Friday, June 28, 2013

Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout

Stone Brewing Company and I go way back. When I was writing for my now-defunct beer blog, I covered almost the entire gamut of Stone ales available at the time. I fell in love with their Russian Imperial Stout, made Arrogant Bastard part of my regular rotation, and discovered that there really is such thing as too much hops (looking at you, Double Bastard). Since then, I have to admit that they've somewhat fallen off my radar in an effort to reach out to different breweries.

That stops now.

While walking through Barbur World Foods' kick-ass beer cooler, something in the California section caught my eye. It was similar, yet different. Stone, yes. Russian Imperial Stout, awesome, yet still familiar. Espresso, done deal! Coffee and imperial stouts/porters are two of my favorite things, so it was an easy choice to pick up Stone's Espresso Russian Imperial Stout.

To catch you up a bit, Stone's regular Russian Imperial Stout is one of those beers that picks up new hardware whenever it competes. Beer publications around the world typically rank it near the top 100 beers and I can understand that assessment. It's big, boozy, and resembles a black hole. Now for the espresso variant:
Like the classic version, this Odd Year edition was brewed in the authentic, historical style of an imperial Russian stout, but with the addition of several hundred pounds of espresso beans from our friends at Ryan Bros. Coffee. Layers of flavor and complexity augment an already enigmatic brew, leaving this darkly delicious libation positively brimming with deep, rich espresso flavors that meld beautifully with the roasty bitterness of the dark malts.
This is the beer-equivalent to talking dirty to me. Let's jump right in.

Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
Style: Imperial Espresso Stout Rating: 97 (users) Rating: 4/5
Serving: 22oz bottle
ABV: 11%

Appearance: Jet black with medium tan head that dissipates into a thin lace. One could mistake the glass itself as being black. It's that black.

Smell: Big notes of espresso, dark chocolate, and caramelized sugar. This is going to be tasty.

Taste: All of the above and then some. Chocolate and espresso hit first, then dissipates to chocolate, sugar, and the warmth of 11% abv. Very thick mouthfeel to the extent one could almost chew this. Creme brulee comes to mind after a little bit.

If you're a fan of espresso stouts, you owe it to yourself to pick this one up. Simply put, it's everything you want in an imperial espresso stout and then some. Well done, Stone.


  1. You've sold me! If only I were closer to Barbur World Market, I'd go stand inside their cooler right now.

  2. I may have to go find some. I love the Cappucino Stout from Lagunitas and this sounds similar.