greenhorn1 (850) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - JUL 19, 2008
3.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 17/20
22 oz bottle. Pours midnight with a thin brown head. Not much of an aroma, some chocolate and roasted malt. Flavor, however, is a different story. Bitter chocolate dominates with undertones of coffee, roastiness, oatmeal. Alcohol strength is a bit harsh, but I have a feeling that it will level out after being cellared for a while. Creamy mouthfeel with a short bitter finish.
CaptainCougar (7133) - Columbia, Maryland, USA - JUL 19, 2008
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours an oily opaque black with a spotty-lacing airy light brown head. Aroma of sweet caramel and dark chocolate with a touch of molasses and dark fruits. Body starts fairly full and lightly malty sweet revealing a rich, bittersweet dark chocolate flavor which lingers into a medium roasted finish. Smooth, farily complex and true to its name.
bethmatt0421 (337) - Covington, Kentucky, USA - JUL 19, 2008
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 13/20
A great dark pour. Aroma is dominated by the dark chocolate. Flavor is dark chocolate, roasted malts. The oatmeal seems to hold it all together as well. Bitterness seems to be a more alcohol bitterness, than from the hops. Maybe this was what they were going for? Either way, some ageing would do some good to tame it. I likey, and you should to.
jimbowood (1036) - Freeport, Georgia, USA - JUL 19, 2008
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
bottle. Smooth and chocolatey, but rather one dementional. Lacks depth. Give it a year in a bourbon barrel and it’d probably be great.
bhensonb (13228) - Woodland, California, USA - JUL 19, 2008
4.1 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle from the Coop in Davis, CA. It is indeed a black pour with a 2-finger tan/brown head. Aroma is primarily chocolate over dark roasted, not burnt, malt. Full bodied with chewy carbonation. Flavor is a touch of heat, dark roasted malt, coffee, and some chocolate bitter. Very well integrated. The hop doesn’t stand out until things have pretty well gone down. Guess that’s a deScription for the finish. Really outstanding. Great nose.
JohnC (3004) - Mission Viejo, California, USA - JUL 19, 2008
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
I liked this beer. It’s a black pour with a two finger brown head. The aroma is of oatmeal and bittersweet chocolate. Nice on the palate: thick & smooth, overall it/’s a tasty combination of oatmeall, chocolate & roasty flavors with an appropriate level of hoppiness
ajm (1067) - Los Angeles, California, USA - JUL 19, 2008
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 13/20
I wanted to give this another flavor point, but it seems unfinished to me. The bitter chocolate is nice - and the oatmeal base is quite smooth - but it lacks depth! From the first sip I maintained that this brew needed some time in some oak, and that stayed true through the end of the bottle. Could use some coffee as an alternative.
abcfan (867) - New Jersey, USA - JUL 19, 2008
2.7 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
Very disappointed in this one after reading reviews here. Not much of an aroma on this one, but I did detect some dark fruit and oats. Pours black with a nice tan/brown head. Taste was wet cardboard and was very slick on the tongue. Nice burning alcohol finish, Nothing exciting going on with this one.
KawaBomber (218) - New Jersey, USA - JUL 18, 2008
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
22oz Bottle: Pours like dirty motor oil...black. Large brown head that leaves nice lacing behind as it dissipates. Aroma is a bit smoky, roasty, powdery dark chocolate, hints of coffe & some alcohol peeking through. Flavor has bitter chocolate up front, sweet malts, some smokiness, bitter hops & a bit of alcohol kick. Very well balanced: smooth & creamy. Crazy good, can’t wait to see how it ages...
atomcow1 (18) - Glen Allen, Virginia, USA - JUL 18, 2008
4.2 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
Pours a thick, dark black into my Stone IRS stemmed glass. Completely opaque with not even a hint of red at the edges, even when held up to the light. The head is river-bank brown and very durable. The aroma, appropriately enough, is of high-cacao chocolate. Hops are there, but way in the background. It’s clear that they’re not going to be the star of this beer, which is kind of refreshing coming from Stone (the soliloquy on the side of the 22 oz. bottle explains that this is mostly due to the hop crisis).
That’s not to say it’s lacking in bitterness, though. The missing hops are made up for by the bite in the unsweetened chocolate you taste as soon as you sink your teeth into this resinous, oily monster. Faint hints of raisins and other dark fruits linger behind the strong but not overwhelming chocolate backbone. For those skeptical of a brew with "Chocolate" in the name, this is not cloying at all; in fact it’s only slightly sweet. The oatmeal is evident in the heavy mouthfeel. Medium carbonation.
The beer that obviously comes to mind for comparison is Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout, and they are very similar...until the finish. Where the Brooklyn offering seeks to backhand you with alcohol, Stone is remarkable for its lack of burn as it slides down the gullet. Despite its monstrous profile, it’s not hot at all at 9.2% ABV and can be enjoyed right away. I sure wouldn’t mind stowing it for a couple years though. Really looking forward to seeing how it evolves as it warms up.