Product Review: Stone Brewing Co. Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout

Just before the start of the Great American Beer Fest, Stone Brewing Company released it’s Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout, a collaboration beer with a local San Diego homebrewer and Iron Fist Brewing Co. from Vista, Calif.

Ken Schmidt, a local homebrewer won Stone Brewing’s annual homebrew contest for the second time and we’re thankful he did. Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout is the sort of out-of-the-box thinking that has brought craft brewers to the forefront of the beer industry. We tip our cap to the folks at Stone, not only for their willingness to collaborate with local homebrewers but also for scaling a small, creative batch of beer into a full-sized production run.

Below is the official press release announcing the release. Also, don’t forget to check out our product review.

ESCONDIDO, CA (October 8th) – Today, Stone Brewing Co. released the “Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout,” a collaboration beer with San Diego homebrewer Ken Schmidt and Iron Fist Brewing Co. from Vista, Calif. Schmidt was chosen to collaborate with the San Diego breweries after his original creation won the Stone (4th Annual) 2012 March Madness Homebrew Competition & AHA Rally at Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens. The winning beer earned Schmidt the opportunity to have his recipe professionally brewed at Stone and distributed across the U.S.

Fresh mint leaves from Stone Farms and chocolate made by Southern California chocolatier ChocoVivo were included in the beer, showcasing the mint chocolate flavors that blend together perfectly. However, to get an extra kick of cool mintiness found in Schmidt’s homebrew version, which used a chocolate mint extract, Stone searched for a 100 percent natural flavor extract to add to the beer (hence the “Ale brewed with coca and mint with natural flavors added” line on the bottle.) The result is a beer with aromas of herbal mint, cocoa, and hints of caramel in the nose. The first sip tastes of pronounced peppermint, cocoa and dark roasted coffee malt flavors that burst on the palate.

“There’s always uncertainty when it comes to adding spices or herbs to a beer, and this combination could’ve been disastrous, or it could’ve worked beautifully,” Mitch Steele, brewmaster at Stone Brewing Co., said. “Fortunately, it was the latter; the beer was better than everyone could have expected, and it was clear that this was the winning beer as soon as we tasted it. It was exquisitely well-crafted with amazing chocolate mint flavors. Given its complexity, it was a challenge for us to replicate Ken’s homebrew recipe on our large system. But, given our past success with Ken’s first beer, and by enlisting the help of Brandon Sieminski from Iron Fist, we’ve nailed it: a lusciously smooth imperial stout teeming with cocoa and mint.”

Ken Schmidt / Iron Fist / Stone Mint Chocolate Imperial Stout

Stats: 9.6% abv, 69 IBUs
Availability: Limited 12-ounce bottles and draft, beginning October 8
Hops bill: East Kent Goldings
Distribution: Ariz., Calif., Colo., Fla., Ill., Mass., N.C., N.M., N. J., N.Y., Ohio, Ore., Pa., S.C., Texas, Va., Vt., and Wash.

About Stone Brewing Company:

Stone Brewing Co. was founded in 1996 by Steve Wagner and Greg Koch in North County San Diego. It is the 11th largest craft brewery in the United States and has been named “All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth” by BeerAdvocate magazine – TWICE! The brewery recently announced more than $50 million in expansion plans that include Stone Packaging Hall, Stone World Bistro & Gardens — Liberty Station, and the future Stone Hotel among other lofty ventures. For more information, please visit, follow on Twitter or “like” on Facebook.