Stone brews so many different beers each year that sometimes it is better to review two at once. This time I happened to find the new Imperial Mutt Brown in the store at the same time as the 2015 Odd Year Chai Spiced Imperial Russian Stout so I thought I would review them together. Since I hadn’t tried any sort of imperial brown ale before I was interested to see what I would find.
Though I really enjoyed the bottle design I was pretty let down by the overall flavors presented. Overall I found it to be heavily boozy and not presenting a lot of roasty flavors. While it pours thick it doesn’t have any of the flavors of an imperial stout. Many of the mellow flavors that you get in a brown ale are still present here though slightly stronger. Overall it doesn’t have the strong amount of flavor that should be expected from a 9% beer. It does have a small amount of chocolate flavor that is revealed when it warms up. While I know this is not an imperial stout, the alcohol content and price are such that I think it is a fair point of comparison.
Next came the Chai Imperial Russian Stout. At first I was hesitant to give this a try but I heard good things so I picked up a bottle. Spices are good and mellow balancing nicely with the imperial stout flavors that are always enjoyable. I was very unsure if I would enjoy this but it really makes a great stout and stands out among the crowd. The tea flavors are mostly overpowered by the spices so I didn’t notice them very much here. This is a nice mellow beer that packs enough flavor to go up against the classic Stone Imperial Russian Stout.
If you have a choice between the two beers above, I would absolutely go with the Chai Stout over the Imperial Mutt Brown. If you had a different experience with the Mutt Brown I would love to hear about it in the comments.