Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA - 2009 release
10.8% ABV, on draught at Dilly Deli, Mariemont, OH
Served in a 10-ounce snifter, the beer is black and opaque with a finger-width of dense, thick foam the colour of tan espresso crema. Aroma of alcohol, baked black currants and coffee. A hint of anise shows up as it warms. Full-bodied with a creamy, smooth texture and ultra-fine carbonation. Flavours include coffee, black currants and bittersweet chocolate. As it warms, some tangy but dry molasses appears also. Alcohol provides a pleasant burn. Complex, substantial and satisfying brew.
Deep brown-amber highlights become visible as the head falls to a thin layer and you look at the edge of the beer at an angle. Aftertatse is bitter, roasty, and tangy. Great rings of lace cling to the sides of the glass. I know they tweaked the recipe this year, and my memory says I liked the 2008 even better; will have to do a side-by-side tasting of the bottled versions some time to verify. In any case, this is a great imperial Russian stout!