Review: Stone Imperial Stout and Stone Imperial Stout Whiskey

Review: Stone Imperial Stout and Stone Imperial Stout Whiskey

Stone Brewing Company recently partnered with Foundry Distilling Company of Des Moines, Iowa to create Stone Imperial Stout Whiskey. Here’s how the whiskey is made, per Stone: “The wort of Stone Imperial Stout (liquid resulting from the first stage of the brewing process), was distilled and aged in charred oak barrels, creating the distillery’s first whiskey made of an Imperial Stout. Bottled at cask strength, this is a monster of a whiskey clocking in at 127 proof.”

The whiskey was aged in 30 gallon barrels for 30 months. That’s not a particularly long time, but the barrels are fairly small, providing higher interaction between the distillate and the wood. Also, the weather extremes in Iowa are greater than we find in Scotland, further accelerating the aging. An exciting collaboration, and today we are reviewing both the whiskey and the beer used to make it.

Stone Imperial Stout – This jet black stout pours thick like motor oil and builds a half-inch tan head. The nose is bold and rich with strong notes of roasted malt, medium dark chocolate, and espresso. Taking a sip, a big chocolate note comes first and is quickly joined by lightly sweet roasted malt. Espresso comes next and lingers on the long finish. There is a focus to this beer that makes it stand out among Imperial stouts. The individual flavors are delicious and quite distinct, yet they come together beautifully into a harmonious whole. 10.5% abv. A / $16 per six-pack

Stone Imperial Stout Whiskey – For a whiskey distilled from imperial stout, the nose is surprisingly bright, introducing floral notes and orange peel alongside burnt sugar and rich caramel. The palate follows suit, hitting first with boozy orange zest and deep caramel. Burnt sugar and a floral note come next. Then, for the medium length finish, the whiskey turns to milk chocolate and hazelnut notes. Considering its relative youth, this is a surprisingly deep and complex whiskey. One suggestion: Let the whiskey sit in the glass for a bit before drinking. When I first opened the bottle, it was a bit closed, but the spirit rewards patience. Despite the high proof, this whiskey can be sipped straight, but most will likely enjoy it more with a bit of water. 127 proof. A- / $100

Stone Imperial Stout Whiskey




Robert Lublin teaches whisk(e)y and wine appreciation classes for Arlington Community Education, near Boston, MA. He is also a Professor at the University of Massachusetts Boston and has published books and articles on Shakespeare as well as theatre and film history.

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