Stone – Imperial Stout

Tasting: July 31, 2011
Style: Stout

I have in front of me Stone’s Imperial Stout. It’s Stone’s annual release – they call it their “classic release”. Imperial stouts were first brewed as exports from England to Russian royalty as far back as the 18th century. Even those brews pushed the ABV to heights of 8 – 12 % ABV. The high alcohol volume was born out of necessity as a high alcohol volume prevented these stouts from freezing while being transported across the cold Russian climate. Stone, as you might know, “Californicates” a number of English style beers. I can’t wait to see their twist on an English classic. Quick label note — 10.5% ABV.

Once again, I’m using my oversized brandy glass. I’m really starting to like this glass. The pour is black as ink with a quick flash of a coffee colored head, nose offers up roasted coffee, chocolate and alcohol. From the aroma, I was expected to be overpowered with coffee, but it is really quite balanced with that rich dark chocolate flavor. Has some subtle raisin notes as well. You definitely get the booziness, but it’s just enough. The mouthfeel is rich and gives you a nice stickiness. This isn’t an over the top coffee stout or a brandy-barrel aged stout – it’s an old school English stout kicked up a notch Stone Brewing style. I like it a lot 91 points.

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