Archive for the 'Stone' category
With 2010 quickly coming to a close I thought this would be the ideal time to clean out some posts that have been languishing in the “drafts” bin for quite some time (one since 2009!). The DFH review is closest to being finalized so is most like a typical Sevenpack review, but is also the oldest and the train of thought for the post is lost to time. As for the other two “reviews”, they are merely notes I took while drinking the beers and that is how they will be posted. Certainly not the typical Sevenpack style of review, but at least the info is out there.
Dogfish Head Squall IPA (September 18, 2009)
*This was for the beer’s first release. It has since been released again.
A thick, creme colored head sits atop the beer’s clear, copper body as it awaited my first sip. Pungent, sticky aromas of pine and citrus hops mix with a heavy caramel sweetness. Lots of big aromas in this beer.
In the mouth this “big” aspect continues. On the front of the tongue is a slight carbonation burn. This quickly moves mid-tongue to an enjoyable mixture of pine hops and maple syrup-ish sweetness. The beer ends with a strong bitter finale of grapefruit hops. This sweetness continues to the back of the mouth, where it encounters a bitter blast of grapefruit hops. This finale of hops, though bitter, is kept in check by the previously mentioned sweetness.
Overall a very enjoyable beer by Dogfish Head. If you can find a bottle (it was of limited release, in limited areas) you would not go wrong picking one up.
Brooklyn Sorachi Ace (June 6, 2010)
very slightly cloudy, big puff white head, golden
lemon, fresh crushed black pepper, herb (lightly minty)
lemon and pepper – combination has notes of lemon cough drops, dry, crisp, light on the tongue, finish has a bad orange juice taste, finish is lemon pith bitter,
Stone 14th AnniversaryEmperial IPA (August 3, 2010)
yellow golden, white, fluffy head, small little carbonation bubbles
very fresh hop smell, light lemon, intermingled with earth of equal value to lemon,
lemon-citrus, fresh, lively, clean, bitter hit for a finish, light in the mouth, light malt sweetness in the finish, spice notes in the mid section, definitely need to pick up another bottle.
I believe Ben and I actually had this beer at the same time, Ben was just quicker on posting his review. With my review in handwritten form, I was able to spare some time yesterday and actually type it up. You can read my thoughts on this beer below Ben’s.
I don’t think I could get much more excited about a beer than I got about this li’l guy. I’m surprised that I wasn’t aware of this long ago, but it actually took me by surprise down at the Blue Light recently. In case you also aren’t aware, this beer was borne of a partnership between three of the better US brewers in existence today: Dogfish Head, Stone, and Victory (in alphabetical order). They formed a group they call BUFF (Brewers United for Freedom of Flavor). This, as I understand it, is their first brew, an ale brewed with parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme.
The Saison du BUFF pours a slightly hazy golden with ample effervescence, resulting in a pillowy white head and lots of carbonation surging upwards from the bottom of the glass. In the nose, the unique spicing is evident. In fact, there is so much spice in the nose, that it is difficult for my amateur snout to divine the different components. What is evident, though, is a powerful yet pleasant scent that burns it’s way through the nostrils with additional hints of citrus and yeast. In the mouth, I’m frankly surprised at how good this beer is. The “parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme” gimmick had me worried – not an easy combination to pull off in a beer – but this is downright pleasant. Obviously there’s a melange of spice here, culminating to create a flavor that is, at the same time, earthy, sour, lightly bitter, and rather exotic. This is, as nearly as can be pinpointed, a saison-like beer. Beyond that, however, it defies expectation. This beer is, in the end, completely unique to beers I’ve tasted, and it’s rare these days to find a beer that is both totally new and totally tasty. Somehow, this pulls it off.
So, I’m glad to say that I walk out of this tasting with no decreased respect for the brewers involved, despite their risky stunt. Rather, I’m impressed that they’ve managed to pull a tasty beer out of a very odd hat. I can’t wait to see what further inventions this union renders.
PS – This is just the first version of this beer, brewed at Stone brewery. They will, in fact, be doing new iterations of this same beer at each of the three breweries involved…
Stone has quite a few beers in their collaboration series, and of the beers I have had they have at least been “interesting”. I was definitely psyched when I read on BeerNews that Stone and Dogfish Head, along with Victory, were teaming up for a collaboration. The icing on the cake (or the head on the beer), the collaboration would be in the Saison style. I picked up a few bottles a couple days ago, and I can not wait to dig in.
A thick, creamy and slightly off-white head sits atop a lightly cloudy golden hued body. Though the carbonation is very light, a few large bubbles rising every few seconds, the head stays around for seven to eight minutes. Released from this head is a hoppy lemon aroma, overtly resiny, and a finishing hint of herbs. The beer is a bit thicker on the palate then I expected. A hoppy lemon presence greets the tongue, and it is rather enjoyable and refreshing. Then the herbs used in the beer’s brew process hit. The sage and thyme make their presence known, and the rosemary makes subtle illusions to itself. I’m reminded of a full-roast chicken recipe I do utilizing these ingredients (including the lemon). The aftertaste is not long, but it keeps with the herb character, with the thyme outlasting the rest.
I like my Saison’s a bit crisper, and lighter then this, and the “herb style” of beer is not the first style I reach for, and this beer will not change that.
Overall, not bad, but the remaining bottles will probably sit around awhile in the beer fridge.
Update: Ben beat me to the post once again. However since I just had the beer, and the review is only a day old, I thought I would do a repost with my thoughts at the end. Enjoy a little virtual side-by-side tasting.
Ben’s Post 7/14/2009: I always love to see Stone’s Anniversary series hit shelves. Hell, I love to see most any Stone beer on the shelf. It seems like every year, though, they push the limits a bit to make something novel and delicious for their Anniversary series. The only downfall is they never give you a clue of the genre on the bottle, so you just gotta buy it on faith, which I have done. Tonight, we uncork the mystery – let’s see what this year holds…
The 13th Anniversary ale pours a deep, deep brown that looks filtered and clear when held up to the light. The head here is sparse at most, but deep caramel colored. The aroma is an interesting combination of hop and malt. There are some rich caramel tints to the nose, coupled with a burn of fresh bitter hop, and it works very well. In the mouth, we discover that this is a hoppy brown ale. There is a hop burn on the tip of the tongue that is quickly squelched by a line of rich dark malt that coats the tongue, bringing a toffee flavored bready goodness to the flavor and offering a rich, thick mouthfeel. However, about the middle of the tongue, the hop rears its head again, blasting us with a huge dose of bitterness that joins the malt through the mouth to the aftertaste, finally leaving us with rich bready flavors all over the tongue and a grapefruit hop aroma up the nose. This is, by all accounts, a delicious beer. I’ve had a few hoppy browns before, but this one manages to blend the rich and hoppy together much better while still giving them independent presences in the mouth. I’m not tasting anything exceptional in the yeast. Rather, it seems that the malt and hop take the forefront here. Each of them offers big yet typical flavors that we expect, they’re just smashed together in one beer. Very, very good. Big, flavorful, and exceptionally balanced.
Dave’s Post 7/15/2009: The beer pours quite dark and my initial impression indicated the beer was black. However, holding the beer directly up to a light reveals a very deep-rich-amber hue to the beer’s body. Atop the beer’s body was a slightly off-white head comprised of tight small bubbles. The head had good staying power with a “life” of five to seven minutes, before subsiding to a thin covering. During the head’s “life” my nose was inundated with hop aromas. Pine, resin, even some light grapefruit all made a showing. All aromas I come to expect from a Stone brew.
In the mouth the beer felt rather light, compared to my expectations that is. At the start of the session my mouth was awash in pine-hops and their associated bitterness. However as the session moved along I started to notice a sweetness growing in the beer. This sweetness was of lightly caramelized sugar. I also noticed a more pronounced grapefruit-hop characteristic coming through the pine forest that was my mouth. The caramelized sugar and grapefruit-hop gave the beer a little more complexity then the first few sips let on. The caramelized sugar presence, though subdued, changed the beer’s character from IPA, which is what I originally thought I was getting, to a real hoppy amber.
You definitely get the typical Stone creation (a hugely hopped beer), but their are subtleties in this beer that make it stick out. I found myself enjoying the beer the more I got into the session. The beer more grew on me, then blew me away.
When I think Stone Brewing, I think hops… Big hops… Taste annihilating hops! Then I came across Stone Levitation at a local bar. Though it has been out since 2002, Levitation has only recently been released here in Massachusetts. I am glad it has, because I enjoyed this beer immensely.
In the pint glass sat a clear, dark amber bodied beer, with a two finger, white, frothy head atop. This head had longevity too, staying around for multiple minutes and still only receding to a half-finger full covering. This head retention allowed excellent time to in-hale the beer’s aroma. There is definitely a hop presence with nice citrus notes, but I am not blown away by them. There is also a nice mixing of malt and bread in the aroma.
The taste of the beer is rather complex. The hops start things off with a delectable citrus note, but progress to a mixed citrus and mildly earthy flavoring. In the middle of this flavor progression another flavor makes itself known, one with a light malt and grain profile. As the beer warms this malt profile starts to gain a caramel sweetness dimension. Though by no means pronounced, the caramel does make an appearance.
When the beer is done, which will be too soon because it is too good, the glass is a beautiful display of heavy lacing, with amazing stratification all the way down the glass.
The great thing about this beer, besides its enjoyable complexity, refreshing nature, and great taste, is the fact you will be able to fully taste the next one you order.
If you live on the Pacific Coast (specifically North Pacific Coast, if I remember correctly), you soon might be able to pick up a Stone beer at your local 7-11. Stone and 7-11 have struck an agreement where 7-11 franchises can stock Stone beers. It should be noted, this does not mean every 7-11 will stock Stone beer, just those “franchises who choose to participate”. Being able to purchase something other then macro-beers at 7-11 is a step in the right direction in getting better beer out to the masses. Not that I can purchase any beers at 7-11… thanks Blue Laws.
Spring is finally upon us, so this beer review will fall under the “better late then never” category, since the beer is a Christmas Holiday beer. I had the beer back in the throws of winter, but, as is my “style”, I am just getting around to placing my review into post form. The first standout feature, and hopefully not the only one, of this beer is the brewers behind it. This is a collaboration beer between Stone, Nøgne-Ø, and Jolly Pumpkin. All three brewers have made exceptional beers in the past, so lets see what happens when they combine forces.
The beer poured a jet black into my snifter, with a head that was of the “small-white-bubble-islands” variety. A big pine aroma hit my nostrils first, reminding me of Stone’s Black IPA. Through this thick pine aroma I also gleamed some typical Christmas beer aromas of coriander and ginger. In the mouth the beer runs smooth, and the pine taste, unsurprisingly, was the bully of the bunch, beating back all the other flavors to near unnoticeable quality. One strange flavoring I did notice was something I noted as “pasta flavor”. Was this a gasp of malt trying to make itself known? I am not really sure. The beer finished big and bitter.
I was not overly impressed with the beer personally, and probably a reason I took so long to post my review. The Allstrom brothers reviewed this beer back in late February for their Volume 11 Issue 8 Weekly Dig beer article (page 14). I did not read the review at the time, having already had the beer and not wanting to “taint” my review with their thoughts. Having just finished writing my review however, I gave their review a read.
I am not even sure we are talking about the same beer! Maybe my nose was off the night I had this, or I got a bad bottle, or the fact everyone tastes things differently. Whatever the reason, they really enjoyed the beer (with qualities I never noticed). So if you find this beer lying on a shelf somewhere, I recommend giving it a shot. It might not have done anything for me, but I’m not going to completely disregard the beer either.
As an ending aside, I enjoy this collaboration trend in brewing. It keeps things very interesting for the beer drinker, and I hope to see its continuation along with its expansion.
*Updated with cellaring notes, see below*
Originally Published July 26, 2006 by Ben:
Just before tasting this particular beer, Matty and I were discussing my theory that East coast beers inherently have bigger balls than West coast beers. As a rule, it seems that the Western beers (from Colorado and California, for instance) are more mellow and often display more creative sweet or fruity flavors. Eastern beers, on the other hand, seem to be migrating to either staunch interpretations of standard genres or, more excitingly, extreme interpretations of already ballsy beers – case in point are the great IPA’s, Pilsners, and even Double Wheat beers that are now coming from the East coast. Well, then we had to open the Stone “Old Guardian” – this beer has some decent machismo about it, and is quite a treat. The only problem is that this beer is from California. Oh well, there goes my theory.
This beer pours a beautiful dark and cloudy ruby tint. The head isn’t pronounced from the start, and thins to near-nothing by the time the beer settles. The aroma isn’t extremely pronounced, but indicates a subtle floral sweetness with a fair amount of spice – it isn’t near as pungent as the Lagunitas Barleywine, but nevertheless pleasant. Where this beer comes to the forefront is with the taste. The initial tasty is pleasant and sweet with a slight burn that I think must be a result of the hops. Across the tongue the hops blaze a trail, presenting an original nuance every inch of the way. At the end of the mouth, the hops remain coating the tongue. Down the throat, the spiciness remains and there is a slight shock in the swallow, kind of like a liquor in its effect. The mouthfeel, in general, is very full, but not overly syrupy. Overall, I would consider this a great Barleywine style ale. It isn’t quite as strong as some at it’s 11.25% abv, but it isn’t at all watered-down. Rather, this is a strong beer that doesn’t sacrifice flavor for shock value, and a Barleywine that any fan of the genre should try.
Published February 2, 2009 by Dave:
During the “other” big game of the day yesterday (which could have the nick name of The Penalty Bowl), I decided to crack open a cellared Stone “Old Guardian” Barleywine Style Ale. This beer was a “limited early 2007 release”, as written on the bottle, and has been cellaring in my possession since June-ish (forget the exact date) 2007. Though I do not have an ideal cellaring area (i.e. a separate temperature controlled room… I can dream can I not?), I have to say my area keeps a pretty consistent, and cool temperature. Unfortunately I have lost my notes from my first tasting of this beer (I bought two bottles and tasted one before cellaring), so I am going to go off of Ben’s initial notes of a 2006 release. Though not an ideal situation, I have read enough of Ben’s reviews and sampled the same reviewed beers to have a pretty good idea of what he is talking about.
The beer looks just as Ben describes so lets skip right to the aromas and taste. Though I notice a slight sweetness to the aroma, I really notice a dark fruit note. Raisins and plums come to mind right off the bat. There is a spicy hop presence, but I would label it more subdued then “fair amount”. I also notice a slight booze note in the nose. This booze note does not follow through to the taste however, with only a slightly bitter, hop-bite present at the back of the mouth.
What does come through in the taste is a sweet, dark fruit flavoring. This taste is very pleasant and runs smooth right through the mouth. Not only is the beer smooth, but it has quite a heft to it. Not syrupy, though definitely getting very close to it, but it coats the mouth with this luscious dark fruit sweetness amazingly well.
This beer has aged quite well. Losing its alcohol notes, while gaining a very pleasurable dark fruit character. The spicy hop character is still around, which gives the beer an interesting dynamic. Give the beer another year, and I would assume this hop character would be very subdued and tough to find. I’ll have to pick up a 2009 release and try aging it again (this time keeping my notes!).
Somehow, this brew has managed to elude review here on SevenPack, despite the fact that I like to drink it often. Fortunately, I recognized this discrepancy today whilst enjoying said brew and watching some football playoffs (now sans-Panthers. Good job, guys. Seriously).
The Stone Pale pours a deep golden hue with substantial cloudiness and a fairly thick white head. The aroma here is fairly full of malt. It is rich and bready, and combines with an underlying floral malt to provide a fabulous scent that is very well-rounded. In the mouth, this beer tastes about like it smells. The predominant sensation is a big and sticky mouthfeel full of rich sweetbread flavors. As the beer slides down the tongue, the hop begins to present itself in a pretty big way. Most of the hop is that fresh floral variety that is hallmark of Stone beers. However, there is a decent amount of bitterness here, as well – it helps to balance the beer, but doesn’t really compete with the maltiness. In the aftertaste, a more metallic hop bitterness seeps up into the nasal cavity, while the malty coating of the beer remains all around the tongue and walls of the mouth, allowing the flavors to stick around for quite some time. This beer, along with the standard Stone IPA, makes for some of the best general drinking you can find in these categories. And, while the cost is a BIT high, it’s not what I’d call prohibitive, so go on out and pick up a couple six-packs for the big day of sports today…
Stone has recently released two new beers. First there was the release of their XII Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout back in early-July. Second was the next release in their Vertical Epic series, 08.08.08. I am going to tackle the XII Anniversary now, with the 08.08.08 review to follow shortly.
While looking over the Stone selection at my local store back in late July, I completely passed over this beer. I knew the Vertical Epic 08 was coming out shortly, so I was not looking for anything else knew from Stone. Those Stone brewers are always full of surprises however, and fortunately the register clerk pointed out my oversight.
The beer pours a deep, rich, black into the waiting pint glass. In the initial few seconds of pouring I was not getting much head, so I decided to give it a hard pour (glass vertical, with bottle nearly vertical), and received a nice one finger of dark tan head for results. The aromas emanating off the beer were burnt, and bitter chocolate. Very nice, and very inviting.
The aroma of chocolate continued on into the taste, which is not surprising due to the beer’s name. Also not surprising, again due to the beer’s name, was the fact the chocolate was not sweet in taste but bitter, more on par with a baking chocolate. This bitterness value definitely gave the beer an interesting ‘kick’.
This is where the final part of the beer came into play, the oats. Though I did not notice the oats in the aroma, the oats helped with the bitterness factor, and provided an enjoyable smoothness through the mouth. This smooth and rather rich mouthfeel, gave a nice balance to the bitterness and helped the beer move along through the mouth. Though this smoothness was slightly lost at the back of the mouth, where there was a light presence of alcohol, this did not detract much from the whole experience of the beer.
Overall this beer delivers what the label states. There is bitterness, there is chocolate, there is oatmeal. The bitterness is probably a bit high for some people (as recognized on my friend’s faces when they sampled the beer), but I expect as much from those bitter bastards at Stone. A definite must try, and a re-purchase in my book.
Hey folks – Ben here… So, I just found this beer for the first time and wrote up a review without realizing that Dave had already managed this one months ago! I’m behind the times. At any rate, not being one to waste (my) effort, below is my review of the same beer Dave reviewed just above… Compare, contrast, and discuss amongst yourselves…
Sometimes the compromises of life on the road make you do things that you really really want to do. In this case, my inability to carry a beer bottle in my carry-on is forcing me to drink this very special Stone 12th Anniversary Beer RIGHT NOW. I’ve enjoyed following the Stone Anniversary beers, as they’re always tasty and exciting. And, generally, I’ll force myself to buy a couple of these and cellar at least one so that I can see how it operates a few years down the line. However, in this case, I found the last bottle in the store while in Colorado and, gosh-darnit, if I can’t carry it home with me, I guess I’ll just have to drink it tonight!
The 12thABCOS pours a beautiful and extremely deep and brown color – this thing sucks up light like a black hole. Topping it off is a luxurious, pillowy deep brown head that sticks around for quite some time, eventually falling off to what looks like a ‘shore’ of froth that sticks around all sides of the glass on the beer surface. The aroma of this actually contains a lot of alcohol – no hiding that 9.2% abv. Beyond that, there are some underlying aromas of rich malt and a bit of chocolate. In the mouth, this beer is big and biting. The alcohol and sweetness catch you on the tip of the tongue, giving the beer a sweetness with a bite. This sweetness begins to show a richer side as it slides down the tongue, the bitter chocolate adding some fabulous complexity and depth, with a richness of flavor and mouthfeel that must be contributed from the oatmeal. Down the throat, this beer comes back to punch you one more time, with a sharp blast of bitter chocolate that reaches its strongest suddenly before sliding down the throat, and then kicking up an alcohol aftertaste that hits the nose and sits on the palate with the oatmeal richness for several seconds after the beer is gone.
Overall, it’s a huge and tasty beer, and I think using bitter chocolate and oatmeal in a stout is a great idea – it’s just a very natural match for a brew. However, this would definitely benefit from a year or two of aging. The alcohol presence is currently a bit too pronounced, and the bitterness of the chocolate is a bit too biting. Letting this sit for a while would not doubt mellow and enrich this beer, and I have a feeling this is going to be incredible around January 2010. -Ben
Following up my recent review of Stone’s XII Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout is Stone’s other recent release, Vertical Epic 08.08.08. This is release seven in the Vertical Epic series but I noticed the first one to be reviewed here on sevenpack. I am pretty sure I have seen 07.07.07 still on shelves and I have an 06.06.06 cellaring, so I should be able to expand our Vertical Epic reviews. Getting my hands on the full Vertical Epic however, is most likely out of my wallets reach.
With a hard pour into a chalice, only a thin covering of white head consisting of large bubbles covered the hazy, golden body. The lackluster head did not stop the aromas however. This beer had a lot going on. The most dominant of smells was of hops. This smell of hops progressed from a light tropical fruit note to a strong pine sap number. Intermingling with the hops however were aromas of flowers, honey, confectioner sugar, and yeast. At the end of the reviewing session these yeast aromas became more pronounced with clove and pepper taking center stage. I was very intrigued by this aroma, so I could not wait for the taste.
The hops, once again, took center stage. They started out floral and progressed into pine, seeming to skip the tropical fruits I smelled earlier. The pine taste is where the bitterness hits. Ironically I did not find the bitterness as strong as I thought it would be. This feeling changed through the session however, because the bitterness progressively got stronger. It was not just a bitter pine experience though. The bitterness was being ever so softly corralled by a honey like sweetness. This sweetness did not keep the bitterness completely in-check, and the taste was subtle, but it did help in some balancing. To finish there was also a certain syrupy smoothness characteristic to the rather light mouthfeeling drink.
Flat out, I enjoyed this beer. It is still a big hoppy beer (good), which tends to be expected from Stone, but it does have some subtle differences from being a straight old hop bomb (good). I think the real interesting thing will be how this ages. There is definitely enough yeast and residual sugars left in the beer for some “magic” to happen. The hops however scare me a bit, since they are not supposed to age well. (Then again I could be mistaken on that point, maybe only certain types of hops or hops in certain formulas do not age well. Any feedback on this point from our readers would be greatly appreciated.) I am definitely going to cellar a few bottles to see how it all turns out.
For those without Stone distribution around you (that sucks), Stone posts the homebrew recipe for each of their Vertical Epic releases on their website. If you can not buy it, brew it!
Since Stone lacks distribution around Ben and Matt, I thought I would post a review of one of their newest offerings, Stone 11th Anniversary Ale. This is an interesting beer for the fact it is a Black IPA “(or should we say “India Black Ale/ IBA”?)” as stated on the Stone site. Having personally never heard of a Black IPA, I was intrigued by what the beer would have in store for me.
The beer pours a sticky finger and a half of cream colored head into a pint glass. The color, black. They definitely were not kidding when they called it a Black IPA. It is not a dark IPA, it is a black IPA. For comparison sake I took a photo (see below) of a Stone IPA, Stone Ruination, and Stone 11th Anniversary next to each other (I had to use competitor’s glasses because I only have one Stone glass, but if Stone wants to send me some…).
There is quite a difference in color. Beer is not just to be looked at however, so let’s see how it smells and tastes.
The initial aroma of the beer is of freshly cut grapefruit, the citrus blast is that intense. I also notice some light pine and floral aroma with some further smelling. I find the aroma very pleasing and actually end up just smelling the beer for a good few minutes.
Already impressed with the visual and aromatic properties of the beer, I moved on to the all important tasting. The taste is definitely one of an IPA with the citrus flavor up front and pine towards the back of the mouth. The pine even stays around in the mouth between sips. What is interesting about the flavor is the slight hint of smoke at the back of the mouth along with the pine. It is not strong, like a smoked porter, but the hint is there. The mouth feel is another interesting aspect of this beer. For me it was not only “richer” and medium bodied when compared to an IPA, I found it to be quite smooth.
Some other interesting things about this beer, which I learned at a Stone sampling session at a local beer store, is the fact it uses a Carafa malt (I had written down Kafka, but considering I can find no reference to Kafka as a malt, I’m pretty sure I just mis-heard) with Simcoe, Chinook and Amarillo hops. The beer also tested horribly with Stone’s sample brewing system. It seems the beer started off as a home brew, most likely from a Stone employee, which was enjoyable, so the decision was made to brew a larger batch in Stone’s testing system (I was told the size of their testing system, but unfortunately I did not take a written note of it). The larger batch from the test system actually sampled poorly. People didn’t like it all that much. Now for whatever reason, the stone rep was not sure if it was either because the Stone brewers knew the production brewery system had a higher efficiency compared to the testing system, 90+% compared to 70%, so the flavoring would be better, or the brewers knew what part of the recipe needed adjusting without having to run it through the test system again, they went along with the beer and the Stone 11th Anniversary Ale came to fruition in its current form. A rather ballsy move, for a pretty ballsy beer.
Overall a very interesting beer I fully enjoyed, and had no issue picking up again… and again. The 8.7% ABV is pretty well hidden so you have to be careful with this beer, but it definitely gets a recommendation for any hop head or person interested in trying different stylings of beer.
One of these days I am going to drink the original brew and its “bastardized” version in the same sitting and compare them. But alas, Stone does not distribute in NC and I drank the Arrogant Bastard many moons ago so this will not be the time. This is my first time reviewing a Stone brew so I hope I can find the words to do it justice. Given that I am so enamored with this brewery style I also hope I don’t come off as a complete homer. I have yet to have a beer from them that didn’t bludgeon my tastebuds and for some reason I can’t get enough.
This beer is a spin off of the Arrogant Bastard, an American Strong ale. Before going any further take a moment and appreciate the intestinal fortitude it takes to call your beer the Arrogant Bastard. You’re pretty much daring someone to hate it and if they do your only response will be, “I don’t really care” (I’m paraphrasing of course. My guess is there would be a few expletives thrown in there.) This beer has a hazy, deep, amber color. It looks as burly as the label art suggests. It smells heavily hopped with dark fruity undertones. There is crisp, grassy aroma that surrounds the nose as the glass approaches the face and at this point I am overcome by sheer terror. While I’ve had some big beers, the aroma leads me to believe this beer is going to taste, for lack of a better term, raw! I’m relieved to find that the taste is much more mellow and smooth than the smell. The malty flavor thickens in the mouth and leaves a sweet film on the tongue and back of the throat. There is a bit of cherry that lends a tartness to the flavor and balances the floral characteristics. The hoppiness climbs to the roof of the mouth and clings like a stalactite in a cavern. Again, I wish I had this beer’s forefather to compare it to but since I don’t I can’t say which is better. What I can say is this beer is both intimidating and inviting. A newby to the craft brew culture won’t enjoy this at all, but a seasoned veteran will certainly appreciate the bold and soft qualities this beer has to offer. And if you don’t, well, I doubt the folks at Stone really care, if for no other reason than because they are better than you! FACE!
Okay, I gotta make this quick, ’cause Entourage is about to come on. Good thing this is an easy review. In a nutshell, I never met a Stone brew I didn’t like. These guys make fantastic big beers at an affordable price. And, they have witty things to say on their bottles, to boot!
So, this IPA pours a hazy golden color with an orange tint. The aroma is quite hoppy, but not totally floral (which I would generally prefer) – actually, there is a larger malt presence in the aroma than one might expect. In the mouth, there are lots of big bitter hops with a light flowery sweetness to join them. Again, there is a decent amount of malt, but not as much as the aroma would imply. This has a nice hop presence all through the mouth and, as expected, leaves you with a delightful bitter aftertaste long after you swallow. Basically, it’s a great IPA and would probably make a decent session beer, if your session isn’t too serious. Unfortunately, I have to drive to VA to even get this stuff, so I have to savour every bottle – no session for me!
Okay, sorry for the quick review, but it had to be done. Now go buy some.
This beer smells and tastes much like an IPA, which perhaps it is. The aroma is very similar to that I expect from another favorite of mine, the Dogfish Head 90-minute IPA. It has a large mouthfeel and a bit of malt in the back of the mouth, finishing with a slight metallic and a dwindling taste within a few seconds. Altogether, an excellent beer – I’d love to taste the 7th and 8th Anniversary varietals that I’ve heard so much about
So, I must confess: I’m stepping it up double time. I’m getting precocious. I’m skipping grades. I’m stepping to the Double Arrogant Bastard Ale, and skipping the ol’ joe-schmoe Arrogant Bastard Ale.
At 10 percent abv, this puppy ain’t a shy one, and it’s got the straight-outta-Stone diatribe on the back to prove it. She pours a deep reddish-brown, like a translucent caramel or dark honey, bubbling with a fine ebullient head that lingers in a pleasant way. It’s bouquet is like a fucking flower shop, without the allergic potential because of microscopic pollens.
It’s got that strong taste of a big brew trying to balance that alcohol, though I don’t think it does the job with the supremacy of some imperial somsabitches that I’ve had before. Once I am at it’s end, I am near my end. Like most high abv beers, no matter how you felt about it when you started drinking, you’re ready to start high-fiving it’s brewers when you’re finished (when you start hitting on their daughters, and then get mightily pounded yourself. Beware).
In sum, you get good literature for the price, but not all the beer I had hoped for. The malts fight a losing battle with the alcohol, the hops are ripe to the nose but overmatched to the tongue. And now that I ponder it, the writing on the back (Sample: “It is unequivocally certain that your feeble palate is grossly inadequate and thus undeserving of this liquid glory.”) serves some odd duel purposes, on one level winking at you in its sarcastically ponderous way, but at the same time lulling you into the very same self-satisfaction that it makes fun of—it is disturbingly easy to trust the beer, much like the well-marketed beers it certainly strives to mock (Sample: “Double Bastard Ale calls out the garrulous caitiffs who perpetrate the aforementioned atrocities – and those that buy into them – and demands retribution for their outrageously conniving, intentionally misleading, blatantly masturbatory and fallacious ad campaigns.”). A riddle wrapped in an enigma, you say? Bullshit for the bullshitters, you say? Very well then. Very well.
I like it, do not love it. And I am wary.