Nose: The nose is pure malts, with some very heavy, very rich dark chocolate scents, a hint of blackened espresso and almost nothing else.
Mouth: A rather smooth but heavy feel combined with an initial wave of coffee, dark, over-roasted malts with this wallop of bakers chocolate and a lingering bittersweetness in the aftertaste.
I’ve been on a bit of a stout kick lately, and this will show in due time, but this is a new standard for the west coast as far as Imperial Stout’s go, and for those keeping score, that includes Stone’s IRS. Now, let me qualify that statement. This brew has palates like mine in mind, I eat 90% dark chocolate. I have eaten bakers chocolate. I enjoy the overwhelmingly rich, bitter, dry tastes that come with unsweetened chocolates. And with that in mind, I love this beer.
I actually went out and picked up two additional 4 packs of this, with the thought that I had no idea what the distribution was, and there was no way I was going to miss out on at least a couple more of these. This action alone sets this brew apart from most. I generally buy my beers in full experimental mode, picking up a single or bomber of old favorites, but burning through more different beers than I have any real right to do. This one had me hooked at first taste.
At 10.2% ABV, this is one that will keep me honest, and I don’t know if I could really drink more than two of these in a single night, more because of the sheer richness of flavor than the alcohol content. However, it goes down very easy in any amount consumed, everything from a sip to a full mouth being savored in every corner of my mouth felt like the correct way to drink this one.