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RATINGS: 3124   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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ogglethorp (919) - Ohio, USA - DEC 18, 2006
UPDATED: MAY 14, 2008 Re-rate, 05 Bottle. Pours a inky black with a very little dark brown head, zip for lacing. Aroma is roasted malts, chocolate, coffee, alcohol. Flavor is chocolate, burnt malts, espresso beans, alcohol, dried dark fruit. Palate is huge, extremely low carbonation, burnt finish, with slight alcohol warming. This is much better with some age under it. When fresh it is too hot for my liking. The 05 was grrrrreat!

kmweaver (3208) - Petaluma, California, USA - DEC 16, 2006
UPDATED: FEB 12, 2008 22oz bottle, 2004 vintage, sample #10 in a blind imperial stout tasting. Pours a dark cola brown color; minimal head left; slight viscosity. Chocolate and nougat and red fruit in the aroma; malt forward; a hint of perfume. Medium-to-full mouthfeel: tons of perfume coming through; dried cherries and candy sugar and caramel; not a huge emphasis in chocolate or roasted malts here. Medium, dried cherry and doughiness in the finish.

22oz bottle, 2007 vintage, sample #24 in a blind imperial stout tasting. Pours an oily black color; thin medium tan head. Solid aroma of chocolate, toffee, and caramel; sticky dried caramel. The mouthfeel is much better: tons of dense coffee, chocolate and caramel; quite sweet and dense; very intricate, layered maltiness with a bit of alcohol coming through; strong coffee and chewy caramel presence. Dense, generous stuff. Lengthy finish, showing dough and layered chocolate.

22oz bottle, courtesy of a far-distant trade. Thanks, someone!! Pours a dark black center; tan head with minimal retention and lacing. Plenty of dried fruits, dark chocolate, and alcohol in the aroma. Full, chewy mouthfeel: dried fruit / caramel character similar to an aged doppelbock, with a citrus and floral hop profile behind it; the imperial stout characteristics seem to come through only in the density and the chocolate and currant notes. Vinous and complex, but ultimately not as satisfying or well-organized as many of the imperial stouts out there.

henrikb (1264) - Aarhus, DENMARK - DEC 13, 2006
Black body, huge light brown head; The nose really takes time in the glass to open up. It is medium sized and soft, it has depth and is complex but you really have to seek to be able to find, the most apparent is roasted malts and roasted nuts, is has a little red berries behind, blackberry and very ripe blackcurrant; Perfect carbonation, perfect soft fat texture (without being vulgar) and an incredible depth and balance, it touches all elements. What a body; It finishes super long, very balanced and complex, the aromas are holding back to much as in nose, the berries are the most apparent at first, later you get the exact taste and aroma like when you have eaten malt (particular the burp). Great beer, but this is actually the Stone brew I have been the least impressed about.

kepano (283) - Los Angeles, California, USA - DEC 4, 2006
The season for Imperial Stouts is upon us, and I’ve come prepared this year with an army of trained taste buds and several celebrated examples. On the heels of Storm King, Stone’s interpretation would serve as a comparative element in my effort to appreciate the style. The color is of true nothingness, sealed in a fugacious brown foam. The classic combination of dark chocolate and roasted coffee appears prominently on the nose, added to smooth buttery almond paste (which I adore), Amaretto, a hint of mace and clean ethanol. This rich yet simple alloy emerges as a straightforward but delicious aroma that translates well onto the palate lacking the malty bitterness that I often find detracting. Vanilla, almond, chestnut and cinnamon add to the subtle complexity of the flavor while the true hero is the velvety texture allowing these tones to shine. Finally the caliber I expected from Stone, though if I had to gripe a hint of whimsy would be appreciable.

jcr (2784) - Jasper, Indiana, USA - DEC 3, 2006
Early summer, 2005 bottle. Black and opaque. Dark tan head. Thick bubbled. Strong aroma is malty — roasted, coffee and chocolate. Notes of vanilla and plum and alcohol. The robust flavor is very sweet and moderately bitter at the end. Tastes of raisin, licorice, roasted malts, mocha. Alcohol shows up in the finish — almost port like. Thick and creamy mouthfeel. Full body. Excellent all around.

kenb (1102) - Oregon, USA - DEC 3, 2006
UPDATED: DEC 4, 2006 22 oz bottle via Mystery Swap (Thanks luiss!). Spring 2006 bottle date. Pours close to ONE OF THE deepist darkest thickest motor oil blackness that i have ever seen. Nose is full of roasty esperesso, vanilla, and hops. Tastes just like it smells with a roasty/hoppy finish. Full bodied but not thick or chewy. As is typical of many Russian Stouts done in the U.S., it is hoppier than i like. I bet i would love it if i laid it down for a year or two...But still pretty tastey.

duffmanyeah (16) - Escondido, California, USA - DEC 2, 2006
IRS on tap from Stone Brewery. Spring 06 release. Full flavor, has matured much since last spring. Mocha laced with roasted malt. Very tasty. Muddy black colour that goes down smooth and easy. A must try. Excellent!

LyndaNova (531) - Manchester, New Hampshire, USA - NOV 25, 2006
Cold 22oz bottle (Spring 2003 edition): Pours a opaque dark chocolate brown with chocolate bubbles mostly around the edges that dissolve. Aroma and taste are of roasted malts, black currents, coffee and alcohol. Oily texture with ample carbonation.

OldRaspy (292) - Virginia Beach, Virginia, USA - NOV 22, 2006
Poured from the bomber a dark brown (almost black) with a red hue and a small brown head that quickly diminished to a ring of lacing. Aroma was dark fruits, roasted malt/grains, chocolate, and alcohol. Flavor did not disappoint with a vinous dark fruit a dark chocolate flavor and the alcohol warming as it went down.

zweiterlinde (6) - USA - NOV 20, 2006 does not count
This is a very tame imperial stout. While having a nice appearance (very dark color, reasonable head for an imperial stout), its flavor is seriously lacking. My bottle (2006) had an overwhelmingly sweet flavor, with strong raisin/currant notes. Roasted flavor was present, but minimal. Aroma is pleasant but fits with the sweet flavor. Not my idea of an imperial stout.

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