Serve in Snifter


on tap

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RATINGS: 1037   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.87/5   SEASONAL: Series   EST. CALORIES: 276   ABV: 9.2%
Who knew a worldwide hop shortage in 2008 would give rise to such a memorable, delicious beer? When it came time to craft a commemorative offering for our 12th anniversary, we decided to trade in the bitterness of hops for the bitterness of unsweetened chocolate, and paired that with flaked oats. Featuring a thick, rich, roasty mouthfeel and chocolate-heavy flavors and aromas, this onyx-colored, malt-forward beauty became an instant classic that shares space on our liquid trophy case alongside our hop-focused fan favorites. Rebrewed for our 20th Anniversary Encore Series.

Hops: Summit, Willamette, Galena & Ahtanum

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
JB175 (1665) - Bucks County, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 26, 2008
Blackish pour with a medium head. Aroma has some sweetness to go along with the chocolate, roast, and licorice. Very inviting. Flavor is as advertized - Bitter. A bit too much dry bitterness in my opinion for a big stout, but it acquits itself nicely with some roast, dark chocolate, and light coffee. Solid - certainly not my favorite from Stone, but its still better than most. Different in a good way!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
DYCSoccer17 (3603) - Woodland, California, USA - JUL 26, 2008
22 ounce bottle purchased at the Davis Food Co-Op. Aroma has a nice roasty, slightly sweet chocolate milk-like quality present. Pretty sweet with a bit of vinousness. Smells pretty tasty. Opaque black body with a brown frothy head and nice lacing. Sexy. Starts a little roasted and bitter. Some coffee and dark choco notes then make an appearance. Finishes dry, bitter, hopped, and with some ethanolic bitterness. Some grapefruit hop flavors are present. I would like a little more sweetness from this and have less bitterness/burnt/dry/ethanol flavors. Just seems kinda harsh. It does live up to its name, though, so I shouldn’t complain.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Zinister (1423) - Houston, Texas, USA - JUL 26, 2008
Thanks to SouthbayD&L for this beer. Pitch black pour with thin dark coffee head. Chocolate, malted milk balls and raisin. Roasted flavors up front with espresso and cocoa in the middle, with and bitter coffee near the end. Oily mouthfeel, with a bit of heat on the finish as well.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
DubC5000 (305) - San Francisco, California, USA - JUL 28, 2008
Extremely chocolatey aroma, black with a red tint. Majority of flavor is bitterly rich dark chocolate, strong alcohol burn, with an aftertaste that is all oatmeal. Quite good, but alcohol really overwhelms the flavor.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
TaktikMTL (6943) - Montréal, Quebec, CANADA - JUL 28, 2008
Bouteille de 22 oz, partagée avec des amis, chez American Flatbread (Burlington, VT). Arôme: Odeur de chocolat avec une pointe d’alcool. Apparence: La couleur est noire opaque. Présence d’un fine dentelle sur le verre. Saveur: Goût de chocolat et de café avec une pointe de vanille. Courte durée de l’arrière goût. Palette: Le corps est moyen avec une texture légèrement crémeuse. Faible effervescence en bouche. Arrière goût légèrement chocolaté. (Rating #1849)

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
michael-pollack (4959) - King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, USA - JUL 28, 2008
22oz. Bottle: Aroma of roasted malts, chocolate, coca and molasses. Poured dark black in color with a small, creamy, dark brown head. Opaque. Flavor is lightly sweet and light to medium bitter. Flavor of alcohol, burnt malts, roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, charcoal, and some oats. Medium to full body. Smooth, creamy texture. Soft carbonation. Alcohol, and roasted malts in the finish. A little too much alcohol is discernible.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
hellbilly (3249) - scottsdale über alles, Arizona, USA - JUL 29, 2008
UPDATED: NOV 12, 2009 black shade of mahogany brown topped by a brick red/brown head. some webby lacing is left behind as it recedes. aroma is definitely dark chocolate mixed with musty oats, earth, ashy/astringent/bitter grain, faint dark fruit and a sweetness similar to molasses but without the richness or depth. the flavor comes through as promised on the bottle... astringent grain, bitter chocolate, sweet, musty, earthy and an acetone-like boozy burn. bitter finish riddled with alcohol. medium body. the texture is certainly helped out by astringency and the alcohol gives it a bit of spice. the carbonation gets really creamy when sloshed around... meh. gets rather boring by the end of the first glass...7/4/7/3/15/3.6

end of august 2009. big coffee aroma and flavor, it’s lost the ashy edge, dust is faint, a bit woody and smoky yet it still has a touch of the cocoa sourness on the finish. it is far more balanced than fresh and the alcohol sting is gone. it is coming along...

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Ratman197 (12806) - Arvada, Colorado, USA - AUG 4, 2008
Bomber poured a nearly opaque dark brown almost black with a lasting brown head. Aromas of bitter chocolate, coffee, light vanilla and hints of licorice and smoke. Palate was medium to full bodied and smooth with slightly warm finish. Flavors of bitter chocolate, light coffee, light vanilla and a hint of pepper with a smooth lightly warming lingering bittersweet finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
harrisoni (16820) - Ashford, Kent, ENGLAND - AUG 8, 2008
Cask at GBBF 08. Black, thin tan head. Lots of bitter choc, some nutmeg. Still some American hops on end. It’s quite strong on the alcohol, bit of vanilla, bit too unsubtle. Hot alcohol and some whiskyish nature to it.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
MartinT (9063) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - AUG 13, 2008
UPDATED: SEP 29, 2010 My Bottom Line:
Dark chocolate and roastiness form succulently sweet curves before they team up with leafy hops and alcohol heat to build a potent bitter dryness in this original and very likeable Imperial Stout.

Further Personal Perceptions:
-A ring of foam circles the opaque black.
-Oatmeal contributes some crunchy cereal character.
-Upon release, alcohol was well hidden (by all the roastiness?) for a beer this size; but at 2 years of age, it comes through readily in both aroma and flavor profile.
-The flavor profile is straightforward, but it is highly enjoyable when you enjoy such dark malt-driven discourses.


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