Beer Wednesday: Imperial Russian Stout by Stone Brewing

I am quite familiar with Stone Brewing. For one thing they are based in San Diego, just like Ballast Point Brewery; that innate characteristic makes them awesome by default. We all know how much Aaron loves Stone's Ruination IPA, which we all agree is one of the pinnacles of the IPA style. Stone clearly knows how to make a good beer.

That makes their lackluster Imperial Russian Stout all the more disappointing.

Where as the Ruination IPA takes the structure and flavor profile of an IPA, and then "pushes the envelope without ever being too much" as Aaron said, the Stone Imperial Russian Stout does not max out the imperial russian style. The outstanding thought I had drinking the beer was that it was too mellow, almost watered down in the context of the style. I expected something like the Ruination - bigger, bolder, more badass. I felt the beer had straightforward imperial stout characteristics like chocolate, mild coffee, and black licorice and fig.

All of it was too subdued for my liking. The problem really starts with the nose, which was not nearly aromatic enough in my opinion. On the plus side, the beer is easy drinking for being so big, and it is relatively full bodied. Still I would not call it the smoothest beer I've had by any stretch.

I believe this beer was $5.99 for a 22oz bottle. If you're a big fan of Stone or of imperial stouts, this beer is worth getting to compare it to its brethren. If you aren't in one of those two camps then I don't recommend going out of your way for it.


  1. One thing that I should point out is that I am apparently the minority opinion on this beer. It is universally lauded by both Beer Advocate (rating: A) and ratebeer (score: 100) as well as most other reviews I can find.

    So take that as you will. I was not even close to as big a fan as the above review sites.

  2. I don't know if I should chastise you for linking "awesome" to yourself or giving you credit for the chuckle it solicited from me....

  3. If it makes you feel any better, I did have a momentary (0.7 second) internal debate about whether I should have you linked to awesome or San Diego and vice versa for me.