev -1.8%
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
Photo of colts9016
Reviewed by colts9016 from Idaho

4.67/5  rDev +7.6%
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
Rated: 3.97 by vonSchulze from California

May 12, 2016
Rated: 4.33 by bb-magic from Florida

May 07, 2016
Photo of papat444
Reviewed by papat444 from Canada (QC)

3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
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
Photo of Jadjunk
Reviewed by Jadjunk from Georgia

3.54/5  rDev -18.4%
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
Photo of ONovoMexicano
Reviewed by ONovoMexicano from New Mexico

3.69/5  rDev -15%
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
Photo of ZebulonXZogg
Reviewed by ZebulonXZogg from Illinois

3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
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
Photo of chinchill
Reviewed by chinchill from South Carolina

4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
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
Rated: 4.42 by msumike89 from Colorado

Apr 03, 2016
Rated: 4.68 by MrHolden from Texas

Mar 29, 2016
Photo of Getalegup
Rated by Getalegup from Texas

4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Espresso has melded into a smooth coffee stout, darkest brown, tan foam, low carb, slight sweetness too, awesome!
Mar 29, 2016
Rated: 4.67 by gaesori from Korea (South)

Mar 11, 2016
Photo of larryarms847
Reviewed by larryarms847 from Illinois

4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
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
Rated: 4 by Brown120 from Pennsylvania

Mar 04, 2016
Rated: 4.35 by Warren2621 from Indiana

Feb 26, 2016
Rated: 4.43 by liquorpig from Massachusetts

Feb 16, 2016
Rated: 4.15 by OptimatorPrime from Minnesota

Feb 15, 2016
Rated: 4.28 by smi69 from New York

Jan 31, 2016
Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 2739 ratings