BrewDad (5667) - Olympia, Washington, USA - MAY 20, 2012
Dark black in color, clear with a thin tan head. Big bourbon and stout aroma. Awesome barrel ageing flavor. Love the flavor this was a super brew. KickInChalice (860) - Chicago, Illinois, USA - MAR 7, 2012
From notes. First reviewed 8/22/2011. Served on tap in a snifter at Acre.
As expected, this is pitch black with just a hint of mahogany and ruby in the edges.
The aroma is full of bourbon; it is in the forefront to the point where it kind of drowns out the other wonderful smells. Molasses, dark fruits, and a bit of anise and chocolate are pushed to the periphery.
The flavor is again a bit strong on the bourbon for me, considering that the base beer is so good. It starts strong and stays on the palate through each sip. Behind that, some molasses and vague dark fruit sweetness start out, with vanilla, oak, and roasted malt rounding out the front. The roasted malt has a tinge of burnt character and flows into a coffee bitterness nicely as the sip progresses. The finish is lightly bitter with more bourbon.
This has a dry, woody, oaky feel, which makes it feel less full bodied than the original. Medium carbonation is on the creamy side.
If I had this on its own, it would be a fine beer. The only issue is that Stone had the audacity to make IRS so good that drowning the flavor out with bourbon is a downgrade. Some people might like the bourbon treatment to be over the top, but I prefer it to be more nuanced. lmccannel (8) - Colorado, USA - MAR 6, 2012 does not count
I look forward to the release of this every year, it is as always a favorite of mine. I enjoy the thickness of the beer and the finish is delightful. Drake (14332) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 25, 2012
Draft at Brewvival 2012. Pours pitch black with a large creamy tan head. Good head retention. Aroma of chocolate, roasted malts, raisin and whisky. The taste is roasted malts, chocolate, raisin, whisky, cocoa, caramel and a hoppy finish. Full bodied. Very nice. Brigadier (3780) - Chagrin Falls, Ohio, USA - OCT 26, 2011
bittermestupid (247) - Canton, Ohio, USA - OCT 21, 2011
The highlight of Cleveland Beer Week for me was the chance to try this elusive beer. Right up there with barrel aged versions of Dark Lord and Bourbon County Stout it ranks as a beer that everyone should try at least once. I think I might like regular RIS slightly better but it is a close call.
Aroma / Appearance - The heavy black body sits wearily at the bottom of the glass. A lively brown head imbues a good contrast as I wait for the pour to warm from 40 degrees to room temperature. Vanilla, chocolate, oak, malt, and cocoa nibs waft effortlessly towards the senses. Time has mellowed the base beer somewhat though the aging process has not produced a bourbon bomb. Anise adds some additional sweetness around the edges.
Flavor / Palate - Fresh coffee, malt, dark chocolate drizzled over a handful of licorice hard candy, and vanilla alternate the spotlight. The oak aging is soft around the edges and plays nicely with the other flavors. While it is impossible to mask an 11% ABV completely this is so smooth that it sneaks up on you only at the last minute. A world class release, I would expect no less from Stone given their track record.
2008 in Heaven Hill barrels. On draft at Lizardville for Cleveland Beer Week. Pours black with a nice thick mocha head and some great lacing. Coffee, bourbon, chocolate, toffee, vanilla are up front on the nose. I pick up some marshmellow, licorice and leather as well. What a nose on this beer. Bourbon upfront, cocoa, coffee, licorice, vanilla, with raisin and dates come through nicely in the taste. Thick and coating on the palate with a long dark roasted coffee finish and notes of bourbon. wchesser (2159) - Denver, Colorado, USA - OCT 16, 2011
Stranahan’s Whiskey Barrel Aged on tap at Rackhouse Pub, Denver.
No head. Dark black opaque. Lots of bourbon and oak vanilla notes, a bit of roasted dark malt. Very well balanced. Not a lot of the stout shows through unfortunately, but the bourbon doesn’t overwhelm. Stout carries it well, but isn’t strong enough to represent itself equally. Alcohol dangerously well integrated. Delicious beer. Had it with a whiskey bbq chicken sandwich with bacon-good pairing, but this would be just as good with a chocolate dessert. onceblind (10861) - Denver, Colorado, USA - OCT 13, 2011
On tap at The Rackhouse, Denver, 2011 GABF. Aged in Stranahans. Very dark black with no head. Nice big aroma of chocolate, whiskey, oak, vanilla, molasses, and more chocolaty vanilla. Very smooth uncarbonated body, a little too much so. Big boozy overtones of whiskey and oak, with a sweet background of heavy roasted black malts, chocolate, vanilla, and more booze on the back of the throat. No nuance, all pizzazz. But in all, not too shabby. cubs (10740) - Fort Collins, Colorado, USA - SEP 30, 2011
Denver Rare Beer Tasting. Stranahans barrels. Black appearance with a tiny, dark brown head. Sweet caramel, toffee, whiskey, oak, vanilla, dark chocolate malty aroma. Low carbonation. Roasty dark chocolate, caramel, toffee, vanilla, woody, whiskey flavor. I’m not too impressed. Tmoney99 (15114) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - SEP 11, 2011
Growler sample at JO’s. Poured a black color with a minnimal frothy brown head that diminished with minimal lacing. Moderate to heavy toasted chocolate, coffee and wood bourbon aroma. Medium to heavy bourbon sweet roasted black coffee malty flavor with a heavy bittersweet and small alcohol bite finish of moderate to long duration. Full body with a smooth texture and flat carbonation. This is a standout beer with some age.