For the past three years, Stone has produced some monsterously hoppy offerings to celebrate their anniversary in brewing. Between Steve Wagner’s love for Imperial Stouts, and the recent hop and grain shortage, it was decided by Stone to take their anniversary ale in a new direction this year. Stone has a tendency to do it big, and big is what they did in creating what is OFFICIALLY known as Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout. This was officially released to retail channels on Monday, July 7, 2008, and found it’s way to my local Whole Foods Market on the 8th. Much like the craze of the iPhone, I camped out in front of the market since Saturday, July 5th, so I could make sure I was the first in line. Ok, I didn’t really do that, but I was that excited to pick some up!
Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout – 22oz silkscreened bottle poured into a New Belgium beer glass – 9.2% abv.
Appearance: Midnight brown with a chocolate brown collection of foam.
Aroma: Cocoa powder and bourbon at first. Some spicy pepper tones afterwards. (Note: Not the vegetable but the spice)
Taste: Bourbon, dark chocolate up front. Finishes with a minute sour twang.
Mouthfeel: Beautiful and smooth with some alcohol warmth.
Overall: How do I tell you honestly how it is a top notch Imperial Stout without coming off like a complete mark/shill Stone Fanboy? Please take my word for it, this will knock your socks off. After my initial tasting notes, I paired this with a slice of Godiva chocolate cheesecake. This stout would be fine by itself, but pairing it with a rich dessert puts it far over the top (in a good way).