mattyb83 (736) - Minnesota, USA - APR 3, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Tap at Pracna for their Stone launch party. It was the 2008 vintage. Black in color with a small khaki head. Sweet vanilla, oak, chocolate, molasses fill the aroma. Pretty solid aroma. Flavor is way to sweet for me. Lots of chocolate and bourbon with some oak towards the finish. My friend said she thought it was very coconut like in the flavor. The oak in the finish gave a strange dry finish to me. Medium heavy body. Slightly boozy but not overpowering. Overall this was a little bit of a let down.
arjoseph (634) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUL 12, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
RBSG 2008 and Stoneís new bistro. I have to admit, Iím not a huge fan of IRS to begin with (itís aight), which is maybe why I wasnít blown away by this. Barrel fruit and spice on the nose, like boozy, prickly heavily peppered pork sausage. Pretty astringent in the mouth, but nice; chocolate notes are great and rich; brown sugar; a little acidic from the bourbony fruit. Not super-full, the carbonation is soft and foamy. Itís definitely very bourbon-forward; the barrel character certainly does not get lost in the beer.
dbarnold (1125) - Bethesda, Maryland, USA - JUL 27, 2011
3.7 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
This one left me dissappionted...looks and smells great, but was lighter than normal IRS and had lost too much ofo itís character. No hops left. Tasted like a chocolate bourbon bar and not much else. I like bourbon barreled stuff generally, but this was had waited too long.
tyler_mn (1475) - SLP, Minnesota, USA - MAY 27, 2008
3.6 AROMA 6/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Hand bottle out of a growler. Thanks to John and Eben. Bourbon bomb for sure. Hot and heavy aroma. Chocolate, roasted marshmallow, grain alcohol soaked tootsie rolls. Charred wet wood, toasted vanilla bean and alcohol. Pours an oily near pitch black. Lifeless. A gentile swirl yields oily yellow legs around the inside edges of the glass. Hot and acidic on the tongue. Plenty of bourbon and alcohol notes. Dark chocolate, bitter roasted malt. Slightly metallic. Charred wood. Medium to full bodied with a lengthy dark fruits soaked in Everclear finish. Overally just way too much alcohol hotness. Tone it down a bit and this would score much higher with me. Thanks John!
17thfloor (2428) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - SEP 30, 2010
3.6 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
Draft at Twisted Spoke during Stone Week. Pours a darker milk chocolate color/consistency seemingly with a dense mocha head made of larger bubbles. Aroma is quite nice, lovely bourbon and dark chocolate, vanilla, creamy. Flavor follows but a bit too one-noteish for me, sweet vanilla and chocolate syrup with ample bourbon, marshmallowy, reminds me of the Big Sky Ivan the Terrible. A bit too milky creamy for me, larger soft carbonation, sticky.
KickInChalice (860) - 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.
toxichop (288) - South Gate, California, USA - SEP 23, 2012
3.6 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
A: Chocolate, bourbon, alcohol, wood, and roast. P:black with red highligts and a thin head. T: bourbon and alcohol, dark chocolate, nuts, oak and finishes rather bitter. M: medium with low carbonation. O: i preffer the base, it is a good beer but the alcohol was kind of a punch
Rastacouere (6107) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 26, 2008
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
From a 1L growler brought back by FranÁois. Thanks! Another bourbon barrel aged imperial stout who uses the powerful weapon that rarity is against Ratebeerís Bayesian scale!
No annoying vegetal (spent grain, corn syrup) character from the barrel, more like pure wood and vanilla components. Rather rich body for a beer that went through a barrel, no apparent thinning. Roastiness manages to pass through the bourbon. No cloying factor.
Itís hard to figure out what sets it apart from its concurrents enough to justify a current 4.4 average. No bottles available to age up the edges (Some flavours head in totally opposite directions, namely the bitterness). Not very balanced as this stage (still intensely bourbony) and to me, not superior to their regular impy.
argo0 (11181) - Washington DC, USA - MAY 28, 2008
3.5 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 14/20
(thanks kmweaver) Small brown head atop black body with dark brown edge. Aroma is moderately sweet, vanilla/Bourbon, chocolate, marshmallow, some bubblegum, coffee/roast, light burnt, wood. Taste is moderately sweet, chocolate, roast/burnt, Bourbon/vanilla. Light alcohol burn. Low carbonation, medium body, possibly a trifle thin for the beer.
badgerben (4363) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - JUN 5, 2008
3.5 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 3/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Big thanks to Tytanderso for getting this one and to Stine for hand bottling a sample for the crew at the Cellars! Black color with no head. Plenty of bourbon and oak aroma. Lots of bourbon and vanilla for the flavor. Oak fades away a bit. Plenty of roasted malt. Some coconut. Thin bodied, but I will attribute that to the hand bottling. Itís been a long time since Iíve had the regular RIS, but it definitely doesnít seem like the same beer just with bourbon aging. It seems to have completely mutated the underlying beer into something not even recognizeable as the same stout. I still really enjoyed this one, but it seemed to be just bourbon, not beer.