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RATINGS: 2856   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.19   SEASONAL: Spring   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
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"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 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
Schroppfy (2360) - Łůdż, Warsaw, Poland; Michigan, Ohio, USA - DEC 10, 2002
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!

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
21iceman40 (1731) - vienna, West Virginia, USA - DEC 9, 2002
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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
gthank (73) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - DEC 8, 2002
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 itís an incredible beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
aracauna (3053) - Georgia, USA - DEC 8, 2002
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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
iwantalambic (1478) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - DEC 7, 2002
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

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
Jokes (1453) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - DEC 7, 2002
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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Uglyradio (791) - Greenville, South Carolina, USA - DEC 6, 2002
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.

   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 10/20
TAR (2445) - Lafayette, Colorado, USA - DEC 5, 2002
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.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
DaSilky1 (2606) - San Diego, California, USA - DEC 1, 2002
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.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
mixamatt (427) - San Francisco, California, USA - NOV 30, 2002
Hoppy candied fruit aroma.Hoppy chocolate cherry flavor that gets softer as it warms up.Strange salty sour finish.Hides the alcohol well.

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