ADfan (482) - Orange County, California, USA - JUL 17, 2012
4.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Poured on tap at Beachwood BBQ. It is black in the glass with small head. The aroma is hard to describe, there is vanilla, coffee and alcohol. The taste matches the aroma well. Big and full of flavor. You notice the smoothness right away. There is espresso and vanilla up front. Then you taste chocolate and an alcohol punch near the end. Extremely rich and smooth.
alexsdad06 (3043) - Ohio, USA - JUN 25, 2012
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
Growler (from notes 09/11). Pours oily jet black with a small tan head; served at 55 degrees The aroma has dark chocolate, roast, espresso, bourbon, vanilla and a hint of anise. The flavor was a decadent blend of far chocolate, roasted malts, espresso, bourbon, vanilla and a hint of anise. Very smooth, full bodied, carries the anvil quite well. I had this a few months earlier with a friend and was equally impressed. I think this is a bit better than the base.
BrewDad (4256) - Olympia, USA - MAY 20, 2012
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
Dark black in color, clear with a thin tan head. Big bourbon and stout aroma. Awesome barrel ageing flavor. Love the flavor this was a super brew.
KickInChalice (842) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 7, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
From notes. First reviewed 8/22/2011. Served on tap in a snifter at Acre.
As expected, this is pitch black with just a hint of mahogany and ruby in the edges.
The aroma is full of bourbon; it is in the forefront to the point where it kind of drowns out the other wonderful smells. Molasses, dark fruits, and a bit of anise and chocolate are pushed to the periphery.
The flavor is again a bit strong on the bourbon for me, considering that the base beer is so good. It starts strong and stays on the palate through each sip. Behind that, some molasses and vague dark fruit sweetness start out, with vanilla, oak, and roasted malt rounding out the front. The roasted malt has a tinge of burnt character and flows into a coffee bitterness nicely as the sip progresses. The finish is lightly bitter with more bourbon.
This has a dry, woody, oaky feel, which makes it feel less full bodied than the original. Medium carbonation is on the creamy side.
If I had this on its own, it would be a fine beer. The only issue is that Stone had the audacity to make IRS so good that drowning the flavor out with bourbon is a downgrade. Some people might like the bourbon treatment to be over the top, but I prefer it to be more nuanced.
lmccannel (8) - Colorado, USA - MAR 6, 2012 does not count
4.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
I look forward to the release of this every year, it is as always a favorite of mine. I enjoy the thickness of the beer and the finish is delightful.
Drake (6507) - Ivy, Virginia, USA - FEB 25, 2012
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
Draft at Brewvival 2012. Pours pitch black with a large creamy tan head. Good head retention. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malts, raisin and whisky. The taste is roasted malts, chocolate, raisin, whisky, cocoa, caramel and a hoppy finish. Full bodied. Very nice.
Brigadier (2240) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - OCT 26, 2011
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
The highlight of Cleveland Beer Week for me was the chance to try this elusive beer. Right up there with barrel aged versions of Dark Lord and Bourbon County Stout it ranks as a beer that everyone should try at least once. I think I might like regular RIS slightly better but it is a close call.
Aroma / Appearance - The heavy black body sits wearily at the bottom of the glass. A lively brown head imbues a good contrast as I wait for the pour to warm from 40 degrees to room temperature. Vanilla, chocolate, oak, malt, and cocoa nibs waft effortlessly towards the senses. Time has mellowed the base beer somewhat though the aging process has not produced a bourbon bomb. Anise adds some additional sweetness around the edges.
Flavor / Palate - Fresh coffee, malt, dark chocolate drizzled over a handful of licorice hard candy, and vanilla alternate the spotlight. The oak aging is soft around the edges and plays nicely with the other flavors. While it is impossible to mask an 11% ABV completely this is so smooth that it sneaks up on you only at the last minute. A world class release, I would expect no less from Stone given their track record.
bittermestupid (247) - Canton, Ohio, USA - OCT 21, 2011
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
2008 in Heaven Hill barrels. On draft at Lizardville for Cleveland Beer Week. Pours black with a nice thick mocha head and some great lacing. Coffee, bourbon, chocolate, toffee, vanilla are up front on the nose. I pick up some marshmellow, licorice and leather as well. What a nose on this beer. Bourbon upfront, cocoa, coffee, licorice, vanilla, with raisin and dates come through nicely in the taste. Thick and coating on the palate with a long dark roasted coffee finish and notes of bourbon.
wchesser (673) - Denver, Colorado, USA - OCT 16, 2011
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Stranahan’s Whiskey Barrel Aged on tap at Rackhouse Pub, Denver.
No head. Dark black opaque. Lots of bourbon and oak vanilla notes, a bit of roasted dark malt. Very well balanced. Not a lot of the stout shows through unfortunately, but the bourbon doesn’t overwhelm. Stout carries it well, but isn’t strong enough to represent itself equally. Alcohol dangerously well integrated. Delicious beer. Had it with a whiskey bbq chicken sandwich with bacon-good pairing, but this would be just as good with a chocolate dessert.
onceblind (2536) - Denver, Colorado, USA - OCT 13, 2011
3.8 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
On tap at The Rackhouse, Denver, 2011 GABF. Aged in Stranahans. Very dark black with no head. Nice big aroma of chocolate, whiskey, oak, vanilla, molasses, and more chocolaty vanilla. Very smooth uncarbonated body, a little too much so. Big boozy overtones of whiskey and oak, with a sweet background of heavy roasted black malts, chocolate, vanilla, and more booze on the back of the throat. No nuance, all pizzazz. But in all, not too shabby.