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2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing Co.

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BA SCORE
96
world-class
368 Reviews
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
368
Ratings:
2,715
Avg:
4.34
pDev:
21.2%
 
 
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2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout
BEER INFO

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

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WillCarrera on 04-17-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

User Reviews
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Reviews: 368 | Ratings: 2,715
Photo of Jadjunk
3.54/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

"This odd Year edition was brewed in the authentic historical style of an imperial Russian Stout, but with the addition of severl hundred pounds of espresso beans from our friend at Ryan Bros. Coffee. Actually, they could be considered historically accurate, since the Russian nobility were as fond of earthy breakfast beverages as they were of hearty dark beers. Catherine the Great herself bolstered her finesse for ruling an empire by drinking five cups of black coffee every morning during her lengthy reign. While we couldn't fit five cups of coffee in every bottle of this darkly delicious libation, we assure you that the deep, rich espresso flavors are unmistakable and meld beautifully with the roasty bitterness of the dark mals. Catherine would have whole-heartedly approved." Brewed in the style of a Russian Imperial Stout, available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft. 2013 Exclusive variant on an annual release.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a snifter glass.

(Appearance) Pours a fizzy frothed head of a caramel brown tone over a very dark brown body. Retention is average and there is no visible lacing. 3.5

(Smell) Earthy, acidic coffee bean notes, moderate roasted barley grains, milky chocolate, toasted bread malts, exposed alcohol. Fairly rich aromas with a pleasing, but admittedly faded coffee bean presence. 3.75

(Taste) Smooth burnt chocolate and roasted malt presence with very trace coffee notes, acidity remaining in full. Tangy and smooth with a charred finish. More than a sliver of alcohol peeking through, very exposed and hot. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Textures are slick, slightly chewy, very dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a mild frothiness and a fully crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, shy of heavy overall. Balance is roasty, earthy bitter, acidic and boozy over sweet. Alcohol presence is moderate/heavy. 3.25

(Overall) No, the espresso does not hold up with time. No, you should not wait any longer before trying this beer if you have it at all, and no, it's almost certainly not as good as it was when it first arrived on shelves. The roastiness, acidity and burnt chocolate character still lingers boldly, and the sweetness of the body and coffee beans has fermented out and faded in time. It's drinkable, but far from outstanding, edging on even enjoyable. I'm kind of kicking myself for forgetting about this beer, and am looking forward to Stone brewing possibly considering bringing this back during their 20th anniversary encore series. People loved it, and I'm sure I would too. 3.5

Stone Brewing Co.'s
Espresso Imperial Russian Stout
3.54/5.00

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.69/5  rDev -15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Props to the nose on this as it held on to the coffee pretty damn well. It's still showing and offers a nice sort of sweet and creamy coffee beverage aroma.

Not nearly as much coffee on the tastebuds, but shit, this is 3 years old. What bums me a bit is how much of a solventy, unmistakeable alcohol flavor this has towards the finish. One, I'd expect less given the time transpired and two it's even too much for a fresh beer. Still, there are some velvety chocolate and brownie notes, vanilla, and earthy hops to enjoy.

Starts off delectably sweet and creamy and full-bodied. So much promise. Then comes an injection of alcohol that feels like like rubbing alcohol. Such a disappointing presence as it undoes the beer without question. Thankfully a spike of bitterness and roast follow to close things out, allowing me some respite from booze.

Not sure why there's so much blatant booze on this but it screws with the beer. It doesn't ruin it, but it ain't helping either.

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Looks as good as the best RIS beers.
Smell: Roasted malt, bitter coffee, molasses, burnt sugars.
Taste: Raisin, plum, fig, and then coffee.
Feel: Not as thick and chewy as I expected, but good enuff!
Overall: This is a very well done beer and certainly worth a taste.
Incidentally, this was bottled 3/13/2016 and I think 6 months buried in the cellar would improve it immensely.

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Photo of chinchill
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 oz 2013 bottle at 2016 ASMF.

Strongly flavored with enough coffee, dark grains or hops to completely overpower the others in most beers. In this fine brew, however, they coexist in good balance.
Even after over 2 years, this is still a little boozy, but this works well for this strongly flavored brew. The coffee strength is surely lower than when fresh but is still the last thing to fade from the long lasting aftertaste.

Overall: with the base beer a favorite, this coffee-added version should be a winner and it doesn't disappoint.

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Photo of larryarms847
4.37/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a rich and thick motor oil black as I would expect from Stone's IRS, a thin half-finger layer of foam that dissipates rapidly.

As a coffee fan, the aroma of this is truly outstanding. Huge roasted coffee and espresso notes power through, smells like a coffee house.

After smelling the sweet sweet coffee aroma from this, I expected more in flavor but that's where things started to fall off. Rich notes of espresso and roasty goodness, but overall not as complex as I was hoping.

Heavy-bodied, low carbonation, slick, roasty, bitter, decent.

Overall, truly outstanding in aroma, but lacks complexity to make this a more interesting beer. If you're looking for straight espresso, this is it. But if you're looking for something to ponder over, this is not that.

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Photo of buschbeer
4.25/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

1 PT. 6 FL. OZ. bottle
Served in a snifter

This beer pours black with an inch of mocha head that leaves a little lacing.

There is the obvious coffee smell. I also get some chocolate and roasted malt.

The coffee hits my palate first. It gives way to some burnt toast and has a bitter, black coffee finish.

Full mouthfeel with low carbonation

Almost three years did not hurt this beer at all. It still tasted great with plenty of coffee flavor and aroma to go around.

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Photo of BeerIslander
4.79/5  rDev +10.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

2013 vintage

Pour: Black as midnight, dark mocha colored head.

Smell: Roasted espresso beans, molasses, taffy, delicate hints of caramel, dark chocolate

Taste: Coffee, chocolate, nicely roasted malt

Mouthfeel: Very pleasant, some carbonation (but not too much), a nice and light roasty finish, and I can't taste the alcohol at 11%

Overall: Stone has cranked out a masterpiece, and I hope that they make it again. This is perfect for aging for a couple of years. What a find.

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Photo of justinp444
4.68/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Vintage 2013. Poured into a tulip it has a inch thick head of light beige with a pitch black body.Smell of fresh roasted coffee, chocolate roasted malt, licorice, vanilla, and caramel. Taste is tons of espresso, slight chocolate, bitter roasted malt, a fresh coffee aftertaste, slight vanilla, and some caramel. Mouth feel is full and rich with a good amount of carbonation for a crisp taste and a full body. Aged to become a bit more bitter, but a whole lot more complex on the nose and a tad bit creamier to me.

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Photo of hophugger
4.6/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Pours an amazing deep chocolate, almost black color with a couple fingers of tan head, fizzy and clinging to all sides of the visible glass. Aromas of heavily roasted coffee, espresso and sweet malts. Taste is amazing. This 2 year old beer has great flavors of espresso, roasted, quality coffee beans, sweet and slightly bitter maltiness and balances so well together. Aftertaste is so clean, with only a touch of bitterness and a nice lingering roast coffee flavor. Definitely, the most balanced and flavorful Coffee stout I have ever had. If you have the chance, do not miss it...2103 odd year release. Hope they make it again !!!!!!!!

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Photo of pat61
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

From tasting notes. Rich espresso and dark malt on the nose. Very rich espresso and malts with hints of sherry or port. Surprisingly not a hop bomb. Fruit, some chocolate. Very smooth, a very good Russian Imperial Stout. Very fine, soft carbonation. Creamy, chewy. This is stupendous.

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Photo of arvidkoval
4.36/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottled on 3/28/13

L- Pitch black. Tan head.

S- Espresso nose.

T- Espresso, some dark chocolate, just a general roasty malt flavor. Bittersweet finish.

F- Nice feel, wouldn't mind it being a bit thicker though.

O- This is way better than the regular IRS in my opinion. DELICIOUS!

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Photo of Catracho5
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

22 ounce bottle poured into a Belgian style tulip glass. This is the 2013 release reviewed in 2015

A: Black with some light coming through on the edges, nice creamy mocha head, some lacing, viscous, looks really nice.

A: Big roasted chocolate, coffee aromas, roasted malts, some alcohol, smells really great.

T: Roasted chocolate, dark fruits, malts, bitterness on the back end, some coffee, finishes really dry. Taste great, easy drinking.

M: Lots of carbonation, dry, viscous, smooth on the palate.

O: Pretty good, not a lot of coffee but after two years I'd expect some decrease in coffee presence. I've never had this fresh or Stone Imperial Russian Stout. Reminds me of Narwhal with a bitter finish. I think that maybe the coffee residue coming through, it's definitely worth a try.

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Photo of Canada_Dan
4.48/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.25

2013, 8 oz pour served in a snifter. On tap at Freshcraft in Denver
Look- midnight black with a creamy brown head that sticks to the sides of the glass. This one's got legs.
Smell- dark roast coffee, sweet roasted malts and chocolate. Booziness is faint but there and there's a sweet smokiness like pipe tobacco also present.
Taste- Love the coffee flavor, so upfront and carries through the entire sip. Alcohol is well hidden . Getting more dark, dry chocolate but also some sweetness from the roasted malt.
Feel- Thick mouthfeel but not over the top. Perfect for the style.
Overall- Not sure how I passed this beer up so many times. One of the best coffee stouts I've had no doubt. World class

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Photo of Bosoxfan20
4.27/5  rDev -1.6%

Very similar to the reg version. Subtle yet delightful coffee notes on the back end that give this a nice twist. The yr of aging I gave this one helped add to the smooth, mellow nature of it compared to a fresh IRS, but may have led to the espresso notes being more in the background than if it were fresh. Very good

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Photo of DenverHopHead
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%

Smooth and sweet, this one! I may choose the Espresso over the more highly regarded Stone RIS the next time I get the opportunity. As soon as I got a whiff of this beer, I knew it was a Stone product (blind taste test)! The smell instantly grabbed my attention, it was like drinking beer in a coffee shop!

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Photo of macrosmatic
4.28/5  rDev -1.4%

Reviewed from notes. Poured from bomber into a Firestone Walker snifter.

A: Dark - essentially black - and opaque. Forms a half-finger of tan creamy head that fades quickly. Low visible carbonation. 4.5/5

S: Coffee, creamy lactose sweetness, roasted malts, some nuttiness, and leathery musk. 18/20

T: Bitter, dark roasted coffee, roasted malts, lactose, dark nuttiness, touches of mocha and tobacco, and just hints of anise. Despite a year plus on this bottle, there is still a noticeable hop bitterness in the hang with the roasted coffee and sweetness. 39/45

M: Medium body for the style with a sticky mouthfeel. The alcohol presence is fairly well-hidden for the listed ABV. Average carbonation sensation for style. 8.5/10

O: This was quite tasty, especially for the reasonable price point I remember paying. Over a year on this bottle seems to have agreed with the brew quite well. 18/20

Estimated final score: 4.28
Calculated final score: 88/100
Old BA score: 4.40

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Photo of Buschyfor3
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%

Serving: 22oz bomber poured into a snifter

A: Sluggish, inky black pour, completely opaque; what head that did percolate up on the pour quickly dissipated to nothing more than a mocha colored ring around the circumference of the glass; looks just as imposing like its namesake base stout.

S: The first inhale brings about prominent notes of dark-roasted coffee beans, burnt sugar and bittersweet chocolate; perhaps a hint of some dark fruits around the edges (like plum or prunes); some sweetness does break through the roasted overtones, coming across as a bit like caramel and lighter milk chocolate; alcohol does not seem as prominent on the nose as I remember from the original Stone IRS.

T: Following the nose, the initial wave of flavor brings a wealth of dark-roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate – think chocolate covered espresso beans; the bitter notes from the coffee/espresso is then cut through by some sugary tones akin to a lighter milk chocolate bar and some caramel or toffee; the malt presence rises mid-sip, with a dark, bready, molasses flavor punctuated with faint hints of dark fruits (reminiscent of fruitcake); finish sees the return of roasted coffee overtones with a pleasing bitterness that lingers until the next sip; alcohol does begin to creep up near the end of each sip with a bit of warming sting, particularly as the beer warms in the glass.

M: Thick, chewy, with a nice presence on the tongue; definitely full bodied; carbonation is soft.

O: At 11% ABV, the Espresso IRS is a heavy hitter, but the alcohol punch seems more tempered this time around. I cracked this bottle with the better part of 6 months age on it. I wouldn’t call it rough or “hot” (like I called a fresh ’09 IRS in a previous review), but another 6 months would suit this beer just fine from a drinkability standpoint. The alcohol is there, and it’s held in check until near the end of the bottle, but you get the sense that the hearty roastiness from the rich espresso and dark malts is there to take command of the palate from the first sip and try to overpower any suggestions of spicy, fusel alcohol, instead of smoothing out the alcohol burn from the get-go. But the reality of this type of beer is that it is a sipper, and once the beer reaches room temp, the alcohol begins to break through the palate with more and more prominence. Another 6 months would just give enough extra time to let the espresso notes mellow, accentuate more of the sweetness – chocolate, dark fruits, molasses, vanilla - that is present in the base stout, and simmer down a bit more of the alcohol sting. As part of Stone’s ongoing odd-year release series, 2013’s offering is miles better than 2011’s Belgo-Anise variant, and a nice new twist on one of the most popular Russian Imperial Stouts on the craft scene.

Final say: I'd rate this just a notch ahead of the original IRS simply due to slightly improved drinkability. For a direct comparison to another espresso-variant RIS, I'd say Great Divide's Espresso Oak Aged Yeti edges out Stone here, but not by a wide margin.

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Photo of roger617
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2013 'vintage' Bomber poured into snifter 8/8/14. I remember having go this when it first came out on tap and enjoying it quite a bit, excited to see what a year has done to it.

A: Pours black in color with half a finger of mocha head that reduces fairly quickly and leaves a thin collar around the edge. Viscosity appears thick and creamy.
S: Chocolate, roast, slight char, carmel, sugary sweetness. There's a nice balance, more so than I recall when it was fresh.
M: Chocolate, coffee, char, a little bit of heat. Very smooth for 11%, and a nice variant of an already nice stout.
M: Carbed well, leaves a slightly dry aftertaste, with a hint of bitterness.
O: I hope they do this one again, I really enjoy it all around. The espresso addition adds another level of flavor that compliments the base very nicely.

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Photo of neurobot01
4.1/5  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.

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Photo of Kramerwtmf
4.22/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

I happened to find four of these a few days. I am very glad I did because it is very inexpensive and already has a year on it. The espresso is probably a bit muted because of the age but it blends very well together. Some vanilla flavors as well as chocolate mix very well with the obvious espresso. I enjoyed this more than the regular stone RIS and I can't wait to open another bottle in 6 months.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.76/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber 2013- poured into a snifter, inky black and a four finger frothy beige head. Nose- only faint coffee in the nose which is surprising, predominately sweet milk chocolate nose. Taste- much more espresso coming through in taste and actually has a fairly bitter finish between the coffee beans and the hopping. Not too sweet, has nice dark fudge quality with a slight acidity to it. Medium bodied, not cloying at all. very sold.

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Photo of tmbgnicu
4.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap at Sabatini's in Exeter, PA. Quite frankly, this is my favorite non BA stout. It pours black as night, it smells of coffee, caramel, heady malt. The taste is incredible, liked being hugged by a cup of coffee, it's clean and crisp but maintains the characteristics you expect from a stout. I have two bottles of this sitting in my cellar, and I can't wait to open one. I wish Stone brewed this one every year.

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Photo of scottfrie
3.59/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter. Bottled 3/28/2013.

A: Pours near black¬ with a finger of dense and fuzzy dark brown head that faded into a soft collar. Soapy patches of spotty lace was left down the glass.
S: Rich notes of smooth coffee and chocolate fudge dominate. I get deep notes of roast, slight caramel, faint licorice, booze and dark chocolate. Smells like the original, but with a touch more coffee.
T: Potent flavors of bitter dark chocolate, bitter black coffee, and a kiss of balance caramel and brown sugar sweetness. I get some slight peat, slight vanilla, and mild char. There is a sharp kick of anise in the finish, and the aftertaste is a touch boozy and rough.
M: Full body, thick and chewy mouthfeel, frothy but soft carbonation. Definitely bitter, and a bit rough around the edges.
O: A solid and potent stout but could use some polishing. Sips well, but I prefer other coffee stouts to this.

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Photo of Florida9
4.13/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: appear black in the glass though the edges show the beer to be a dark reddish brown. Forms a moderate sized mocha colored head though there is little staying power as it dissipates fairly quickly. Some light lacing.

S: full of dark malts, toasty malts, and darkly roasted coffee with strong alcoholic quality.

T: taste is quite pleasant. Mild sweetness. Dark malts. Dark coffee. Maybe a slight earthiness. But really there isn't a whole more going on other than dark roasted malts and deeply roasted coffee though that isn't a bad thing.

M: full bodied. Lower carbonation. Mild bitterness. Slight coffee acidity.

O: I found this one in the cellar and figured it was past it's prime. Pleasantly surprised it was still alive and well. Quite enjoyable and always impressed withStones ability to produce a well made RIS at a very affordable price.

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Photo of tbeckett
4.33/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Bottle from Whole Foods in DC. From notes.

A - Poured black with a finger of beige head. Minimal spotty lace and not much in terms of retention.

S - Bold. Huge coffee and milk chocolate notes. Much stronger coffee notes in the glass as opposed to from the bottle. Lot's of roasted malt and chocolate.

T - Big milk chocolate and beastly coffee element. Finishes a bit sweet like iced coffee. Holy hell it's a solid take on the style. Layers of roast and chocolate with lot's of coffee.

M - Mild to medium carbonation, full creamy body, strong coffee bitterness.

O/D - Solid, strong coffee stout. Great base beer with a great added coffee element. Complex and tasty. Properly crafted.

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2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 368 ratings.