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Stone Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Stone Imperial Russian StoutStone Imperial Russian Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
97
world-class

5,978 Ratings
THE BROS
93
outstanding

(view ratings)
Ratings: 5978
Reviews: 2531
rAvg: 4.35
pDev: 9.43%


Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  10.50% ABV

Availability: Spring

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-21-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 5,978 | Reviews: 2,531 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of schoolboy
schoolboy

Ohio

4.53/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

How can I criticize something as sublime as this brew? It's too easy to drink. There you go. They should not have made it so good.

It pours a creamy lush head and a beautiful black. The aroma is sweet and sticky, just like when you get it on your lips. The taste is mild - nothing harsh. A perfect balance of sweetness and hops. And the aftertaste is totally mellow, and it lingers a nice bitter.

This brew makes you think that you could have 10 pints of it when in fact three will get you wasted and more will do you in. I'm going to have two today, and I may go get another growler very soon.

Serving type: growler

12-14-2013 22:49:27 | More by schoolboy
Photo of Jamesthebrit
Jamesthebrit

Michigan

3.58/5  rDev -17.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Decently thick. Something of a brown head that quickly dissipates and leaves a nice lacing.

S: Big alcohol with this one. Vanilla. Smoky roasty. Nice but not mind blowing.

T: Theres a sourness hidden in there that is a little off... Otherwise oaky, alcoholy, vanilla, smoky. To be honest the alcohol very much overpowers and leaves a dry sourness in the finish.

M: Sits with a medium body. Alcohol really cuts through and theres a lingering sour bitterness that is rather out of place.

Overall this is IMO a pretty poor showing from Stone. The thin body really allows a bitterenss to cut through that lingers and is super gross. Great vanilla and smoke notes but not as great as I've known stone to be.

Serving type: growler

11-18-2012 21:56:39 | More by Jamesthebrit
Photo of jimilayne
jimilayne

New York

3.73/5  rDev -14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured out of a growler into a pint glass.

Pitch black with a small foamy head, about the thickness of a no. 2 pencil.

Dark coffee taste with hints of soy.

Heavily carbonated and too much of a bite for me. Taste doesn't match the feel in my opinion.

Not a big fan.

Serving type: growler

09-30-2012 12:22:59 | More by jimilayne
Photo of rtaps
rtaps

California

4/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2012

pours oil black with a nice brown head decent retention and looks mildly viscous, leaving some spotty lacing behind

not very complex on the nose but the aroma that is here are big, roasted chocolatey and some coffee

a lot of roasted notes, chocolate and some hops can be found with just a hint of nuttyness

light-medium bodied and mildly viscous

overall its good easy to drink and i typically not a fan of hoppy stout but it works here

Serving type: growler

05-14-2012 01:03:15 | More by rtaps
Photo of dcook11
dcook11

California

4.03/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured in to a shifter, pitch black with a small mocha head. Lacing is descent. Alcohol on the nose, coffee, milk chocolate, tobacco, small hop punch. Taste is rich and full bodied, again, chocolate and coffee dominant with hints of tobacco. Even fresh, this is a complex brew, with some age on it it will be excellent.

Serving type: growler

05-05-2012 04:42:26 | More by dcook11
Photo of mscudder
mscudder

Georgia

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

I reviewed the bottle a few days back and now I am back with a growler fill from HopCity in Atlanta.

A - Same as from a bottle: jet black with a nice thick tan head. Quality lacing.

S - Again very similar to the bottled version. Perhaps a tad less dense aroma. chocolates, coffee and roasted malts.

T - Absolutely fantastic. Deep flavors which begin with roasted malts, and follow with a creamy smooth chocolate infused sweetness. ABV is just as well masked as in a bottle. Beautiful RIS.

M - I have to say I find the beer superior in this catagory relative to its bottled counterpart. The carbonation is optimal and is truly everything I want in a big stout. Silky smooth, creamy and irresistible.

O - Overall this is the same top tier stout I have grown to love in a bottle. A bit better overall on draft, but nothing too substantial. Grab it if you get the chance!

Serving type: growler

04-25-2012 23:46:16 | More by mscudder
Photo of JohnnyChicago
JohnnyChicago

Illinois

4.43/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

One of my first Russian Imperials, but I never reviewed it...guess its about time.

Like the reviewer below me, I also picked up a growler of this from Whole Foods - Bowery. Poured into a snifter.

A: Pours a deep near-black with a slowly dropping latte-coloured head.

S: Dark chocolate notes are strongest with a generous helping of roast and bitter-bones hops.

T: It melts in the mouth like a luxurious 80% cacoa chocolate bar. Hop balance is keen and slightly piney. Roast notes are more subdued than I remember and the finish is clean and crisp, like a Black DIPA.

D: Just nails drinkability. I remember drinking this long before my palate had adjusted for higher ABV brews. Even back then I marveled at how well it hid the alcohol. Mouthfeel is nice and heavy, but honestly, could be a bit thicker. It doesn't have that "coat your mouth" thickness of some stouts.

Overall: After all the RIS that I've tried, this is still a top-notch brew. It is one of the benchmarks for the "American-Russian Imperial Stout" category and combined with its availability, affordability and reliability, it is a true classic. The SNPA of RIS.

Serving type: growler

10-12-2011 17:18:44 | More by JohnnyChicago
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

4.95/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Growler fill from Stone Brewing Co.

2005 vintage.

Pours a used motor oil black with a 1 inch dark brown head that fades to a very small cap. You cannot see through this beer whatsoever when it's held up to the light. Thick ring lacing on the drink down. Smells of roasted malt, rich espresso, dark chocolate, and cinnamon. Taste is perfect with roasted malts and coffee beans, bittersweet chocolate, and faint soy sauce. There is a delightful bittersweet finish that lingers on the tongue after each sip. Carbonation is good but it seems a bit flat overall. Thick and creamy in the mouth. Drinkability is beyond exceptional. I am very happy I have been able to try their 5+ year aged IRS. Very sad I only got a liter of this beer. Hopefully some of the bottles I have aging in my cellar will taste this good one day.

Serving type: growler

03-01-2011 05:38:41 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of ehammond1
ehammond1


4.9/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

Growler

Stone Brew Co.
Escondido, CA
02-27-2011 Sunday Funday Growler Fills

(Aged 6 years at the brewery)

2005 Stone Imperial Russian Stout

A midnight black pour with a medium sized head of brown and frothy bubbles. The head is the darkest I've ever seen. A devilishly beautiful beer! Some sticking bubbles and dots of unmoving lace appear down the glass. If the devil brewed a beer, I'm sure this is what he'd have it look like: complete sin and decadence.

The aroma is pure malty goodness. I don't detect any hops but they would only get in the way of this sweet and rich treat. I smell chocolate, and coffee, and something I really want to describe as "Red Vines Licorice."
The nose evolves as the beer warms, much like my experience with extraordinary quads and complex Belgian strong dark ales. I can now smell some charred fruits, namely figs, caramel, and wood. I keep returning to the pleasant licorice scent as it seems to become more and more apparent.
Fantastic!

The taste is as interesting and varied as the nose. A smooth combination of roasted sweet malts, chocolate, a touch of coffee, and then an unusual and unexpected mix of charred dark fruits and an earthy woodiness I'm not oft to find in Russian Imperial Stouts. A bit of licorice but not nearly as much as I find in the nose.
This beer seems to push the boundaries of what a RIS is and can be. With basically zero hop bitterness, all the complex flavors from the malts can shine through.
I don't see how it could get better than this!

A medium to full bodied RIS with a moderate level of carbonation. I'm sure some has been lost over the 6 years of aging. I wish it was just a tad more luscious, creamy, and velvety. Although the mouthfeel certainly hasn't deterred me from putting this beer on a very, very high pedestal.

A remarkably drinkable and complex RIS. This beer does so many things so perfectly. A true marvel. Bravo!

Serving type: growler

02-27-2011 23:00:40 | More by ehammond1
Photo of Dijeriduster
Dijeriduster

California

2.85/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

2010 version in a one liter growler to a tulip

A - Very dark to black with a dirty head that is thick. Maybe one finger in my tulip. Looks mean.

S - Something is missing here. Its very robust but the booze comes thru a little and its not as roasty as I've had in the past. Smells sweeter as well...

T - Eh not up to my par for Stone IRS. Keeping in mind that I loved '09 I just don't think this one has it as much. It was rather sweet and boozy, again lacking the roasty flavours I love in IRS.

M - Was thinner then usual, still felt thick upon quaffing but faded to thin as it went down. Didn't have the slight creaminess I've had in the past.

D - I know there was controversy over the change this year to belgian yeast. Clearly they also changed the base recipe as well. While I am stoked to try the belgian one, I don't think I'll be aging this years version.

Serving type: growler

02-11-2011 18:59:05 | More by Dijeriduster
Photo of PDXHops
PDXHops

South Carolina

4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fresh 2010 growler (catching up on backlogged review notes) poured into a Duvel tulip. A slow pour reveals only an oily body at first, but a tan skim slowly emerges and eventualy becomes a dense 2-finger cap. Great retention with plentiful streaks of lacing that are alternately creamy and sticky.

Nose is chock full of cocoa and roasted malts. Vanilla and dark fruits are definitely background players. A little boozy.

Taste is intense. A hoppiness that went largely undetected in the nose snowballs throughout the swallow, ending up with a pungent piney bitterness that stops just short of scorching. Similarly, the mild chocolate aromas suddenly are blooming into a flavor reminiscent of fresh chocolate muffins. Burnt and roasted malts aplenty. The body is thick and smooth, yet does little to tame this beast. The warming booze is not at all out of place. Hints of vanilla weave in and out.

Overall impression: This beer ages like a champ, but it's damned good fresh as well. Top notch.

Serving type: growler

01-24-2011 01:25:54 | More by PDXHops
Photo of welldigger888
welldigger888

South Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from growler into a chimay chalice, opaque black elixer with a nice creamy tan head that laces down glass well.
Vintage jan. 2009 on the keg, mmmhah! WOW !!!
Very subdued aromas of an exceptional grain bill with chocolate and coffee coming through.
Intense creamy coffee chocolate grainy notes. WOW again!!!
This brew is outstanding with a soft carbonation and creamy roasty mouthfeel! WOW!!!
I could drink this all night, well until I fell down at least! the abv is a bit intimadating.

Serving type: growler

01-08-2011 01:13:24 | More by welldigger888
Photo of BA23598
BA23598

California

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What can I say that everyone else hasn't said already... Love this beer... Had the 07, 08, 09, and 10... Favorite is still the 10.. But loved them all..09 was probably the ballsy-est in alcohol flavor.. 07 was what sparked the loveaffair with this beer.

A. Black - read what everyone else said.
S. Again keep reading...
T. Don't get me started...I just advice you to crack the chilled bottle and wait 15 minutes to air out..then take a big gulp... If it bites you.. Wait another 5 minutes... Then sip and have the "O" face...
M. Silky smooth
D. I take a glass(or 4) every night and wake up the next day waiting for a chane to taste it again.

Serving type: growler

09-20-2010 05:58:22 | More by BA23598
Photo of Douglas14
Douglas14

California

4.97/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

2010 Release

I look forward to this beer release every year. at least nine months pass before I get to re-taste it. And in that time my palate matures and I assure myself that I cannot once again be amazed by this beer. I've outgrown it or become better than it, I tell myself. But then I drink it and am amazed again! For 5 years now this has been going on and everytime I drink the Stone IRS I'm in awe. This might be my all-time RIS. It has every quality I'm looking for in the style: roasted coffee, bitter chocolate, molasses, vanilla, and overall great malt sweetness. It has a near perfect black color with just a touch of brown around the edges. It's smooth but not velvety or creamy. it's just what I want. Excellence.

Serving type: growler

07-14-2010 04:06:19 | More by Douglas14
Photo of bigfnjoe
bigfnjoe

Pennsylvania

4.35/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 1L growler into a pint glass. Growler was filled off a nitro tap.

A- Pours black with a very creamy looking, 3 finger brown head. Head fades rather quickly but leaves some very nice lacing.

S- Roasted malts, a hint of chocolate, and a whole lot of coffee...it smells amazing. Heaven on earth.

T- I'm mostly getting coffee, with faint undertones of chocolate. There is a slight alcohol taste to it as well...quite lovely.

M- This is heavy. A little syrupy. The nitro gives it a creaminess though...theres a smoothness there that helps balance everything out.

D- Everything but the alcohol makes this super drinkable...if it wasn't so strong, you could easily pound back a few of these. But because of that underlying alcohol flavor...eh, gotta hold back a little bit

Serving type: growler

05-23-2010 16:57:53 | More by bigfnjoe
Photo of stakem
stakem

Pennsylvania

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Vintage 2007 presented in the form of a brown swing top 2 liter growler that was filled at the Warwick hotel during the Stone takes over the Warwick event. The event took place on 4/9 and this review is from notes taken the following weekend of 4/16 when the growler was shared with those who could not make the event.

The growler surprisingly enough opened with a very resouding thud. I was worried that the growler fill might have left this brew a little flat when compared to the draft version but to much excitement that wasn't the case.

Poured into a Stone pint glass, it appears a very dark brown to black color with a darkly tanned head that doesn't retain all too well. Nose is bitter smelling roasted malts with chocolate sweetness and a slight touch of soy sauce blended with coffee. Rounding out the aroma is some citrus hops and alcohol. Taste is a big malty sweet monster of a brew laden with alcohol and notes of bitterness from both hops and burnt grains (that also exhibit the flavors of coffee and bitter dark chocolate.) There is a residual sweetness that lingers tasting almost like dark fruits that blends with the alcohol laden dark chocolate and coffee that makes this dangerously drinkable and quite smooth. Medium bodied and lightly carbonated this vintage was a real sweet and alcohol burning treat. As it warms, there are notes of licorice coming through with the ever increasing alcohol presence that was previously hidden by the malt sweetness.

I've had this brew a number of times in varying years and serving types. They have always been an enjoyable experience with their own unique characteristics. While fresh this brew is quite bitter but time let's it smooth out and become a little more sweet (like this example.)

Serving type: growler

05-19-2010 15:29:43 | More by stakem
Photo of constahoogan
constahoogan

California

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

From the Growler to my snifter, the body is pitch black with zero light penetrability joined with a light brown, camramel, dark sand dune like colored head that leaves prickly blotches of lace along the glass.
Sweet Roasted dark coffee malt, dark chocoloate and caramel accompanied by a hint of syrup on the nose. It tastes just as it smells; Chocolate-Coffee malts at the front, joined by subtle hints of maple and caramel.
The texture is almost milky, silky and very smooth. The carbonation isn't irritating at all.
Overall, this is a very solid beer for the style. I highly recommend this beer to any 'dark beer' lover. haha. cheers

Serving type: growler

04-25-2010 20:45:02 | More by constahoogan
Photo of coldmeat23
coldmeat23

Oklahoma

4.72/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

GLASS: Snifter
TEMP: Fridged at approx 35 degrees for two months, allowed to come to room temp over about 45 minutes
VINTAGE: 2004 (Cellared for 5+ years, by Stone)

This pours black, with a nice touch of dark brown, around the ring of the glass, when backlit. About half a finger of dark brown foam forms the head, which dissipates rather quickly. It leaves a minimal swirl on the surface and rings the surface edge around the glass. Lacing is in tiny little spots, which are plentiful and sticky.

I get no sense of alcohol or hops, but I do get tons of chocolate presence. Loads of milk chocolate, high-end dark chocolate, chocolate milk, and even some light notes of bakers chocolate. Mild traces of dark roasted coffee beans. Good hints of brown sugar, a roasted nuttiness, and dark fruits, especially black cherries.

The taste follows the nose, with a whole ton of chocolate presence. The milk chocolate still dominates, but the dark chocolates are definitely here, also. Good toasted nut flavor. Mild dark fruit sweetness combines with roasted malt notes. A touch of brown sugars, both dark and golden. The back-end gets a mild touch of espresso roast, almost bitter, but it is balanced by light notes of vanilla and caramel. There is a very mild smokiness, laying over the whole thing.

This is full-bodied with a mild level of carbonation. It goes down smooth and silky, with a light touch of creaminess.
Beautiful.

Okay, I'm unsure what the actual alcohol content is, on this one. I've seen the IRS as low as 9.4% and as high as 10.5%. We'll just assume that it's in that range. Despite the fact that I can feel it's effects, I can't taste it at all. This is a very tasty and drinkable beer. While this is delicious, at just over 5 years old, I think it still has potential to go for a few more years.
This is surely not my absolute favorite Stout, but it's probably a top 10 entry. I'll have to get some bottles to do aging experiments with.

Serving type: growler

11-30-2009 05:30:15 | More by coldmeat23
Photo of taigor
taigor

New York

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured from growler into 8oz glass.

A - Pitch black like coffee, completely non-transparent. Huge head that leaves a significant lacing throughout the glass while you're drinking this beer.

S - Malt with chocolate and coffee.

T - Very complex malt taste with dark bitter chocolate and hints of coffee.

M - Full bodied, creamy with tons of carbonation.

D - This beer is definitely a sipper but the aroma and taste are so exceptional that you cannot resist having another one ... or two.

Serving type: growler

11-22-2009 15:36:12 | More by taigor
Photo of dantecl
dantecl

California

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Bought a growler fill of '05 IRS at Stone Brewing Co. and served over an imperial pint glass.

Appearance - This beer pours like oil, dark and thick, with practically no head. Little carbonation can be seen.

Smell - Roasted malts, with a hint of green olive aroma.

Taste - Here's a difficult part to describe. This beer is a punch of flavors, and the first noticeable flavor is the roasted malt, then hints of dark chocolate. It lingers with a light nutty flavor and leaves no bitter aftertaste. Absolutely wonderful.

Mouthfeel - This beer is thick, almost no carbonation probably due to aging, and feels very nice.

Drinkability - This beer while really delicious, is quite the heavy-hitter at 10%.

I look forward to get the other older IRS's in bottles during the SD Beer Week.

Serving type: growler

10-12-2009 05:31:09 | More by dantecl
Photo of beerandsandals
beerandsandals

California

4.8/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Stone was gracious enough to pour growler fills of their 2006 vintage of IRS and boy did you know I was going to be there. Stone's IRS is always a must get and living only minutes from the brewery ensure my cellar is going to be chock-full of this specialty. It pours like motor oil, thick and black, the nose isn't as apparent as the 2009 version but definite chocolate and coffee tones jump right out. Mouth is GREAT! Due to the age some carbonation was lost but I thought it made for a smoother stout feel and as it warmed more coffee and smooth silky chocolate came out. This beer is a great and will remain on the top of my favs list for quite some time.

Serving type: growler

06-02-2009 04:12:11 | More by beerandsandals
Photo of fff
fff

Virginia

5/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Got a growler of one of the best beers I've tried in the last few months. Poured into Imperial pint glasses.

A- Opaque black body with a perfect, sandy head. Lacing all the way down the glass.

S- Smoky coffee, chocolate.

T- Dark, smoky bite with a refreshing chocolate coffee finish. Leaves your mouth tasting like you had a shot of espresso chase a candy bar.

M- Heavy and supple, perfectly carbonated.

D- Highly drinkable beer. Heavy but not filling like most beers of this style. The next time I buy some, I'm getting a case and cracking one open every 6 months or so.

Serving type: growler

05-14-2009 16:40:31 | More by fff
Photo of rgctlc
rgctlc

South Carolina

4.75/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Presentation- This is the spring 2009 batch purchased from the most awesome Charleston Beer Exchange in Charleston, South Carolina. It was filled on 4/19/09 and consumed on 4/22/09.

Appearance- With a refridgerated 3 day old growler there is perhaps a slight pressure release so on a normal pour it did not result in an overly abundant head. The consistancy is thicker than less malty beers but the motor oil comparison is kind of cliche' at this point. It is noticably "weighty" when it hits the glass. The lacework descends sharply when the stout begins to warm and the espresso-like color makes you know you're into a chewy, malty beer experience.

Smell- Aside from the before mentioned espresso comparison, this stout(like most others)comes alive when it gets warmer. Huge grainy notes on a cold first pour but after the temp rises we're running the whole gamut of coffee, currant, dark chocolate, alcohol and bready aromas. One thing I've noticed with this stout is the mellow hoppy smell- which surprised me considering this is a Stone beer. I expected a more pronounced hop aroma.

Taste- Way complex- completely changes character when the temperature changes. Deceptivly drinkable..until the 10.5 ABV kicks in. We're talking classic roasted malt, chewy stout and bread pudding-like flavors. However, there's no cloying sweetness which marrs other potentially great RIS's. One thing that surprised me, however, was the restraint on the hop drop- not what I expected from a Stone beer(and I LOVE Stone beers).

Notes- Like most of you, I LOVE this RIS. It warms the soul and after drinking it it gives you the feeling that all is well in the world. Stone is consistant in making awesome beers and I'm glad that I can get it here in the Low Country.

Serving type: growler

04-22-2009 15:51:21 | More by rgctlc
Photo of Lunchmade
Lunchmade

California

4.5/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I brought home a growler of this amazing imperial stout and now wonder where it has gone. A modern confectionery treat. Smells extraordinary with deep roasted chocolaty hues. After one pint I was amazed on how much my chocolate cravings started to hit. A very robust lasting flavor which makes it a very smooth stout for the power it packs. The hype is right on, this brew doesn't disappoint.

Serving type: growler

01-27-2009 00:29:22 | More by Lunchmade
Photo of xxthepatientxx
xxthepatientxx

California

4.55/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

OK. So, as an early birthday treat to myself this year, I went and bought a growler of 2004 Vintage as part of Stone's Black Sundays event.
I've had a few of these fresh before - the 07 and 08 - and they were always prime, but totally knocked the hell out of my palate. I can now say that age treats this beer extremely well. It's much smoother and the flavors more blended and complimentary. As delicious as ever (I say more so), but much less jarring.

A - Poured into a large wine glass. Deep, rich brown that blackens as the glass fills. Leaves a nice brown head, but not much lacing. Held up to the light...and whole room darkens. Nothing gets through; I'm drinking a black hole.

S - First whiff...is that soy sauce? Not unpleasant, just unexpected. It works, though having only heard horror stories of SA Triple Bock, I pray for the best. That's only the initial impression, thankfully, and as I continue to inhale I get burnt grains and a hint of black licorice.

T & M - I think I hear angels singing. As I said in my preamble, everything just feels so much more rounded out after these 4 or 5 years of aging. It is glorious. First there's a sweetness, slightly molasses-y. Then it rolls thick and smoothly over my tongue, but does so cleanly, without any sticky or oily lingering sensations. Then I taste burnt grains and coffee grounds; delicious and bitter. The finish is a gorgeous blending of all the flavors.

D - Perhaps a bit too drinkable! The fresh releases, I have to power through the second half of a bomber, not because it's bad, but because it is such an overwhelming beer that assaults your taste buds and takes no prisoners. This one though...wow...just goes right on down. 2nd glass? Yes please! And the taste hides the ABV all too well; the only sign of its strength is the warming effect it has on the way down and how much more giddy I feel after half a glass!

All in all, this is still a beast of a beer, but a much more subtle, sneaky, trickster of a beast.

Serving type: growler

01-11-2009 23:33:34 | More by xxthepatientxx
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Stone Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 5,978 ratings.