Ok so let’s list a few of my failed exploits with this rare draft=only, no growler stout. I once drove all the way down to SD after Winterstorm because a hostess told me that it was still on tap. I showed up and Dr. Bill remonstratively informed me that it had kicked. Never trust a hostess. Another time I drove all the way down to SD to pick up some 2010 bottles of this and they were horribly infected, It was like drinking chocolate Consecration. Another time I bought $45 tickets to Blue Palms anniversary and went alone on a 95 degree day, stood in line and was one of the first people to go in. I go in and BOOM the Stone rep told me that they unilaterally decided to “replace” Stone IRS with 15th anniversary on Espresso Beans. To the uninformed, that is like showing up to the Nissan dealership for your GT-R and they give you a 370z with a really nice spoiler. Enough complaining, I finally ticked this top 100 asshole, let’s get it:
Stone Brewing Co.
California, United States
Russian Imperial Stout | 11.50% ABV
A: This looks almost identical to normal IRS with the exception that it has a bit more clear sheeting and a bit less carbonation. What did you seriously expect, some bourbon ghost or magical bourbon sparkles to enhance your experience? There’s some nice mocha frothiness like trying to take a swim at Long Beach.
S: The smell is absolutely fantastic. It is reminiscent of a gentler Bourbon Barrel Plead the 5th, with more of a coconut vanilla thing going on, and less roast. You get a blast of dark chocolate, baker’s cocoa, some Nestle cocoa, marshmellow and some melted caramel. This spent 2 years in a barrel and it learned a thing or two during its hard time, like how to fashion a bourbon shiv out of oak and how to convert malts to Islam.
T: This is an incredible stout and takes all of the simply delicious chocolate and roast nuances of the original and adds this complex sweet profile that is entirely fulfilling. There’s an initial bourbon sweetness that almost comes across similar to a brandy treatment, but fades into this macaroon dipped in milk chocolate with a side of coffee, the tepid mouthfeel just lets the malts pop lock and drop it. This beer is official like a referee whistle. While I love the 08 and 09 vintages of IRS, this is an entirely different endeavor and straight up leap frogs over the likes of Parabola and Abyss for the simplicity and deliciousness of its execution. This isn’t the most complex stout in the world but it just maxes out the balance, like a skewed Aristotelian mean.
M: This is a bit dry from the oak but provides a nice light chocolatey coating from the residual malts and sugars. This is exceptionally drinkable simply for the fact that it imparts a huge profile without being too filling or cloying on any specific element. Some beers are too thick (Abyss) others are too hot (Black Tooz) others still present strange aplomb that is off putting (Dark Lord); this avoids that terrain and just sneaks in past the bouncer with a bourbon 9mm tucked in its jeans.
D: See above, this is really drinkable and it is frustrating how unavailable this is. I wonder if Greg Koch ever calls Kyle from Kern River brew co and they just bust out kegs of Class X and BA IRS and share them and no one else gets none. Just an amazing stout sesh that no one else gets to drink. I will order this any time that I see it, I don’t care if I am at my own parole hearing, I mean, why is it on tap there in the first place? Seems kinda negligent of the warden.
Narrative: Chris Martin kept an orderly office: pictures of his wife and two children on his desk, Kiwani’s plaques on the wall, an ironic Billy Bass as a talkign point for clients. If you were in the market for a used Trailblazer or Arcadia, he was your man. What most single mothers or recent divorcees buying used american cars were unaware of was Chris’s dark secret. Chris was completely intoxicated during every single transaction. He kept a series of vintage bourbons in his right hand drawer, awaiting his consumption. The chocolate candies and Werther’s Originals were on the rich mahogany desk to distract from his bloodshot eyes and the dizzying loan payment figures. Much as the finches of Darwinian exploits had adapted their beaks for efficiency, Chris’s liver had adapted to embrace the trappings of his ultimately depressing profession. No one wants to grow up to be a middle manager at a used car lot in Pensacola. No one ever tells that story. Chris penned his final deal of the month and staggered over to the bell and rang it. His co-workers clapped and nodded in cool reverence of his haughty swagger. No one had ever sold a Neon Expresso before. They said that car was unsalable. But then again they didn’t drink Buffalo Trace at 8:30 in the morning now did they?