Stone Brewing

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Stone Brewing
California, United States
Stout - American Imperial
Ranked #411
Ranked #964
4.33 | pDev: 9.24%
Mar 24, 2022
Jul 10, 2014
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!
Recent ratings and reviews. | Log in to view more ratings + sorting options.
Photo of KenjiN
5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
by KenjiN from Massachusetts

This is my first sample. I'm wary of stouts made with lactose, because while I have had a couple of good ones -- Espressway and Two Die 4 by Two Roads -- I've had sickeningly sweet examples such as Gunner's Daughter from Mast Landing and Brig from Springdale.

In any event, this particular brew is black in color. It boasts a thick, lasting, tan head. The nose is muted initially; it is faintly redolent of sweetness, cream, and spice.

It is creamy and medium-bodied in feel.

The palate stuns me. Beautiful flavors of dark chocolate and coffee meld flawlessly with a variety of spices. The spice component is perfect; it is not overdone.

The beer's high ABV is utterly hidden.

I have nothing but praise for this stout. It is the best beer from Stone I've ever had. It is perfect.

Mar 24, 2022
4.5 by Resistance88 from California on Jan 24, 2022
Photo of jbolger
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by jbolger from Connecticut

12/25/21 Shared bottle @ Brian’s.

Dec 31, 2021
4.19 by cgrunin from Texas on Dec 26, 2021
Photo of beerjerk666
4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
by beerjerk666 from Florida

I've had this fresh and cellared.

Jet black body with a dark khaki head.
Picking up cinnamon, coffee and dark chocolate.
Taste fresh has chocolate, cinnamon, slight chili pepper and warm spices.
Taste with a couple of years changed a little, more of a roasted coffee and chocolate and little to no chili peppers, but the cinnamon and cardamom spices are a little more prevalent.
Mouthfeel fresh and aged is full and satisfying. A decent lingering chocolate spice cake on the tongue.
A really tasty beer fresh or with a little age on it. Actually I prefer it with a couple of years.

Dec 19, 2021
3.69 by blackcloud from Alaska on Sep 16, 2021
3.23 by TMoney2591 from Illinois on Aug 25, 2021
4.5 by Burg from New Hampshire on May 05, 2021
Photo of Sigmund
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Sigmund from Norway

On tap at Cardinal Pub Bar, Stavanger: black colour, tan head. Aroma and flavour of roast malts, coffee, cinnamon, nutmeg, lactose, chili peppers. Very good and unusual beer.

Apr 27, 2021
Photo of gooddaydiablo
4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by gooddaydiablo from Texas

look: 95% black

smell: light chocolate coffee

taste: roasted malt, the chocolate flavor is actually not that strong, and I can barely taste the pepper or cinnamon

feel: creamy and smooth, maybe a little too bitter tho

overall: this is far away from treehouse milk stouts, it's overrated in my opinion

Apr 27, 2021
4.95 by emiliobaratta from Venezuela on Mar 04, 2021
4.74 by RBorsato from Virginia on Mar 03, 2021
3.75 by hester7 from Texas on Mar 01, 2021
Photo of SushiSakeBeer
4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by SushiSakeBeer from Oregon

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
4.61 by Danzifer from Ohio on Feb 02, 2021
4.1 by GaryM6 from New York on Jan 28, 2021
Photo of J_mo
3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
by J_mo from California

Cinnamon upfront followed by some spice from the peppers with a coffee finish. The more you drink the better it gets.

Jan 20, 2021
4.22 by Tuck_leepulin from Texas on Jan 15, 2021
Photo of Shelzy31
4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by Shelzy31 from North Carolina

Wait for this beer to come out every year. I liked the green package beer, better than the red packaging.

Jan 10, 2021
Photo of Mdog
4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Mdog from Minnesota

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
Photo of DeaconWhite82
4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4
by DeaconWhite82 from Pennsylvania

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
4.02 by csmrx7 from Canada (AB) on Dec 26, 2020
Photo of Historiker
4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75
by Historiker from Ohio

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
4.25 by Peaches13 from Pennsylvania on Dec 23, 2020
Photo of dano213
4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by dano213 from Pennsylvania

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
Photo of elNopalero
4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
by elNopalero from California

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
4.45 by LunchMoney from Minnesota on Dec 07, 2020
4.1 by arc3636 from Kansas on Dec 07, 2020
4.07 by kramacam from Kentucky on Dec 04, 2020
2.09 by stephenlee93 from England on Nov 29, 2020
4.22 by Hokie95PSU from Pennsylvania on Nov 24, 2020
4.73 by HoodviewBrew from Texas on Nov 17, 2020
4.36 by Beer21 from Florida on Nov 13, 2020
4.54 by soarinsteven from Illinois on Nov 12, 2020
Photo of Jball25
4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75
by Jball25 from Colorado

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
Photo of Tony210
4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4
by Tony210 from New Jersey

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
Photo of Barettes
4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by Barettes from Washington

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
Photo of AJM_Beers
4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
by AJM_Beers from California

Delicious, I just wish the cinnamon would be toned down a little.

Nov 02, 2020
Photo of mikeinportc
4.36/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
by mikeinportc from New York

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
3.75 by muswellbeerbelly from Illinois on Oct 19, 2020
Xocoveza from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 4331 ratings