Henry and Ernie join me to review the three different versions of Stone's flagship beer: Arrogant Bastard Ale. It also comes in an oak-aged version and a "double" version (although the bottles themselves don't specify how they're different from the original version.
STONE ARROGANT BASTARD ALE:
4.2AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
You have to have a lot of respect for a beer that flatly states on the bottle “You’re not worthy” and “You probably won’t like it.” As someone who has be ensconced into the craft beer scene over the last year I understand where Arrogant Bastard Ale by the Stone Brewing Company, is coming from. It is indeed a strong beer for discriminating tastes and if you can appreciate good beer you’re bond to love it.
POUR, COLOR AND AROMA
Since this is only available in 22oz bomber bottles, the beer pours rather rough with plenty of kickback. It forms a beautiful shade of clear but dark maroon with little carbonation noticeable. It’s complimented by a thick, frothy, tan head which lasts throughout the life of the beer and leaves generous amounts of lacing on the glass. The aroma is surprisingly subdued with hints of a strong hop presence with some floral notes but also a distinct maltiness as well.
I have never experienced a beer with such a continually-changing flavor as I have with Arrogant Bastard Ale. Upon my first swig I noticed a taste of deep sweetness like caramel and chocolate – reminiscent of a doppelbock. However, on the finish I noticed a distinct hop bite with a mild citrus and pine flavor. This was very unusual and pleasantly surprising since it seemed to be a combination of the best of both worlds: sweet malts and bitter hops.
This beer is classified as an “American Strong Ale,” which I suppose would make it an American take on the Belgian strong ale style. Whatever the case may be I definitely enjoyed it since there was a strong presence of everything here – malts, hops, sweetness, bitterness and more.
Although, the more I drank the more I noticed the beer began to take on the qualities of an India Pale Ale with a strong citrusy taste and a wicked bitter bite. As something of a “hop head” myself I really enjoyed this, but couldn’t help but wonder what happened to that rich caramel sweetness from the beginning.
With a name like Arrogant Bastard Ale, you might assume this is going to be a difficult beer to drink, but nothing could be further from the truth. With a very soft, gentle mouthfeel and a rather thick composition, this is actually a very easy-drinking beer. The only caveat is the strong, dry, chalky aftertaste not unlike flour.
This is a heft beer to be sure. At 7.2% ABV and a slogan that tells you that you’re not worthy, it’s no surprise that Arrogant Bastard Ale packs a punch. I drank my bomber after dinner and still felt its effects. This is definitely not a beer for lightweights.
While I wouldn’t consider Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale one of my all-time favorites, or even among the best of the best, it definitely does live up to its name and reputation. As an amateur connoisseur I could definitely appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this brew as well as the strong, complex, and delicious palate. In fact, I might even take some pride in knowing how much I really like this beer. Perhaps the name is meant to describe those who like it more than the beer itself.
STONE OAKED ARROGANT BASTARD ALE: