Saturday, November 15, 2014

Stone Lucky Bastard Ale (2014)


4.2
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
Chad9976 (1217) - Albany, New York, USA - NOV 15, 2014
Stone’s “Lukcy Bastartd Ale” is a blend of their famous (and seminal) Arrogant Bastard Ale, as well as its two variations: Double Bastard Ale and Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale (my favorite of the series). This is an aggressive, full-bodied, and unapologetic brew and it’s quite wonderful. Huge hop bitterness, but actual hop flavor as well, coupled with a sturdy malt backbone and plenty of subtle notes. This is the craft beer drinker’s beer.

I poured a 22oz bottle into a tulip glass. It was bottled on 10/3/14.

Appearance: Gorgeous maroon/cherry red hue, transparent. Pours to a two-finger, off-white, soapy/foamy head which retains and laces very well.

Smell: Classic Chinook hop aroma with intense pine needles and slight orange peel zest.

Taste: Hops are definitely the stars of the show here. From the first moment there’s a strong, assertive and dry bitterness. It’s piney and astringent with a slight smoky character to it as well (almost deliberately phenolic, but without any off-putting traits). I taste pine needles, tree bark, and sticky resin throughout the first half. Once it crests and begins its descent, the sweet malty side emerges; toffee, caramel, maraschino cherry, blood orange, and vanilla are flavors I distinctly notice. There’s a mild woody/earthy character here from the oak chips part of the beer is aged on, but is not as in-your-face as a beer actually aged in barrels. There’s a dankness to the aftertaste, but it’s quite pleasant. This isn’t the kind of palette you encounter often and should be appreciated for its uniqueness.

Drinkability: Considering which beers go into this brew, it’s actually a bit miraculous that Lucky Bastard Ale is not only drinkable, but highly drinkable at that. The mouthfeel is full, but not to the point of being sticky or chewy. It’s not spastically carbonated, in fact, it’s actually a tad thinner than I’d prefer. At 8.5% ABV the alcohol is well-masked, accounting only for the strength of the palette and not the density of the weight. 
Grade: 9/10