APPEARANCE: Thick, almost syrupy, very dark brown, nearly black to the point where I couldn’t get light through it. A very noticeable taupe head of super tiny bubbles, that dissipated as quickly as they arrived leaving almost no lacing.
AROMA: A very deep chocolaty, coffee, malty, caramel smell, with some definite alcohol notes present.
FLAVOR: A chocolate and coffee taste was the first thing to hit me, there was a definite heat of alcohol to it as well. Beautifully rich, and somewhat sweet, not cloyingly so, with a slightly dryer almost “chalky” (not in a bad way, in a dry way) sort of finish. Subtle hints of caramel, chocolate or bittersweet cocoa, coffee, and (maybe) a every so slight hop note way off in the background. I couldn’t decide if it was a hop note, or maybe a slight bitterness of malt?
PALATE: Definitely a more full-bodied beer. Very well balanced. There was a noticeable heat of alcohol about it.
NOTES: This big daddy was poured out of a 22oz bomber into a tulip. It was full, rich, enjoyable, and very satisfying. Stone® Imperial Russian Stout (2009 Limited Edition) comes in at a whopping 10.5% ABV, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Read that, if Guinness is too strong for you, this would not be the beer for you. If you love complexity, and strong, flavorful beers you need to try this. My wife and I actually tried this together, and I mentioned that I could easily see this as a great desert beer, maybe even going so far as to throw in some homemade vanilla bean ice cream and making one hell of a float.
Like I said, get out, grab one... or six, and enjoy the weekend! OH! Let me know what you think when you try it... You know you will! ;-)