“Stone Imperial Russian Stout is so thick, rich and well, sinful, you might worry that you’ll be doomed to the fiery pits just for thinking about a sip. Rest assured, however, that even though this seemingly pernicious brew is indeed as black as sin, we guarantee that no actual sin was committed in making it… you’ll have to add that on your own. This massive and intensely aromatic beer abounds with notes of anise, black currants, coffee, and roastiness, and its heavy palate is nothing to be trifled with!” 10.5% ABV
Poured from a 22 oz bottle into a brandy snifter. The color is jet black, with no light being let through. There is initially a whisper of a dark brown head, which quickly thins to nearly nothing. Moderate lacing is left left on the glass.
Incredibly sweet roasted, chocolaty malts. There are also scents of dark fruit, alcohol, and smokey wood. The scent gradually intensifies as the beer warms.
Very thick-bodied, rich and smooth going down. A pretty fair amount of the dark fruit flavor is offered as it goes down. It finishes a little drier than expected, and there is a brief hesitation before the aftertaste explodes to envelop the palate. Rich, roasty sweet malts, tons of dark fruit, bitter dark chocolate, espresso, and bits of a smoky wood rosin flavor are all present. There is surprisingly little alcohol burn for such a big beer.
Truly a delight. Big, dark, beastly scents and flavors that mesh so very well. From beginning to end, almost exactly what I look for in a quality beer. This beer is the total antithesis of what the average beer drinker reaches for.
This is the third bottle of the 2012 release that I’ve had the pleasure of drinking, and they age incredibly well. Each bottle is more refined than the last. My final bottle of 2012 may have to cellar for a few more years, as it will take a truly special occasion to want to pop it open. 9/10
The Stone Brewing Co. – Escondido, California