Espresso Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 2,531 | Reviews: 353 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by jondeelee:
4.5/5 rDev +3.7%
Espresso Imperial Russian Stout opens to a heavenly chocolate-rich stout aroma, the most immediate aromas including thick caramels, heavy creams, milk chocolate, and bits of toffee. Add to these a delectable supporting cast of espresso beans, light ash and tobacco, vanilla beans, and an assortment of fig, prune, date, plum, and black cherry fruit esters, as well as touches of anise and pepper, and you have what, in another form, might be the best smelling five-star coffee ice cream topping ever made. In beer form, the result is excellent, the aromas superbly blended and balanced, offering a wide variety of aromas, each of which bears good potency and quality. In short, this sets a rather high standard for other Imperial Russian Stouts, and it’s very obvious that, even without the espresso addition, this would still be a fantastic beer; the espresso simply catalyzes the coffee and ash flavors, creating a very nice fusion that works almost perfectly, the only drawback being a slightly weak aroma.
On the tongue, the beer is immediately dark and black, the espresso beans front and center, bringing black ash and fresh-ground espresso beans to the blend. These mix almost immediately with heavy sugars, including whipping cream, caramel, toffee, and bits of milk chocolate. There are also a few dark fruit esters in here, including fig, date, raisin, and black cherry, which mingle with brown sugar and light molasses. The grains furthermore add huge chunks of thick brown bread, yeasty rising whole wheat dough, and even bits of peppery, chewy marble rye, the latter mixing nicely with a faint touch of anise. The high 11% ABV is obvious throughout the mouthful, but the sugars and breads are strong enough that this is not a detraction; instead, it comes across as a light bourbon and oak overtone, even though the beer has not been bourbon barrel aged. The aftertaste is a long-lingering continuation of the main mouthful, but with an even larger coffee and ash presence, as if a shot of strong espresso had been doctored with a few drops of heavy cream, brown sugar, and bourbon. Mouthfeel is medium, and carbonation is medium.
Overall, this is easily among the best Imperial Stouts on the market, being full-bodied, very nicely balanced, and amazingly delicious. The coffee notes are perhaps a bit strong in the body, somewhat overwhelming the sugars, but are delicious enough that they mostly make up for this. Important to note here is that the coffee notes come across not as weeks-old-and-dried-up espresso beans, but as fresh-ground, oily, heavily aromatic beans; the kind of espresso you can only get from beans that were roasted less than an hour before they arrived on your table in liquid form. The attention to detail in this beer is, in other words, excellent, and fans of Imperial Stouts should place this beer high on their must-try list.
05-06-2013 15:55:31 | More by jondeelee
More User Reviews:
3.99/5 rDev -8.1%
Pours jet black with no light getting thru this puppy,a half finger beige colored head atop.I f you like roasted aromas than you'll love this,the espresso roast along with big earthy/roasted notes,mild molasses-like sweetness and bitter chocolate round out the nose.Big earthy and roasted coffee flavors really hit ya on the palae with only a meager amount of sweetness,even the alcohol sweetness for such a big beer is rather subdued.A little prickly in the feel,I gotta say I like just the "standard" Stone RIS better although this isn't bad or anything.
05-24-2013 00:44:35 | More by oberon
4.24/5 rDev -2.3%
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!
05-10-2013 11:29:50 | More by tectactoe
4.43/5 rDev +2.1%
A: black beer with a creamy, long last head that is fittingly espresso colored
S: A medium-strong coffee \with dark stone fruit aromas, mostly of plum. A firm roast, some chocolate and a light malt sweetness. Moderate alcohol sweetness.
T: The flavor is of a medium-strong caramel malt sweetness braced against a firm hops bitterness rounded out by medium notes of coffee, chocolate and roast. Some light plum-like flavors show up as well as some light citrus hops. The balance is fairly sweet with a medium finish and a roasty, bitter aftertaste along with some coffee.
M: A full bodied beer with a medium level of carbonation and some alcohol warmth.
O: Like caramel and chocolate covered espresso beans followed with a short shot of alcohol. Safely negotiated the coffee addition without the wet coffee ground character found in some many failed attempts. A beer this good and only costing $6.69, it's a must buy.
06-16-2013 01:14:29 | More by MadScientist
4.53/5 rDev +4.4%
22 OZ Bottle into Stone IRS Squatty Tulip
A- The darkest of caramels. Not quite black, with a dark tan head that doesn't want to leave the inside walls of the glass
S- A chocolatey-carmel with coffee. A mocha if you will, but with a touch of the alcohol ester you know is there
T- Chocolatey-carmel just like it smells, with a soft backbone of coffee's roasted bitterness. Theres a lot going on here. You get the alcohol up front but it finishes so sweet and smooth it makes you rethink the ABV
M- Teeny-tiny bubbles coat your mouth, eventually dissipating into an almost creamy/fatty beer juice
Its a really good beer. Great even. If it is what you are looking for than you can find it in this bottle (or on tap if you're lucky)
06-04-2013 21:23:40 | More by SanDNigel
4.48/5 rDev +3.2%
On tap at Nocturnem Draft Haus.
In a snifter the beer was black with a small, cafe au lait- colored head.
Coffee aroma. Some roasted malt and chocolate.
Espresso coffee, slightly bitter. Chocolate.
Very flavorful. Easy to drink. Hard to guess it's 11% ABV.
Would drink this anytime.
04-27-2013 22:00:55 | More by lordofthewiens
Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,531 ratings.