Press Release




ESCONDIDO, CA ... – Each spring, craft beer enthusiasts actually look forward to encountering the IRS—Stone Imperial Russian Stout, that is. A rich, hearty beer that emphasizes the roasty, chocolaty essence of dark malts, it stands out from Stone Brewing Co.’s typically hoppy stock, with a smooth, velvety body that’s tasty when fresh, yet also perfectly suited for long periods of cellaring. And there is more to look forward to this year: As part of Stone's “Odd Beers for Odd Years” program (AKA another excuse to brew something new and creative), the California-based brewery is releasing a version infused with tea and spices, 2015 Stone CHAI-SPICED Imperial Russian Stout, alongside the classic version of this annual release. Starting today, the pair will begin arriving in 22-ounce bottles and on draft at bars, retailers and restaurants in markets where Stone beer is sold.



Conceived by Stone President, Co-founder and original Brewmaster Steve Wagner in 2000, the recipe for Stone Imperial Russian Stout has been tweaked very little since the beer’s debut. Black malt and British roasted barley in the grain bill give the resulting beer an opaque black color and a roasty aroma. Intense bittersweet cocoa and coffee flavors give way to hints of anise and dark berry fruitiness. Enjoy, but exercise patience—as the stout warms, its bouquet unfolds, the texture becomes smoother and roasted qualities strengthen.



“Steve developed a fantastic recipe for Stone Imperial Russian Stout, which has become something the brewing team looks forward to making every year,” explains current Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele. “For the 2015 ‘Odd’ recipe, we wanted to incorporate chai spices, as we loved how deliciously they combined with classic stout flavors in the pilot batches that we previously brewed. We are excited to share this unique and limited special-release beer with our fans.”



Inspired by the savory flavors and aromas of chai tea, a blend of cinnamon, cardamom, clove, ginger, black pepper and black tea was blended with batches of Stone Imperial Russian Stout, post-fermentation. The aroma primarily showcases the spice and tea qualities, followed by mild clove and roasted barley characters. 2015 Stone CHAI-SPICED Imperial Russian Stout carries rich cinnamon, ginger and cardamom characteristics, followed by flavors of sweet tea as well as coffee from the base beer. As it warms, cocoa and coffee notes will balance out the piquant tea-and-spice medley.



Both 2015 Stone Imperial Russian Stout and 2015 Stone CHAI-SPICED Imperial Russian Stout are ready to be enjoyed fresh, or fans may store them at proper cellaring temperatures (55°F or lower) for several months or even years. The spice and tea qualities from the “Odd” version will mellow over time. As both beers mature, the malt flavors will become richer and more refined.


2015 Stone Imperial Russian Stout Classic and "Odd" Release Distribution

National Distribution: AK, AL, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MT, NC, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA and Puerto Rico

International Distribution: Australia; Alberta and British Columbia (“Odd” release only), Canada; Japan; Singapore; Sweden; and United Kingdom

Find Beer: find.stonebrewing.com




2015 Stone Imperial Russian Stout (Classic Release) Quick Facts


URL: Stonebrewing.com/IRS

Stats: 10.6% ABV, 65 IBUs

Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning March 23

Hops Bill: Warrior


Stone Imperial Russian Stout Video


Classic Release Tasting notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele


Tasting Notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele

Appearance: Beer pours dark brown with a deep tan head.

Aroma: Cocoa and coffee flavors dominate, along with bourbon-like oak notes, fruity fermentation esters and some yeasty breadiness.

Taste: Bittersweet cocoa and coffee flavors are the most prevalent, plus fruitiness and hints of anise and yeastiness, which are followed by a smooth, balanced, slightly astringent, bitter finish. As it warms and opens up, the beer becomes smoother and the roasted flavors strengthen.

Palate: This beer is extremely full bodied and smooth, with a hint of alcohol heat.

Overall: We haven’t changed this recipe much from the original version that Stone President & Co-founder Steve Wagner created in 2000. It’s a fantastic beer, and we love brewing it every year!


Classic Release Suggested pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador "Dr." Bill Sysak


Appetizers: Caramel-dipped bacon, blue cheese-stuffed dates, oysters on the half shell, roasted pecans or walnuts

Soups: French onion, Hungarian goulash, beef stew, cream of mushroom

Entrees: Beef steaks with rich cream-based sauces, goose or duck with cherry sauce, coffee-rubbed lamb chops, grilled blue cheese-stuffed portobello mushrooms, vegetarian vindaloo curry

Cheeses: Point Reyes Bay Blue, Rogue River Blue, Roquefort, Gorgonzola Dolce, Stilton

Dessert: Chocolate lava cake, tiramisu, brownies, caramel cheesecake

Cigars: Padron Anniversary Series, La Reloba Selección Sumatra Torpedo, Illusione CG:4 Maduro


2015 Stone CHAI-SPICED Imperial Russian Stout ("Odd" Release) Quick Facts

URL: Stonebrewing.com/IRS/ODD

Stats: 10.6% ABV, 65 IBUs

Availability: Limited 22-ounce bottles and draft, beginning March 23

Hops bill: Warrior


2015 Stone CHAI-SPICED Imperial Russian Stout Video


"Odd" Release Tasting notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele


Tasting Notes, provided by Stone Brewmaster Mitch Steele

Appearance: Beer pours dark brown with a deep tan head.

Aroma: Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and tea qualities dominate the aroma, followed by hints of clove, roasted malt, cocoa and coffee-like aromatics.

Taste: Deep, rich cinnamon and ginger combined with cocoa, roasted malt notes, strong cardamom and hints of clove and black pepper, finishing with a strong, slightly sweet tea and coffee flavor. As it warms, the cocoa and coffee flavors balance out the spices.

Palate: This beer is extremely full bodied and smooth, possessing a spicy tang and hint of alcohol heat.

Overall: Our QA guru Rick Blankemeier introduced us to brewing with chai spices several years ago when he brewed a chai stout on Stone’s pilot system. Since then, we have brewed his creation a couple of times. Most recently, Rick and Liberty Station Brewing Manager Kris Ketcham brewed a version at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens – Liberty Station. The chai-spice and stout combination is something we really enjoyed, so we decided to use the spices for this year’s “Odd Years for Odd Beers” version of Stone Imperial Russian Stout. The spices and tea are very prominent now, and I fully expect that they will subdue and mellow over time.


"Odd" Release Suggested pairings, provided by Stone Craft Beer Ambassador "Dr." Bill Sysak


Appetizers: Teriyaki chicken wings, bacon-wrapped figs, roasted pecans, deviled eggs, baked cinnamon-dusted plantain chips

Soups: Butternut squash, chili con carne, coconut curry, carrot-ginger, birria (goat stew)

Entrees: Mushroom Stroganoff, coffee-dusted lamb chops, vegetarian vindaloo curry, pork mole

Cheeses: Beehive Big John's Cajun, Point Reyes Original Blue, Maytag Blue, Valdeón, Gorgonzola

Desserts: Tiramisu, peanut butter fudge, cinnamon rolls, French vanilla ice cream, baklava

Cigars: La Flor Dominicana Double Ligero Digger, Padron Aniversario, Illusione MJ12 Maduro


"Odd Beers for Odd Years" Video




About Stone Brewing Co.


Founded by Greg Koch and Steve Wagner in 1996, San Diego-based Stone Brewing Co.is the 10th largest craft brewer in the United States. Stone has been listed on the Inc. 500 | 5000 Fastest Growing Private Companies list 10 times, and has been called the “All-time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine twice. The multi-faceted company will be the first American craft brewer to own and operate its own brewery in Europe, and is also building a production brewery and destination restaurant in Richmond, Virginia. Brewing at both locations is anticipated to begin late 2015. Known for its bold, flavorful and largely hop-centric beers, Stone has earned a reputation for brewing outstanding, unique beers while maintaining an unwavering commitment to sustainability, business ethics, philanthropy and the art of brewing. For more information on Stone Brewing Co., please visit stonebrewing.com or the company’s social media sites: Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and The Stone Blog.
Please visit our sponsors