2015 Odd Year Chai-Spiced Imperial Russian Stout by Stone brewing

11103041_10102497522926000_2683463175291717833_oRating: 3.95/5

2015 Odd Year Chai-Spiced Imperial Russian Stout by Stone brewing is a 10.6% ABV Russian Imperial Stout brewed with Chai Tea and spices.

As it stands, the classic version of Stone Imperial Russian Stout is deep, dark, rich, roasty and perhaps even a bit sinful. The ‘Odd Beers for Odd Years’ part of the journey means the coming of each odd-numbered year provides the opportunity to take this traditional beer to new and mysterious places, embarking on an exploratory odyssey enabled by strikingly flavorful elements applied to a lovely onyx canvas. This beer, the latest ‘Odd’ transubstantiation, takes inspiration straight from the spice aisle, incorporating array of ingredients assembled to emulate the flavors of authentic chai tea. Cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, a dash of black pepper and a dose of black tea combine with Stone Imperial Russian Stout’s incumbent flavors to take it deep into exotic, previously unfathomed tenitory. Expect a touch of earthiness in combination with a warm, tantalizing aridness. Asa one-time brew with enduring character, Stone CHAI-SPICED Imperial Russian Stout is crafted to be contemplated fresh or cellared under proper conditions for many years so that it may live on not only in one’s memory, but on his or her taste buds as well.


Picked this one up recently from Whittier Liquor Mart in Whittier California. Every spring, Stone releases their Russian Imperial Stout. Every other Odd numbered year, they release an additional one that is different. This year, they released one with Chai Tea and spices. My favorite one since 2011 has been the Belgo Anise Stout since that one was like mint chocolate chip ice cream. The 2013 was the Espresso Coffee one. As time goes on, we should see an odd year released every other year. So for now, let us see how this one goes. Cheers!

Chocolate Abuelita, cinnamon, vanilla, clove spice, caramel, ginger spice, chai tea spices, mole spices, champurrado, black tea, anise, molasses, pumpkin spices and curry spices.

Dark chocolate, Chai tea spices, clove spice, curry spices, black tea, ginger spice, anise, cinnamon, Chocolate abuelita brick, molasses, dark fruit currants, figs, raisins, vanilla, caramel, coffee cake, champurrado, mole, Birria stew spices and pumpkin spices.

Lots of spices, earthiness, dark fruit, dark chocolate, molasses, caramel and herbal hints. No alcohol in the taste despite the ABV, Smooth, Rich and creamy mouthfeel, pitch black body and moderate to sipping.

While I found this one very good, I found the spiciness a little too much. It wasn’t heat spicy but lots of varying number of spices a bit overwhelming. I thought I was drinking a sugary spiced stew for a second. I am not familiar with the actual Chai spices but I do love Chai Tea. I guess mainly since it is milky and sugary. This, is more spicy than sugary but at least the bitterness is nowhere there. The beer is pretty smooth for sure like their other Imperil Russian Stouts. I think of the Odd years this one is my least favorite even though it is very delicious.

Anime Corner:
Xueli the Demon was used in this pairing to go with the colors of the beer, the gargoyle of stone but also the vast of oriental spices that are infused in the beer. Therefore she is wearing a similar dress of the region. Her colors also evoke the flavors of the beer as well.

Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout (2013 Odd year Edition)

308686_10101156117637950_1119402415_n 21307_10101156118376470_1477266017_nRating: 5/5

Stone Espresso Imperial Russian Stout is an 11% ABV World Class Russian Imperial Stout brewed with espresso coffee beans

Stone Imperial Russian Stout is so thick, rich and well, sinful, you might worry that you’ll be doomed to the fiery pits just for thinking about a sip. It almost seems evil. Rest assured, however, that even though this seemingly pernicious brew is indeed as black as sin, we guarantee that no actual sin was committed in it’s production…you’ll have to add that on your own. This Odd Year addition was brewed in the authentic, historical style of an imperial Russian stout, but with the addition of several hundred pounds of espresso beans from our friends at Ryan Bros. Coffee. Actually, this could be considered historically accurate, since the Russian nobility were as fond of earthy breakfast beverages as they were of hearty dark beers. Catherine the Great herself bolstered her finesse for ruling an empire by drinking five cups of black coffee every morning during her lengthy reign. While we couldn’t fit five cups coffee in every bottle of this darkly delicious libation, we assure you that the deep, rich espresso flavors are unmistakable and meld beautifully with the roasty bitterness of the dark malts. Catherine would have whole-heartedly approved.

Stone’s Imperial Russian stout has been considered by many to be one of the best Russian Imperial stouts in the world. This year they added some espresso. I have many awesome coffee beers before but I wanted to see what this one is about so I could bring forth to you why this one is so good. Immediately off the nose you get rich dark chocolate, espresso coffee aromas with notes of vanilla, caramel, brownies and some earthy hops . The flavors are of rich espresso coffee, caramel, dark chocolate, vanilla, oak, camp fire smores, marshmallows, Irish cream, molasses, rye chocolate brownies, milk chocolate, earthy hops and roasty notes. This beer reminds me of Black Xantus but expresses itself closer to a more earthy and roasty coffee bitterness side. Despite the roasty bitterness, it still manages to be very smooth and very drinkable going down. For some the roasty bitterness and the great balance it has with the sweetness is also what makes this world class. You can sense the booziness slightly but that take nothing from the beer itself which is very awesome. The Espresso adds some extra complexity and sweetness that brings out the RIS into a the “Stronger Coffee” zone which really awesome. I am sure this beer will age very nicely. A must try for sure 😛

Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Odd Year Series by Stone Brewing

529697_10101081151969750_687651734_nRating: 4.8/5

Old Guardian Oak-Smoked Odd Year Series by Stone Brewing is an 11.4%ABV Barley Wine 

Label: *Note this one has a very long label description
It’s the Friday after Turkey Day. In the US anyhow. Not here in Belize, but I had turkey yesterday all the same. Raised in the Belize countryside by German Mennonites no less. It was delicious. Gotta respect those who are focused on doing things the right way, which more and more in this world often means with less technology rather than more. The bananas are better here, too. Mostly because they’re picked ripe and ready for local consumption, rather than pre-ripe and green to ship off to the US and other far-flung countries only to be ethylene-gassed once they arrive to finish off the ripening process. Sudden flashback of when we visited our friends James & Martin @Brewdog in Scotland for our collaboration beer a few years ago called bashah (don’t think I ever spilled the beans formally before that the name is an acronym for black as sin, hoppy as hell). We had dinner at a great little restaurant in Aberdeen that historically was a banana-hanging warehouse. Later, they ended up buying the place. We actually shot a really cool video: [link) Back to the moment and Belize. Just finished a Crime. Great way to start the last night here. Now, as tradition dictates for the OG label, I’m having some 2012 Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine. Sitting at a beach bar & sharing w/John & Barbara Cheek from Oakhurst (Decatur, GA). They regularly enjoy Stone IPA at their local haunts, Steinbeck’s and The Marlay. Got to know them a little today as we were on the same little boat going out to snorkel with the sea turtles. Yes, a bit ‘touristy’ for me, as I typically head a little more off the beaten path, but hell, it was kinda cool swimming with them all the same. Swimming in the ocean made my hair quite scraggly lit’s still rather mucked up from the whole red-hair fundraiser we did back in August), and with the headband I picked up two days ago at a local shop, I’ve gotta admit that I’m looking a bit laughably trustafarian. It’s like I became an overnight pseudo-beach bum. Heh, if only. Not really my thing though, honestly. I’m a bit higher strung than that. The driven/agenda type. Gotta change the world, rather than watch it float by. But then you knew that. Save now. It’s been a ‘float’ week. Nice to visit the float lifestyle every once in a while, but I wouldn’t want to live there. Cracked a Stone Enjoy By 12.21.12 IPA just now. That’s a beer to encourage the ‘watch the world float by” if there ever was one. The aroma is certainly suggestive of that lifestyle, now isn’t it? I’ll leave it at that. Loving it. Brought two cases of assorted 22oz & 500m1 bottles on the trip. The 12.21.12 is the next-to-last, w/Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale bringing up the rear. So to speak. It’s actually not legal to bring in beer to this country as their beer laws are rather protectionist. That serves no one, except a few. Nonetheless, I swallowed my bubbling outrage as I learned this at Customs on my way in and politely asked to speak with a supervisor. I said “Hi, I’m Greg and I own a small brewery in the US, and) like to travel w/beer to share w/people I meet. I certainly don’t mind paying a duty.” He surveyed me, then the beer, then me again and decided that my two cases “didn’t represent a commercial threat” and calc’ed out a modest duty for me to pay. I did so gladly. Now I’m at the end of the visit, and reflecting on the fact that all went quite nicely thank-you- C. very-much. Thankful for the brief respite. Time to get back to it next week. Lots to do. Lots to do.


Ingredients: Tons and tons of barley, bountiful hops, water & yeast …and an odd dose of German oak-smoked wheat malt.

This one is kind of odd. Taking 2 different sides. One side bitter, the other smokey. Clearly this one was genius. The fragrance of this beer lies some where in the realm of Bashah. Smokey and hoppy. Smells like earthy grass and campfire oak, citrus, caramel, toffee, barley, dark fruits, almost like BBQ pork and peppercorns. The flavors are very well balanced. Just tremendous. Sweet Caramel, roasted campfire oak wood, BBQ pork with basil, orange and spices, citrus, bread, barley, dark cherries, raisins, maple, honey, biscuit, toast bread, grapefruit, pine needles, earthy grass, slight peppercorns, molasses and some bacon :P. The aftertaste is consistent of a nice balance. The oak and bitter hops play well. Not too bitter, not too smokey. Just the right amount of ingredients to create an odd taste that is very delicious that it works so well. I can see a lot of people that enjoy smoke and hoppy beers or those that enjoy one more than the other, may come together and agree that this one works very well.