Friday, March 17, 2006

Double Bastard Ale

I suppose that I should logically start with Arrogant Bastard, but I have a couple bottles of this laying around and this particular one was just calling out to me. As it says on the bottle, "Ye Shall Be the Bastard, and the Bastard Shall Set You Free."

Brewery – Stone Brewing Co. in San Diego, CA
Style – Strong Ale
ABV – 10%
IBUs – 100+
Serving Type – 22 oz. (bomber) bottle

Apparently I'm not the only one who likes this beer. It scores a 100 on Ratebeer where it is ranked 50th overall and 3rd in its style. At Beer Advocate it has a score of 92, is number 1 in the style and 16th overall. I bring this up because Stone has a tradition of intestinally making beers over the top, as some might say, and this is especially true of their Arrogant Bastard line of beers. Just take a look at the first few lines on the bottle:

"This is a lacerative muther of a beer. The evil big brother of Arrogant Bastard Ale. It is strongly suggested you stay far, far away from this beer. Those foolish enough to venture close enough to taste will experience a punishingly unforgiving assault on the palate. 'Course there's always the masochists..."

Despite what the beers say Steve Wagner (brewer) and Greg Koch (business guy) know how to craft a good beer. They have both been to the "Sensory Evaluation of Beer" class at UC Davis, visited hundreds of breweries, and dozens of beer festivals and tastings. They taped their first Stone brew on July 26th 1996 and have warning the public not to drink their beers ever since.

One more thing worth mentioning about this brewery are their elaborate bottle designs (check out the one for Double Bastard). One thing that you will pick up on right away is the lengthy descriptions on the bottles. And if you're like me you will have to use the dictionary on more than one of the words you run across. I guess they figure if they are going to make the beers over the top, they might as well have an over the top description of the beer.

Glass – 8.4 oz (250 ml) Delirium Tremens Tuilp Triple Ale glass

Aroma – My nostrils are immediately filled with a lot of yummy malty sweetness. I can also pick out plenty of fruity aroma and just a bit of alcohol.

Appearance – It starts with a creamy tan crown that dissipates quickly. The color is a deep sparkling ruby red. I get very little in the way of lacing.

Flavor – Fruity flavors fill my mouth. The front of my tongue gets the sweet maltyness and some of the piney and resiny. As beer moves back it gets more and more bitter. At the very back of my mouth I can pick up on some roasty flavors. It finishes mostly clean, but there is some lingering bitterness

Mouthfeel – A nice full body with some moderate carbonation. It finished dry but not astringent.

Final Thoughts – Yummy. A fairly complex beer that leaves you a little light headed but still wanting more. This is definitely one beer I wish was available more than once a year. Matt at Liquid Solutions told me that every year he orders as many cases as he can afford, but he still sells out of the stuff in just a couple of days. I still have a bottle sitting in my “cellar” that I want to hold on to and have a vertical tasting next October when the 2006 edition comes out.


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