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on tap

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RATINGS: 3165   WEIGHTED AVG: 4.18/5   SEASONAL: Spring   EST. CALORIES: 315   ABV: 10.5%
"Theres no question that Stone Imperial Stout is revered among enthusiasts," states Stone CEO Greg Koch. "I know, because Im 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!" Thats 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."

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   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
auerbrau (3204) - Ithaca, New York, USA - JUL 22, 2006
UPDATED: AUG 29, 2006

2005 22 Oz Bottle. This rating is a placeholder for now. I enjoyed it last night after a few beers and rather quickly. The aroma was restrained, holding back some more usually coffee dances, but displaying mature candied figs among plum alcohol. The pour was truly motor oil, with a fantastic cream and coffee head. The flavor came in three waves, which I heavily appreciate. The first was a bold blast of coffee and chocolate, but it didnt last long. It carried an interruption of alcohol. The second waves rushed forward with gentle caressing melded fruits and sensous aged grape alcohols. Vinous and delicate. Finally, the third wave carried a heavy malt whack, with some of the more typically profile, but still restrained and yearning to break free. Here heavy oak tannins and a touch of surprising sweet hops danced. The palate was exquisite. Prefectally balance alcohol, sweetness and dry smackability. Overall, damn good. I cant wait to give my 2006 a more thorough going over.

RERATE. Same score, just more elaboration. I spill a pint of heavy motor oil on the floor and so my surreptitious journey begins. A generous Lebanese man brings me a frothing pot of Turkish coffee as a I sit down to a table beside the Aegean Sea. I order a plate of Belgian chocolates, smoked Gouda and kippers. Next to me, a woman sips a cappucino kicked with Grappa. My plate arrives, with a side of heavily toasted German dark rye. I slather on some black currant preserve and a drizzle of honey. On the street, a wagon cart full of Retsina barrels make their laboured journey up the steep slope. I can whif smacks of their hewn oak. A young boy carries a bundle of wheat grain wrapped in newspaper past my table. I finish my meal, with a bite of bitter herbs, a nip of Absente and mouthful of sugar coated fennel seeds from Jaipur. I pull out my Meerschaum for a draw or two. I select a few grains of Virginia Burley. Its sugary crisp crackles and releases a white cloud of earthen delight. The day grows older. Sentient of my building soporific state, I return to my apartment above the sausage shop and lie for a slumber, with the salty breeze blowing past the freshly washed curtains. An all around delight.

This Imperial Stout is an exemplary model for the style, but not unique or particularly creative in my opinion. Its almost an old standard. Heavy coffees, heavy roast, some mingling fruit and spice. Fairly predictable. But this isnt to detract from its overall enjoyability or quality. A beer to share and celebrate over a winter repast.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
blankboy (7425) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 18, 2006
Bottle shared with HogTownHarry, GregClow, jerc & tupalev -- courtesy of HogTownHarry. Vintage 2006. Pours black with an average size creamy light-brown head -- nice! Fantastic aroma of coffee, chocolate, lots of hops, dark malt and molasses. Delicious flavour of dark malt, coffee, dark chocolate, dark fruit and hops. Medium to full bodied, syrupy mouthfeel. Simply put, this is a really friggin good Impy Stout that I imagine being even better if put away for a little while and I fully intend to do just that.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
DonLeonerdo (1) - Portland, Oregon, USA - JUL 16, 2006 does not count
This is the best beer Ive ever had. I missed its release this year by 3 mo. It only took about a mo to sell out. That will never happen again.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 16/20
Gorbalev (3000) - Ontario, CANADA - JUL 16, 2006
Bottle shared with GregClow, Hopgtown Harry, Jerc, and Blankboy, courtesy of Harry. 2006 bottle. Molasses, tinny, Baltic porter like aroma, which certainly made it different from the other big stouts we had this night. Not better, but different. Nice taste - very sweet, molasses, alcohol, roast. Mouthfeel borders on syrupy. Pitch black in the glass with a small tan head. This was good with a lot of rough edges that no doubt will smooth over with time. Another great Stone product.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
GregClow (3293) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - JUL 16, 2006
Bottle shared with blankboy, HogTownHarry, jerc and tupalev - courtesy of HogTownHarry. 2006 vintage. Deep black colour with a quick tan head. Dark sweet aroma - roasted malt, molasses, vanilla, coffee, dried dark fruits. Smooth mouthfeel, very nice. Flavour of coffee, tobacco, bitter chocolate, sharp hops, and a bit of smoke. Could use a bit of aging to round out the edges, but its still pretty frickin nice!

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
jrob21 (3524) - Atlanta, Georgia, USA - JUL 15, 2006
Hot damn this ones good. Smooth well balanced. Pours pitch black as it should. With a decent brown head. No lacing. Big roasted malt aromas with a bit of purple fruit like plums. I get the currants as well. Coffee and chocolate tastes. A bit alcoholic on the finish. Full bodied, long lasting goodness. Glad I had a chance to smuggle this one back from VA. You guys need a distributer in GA. A bit sticky and sweet as you keep drinking it.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
thebaldwizard (1206) - Ohio, USA - JUL 13, 2006
This stout is massive and thick, by far the "heaviest" stout Ive ever had. The Stone Imperial pours out thick and black like oil. It had very little head at all--what was there was a brown color. The smell is what got me. Very complex. The scent had a roasted hint to it, but something that I was having a hard time figuring out. I finally decided it was most like a soy sauce type smell. The flavor was intense and heavy. The mouthfeel was the best part--absolutely the best Ive ever experienced. The taste was so complex too. Definitely some anise and alcohol in there. Some roasted flavors as well. Very smooth.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
HogTownHarry (6380) - Toronto (Harbourfront), Ontario, CANADA - JUL 13, 2006
Bottle (650ml - 2006 vintage). Shared with blankboy, GregClow, jerc and tupalev - my bottle. Poured opaque brown-black with a smallish brown creamy head. Richly roasty aroma, oily, nutty, coffee, almost molasses-like malt character - very yummy. Taste - a little sharp, but its still young - green hops quite prevalent, almost a hint of metal at first, the roast character doesnt come through as the nose promised - but I have more and will re-rate in a year or so. Average body, very syrupy mouthfeel, tingly hops disappear off the tongue very quickly - very nice indeed, will improve with age without a doubt.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
sisyphus12 (99) - Belmont, Massachusetts, USA - JUL 10, 2006
Dark frothy appearance at pour. Deep and well balanced from first sip and just strong as all get out. Hoppy but not overpowering this is an excellently crafted beer

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
kevin62 (267) - New Jersey, USA - JUL 9, 2006
Poured out a dark black with a thin-reddish -tan head.There is an obvious aroma of coffee and licorice which is also refleced in the taste.Not my favorite style but a well made beer none-the less.

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