I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was dated as a 2010 release and cost $6.99 ($0.32 per ounce).
Appearance: An ugly rusty brown/brick red hue over a completely opaque
body. Pours to a three-finger, ivory, frothy head which laces and
retains very well.
Smell: Extremely sweet aroma of confectionery flavors and some alcohol.
Taste: I’ve never been a big fan of Stone’s “Bastard” series, as I tend
to find them too abrasive for their own good (except Oaked Arrogant
Bastard, which is perfectly balanced). Double Bastard tends to be the
beefiest of them all, not surprisingly. I set this bottle aside in the
basement nearly four years ago and had forgotten about until recently.
With some age on it, this beer has become quite different from the hop
bomb I remember. It’s very sweet, but not cloying, and is now
well-balanced since the hops have faded.
If I were drinking this blind I could confuse it for a strong
English-style barleywine. Huge confectionery notes are present right off
the rip: toffee, caramel, peanut brittle, and butterscotch. Additional
complexity through the middle with notes of red and black cherries. The
hops still maintain some bitterness, but are not nearly as dry and
astringent as they are fresh. Slight earthy/smoky/piney flavors through
the middle with just a touch of bitterness. It finishes as it starts,
but with some warming (and complementary) alcohol flavor and sensation.
Overall, it’s a delectable beer, though not quite a mind-blower.
Drinkability: One of the reasons I’m not a fan of fresh Double Bastard
is because it’s difficult to drink it in anything bigger than a tiny
sip. With four years of age under its belt, it’s a different world. The
mouthfeel is thick, calm, soft and smooth. The alcohol is subtle and
leaves a gentle warming sensation. There’s a residual aftertaste of
malty sweetness and minor dry bitterness, but it’s easily tolerable.
Even at 11.2% ABV, this is no longer a beastly brew and I can handle the
entire 22oz bomber myself.