Stone Brewing

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Stone Brewing
California, United States
American Imperial Stout
Ranked #455
Ranked #950
4.33 | pDev: 9.24%
Jul 29, 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!
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Photo of TooManyGlasses
Reviewed by TooManyGlasses from Canada (AB)

4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Have had before (and certainly had fresher, as this bottle had a best before date of July 17 - 2018 (this is on me - in my cellar at 60 degrees F).
It pours a really nice dense black with scant tan head - again 5 years old...so my fault on the head.
Amazing nose with chocolate, cinnamon spice and vanilla - perhaps a hint of roasty coffee - but the spice notes are just right.
Taste is smooth with chocolate note, vanilla sweetness and cinnamon spice, yet maintains a bit of a roast coffee note also with a hint of bitterness.
Despite the limited head, this maintains a brisk carbonation and a beautifully silky creamy mouthfeel. Hopefully Stone (Sapporo) sends some fresh stuff north to Canada as pretty sure this 5 year old bottle was the last time sold here....
Jul 29, 2022
Rated: 4.39 by not2quick from Missouri

Jul 13, 2022
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Reviewed by KenjiN from Massachusetts

5/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5
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
Rated: 4.5 by Resistance88 from California

Jan 24, 2022
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Rated by jbolger from Connecticut

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
12/25/21 Shared bottle @ Brian’s.
Dec 31, 2021
Rated: 4.19 by cgrunin from Texas

Dec 26, 2021
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Reviewed by beerjerk666 from Florida

4.23/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4
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
Rated: 3.69 by blackcloud from Alaska

Sep 16, 2021
Rated: 3.23 by TMoney2591 from Illinois

Aug 25, 2021
Rated: 4.5 by Burg from New Hampshire

May 05, 2021
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Reviewed by Sigmund from Norway

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
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
Reviewed by gooddaydiablo from Texas

4.33/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5
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
Rated: 4.95 by emiliobaratta from Venezuela

Mar 04, 2021
Rated: 4.74 by RBorsato from Virginia

Mar 03, 2021
Rated: 3.75 by hester7 from Texas

Mar 01, 2021
Photo of SushiSakeBeer
Reviewed by SushiSakeBeer from Oregon

4.25/5  rDev -1.8%
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
Rated: 4.61 by Danzifer from Ohio

Feb 02, 2021
Rated: 4.1 by GaryM6 from New York

Jan 28, 2021
Photo of J_mo
Rated by J_mo from California

3.75/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75
Cinnamon upfront followed by some spice from the peppers with a coffee finish. The more you drink the better it gets.
Jan 20, 2021
Rated: 4.22 by Tuck_leepulin from Texas

Jan 15, 2021
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Rated by Shelzy31 from North Carolina

4.15/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25
Wait for this beer to come out every year. I liked the green package beer, better than the red packaging.
Jan 10, 2021
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Reviewed by Mdog from Minnesota

4.27/5  rDev -1.4%
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
Photo of DeaconWhite82
Reviewed by DeaconWhite82 from Pennsylvania

4.05/5  rDev -6.5%
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
Rated: 4.02 by csmrx7 from Canada (AB)

Dec 26, 2020
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Reviewed by Historiker from Ohio

4.77/5  rDev +10.2%
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
Rated: 4.25 by Peaches13 from Pennsylvania

Dec 23, 2020
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Reviewed by dano213 from Pennsylvania

4.49/5  rDev +3.7%
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
Photo of elNopalero
Reviewed by elNopalero from California

4.22/5  rDev -2.5%
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
Rated: 4.45 by LunchMoney from Minnesota

Dec 07, 2020
Rated: 4.1 by arc3636 from Kansas

Dec 07, 2020
Rated: 4.07 by kramacam from Kentucky

Dec 04, 2020
Rated: 2.09 by stephenlee93 from England

Nov 29, 2020
Rated: 4.22 by Hokie95PSU from Pennsylvania

Nov 24, 2020
Rated: 4.73 by HoodviewBrew from Texas

Nov 17, 2020
Rated: 4.36 by Beer21 from Florida

Nov 13, 2020
Rated: 4.54 by soarinsteven from Illinois

Nov 12, 2020
Photo of Jball25
Reviewed by Jball25 from Colorado

4.68/5  rDev +8.1%
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
Photo of Tony210
Reviewed by Tony210 from New Jersey

4.08/5  rDev -5.8%
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
Photo of Barettes
Reviewed by Barettes from Washington

4.21/5  rDev -2.8%
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
Photo of AJM_Beers
Rated by AJM_Beers from California

4.37/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25
Delicious, I just wish the cinnamon would be toned down a little.
Nov 02, 2020
Xocoveza from Stone Brewing
Beer rating: 96 out of 100 with 4333 ratings