snoot (286) - Anaheim, California, USA - JUN 22, 2003
3.8 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
UPDATED: AUG 24, 2003 2003 release. Pours very very black, with a decent amount of dark tan head that rapidly dissapates. Tiny bit of chocolate, some coffee and lots of roasted malt in the flavor, with just a touch of hops coming through. Pretty big alcohol burn. A nice special occasion beer, in my opinion, but not something I would drink every week, like an Old Rasputin.
Small Re-rate 08/24...I think I didn't let it warm enough last time, this beer gets much more interesting the closer it gets to room temp.
smoosh (536) - New Albany, Indiana, USA - JUN 21, 2003
3.9 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Bottle: Roasted chocolate nose. Black. Medium brown head. Very nice mouthfeel. Big and round. Taste of chocolate, roastiness and alcohol. Huge, assertive, an excellent beer.
Steib (613) - Queen Creek, Arizona, USA - JUN 20, 2003
4 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
2003 release from the tap. Everything about this beer is black. Black color, roasted, coffee, chocolate, etc.. Drink this in a dark alley. Sweet fruity malt, alot of character. It doesn't attack the mouth, soft and tasty. This beer blackens the soul but warms the heart.
MadMan (495) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - JUN 18, 2003
5 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: SEP 9, 2007 Spring 03 release: Complete and totally black. Licorice, coffee, and a slight roastiness and alcohol aroma. Not much head or lacing going on in my glass. Lots of wonderful maltiness and I like to let it linger in my mouth for awhile. The finish is a combo of malt sweet and hoppy bitterness (my only complaint would be not enough bitter). Really comes alive once it warms up a bit. I have not yet reached uber beer geek status, but in my humble opinion this imperial stout is the shit. I canít wait to buy some more.
EDIT: I rated this one a couple of weeks ago and I feel I have to tell you that I canít stop drinking the stuff. Iím going to go broke at $5 a bottle and the local liquor store only lets me buy two at a time. This is truly a wonderful beer.
RE-RATE: Iíve had every release since the original rating. My palate has done nothing but improve and I still come back each year and find this to be one of the most delightfull experiences. This is truly a world class beer and no amount of sampling has changed my mind. Iíve increased the rating from the original 4.5
jonas (5934) - Garching b. MŁnchen, GERMANY - JUN 14, 2003
4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 14/20
Aroma: Coffee, burned sourdough bread, slight lactic acidity and a slight earthy smell.
Color like a black hole.
Acidic tastenotes: Coffee, strawberries (with some dirt clinging on them).
Medium bodied, alcohol does not show.
Rounds of ok, but somehow something is missing... I guess it misses the last velvety touch.
Blake (396) - Orange, California, USA - JUN 13, 2003
4.1 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 16/20
Had on tap at Callahan's on Wednesday, June 11th, 2003
Oddly enough, it's taken me this long to rate this beer that's available all over the place here in San Diego. This amazingly complex beer has a small, slightly tan head with a pitch black coloring. The lacing is quite good and lasts from start to finish. The flavors jump out of the pint glass and just drag you in - from coffee to chocolate to a sweet berry flavor. While the alcohol level isn't masked as well as other stouts I've tried, they do a good job and the beer is extremely drinkable. I'm still a sucker for the Double Bastard, but this Imperial Stout is a great beer and a fine Stone offering.
gerdy555 (163) - Ohio, USA - JUN 10, 2003
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
wow this is really really good. pours jet black and totaly opague with a deep tan head that slowly disapates but still leaves lacing. massive amounts of toffee, chocolate, and coffee flavors, yet is still very drinkable (empahsis on very). its like a punch in the face that feels like a kiss. this is the epitimy of what a good stout should be. well done stone.
BeerRunner (144) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 9, 2003
4.7 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
Oh my god! This is nirvana, valhalla, the pentultimate of stout! Stone has totally outdone themselves with this magnificent brew. Indeed, it pours with the thickness of used motor oil...damned near the thickness of molasses! A beautiful brown head which fairly quickly dissipates becomes evident. Then, the aroma. Oh, how delicious and sweet it truly is! Complex, to be sure, but the overwheliming notes of chocolate mocha coffee are surely there. The mouthfeel is like sweet syrup, with a bit of a hint of salt. Black currants become evident as this wickedly marvelous brew begins to warm. And the malt, oh the lucious, delicious malt! Like a chocolate, malty, mocha shake. The alcohol? No hint, none, it's so well and gorgeously hidden, yet the power of this brew is quite subtle. This is THE perfect brew. The color is opaque, with a VERY bright light, you hint a note of ruby red. I cannot believe how marvelous this brew is. It is, IMNSHO, the best stout on the planet, BAR NONE. I'm in love, totally and absolutely in love, and it is must assuredly not infatuation!
fraternie (857) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUN 8, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 17/20
Syrupy black, tar-like body, thin head. Strong roasted mocha/chocolate aroma. Flavor is more of the same, coffee notes and strong dark chocolate. Soft mouthfeel. Slightly sweet but lacking any fruit complexity in the malt. Hoppy finish for the style, smooth. Hops dominate the finish and nicely balance the large ABV. Chocolate flavor lingers, pleasant.
SDbruboy (1864) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 7, 2003
4.4 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
22 oz. bomber, 2003 Release. This Bolshevik beauty pours almost like molasses - thick, black and opaque. Absolutely no light makes its way through this stout-hearted Imperialist. A small brown head formed and took its own time to recede to a murky ring around the top of the dense liquid. The aroma is also molasses, Italian roast coffee and raspberries Ė it was love at first sniff. This bottle was refrigerated and though I gave it about 15 minutes to warm before opening (I have to admit to a little impatience), it wasn't enough. The flavor was initially a little disappointing with the alcohol too prominent for my tastes. Though as it warmed, the sweet burnt chocolate, coffee and black currents came to the fore with the alcohol receding nicely to assume a more balanced role. This brew prowls around on the palate like the rich, dark, syrup your pancakes always dreamed of. Then it slips away leaving an enigmatic and intriguing bitter-sweet finish that languorously fades to a happy memory. My advice: drink this unruly Russian warm and slowly to reap the greatest reward. Additional patience may be of benefit as well while this still brash brew ages and mellows, I can hardly wait to see what the bottles I've cellared taste like 3, 6, 9 and 12 months down the road!