Stone Brewing Company is a behemoth. So big is Stone that, according to their website, the company plans to soon open a catering company, a brewing facility in Europe, a park, even a hotel! How did they become so successful? Brewing beer since only 1996, the company has achieved the top honors among American craft brewing with consistent, massively flavored brews in a number of categories. Arrogant Bastard and the IPAs are the best known of the Stone lineup. These guys have been heavy hopping out west for as long as they have been in business, and they know how to brew batches with piquancy. We’ve been big fans of these beers for a long time but rarely sample their other offerings. For this review we are tasting the 2012 batch, which is released in the second quarter of each year. This means the beer had less than 6 months to cellar before we drank it for the review.
Pitch black pour with large brown head that is quickly eaten by the booze. Sniffing what should be sipped gives hints of roasted malts, chocolate, and prunes. In the mouth Stone Imperial Russian Stout is thick, giving off scrumptious roasted malts, coffee, anise, and hints of hops (warrior). The finish is booze with a lot of raisin/prune/soy sauce notes. The soy sauce element lingers a bit too much in the end.
From the humble Stone Pale Ale, to the Vertical Epic 11.11.11 with New Mexican Chilies, and everything in between, Stone Brewing makes the highest quality beer. Stone Imperial Russian Stout is no exception. While it may not be in the upper echelon of Russian imperial stouts with Founder’s, Great Divide Yeti, Hoppin’ Frog B.O.R.I.S, or Cigar City Marshall Zhukov, the beer is a delicious rendition of a potent style. When you want to take your friend-who-thinks-Guinness-is-a-big-beer to the next level, seek this bad boy out.