aracauna (2920) - Georgia, USA - DEC 8, 2002
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Absolutely black opaque with a dark tan head that is about what you expect from the style. Alcohol is stronger on the nose than some of the other imperial stouts. Nice malty aroma with good cherry fruitiness under the alcohol bite. Taste is smooth, creamy. Milk chocolate, slight coffeeish hint with creaminess hints at Kahlua. Anise. Great beer.
iwantalambic (1478) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - DEC 7, 2002
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: JAN 23, 2005 Early Summer 2004 release (sampled January 2005): significant small bubbled chocolate coloured foam. Body is blacker than any night I have seen in ages (the sodium glow of the city never diesÖ) The dark head is retentive, but not sticky. Dark roasted black cherry aroma with subtle alcohol and an almost overwhelming coffee presence. Dusty Bakerís chocolate mix with raisins and a touch of anise to round an aroma that grows on me and is at its best only after it warms. Creamy, melted chocolate palate Ė barely seems carbonated, but it works pretty well here: the smoothness across the tongue delivers the warming alcohol, lightly bitter chocolate and sweet (though darkly roasted) coffee beans wonderfully. Though this one seems a step or two up from the 2002 (creamier, more velvety mouth feel, more dark chocolate bitterness all enhanced by the coffee), this still isnít top on my list of Imperial Stouts. 8/4/8/4/16
Late spring 2002 release (sampled early December 2002): poured with a massive inspiring brown head. . . Aroma filled with alcohol, raisins, tiny bits of chocolate and a slight roastedness. Average flavour all around: roasted chocolate, malt, and some subtle hops. Finish full of alcohol, with none of the flavours lingering for even a second. Stone had some high expectations to fill, and this one didnít quite live up to them like its brothers have, but a great beer all the same. Cheers Racegoer! 8/3/7/3/14
Jokes (1453) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 7, 2002
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
Spring 2002 in 22oz Bottle. The pour appeared thick resulting in a black beer with slight hints of red and a dark brown head. The aroma is interesting, sort of sour, not much roastedness coming through. At first the flavors seem almost nonexistent, but if you hold the beer in your mouth for a while, they really come out. A touch of sour (almost like a milk stout), sweet fruit, plenty of roasted malt, a touch of chocolate, slight alcohol, and a decent hop finish. It all grew on me as I drank more. This is a damn fine beer, but lacked the brashness I have come to expect from Stone. Not my favorite for the style, but certainly nice to drink. Many thanks again to Racegoer.
Uglyradio (791) - Greenville, South Carolina, USA - DEC 6, 2002
4.3 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
UPDATED: SEP 9, 2003 Spring 2002 Release in a 22oz bottle: Pours a jet black color with a small, tan head that does not linger. Funky, very nutty, somewhat sour aroma with a strange fruitiness I am not familiar with. Full bodied and very thick, with hints of coffee, roasted malts, alcohol, and a slight sourness in the flavor. However, the sourness recedes as your tastebuds adjust. A good Imperial stout, but not my favorite offering from Stone.
2003 22 oz Bottle: Jet black color with a small, brown head. Light malty aroma with some hop and alcohol notes. Full body with a very rich and creamy mouthfeel. The flavor lacks the sourness of last years. Wonderfully balanced between hop, malt, chocolate, anise, and licorice flavors. The finish is long and full of chocolate malts. Yummy. Much better than the bottle of last year's I had.
TAR (2376) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - DEC 5, 2002
2.7 AROMA 5/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 5/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 10/20
UPDATED: APR 8, 2008 Notes of dark cherry, yeast, and milk chocolate. Wonderfully balanced, with a roasted edge of harshness, but not enough to counter the massive chocolate character. Lush and velvety on the palate. Flavors are full of toffee, almonds, and milk chocolate. Finishes moistly full with a relentless onslaught of milk chocolate and slight roast astringency. Just awesome.
Post-2007 bottlings are a drastic change from previous batches. Take the sharp alcohol, for instance, or the thinned out body which is now extremely sugary and littered with flabby fruitiness, dull malts, and no malt softness or fullness whatsoever. Yet another dime-a-dozen Imperial Stout utterly lacking in the finesse department. Used to be pretty solid, but more than a few ounces of this in one sitting are more than enough.
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 1, 2002
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: MAY 1, 2010 2002 bottle: chocolate, cream, rumballs, black plums and smoke in the nose..black color..thin darkish tan head..not too thick of a palate but still quite silky feeling..the beer Iím rating right now is slightly oxidized but Iíve had this beer plenty of times to know that this isnt always the case..earlier in the year the hoppiness was a little strong and clashing but as of now, a little less than a year after bottling, things have balanced out..lacking in fruitiness though..i want some plum or raisin and Iím just not getting any..just mostly chewy chocolate, smoke, and slight anise..some bitterness in the end too..Re-Rate 2003 Bottle: this years is much more balanced and refined...i guarantee they chilled on the hop bill this year, which was a good idea in my opinion..i get smokey flavors around lots of chocolate and dark plum & raisin.. update: this beer simply does not impress me now that I know what an imperial stout should taste like, plus with just a year on it it loses everything and tastes like roasted malt accented water.
mixamatt (427) - San Francisco, California, USA - NOV 30, 2002
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Hoppy candied fruit aroma.Hoppy chocolate cherry flavor that gets softer as it warms up.Strange salty sour finish.Hides the alcohol well.
Jake Barnes (456) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - NOV 29, 2002
3.8 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 15/20
I feel almost let-down. Stone on the label is usually a bond, and although this certainly wasnít bad, it wasnít the usual high quality i expect. The aroma was pleasant exuding chocolate and roastiness. The body resembled a dark morass crowned by a rich brown head. The flavor began pleasant with the chocolate and roastiness but then this sour/vinegar flavor cuts in and ruins the flavor development. I canít imagine (judging from reviews and my past experiences with Stone) that this was intentional or the result of carelessness. Still, I feel like something happened with this batch that wasnít supposed to.
drismyhero (815) - Tacoma, Washington, USA - NOV 18, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
UPDATED: JAN 27, 2004 Black as George Bush's heart with a good old fashioned flare of communism. This beer is impossible to see light through, smells like sweet/sour molasses and tastes like...like...man, there is so much here: sweet maple, bitter chocolate, a hint of coffee. Wow, I'm really taken aback by the richness of this beer, but it is really fantastic. Lacks a bit in head and lace but more than makes up for it in taste and palate. This sticks to my palate like flies on kaka. Man, it may even be worth the $4.50 I payed for the bottle.
Pjones6738 (500) - Madison, Wisconsin, USA - NOV 17, 2002
4.4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 17/20
Wow. No idea how to describe this beer. Just let me echo everyone else and say its good.