When I think of Stone Brewing, my thoughts immediately turn to their wide array of IPAs. Interestingly enough, The Basement Beer Tastings has yet to rate any of Stone’s IPA offerings.
Viewed by beer enthusiasts as a travesty, I’m sure, this is something we’ll have to make up for in spades before we close out 2016 — or at the rate we’re going, the beginning of 2017. Alas, here we are now, left to review Stone’s take on an Imperial Russian Stout.
If you’re keeping track — and I’m certain you are — we’ve rated Stone’s seasonal Coffee Milk Stout and year-round Smoked Porter. The panel greatly enjoyed the stout, but the porter left many feeling as if they just drank a beer out of a chimney…and not one that had been recently swept, I might add.
As our spoiler-inducing heading indicates, Imperial Russian Stout falls closer to Milk Stout than Smoked Porter. So let’s dive in and find out exactly what the panel enjoyed about this brew.
Appearance was — you guessed it — black. The panel noted that Stone didn’t appear to pour as thick as other imperial stouts, but produced a nice carbonated head.
Smell elicited a wider variety of descriptions. Smoke dominated the panelists’ thoughts, but also sensed were bacon, vanilla, malt, molasses, caramel and a hint of butteriness. No matter what scent was found, though, every panelist scored smell as a solid 9 out of 10.
The mouthfeel was thick and creamy at first, but then fizzy — good, but not great. The taste scores echoed this sentiment, as well. The panelists couldn’t shake the strong flavor of alcohol that seemed to dominate all other flavors in the beer. The alcohol also affected each panelist’s enjoyment of the aftertaste. Those that downgraded aftertaste felt the flavor was too strong and lingered too long. For the panelists that enjoyed Stone, they felt the alcoholic aftertaste proved the consistency of the beer.
Once again, the high ABVs of our Imperial Stout night seemed to have an affect on panelists’ ratings, as there was only one comment about the beer’s drinkability. Because of the predominance of alcohol in the flavor, one panelist felt this stout was a “one-and-done.” That would be me. I said that.
On the other hand, one panelist felt Stone’s Imperial Russian Stout was very easy to drink because of the strong alcohol flavor. (It was Jon).
Unfortunately for him, everyone else seemed to agree with me — and I’m basing this on their scores since, apparently, they were too lazy or buzzed to write any type of comment about drinkability.
With all that said, indeed Stone Imperial Russian Stout is a very good beer. You’ll like it even more if you’re a fan of a strong alcohol flavor.
As for the rest of us? This stout will be more enjoyable than Stone’s Porter, since it won’t leave you feeling like you just sucked on a smoke stack. Unless of course you’re into that sort of thing…not that there’s anything wrong with that.
(Appearance 8.4, Smell 9, Mouthfeel 3.6, Taste 20, Aftertaste 16, Drinkability 21.4)