MmmcKay (1053) - Brentwood, Tennessee, USA - JUN 26, 2011
Pours black and dark blah blah blah. Stone is famous for their Russian Imperial Stout. Look at the top Imp Stouts on either RB or BA and you’ll find it high up on the list. This version from Stone has added oak chips, belgian yeast and anise. First of all, for a brewer the size and reputation of Stone, the use of oak chips is a borderline disgrace especially in this piss poor fashion. Maybe I’m just a wine guy, but using oak chips is a cop out. The vanilla and wood taste seems like it was added artificially. Truth be told, this isn’t my biggest complaint. My real hatred towards this beer is the anise addition. While the liquorish aromas aren’t over the top. In terms of taste though, it casts a giant gloomy disgusting cloud over the entire flavor profile. I even like anise and liquorish. I drink Jagermeister on occasion. The anise is just completely overwhelming. This unbalanced, crappy beer tarnishes the great Russian Imperial Stout cred that Stone had built. Swing and a miss Stone. I will give you credit for trying new things. But sometimes you need to follow the old adage, "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it." illinismitty (2377) - Nashville, Tennessee, USA - JUN 26, 2011
Bottle from Midtown. Pours black with a brown head. Aroma of dark chocolate and anise. Full bodied with average carbonation, and somewhat dry in mouthfeel. Flavor of dark bakers chocolate, coffee, and anise. Hoppy, but not overdone, and the sweetness seems to be just right. Dry and mildly bitter finish. The Anise is way to overpowering at room temp (which is where I prefer my imperial stouts). 50-55 degrees seems to be the right level for the Anise. Taste is a 6 at room temp, 8 at around 50-55. Therefore it gets a 7. tool2scream (188) - San Diego, California, USA - JUN 25, 2011
UPDATED: JUL 4, 2011 Beautiful brew. Everything is in perfect balance. The anise is a little too powerful on the nose, but the taste is excellent. Big malt flavors, dark chocolate, light anise, and some nice sweetness throughout. Excellent brew, with a nice bittersweet finish. Better than the original. papajohn (1340) - San Diego (Mira Mesa), California, USA - JUN 25, 2011
UPDATED: JUN 26, 2011 Bomber from Marine Mart Miramar: Black as cole with a medium, fading light reddish-brown head. Anise is dominant in the aroma. Flavor starts dark chocolate with a hint of coffee followed by light anise and a lingering bitter-sweet finish. Full body is rich and smooth with moderate carbonation. bluejacket74 (1995) - Reynoldsburg, Ohio, USA - JUN 25, 2011
22 ounce bottle, I let the bottle sit for a half hour after taking it out of the fridge before opening it. Served in a snifter, the beer pours dark brown/black with about an inch tan head. Head retention and lacing are both good. Aroma is anise, roasted malt, chocolate, coffee and some root beer. Taste is similar to the aroma. I think the anise flavor is the strongest in this brew, but it doesn’t quite overpower the roasted malt, chocolate, molasses and coffee flavors. Mouthfeel/body is medium/full, it’s creamy and slick with moderate carbonation. I think it’s a good overall brew. But if you don’t like anise or licorice, then this beer probably isn’t for you.
ryan (3185) - Beltsville, Maryland, USA - JUN 25, 2011
Chocolate and licorice nose, with just a touch of salt water. The taste is moderately sweet, moderately bitter, lots of chocolate, some caramel, lots of anise/licorice, some prune juice. emacgee (4705) - Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA - JUN 25, 2011
Pours clean inky black allowing minimal light and one finger of chestnut brown head. Rich nose, shows fruit skins and popcorn with a mild roast, some anise, and rich chocolate. Lots of chocolate and molasses in the flavor, some convoluted Belgian character in there, mildly spicy and warming. Some spent coffee grounds. Full coating mouthfeel with some bite and low carbonation. talon1117 (1152) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - JUN 25, 2011
Pour is opaque and nearly black with a dark tan, pillowy, creamy, fairly large head; it diminishes in some time with fair lacing. The nose is completely anise dominant very Sambuca-like; other notes of dark chocolate and chicory, earthy coffee, light dark breads. The flavor starts Sambuca-like still, dark roast sets in, bakers’ chocolate, oak is prominent, and still bread with some currant notes. The palate is of course motor oil thick, warming throughout, soft to lively, slick and oily - the one thing from the original that has not changed. The beer finishes with anise still dominating, some roast, burnt bread, and an earthy presence. It pours like the original, it has the feel of the original, but the nose and taste are completely different. I know the original is an in your face, viscous, motor oil of an IS which is always better with significant age, but........ This one is completely anise driven, every other note is hard to find and deep underneath the Sambuca-like anise notes. The oak comes through in the flavor and does well with subsiding some anise, but the Belgian yeast is unnoticed to me in this stage of the beer’s progression. Love Stone and their attempts at originality but this one needs to eliminate the anise. First Stone beer I could not finish. The "Odd year" releases have been less than appealing. HonkeyBra (4044) - Lemont, Illinois, USA - JUN 24, 2011
22 oz. bottle from Binny’s. Ok, for transparency sake, I came into this expecting the worst. Pours a very dark brown if not black with a thin tan head that laces well. Aroma smells like absinthe and chocolate. At first I wanted to say this smelled like Nyquil but that would be wrong. This smells like a strong chocolate licorice liquor. Flavor is just a punch of anise and an envelope of chocolate. I hated it at first but as I sip I started to like it more. This is pretty ridiculous for a beer but if you consider it as just a drink it’s fine. Full bodied. Fine carbonation. Look at it this way, kid. I feared the worst going into this. Everything went better than expected. Hoptagon (239) - Arlington, Virginia, USA - JUN 24, 2011
22oz. Bomber. Definitely has the right look with a deep black body and strong collar of froth that laces nicely. The aromatic quality of the beer is intense, but I think they may have overshot the mark with the anise/licorice character. It pretty much overwhelms the nose. If you can get past the root beer aromas there is a little bit of oak and maybe some bitter chocolate. Tastes like an oak bomb with notes of black licorice, charcoal, peppers and dark chocolate. The mouthfeel is creamy and the body has a silky quality to it. The Belgian yeast seems to be kept in the background and might contribute some sweetness, but its definitely of limited impact. Alcohol is well hidden but the back half of the beer fades to a weird combination that feels like ashy root beer. The finish is harshly dry like an eighty year old woman’s bat cave. Will be sticking with the original RIS from now on.