Espresso Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 2,476 | Reviews: 350 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by jondeelee:
4.5/5 rDev +3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5
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.
Serving type: bottle
05-06-2013 15:55:31 | More by jondeelee
More User Reviews:
4.11/5 rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.25
From a bottle dated 3/18/13 into a snifter at fridge temp; allowed to warm.
Look: pours with very little head that quickly fades to a cinnamon-colored ring. Very dark brown that has a distinct ruby tinge where the light shines through.
Smell: I love coffee and I love beer (bit of a snob with both), but I almost never really enjoy the smell of coffee stouts; I enjoy this more than most. Cinnamon, chocolate, stale coffee, and maraschino cherries all make an appearance.
Taste: after getting past a fairly strong alcohol burn, this is just overflowing with chocolate, coffee, roasted marshmallows, fig, smoke, cherry, and cinnamon. Starts off sweet, ends bitter, neither to an unpleasant extreme.
Feel: a bit thin, especially given the abv and style. Also maybe a touch over-carbonated.
Overall: this is close to greatness, which is saying a lot for a style I don't tend to love. The harsh notes in the taste and the somewhat thin body are the major aspects that keep it from climbing into the next tier.
Serving type: bottle
07-23-2014 00:40:39 | More by neurobot01
Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
97 out of 100 based on 2,476 ratings.