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RATINGS: 3084   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.18/5   SEASONAL: Spring   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
"There’s no question that Stone Imperial Stout is revered among enthusiasts," states Stone CEO Greg Koch. "I know, because I’m one of ’em 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!" That’s 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 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Eyedrinkale (3213) - Astoria, New York, USA - DEC 15, 2003
UPDATED: APR 22, 2005 Pours black (gimme a stout that doesn’t) with chocolate, yeast and fruity aromas. Gonna let this baby mellow for a year or so.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
dperk (14) - Cleveland, Ohio, USA - DEC 11, 2003
Smokey roasted malt dripping with hops is what I sense coming from the shiny pitch-black liquid. The head is more like an orangy brown ring around the glass. The flavor is sweet, chocolaty, hoppy malts. I really enjoyed this beer!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
ClarkVV (5232) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 24, 2003
UPDATED: MAR 29, 2007 2003 Bottle fresh. Great color! Black and completely opaque. Good dark brown/almost black olive colored head. Big barley-wineish aroma, alcohol perceptible, in a good way. Begins with lots of dark roasted barley, dark bitter chocolate and a resinous, maybe vinous hops flavor that is lush and slightly syrupy. Good clean brown sugar flavor as well. Noticeable acidity suggests this is quite young and has plenty aging potential. Slight saltiness, but more of a cognac flavor in the background (though sweeter than cognac). Quite delicious. Some licorice detectable in the aftertaste and a good thick body creates a very distinct and memorable beer. Beer is not overdone. Texture is rich and smooth. Salty at times, but well defined and has no problem with carbonation. 2003 bottle aged almost 18 months Starting to show signs of wear. Not nearly as thick and creamy a palate as I remember, though it still is delightfully smooth and oily, I couldnt help thinking that after only 18 months, this was really showing more oxidation than I would expect. I’m torn between liking this better fresh or aged because fresh, it is thicker, which I like, but aged, the huge hops bitterness is much more under control and smoothed out. Alcohol a bit too perceptible on the finish. More of an oaty flavor than I remember as well. Tried at about 64 degrees.2004 draught fresh Very roasty, salty, bitter and has a good deal of licorice and molasses. Maybe a bit lighter body than the 2003.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
BrianO (138) - Ambler, Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 17, 2003
What a beer. Very dark with small, foamy tan head. Aroma is chocolate and malt. Flavor is delightful. Chocolate, coffee, licorice, roasted grains and a touch of alcohol. Sweet and rich but not overdone and oilish. Good level of carbonation. Pretty frickin outstanding. One of the few times I wish beer came in a bigger bottle than 22 ounces.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Syd (921) - Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA - NOV 14, 2003
Bottled in Spring 2003. The Stout pours black with no color with back lighting detected. The head is the color of chocolate ice cream with similar color of lace. The aroma is of chocolate and some coffee. Wow, the flavor really is fantastic! It is almost a smoky dark chocolate, quite sweet and rich with very little indication of the 9.4% ABV. The palate is about as rich and creamy as it gets. This is like a liquid chocolate bar. I love this one.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
AlabastorJones (814) - Seattle, Washington, USA - NOV 14, 2003
The aroma is sweet, with a hint of magic. It's got the stout presence, like a black hole with a tan outer ring. It has a sweet, powerful flavor, and the 9.4% is pretty obvious. A great stout with a communist spin.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
ukoolaid (579) - Amherst, Massachusetts, USA - NOV 11, 2003
This beer kicks ass. And when I say that I mean it actually jumps out of the glass and kicks your ass. It has an excellent malt taste with a bit of smoke, and a hint of chocolate. It has a bit of a bite from the alcohol which adds to the overall experience.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
ToadMan (559) - Washington, Washington DC, USA - NOV 10, 2003
Pours like motor oil only thick. So dark it sucks in surrounding light rendering near by objects invisible. Aroma is rich malt, moderatly smokey and coffee like with hints of dark fruit. Taste is malty, somewhat sweet, moderate tones of berrys, light coffee, lightly smoked, chocolaty. Rich silky mouthfeel, moderatly bitter finish. Delicious currant and light liccorice flavors come out as it warms.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
bsour (78) - Boise, Idaho, USA - NOV 10, 2003
What little head there was disappeared after about 30 seconds. No lacing on the glass. Looks black until held to a light; then you can see the brown/dark amber around the edges. It doesn't appear to be much of a beer until you smell and taste it. Wonderful malt, chocolate, and subtle coffee aromas. This translates nicely in the flavor as well with a little bite from the alcohol. Excellent beer.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
MarkR (68) - St. Louis, Missouri, USA - NOV 7, 2003
Bottle…2003-version <P>Pours deep, rich black with some reddish-brown highlights when held to a strong light. Dark tan head starts out small, then fades to an incomplete covering with scattered islands of bubbles. Minimal retention and lacing. The aroma is quite rich, with loads of chocolate and roasted malts balanced by a good dose of green hops. Some caramel, nuts, cream, and faint fruit as well. The flavor is rich, but a bit restrained, as it doesn’t seem as BIG as other stand-outs in the style. Heavy caramel flavor. Lots of bitter chocolate and dark roasted malts add a good burnt edge to the hoppy finish, along with a shot of warming alcohol. Smooth and round in mouthfeel, with a body that‘s on the lighter side of heavy. While a bit lacking in intensity and dark fruitiness, this is a tasty Imperial stout. Thank you Mark for the bottle.

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