Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale (2013 re-review)

4.5
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Chad9976 (912) - Albany, New York, USA - JUN 27, 2013
I poured a 12oz bottle into a tulip glass. It had an enjoy by date of 4/23/13 (it’s extremely difficult to get fresh Stone beers around here). It cost $4.90 ($0.41 per ounce)

Appearance: Murky, slightly translucent shade of maroon/brown. Forms a large, off white, frothy head which retains and laces very well.

Smell: A mild scent of Chinook hops and vanilla beans, some resin notes as well.

Taste: If you’ve ever had regular Arrogant Bastard Ale you know the hops are pretty aggressive, so giving them some extra time to mellow out might not be such a bad thing. In the case of this particular bottle, it’s surprisingly wonderful. This is a remarkably sweet, complex, and highly drinkable beer due to both the oak chips and the unintentional cellaring.

From what I understand, the secret to Arrogant Bastard is that it’s brewed entirely with Chinook hops - a hop known for high bitterness, dryness, some resin character, and a take-no-prisoners attitude. That character is familiar here right away, but with the intensity turned way down. Bitter yes, but the hops have faded enough to enable the malts and the oak chips to shine. There’s a sweet butterscotch, toffee and caramel flavor here. It’s akin to crème Brûlée, actually. More bitterness on the finish, but not before a delicious frappacino-like flavor through the middle. They say you shouldn’t age hoppy beers, but in this case it seems to be the key to not only taking the edge off, but making it so much more enjoyable.

Drinkability: Despite the name, Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard isn’t as intense in the mouth as its predecessor. There’s a softer edge here with almost creamy texture. It has a smooth finish and leaves a slightly dry aftertaste of both sweetness and bitterness. At 7.2% ABV this beer has quite a lot of flavor and is actually rather "light" compared to imperial IPAs and other comparable strong ales. It’s also an all-purpose palette as it can be compliment a hearty meal, paired with dessert, or enjoyed on its own. 
Grade: 10/10
Watch my 2010 original review here: