Wednesday, March 10, 2010

253. Stone Imperial Russian Stout Vertical Tasting

This event was held at the Trolley Stop; tonight’s sampling involve Stone Imperial Russian Stout, vintages 2005 through 2009, all in one delicious evening. And to top it off, there was a keg of the 2005 IRS on tap. Dag. We can now add Imperial Russian Stout to the already sampled list from Stone; we’ve previously tried Kona Coffee Macadamia Nut Porter, Pale Ale and Vertical Epic 09.09.09.

2005: Lots of rich chewy chocolate flavors, although beer is smooth and creamy. Mellow and even across the palate with some alcohol warmth. Chocolate is the dominant flavor, although there is plenty of subtle depth and complexity to the beer. Excellent.

2006: Rich and creamy, but a bit sharper on the palate. There are still some harsher alcohol flavors evident at the end, muting the chocolate and coffee flavors. Somewhat surprising that the bite of the alcohol has lasted this long, although it is still a good beer.

2007: Lot of roastiness to the front that mellows across the profile; chocolate and coffee flavors are well balanced. The alcohol flavor is very mellow (unlike the ’06), although there is some warmth. Easiest drinking version of the lot, although there are plenty of nuances to sort out across the profile of the beer.

2008: This beer is a bit brighter and sharper than previous examples (the alcohol is more like the ’06 in this regard); it is also a bit spicier. Like the ’07, there is a lot of roastiness, although the roastiness in this one is fresher and more popping on the palate. There is a lot less chocolate (particularly in comparison to the ’05), and the coffees is more to the front on this beer.

2009: Again, there is a good amount of roastiness to this beer, and the spiciness borders carries with it some elements of hop bitterness. There is also some alcohol warmth to this one, although not surprising since it is the youngest of the beers we sampled. There is some dry creaminess at the end that, with warmth, turns towards a chalkiness on the palate, which is the only real downside to this beer.

Here’s how we’d rank this flight of five. Don’t take any of this this personally—we were splitting minute hairs to make our decisions, as all five were dee-licious (note: not to be confused with Dee-lite):

1. 2007: just about the right balance between flavors; smooth and easy drinking
2. 2005: depth and complexity of flavor is excellent
3. 2008: tastes like it has better aging possibilities than the ’09
4. 2009: good, but not as interesting thus far as its predecessors
5. 2006: the alcohol sharpness and flavor, even after all this time, drags this beer down

From the Stone website: “Brewed in the authentic historical style of an Imperial Russian Stout, this beer is massive. Intensely aromatic (notes of anise, black currants, coffee, roastiness and alcohol) and heavy on the palate, this brew goes where few can – and fewer dare even try. The style originated from Czarist Russia’s demand for ever thicker English stouts. Expect our version of this mysterious brew to pour like Siberian crude and taste even heavier! ”

ABV: 10.5%
IBU: 90+


No comments:

Post a Comment