2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout | Stone Brewing

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2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout

Brewed by:
Stone Brewing
California, United States

Style: Russian Imperial Stout

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 11.00%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by WillCarrera on 04-17-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

For Trade:
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Reviews: 377 | Ratings: 2,733
Photo of Tonerelia
1.97/5  rDev -54.6%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.75

Poured into snifter looked like motor oil with the same consistency, low if any carbonation even when poured more aggressively than normal.

Smell was strong and of sheer alcohol, there was almost no smell of anything else present.

taste was so hoppy, I do understand that, that is Stone's style but jeeze for a stout to be the hoppy good lord.

Overall I certainly will not be purchasing this again,

Serving type: bottle

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Photo of Sarlacc83
2.81/5  rDev -35.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

22oz bottle split with my wife.

A: Pours like oil and develops an almost gold mocha head. Nice legs.

N: Coffee, roasted malt, and hops. A lot of smoke and licorice. Has an off putting smell in here - kind of earthy vegetable. Fresh moss and baker’s chocolate.

T: Thick acrid smoke, hop bitterness and espresso. Very little sweetness to be found here and it’s very unbalanced. Alternates between stale coffee drinking and a decent beer.

M: Oily and thick. Booze is pronounced, and this is excessively drying to the point of being desiccating.

O: Husky graininess and an unworkable imbalance in between the decent drinking points make this a pass for me. It gets worse as I drink it, to the point where my wife won’t touch hers, and I either got a bad bottle or this needs to be drank really cold. (Mine was cellar temp.)

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Photo of kevanb
3.18/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

650ml bottle, 2013 Odd Year Vintage, poured into a Stone IRS Snifter.

The beer pours a deep jet black color, hues of cola brown, opaque and heavy with a thick, taut caramel head, about a finger high that has moderate retention and leaves a few big spots of lace behind. The aroma is heavy on the coffee, roasty but not over the top, lots of bittersweet chocolate, stone fruit and rich grain, touches of phenol alcohol at the end. It's a surprisingly simple aroma given the complexity of the base beer, but the coffee really takes over. The flavors mirror the nose, super intense coffee, ripe bean and cold brewed flavor with big chocolate flavor with rich grain, dark stone fruit and a bit of brown sugar. Again, the coffee really dominates and reduces this beer into it's simplest form. The mouthfeel is regrettably thin, carbonation is high and crisp, zips across the tongue, coats moderately well, but this isn't as rich or silky as the base beer can be. The finish is a bit weak and unremarkable, doesn't really do anything other to reinforce how simple and boring this beer became.

Verdict: I had high hopes for this beer and it really just fell short. The coffee was just too dominant, even after almost a year, which really put things out of whack. The balance is poor and the thin body didn't do this beer any justice. Perhaps the 2015 Odd Year Beer will be more interesting.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.5/5  rDev -19.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

2013 Odd Year Release. 11% ABV confirmed. "Ale Brewed With Espresso." 1 pint 6 fl oz brown glass bottle with standard branded pressure cap acquired at a local SoCal beer store for $4.99 and served into a Mitchells of Lancaster flared stem-tulip in me gaff in low altitude Los Feliz, Los Angeles, California. Reviewed live. Expectations are above average; I was pretty underwhelmed by Stone's regular Imperial Russian Stout but I'm hoping the espresso will add interesting character. I'm a big fan of the style.

Served chilled and allowed to come to room temperature over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

A: Pours a two finger nice dark tan colour head of decent cream, lacking thickness for the style (it's disappointingly thin), and pretty good (~4-5 minute) retention. Body colour is a solid dark black; nontransparent. Nontranslucent. No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show. Light uneven inconsistent lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Sm: Delightful espresso notes - smooth, soft, and appealing - with no traces of bitterness. Light roast. Some milky notes. Dark malts. Chocolate malt. Cocoa. No yeast character, hop character, or alcohol is detectable. I'd like more roast, but the espresso is a highlight. Quite inviting. A mild to moderate strength aroma.

T:/Mf Espresso up front fades but stays through to the third act. It's a bit too smooth, but I like it. Rustic coffee notes merged with milky character; I like that. Dark malts form the foundation, with some chocolate malt and cocoa coming through. No yeast character, hop character, or alcohol comes through. Smooth milk chocolate. I'd like a lot more roast, but it does have a bit. Some caramel. It's a bit lacking in terms of complexity, but I'm a big fan of the espresso notes. Balanced and enjoyable. I like it in spite of its simplicity. It does severely lack subtlety, though. And the style demands more roast, but it's likable.

Good smoothness, with a soft consistency. Nicely creamy. Good carbonation, if slightly overdone. Wet. Unrefreshing - but the style doesn't call for that. Good thickness. Pretty good presence on the palate. suits the flavour pretty well, but not necessarily the style.

Dr: Drinkable and enjoyable for the style. Hides its ABV pretty well, but there's still some noticeable alcohol. This is definitely one of Stone's better offerings. I'd get it again; it's well priced at $5 a bomber. It's not fantastic for the style, and it relies on its espresso notes as a crutch, but in this case it works. Surprisingly good considering the brewery.

High B-

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Photo of Jadjunk
3.54/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

"This odd Year edition was brewed in the authentic historical style of an imperial Russian Stout, but with the addition of severl hundred pounds of espresso beans from our friend at Ryan Bros. Coffee. Actually, they could be considered historically accurate, since the Russian nobility were as fond of earthy breakfast beverages as they were of hearty dark beers. Catherine the Great herself bolstered her finesse for ruling an empire by drinking five cups of black coffee every morning during her lengthy reign. While we couldn't fit five cups of coffee in every bottle of this darkly delicious libation, we assure you that the deep, rich espresso flavors are unmistakable and meld beautifully with the roasty bitterness of the dark mals. Catherine would have whole-heartedly approved." Brewed in the style of a Russian Imperial Stout, available in 22 oz. bottles and on limited draft. 2013 Exclusive variant on an annual release.

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

(Appearance) Pours a fizzy frothed head of a caramel brown tone over a very dark brown body. Retention is average and there is no visible lacing. 3.5

(Smell) Earthy, acidic coffee bean notes, moderate roasted barley grains, milky chocolate, toasted bread malts, exposed alcohol. Fairly rich aromas with a pleasing, but admittedly faded coffee bean presence. 3.75

(Taste) Smooth burnt chocolate and roasted malt presence with very trace coffee notes, acidity remaining in full. Tangy and smooth with a charred finish. More than a sliver of alcohol peeking through, very exposed and hot. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) Textures are slick, slightly chewy, very dry. Carbonation is moderate, generating a mild frothiness and a fully crisp finish. Body is medium for the style, shy of heavy overall. Balance is roasty, earthy bitter, acidic and boozy over sweet. Alcohol presence is moderate/heavy. 3.25

(Overall) No, the espresso does not hold up with time. No, you should not wait any longer before trying this beer if you have it at all, and no, it's almost certainly not as good as it was when it first arrived on shelves. The roastiness, acidity and burnt chocolate character still lingers boldly, and the sweetness of the body and coffee beans has fermented out and faded in time. It's drinkable, but far from outstanding, edging on even enjoyable. I'm kind of kicking myself for forgetting about this beer, and am looking forward to Stone brewing possibly considering bringing this back during their 20th anniversary encore series. People loved it, and I'm sure I would too. 3.5

Stone Brewing Co.'s
Espresso Imperial Russian Stout

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Photo of scottfrie
3.59/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle into 25oz snifter. Bottled 3/28/2013.

A: Pours near black¬ with a finger of dense and fuzzy dark brown head that faded into a soft collar. Soapy patches of spotty lace was left down the glass.
S: Rich notes of smooth coffee and chocolate fudge dominate. I get deep notes of roast, slight caramel, faint licorice, booze and dark chocolate. Smells like the original, but with a touch more coffee.
T: Potent flavors of bitter dark chocolate, bitter black coffee, and a kiss of balance caramel and brown sugar sweetness. I get some slight peat, slight vanilla, and mild char. There is a sharp kick of anise in the finish, and the aftertaste is a touch boozy and rough.
M: Full body, thick and chewy mouthfeel, frothy but soft carbonation. Definitely bitter, and a bit rough around the edges.
O: A solid and potent stout but could use some polishing. Sips well, but I prefer other coffee stouts to this.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.59/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

A: Pours a pitch black color. The head is a two finger khaki shade. I'm quite impressed with how well the head retains itself given its gravity, though there isn't significant lacing left on the glass.

S: Well, it's certainly a coffee bomb, that's for sure. I notice a bit of licorice and chocolate in a (vain) attempt to balance the big coffee, as well. Meh, who cares - I love coffee, so I love the aroma.

T: Just like regular Stone IRS, there's a lot of licorice flavors to open this one up. The coffee explodes after the midtaste - and it's my favorite feature of the brew. It's not really balanced though, because of how the coffee and licorice notes dominate everything. Nor is any real complexity is to be found. Ah well, I enjoy the coffee character, at least.

M: I like that the finish is mildly dry, because I find the regular IRS too hard to drink (even compared with other big imperial stouts). Given the ABV, it's pretty easy to down, but I think there's too much generic licorice sweetness that gets in the way of things.

O: Looking back at my review archive, I can't believe I gave the regular IRS a 4. Because of that, I don't blame Stone for adding a shitload of coffee to a (in my opinion) blah RIS. As a coffee stout, though, it doesn't compare with FBS or Wake-N-Bake. However, it's still pretty good at the end of the day - but I'm not sure where all the high reviews are coming from. At least it's better than Oak-Smoked Old Guardian, right? ...right?

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Photo of cpetrone84
3.62/5  rDev -16.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Pour is black with dark caramel head. The nose has a strong roasted coffee up front, touch of anise, slight dark malt and caramel. Taste is even more roasted coffee, notes of dark chocolate, roasted brown sugar and caramel with some faint berry sweetness in back. Body is thick and viscous, strong carbonation to balance, sticky and chewy.

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Photo of n2185
3.65/5  rDev -15.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours black with two fingers of light tan head that fades into a thin layer with little lacing.

S: Roasted malts with a surprising amount of sweet, creamy chocolate aromas. Bitter, robust coffee comes through toward the finish with some char aromas.

T: Roasted malts here as well with bitter cocoa. Coffee comes through, but it tastes almost charred and bitter rather than robust. I imagine some of the bitterness comes from the hops as well. The finish has a decent alcohol burn and is somewhat bitter despite a lingering sticky sweetness.

M: Thick body with mid-low carbonation, this beer would be smooth and creamy if it weren't for the alcohol presence.

O: A solid imperial stout overall, though I'd say not as good as the regular IRS. The coffee isn't very present and ends up making it taste more burnt and bitter than I prefer from coffee beers.

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Photo of tarheels86
3.67/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

651mL. Darker pour, deep cola to near black. Larger brown latte foam. Good formation, sort of detergent like dwindling foam. Webby lace. Not as dense or rocky as expected. Nose has a hefty dose of detergent soap at first, then a decent amount of green coffee/green bell pepper. Taste is pretty good- mild warming alcohol, cinnamon graham cracker, vanilla, small liquor like Wild Turkey. Finishes dry, fairy bitter. Hints of lemon acid. Alcohol evident. Disappointing.

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Photo of ONovoMexicano
3.69/5  rDev -15%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Props to the nose on this as it held on to the coffee pretty damn well. It's still showing and offers a nice sort of sweet and creamy coffee beverage aroma.

Not nearly as much coffee on the tastebuds, but shit, this is 3 years old. What bums me a bit is how much of a solventy, unmistakeable alcohol flavor this has towards the finish. One, I'd expect less given the time transpired and two it's even too much for a fresh beer. Still, there are some velvety chocolate and brownie notes, vanilla, and earthy hops to enjoy.

Starts off delectably sweet and creamy and full-bodied. So much promise. Then comes an injection of alcohol that feels like like rubbing alcohol. Such a disappointing presence as it undoes the beer without question. Thankfully a spike of bitterness and roast follow to close things out, allowing me some respite from booze.

Not sure why there's so much blatant booze on this but it screws with the beer. It doesn't ruin it, but it ain't helping either.

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Photo of oakbluff
3.76/5  rDev -13.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber 2013- poured into a snifter, inky black and a four finger frothy beige head. Nose- only faint coffee in the nose which is surprising, predominately sweet milk chocolate nose. Taste- much more espresso coming through in taste and actually has a fairly bitter finish between the coffee beans and the hopping. Not too sweet, has nice dark fudge quality with a slight acidity to it. Medium bodied, not cloying at all. very sold.

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Photo of BuccoFan
3.86/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into 12 oz. snifter glass from 22 oz. bottle, aged for about five months. Pour is pretty pitch black and leaves a very thin head. Aroma is a very inviting mix of malt, coffee and chocolate. Mouthfeel is relatively solid, with a slight carbonation, and a little more thin than I expected. Taste is underwhelming, actually.

I guess tastes can vary on how much bean you want to be able to taste in the coffee family stouts. This one is very subtle in its expresso taste, and, thus, for me, a tad bit disappointing. Finish is also not as complete as I think I was expecting for an 11% Stone stout. A good stout, as it's a Stone, but just not what I was hoping for.

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Photo of raynmoon
3.86/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 3.75

Looks very solid, dark, dark brown with a lingering murky brown head on the corners of the glass. could be blacker, or more...black. Still looks great.

Smells like sweet, roasted coffee mixed with a sweet stout. Doesn't smell like great coffee, almost off-putting, but fits. Touch of alcohol.

Nice roasted coffee flavor right away, a perfect mix of sweetness and roast. The alcohol is there the whole time, which makes it less enjoyable.

Very nice carbonation, soft.

Very well put together beer, just too hot. Some sips taste like a stout with a couple shots of vodka dumped in.

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Photo of mlhyatt
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass

Appearance- pours jet black with a very nice half inch to an inch dark tan head.

Smell- great. I love the way the coffee smells in this one. Its has a little bit if a charred smell to it but the roastiness of it is not overwhelming.

Taste- this is where i was a little disappointed. The coffee just didn't blend well with this stout. I like my coffee beer to have a rich coffee taste but not so that it overwhelms the palate.

Mouthfeel- no burn. The alcohol was hidden pretty well for being an 11% abv. Smooth finish with that burnt coffee aftertaste.

Overall- a solid beer. The coffee taste was just a little too strong. But if you like coffee then you'll love this beer.

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Photo of maximum12
3.88/5  rDev -10.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

After passing by this bottle several times (a local beer guy told me it was "the worst thing he'd ever put in his mouth") I saw it relatively cheap & bit. 22 oz. of beer, bottled on 3/28/13, split with my wife.

Pour is computer matte black, low carbonation. Roasty coffee notes aren't as rough on the nose as expected, with some additional bitterness that seems more hoppy than espresso. But who knows. Mild.

Espresso Imperial Russian Stout avoids a common coffee-stout pratfall: there's actually a stout in here. Sure, the coffee/espresso leads with a knee, but it's properly restrained (whether by a few months in the bottle or design) by a nice smattering of chocolate, rich malts, lactose, even some black licorice. Bitterness (chocolate? hops? coffeee delta?) kicks in after the lesser players have passed by, & one is left with the pleasing impression of beer & coffee lounging on the back of the throat. Drinking this too fast for a big, headache-inducing stout.

This is, if I may say, a routinely very good beer. Nothing stands out, but it's well-crafted & the tastes are integrated with a deft touch. I don't always drink Stone, but when I do, I'd drink this. Or Oaked Arrogant Bastard. Wait, definitely that.

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Photo of coreyfmcdonald
3.89/5  rDev -10.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

22oz bottle into a snifter, fresh from recent release

A: Pours pitch black with two and a half fingers of dense dark tan foam. Great retention and lacing.

S: Strong coffee and roasted malts aroma - bitter and slightly acrid. Caramel is in the background, fairly strong, but not overly sweet. A touch of dark chocolate is also there.

T: Again, coffee is quite strong in this beer. Now, there is a supporting caramel, dark chocolate, and milk chocolate base to back up the coffee. On the bitter side, but quite balanced. Good, but fairly straight-forward.

M: On the thick side with low, creamy carbonation.

O: A straight-forward coffee imperial stout. The flavors go well together, but I was hoping to taste more of the complexities from the base beer. Either way, a well above average imperial stout.

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Photo of tito42
3.9/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 22 oz. bottle to an imperial pint. Bottled on 3/28/2013.

A: Very dark chocolate brown in color, nearly opaque. Thick, tall, foamy head that is cocoa-copper in color.

S: Vanilla bean, espresso, plum, cocoa, and white pepper.

T: Plum, chocolate, a strong vanilla flavor, espresso. Candy sugar finish with a bite of alcohol and pepper. A tad unbalanced and not quite as coffee flavored as I expected.

M: Medium-bodied. Dry finish. A little chunky.

O: Fell short of my expectations. I taste a stronger vanilla flavor than I do any espresso or coffee flavor. It's a good beer, but I prefer the (non-Espresso) Stone Imperial Russian Stout over this version.

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Photo of papat444
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a pitch black body, aroma of coffee beans arises. Rich espresso, fudge, rum balls, macadamia nuts. Has a bit of a bitter finish but this was a nice sipper.

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Photo of Powderhornphil
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was pretty excited to try this. Coffee in my imperial stout? Yes please.

Smells of coffee. Sweet malts. Milky chocolates.

Taste kind of falls flat for me. Above average for sure but kind of a let down. In the highly competitive coffee stout category it is not quite there for me. The licorice flavors of the base and the coffee clash a bit on my palate.

Mouthfeel is full. Finished very sticky and sweet.

Worth a try but one and done.

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Photo of ZebulonXZogg
3.92/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Look: Looks as good as the best RIS beers.
Smell: Roasted malt, bitter coffee, molasses, burnt sugars.
Taste: Raisin, plum, fig, and then coffee.
Feel: Not as thick and chewy as I expected, but good enuff!
Overall: This is a very well done beer and certainly worth a taste.
Incidentally, this was bottled 3/13/2016 and I think 6 months buried in the cellar would improve it immensely.

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Photo of Beerlover
3.93/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Very excited when I found this one, bought the last 2 bottles on the shelf! Stone's one of my favorites as well as any coffee flavored beer.

appearance: good, black but not as thick as some other stouts I've had
smell: very strong black coffee aromas, backed but heavily roasted malts.
taste: coffee, coffee and more coffee, I love coffee this is very infused, but can taste the 111% booziness as well, this will be better when tamed from age a little more. mine bottled on 3-14-13 and enjoyed on 5-30-13...should have looked at the labeling closer and waited a little longer to enjoy. the mouthfeel is a little lacking as its not as thick and creamy as I normaly like it but this may change with some more age as well.
overall: I recommend giving this one a try,esp. if you like coffee brews. age it for 6 months or so before trying though

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Photo of PieOhMy
3.94/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

Poured into snifter.

A Black. No transparency. Thick dark brown head fades slowly. Nice lacing follows down the glass.

S Strong hit of roasted coffee beans. Mocha. Chocolate.

T Up front, the taste is very much like the smell. Burst of coffee and sweet espresso. Vanilla. Raisin and other dark fruit underlies the heavy coffee flavor. Quite rich.

M Full. Thick and foamy. Finishes like a swallow of chocolate milk.

O Very rich and sweet. Almost too much for this taster. Where the regular Stone RIS is very bitter this is very sweet. I love the forwardness of the coffee but the sweetness kills this. A good breakfast beer, alcohol is hidden well and there is some complexity. Still, this one is too much for me, couldn't have more than one.

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Photo of stakem
3.94/5  rDev -9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bomber into a matching Stone standard pint glass. The brew pours black in color with a finger of khaki head that fades to a thin film leaving a wall of patchy lace sticking to the glass.

The aroma includes plenty of coffee character with a backing of roasted grain typical of the base brew. Notes of bitter baker's cocoa mingle with a hint of mineral character and earthen aspects. A tinge of alcohol and fruity hops wrap things up in the aroma department.

The flavor is bitter and roasted. Fresh coffee, mineral and earthen aspects give way to bitter chocolate just like the aroma suggested. The 11% abv is present with a fruity accent and a bit of solvent burn across the back of the throat. More sips reveal an increased bitterness not just from the coffee/roasted grain but also from the presence of some hops.

This is a medium to fuller bodied brew with a modest amount of carbonation. I gotta admit that I am a big fan of the standard stone IRS and everything about this brew seemed like a win. I was surprised to see a slight bump in alcohol level over the base brew, I expected it to be lower with the coffee edition. I think the alcohol is a little too forward and some aging might do that aspect good but if I had more of this, I would not hesitate in drinking it for fear that the coffee would fade leaving you with just a lightly different standard Stone IRS. Regardless, this is good stuff, get it while you can.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.97/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a bomber into a mug, the beer is jet black, with a thin, dense, light tan head that slowly settles out into a ring. Aromas of roast coffee, rich molasses, booze, and hints of bitter chocolate. The nose is rich, but not overpowering. Flavors of rich and roasted coffee, with a heavy blast of charcoal and hints of smoke, on a layered, darkly sweet backbone of molasses, chocolate, and some boozy notes. This is a heavy beer, with a slick, oil-like feel that is smooth and rich throughout. Very roasty, oaky aftertaste, with a ribbon of alcohol throughout that continues to warm as you drink. A slight build of bitterness as you drink, also. The finish is slick, with a bitter and warming linger. Very solid brew.

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2013 Stone ESPRESSO Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing
4.34 out of 5 based on 2,733 ratings.
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