Considered one of the foremost examples of this Old World style available in the American craft beer market, Stone Imperial Russian Stout is thick, rich and complex. Nearly jet black with a fluffy hot chocolate-colored head, a goblet held to the sky could block out the sun. This obsidian wonder is also adept at eclipsing palates, smothering taste buds with a sensory overload of flavors. Dark chocolate and heavy roast come on strong up front and are granted graceful support by nuances of toast, anise, juniper berry, pepper, sassafras, molasses and more. It’s a symphony in a glass, where every member of the troupe is properly tuned to produce one outstanding symbiotic performance.
We ran into some trouble years ago with labeling Stone Imperial Russian Stout as what it was—an imperial Russian stout. It started in late 2002, when the TTB, in reviewing our label application, contended that the word Russian was misleading. They thought it would confuse customers into thinking that the beer was brewed in Russia, despite all of the text being in English and the label clearly stating, "Brewed and bottled by the Stone Brewing Co., San Marcos, San Diego County, CA." Find out more about the story of this beer's name on the blog.