Stone Imperial Russian Stout Review 2013 vs 2014


Brewery: Stone Brewing Company
Style: Russian Imperial Stout
ABV: 10.5%
Availability: Spring
Beer Advocate Score: 97/100

Stone’s IRS comes out every year during tax season.  It is one of my favorite puns in this beer world.  But, never mind that, let’s get to the brew.  Both of these beers, 2013 and 2014 were drank at the same time to see the difference in the fresh bottle, versus giving it a year to age.  You can find the notes below and then a final thought on the bottom.

2013 IRS aged in bottle 1 year
Appearance: This is one of the darkest beer pours I have seen.  It’s as black as midnight 10,000 feet underground.  There are absolutely no carbonation bubbles.  The head is lightly brown and about half an inch thick.

Smell: Rich chocolate and coffee notes envelop the nose.  There is a bit of vanilla and smoke that come out as well.

Taste: That chocolate and coffee flavor takes over your palate.  It is actually a little too rich in those flavors as I do not get some of the other subtleties.  There was very little bitterness as those chocolate malts are so rich.

Mouth feel: This is like drinking straight motor oil.  Once you take your first sip, your mouth is enveloped with this beer.  It will stay on your palate for a good minute after you drink it.  It is more like you are chewing this beer, then drinking it.  Exactly what I love about great stouts.

Overall: 9.5/10

2014 IRS drank fresh
Appearance: Same as 2013

Smell: It starts off with the same chocolate notes.  The coffee does not come out as much as the 2013 aged for a year.  As well, you get a mild alcohol smell that takes over any vanilla or smoke I got before.

Taste: The chocolate and coffee notes are much milder, but still pronounced.  I do find a bit of the smoke and vanilla that I was missing from the smell.  The alcohol takes over and washes the flavors out.

Mouth feel: You will still feel the beer take over your palate.  Given the freshness, the beer only stays on your palate for about 5-10 seconds before you want another sip.  It feels like the alcohol hasn’t have enough time to mellow and washes the richness away.

Overall: 9/10


Final Thoughts:  Both of these beers were absolutely fantastic.  I am nit picking between the differences to see what I would prefer.  I wish I had one that has beer in the bottle for 6 months as well.  To me, that seems like it would have the best balance to make this beer a perfect 10.


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