Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stone Double Bastard Ale (2010 vintage)


4.3
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 17/20
Chad9976 (1153) - Albany, New York, USA - AUG 16, 2014
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. 
Grade: 9/10
Check out my 2010 review here: