Bourbon Barrel RIS
Stoneface Brewing Co.

Bourbon Barrel RISBourbon Barrel RIS
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Stout - Russian Imperial
Ranked #127
Ranked #2,443
4.33 | pDev: 6.93%
Stoneface Brewing Co.
New Hampshire, United States
Bourbon Barrel RISBourbon Barrel RIS
Reviews: 24 | Ratings: 60 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of Damian
Damian from Massachusetts

3.86/5  rDev -10.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Drank from a 1 pint, 0.9 fluid ounces bottle purchased at Fort Point Market, Boston, MA
Served in a tulip

The beer poured a thinner bodied, dark brown/black and was topped by a small, frothy, mocha colored crown that dropped to a bubbly mass. Streaky, patchy lacing stuck along the glass.

The aroma was yeasty and dry and really simplistic initially, but it improved dramatically as the head dissolved. Smooth bourbon notes appeared. Fairly boozy. Lots of fragrant vanilla and brown sugar sweetness too. Some dark chocolate was also noticeable. With time, the vanilla and brown sugar continued to intensify.

The flavor profile was a bit rougher around the edges. Big dark roasted malt presence on the front end. Slightly charred. Boozy, bourbon notes kicked in next. Bit of vanilla in the center. Minimal overall sweetness. More roasty bitterness and booze on the back end and the finish. Some alcohol heat lingered after the swallow.

The mouthfeel was very thin and watery, especially for the style. The liquid contained a fine, subtle effervescence that made the beer feel somewhat flat.

While the aroma was really interesting and the bourbon notes were front and center in the flavor profile, this beer was nevertheless a bit disappointing. Perhaps more time in the cellar could have smoothed out its rougher edges, but nothing could improve the terrible mouthfeel.

Oct 09, 2019
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TheGent from New Jersey

3.97/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: This Stout pours an opaque, pitch black color. A thick head of light brown foam that settles to a ring around the edge of the glass, leaving strands of lacing in its wake. No visible carbonation. A great looking stout.

Smell: A nice stout nose, but rather subtle. The first thing I pick up is a bit vegetal like fresh pumpkin. The bourbon barrel treatment is evident with notes of heavily toasted coconut, some vanilla and a woody note. Milk chocolate and a soft nutmeg spicyness. Some heat from the ABV.

Taste: Up front the beer is semi-sweet and smooth with some milk chocolate The finish dries out a little bit. It’s long with prominent woody, nutty, toasty, moderately bitter flavors.

Mouthfeel: Low carbonation and velvety smooth.

Overall: This beer is really nice. It’s not the biggest and boldest BBA RIS I’ve had. But, the bitter and toasty finish to the beer is really nice and something I really enjoy in this style.

Jul 14, 2019
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Bierman9 from New Hampshire

4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Picked up a 16.9oz bottle today at The Flight Center in Nashua for $11.50. Digging in now out in The 'Zebo...

Drained about half the bottle with a hard pour into my Smutty snifter. It's a complete black hole, even when held up to the sun. Head is a frothy, rocky heap of mocha colored foam. The head lasts well, with decent lace. Aroma is quite inviting, with cocoa, molasses and vanilla and some bourbon. Nice!! The beer is very smooth, and body is a hair more than medium. Point off for not being thicker and chewy.

Flavor has dark choco, cocoa and mocha, more vanilla, and hints of black cherries. Bourbon is still there, though nicely in the background and not in yo' face. Very light on the hopping, it finishes with residual chocolate sweetness. Very drinkable for a 9.5% ABV brew. Prosit!!

4.29/5 rDev -0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25


May 08, 2019
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puboflyons from New Hampshire

4.51/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

From the 05/08/2018 batch bottle. Sampled at 50 degrees on May 7, 2019 (I couldn't wait one more day to make it a year?)

Gorgeous looking jet black pour underneath a quickly fading tan head with no lacing to speak of.

Powerful aroma of dark roasted chocolate malts, dark fruit in the distance, wood, Bourbon and booze.

I would put the mouthfeel at medium to full. Not super heavy but definitely creamy.

The flavor is immediately sweet and roasty but the dark fruits and the 9.5% alcohol chime in to make their mark. A warming and lingering finish. This is quite the beer and a good representation of the style.

May 07, 2019
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Holderness from Massachusetts

4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1,000 lumens passed through the glass reveals a surprisingly light brown body. A very classic smelling and tasting, barrel-aged RIS that covers all the important aspects of chocolate, bourbon barrel character, dried fruit sweetness, molasses, etc.


Apr 28, 2019
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gopens44 from Virginia

4.3/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice frothy beige head doesn’t hide the wonderful aroma jumping from this beer. Dates, almond, vanilla and bakers chocolate in nearly equal parts with only a split second of heat as it tapers off. As it heats up, a bit more alcohol is boiling off, therefore masking some of the initial characteristics just slightly. Taste is solid throughout temperature changes as it starts with chocolate, leans towards vanilla a bit until finally the alcohol wins out as the finishing taste. Upon exit a little sweetness lingers on an otherwise dry tongue.

Apr 14, 2019
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Knapp85 from Pennsylvania

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured out black with a tan head on top that fades into a small ring around the glass. The smell of the beer is of bourbon notes, wood, chocolate and some sugar. The taste of the beer is basically some bourbon flavors along with dark fruits and chocolate roast. The feel is full bodied and nicely carbonated. Overall it's a solid brew!

Jul 03, 2018
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jzeilinger from Pennsylvania

4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Many thanks to Sawdog505 for this bottle!

A - Dark coffee colored with dense toffee lacing on top.

S - Bourbon, oak, vanilla, light char. The nose is not in your face but perfectly blended.

T - Bourbon / whiskey, oak, vanilla, chocolate, light char, cherry - all from start to finish. Perfect blend across the board.

M - Full bodied, velvety and silky with light warming in the back of the throat.

O - Highly recommended. WOW!

Jul 03, 2018
Photo of SawDog505
SawDog505 from New Hampshire

4.67/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

[IMG] So this a beer many don’t know about and what a shame. Had a coach from minors team baseball team snag a few of these gems Friday on its bottle release and wow. Pours a gorgeous pitch black with a nice two finger mocha head that leaves a big thick circle of lace around the entire glass. 5

Smell is loaded with roasty coffee beans, deep dark chocolate, oaked vanilla beans, toffee, and just a gentle kiss of bourbon clears those Spring Sunday morning sinuses. 4.75

Taste follows and it is bigger than 9.5% ABV because the bourbon kicks you in the puss immediately, Oak, strong black coffee, toffee, vanilla, and oh did I mention bourbon already and not over the top, but enough to know they don’t know how to retest a beers ABV after it hangs out in bourbon for a half a year or more. Drinks more like 11.5 or 12 and I am not complaining at all! 4.5

Mouthfeel is on the bigger side but slightly creamy and that is probably because I have this gem just above room temperature, with just the right amount of life, a tad dry and that is normal for a stout like this, and as I said drinks much bigger than its 9.5, but still easy drinking because of how complex it is. 4.75

Overall this is a treat, one of those beers that few know about and that is a good thing for me, but I have had many of the greats in this style and this will stand up against all of them. World class! 4.75

May 20, 2018
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ScaryEd from New Hampshire

4.86/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

2 year old vintage poured into a tulip glass.

Pours a pitch black color with a finger of creamy, caramel head. The head has surprisingly good retention, hanging around for a while before settling into a nice film. Leaves very little in the way of lacing.

The aroma brings tons of bourbon, vanilla, milk chocolate, and plums, with a slight touch of sweet cream, dark roast coffee, and caramel. The back end brings notes of sweet cereal grains before finishing with soy sauce and piney hops. Incredibly complex nose on this one.

The flavor is just idiotic. There is so much going on here. Sweet cream, vanilla, chocolate, and plenty of bourbon, followed by waves of caramel, roasted nuts, charred coffee, and molasses. Finishes much like the aroma, with plenty of cereal grains and graham crackers leading up to some soy sauce and bitter hops.

The feel is full-bodied with lower carbonation. Smooth as hell and creamy as your mom's ass. Plenty of alcohol warmth but that's to be expected.

Overall, holy crap. This is a damn beer. This is easily one of the best barrel aged stouts I've ever had. It's rich, complex, and loaded with flavor. I'm very lucky to have tried this.

Oct 04, 2017
Photo of CHickman
CHickman from New York

4.29/5  rDev -0.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Cracked open a bottle which I aged a few months and it poured pitch black color with a hissing/fizzing 1 finger foamy brown head that sounded and looked like a Coke, dissipating average time and leaving decent spotty lacing.

Smells of molasses, chocolate syrup, bourbon, cocoa powder, burnt coffee grinds, charred grains, dark chocolate, raisins and other dark fruit like plum or dates, light smoke, vanilla, piney hops, earthy notes like peat moss and soy sauce. Just enough char/smoke and bourbon to balance out the rich chocolate malts.

Tastes very smooth for a beer that smacks you in the mouth with bourbon to start things off. Like it smells, there are an abundance of chocolate, roasted malts, burnt coffee grinds and soy sauce to start, followed by caramel, a chocolate sweetness, vanilla, burnt marshmallow, oak or barrel notes, coconut, charred wood, roasted grains, bakers chocolate and smoky malts. I really like the way the sweetness and smoky malt notes battle for attention, and as that struggle ensues there are some brown sugar, cookie dough and earthy notes sliding in the back door with some piney hops to level out the bitterness and add dynamic complexities. A very well crafted beer.

Mouthfeel is creamy and very smooth with a mild alcohol burn that warms you up and helps tame the sweetness as this medium to thick bodied brew slides down like a boozy shake. Mild to no carbonation, a slightly bitter aftertaste and lingering coffee, bourbon, peat moss and chocolate let this trail off with the right amount of sweetness.

This is a very under-rated and tasty beer which if distributed outside of upper New England would be a big hit. It has all the right stout and barrel aged notes to sip and savor. The price point is excellent and this brew is worth seeking out.

Mar 09, 2017
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jbertsch from Massachusetts

4.19/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

2016 vintage so years old. Ive had a fresher version that I felt was missing barrel character, but this older vintage has a nice bourbon note that's neither too tame or strong. There could still stand to be some other layers of flavor here but overall its definitely enjoyable. Pretty soft, which is a little odd for a stout but in line with Stoneface beers.

Mar 04, 2017
Photo of jlindros
jlindros from Massachusetts

4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Been liking a lot of beers from this brewery, a BA RIS I really hope this is as good as I, er, hoped.

Pours a light fizzy darker colored head that fades pretty quickly, super long legs, pitch black thick beer.

Nose lots of barrel, toasted oak, sweet candy bourbon, smooth candy bourbon and vanilla with big buttery oak, a little dark chocolate, cocoa, chocolate cookie dough, a hint of smoked malt too, faint baking spice, sweet buttery toffee and caramel creams, a touch of roasted coffee, after tasting and re-smelling, a touch of that same yeasty character from yeast continuing to go too far in the bottle.

Taste brings more oak, lots of oak, buttery sweet toasted oak, caramel and toffee, lots of it as well, a little sweet cream, with mild sweet smooth bourbon, a touch of roast, and a touch of smoke, buttery biscuity cookie dough and baking spices, but there is also a strange flavor, like yeast went too far after bottling it's a similar flavor to a beer that was under attenuated when bottled and the yeast went to town in the bottle, but it's not over carbonated, smooth creamy malts, a touch of creamy cocoa and fudge, a hint of bitterness and a little booze warmth. Sticky semi sweet finish, a little more booze warmth, and a bit of chocolate cake with buttery caramel toffee lingering.

Mouth is med to heavier bod, a bit creamy, plenty of carb maybe a touch too much, a touch of warming booze.

Overall pretty good, great malt profile, nice barrel buttery oak, a bit of chocolate, lots of caramel toffee and baked goods, etc, but a touch of that off flavor under attenuated initially flavor and a bit over carbonated as well, a touch boozy, otherwise a very nice beer. This has the potential to be incredible, but that off character just gets in the way, so if they could redo it and fix it...

Feb 24, 2017
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M_chav from New Mexico

3.46/5  rDev -20.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Huge thanks to my dude Seth for sending a bottle my way, been wanting to try this for a long while after reading all of the great reviews....
Seems way overcarbonated, I held it on my tongue and felt a constant fizz of bubbles. Feels like on a Sprite or 7up level. Takes away from the mouthfeel that I was craving. Not getting anything except a little bit of chocolate and lite sprite... can't get over that carb, it's just overwhelming. A lot of reviews mentioned a vanilla taste that I'm not getting.. maybe this batch wansn't up to par from past batches but just not loving this thing like I thought I would

Feb 12, 2017
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yesterdayfaraway from Missouri

4.44/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

L: pours dark brow bit looks black in the glass and it pours a small tan head
S: bitter sweet chocolate, sharp bourbon, but lacking a big aroma
T: very nice here. Smooth bourbon and sweet chocolate! A great combo
F: a bit thin but real smooth.
O: a nice surprise here, didn't know what to think since I've never heard of it. A great ba stout!

Sep 11, 2016
Photo of Alieniloquium
Alieniloquium from Florida

4/5  rDev -7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 mL bottle. Black body. Smells of bourbon and oak. Some vanilla. Some roasted malt and coffee. Tastes of strong coffee that is immediately cut by vanilla and bourbon. Sweet. Really oaky. Boozy with a medium heavy body. Intense bourbon, but it works.

Aug 16, 2016
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Kurmaraja from California

4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a bit lighter, less viscous due to lower ABV and dry nature. But a beautiful off color head that actually laces pretty nicely. Not many sub 10% BA stouts out there can compare. Smell is restrained and a bit burnt at low temps but opens nicely with warmth. Oak, nougat, dark chocolate syrup. Flavor builds and gets pretty intense over the glass - chocolate and some dark roast reminscent of coffee up front, moving through toffee, hints of vanilla, and then an oak and nougat finish. Dry, great barrel character, no alcohol burn. Creamy body that, again, improves and coats as the beer warms.

May 07, 2016
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BarrytheBear from Wisconsin

3.55/5  rDev -18%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Awesome opportunity thanks to Cam!

Guess I didn't have the same experience as most here....pours and drinks rather thin. Lighter bodied, lacks any depth in RIS characteristics, barrel is very muted, finishes ashy. Just not enough here to put this among the better BA RIS, rather it's pretty mediocre.

Mar 25, 2016
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Skellbop from New York

4.4/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

L - black, with light tan, even head and lacing that lasts
S - lots of vanilla and get a bit of the barrel/alcohol as well
T - lots of roastiness, with a bit of chocolate on the back end. Alcohol went away as it warmed. Would appreciate a bit more vanilla/barrel effects
F - nice and chewy

Feb 22, 2016
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cjohns73 from Delaware

4.74/5  rDev +9.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I did not write a review my original time out with this (~1 month after bottling), but am returning here as I just drank one at ~9 months. My original feeling was that it had good taste, but the feel was too thin to support it. Other reviews echo the thin-ness. But at 9 months, much improved. Viscosity is up and the whole experience is richer and fuller. Excited for my remaining two bottles, and hoping for another release on Black Friday this year (if I can someone to wait in line again).

Dec 28, 2015
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johnnnniee from New Hampshire

4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared tonight by Mike C, thanks for the opportunity!
Deep black color, big tan head. Rich chocolate maltiness with plenty of oaky vanilla and light bourbon flavor to balance. Light earthy hop and some dark dried fruits round this out nicely. Very nicely made BA stout.

Dec 13, 2015
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DoctorD from Maine

4.55/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep black with a small, thick mocha colored head. Smells of oaky bourbon and hints of sweet caramel. This is such a smooth, smooth bourbon taste, not at all hot, and this is perhaps the most genuine barrel aged stout I have ever had. Most of the time when I have a barrel aged stout I think the brewer has just dropped some whiskey in at the end and it doesn't blend well with the beer itself but not in this case. The oaky elements seem integrated with the stout flavors a la BCBS. The feel is a just bit too thin for my liking - it's certainly not watery but it doesn't result in a long, lingering, sticky finish that would escalate this beer to epic proportions. Very much recommended.

Dec 11, 2015
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garyloveman from Massachusetts

4.43/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Poured a jet black, small brown head formed.
Smells like toffee and baker's chocolate.
Taste is awesome. Chocolate and toffee and sweet toasted marshmallow.
Feel is the only thing lacking in this beer. It's a little thin for this style. I'd prefer something with a little more silky substance.

Dec 09, 2015
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earljones199 from New Hampshire

4.6/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Been waiting on this for a while. The beer pours a viscous, pitch black with a good amount of thick, khaki-tan head that lingers for a long time. The smell is amazing. Tons of roast and barrel. Taste is even better with with everything coming together very nicely. This is one of the better balanced BA stouts I've had with everything working together seamlessly.

Stoneface has a reputation for it's hoppy beers but this should really help show everyone how complete of a brewery Stoneface is.

Nov 29, 2015
Bourbon Barrel RIS from Stoneface Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 93 out of 100 with 60 ratings