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RATINGS: 3119   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.18/5   SEASONAL: Spring   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
"Thereís no question that Stone Imperial Stout is revered among enthusiasts," states Stone CEO Greg Koch. "I know, because Iím one of íem and I can hardly wait for it to come out each year!" Some may think that a late Spring release for a special brew of this sort is an odd time for it to come out onto the market. Koch justifies this with the rationalization "What better than a warm time of year to come out with a brew that tastes great as it warms up!" Thatís because "ice cold" is certainly not the appropriate way to serve the beer. Nearly without exception, the darker, richer and more alcoholic a brew is, the warmer the serving temperature should be. The Stone Imperial Stout label describes the brew as being "intensely aromatic (notes of anise, black currants, coffee, roastiness and alcohol) and heavy on the palate...expect this mysterious brew to pour like used motor oil and taste even heavier! Serve at 55 degrees."

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
bindpmc (88) - San Diego, California, USA - MAY 17, 2006
Incredibly dark, almost oily nearly black pour. Creamy cappuchino-colored head that lasts a while. Slight lacing. The nose is heavy on the roasted malts, suggestive of hazelnut coffee, but also with a bit of indistinguishable fruit behind it. The flavor characteristics are incredibly complex but well balanced at the same time. The progression goes from mocha to an almost puckerish bittering sweet malt, to a finish that is all vanilla milkshake, leading to an aftertaste that is malty sweet but with just the slightest hint of hops lying beneath. A very pleasant experience.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Hubajube (13) - USA - MAY 16, 2006
Completely opaque with a flavor to match. Chocolate smell with a bit of something darkly sour. Sweet maltiness, soft licorice candy, a bit of hops at the side of the tongue, trailing off with bittersweet chocolate. Nice and syrupy thick and fizzy.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
turnerm5 (12) - Bellingham, Washington, USA - MAY 16, 2006
Very dark pour with a light brown, very long-lasting head. Dark chocolate and roasted malt aromas dominate, with coffee and alcohol present as well. Not as thick on the tongue as I was expecting, though it is still certainly a beer to drink over a few hours.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
gputty (456) - Virgina Beach, Virginia, USA - MAY 16, 2006
2006 bomber. Poured black with a thin coffee head, although not as dark as some others Iíve seen. Nose was full of smoke and grapes. Flavored followed with some added coco and a vinous medium vinous finish. Pretty good, but Iím going to lay these down for a bit.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
JugOPunch (83) - Nashua, New Hampshire, USA - MAY 15, 2006
22oz bottle:A syrupy black pour with a good dirty brown head. Coffee, roast and alcohol in the nose. Sweet and syrupy on the tongue with an incredibly full body. The flavor is much less alcohol than the aroma. It is better as it warms with a nice dark richness and a slight bitterness that balances and rounds out the syrupy sweetness. I would like to see how one of these tastes after about six months in the cellar.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
tcruicks (282) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - MAY 12, 2006
2006 Bottle. This is a super dark, black beer (some red around the edges), a nice thin dark brown head. The aroma is dark, chocolatey, roasty, with dates or dark fruits. On the other hand, the alcohol was way too overpowering which made it difficult to enjoy these subtle smells. All of these subtle aromas are present in the flavour, though, and although the alcohol is definitely present, its not the dominant component of the flavor. The palate is really enjoyable- its thick, smooth and creamy (rich, full, etc...)! A sweet and roasty flavour lingers on the palate- for a very long time.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 19/20
pnista (1007) - Bloomington, Indiana, USA - MAY 12, 2006
UPDATED: MAY 13, 2006 2006 bottle. Pours blacker than brown and browner than black, quite nearly impenetrable. A thin dark tan head, though I never hold that against this style. This one is a strong son of a gun, alcohol is immediately obvious, but so is the creamy rich malt. For me to smell the richness of a beer is something unusual, so this is sure to be a treat. An obvious bit of roast with some fruit in there. There also appears to be some vanilla and cinnamon at warmer temperatures. Velvety smooth and creamy, not quite as viscous as I had hoped, but I sure wonít complain! The CO2 level is about as perfect as imaginable, reminding me of Fullerís London porter. This really dazzles on the taste buds. Not as bold and brash as most Stone brews, this beer really shows they can be subtle when appropriate. Ridiculously sweet and malty, creamy with definite presence of vanilla and anise and almost lactic. Thereís a slight amount of roast, but somehow, it isnít star of the show, which seems unusual for an impy stout. This plays off a lot more like a barleywine. Thereís a slight tough of floral hops in there, but itís impact on the flavor pales in comparison to the intensity of the alcohol. The warming sensation is really pleasant, making this a sipper. the roast really doesnít make itself apparent until the aftertaste, which is subtle and not at all overbearing. Being a sucker for sweet malty beers, I really love this brew which someone avoids being cloying. The other flavors are really subtle, but still seem to contribute to the flavor profile. With this much alcohol, Iíd imagine this will age for quite some time, and I look forward to drinking my other bottles as the alcohol mellows out.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
slcbrewer (44) - USA - MAY 10, 2006
2006 release sampled. Dark and oily with a thick brown head. Not much hop aroma present. Taste was complex with strong molasses and syrup notes and a little chocolate. Iíve got a couple more bottles and it will be interesting to try this one after a year.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Goldorak (438) - Montreal, Quebec, CANADA - MAY 9, 2006
Sampled on-tap at the Brookline Publick House, to match with the huge-ass order of ribs I had there.

I just love staring at the black hole sun that only seems to radiate out of RIStouts. Great creamy mocha head looked like a fine Italian espresso.
It even smelled like a good coffee, with some sprinkles of lake champlain Tanzanian dark chocolate. Piney hop effluves slowly creeped up and alcohol in the finale was and soothing.
Surprisingly smooth at first, the hop astringency gradually comes along in the end, making a kind of wave thatís creamy, then just a bit sweet, then bitter and warm from the alcohol. I wouldnít drink tons of this stuff, but when I have a feel for a RIS I wouldnít mind having some of this.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
Brewso (238) - Mt Kisco, New York, USA - MAY 9, 2006
Spring 2006 release. The cocoa head bodes well as does the thick pour. Heavy notes of bourbon along with anise, leather, tobacco with a substantial undercurrent of sweetness. The hops are anything but arrogant though they balance things slightly. I also get some chocolate covered banana on the nose. A nice imp stout but it is not as good as the Oaked Yeti or Expedition. Age may improve but wonít change the fundamental characteristics of it. Bottom line- I like more IBUs in my imp stouts.

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