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RATINGS: 3228   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."

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TimLewis33 (1) - California, USA - OCT 6, 2006 does not count
I have 2004 and 2005 brewings of this. I just had a 2005 recently. I took it out of the fridge and let it warm up for a while before opening. Like everyone says, it’s thick and very dark with little head. What do you expect? When I started to drink it, it was still a little too cold. When too cold, you get a lot of fruit notes in it that taste more like black cherry or plums that have gone off a bit. After letting it sit and warm up a little, I started to get more of the chocolate and coffee flavors. There is so much going on that the alcohol content gets lost. Stone says serve at 55 degrees, but I think that’s a little low. It needs to be pretty warm before you really get all the flavors working together nicely. When you do, though, this is one hell of a good stout. The funny thing is, I’m pretty sure that when I drank them together, I like the 2004 better than the 2005. Now I’m going to have to break one of those out just to make sure.

Quevillon (3096) - Boisbriand, Quebec, CANADA - OCT 4, 2006
Bouteille de 660 ml, de la par de richlikebeer. Coulleur terre cuite extrèmement foncé, mince collet. Arome de malte chocolaté et de café fort. Très bon goût de café mocha fort, avec une touche d’épice.

Anathama (2) - California, USA - OCT 4, 2006 does not count
Pours like motor oil, tastes like heaven, this stuff makes guinness look like budweiser. This is my favorite beer of all time (so far) Rich, thick, creamy, flavorful, but not too bitter... simply perfection. (much better than alesmiths speedwaystout IMNSHO)

Arayaga2 (2198) - portland, Oregon, USA - OCT 3, 2006
Black like oil with a small head that resembles the bubbles in chocolate milk. Indeed, the aroma is of chocolatey coffee malt, and the flavor is the same with a nice viscous mouthfeel. Not my favorte style, so perhaps my scoring suffers a bit, but it is an excellent specimen of its type. I should also point out that my bottle indicates 10.8% abv, not 9.4% $5.50/22oz(nyc)

KingpinIPA (841) - Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA - SEP 20, 2006
Dark color. Smell of chocolate, banannas, malt, coffee and alcohol. Tastes the same but more flavor from the banannas and chocolate and little smoked coffee. Nice bitter sweet ending.

kopher (593) - New York, USA - SEP 17, 2006
Pours black with minimal brown head. Strong aromas of roasty, toasty, malty, carmely chocolate and burnt coffee. Thick and creamy with strong but nice alcohol bite and some carbonation to complement coffee flavor. Some sweetness and medium bitterness. Excellent finish with lingering bitter mocha and alcohol.

DTB (51) - South Philly, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 15, 2006
2005 This is clearly one of the darkest beers I’ve ever poured. No light comes through what so ever, not ever around the edges. The dark tan head is frothy and left only slight tracks of lace. Smelled of dirty Hershey’s syrup, black liquorish, slight dark fruits and black roasted malts with a hint of alcohol. Tasted of huge bitter black chocolate with a smokiness up against my palate. Finishes with the best roasted malt character I’ve ever encountered. The standard to which I here after hold all other imperial stouts. It doesn’t taste like bonfire, or coffee; just smooth roasted malt (and a lot of it, I might add). Marvelous balance! The mouth feel was medium bodied with a surprisingly small amount of carbonation for an IS. Actually, the light mouth feel just helps the drinkability. This is a marvelous beer and I highly recommend it.

henry3r (586) - Wichita, Kansas, USA - SEP 12, 2006
The 22 ounce bottle poured a Jet black beverage with a creamy brown head that lasted throughout the tasting and left wonderful lacing on the glass. The aroma was rich and complex presenting a wonderful round, rich presence of plum, raisins, chocolate, caramel and sherry. The body was very full with a soft carbonation and a creamy, syrupy texture. The flavor started off quite sweet with a sherry-like rich fruity taste. The finish was quite long lasting. The sweetness, through this long finish mellowed and changed to a subtle bitterness and I was left with a definite alcohol warmth.

shigadeyo (3739) - Cincinnati, Ohio, USA - SEP 8, 2006
UPDATED: MAY 28, 2010
2003 Vintage

9/8/2006 6:50:17 PM: Well, here it is... My 100th review! I’ve been holding off on writing this one until I found a beer that was highly rated, but a bit unique to try to celebrate this milestone. Today I stumbled across three bottles of the Stone Imperial Stout from Spring 2003 (9.47% alcohol) at my local liquor store. I bought them all and have just popped one open. Here goes... They weren’t kidding - this stuff is black. I’m shining a flashlight into it and the light is getting absorbed like a black hole. Mild carbonation that gives rise to a dark brown hard that bubles off somewhat quickly. Wonderful aroma of chocolate, caramel, coffee, and some alcohol. The flavor is a wonderful melding of chocolate, licorice, roasted coffee, and some lingering aged dark fruit. Mouthfeel is so smooth, rich, and full. It just coats your mouth and leaves a wonderful creamy, chocolate flavor. The alcohol flavor is still there a bit, but it is well blended with the other flavors at this point. This beer has aged well and tastes SO good. These bottles have been on a shelf for almost 3.5 years now, but I don’t think that they will be sitting around too much longer now! 22 fl oz bottle, $4.99 from West Side Liquors. Score: 9/4/9/5/19 = 4.6
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Early Summer 2004 Release

1/23/2010: Stone Imperial Russian Stout... Aroma: Licorice smoke; deep, rich chocolate; heavily roasted coffee; fine brandy or cognac-like alcohol. Appearance: Thick, smooth, mostly tranquil pour; near black in color; opaque; some bubbles form and then quickly disappear. Flavor: Rich, deep, and complex; quite a bit of alcohol, but it isn’t off-putting; chewy dark caramel; cola; anise; coffee; some alcoholic burn. Palate: Moderately thick; goes down slick. Overall: My wife thinks that it’s "kinda tasty" which is saying a lot coming from her; overall it is still pretty good and easily drinkable, but it seems to be on the decline.

1 Pt. 6 Fl. Oz. bottle ( 10.8% Alc. Vol.). Score: 8/3/8/3/16 = 3.8

POD (198) - USA - SEP 8, 2006
Limited Spring Release 1 pint 6 oz bottle. Superb roasted malt spice aroma. Beautiful black color with dark tan head. Georgeous lacing. Huge stout bursting with flavor. Strong currant and roast coffee flavor. Aftertaste is chocolate and the 10.8% alchohol. It was hard to type this without too many typos once finished! This stout ranks up there with the Big Boys. I would’ve prefered more burnt roastiness flavor in order to make it my favorite of all time. Still... this one is great. As with all great imperials that I’ve drank the warmer this baby got the warmer it made me feel. It was almost like drinking a different beer at the end of the session. All hail Stone’s Russian Imperial! Highly recommended and I can’t wait to drink it again.

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