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RATINGS: 3002   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.18   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 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
fraternie (909) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - JUN 8, 2003
UPDATED: MAR 29, 2015 Syrupy black, tar-like body, thin head. Strong roasted mocha/chocolate aroma. Flavor is more of the same, with powdery coffee notes and strong dark chocolate. Soft mouthfeel. Slightly sweet notes of black licorice and black plum. Hoppy finish for the style, smooth. Hops dominate the finish and nicely balance the large ABV. Chocolate flavor lingers, pleasant.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
SDbruboy (1864) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 7, 2003
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 – 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!

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
invalid (302) - Columbus, Ohio, USA - JUN 5, 2003
Very nice, big stout. Sweet flavor with strong hints of coffee. Might have opened it a bit soon - maybe give it a year in the bottle (it's bottle conditioned), it had a strong alcoholic warmth that could use a little mellowing.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Kasteelfreak (341) - Fallbrook, California, USA - JUN 4, 2003
UPDATED: JUN 15, 2004 This is sooooo gooooood. Tates a bit like Rogue shakespeare, but a lot better. It's very thick and pretty sweet. It's smoother than my favorite (old favorite?) Rasputin. It's going down way too fast and I can feel it catching up to me. I'm drinking it a bit on the warm side and look forward to drinking it just a bit cooler. I bought case but might go back and get another before it's gone. Rerate 2004 release 061504: I think this is like a cros between Rasputin and Speedway. It has the coffe, hops and dryness of the Rasputin, but also has some of the sweet creaminess that Speedway has. I would still rather have a Speedway, but this might come second to me.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
edden (925) - cow- lumbus, Ohio, USA - JUN 1, 2003
UPDATED: NOV 2, 2003 5/23/03: bottle.
aroma of coffee, alcohol and sweet malt. black-brown oily body. no lacing. heavy on the malt and coffee flavors with notes of raisins and molasses. alcohol becomes more pronounced in the taste as this beer warms. a pretty strong beer, Komrad. (note: 2003 release, 9.47% abv).

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
MAP (1133) - Lakewood, Ohio, USA - MAY 23, 2003
UPDATED: MAR 5, 2005 Re-Rate of an ’03 on 3.5.2005: Still one helluva stout, but now it is bursting with aroma. Coffee and chocolate are all over the place, but upon closer inspection, caramel, molasas and alcohol are present. Which is why I upped the Aroma to 10 from 8. The flavor has an odd spot in the middle, which is keeping it from a perfect 5. Otherwise, Amazing brew. 2003 bottle, rated on 5.23.03 :Dark black with a nice shine to it. Very thin brown foam that disappeared as soon as it formed. Smell is very heavy on the coffee. Smoked and a little chocolate is present also. First taste is extremely heavy and thick. This hits with the alcohol bite right after it leaves your tongue, then smooths out with the malty goodness one might expect. As this one warmes up it is quite a thing of beauty. Not as hard on the palate because the alcohol is hidden better, and the malts take its place. Strong on the coffee and roasted flavor are all over this again with a very nice sweetness. Can’t say enough nice things about this one honestly, certainly one of the most drinkable beers thats this goddamn strong.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
zborgerd (187) - Illinois, USA - MAY 23, 2003
Wow, Greg! What a wicked-ass brew! I popped this vicious beast open and poured it into my wide-mouth glass. Yowza! Never such a dark and thick beer have I seen. Almost no head. Top of this liquid looks like a thick espresso. Taste is like a thick, rich espresso (only sweeter) with a slightly bitter bite at the end. The light malty taste helps balance it out, and you are left with the great sensation of varied roasted flavors that compliment the beer well. Is there Belgian chocolate in this beer? Hmmm... You know. This has a nice finish that isn't as hard on the hops as Victory's Storm King. I'm impressed. I think that my old Mitsubishi used to drip this stuff. Definately not for the weak of heart.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
hayden1215 (321) - Ohio, USA - MAY 21, 2003
Black in color with small quickly diminishing head. Slight malt aroma. This thick brew is sweet and dry. A little too sweet for my tastes.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Frank (3334) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAY 15, 2003
UPDATED: MAY 16, 2003 Damn this is a huge beer. Pours a deep oily black with a velvety brown film of a head. Nose of dark chocolate, coffee, and alcohol. Full, round mouthfeel. Notes of raisins, liquorish, molasses. Extremely rich. Goes along great until the intensely bitter finish. The anise notes along with the hops are just too much. It sort of tastes like someone poured Jagermeister in it. I was wincing by the end of my glass. A quasi-masochistic pleasure I must admit but not one I'm going to partake in often.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Silphium (3188) - East Lansing, Michigan, USA - MAY 14, 2003
UPDATED: JUN 30, 2003 (new 2003 release) Poured jet black (always a good sign) with a quickly dissipating tan head. Aroma dominated by roasted and chocolate notes. Nice, thick, viscous mouthfeel. Flavor is dominated by roasted chocolate, with a sweet malty backbone. Well-done. I place this a couple notches above Victory Storm King (which has a hoppier essence with a thinner body) but below the ridiculous Bells Expedition. I have to give Stone credit though: their malty, viscous beast is at least carbonated (Note to Bells...)! My experience with Stone suggests that this brewer deserves all the hype it receives. The IPA and Ruination IPA are waiting...for another day, alas. Does this deserve a poem?

Stone Imperial, thick succulent jelly
Warms my throat, mouth and young belly
Reaches my brain and causes a smile
Nice to drink an Imperial, it's been awhile.

Your chocolate notes and malt sweetness entice me it's true
Emptying the bottle, I'm afraid, will leave me quite blue.
Warming, smooth, succulent beast
My wallet thanks you, bank account not upset in the least.

Lucky me, when you're gone, another bottle's in store
A wise decision I must say, and a satisfying score.
There's still half of you left in my glass I do see
Before you're gone I bet I'll go pee!

For Stone Imperial Stout is a delectable brew
My mind has been made, my desire anew
To seek out the stout and drink of its glory
Dark, malty it's true, always good for a story.

My poem draws to a close, my pen runs dry
A warm welcome to you, stout, a tear in my eye.

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