Stone Brewing

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American Imperial Stout
Ranked #127
Ranked #479
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: 795 | Ratings: 4,252 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of augustgarage
4.15/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/13/19, consumed on 2/3/20 - poured from a 22oz bomber into my Bruery tulip (and shared with my sister-in-law).

Clear bistre body with a low khaki cap, receding to a lasting collar and a vague surface-slick. Faint lacing; fast-running tears.

Ibarra cocoa in the nose - cinnamon, roast barley, and faint black pepper. Low hops, vaguely spicy/herbaceous. Coffee comes forward as the beer warms.

Spices are more forward on the palate, although the cocoa adds a wonderfully rich flavor. Finishes smooth, earthy, and gently bittersweet (while a dessert beer perhaps, this isn't a "pastry stout"). Low bitterness - well balanced, with the coffee emerging as the ale warms.

Medium-light bodied, almost crisp, with a perfectly reasonable ABV.

An excellent stout - would love to try this on cask some day, but happy to find this for a good price without too much difficulty.

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Photo of redresonatedragon
3.78/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Stone was a favorite brewery 5 years ago, let’s revisit this highly praised stout. The look, taste, and smell are all high class, my only negatives about this brew is that the thinness of the mouthfeel doesn’t support the complexity of the flavors, it’s just too watery to hit that umami deliciousness that a bold stout needs for me to hit the right spot. Pretty good but falls short behind other big hitting stouts, I’d grab any Yeti, Rasputin, or even a thinner Darkstar over this brew

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Photo of whynot44
4.74/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Opaque Black color, modest tan head that dissipates quickly leaving only a bit of lacing.

The aroma is cinnamon, spice, dark chocolate with hints of chili peppers.

The taste is more complex, changing as it warms and even as you drink it. There is coffee, dark chocolate, cinnamon, chilis, vanilla and a bit of hops in the finish. A bit sweet, a bit spicy, a bit of bitterness, all very well balanced and enjoyable.

Medium/heavy bodied, a little lighter than usual for an imperial stout, but very smooth.

Overall, a really great brew.

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

Love stouts. Always wanted to try Xocoveza and very glad I did. Perhaps my favorite stout now? Looks, smells and tastes amazing. For 8.5%abv this is about as smooth as it gets so be careful as these will creep up on ya.

Founders Breakfast stouts are the same %abv for a 4pack and therefore cost less but if you have $16 to spend, I'd go with Stone Xocoveza as you get 6 and it is overall a better stout, in my humble opinion.

Top rank beer

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Photo of Singlefinpin
4.51/5  rDev +3.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.75

First off this beer will receive the highest rating I've yet given to a beer at BA
Second Imperial Stouts I usually avoid.
Drinking at a local tap house on tap poured into a tulip glass.
Looks Black, nice head and lacing. The head dropped quickly.
Smells chocolate, cinnamon, spicy.
Tastes chocolate, spicy, cinnamon.
Complex taste that slightly changes while you are drinking it. Not boozy. Not sweet, more like dark chocolate.
Mouth feel is medium plus. With an oh so pleasant chili spice on the back of the tongue.
Overall, one if the best stouts I've tried, and I am not a stout guy.
I would definitely order again.

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Photo of GuyFawkes
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottled 9/20/16; drank 10/16/16 @ the Yarchives.

Black appearance.

A rough pour yielded a nice dark tan head; frothy lace.

Cinnamon, milk chocolate & cream notes in the nose.

Smooth, medium thick mouthfeel.

Cream & cinnamon flavors up front; milk chocolate notes on the finish.

Nice winter warmer vibes here; balanced between sweet & spiced. Very tasty.

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Photo of Hooded
4.44/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Notes from 12/23/2019.
Poured from a bottle into a Spiegelau tulip glass.
Look is dark brown with a one finger tan head that quickly dissipates leaving thin lacing. 4.25
Smell is cinnamon, chilis, nutmeg, chocolate, and alcohol. 4.5
Taste is milk chocolate, chilis, medium roasted coffee, cinnamon, dark chocolate, dark roasted coffee, and a finish that is long and parades most of the flavors with slight bitterness. 4.5
Feel is medium, silky, and creamy. The mouth feel is less than one would expect from this beer style. 4.00
Overall it has an amazing smell and taste. If it had more body it would balance the beer and meet expectations. 4.5

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Photo of nodnaut
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Nose started off a little boozy, especially for an 8% stout... As it warmed the cinnamon and Padilla opened up, then chocolate and vanilla. No light passing through, nice head, lacing.

Cinnamon, nutmeg, and Padilla are wonderful. Could use maybe a smidge more chocolate and density on the mouthfeel (in the name of balance).

Pretty great.

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Photo of jwp777
4.59/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Fantastic stout. Had on tap at a local craft beer house.

Look - color resembles black coffee. One finger light tan head that disappears pretty quickly. Some lacing.

Aroma - this beer smells fantastic. The cinnamon and chilis are strong in the aroma. I don’t really notice the chocolate or coffee or anything else until I taste it.

Taste - chocolate, peppers, and coffee hit immediately, then fade to the cinnamon and vanilla flavors. The peppers linger in the aftertaste.

Feel - pretty smooth and easy to drink, but it is a tad heavy. Fairly high carbonation. First sip brings a slight burn to the throat but after that the ting from the peppers is only really on my tongue.

Good stout for sure, and reasonably priced for the quality.

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Photo of EJPA_0425
4.46/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Incredible beer made by Stone. Has the typical characteristics of other stone beers, but in stout form. Pours a dark tan head with very dark brown color. Smells of fresh chocolates and a little spice. Tastes of coffee and dark bitter chocolate. Heavy beer. Best to be drank after dinner. And don't eat too much. Otherwise, fantastic.

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Photo of Hopfenpeter
4.43/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

What a Christmas celebration this beer represents! This beautifully colored Stout is rich on mexican type chocolate flavors. A hint of some type of mexican pepper in the background, perfectly masked by some coffee notes. A great beer for the winter! Thank you, STONE.

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Photo of Jessica_loves_beer
4.85/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I'm picky when it comes to stouts/porters; they aren't usually my go-to style but I loved the coffee, chocolate, cinnamon and chili. Spicy/sweet is one of my favorite flavor combos and while this was not very sweet at all (it tasted of cocoa nibs), it was so well-balanced. This was a universal favorite of our seasonal beer sampler that we put together for Thanksgiving.

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Photo of KooVee
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

30cl on tap.

Opaque very dark brown. Beige quickly receding foam.

Sweet nutmeg mixed with cacao nibs, red berries in the background, some cinnamon and vague spiciness. Intriguing. Not really xmasy, hard to associate with anything specific.

Cinnamon grows in the taste, a bit too far for my tastes, nutmeg takes a back seat, and the association with a pepper steak coated with chocolate, while coffee is brewing, confuses one for a moment. Sweetness engulfs all and recedes slowly leaving burning pepper and bitter chocolate. Some pleasant alcohol rides on the sweetness. Body is very drinkable and carbonation on spot.

If only the cinnamon were a bit more restrained.. this amount tires my palate and reduces complexity, but that is more a personal matter. An unusually well-blending mixture of potentially clashing elements that shows that skill and thought went into this brew. Usually these combinations do not feel natural.

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

Pours incredibly black with just the slightest hints of brown in the right light, 2 fingers of a frothy mocha head that leaves incredible lacing all down the snifter

The aromas are warm and inviting, with a sweet chocolate backed up with an earthy spiciness akin to chili powder, some sweet cinnamon and coffee aromas are also offered up to a lesser extent

The front of the sip is malty sweet with a robust coffee flavor, and as it goes on the pepper and chocolate mixes together to make an excellent finish that is just so damn tasty!

It is surprisingly light bodied but becomes fuller when it opens up, moderately carbonated, and oddly enough I notice that the longer I hold in a sip, the more spice I get after the swallow

This absolutely blew my mind and my expectations, I am not the biggest stout fan but I can appreciate a well crafted one, and this is just that, my favorite stout to date, I will definitely be picking up a whole sixer of this asap

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Photo of entheos
3.89/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

A harsh coffee brew, but satisfying. Pours dark with froth, but stings with blasts of chocolate and coffee. It’s good, but not the best. I would still drink this before a Starbucks drink though!

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Photo of mogulskier
4.56/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Always look forward to this beer every Fall when the weather gets a little colder.

Picked up both Bombers and 6-pack 12-oz cans. Way to easy to drink more than 1 can of this stuff.

Just wish it had a thicker mouthfeel.

Chocolate is the dominant flavor on the taste, followed by Cinnamon and the spices. Nutmeg on the finish. Goes down so smooth and all those wonderful flavors all come together. Absolutely delicious. Get's a touch better once it warms a little bit. Stone really hits this one out of the park every year. Never disappoints. By far, one of their very best.

Nose is all the above aforementioned ingredients. Love how Stone was able to strike a perfect balance of all of these. Decent head that doesn't easily dissipate. Would have been easy to get this beer overly sweet, but no, all the flavors are in perfect harmony, with chocolate at the front, and not to sweet at all, and certainly not cloying.

Excellent beer on all levels. Highly recommended.

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Photo of branham1989
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Stone Brewing’s Xocoveza 8.1% ABV. This Stout pours a deep dark brown almost black color with a one finger width mocha tan colored head that dissipates slowly leaving some lacing on the glass. The aroma is of dark roasted coffee and chilies along with dark roasted malts cinnamon vanilla all capped off with a enticing aroma of chocolate and cocoa nibs. The flavor is very cinnamon forward along with the chocolate and coffee with accents of chili peppers vanilla cloves and nutmeg there’s a slight toasted earthy almost smoky flavor from the peppers. The mouthfeel is creamy and slightly viscous but yet not as heavy as an imperial stout the carbonation level is about right and the alcohol content isn’t detectable. Overall this is an absolutely amazing delicious stout that I look forward to every year. 9.5/10

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Photo of dacrza1
4.12/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

DATE: November 1, 2019... OCCASION: Halloween in the rear view, I head to the weekend with something warming and substantial--and last year's winner of Tom's beerfest... GLASSWARE: Maudite snifter... this looks as black and intimidating as could be... its head is oatmeal brown, single-fingered and settling into a thick ring... wow, the first whiff is of thick nutmeg, cocoa nibs and tootsie rolls, chili powder, cinnamon, medium-roasted coffee beans, and a stiff punch of yeasty heat... dry, thin early before dripping into a roasted coffee mouthfeel, smooth and sippable with a warming texture... its back end is a rush of effervescence and thick froth... this is billed as a holiday welcomer, but it reads well as a Halloween drink, rife with mocha chocolate, roasted coffee, ground root, cinnamon, half and half, vanilla cream, and some sweet heat... this wins as a desertif, strong and singular in its after-dinner heft and flavor... bless Cathy for bringing it, and thanks to Liquor Factory for putting it on tap...

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Photo of kookiedoktor
4.5/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Tastes of coffee, chocolate, hint of cinnamon and chilies reminds me of a spicy dark chocolate that I purchase occasionally. Can taste and smell some hops and malt. Well balanced. Not overly sweet. An easy quaff; could down two. Thick and sturdy head. Complex but balanced.

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Photo of EnderFett11
4.36/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Smells like smokey chile's. Pours a dark brown, almost opaque. Tastes of chocolate, malt, and some chiles. Medium mouthfeel with a decent amount of carbonation. Good chocolate stout that isn't too sweet.

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Photo of b11
4.26/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

This is wonderful beer. The dominant flavor is the cinnamon, I'd say, but the chocolate is apparent, with other subtly-done spices and a very small amount of hot pepper. Quite bitter, moderate viscosity, not at all syrupy. Minimal sweetness, so it's misleading to call it a "sweet stout". The challenge with a beer like this, with cinnamon, is to keep it interesting throughout the drinking. When a brewery tries to make a spicy, mocha beer they often make something that is much less interesting at the end of the drink, that's actually fatiguing. This one has the balance and complexity to be as enjoyable at the last sip as the first sip.

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Photo of macrosmatic
3.92/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Reviewed from notes. Poured from the 12 oz. can into a Cycle Brewing goblet.

A: Very dark brown and opaque. Forms a thin light tan head that fades away fairly quickly. At first there's quite a bit of visible carbonation, but it settles out quickly. It looks a little thin while pouring into the glass.

S: Nice – coffee and spicy peppers dominate, but cacao nibs are quite present. Dark roasted malts, vanilla, and cinnamon lurking in the background. Doesn’t smell like a Yankee Candle of a Christmas beer to say the least – things are nicely balanced in here.

T: Cinnamon, chocolate, and coffee all hit at once up front. Significantly more cinnamon than I got on the nose. Some chili peppers with a light roast character, very mild to no heat from them. Light notes of vanilla, cloves, nutmeg. Dry cacao nibs mix with sweet toasted malts. It finishes with a cinnamon mocha sweetness.

M: A medium heft to the body, as long as you remember this is not an Imperial Stout. Average carbonation sensation. Low alcohol flavors, but I do find it a little warming going down.

O: I wish the balance on the tongue was closer to what I got on the nose. The cinnamon and to a lesser extent the nutmeg could be turned down a couple notches each for my preference. Still, a well conceived stout that’s widely distributed in 12 oz. bottles. And a “Christmas” beer that I actually enjoy. Probably not something I’d choose on a regular basis, nor something that’d I’d want more than one of in an evening. But on a cold night around a fire, I could get behind one of these.

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Photo of gobrewsome
4.42/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Preface this as I sit in a hotel room sipping this wonderful stout from a paper coffee cup can still appreciate the pleasant aroma chocolatey yet spicy with pepper cinnamon and nutmeg on the nose . Mouthfeel is that of a sweet stout with minimal carbonation. Tasty with a definite lingering pepper but upfront with a subtley spiced hot chocolate. The beer yearns to be paired with some chefs creation

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Photo of eugene17pluto
4/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottled on November 2018 and drinking June 2019

best by date says 3.1.19

Total Wine sold me this expired beer and also sells me old wine (that is not supposed to be aged but drunken fresh - namely, sauvignon blanc). So Total Wine will sell you expired wine as well as beer so watch out of these bad guys.

I first gave this beer a 3 because the flavors weren't expected. The cinnamon and sweet aromas were present but it came across as savory (like meat) rather than a desert.

I couldn't figure out the weird taste that didn't make sense - like flavors that go on meat not a desert.

And I realized it was the Mexican dried peppers that was like the dominate taste giving the sweet spices this meat flavor.

It will kinda taste like sweet spices on a piece of meat which is kinda gross to some people bc it doesn't make sense.

Mexican Aztecs, I believe, drank unsweetened chocolate like coffee with chile peppers with no sugar or milk and chocolate was like a savory food - not sweet dessert.

I think Stone wasn't really clear on this and couldn't choose between a savory chile flavor or a sweet cinnamon vanilla and so put both in and that's why it tastes kinda...weird.

But having a second bottle another night, I think I do like this beer because it is a different taste than other dark stouts and barrel aged ones.

I think this is a dark stout with a unique taste and profile all it's own.

I think you should get this for variety. It is very low on bitterness and the flavors are strong and deep - though it's like putting sugar on your steak.

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Photo of Bluerabbitbell
4.23/5  rDev -3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Great beer enjoyed at Home Delivery at the bar at the recommendation of the bat tender. Incredible cinnamon aroma and flavor. Definitely one to sip fireside! Sports camp 2019!

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Xocoveza from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 97 out of 100 with 4252 ratings