Stone Spotlight: Imperial Mutt Brown Ale | Stone Brewing

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Stone Spotlight: Imperial Mutt Brown AleStone Spotlight: Imperial Mutt Brown Ale

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: American Brown Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
First Release: April 2015
Stone brewers Drew Neldon and Steve Via won this year’s annual in-house Stone Spotlight Series brewing competition with this hefty brown ale—an impressive result considering that one of them had never encountered a brown ale he liked before tasting this one. Given layers of flavor from Vienna, Victory and Chocolate Wheat malts, and warming, refined sweetness from Honey Malt and turbinado sugar, it’s a rich and soothing beer brewed with respect to traditional English methods and New World innovation. The British-American bulldog of the craft beer world? Perhaps. Best in Show? Absolutely.

Added by RuckIt on 04-10-2015

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

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Reviews: 127 | Ratings: 489
Photo of JJKBeerLvr
3.87/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Sampled January 2017 from 22 oz bottle in pint glass. Drank it about 8 months after the bottled date on the bottle.

Appearance: Very dark brown color, medium size dark tan head that lasted for a long time. Thick lacing and remnants on the side of the glass from the head.

Smell: Sweet & malty with strong toasted coffee aromas, also some hops. Some nut and caramel aroma as well.

Taste: Medium-bodied with nice balance of malt and hops and alcohol. Dominated by caramel, chocolate, coffee and burnt malt flavors, but with a little bitterness and kick from the hops. There are also sweet flavors like honey. Overall an interesting combination, but dominated by the sweet flavors.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied, but very smooth. Matched 9.0% on the label.

Overall: Nice brown ale. Easy to drink, but still has some interesting flavors.

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Photo of EmperorBevis
4.44/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Bottled bomber style
Pours a very dark body with full, thick tobacco stained head
Aroma is full on cocoa
Tastes like an irished up frappe, creamy l, chocolatey and a hint of coffee
Perfect mf
Big bold and beautiful

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Photo of chinchill
4.04/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle into a Belgian snifter.

Appearance: Pours with a clear dark brown body and a decent, off-white head. Limited lacing.

Aroma: Dominated by toasted grains with roasted nuts and caramelized sugar notes. Potency is moderate.

Flavor: Largely follows the aroma, with caramelized malts, roasted nuts, dark bread and chocolate malts.

Mouthfeel: Carbonation is medium-light. Body is medium-full. Alcohol presence is very light for ABV.

Overall: A tasty, rich brown ale with good balance and well hidden alcohol.

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Photo of Mitchster
4.5/5  rDev +15.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Brewed with Vienna as the base malt with Chocolate Wheat Malt and some Honey Malt, combined with Turbinado sugar. Hopped with Magnum and East Kent Golding. Fermented with an English Ale yeast strain.
9% ABV, 45 IBUs.

Pours out to a clear deep walnut, forming a modest creamy medium tan head with very good retention and lacing. Carbonation is about 2.5 carbs. Nose of milk chocolate, carob, some dates, very malty like chocolate malt balls. Mouthfeel is smooth, rich and big bodied. Very nice mouthfeel. Tastes great, with big chocolate malt balls, overall slightly sweet, with a very nice bitterness. Some aggressive hopping in the finish. Overall, not terribly english, no off flavors, very rich but still easy to drink and not a burden.

Probably the best imperial brown I've's great. Kinda like a baltic porter but with a bunch of hops and fermented with an ale yeast. Great stuff, definitely worth trying.

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

"Stone brewers Drew Neldon and Steve Via won this year’s annual in-house Stone Spotlight Series brewing competition with this hefty brown ale—an impressive result considering that one of them had never encountered a brown ale he liked before tasting this one. Given layers of flavor from Vienna, Victory and Chocolate Wheat malts, and warming, refined sweetness from Honey Malt and turbinado sugar, it’s a rich and soothing beer brewed with respect to traditional English methods and New World innovation. The British-American bulldog of the craft beer world? Perhaps. Best in Show? Absolutely." Brewed in the style of an American Brown Ale, available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft.

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

(Appearance) Pours a frothy foam head of a medium brown tone over a very dark brown body with abundant carbonation, high clarity. Retention is very good and lacing is light and spotty. 4.25

(Smell) Chocolate, toasted bread malts with a soft acidity, mild fruit tones, soft nutty bitterness. Delicate sweetness, rich caramelized sugar notes. Potency is moderate. 3.75

(Taste) Flavors that follow the aroma, with predominantly caramelized malts, fruit sugars, bread and chocolate malts. Mildly nutty bitterness, slightly dry. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Texture is slick, lightly syrupy, smooth, mildly dry. Carbonation is light, generating a medium frothiness, softly crisp finish. Body is medium+ for the style, medium/heavy overall. Balance is nearly even sweet to nutty bitter and acidic. Alcohol presence is light and there are no off characters. 3.75

(Overall) A fairly enjoyable Brown ale with a lot of specialty malt richness. Nicely balanced. 3.75

Stone Brewing's
Imperial Mutt Brown Ale

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Photo of grawp57
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, dark brown with a caramel colored head that leaves a nice lacing. Chocolate with a little nut in the nose. Taste is chocolate and rich malt with a spicy zing at the end. Goes down smooth and easy. These guys really brewed a winner. Excellent brown with the added bonus of strong kick, without any alcohol taste.

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Photo of hreb
3.71/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottled on 03/27/15. Aged before serving (obviously) rather than drunk fresh. Served in a curved porter/stout glass. Pours very dark brown, nearly black, with a satisfying chestnut head. Strong but sweet aroma of grainy malt. Flavor is rich and covers the palate with a syrupy rich pool of brown ale flavor. Not malty sweet, and neither aggressively hopped nor alcohol burn-y, but well balanced and heavy. For a brown ale I find it lacking in either nutty/toasty or chocolate flavors from the roasted barley, but it does have a nice brown sugar thing going, and a little bit of spice on the tip of my tongue. I'm really reminded of RIS or even barleywine characteristics, though this is clearly neither. I don't believe I ever tried Imperial Mutt Brown fresh, but the age on this doge could only have made him mellower.

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Photo of pattycakes8401
4.39/5  rDev +12.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Look: Pours a heavy dark brown, essentially black, with less than of finger of light beige khaki head, dense and bubbly with moderate lacing, which then settles into a splotchy film with a thick ring along the edges.

Smell: Tons of rich chocolate and roasted malts up front along with hints of vanilla, while the overall bouquet is very earthy and nutty and also somewhat bready. The sweetness is coated with figs, dates, salted caramel, and toffee in the background.

Taste: Roasted malts and dark chocolate with a bit of espresso alongside that earthy, nutty character. The sweetness is brown sugar, molasses, and toffee, while a slight bitterness from the hops presents itself in the background. Very similar to the smell.

Feel: Medium bodied with a smooth and velvety texture and plenty of carbonation. There's also a dry, hoppy, earthy finish and almost no heat from the alcohol. Super easy to drink.

Overall: Very smooth and easy-drinking, with the rich chocolate sweetness, toasted malts, earthy nuttiness, and subtle hops all balancing perfectly with each other. One of my favorite beers from Stone thus far; too bad it's retired.

PS: Ignore the BA Score of 87; this beer is easily a solid 92-94.

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Photo of SHODriver
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A: Poured into a Nonic pint glass to a deep brown that may as well be black topped by a finger of dense light tan head that fades to a small pool and leaves minimal lacing
S: Smells of chocolate and sweet toasted malts
T: Taste is honey sweetness with some nice roasted malt and dark chocolate notes, light espresso and some sugary sweetness. Slight candied nut flavor at times as well. Swallow is more chocolate and roasted malts with more sweetness that has a bit of toasted malt at the back end
M: Very thick and velvety for a brown ale with soft but adequate carbonation. This beer has a semi-dry finish.
O: Overall this is a pretty solid brown ale with a hefty body and on the sweeter side of things. Definitely different and I'm happy to try it.

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Photo of tekstr1der
4.24/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a very dark brown with lasting, clingy half-finger of tan head. Aroma Is nice and malty, with a slight sweetness of caramel, along with a bit of toasted bread. Flavors of nut and semisweet cocoa finish with an unobtrusive well-balanced slight pine bitter. Very good offering.

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Photo of MAB
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Really dark brown. Almost stout-like, but still a hint of amber in there.
Roasted malt on the nose. lovely.
Sweetness and a hint of licorice, maybe, on the palate. It ends with an alcohol burn and some hop bitterness.
A very, very good beer, this. Three thumbs up.

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Photo of clayrock81
3.85/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured an almost black body with minimal tan head that left little lace. Aroma is mostly roasted malts although some sweetness comes through that I guess is honey and chocolate (I can't really discern it but the power of suggestion from label is powerful). Sticky, boozy, beer that almost balances bitter, roasted chocolate malts with a roasted, almost bread-like/toasted malt presence and beer finishes dry with not too much bitterness. Good beer but a little dry for my take and the sweet aspects (chocolate and honey) make beer a somewhat cloying sipper.

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Photo of WoodBrew
3.92/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

The Mutt Brown was good. It poured a dark brownish amber with white head that left some lace. The scent had malt some hop. The taste was bread with some hints of caramel. The mouthfeel was fuller in body with good carbonation. Overall it is definitely worth a try.

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Photo of maddogruss
3.88/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours brown body with white head, nice R&L
S: sweet, dark roasted toffee taste with some sweet alcohol notes
T: sweet roasted notes with caramel undertones and alcohol in the aftertaste
M: medium bodied and pretty smooth
D: nice M&T combo; decent beer

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Photo of Viaduck
4/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

2015 Stone Spotlight Series pours a dark brown body & not much of a light brown head. Smells pretty. I was surprised by the saltiness, was expecting sweet. It does have a sweet chocolate finish to it. More than a bit thin but still excellent. And no dogs were harmed in the consumption of this beer.

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Photo of M_C_Hampton
3.73/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: poured from a 22 oz bottle into a pint glass, dark brown with a large tan head that linger leaving good lacing, clear

S: earthy and nutty, pecan, walnut, toasty malt, slightly sweet, molasses

T: malty up front, bead, pecan, peanut, toast, finish is pine hops

M: full with medium carbonation, alcohol well hidden

O: easy drinking brown ale given the high alcohol content

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Photo of drdiesel9483
3.91/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Dark brown somewhat lacing but fairly thin. Toasty boozy smell. Toasty sweet boozy taste. Like the look, fairy thin body. Medium carbonation level. Overall it's pretty good but not worth the price.

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Photo of Karibourgeois
3/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Clear dark brown pour with a one-finger tan head. Mild malty and earthy aroma. Nut, dark malt and grass flavors upfront provide a fairly bitter initial taste. Can also taste a bit of grain, toast and earth. Finishes dry with a taste that has an balance between earthy bitterness and nut flavors. Medium bodied.

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Photo of Motleydrunk56
3.68/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle poured into a lagunitas glass.Smell is toffee and a slight chocolate.Taste is not there at all.Some chocolate but the rest is just not that clear.Out of all the stone beers i`ve had this is the worst.I would not buy this again.

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Photo of Dragginballs76
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours jet black with minimal tan head that goes away quickly no lacing.
Smell nutty earthy tones mild fruit smell with some chocolate
Taste you can taste the roasted malt slight nutty flavor nice earthy taste on the backend sight alcohol burn on the backend as well
Mouthfeel medium body pretty smooth good carbonation earthy feel
Overall a good brown ale that is not overpowering

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Photo of flagmantho
3.79/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22oz bomber into a dimpled mug.

Appearance: rich brown hue with plenty of haze and a finger of frothy tan foam. I like it.

Smell: sweet, with some caramel, toast, toffee and biscuit. A classic brown ale mélange.

Taste: biscuity and caramelly; it borders on an amber ale in that respect. There's also plenty of toffee and a nice nuttiness. Not half bad.

Mouthfeel: medium body with a huge carbonation and a big, mouth-filling creaminess. Dig it!

Overall: a nice brown ale indeed, if one with a little too much amber biscuitiness for my personal taste.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.25/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

A 22oz bottle with a bottled on date of 4.19.15

L - Dark brown with 2 fingers of head, and lace left on the top of the brew and on the sides of the glass all the way down

S - Dark fruit, burnt malts, citrus hops

T - Roasted malt, caramel, molasses, and a warming boozy aftertaste

F - medium body, well carbonated.

O - A pretty tasty imperial brown

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Photo of Bonkinishwa
4.12/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Stone Brewing Co. - Imperial Mutt Brown Ale (2015 Spotlight Series). 9% ABV. 22oz bomber poured into a standard pint glass. Bottled on 4/8/15.

Look: Very dark brown body. Semi aggressive pour yielded a small half finger mocha colored head, which dissipates quickly, leaving very small amounts of lacing.

Smell: Dark fruit is the most prominent, black cherries, raspberries, plums, and figs. Backing the fruit is some brown sugar, dark malts, some faint chocolate, and some roasted nuttiness.

Feel: Medium bodied and somewhat smooth, with a lot of carbonation.

Taste: The dark fruits are up front, with the brown sugar, dark malts, and nutty chocolate mixed in. On the back end, some hoppy flavor is detected, but not too bitter; balances out the sweetness of the other flavors. No alcohol taste, even when it warms up, but it does burn a little.

Overall: I'm a fan of Stone's Milk Stout, and Russian Imperial Stout, so when I saw they made a Brown Ale, I had to try it. I got lucky when I saw this, and bought it immediately. This was a rather enjoyable beer, a lot of bold flavors that balance each other nicely.

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Photo of JerzDevl2000
4.07/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Had this beer over the weekend in honor of my friend's pooch that was put to to sleep earlier this month. Since I've had the Smuttynose Old Brown Dog Ale and the Dogfather, it was only fitting that this would be the beer to complete the trifecta. Given that this was from Stone and the 'mutt" aspect of this beer was in reference to a hybrid of styles, I anticipated this highly and this ended up meeting them perfectly, as it turned out to be a great choice for these later days of fall!

Good pour to this, as it came out a slightly lighter shade of brown with a frothy head and enough lacing that slid down the side of the glass that I drank this out of . Lots of brown sugar in the nose with a nice level of carbonation that was evident both in sight and in taste. Solid chocolate in the taste because of the malt, along with the turbinado sugar that was referenced to on the bottle. Easily the most balanced Brown Ale that I've ever had as the floral hops were nicely matched with the wheat, chocolate, and sugar that let this beer sing from start to finish. No caramel here and the roasted aspect was kept to a minimum, allowing this beer to *not* feel cloying or sticky as is the case with so many other American Brown Ales.

Sure, this was strong but never at any moment did the alcohol overpower everything else that was going on here. There isn't a beer on here that's an "Imperial Brown Ale" but if a new category was created for it, this would easily be placed into it. I'm amazed at how well Stone can brew beers that aren't Pale Ales but are as well-crafted as the styles that they're more commonly associated with. Impressive stuff that was a blast to drink and more importantly, a proper beer to toast Taffy's memory to. Get this beer if you love fall but want something a step up from the typical seasonal selections!

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Photo of Andrewharemza
4.18/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

From bottle, pours dark cola brow with very little head. Aroma chocolate, roasted malt, nutty. Taste toasted bread, chocolate, plums, dark fruit, roasty, nutty. No hint of alcohol.

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Stone Spotlight: Imperial Mutt Brown Ale from Stone Brewing
3.9 out of 5 based on 489 ratings.
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