Stone Brewing

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Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #143
Ranked #492
4.36 | pDev: 9.17%
Stone Brewing
California, United States
Notes: This is a beloved stout. When first introduced as a limited special collaboration release with San Diego homebrewer Chris Banker (after his recipe won our annual homebrew competition) and Cerveceria Insurgente, it was an instant hit and fans began clamoring for its return. Seeing as how its amazing flavor profile is evocative of Mexican hot chocolate, featuring coffee, pasilla peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and a generous amount of chocolate, we concluded it was the perfect stout to re-release in celebration of the Holidays and the entire winter season. This is now a highly anticipated yearly tradition that we are pleased to present from us to you, and makes a perfect wintry gift from you to your friends, loved ones, or simply to yourself. Cheers!
Reviews: 824 | Ratings: 4,320 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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SushiSakeBeer from Oregon

4.25/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Robust, Dark, and Bold with fine lacing. Distinct hints of cinnamon, peppers, spices, and chocolate, in both the nose and palate. It all finishes strongly and slowly.

Feb 02, 2021
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Mdog from Minnesota

4.27/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From a 12oz can:

Appearance: Black, huge head.

Smell: Gingerbread/cinnamon, sweetness.

Taste: Mild sweetness, cinnamon, slight hot pepper hit, reminds me of a gingerbread cookie with a spicy chaser.

Overall: Nice holiday beer, ginger cookie flavor with some warming alcohol. I'll have to pick up some more for the coming cold months.

Jan 01, 2021
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DeaconWhite82 from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I’m a big fan of winter stouts. Picked up a six pack at the local beer distributor. Pour very dark, nice aroma. Taste was different from other stouts I have had. Was skeptical at first. By the end of the six pack, I was a believer. Went back to pick up another six pack a week and a half later, gone.

Dec 30, 2020
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Historiker from Ohio

4.77/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Pouring this nearly black can of awesomeness into a pint glass produced a 1" tan head that had excellent retention and lacing. This beer looks just wonderful.

Aroma was complex. At cellar temperature: Mexican chocolate, peppers, vanilla, faint cinnamon. It was like smelling an aromatic puzzle where all the pieces fit together perfectly.

Taste: Just wow. Taste follows the nose. This is just the right level of sweetness for a holiday stout. The peppers and cinnamon provide just a touch of lingering heat, and the chocolate gives you a bit of unsweetened bitterness. This is really a wonderful beer - strong competition for Prairie's Christmas Bomb.

Mouthfeel toes the line between medium and full bodied, which is a perfect compliment to the flavor profile. This is just thick enough for the big, bold flavors, but also incredibly smooth.

Overall: I am filled with regret that I only bought a single. This will be a six pack next year. Just....wow.

Dec 23, 2020
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dano213 from Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12oz can purchased from the fridge as a single for $2.99. Canned on 9/16/20, so this exactly 3 months old. I only cooled this in the fridge for a short time, and I gave it some time to come closer to room temperature for a while before opening. Seems to be the right temperature - just cool but not cold. Could even probably drink this at cellar temperature and it would be good.

Look: Pours almost pitch black with light brown highlights. Has a very nice looking fluffy brown head. The head dissipated slowly; a very thin head is lingering. Tiny bubbles are slowly rising to the surface.

Smell: This has a very nice, complex aroma. The first things that I get are coffee, cocoa powder, fruity chili pepper, and roasty toasty malts. The back end has cinnamon and nutmeg. Hard to pick up the vanilla on the nose, but it could easily be blending in with the chocolate and other aromas. After drinking, I can pick up on a vanilla cream note in the nose on the front end that is reminiscent of cream soda, very nice. Gives some nutty roasted almond notes too that are quite nice. A mild earthy hop aroma and acidity on the finish as well. This smells like Mexican hot chocolate and it smells delicious!

Taste: Wow, this is a lot sweeter than I expected. It at least has a perceived sweetness initially. It's very smooth and drinkable. This is a dangerous beer at 8.1% ABV. The flavors in this beer meld together very nicely; to me they are more discernible on the nose than in the mouth. Up front, you get spiced coffee/hot chocolate notes and sweetness that quickly transition to a roasty, slightly bitter finish with a lingering spicy chili pepper. The finish has really nice unsweetened chocolate notes, along with some fruitiness from the chocolate and pasilla pepper. The finish has a lot of sweetness also; you can tell your brain what you want to focus on - bitter or sweet. I get a lot of spiced nut notes on the finish as well.

Feel: Mouthfeel is really nice - on the thicker side of medium body. Slightly chewy and pefectly carbonated for this type of beer.

Overall: A really delicious adjunct stout. Is this a pastry stout? I have heard so much about pastry stouts, but I don't actually know how to characterize one and whether this is in or out. Regardless, it's a very delicious beer. With all the specialty ingredients that they put in, you sure hope that it would come out delicious but they could have easily messed up such a complicated recipe. Kudos to Stone for finding the right balance to express all of these flavors without overpowering the beer.

Note: Lactose added.

Dec 17, 2020
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elNopalero from California

4.22/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From a can. This pours a dark coffee cola color with heaping layers of creamy foam. Nice dusting of cinnamon on the nose, and what I think of an ancho chile note. Dry finish, with some cacao in the back, and more cinnamon.

Dec 15, 2020
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Jball25 from Colorado

4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Not a whole lot to say that hasn't been said already. This beer looks, smells, and tastes fantastic. Make sure you let it warm up a bit so you can fully appreciate everything it brings to the table.

Nov 12, 2020
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Tony210 from New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours very dark with a big foamy head that slowly fades. Big chocolate aroma mixes with pepper, smokey. Flavor is chocolate, coffee, some smoky pepper, vanilla, faint cinnamon. Light to medium bodied, has a bitter espresso finish. Overall a good stout, I would expect it to be thicker, richer, and creamier.

12 oz can dated 9/9/20
4 rating

Nov 08, 2020
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Barettes from Washington

4.21/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I purchased a March 2018 bottle and consumed it 8 months past the best by date. Despite being supposedly old it was creamy, mellow and smooth. Not much pepper or heat.

Fast forward to 2020: I finally found this fresh, canned 5 weeks ago. Red chile pepper meets nutmeg, tobacco, dark chocolate, cinnamon, lactose, cocoa and char. It's not especially thick but there's enough creaminess to cut the heat and it never gets too sweet.

This is a really nice stout.

Nov 07, 2020
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mikeinportc from New York

4.36/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Canned 9/24/20 , RVA

Dark mahogany-brown, with 2.5-finger , long-lasting tan head, that leaves waves of lacing, and a 2-3bubble-thick covering of foam, across the whole surface.

Smell is moderate pepper skin, dark, semi-sweet chocolate with a slight tang (reminds me of the chocolate cake batter, that my mom used to make, that had a little sour cream in it) , a bit of peaty char, some cocoa powder, and the barest hint of nutmeg.

Taste is dark chocolate, roasted walnut & almond, (pasilla) pepper, black coffee, cola, burnt cinnamon, allspice, and a touch of creamy vanilla at finish. Light bitterness lingering after finish. No noticeable alcohol, despite being 8.1%, and only a month old.

Feel is lightly creamy, with slight carbonation tingle on the latter half. Surprisingly light , given the abv, and the genberal nature of the brew.

Overall, just a pxleasure, as always. Dangerously easy-dxrinking. Except for the rx*ichness of fxlavor, it seems like a sub-5% brew, rather than 8.1%. I've had this many times before, but never so fresh. The individual components are more apparent now, while older specimens that I've had previously were smoother. Which is bxetter? Hmmmm??? Ask me on any given day, & it cxould go either way. :) I'd rxecommend getting some for now, & some for later, so you can decide what to do in subsequent years. (Cause if you txry this, you'll probably want mxore.)
* ;) :P

Oct 25, 2020
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Troy-Hawaii from Hawaii

3.75/5  rDev -14%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bought a 6-pack cans $19.99 Youngs Convenience Store
26 days old
Smell of cinnamon-sugar, chocolate
Dark black color
Heavy-medium mouthfeel
Medium carbonation
Taste of burnt black coffee, cinnamon, dark chocolate
Overall nice to try, but I would not buy again. Maybe this beer was overhyped. The burnt black coffee taste overwhelms all else, but does become smoother as the beer warms and the cinnamon taste comes out more. I'm going to age this to see if it improves.

Oct 17, 2020
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padan7 from Pennsylvania

4.64/5  rDev +6.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

looks like quite a few other dark beers.

Smell is spice and heat.

Taste wonderful mixture of peppery heat and cinnamon and dark malt.

Feel is medium yet crushable.

What makes this beer world class is the enjoyable flavor.

Oct 15, 2020
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bsteimle from Texas

2.59/5  rDev -40.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2

Very disappointed with the 2020 Stone Xocoveza. The taste we have known and loved in the past is not there this year. Happy we still have some 2019 held in reserve. The cinnamon taste and the pepper finish are missing with this year's release. It's basically an okay chocolate stout.

Oct 15, 2020
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JohnniEMc from Pennsylvania

4.55/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Upside down labeled 12 oz. can turned upside down over a clear pint glass results in a black coffee colored liquid and bubbly tan head almost filling the vessel. Some sort of spiced up malty and coffee aroma fills the vicinity of the action. Although the head doesn't last long, abundant glass lacing bears witness to the ample body. The taste is remarkable, with the sort of good sweetness a good dark chocolate brings. This is one rich brew and it slides down so smoothly. With eight or nine ingredients contributing to the overall taste, this is amazingly balanced. Savoring the swallows, so many different tastes can be had, except the appreciable alcohol.

Oct 13, 2020
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StarenaR from California

4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

When drinking it out of the can, definitely drink it cold. By smelling the beer, it’s easy to tell that it wouldn’t taste good warm, as there are many spices. The head develops nicely. Thick at first and then leaves a nice foamy film after a couple minutes sitting in the glass. Notes of peppers on some sips, notes of chocolate on others, and a light malty finish that leaves a hint of that yummy spicy stout in the back of your mouth.

Sep 28, 2020
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dd53grif from Michigan

4.35/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours a black color with a minimal tan head that lasts quite a while. Aroma is dark chocolate and roasted malts. Tastes of cinnamon first, then dark chocolate, coffee, and roasted malts. Creamy and smooth. Good mouth feel.

Aug 10, 2020
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Wolvmar from Michigan

3.8/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Jun 2020 Review
12oz can poured into a tulip glass. Didn’t check date but likely 6 months old based on description.

Pour: jet black, one finger dark tan head. Nice ring and clouds, not much lacing. 4.0

Nose: coffee, chili pepper, vanilla 4.0

Taste: charted dark chocolate, deep roast coffee, vanilla, chili pepper, lactose. Char then sweet then a bitter finish that lingers. Pretty well balanced but something just ok about it. Not great but ok. 3.75

Feel: mod to low carbonation. A little thin feeling but smooth and easy to drink. 3.50

Overall: maybe just not my thing. Lots going on but didn’t really hit home for me. Lactose could be part of the issue; never seem to like it a lot. But, worth trying and I can see why some may like it a lot. 3.75

Jun 13, 2020
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CTHomer from Connecticut

3.87/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: opaque; very dark brown - virtually black in color; 2+ finger medium brown head that receded to a wispy cap; OK lacing;

S: there's a lot going one; what comes through the most are the pasilla peppers, cinnamon, and nutmeg;

T: cinnamon and nutmeg up front, with nutmeg being dominant by the finish; some warmth on the tongue and in the throat from the pasilla peppers; not really getting the chocolate, coffee, and vanilla; mild bitterness at the end;

M: medium to full bodied; moderate carbonation; moderately dry finish;

O: interesting, but I expected more than I got;

May 03, 2020
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PathofChaos from Maryland

4.97/5  rDev +14%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Total darkness bordered by a dim haze of Dunkel brown. Has a slick, reflective shine that lends it an air of mystique. Its beige head puffs up big, then vanishes into the black depths.

Roasted coffee laced with molasses, brilliant vanilla, subtle cinnamon, and a sort of fluffed sweetness I’ve come identify as chocolate marshmallow.

A medium body that espouses a superfluous symphony of sensations: creamy stout, spice-induced warmth, and a carbonation that dashes across the tongue in tiny, contained jet streams. No lashings of jalapeno heat, no unwanted acid tang; just cozy and soft as your favorite armchair.

A grand orchestra of harmonious flavors work in flawless concert, none overlapping the other, each arriving at precisely the right moment. It begins a with classy tempo of dark chocolate and Brazilian black coffee, which are then accompanied by a percussion of black chile peppers. The hot pepper is made mild by a fluting filigree of sweet vanilla and dark malts. A velvet curtain of cinnamon and nutmeg are draped just behind it all.

This stunning synergy ascends to such grandeur, words fail to describe it. All its complexities are complimentary and all its simplicities are bold without becoming brash.

Apr 03, 2020
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Pivopijak from Washington

4.04/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

can into glass
Very ample and long lasting tan head. Technically not black, but it looks black. I have been drinking Mexican hot chocolate in between chais at a local café, The Ugly Mug, and this smells just like it. A sharpness that lingers, with the bitter chocolate being the main flavor, with a touch of the non-spicy, pasilla peppers and a trace of cinnamon on the palate.

Mar 31, 2020
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Wattie83 from Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

A classic stout. Black color with tan head that falls to a ring with some webbing in the middle. Sits pretty still in the glass. Smell is cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, spice. Taste is a mix of so much flavor. Cocoa, and roast malt up front. Cinnamon and pepper combine with cocoa producing a coconut type flavor. Finishes with coffee and pepper. A nice bitterness kicks in to finish it out. It's a medium bodied beer with a light carbonation. Ends pretty clean on the tongue. Overall, what a mix of flavor! This beer is perfect for winter months. Flavor profile changes as it warms which keeps it from getting boring. It's excellent.

Mar 17, 2020
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Buckeye55 from North Carolina

3.77/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A very good stout, just not a great one. Right about halfway between above average and outstanding. Pours black with moderate head. Scent is of coffee, chocolate and spice. Taste follows the scent. Full mouthfeel an aftertaste that ends with coffee bitterness

Feb 28, 2020
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matuka123 from Finland

4.68/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I love me a good stout. This one looks amazing, pure black with a dark tan head. Looks just like a stout should imo. Nice roasted coffee+chocolate smell. Coffee, chocolate, peppers/spice, cinnamon on the taste. Awesome stout.

Feb 22, 2020
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jakej654 from Pennsylvania

5/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

not sure what there is to say, about as close to a perfect beer as you can get. incredible smell and taste, beautiful almost jet black appearance, so many flavors coming forward with the peppers, cinnamon, nutmeg, coffee, chocolate, vanilla, somehow not too sweet but easy to drink for an imperial stout. again, one of the best beers i've ever had.

Feb 22, 2020
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Guppy314 from District of Columbia

4.3/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

From a can, pours as opaque black with a two-finger almost brown head. Aromas of cinnamon and molasses. Taste is nicely complex with cocoa, coffee, cinnamon, and vanilla, with hops at the back end. The body/feel is OK (a little watery), but disappointing relative to the stature of an otherwise world-class beer.

Feb 18, 2020
Xocoveza from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 4320 ratings