So you think you're tough just because you drink Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale, do you? You know, the beer that tells you "You probably won't like it. It is quite doubtful that you have the taste or sophistication to be able to appreciate an ale of this quality and depth."
You get the idea.....
Anyway, before you go proclaiming yourself some kind of beer savant (or dare I say guru of brew?), you should know that Stone is about to get even more arrogant on you with Stone Double Bastard Ale, an even more malty, hoppy, and of course arrogant version of their most famous brew. And until you've tried it, Stone still has one up on you.
Actually, the last time Stone brewed this beer was November of 2008, and that's the maltage I'm tasting. This is a beer that's made to be laid down (Stone recommends that on the label), and at 10.5% alcohol by volume it's certainly a sipping brew. Curiously, Stone won't say how many IBUs the beer has, nor what hop varieties they use. I paid about eight bucks for a 22-ounce bomber bottle almost a year ago and it's a bargain at the price for a beer of such character.
My bottle of Stone Double Bastard 2008 pours to a murky caramel color with a medium sized head formation and a soft, bready malt nose. A thick layer of Brussels lace clings to the sides of my glass and follows the liquid all the way to the bottom. The liquid is thick and viscous; this is a sipping brew to be sure.
I'm sure the nose would probably display more hop character were this a young sample of Double Bastard, but I'm really enjoying the yeasty-malty components the aging allows the beer to display. It's so creamy and smooth on the palate that it simply glides across the tongue, depositing luxuriant notes of fresh bread, thick chewy caramel, dark fruits, a hint of chocolate and sweet biscuity malt.
In the finish, those hops that were not so apparent in the nose are still around, balancing the beer with a very respectable grassy bitter buzz. Warming alcohol is certainly present too, no surprise in a beer of this strength.
Stone makes no bones about this beer not being for everyone, but that, of course, is only so much puffing. Beer geeks will love it for sure, and that's their audience after all. With a year and a half of aging, the beer seems to have mellowed slightly, but only slightly.
Stone Double Bastard will be next released in November of 2010. Be sure to stock up on it when it is. I know I will.
*Pricing data accurate at time of review or latest update. For reference only, based on actual price paid by reviewer.