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.

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Reviews: 377 | Ratings: 2,733
Photo of TreyIsWilson
4.32/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

A - Pours a pitch black with a one-finger tan head. Light amount of lacing.

S - Roasted malts with coffee and chocolate.

T - Starts off sweet chocolatey taste. Sweetness fades into a nice roasted coffee bitterness. Finish is slightly smokey.

M - Full bodied with low carbonation. Big thick creamy mouthfeel. Alcohol hardly noticeable.

O - Awesome beer. Stone really let the espresso shine. Very tasty and well balanced.

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Photo of TBoneJones
4.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Stone Espresso bottled March in '13 (posted from prior tasting notes)
Deep black with a frothy tan head.
Nose is cocoa, dark chocolate, coffee, licorice, raisin.
Taste is strong roasted coffee and malts. Bold, bitter stout with enough sweetness rolling in on the backend to make this Stone stout a favorite (surpasses their regular RIS of this same year in my book). I didn't realize to check the abv until after I took a couple of initial sips; I noticed that while I barely smelled any, I can tell this is a bit above the 9% I assumed it was.
Mouth feels nice and thick, smooth. Certainly more drinkable than you'd expect with an 11% abv.
A highly impressive stout. I wish this was the regular RIS of the year; the espresso played not the central role, but instead was a contributing factor to a very well-rounded, creamy, top-notch imperial stout.

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Photo of thegodfather1076
4.41/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Presentation: Very nice looking bottle in the Stone gargoyle tradition with all font and graphics painted on. Front label states “Ale Brewed with Espresso”, “2013 Odd Year Release”, and gives ABV information. Side label gives cellaring information. Back label gives a great back story and description of the beer and web info. Bottle on date 3/14/13.

Appearance: An aggressive pour from its 22oz brown bomber into a 16oz snifter led to a 2 finger thick light brown tightly packed head atop an oily thick jet black beer that is completely opaque. Head retention was a solid 3min 30sec before fading to a thick coating and with very good lacing.

Smell/Aroma: Smell is heavy on the deep dark roasted espresso beans with a bit of charred smokiness and a bit of woodiness. Intoxicating.

Flavor/Taste: Taste is dominated by deep roasted coffee malts with a bit of dark chocolate on the front end. Mid point is dominated by a deep dark charred roasted espresso. Back end is dominated by that deep dark roasted coffee with a bitter coffee aftertaste. Alcohol is masked very well.

MouthFeel/Drinkability: This is a full bodied beer with thick creamy and velvety mouthfeel that is very drinkable.

Overall/Comments: Wow. This is a very welcome variant on a an already excellent beer. Very tasty and easy drinking. This will come up and bite you because of the easy drinking nature and high ABV. If you can get your hands on it I would suggest doing so. Consumed 10/26/2013. Classified as a Russian Imperial Stout @ 11%ABV.

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Photo of Benish
4.46/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2013 bottle poured into Pizza Boy snifter glass.

Appearance: a thick and creamy brown foam built up. Very little lacings around the glass except for that leftover foam at the outer edges that escape to the glass. Looks almost like drinking a big glass of espresso.

Smell: instantly coffee hit my noes. Contrary to it being 'espresso,' the aroma is really like any other coffee beer. It presented that nice aroma of roasted coffee beans as well as the roasted malt from the beer.

Taste: Starts out mildly sweet and than the bitterness catches up. Hard to say if the bitter counterpart is from the hops, coffee, or both. PIcked up a ton of coffee followed by a very smoky finish. This beer seems kind of savory. It's very easy to drink, the alcohol is hardly noticeable.

Mouthfeel: Very smooth and creamy mouthfeel, not so thick but still satisfying.

Overall: an outstanding brew - especially considering it was bottled 03/28/2013. The coffee is intense, however I have not tried this fresh. Much better than the regular Stone RIS in my opinion. Sometimes drinking a coffee stout is better than drinking a barrel-age coffee stout because you can appreciate the coffee more, just like this one.

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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 barnzy78
4.45/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A - jet black, creamy tan head hangs around for a bit
S - espressso, rich dark chocolate, booze
T - sweet, dark chocolate, espressso, molasses, burnt caramel, roasted barley, booze, earthy piny hops linger
M - thick and creamy, full bodied, lower carbonation
O - I've been hanging on to this one for almost a year. Nice to drink as my first beer of 2014. I knew it would be good and it did not disappoint.

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Photo of bambam2517
4.18/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

In comparison to the standard RIS from Stone, I prefer this a little less. I'm a big coffee drinker as well, but in my opinion the coffee bitterness imparted on this brew leaves it a little off-balance and less interesting taste-wise. They are near identical in appearance, and the nose on both is nice ( The espresso smell is present in both, but much more prevalent in this version of course.) Taste is so dominant in bitter strong coffee that the subtle dark fruit goes missing and the sweet milky chocolate is too far scaled back.

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Photo of darthvohn
4.16/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Glass Used: Snifter

Appearance: Jet black

Smell: Char, roasted malt, strong coffee and dutch cocoa powder.

Taste: Pleasantly bitter espresso, cocoa, and roasted/charred malty goodness. Pretty close to the nose.

Mouthfeel: A bit slick, oily. Low-medium carbonation. Overall pleasant. Alcohol is hidden extremely well.

Overall: I picked this one up on a whim and was blown away. Recommend to anyone who loves espresso and IRS. I will definitely pick this up when available.

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Photo of MattSweatshirt
4.21/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

The pour yields a pitch black body and a thick brown topping.

Lots of roasty coffee and chocolate dominate the aroma with some underlying sweet vanilla. There is some plum-y dark fruitiness. Very inviting.

Plenty of bitterness pops out. There is a slight hop flavor still hanging on. Plenty of roasty malt and some dark fruit. The espresso beans provide a nice complimentary flavor. Chocolate envelops with dark bitter and sweeter milk.

Smooth drinking with lower carbonation and a bigger body. Stone has the mouthfeel of a big stout down.

At this point I’m sure it’s not where it was meant to be, but it is still delicious. The base beer is so great to begin with.

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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 sweemzander
4.55/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz. bottle poured into a snifter. Thanks Chris for sharing!

(A)- Pours pitch black in color. Some tan froth and lacing too.

(S)- A great roasted espresso and cocoa aroma with even more roasted components coming from the base. Extremely inviting and I think is a more successful aroma than the regular/base beer. Big improvement here.

(T)- Fairly similar to the smell. Just great espresso and roast components with I think, a more chocolate forward maltiness than the regular.

(M)- A great carbonation level for the style. A great balance as well; just awesome with the espresso addition.

(O)- Definitely a fan of this variant. Everything you want a coffee stout to have. Well balanced and rich with the perfect amount of roast. I really might enjoy this more than the regular.

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Photo of ONUMello
4.39/5  rDev +1.2%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a 22oz bottle into a pint glass
A: Pitch black, 1/2-finger tan head
S: Dark, rich, burnt malt, tons of espresso, cocoa,
T: Bitter espresso but also a hint of cocoa that almost makes it reminiscent of chocolate covered espresso beans. Also some fig, molasses and a bit of hops
M: Full-bodied, smooth, bitter
O: Really enjoyable beer, big but well made

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Photo of leaddog
4.4/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Appearance - Pours a dark chocolate brown/black (dark as night) with a finger of frothy mocha head.

Smell - Roasted malts, espresso coffee bean, hint of alcohol and dark fruits (cherry-like).

Taste - Roasted malts, espresso and dark fruits, then goes to a wood-like flavour (almost like oak).

Mouthfeel - Nice warming in the finish. Medium-to-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Good creaminess.

Overall - A solid RIS with good espresso bean notes and roasted malts. Pleasantly surprised by the wood-like finish at the end.

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Photo of jsprain1
4.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

A- Very very dark brown, I could give you black. Head is 3/4 finger of brown, fine bubble foam. Minimal lacing.
S- The espresso is definitely present. Good bits of coffee, milk chocolate, plum, and just a touch of burnt toast.
T- The flavor is rich, chocolatey, and rather sweet. The coffee is very present, but it is more than that with some cocoa, molasses, and just hint of smoke.
M- Smooth carbonation, very pleasant mouthfeel. Full bodied and quite rich. Only complaint (and it is minor) is the carbonation is felt a bit too much in the finish.
O- Really, really good beer. They made it interesting and let the espresso shine without relying on it to the point of one-noteness.

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Photo of WreckedPalate
4.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

serving 20oz bomber.

Appearance on this is BLACK as all hell.

Smell is rich with espresso and chocolate with light vanilla under tone. Maybe some caramel.

Taste is massively espresso such just like the nose, everything matched how it smelled.

Mouth feel with near perfect, I personally think if it had just a little less carbonation it would have been 100% perfect.

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Photo of Beer-A-Lot
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Waited a long time to have this. And it didn't disappoint.

A - Great look with huge brown foamy head.

S - Nice bitter coffee smell.

T - Delicious coffee taste with mild bitter flavors. If it weren't beer, I'd still love it because the taste is so good.

M - An amazing full-bodied feel with rich creamy substance.

O - This is so well done. Can't wait to have it again.

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Photo of BergBeer
4.96/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured form a bomber into a Stone RIS glass

A: Opaque black with a thick and creamy mocha head. Poured like motor oil!

S: Pungent! Deep and complex. Makes me want to dive head first into the glass. Tons of coffee, coffee cake, chocolate ice cream, dark fruits, chocolate covered cherries, espresso, and more coffee cake. Smells outstanding!

T: Poseidon's Trident this is tasty! Taste like biting into chocolate coffee cake. Getting, roasted malt, coffee cake, chocolate, dark fruit, fig, espresso, more chocolate, and rounds out with more coffee cake. So decadent its like biting into a rick chocolate cake covered in espresso. Sinfully sweet but not too much. Literally just right.

M: Smooth as all hell. For a beer with big with this beg of an ABV it goes down like silk. Coats the entire mouth and goes down with the slightest heat. Smooth sinful sipper.

O: So well crafted and balanced. Easily one of my new all time favorites. Sweet but not too sweet, thick but goes down creamy, 11% ABV but just the slightest hint of booze. Perfectly balanced and masterfully crafted. Do yourself a favor and get it. For the 7 bucks i payed i felt like i stole it! Outstanding!

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Photo of snaotheus
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

22oz bottle split between two big snifters. 2013 "Odd Year" release, no specific dates that I can find.

Pours black with little head. Small, fine, slow carbonation. Smell is very stouty with a lot of roasty aroma and a lot of coffee.

Taste is sweet, roasty, lots of smokey/coffee flavor, very very rich. Chocolate, with a hint of vanilla.

Mouthfeel is thick but not cloying. Overall, this is a really good beer.

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Photo of jbaker67
4.31/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Pours pitch black with a smooth white head. Aroma of roasty malts, mocha, coffee, dark chocolate and syrup. Taste is roasty, malty and syrupy with loads of mocha, coffee and dark chocolate notes. Finish is smooth and slightly roasty with notes of coffee, mocha, dark chocolate and hints of vegetables. Quite tasty and well balanced.

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Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.89/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Situations like this really make me hate Stone Brewing Company and all of their "Arrogance" that comes with the label itself.

22 oz. bomber poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. While pouring the liquid seems to come out a dark cola color, but as it pools into the glass it really looks like a jet black color. I gave it a reasonably aggressive pour which resulted in a huge dark tan bubbling head with various sized bubbles. The head eventually dissapates to a ring that grips to the glass and that portion stays for the entire session. Decent lacing, but could be a little better.

Smell is pretty outstanding. I always thought the regular version of this stout has coffee in it, but it's intensified here. First whiff gives you a nice slightly more bitter than sweet dark chocolate followed be the hints of coffee. I say hints of coffee, because the coffee is overwhelmed by the aromas of espresso. As indicated on the label, this beer is clearly brewed with some type of espresso bean, and my guess is since it's brewed by Stone, it's some type of high class espresso bean.

I was on the fence on this one, because I think Stone's regular IRS is perfect the way it is, but I decided to treat this as a "coffee/espresso" style stout and give this a perfect rating, because it truly is about as perfect a flavor you can get from a espresso style stout. Lots of (again) more bitter than sweet chocolate. After that it's followed by a nice rich coffee and espresso flavor. There's a feint sprucey hop finish at the end that meshes together perfectly with everything, totally digging it. This is about as perfect a coffee style stout as you can get.

Mouthfeel is awesome, without a doubt full bodied, the flavor lingers for quite some time. Gentle carbonation provides a nice smooth feel with a rich yet fresh bitter finish from the coffee/espresso and whatever hops may have been used. I would not doubt that this would be a high alcohol beer, but by tasting it by itself I would not have guessed 11%, I would have said a little lower, something I think Stone is good at when it comes to their stouts. Drinkability is crazy good here, I love the way this one is all the way around. As I said before I hate Stone Brewing sometimes, they will regularly brew a one time only beer that is so good, it should be rotationally brewed, and this is another that should be added to the list.

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Photo of Thepleasantimbiber
4.49/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

11/8/13. Bomber purchased at Vendome Liquor in Beverly Hills. Poured into a Stone IRS tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours beautifully thick and black, with a half inch head forming at the very tail end of the pour and then dissipating quickly. Light lacing. Zero light passing through this.

Smell: Surprisingly, upon first whiff the initial burst I get is chocolate, not espresso, though that comes through in the background. Sweet toffee aromas and roasted malt are also big here. A hint of alcohol, but thats to be expected with a beer of this ABV.

Taste: Ahhh yes. Here's the espresso, though any bitterness that might have come with the coffee flavor is rounded out by the sweetness combo of the rest of the flavors. Think dark and milk chocolates mixing with espresso goodness in a super smooth package, where the alcohol burn is minimal, if noticeable at all.

Mouthfeel: Wonderful and thick, chewy without getting into syrup territory. Very smooth as previously mentioned.

Overall: This is an exceptional beer by any measure. Already a big fan of the Stone IRS, I feel that this brew has enhanced several things that I loved about the original, far beyond the influx of espresso beans. Difficult to pin down exactly, but it's as if the espresso addition took elements that were already coexisting wonderfully and erased any lingering looseness or disparity between them, impressively improving upon something that was fantastic to begin with. No single characteristic dominates, no profile is lost at the expense of another. The name highlights an addition, but the joy is in a near-perfectly unified whole.

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Photo of hopsputin
4.07/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2013 batch. drank 11/8/13

a: dark dark black - color of motor oil (not the consistency though). has some dark purple and deep ruby red notes. real nice looking tan 3 finger bubbly head, which fades a little quicker then i would have liked, and hangs around at like 1.5 fingers

s: espresso beans right away. rich espresso - bitter, chocolate, oaky, lots of roasted malts, lactose, and some dark fruit to close it off. very rich and creamy smelling

t: this is a big beer and you can taste that right away. definite alcohol presence from the get go. fades to oak and a bitterness that is a combination of raw espresso, toasted malt, and bittersweet chocolate. ends with something like burnt malts and alcohol. a hint of raisin, grape, and plum on the backend

m: full - rich and creamy for sure. not much carbonation at all

o: well, i knew this would be packing heat - i just wish i had let it sit a little longer (was afraid for the coffee taste to fade though). it has all the flavors i'd look for in a coffee stout, however they are masked a little bit too much by the alcohol presence, in my opinion.

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Photo of mdcflacal
4.08/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Nice dark color. Thin head. No light passes through except on the edges.
Roasty and somewhat sweet aroma.
Nice, full mouthfeel.
Great balance of roast malt taste, coffee, sweetness, and bitterness.
I just really enjoy the execution of this big coffee stout.

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Photo of Furlinator
4.52/5  rDev +4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

2013 odd year release. Bottled on 03/28/13.

Pours opaque black with 1/4 inch of tan head that settles to a film on top and leaves faint lacing.

Smell is of spent coffee grounds with faint vanilla accents. Very inviting.

Taste is of black coffee up front with faint dark fruit sweetness, roasted malt and a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied with medium carbonation.

This feels somewhat thin for a Russian imperial stout in terms of viscosity but, the aroma and flavors are big and impressive. ABV is well hidden. World class.

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Photo of wedge
4.72/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Bottled On: 03/28/13

Opaque, pure blackness in a glass covered with a dense slab of tan creaminess that leaves some strings and spots of lacing behind. Extremely smooth deep malty aroma with surprisingly no big booze presence. The coffee is on the brighter, fruitier, oilier side rather than super dark and heavily roasted. Rich, dark chocolate cake, molasses, and some fruity esters. Huge, smooth, mocha flavor...again, more of a fruity coffee roast, which I love, tons of dark chocolate, some vanilla bean, and nuts. Heavy, creamy, and impeccably smooth. The alcohol is amazingly well-hidden too, though the sheer weight of the beer and a slight heat in the throat lets you know that this is a serious beer. Not much astringency at all, just beautifully blended coffee and chocolate notes - not too sweet, not too roasted - very, very nice.

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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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