One of the tried and true imperial stouts that you can age with great results. My first Stone Imperial Russian Stout was a 2008 vintage and I had it in 2010. It was a great brew, rich with cocoa and coffee and the right balance of hops and malts. This beer stands up well with time.

The nose has dark fruits, black licorice, and roasted malts wrapped in a consistent presence of coffee and bitter chocolate. Each new found scent is paired with the coffee and the chocolate with the bitterness of residual hops surfacing. As it warms and opens up, the coffee, cocoa and roasted grains really take precedence in the aroma and leaves little room for anything else.

The taste boasts a spectrum of flavors. Dark cherry and cocoa greet you but gives way to sweet vanilla and a hint of caramel mid way through the taste. Coffee and bitter cocoa follow up the end with a pinch of black licorice in the aftertaste. The longer this beer sits, the more the flavors mellow and blend into a rich marriage of cocoa and coffee. All other flavors seem to dissipate under the malt bill and slight fruitiness of what would be left of the hops.

This beer can last for a long while if kept correctly. I've had as old as 8 years old and it still drinks amazingly well. The 10.5% ABV and bigger hop bitterness help it to last and develop for years down the road. This particular year was chosen for this week's CELLARED due to the fact that the 2011 Stone Imperial Russian Stout will be a part of DARKSIDE this coming February 23, 2014 at Emporium Arcade Bar.


Our CELLARED series aims to explore the world of aging beer and sharing the effects of time in the bottle. Bottles have been kept away from light and at temperatures between 44-60 degrees. Individual experiences may vary depending on storage environments.

Posted on February 14, 2014 .