Monday, November 26, 2012

Day One of Bastard Week - Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale - Gus #23

Today is day one of what I have decided is "Bastard Week."  I'll be reviewing three of the Bastard Ales from Stone Brewing Co.  All of these have a reputation of being amazing brews.  For some reason I have put off having the first one for a long time.  But now that I've had it, I'm going to let you know what I think.  This is the brew review of Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale.

How it rates with others:

ratebeer review:

Information from the brew's own website:

About the Beer:
Style:  American Strong Ale
Alcohol by Volume:  7.2%
IBUs:  Unknown
Serving:  22oz Bomber

I'm not going to put what the brewery says about the brew as it's in the photo above.  But, if you didn't read it, scroll back up and take a look.  It's pretty funny and has a nice jab at some of the standard macro brews.

I poured this brew into my Jester King glass.

Appearance:  The brew poured a dark amber color with hints of copper and red when I held it to the light.  The our yielded at least three fingers of an off white head.  Multi sized bubbles but all of them packed in very tightly.  There are hints of alcohol legs along the edge of the glass mixed in with some very sticky head lacing.  Just looking at it, it really is a menacing looking ale.  One that truly isn't for the faint of heart.  There is no way you would get this confused with the standard "yellow fizzy" adjuct lagers that are out there.  Very nice looking brew.

Aroma:  Right at the front of the nose you really get those big hop aromas.  Hints of grapefruit, little bit of orange zest in there as well.  Then you get some piney notes big in this one.  Resiny and sticky smelling.  It really does have that dank hop aroma to it.  Some slight floral notes.  The sweet malt backbone comes through right after that.  Some caramel notes and some sweet honey maybe right with that.  Hints of spice right at the end.  It's a really big beer.  It's amazing what all they get in there at only 7.2% ABV.  

Taste:  First thing you notice on this brew is a hop bitterness.  Danky, sticky and resiny.  Grapefruit flavors, then some of that pine and even some grassy flavors too.  It does have a bit of a floral note to it.  Slight alcohol but really not in a bad way.  It mixes with it quite well.  Caramel and malty flavors blend in mid palate and follow it back.  Aftertaste is more of the grapefruit and floral notes.  The mixture of those sweet malts with the hop presence is really nice.  The aftertaste hangs around just long enough but doesn't over stay it's welcome.  It is a really bitter beer.  But, I'm a fan of the bitterness.  I think someone just starting out to craft beer may really be put off by it.  After they have had a few other brews it would be nice to let them come back to something like this and see what they think.

Verdict:  Very nicely done from Stone.  This beer is known all over the craft beer world as being one of the heavy weights.  I really like how this one was done.   You get the hop bitterness and other hop qualities but then the sweet caramel malts fold in perfect with it.  American Strong Ale is such an open category for beer.  It can go so many ways.  A lot of them are closely related to American Barely Wines.  This one is going to get an A from me.  Something I put off trying for a long time and I'm not sure why.  I think every time I went somewhere with Stone's brews I always ended up getting their IPA or Ruination.  I won't overlook this one anymore, I can assure you that.  Good pairings for this would be something from the grill.  Maybe a grilled pork chop or chicken breast.  Side of mashed potatoes and some grilled asparagus.  I'd eat that with this brew at least.

Let me know if you have had this brew and "deemed yourself worthy."  I'll be along later this week for some more reviews for "Bastard Week."  Until then...