DrunkAsASkunk (847) - Lynnwood, Washington, USA - DEC 25, 2002
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JAN 17, 2003 An absolutely impressive and unmistakable Stout by Stone Breweries. Even before the first sip the brown/black hue lets you know you have quite a kick awaiting you! The color shows signs of amber towards the end, but through and through, it is a magnificent looking piece of work. The smells of coffee and alcohol are extremely appealing and the taste does dances around the tongue. It absolutely grabs your tongue and takes it along for the ride. It has a very strong, defined taste that is not for the beer unsophisticates. An impressive Stout worthy of a very high rating. Update: Upon my second taste of a mildly aged bottle, this is the king of beers thus far. This is the type of booty wars were fought over! Outstanding....in a word
RERATE 12/25/02: Aroma of coffee, espresso, mocha, vanilla, and roast. Head of a mild orangey brown color, and a viscous liquid black as death even when held directly in front of a light source. A taste of berries, chocolate, caramel, cracker jacks, espresso, mocha, coffee, and alcohol which only gets stronger and fuller with each taste. After facing this against my other favorites, there is no comparison....the imperial russian stout is by far tops in my book, nothing even comes close.
jpknight22 (171) - Charlotte, North Carolina, USA - DEC 17, 2002
4.1 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Limited late spring 2002 release: Chocolatey head with a syrupy texture, faint aroma revealing some of the alcohol content. The alcohol is quite noticeable althought is far from overbearing. This big bottle and a few others nearly KOed me with a left hook - awesome stuff. Thanks to hopsrus for the trade!!!!!!!
Racegoer (351) - Indiana, Indiana, USA - DEC 13, 2002
4.7 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: JUL 9, 2003 2003 is more of a silky mouthfeel and extremely warming, improved over the 2002, Black as coal,pouring into the glass it reminds me of thin oil . Stone keeps brewing winners, over & over!!!! Rich chocolate coffee flavors,raisins, time to get a few more bottles and put them to sleep. Recommended , (2002 4.3)This Stout is one kick in the pants.
Schroppfy (2360) - Łódż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - DEC 10, 2002
3.9 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: FEB 10, 2004 Finally, a rerate: This is quite sweet. Hoppiness kicks in and the beer ends up a bit winey when fully warmed up. The alcohol presence is pretty in your face. Ultimately a fine beer, but not enough roastiness to counter the super sweet something in there.
Original: uhhh, excellent, so much in there! I really should have had it earlier in the evening, without previous beers, and slower. But I have one more bottle!
21iceman40 (1731) - vienna, West Virginia, USA - DEC 9, 2002
4.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: JUN 8, 2003 I'm not what you would call a major fan of the stout, but this was damn good stuff. Smooth as butter, but packs all the flavor you could ever want in a fine beer. Lovin the 9.4. Ok, so know my head has been removed from my ass , 2003, i love stout, its probably my favorite as long as its imperial, i still dont like that oatmeal and cream shit, but this is fucking great. Its got it all, the perfect blend of coffee and chocolate, and some other stuff in there that i cant identify to give it that extra punch. Nice brew, very nice.
gthank (73) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 8, 2002
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
OK, time to re-rate. Tried it again, and the first bottle was obviously damaged in some way. This beer has a rich dark brown head over an extremely dark body, very pretty. The aroma is rather subdued, without the huge burnt/roasted notes I expected. The flavor, however, is great; milk-chocolate balances well with coffee notes that are more reminiscent of Kahlua than most cups of joe. It is very thick and somewhat creamy on the tongue. Overall, a very good imperial, which means it’s an incredible beer.
aracauna (2985) - 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 dies…) The dark head is retentive, but not sticky. Dark roasted black cherry aroma with subtle alcohol and an almost overwhelming coffee presence. Dusty Baker’s 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 – 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 isn’t 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 didn’t 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.