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: 382 | Ratings: 2,738 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Reviews by SirElton:
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SirElton from California

2.5/5  rDev -42.7%

Apr 02, 2014
More User Reviews:
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jlindros from Massachusetts

4.52/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I've been excited to try this for a while now, and finally got around to it.

Pours a nice dark creamy frothy thick 1 finger mocha colored head that fades semi slowly, a nice lacing, pitch black beer with not light coming through, kinda reminds me of the kaffee I got in Belgium.

Nose is great, just as expected, lots of dark malts, a little roast, with hints of dark chocolate and super dark intense cocoa. then loads of coffee and espresso, fresh roasted ground coffee beans, super pact espresso rich nutty like, a nice roast without being super acrid either. It also brings a light smoked malt character which is also interesting, and a light nutty caramel aroma somewhere under that, and even a faint vanilla character. So much fresh coffee and espresso roast!

Taste starts with loads of dark malts as expected, big creamy dark chocolate, so much chocolate, dark cocoa, a little thick milk chocolate, nice melting Belgian chocolate, a little vanilla and some nice caramel as well. Roasted malts are there but barely, but they lead teh way for the big coffee flavor, and fresh espresso beans, freshly ground and somewhat freshly roasted coffee, and a nice rich coffee flavor. It doesn't get acrid, at all, which is really interesting for how much fresh roasted espresso is in this, I can almost feel the caffeine seeping into my tongue. There is also a hint of warming booze, but not much, and with the mild sweetness and huge roasty coffee and dark chocolate, drinks like the abv is closer to 7%. Besides a mild bitterness from teh roasted coffee, there is also a light earthy hop presence, but barely. Finish is drier but a little sticky as it really coats the mouth, with more earthy bitterness, long fresh roasted espresso beans lingering for a long time, and a bit more dark chocolate.

Mouth is full bodied, nice and creamy, thick and somewhat lush, just a touch of booze.

Overall lives up to the hype, this beer is awesome! It's no Vietnamese Speedway, but it's not too far off. No flaws in this beer, everything in the right proportions, very tasty, and way too drinkable!

Jun 14, 2013
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tmbgnicu from Pennsylvania

4.81/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap at Sabatini's in Exeter, PA. Quite frankly, this is my favorite non BA stout. It pours black as night, it smells of coffee, caramel, heady malt. The taste is incredible, liked being hugged by a cup of coffee, it's clean and crisp but maintains the characteristics you expect from a stout. I have two bottles of this sitting in my cellar, and I can't wait to open one. I wish Stone brewed this one every year.

Jun 02, 2014
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brentk56 from North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: A rather thin mocha head sits atop the pitch black liquid, even after a somewhat hard pour; not much staying power, though there a more than a few dots of lace left behind on the chalice

Smell: I was expecting more coffee but this is really fruity, with prunes and dates interspersed with chocolate and coffee tones

Taste: Fruitier, too, on the palate than what I was expecting, with prune and date flavors forward pushing into the bitterness brought from the hops (it is a Stone, of course) and coffee; underneath, chocolate and coffee underpin the flavor profile with a bit of lactose softening the finish

Mouthfeel: Full bodied with moderate carbonation and some warmth in the gullet

Overall: Quite different from what I was expecting and the bitter hop flavors were a bit of a distraction for me; good, but there are other coffee stouts I prefer more

Jun 29, 2013
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rhoadsrage from Illinois

4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

2013 release
(Served in a snifter)
A- This beer pours an obsidian black body with a thick meniscus of cocoa tan foam that soon breaks up into a thick ring.

S- The inky black roasted barley has hints of cold espresso that grow with some dark graham malt sweetness in the finish. There is a vegetal, capsicum note and some iodine notes that grow in the finish aswell.

T- The inky black malt flavor has some green vegetal and capsicum quality without any heat to it and a dark chocolate malt finish. There is a cold espresso flavor in the finish that grows and compliments the other malt flavors. The black roasted bitterness lingers for a moment in the finish.

M- The full mouthfeel has a luscious thickness with a gentle alcohol warmth that finishes each sip nicely.

O- This beer has a nice rich depth to it with the espresso adding a nice quality to the beer without being over the top. It was delicious but the vegetal flavor was a bit odd and got in the way of the other flavors. I’m not sure if this would age out or get worse but it could really improve if the coffee flavor stayed and the vegetal note left.

May 28, 2013
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tectactoe from Michigan

4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Stone's original IRS is a doozy, but one of my (only) complains about it is that it's got a bit too much anise and black licorice sweetness to it. I always thought a little more coffee would balance it perfectly, and viola - Stone Espresso IRS comes out the next year. Very excited to try this - it sounds delicious on paper. Bought a few bottles around town, but thanks to Chris for generously cracking one of his.

Espresso IRS pours a deep-ass, oily black - literally almost no traces of any color can be seen. It looks thick, heavy, and viscous as it plops into the glass as a small, tan, fine-bubbled head slowly rises from the bottom up. It quickly recedes to a mere skin atop the black hole, but a few spotty traces of lacing are still left on the glass. What would a Stone brew be without a little bit of lace?

Extremely deep roasted coffee beans fill the aroma - it's like the French roast that's over-roasted, charred, and burnt. Seriously, the aroma is ashy and roasty beyond belief. Some underlying cocoa notes spike about midway through after your nostrils get used to the coffee a bit, along with a faint sweetness - but make no mistake, the scorched coffee bean aroma is the king of this playground.

As expected, coffee hits first and foremost. Again, such a dark blend of beans it seems - triple shot, hold the cream. I'll say it again - roasted, bitter, ashy, and burnt like you wouldn't believe. Not only does this balance, but it nearly cancels out the abundant sweetness found in the original IRS. I'm not really getting any dark fruits or anise here - just coffee with the ever-so-slightest hint of dark chocolate. The palate after-coating actually contains a light nutty and woody flavor, but they still remain secondary to the coffee. Thick, chewy, and creamy on the palate with a huge body, ample carbonation.

Well this tasted at least as good as I thought it would be, and I thought it would be pretty damn good. It met my expectations of overriding the anise-like sweetness from the original IRS by not only balancing the sweetness with heavy, bitter roast, but nearly obliterating them completely. Needless to say, I'd choose this over the original IRS any day, so I'm sad that it will most likely be only a one-time release. Guess I need to stock up!

May 10, 2013
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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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stakem from Pennsylvania

3.94/5  rDev -9.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber into a matching Stone standard pint glass. The brew pours black in color with a finger of khaki head that fades to a thin film leaving a wall of patchy lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma includes plenty of coffee character with a backing of roasted grain typical of the base brew. Notes of bitter baker's cocoa mingle with a hint of mineral character and earthen aspects. A tinge of alcohol and fruity hops wrap things up in the aroma department.

The flavor is bitter and roasted. Fresh coffee, mineral and earthen aspects give way to bitter chocolate just like the aroma suggested. The 11% abv is present with a fruity accent and a bit of solvent burn across the back of the throat. More sips reveal an increased bitterness not just from the coffee/roasted grain but also from the presence of some hops.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. I gotta admit that I am a big fan of the standard stone IRS and everything about this brew seemed like a win. I was surprised to see a slight bump in alcohol level over the base brew, I expected it to be lower with the coffee edition. I think the alcohol is a little too forward and some aging might do that aspect good but if I had more of this, I would not hesitate in drinking it for fear that the coffee would fade leaving you with just a lightly different standard Stone IRS. Regardless, this is good stuff, get it while you can.

May 24, 2013
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MasterSki from Canada

4.1/5  rDev -6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Bottle from Whole Foods. Shared this with the lovely ladies at Debonair Social Club. Served in a fine plastic cup.

A - Creamy mocha foam settles to a thin cap, thick collar, and splotchy lacework. Very dark brown with some mild transparency at the fringes.

S - Iced coffee dominates, with modest amounts of baker's chocolate, raisins, dark fruits, a dollop of caramel, and perhaps a hint of anise. Still, very much an espresso-forward beer.

T - The taste is similarly coffee-heavy; it's a bit rough and diner-esque. More roasty, dark, an licorice-heavy than the aroma, but still a sweeter American-style stout on the whole. More of the base beer comes out as this warms, with notes of biscuit and caramel and less coffee as this reaches room temperature.

M - Surprisingly zesty carbonation. Tannic and gritty texture, medium body that becomes a bit creamier as the beer warms up. Some mild warming alcohol.

D - I drank the majority of the bomber as the ladies just weren't feeling coffee beer. Got a bit fatiguing near the end, but still largely enjoyable. Much better than the 'Belgian Anus' version of the IRS.

May 29, 2013
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claspada from New Jersey

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

May 26, 2013
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juhl31 from California

3.75/5  rDev -14%

May 18, 2014
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cdwil from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

May 16, 2013
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rightcoast7 from Maine

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%

Sep 20, 2014
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Cris4545 from Indiana

5/5  rDev +14.7%

May 12, 2013
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EricClayton from West Virginia

5/5  rDev +14.7%

May 18, 2013
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Lethargy99 from New York

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Jun 15, 2013
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bmurray10 from Texas

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

May 27, 2013
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neckbeered from Montana

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Jun 10, 2013
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Stout-lover1443 from Pennsylvania

3.75/5  rDev -14%

Dec 07, 2013
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tbeq00 from California

4.75/5  rDev +8.9%

Jun 13, 2013
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seanchai from Virginia

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Aug 11, 2013
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paulys55 from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

May 31, 2013
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jschonert from Missouri

4/5  rDev -8.3%

Jun 03, 2013
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dnb128 from Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Apr 17, 2014
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Pinche_Oso from California

4.5/5  rDev +3.2%

Oct 23, 2013
Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 2738 ratings