Gusler (2653) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - JUN 23, 2002
UPDATED: SEP 10, 2004 Release 2004:dissimilation99 (1) - USA - MAR 2, 2002 does not count
The beer after defection from the 22-ounce brown bottle sets in the glass as black as a starless night with the head modest and frothy in size, the color that of rich chocolate, the lace a thin and clinging sheet to the glass. Nose has a deep roasted coffee and bittersweet chocolate aroma, toasted grains and a sugary sweetness, the start is rich in malt, sweet with the top as full as they get. Finish has a benign acidity, the hops majestic in their spiciness, quite dry and long lingering aftertaste and a noticeable belly warming, another great release of this magnificent beer, and to think at one time I thought it to strong; your palate does change over the years
The beer as it sets in my 30 plus year old “Chimay Chalice”, is as black as they come, the head is prodigious in size, a beauteous chocolate brown color and spumous in texture as it evaporates in the blink of an eye, the resultant lace forms a “Victoria Secrets” like sheet of lace “See-through” got to love that? Nose is dominated by the toasted grain aroma, backed up by the coffee, chocolate, and a fresh and pleasing crispness I find so appealing. Start is ambrosial, thickly malted with the top as thick as the “Ice” in Maine Today! Briskly acidic, hops spanking in their spiciness and the aftertaste desert bleached bone dry, and my most highly ranked Imperial, and one of my most favorite Stone Brewing Creations, which is a tie with the rest of their beers, except for that Levitation stuff, just kidding “Arrogant Nipple”, I mean Greg!
This is by far my favorite beer of all time. Perhaps I'll have another at some point that I will enjoy more, but at this point --- I'll fight to get the last remaining case at a store (and no, I'm not being unreasonable because the little old lady was only reaching for a bottle of wine). It is wonderfully dark, absolutely delicious, and has a great taste to it. At this point, I try other beers just to see if they come close. Many praises to the guys at Stone. I hope they add this permanently to their year round line up in the future. Brewmaster (168) - USA - MAR 9, 2002
(2001 bottle) Ahhh ! Truly a beer worthy of a perfect 5 rating on my list. Simply outstanding ! BIGFISH99 (3) - escondido, California, USA - MAY 8, 2002 does not count
another great beer from stone............................................. ucsbdude (68) - Santa Barbara, California, USA - MAY 11, 2002
The best Imperial Stout I've tasted.Wonderful brunt chocolate taste with hints of toffee, currants, and alcohol.Stone knows beer.
gargoyle32 (8) - Escondido, California, USA - JUL 16, 2002 does not count
This beer is one of my all-time favorites from the crew at Stone. Perfect blend of roasty coffee and choclate flavor. Dark black in color and a thick syrupy body. Alcohol taste blends in perfectly with the great taste and is not overpowering, as it can be in other Imperial Stouts. ultraspank (867) - Alverca, Lisboa, PORTUGAL - OCT 17, 2002
Grabbed a bottle of this after much anticipation at Gentile's in Grandview. The rich aroma is caramel, dried fruit, spruce, coffee, chocolate, earth, and so much more. Pours a jet black with a nice fully lasting light brown head. The flavor is totally encompassing. PERIOD!! nothing else needs to be said. Rich full body is nothing short of full viscosity. Very astringent and dry finish. It just doesn't get any better than this. I'd take this over a slice of New York cheesecake. I love you Greg Koch. HoppedHead (106) - seattle, Washington, USA - OCT 18, 2002
This is what an imperial stout should be! Big, thick, with bold flavors, pours dark black. Good head retention, tons of differnt flavors, roasty, fruity, bitter,rich aromas and plenty of kick, just damn excellent! hoped (18) - Arizona, USA - APR 10, 2003
Limited Late Spring 2002 Release. Pours very thick into the pint glass. I could hardly hear a splash. The color is black with a huge brown/beige head that slowly reduces to a half inch and holds there leaving a nice dark lace all the way down. There is a fine carbonation. I caught myself repeatedly tilting the glass and quicly tilting it back upright to watch the fine bubbles try and catch up to the head. The smell is pleasant and complex. I notice hints of currant, raisin, black cherry, caramel, dark chocolate and coffee to name a few. There is a fine balance of malty sweetness and hop bitterness along with the complex flavor. The taste seems familiar but difficult for me to describe and yes, exceptional. I wonder if all of the ingredients I used to describe the odor were put in a blender and mixed thoroughly, if this would be the resulting flavor. I guess I'd also have to mention the nougat like odors as well, but I'll never know because I will save some time and go buy another bottle or two. The mouthfeel is silky smooth and creamy thick with a nice tingle from the carbonation. The 22 oz. bottle left me definately looking forward to my next opportunity to grab another. Bogartski may be an understatement commissar. MadMan (495) - Tempe, Arizona, USA - JUN 18, 2003
UPDATED: SEP 9, 2007 Spring 03 release: Complete and totally black. Licorice, coffee, and a slight roastiness and alcohol aroma. Not much head or lacing going on in my glass. Lots of wonderful maltiness and I like to let it linger in my mouth for awhile. The finish is a combo of malt sweet and hoppy bitterness (my only complaint would be not enough bitter). Really comes alive once it warms up a bit. I have not yet reached uber beer geek status, but in my humble opinion this imperial stout is the shit. I can’t wait to buy some more.
EDIT: I rated this one a couple of weeks ago and I feel I have to tell you that I can’t stop drinking the stuff. I’m going to go broke at $5 a bottle and the local liquor store only lets me buy two at a time. This is truly a wonderful beer.
RE-RATE: I’ve had every release since the original rating. My palate has done nothing but improve and I still come back each year and find this to be one of the most delightfull experiences. This is truly a world class beer and no amount of sampling has changed my mind. I’ve increased the rating from the original 4.5