Southampton Imperial Russian Stout, Small Bottle Runs for Big Beer Ballers

This brewery has a reputation, at least in my tiny sad existence, for tiny bottle runs, and massive whales. I have been trying to land their ridiculous Berliner Weiss since before it was cool to drink 2% beer, with no success. Here’s my consolation, lucky bottle #229 of all 650 of them. I like my stouts like I like my steaks, MEDIUM. If you thought I was gonna go with “rare” or “well done” that’s low hanging fruit my friends.

I didn't pour it like an asshole, this beer must have PTFD, post traumatic fedex disorder. That's a thing.

Southampton Imperial Russian Stout, 10.5% abv

A: This is about as deep and murky as it gets, T5 levels of blackness on par with Abyss and Hunaphu’s. As you can see above, the carbonation is outrageous in the classic sense of the word: causing outrage. There’s no reason for that much foam unless its the late 90’s and you have some glowsticks. The lacing is like a Baroque armoir, ornate and frilly. After about 5 minutes this excitable asshole settled down and stopped weaving tales about his Fedex journey.

There's something amazing about this beer, and it feels like I am bothering it, but that's fine because I know in its mimicry is a deep strength.

S: This is fairly muted on the palate but got better as it warmed up, like those shy recent divorcees that always order the salad. There’s some chalky chocolate, cocoa, sticky vanilla, and a subtle macaroon. Then, wearing a cape and goggles comes COFFEECOCK to dominate everything at the end. Javatastic COFFEECOCK all over the place.

T: Well if you weren’t on board with Coffeecock from the last section, you can stop now because it just goes deeper in the same vein. That was not a euphemism you sicko. There’s a bitter drying at the outset that fades into a delicious baker’s chocolate like brownie batter, and as expected, coffee, well you saw that coming. I think this is slight underrated and perhaps its the small bottle count that makes people say fuck it, like when I decided I could live without the entire Step by Step DVD box set, I can imagine what happens in Season 3. Cody gets a horse or some shit.

You can cellar this beer for 10 years and you will still be an asshole for not sharing.

M: This beer has a huge sticky coating that lingers well after the first drink. The coating just sticks and does operation grill maker over in short order. The coffee and deep chocolate makes you feel like you were just mashing on some serious bowl licking for hours on end. Don’t act like the foul spatula of indulgence has not soiled your lips.

D: This isn’t exceptionally drinkable unless you have insatiable salivary glands and a post-menopausal rapacity for chocolate. That hits a fairly small niche, maybe the coveted pre-pubescent market is what they were seeking but I am pretty sure 9 year olds dont have Fedex accounts. Or…do…they….

fucking around with a beer this big seems like an inherently bad idea.

Narrative: Baron Southampton was the regal son of Lord August FitzRoy, but the cut of his jib was not unremarkable. He knew that this title was entirely created by his hateful old father as a fading sign of regal power in the days of an expanding merchant class. Just across the channel the barbarous franco-massacre had run the cobblestone streets red with the blood of an oppressive regime, leaving the largely mercantile class staring with despondence at the titled land owners. Baron didn’t give a shit. He spent the majority of his days walking the regal gardens, burying items of value in a spiteful manner to hide them, throwing rocks at the champion hunting dogs, and berating the help for streaking the sterling silver. This dark tiny master hated the opulence that he was subjected to and lashed out accordingly. He wished to be one of the masses and apprentice in a trade, press the rough hands of the working classes and see the Carolinas. Sadly, the common man would never look upon a Southampton, and he knew it. The Southamptons were few but poised, out of reach of the commoners but held just close enough to remind them of their failings. His cousin from Austria Count Berliner Vyass was the most acerbic asshole from his lineage. He did not even allow the proletariate to look upon him at all. They were rare and untouchable, that’s basically the, that’s the jist here, it’s what the underlying narrative is trying to convey, in case you missed it, just tossing you a bone.


Stone Belgo Anise Russian Imperial Stout, the notorious “Worst Stone Beer Ever Made” culprit.

Good and plenty's burning holes in my face.

A while back I caused a stir when I asked people their least favorite beer of 2011, I feel that this beer was the overwhelming winner, although I still feel that the Mikkeller Peat Barrel Black Hole nightmare was the worst, ho hum, here you go.

Stone Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout 10.6% abv

A: Deep motor oil black with no light opaque tones, not the deepest black I have seen but the coating lets you know that it has a huge malt to it. Mocha colored head with lacing that sticks to the glass. So far so good, now for the smell-

S: The anise is light and reminiscent of a sweeter licorice like a box of good and plentys. There is chocolate and some cocoa dryness to it. it’s like the lovely Stone IRS with an angry dark demon living inside of it. Why did this interloping licorice jerk have to show up? Many tears are shed into Hello Kitty diaries over this mishap.

Not even hipster excuses can make anise palatable.

T: The licorice is present in a strange resonant way. It imparts a sweetness with the Belgian sugar at the front that is really present and then rides the palate not unlike Ginuwine’s pony throughout. The coffee supports the tail end of it and the chocolate notes are suspiciously absent.

M: The mouthfeel isn’t as thick as I was bracing myself for and it is a better beer as a result. The dryness from all of the complex herbal notes really makes this interesting and crisp. It feels like an imperial black ale with all the hops and grassy notes happening but the complexity is certainly welcome. I cannot imagine how they are breaking even on such an exceptional beer for $5.99 a bottle.

So I didn't like the anise, come at me bro.

D: This is incredibly drinkable, and not in a cop out “for an imperial stout” sort of way, it is just flat out good. The abv is there, the taste supports it, it isn’t overly filling, you can put it away without chewing the inside of your mouth off due to dryness. Just a total package present in a ridiculous inexpensive format. As a caveat, everything that I enjoy about this beer is present in the Stone IRS in a better way, this beer is only redeemed because it is technically a Stone IRS at heart. The anise is horrible.

Narrative: “Rinse, gargle, spit.” The adolescents that visit Raven Perchmoor D.D.S.’s “Bastion of Oral Hygenicide” never really knew what they were in for. The Misfits played nonstop at levels that were uncomfortable even for 13 year old discretion. “And from when thine recalcitrant dental alignment was once begot, now BEGONE!” Dr. Perchmoor chanted as he tightened the bands deftly on the aching face of a My Chemical Romance fan. Some would consider his practice unorthodox, notwithstanding the gargoyles and dry ice buckets bubbles upon entry. However, he did accept HMO insurance and his work was nothing short of amazing. “And you are absolutely sure the ZOOM whitening is your choice? To cast out the vilest intentions of foul stains and the reproach of plaque and murky taint?” “Uh…yes?” He threw the oversized switch and watched the laser burn away the darkness, much to the chagrin of the macabre dentist.