Tasting: May 24, 2013
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout
Espresso is a concentrated coffee beverage made by quickly forcing hot water through darker roasted grounds that are as fine as powdered sugar. The resulting brew is packed with flavor and amped up with four times the caffeine than equal amounts of your run of the mill morning coffee. I had a boss that would mix in espresso with the sales department’s coffee. Not sure if it helped the numbers – but I’ll give him an “A” for creativity.
Russian Imperial Stout (RIS) or Imperial Russian Stout (IRS) is also a concentrated beverage. It is packed with more grains than your average stout and the resulting sugars from those grains help the stout achieve alcohol levels two to three times of your average milk stout. In this case, Stone’s Espresso Imperial Russian Stout checks in at a healthy 11% ABV. The common flavor profiles of RIS/IRS are of chocolate, coffee and a general smokey/roasty quality. So, it seems a natural for brewers to add to coffee, chocolate and fire-roasted grains to these already decadent stouts.
This “odd year release” from California’s Stone Brewing is the alternate version of their parallel release – Imperial Russian Stout. In this version, Stone adds several hundred pounds of espresso beans to the mix. There is no indication of ratio or whether the beans were ground to an espresso fineness. In a fun twist, Stone says the tax day release was reason to cheer the IRS. Also, as far as I know, the only conservative group targeted by this IRS was the state of Texas.
Not much more than a wisp of coffee on the nose, but the first sip delivers the signature jolt of java. Surprisingly, it has massive amounts of dark chocolate right up front that balance out the espresso. Beautifully creamy, a bit boozy and totally enjoyable. Best beer I’ve had in a while – 95 points.
While you’re here take a look at my opinion of the parallel release from 2011 – Stone Imperial Russian Stout Here