Stone Brewing Gets in the Halloween Spirit with Release of Enjoy By 10.31.19 IPA

EnjoyBy1031logoStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced that Stone Enjoy By 10.31.19 IPA is hitting distribution now for the Halloween season.

Continuing Stone Brewing’s mission of “ensuring craft beer fans the ultimate level of freshness” when it comes to their IPAs, Stone Enjoy By 10.31.19 IPA is an “intense” Double India Pale Ale “loaded with 10 different varieties of hops and meant to be enjoyed within 37 days.” Thanks to the use of “hop-bursting and dry-hopping techniques,” this DIPA delivers elevated levels of “peach and tropical fruit notes and overall hop factor.”  Although it might come in at a monstrous 9.4% ABV and 90 IBUs, Stone Enjoy By 10.31.19 IPA “is nothing to be afraid of. The only thing that would truly be terrifying is missing out on this incredibly tasty creation.”

Stone Enjoy By 10.31.19 IPA is available now through Halloween 2019.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available on draft across the country and in 22 oz. bottles in California only.  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone Enjoy By 10.31.19 IPA from Stone Brewing

Release – Limited; October 2019
Style – Double India Pale Ale
ABV – 9.4% 
IBUs – 90
Hops – Nugget, Super Galena, Simcoe, Delta, Target, Amarillo, Cascade, Galaxy, Citra, Nelson Sauvin, Motueka & Helga
Availability – Available nationwide on draft. 22 oz. bottles only available in California
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

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Stone Brewing Sets Nerd Level to Stun with 2019 Release of Farking Wheaton w00tstout

2019_w00tstout_12ozCan_MockStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced that its fan-favorite Drew Curtis / Wil Wheaton / Greg Koch Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout is returning to craft beer shelves and taps now for a limited time.

Born as the geek-fueled, beery brainchild of Drew Curtis of FARK.com, “nerd royalty” Wil Wheaton and Stone Brewing co-founder Greg Koch, Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout is an Imperial Stout brewed with pecans, wheat and flaked rye and then “one-quarter aged in bourbon barrels.”  This recipe produces “aromas of cocoa and coffee . . . followed by bourbon, vanilla and oak” alongside up-front flavors of fruit, “cocoa and coffee . . . followed by a punch of oak, vanilla, nut and a hoppy, bitter finish.” Coming in at superhero-sized 11.5% ABV and 45 IBUS, Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout is “a POW! BAM! WHAM! square to the face.”

“W00tstout is more than a great beer,” said actor, writer and Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout collaborator Wil Wheaton. “It’s a work of art, carefully designed to be as drinkable right now as it will be in a decade. I am so honored and proud to be one of its parents.”

 

“I love love love this beer,” said Greg Koch, Stone Brewing executive chairman & co-founder. “I love the intensity and depth of its flavor profile, and I love how it came together between Drew, Wil, me and our brewing team. And fans have made it clear that they love this beer all the way to the depths of its awesomeness like we do. Yeah, I love that too.”

The 2019 batch of Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout is rolling out now and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 22 oz. bottles, on draft and – for the first time ever – in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans at select craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone Farking Wheaton w00tstout from Stone Brewing

Release – Limited; late July/early August 2019
Style – Imperial Stout
ABV – 11.5%
IBUs – 45
Featured Ingredients – Pecans, wheat & flaked rye
Treatment – One-quarter aged in Bourbon barrels
Fun Fact – On the label artwork: “This year’s artwork comes from the talented hands of comic artist Alan Davis, who has worked on some of the most iconic comic book series of all time, including Uncanny X-Men and Justice League of America. He depicts a hero who channels Stone’s iconic gargoyle’s guardian powers to battle against the evils of the world of beer (and as best we can tell, we’re quite sure he’s winning).”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

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Tasting Notes: Tropic of Thunder Lager from Stone Brewing

StoneTropicPourFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we seek refuge from the unrelenting summer heat in a tall pour of Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager from Stone Brewing (Escondido, California).

Created to serve as the “perfect island companion to [Stone Brewing’s] tropically-inspired, fruit forward lineup of IPAs”, Stone Tropic of Thunder is a refreshing “Tropical Lager” that possesses “aromas of citrus, pineapple and coconut . . . followed by flavors of lime, orange and passion fruit.”  This sensory experience is framed beautifully by “a newer hop variety – Cashmere – [which] . . . imparts flavors of ripe cantaloupe that elevate the juicy qualities of this beer.”  Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager clocks in at 5.8% ABV and 58 IBUs.

Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager originally debuted in California near the end of 2018 and is now officially available across the country.  You can expect to find this new Year-Round offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution territory.

Alright . . . now that we have properly covered all the information behind Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager, let’s get into these Tasting Notes and see what this Tropical Lager is all about!

Tasting Notes for Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager from Stone Brewing

Appearance: A careful pour from a 19.2 oz. can produces a lager that is straw yellow in color and topped with over two fingers of pillowy, bright white foam.  When held to direct light, the yellows grow a bit more vibrant as they take on soft golden tones.  The beer is perfectly clear and shows off the lively carbonation presence coursing within.  Head retention is good, falling slowly to a thin but complete top cap that leaves a perfect notch of lace on the glass after each sip.

Aroma:  The aromatics open with a delightful trio of tropical notes: sweet melon, pineapple and mango.  A burst of citrus – grapefruit, orange and lemon – lends support and draws even more attention to those tropical notes. The grains round everything off with a gently sweet crackery quality. Very subtle here, but still refined and quite tempting.

Taste:  To firmly assert that this is indeed a lager, the grains take point here with a clean biscuity malt presence. The malt sweetness ultimately gives way to a beautifully delicate, juicy hop character filled with notes of cantaloupe, passion fruit, tangerine, pineapple, dragon fruit, and lime zest.  The profile closes with just a hint of herb and a lingering grace of crisp white wine.

Mouthfeel:  On the light side of medium in body with a bright carbonation level, this lager is incredibly easy-drinking and finishes nice and dry.  The beer further increases its overall level of drinkability by finding a gorgeous balance between its biscuity malt sweetness and fruity hop bite.  We had a difficult time believing that this beer clocks in at 5.8% ABV because there is not even a hint of alcohol to be found. The aftertaste leaves behind a wonderful combination of white wine and passion fruit.

Final Thoughts:  Just as any good lager should be, Stone Tropic of Thunder is ridiculously drinkable and flavorful. The true beauty of this beer lies in its balance. Sure, the hops dominate the flavor and aroma, but the not at all shy malt character takes the edge off the hop bitterness and makes damn sure that its presence is known.

Above all, this beer does everything it can to emphasize that it is definitely not just another lager pretending to be an IPA. No . . . Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager is more of a nod to those classic, hop-forward European lagers that have been around forever, but this one just uses fruitier new school hops rather than Noble hops.  It is clearly a beer that has learned plenty from the past but has also picked up a few new tricks along the way.

If you have love for the lager in your heart and are on the hunt for something crispy and new, Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager absolutely deserves a place in your fridge or cooler this summer.  Be sure to keep an eye out for this one the next time you hit your favorite craft beer store or bar.  Prost!

 

Stone Brewing Goes Nationwide with Latest Release of Notorious P.O.G. Berliner Weisse

NotoriousPOG_12ozCanStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced that its fan-favorite Stone Notorious P.O.G. Berliner Weisse will return for a nationwide Limited Release during the week of July 8, 2019.

Originally brewed in 2016 at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station as a collaboration beer with actor, comedian and native Hawaiian Jonah Ray, Stone Notorious P.O.G. is a Berliner Weisse-style Ale that is meant to capture Ray’s childhood memories of POG Juice – a juice blend consisting of (P)assion Fruit, (O)range and (G)uava. Brewed with those same fruits, Stone Notorious P.O.G. Berliner Weisse (4.7% ABV) “effortlessly rides its effervescence of tart orange citrus and tropicality with sip-it-like-its-Sunday ease. It’s tart, refreshing, citrusy and spectacular.”

“I love my hops in beer, but I also appreciate brewing and enjoying a wide range of beer styles,” said Kris Ketcham, Stone Brewing Senior Manager of Brewing & Innovation who collaborated alongside Jonah Ray on the first brew. “Clearly our fans also appreciate the exploration of other styles, beers that rise to other occasions, and the occasional beer that wows us at the most unexpected time. We originally set out to brew a POG IPA but I’d been exploring with the Berliner Weisse style and knew it would highlight those fruit flavors best. I never would have imagined the following this beer has created, and I’m continually impressed by our fans’ appreciation for a beer that’s balanced, flavorful and intriguing – no matter the style.”

Stone Notorious P.O.G. Berliner Weisse is scheduled to officially release during the week of July 8 and will hang around as long as supplies last.  You can expect to find this Limited Release available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. cans, 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone Notorious P.O.G. Berliner Weisse from Stone Brewing

Release – Limited/Special; July 8, 2019
Style – Berliner Weisse 
ABV – 4.7%
IBUs – 7
Added Ingredients – Passion fruit, orange & guava
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. cans, 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

Stone Brewing Celebrates Freedom & Freshness with Release of Enjoy By 07.04.19 Unfiltered IPA

2019_EJB0704_19ozCan_Mockup2Stone Brewing (Escondido, California) has announced that Stone Enjoy By 07.04.19 Unfiltered IPA will officially begin hitting craft beer shelves and taps during the week of May 28, 2019.

Arriving as the latest liquid embodiment of Stone Brewing’s “bold legacy of innovation underscoring the superiority of fresh craft beer”, the “defiantly independent” Stone Enjoy By 07.04.19 is an unfiltered Double India Pale Ale boasting “a lineup of 12 fragrant and flavorful hops . . . that make up the beer’s West Coast bitter and juicy profile.” This massive hop bill offers “intense” aromatics of “peach, tropical fruit and citrus and the flavor is all that + . . . lots of stone fruit flavors and an intensely pleasing bitter finish.”  Weighing in at 9.4% ABV and 90 IBUS, Stone Enjoy By 07.04.19 Unfiltered IPA is here to offer hopheads the “classic satisfaction of a West Coast triple IPA amidst the juicy, hazy and milkshake-y craze.”

“I understand that many will desire to save their last six-pack for the Fourth of July ice bucket,” stated Greg Koch, executive chairman & co-founder. “I consider it my obligation to remind you that the date on the label is the last best day to enjoy this beer. We rush Stone Enjoy By 07.04.19 Unfiltered IPA to market so you can have it at its peak. Your patriotism and good taste – be it for your country, or independent craft beer – need not wait.”

Stone Enjoy By 07.04.19 is rolling out now and is – obviously – scheduled to hang around until July 4, 2019.  You can expect to find this Limited Release offering available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. single serve cans (first time available in this packaging format), 22 oz. bottles and on draft at select craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution territory.  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone Enjoy By 07.04.19 Unfiltered IPA from Stone Brewing

Release – Limited/Stone Enjoy By Series; arriving May 28, 2019
Style – Double India Pale Ale
ABV – 9.4%
IBUs – 90
Featured Hops – Nugget, Super Galena, Simcoe, Delta, Target, Amarillo, Cascade, Galaxy, Citra, Nelson Sauvin, Motueka & Helga
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. single-serve cans, 22 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com

Arrogant Consortia & Metallica Team Up to Release Enter Night Pilsner

three cans enter night pilsner_studioArrogant Consortia – the “often aggressive and always self-righteous” imprint of Stone Brewing (Escondido, California) – has announced that the nationwide launch of Enter Night Pilsner, a creative collaboration with the legendary heavy metal band Metallica, will officially begin in January 2019.

With members of Metallica participating “at every step alongside [the] talented brewing team” behind Arrogant Consortia, Enter Night Pilsner was developed to be a unique expression of the shared values that have helped define Metallica and Stone Brewing: fiercely independent, transcending genres, shattering preconceptions and challenging convention.”  This “genre-defying Pilsner” possesses a “remarkable flavor and aroma which artfully combine the beauty of a traditional Northern German Pilsner with Arrogant Consortia’s modern overtones of aggression.”  Clocking in at an intensely drinkable 5.7% ABV and 45 IBUs, Enter Night Pilsner promises to supply its drinker with an experience that is “hop forward with sound bitterness on the finish.”

“The amount of ideals and outlooks that Metallica and Stone Brewing share are endless,” says Lars Ulrich of Metallica. “I’m always blown away about how similar our paths forward have been. Our view of the worlds that we each inhabit, of creativity and process, and sense of place in relation to our peers and ‘The Man’ are almost identical. This collaboration is beyond effortless and pure, and we can’t wait to share this incredible beverage with everyone out there.”

“I remember seeing Metallica on the cover of a magazine just after the Black Album was released,” recalls Greg Koch, Co-Founder of Stone Brewing. “On the cover was a quote that resonated with me to this day: ‘Metallica didn’t go to number one, number one came to them.’  I loved what that meant. Do it your way and never compromise your art. If you’re great at what you do people will come. I view that simple quote as one of the founding philosophical elements of Stone Brewing.” 

Enter Night Pilsner is launching in the U.S. now and is scheduled to begin international distribution this spring in “Europe, Australia, China and beyond.”  You can expect to find this rockin’ new brew available in 6-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia, and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Enter Night Pilsner from Arrogant Consortia/Stone Brewing & Metallica

Release – Year-Round, launching January 2019
Style – Pilsner
ABV – 5.7%
IBUs – 45
Fun Fact – Enter Night Pilsner “first appeared for the most worthy few in exclusive releases at Metallica’s shows this past fall.”
Availability – 6-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.arrogantconsortia.com
Metallica Tour Info – https://www.metallica.com/tour

metallica and greg koch
Stone Brewing’s Greg Koch enjoying a pint of Enter Night Pilsner with the members of Metallica. Photo Credit: Stone Brewing

Arrogant Consortia Introduces Arrogant Bastard Black Metallic Stout

ArrogantConsortiaLogoArrogant Consortia (Escondido, California), the outspoken offshoot of Stone Brewing, has officially launched Arrogant Bastard Black Metallic Stout as its latest Year-Round offering.

Brewed to push the limits of what we have come to expect from a Stout, Arrogant Bastard Black Metallic Stout is a “Rye Stout brewed with wry sensibilities.”  Coming in at a bullish 7.2% ABV, Black Metallic Stout is unapologetically “dark, roasty, hoppy and bitter. Gloriously bitter.”

Arrogant Bastard Black Metallic Stout is rolling out this week with availability in 6-packs of 16 oz. cans and on draft.  You can expect to find this new Year-Round at craft beer-focused establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Arrogant Consortia’s/Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Arrogant Bastard Black Metallic Stout from Arrogant Consortia 

Release – Year-Round, launching late November 2018
Style – American Stout/Rye Beer
ABV – 7.2%
Availability – 6-packs of 16 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.arrogantconsortia.com/ab#ready

arrogantBlackmetallic2

 

Stone Brewing to Kick Off 2019 with Release of Tropic of Thunder Lager

TropicOfThunder_19.2ozCanMockStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced plans to add Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager to its Year-Round portfolio at the start of 2019.

Created to be the “perfect island companion to [Stone Brewing’s] tropically-inspired, fruit forward lineup of IPAs, including Stone Tangerine Express IPAStone Scorpion Bowl IPA and the upcoming Stone Revengeful Spirit IPA”, Stone Tropic of Thunder is a refreshing “Tropical Lager” that possesses “aromas of citrus, pineapple and coconut . . . followed by flavors of lime, orange and passion fruit.”  This sensory experience is framed beautifully by “a newer hop variety – Cashmere – [which] . . . imparts flavors of ripe cantaloupe that elevate the juicy qualities of this beer.”  Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager clocks in at 5.8% ABV and 58 IBUs.

“This is unlike your traditional lager,” said Jeremy Moynier, Stone Brewing Senior Manager of Brewing & Innovation. “When we were discussing what our next year-round beer might be we all agreed that we wanted something super flavorful and yet really crushable, all while exemplifying the genre-defying qualities we’re known for at Stone. So while we did our signature thing – seeking out the newest and most interesting hops to contribute big flavor – we really stayed focused on producing a balanced beer with classic lager characteristics. It turned out crisp, clean, intensely fruity, and definitely way crushable.”

Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager debuts in California and Stone Brewing Tap Rooms this week and nationwide/international distribution will launch in early 2019.  Once fully released, you can expect to find this Year-Round brew available in 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. cans and on draft at craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone Tropic of Thunder Lager from Stone Brewing

Release – Year-Round; California & Stone Brewing Tap Rooms starting the week of October 22. Distribution to all 50 states & abroad to come in 2019
Style – Lager
ABV – 5.8%
IBUs – 58
Featured Hops – Cashmere, Citra & Mosaic
Fun Fact – “The beer’s name is a nod to the uncharted tropical islands on which most of us would willingly be a castaway… provided that we could have our perfectly stocked beer fridge in tow. It’s just right for a self-imposed ‘three hour tour,’ be it on an island, on a boat, or simply on the couch.”
Availability – 6-packs of 12 oz. cans, 19.2 oz. cans & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

Stone Brewing Releases 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA

22Anni_22ozBottle_Mockup.pngStone Brewing (Escondido, California) has officially announced that it is celebrating its birthday with the Special Release of Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA.

Not only has Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA arrived to celebrate 22 years of brewing craft beer at Stone Brewing, but it is also here as the brewery’s first anniversary beer to serve as the winner of the Stone Spotlight Series, “the annual competition that pits Stone’s brewers against one another in friendly rivalry.” Developed by “Stone Brewing Team members Jose Flores, a production brewer, and Jason Smith, who focuses on small batch brewing”, Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA is a proud, “NO HAZE” Double India Pale Ale that utilizes an “arsenal of anti-haze techniques” and a recipe that showcases a “solid malt background . . . complemented with complex hop fruit flavors of cherries, apricot, melon and citrus.”  This approach results in a Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA that is “full bodied with a short, clean and dry finish of ample bitterness and a slight warming from its elevated [9.1%] ABV.”

Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA is available now and has plans to hang around into the month of November 2018.  You can find this Special Release offering available in 22 oz. bottles, 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles and on draft at craft beer-friendly retailers, bars and restaurants located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.  Prost!

Vital Information for Stone 22nd Anniversary Anni-Matter Double IPA from Stone Brewing

Release – Limited/Special, August – November 2018
Style – Double India Pale Ale
ABV – 9.1%
IBUs – 81
Featured Hops – Columbus, Denali, Hopsteiner #06297, Galaxy, Citra & Amarillo
Availability – 22 oz. bottles, 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles & draft
Beer Finder – https://find.stonebrewing.com/#ready

 

 

Tasting Notes: Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing

StoneTIRSPourFor this installment of Tasting Notes, we lay down our hammers and deal the workweek a final, crushing blow with the help of a tall, imposing pour of Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing (Escondido, California).

Released back in March as the successor to the fan-favorite Stone Imperial Russian Stout that was developed in 2000 and discontinued in 2016, Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout arrived with an upgraded recipe boasting “the careful addition of Belma hops and flaked oats.”  Although the beer retains the original recipe’s old-world nature by pouring “jet-black with a fluffy chocolate head and [tasting] of deeply dark fruit flavors with rich chocolate and coffee overtones”, the added flaked oats enhance the beer’s “long-lasting smooth and silky finish” while the new-world Belma hops “[intensify] its berry flavors and aroma while subtly introducing a juicy melon undertone.”  In an impressive show of force, Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout flexes its power with a 10.6% ABV and 65 IBUs.

Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout is nearing the end of its run as a Special Release offering, but it can still be found in 6-packs of 12 oz. bottles, 22 oz. bottles and on draft at many craft beer-friendly establishments located in Alabama, Florida, California, Virginia and throughout the rest of Stone Brewing’s nationwide distribution area.

Now that we are all a bit more familiar with Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout’s heritage and updated tweaks, let’s get into these Tasting Notes and see how it all translates!

Tasting Notes for Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing

Appearance: Totalitarian presents itself as an inky, glossy black brew capped with nearly two fingers of super creamy, dark mocha-colored foam.  Even when held to the brightest of light sources, the darkness holds and this Imperial Stout remains completely opaque.  Head retention is solid, but the top cap does slowly slip down to a chunky ring that leaves sweeping lines of lace across the glass.

Aroma: This party is all about those roasted malts as it jumps off with a strong presence of dark chocolate, smoke and char, and espresso roasted coffee.  These heavier notes are broken up a bit with tones of anise, dark fruit and rich toffee, but the roast is undeniably the center of attention here . . . and that’s pretty alright if you ask us.

Taste:  Deeply roasted malts lead here as well, saturating the palate with incredibly satisfying notes of bittersweet dark chocolate and intensely roasted coffee beans.  That roasty, slightly bitter malt character is quickly balanced by tones of dark fruit, booze-soaked berries (strawberry, black currant and raspberry), toffee, rich molasses, subtle melon, earthy leather, and burnt sugar.  A touch of creamy vanilla creeps in just as the flavor profile closes with a graham cracker and sweet bready character.

Mouthfeel:  Full-bodied with a softer carbonation level, this beer is creamy, smooth and velvety on the palate and lingers a bit to give the flavors a chance to fully develop. To keep things from getting cloying, the malt presence and those sneaky hops work together to find a nice balance between this stout’s roasty bite and sweeter qualities.  The 10.6% ABV provides a slow building heat in the throat and belly, but it is far more reserved than expected.  The aftertaste leaves behind just a touch of smoke, toffee and chocolate.

Final Thoughts:  Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout may be an updated take on the OG Stone Imperial Russian Stout, but it still holds true to what big, beautiful Imperial Stouts were before the rise of the overly-sweet, adjunct-filled Pastry Stouts that are now the norm.  The goal that was achieved here was to coax as much aroma, flavor and complexity possible from just hops, malt and yeast while still maintaining some semblance of balance.  It is all about straight-forward craftsmanship, and it is absolutely gorgeous for being so.

Now this may leave some questioning why would the decision makers at Stone Brewing retire the original Stone Imperial Russian Stout if they were not going to make any drastic changes?  Well . . .we can only answer that question with another: Why not?  It was a completely different world when the recipe for Stone Imperial Russian Stout was developed in 2000. That beer was already considered a viscous monster to those dabbling in craft beer at that time, and the idea of adding oats for more body would have been considered insane. Now, that’s what people want.  On top of that, you have to consider that Belma hops were not even released until 2012. So, who’s to say those hops would not have made it into the original if they had been available?  If trends were different and other ingredients were in the brewery almost two decades ago, there is a good chance that the original could have looked a lot like the Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout that is in front of us right now.

With that said, that is a lot of what-ifs.  What we do know is that Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout is all about showing respect for the past while still keeping an eye on the present.  It is a needed throwback offering that gives veteran craft beer drinkers a chance to reminisce on the days when the Russian Imperial Stout style was at its height of popularity . . . but, at the same time, it gives newer craft beer enthusiasts a chance to have a more educational, streamlined experience with the style while still possessing the body, feel and hop flavors that are more customary today.  Stone Totalitarian Imperial Russian Stout wears two hats and it looks damn good in both.  Be sure to check this one out before it begins to disappear from shelves and taps.  Prost!