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Stone Imperial Russian Stout 2011

in Libation Station  · 

Boom goes the dynamite, with Stone's Imperial Russian Stout, one you should run out and try on tap at Jones Radiator. Bottles should be hitting stores soon.

This is a jet black beer with an almost equally dark head, powered by 10.5% ABV. It's a smack in the face, for sure, but it's an enjoyable slap none the less.

Sniff it—as you should because you could probably use this as a perfume—and the depth reveals itself straight away. The malts are present, as are hints of chocolate. Hints of sweetness tickles the back of the nose, in a creepy yet wondrous way.

Take a sip, and the beer ballets onto your tongue, lacing it delicately, telling you everything will be OK. You can taste the alcohol, certainly, but it's not booze-y. The hints of vanilla and caramel makes this reminiscent of a nice brandy, and a smooth one at that. If a beer could be velvet-textured, this would definitely be it.

The mouthfeel is thick and creamy, and this is obviously a sipping beer. One to enjoy.

Sometimes you just need to treat yourself and Stone will help you do just that. This could be a strong contender for ale of the year.

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Deschutes Hop In The Dark

in Libation Station  · 

So here's another great Deschutes, one that makes up for this year's Twilight. It's a dark IPA, called a "CDA" (Cascadian Dark Ale), and it's pretty magnificent, particularly for hop fans.

The name says it all, really. This is a dark and hoppy beer. Pour it, and it's easy to mistake it for a stout. It's dark as night and the thick head is tan, measuring in at just under two fingers.

A sniff reveals a very fresh and crisp smell of hops and citrus, flanked by a maltier note of chocolate. Taste it, and it's definitely hoppy, but with a lot more complexity than your standard IPA. The body is surprisingly full for something this refreshing, and the hints of chocolate nicely lingers with each sip in a perfect harmony with the hops. It's like they joined hands, singing "Give Peace a Chance".

Granted, this is not one for those who aren't into hops. If you do like it, you can't go wrong with Hop in the Dark. It's a complex yet refreshing ale, and a whole lot better summer ale than Twilight. Highly recommended.

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