Stone 2015 Chai-Spiced Imperial Russian Stout

Total Score: 8.95/10 Clove1DarkFruits1Peppercorns1Tulipglass1

Apart from the obvious misnomer with the name of this brew (it’s ‘Russian Imperial Stout’ Stone) I am really looking forward to this one – I like chai tea, I love a Russian Imperial Stout, and I’m enamoured with the idea of mixing to seemingly incongruous things together in a beer – hell my first home brew was a Mosaic hopped Stout (ahhh, good old Black Mango Water). So the Stone tradition is for odd-numbered years to be an odd mixture of ingredients, I like the way Stone thinks ;).

Poured from a 640ml bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: A tasty jet black body with a sufficiently chunky light brown head that soon subsides to a lace ring. Beers rarely look more delicious than a decent BIG Russian Imperial Stout – this is a spot on appealing dark mistress beckoning me to drink. 10/10.

S: The chai spice comes through straight away. Good, I was hoping for a massive chai hit. Apart from the chai there are notes of dark fruits: currant and blackberry, perhaps a touch of mulberry sweetness, hints of molasses, and oak. Aroma is bold and spicy, mouth is decidedly watering now. 9/10.

T: Flavour fronts up with a sizable chai spice hit (think cardamom, cinnamon, fennel, nutmeg, peppercorns), mid palate malt sweetness consisting of currant, blackberry, plum, then some cacao notes towards the finish which is a mix of espresso bitterness and liquorice. This brew demands your undivided attention and I give it freely [with a “yes sir, Stone sir!”]. Disclaimer: I’ve been to India and I drank masala chai every single day for 2 weeks so I’m used to full-on spices, heed my warning when I say this beer is quite heavy on the spice side. 9/10.

M: Medium bodied with light but dense carbonation. 8/10.

D: Aside from the aftertaste being a bit on the liquorice side [hey I love black jelly beans but not in my beer] this Russian Imperial Stout was a real treat for me and vindication of Stone’s genius when it comes to brewing. Would drink again 110% [That’s impossible. No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give]. Again I must add unless you are a spice head like me (my last holiday was spent on sunny Arrakis) this may be a bit too much spice in a beer. Me? I love it – bring on more chai stouts Stone! 9/10.

Food match: Make it a bold curry – Vindaloo, Methi or Rogan Josh.


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