Stone Stochasticity Project “Your Father Smelt of Elderberries”

stone_elderberries_bottleBrewer: Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA
Style: Elderberry Ale
ABV: 10.3%
IBUs: Unlisted

Description: This beer is part of Stone’s Stochasticity series, a limited-release series that celebrates “exotic notions, ingredients and ideas”. Named in honor of the classic line from Monty Python’s and the Holy Grail, this beer is brewed in the medieval English-style, using 2-Row Pale, Mild Ale, and Amber malts, as well as peated and flaked oats. It is then bittered using English, Golding and Target hops, and then fortified with elderberries.

Tasting Notes: This was definitely an interesting concept, and one which I fell for like a total sucker! And the experimentation was certainly there in spades! Basically, you have the elements of a barley wine, some whiskey-like flavor, and an ancient ale all mixed into one. While it’s not exactly for the faint of heart (some serious alcoholic punch here!) it does get top points for being interesting and inspired!

Appearance: Reddish/brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Strong malt, cassis, blackberries, alcohol, peat, smoke
Taste: Coarse malt, alcohol, peat moss, notes of cassis and blackberries 
Aftertaste: Lingering coarse malt, alcoholic bite, peat and fruit flavor
Overall: 8.5/10

Stone Ruination IPA

stone_ruination_ipaBrewer: Stone Brewing, Escondido, CA
Style: India Pale Ale
ABV: 8.2%
IBUs: 100+

Description: As part of their regular lineup, the Ruination IPA (so named because of its strength and intense hop flavor) is basically the same recipe as their Stone IPA, but with an extra-large helping of malt and a very large dose of of Magnum, Chinook and Centennial hops.

Tasting Notes: This is only my second sampling from the Stone Brewery, which began with their Arrogant Bastard Ale. And again, it seems they’ve got me pegged with their wares! Comparable to the better Imperial IPAs I’ve had, this brew has a strong malt base (minus the sweetness I’ve become accustomed to) and some truly decent hop flavor that combines intense grassy, citrus and piney flavors. I have to say, I highly approve of the hop-forward nature of this beer, and their choices of hops since it lends it a distinctly dry and bitter flavor.

Appearance: Light gold/amber, slightly cloudy, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Light malt, strong notes of grassy, herbal, citrus and piney hops
Taste: Smooth malt, tang, plenty of herbal, grassy, dry hop flavor, citrus notes
Aftertaste: Lingering dry hop and herbal/grassy bitterness
Overall: 9/10

Lost Coast Winterbraun

LostCoastBrew_Color_LogoIn the course of my beer sampling, I rarely get farther south than the great state of Oregon. However, once in awhile I am afforded the opportunity to sample from as far south as California, the Golden Coast and beyond. And I am rarely disappointed or left feeling less rich for the experience.

Tonight was one such time. In my neck of the woods, the Lost Coast lineup has been making the rounds and I find myself wanting to include them in my repertoire. And since I’ve been determined to sample as many winter beers, this one seemed perfectly appropriate. And it was certainly no slouch when it came to delivering in both the flavor or balance of flavors department. Combining a brown ale with the stronger character of a winter beer (8% alc/vol) and roast chocolate, Lost Coast created something that warmed my ribs and tickled my fancy!

Appearance: Deep brown amber, transparent and good foam retentionNose: Strong notes of sugary malts, molasses and brown sugar
Taste: Sweet malts, giving way to crisp dose of hops, roasted nuts and dark cocoa
Aftertaste: Slight coarseness and lingering bitter finish
Overall: 8.5/10

winterbraunOne of the nicest things about this winter beer was the fact that the chocolate comes through in a subtler tones, rather than being heavily overt. What’s more, the dark brown profile and rich, sugary flavor are very appealing and combine with with the beer’s decidedly strong alcohol content. I’ve already earmarked some of their regular fruit-infused beers for consumption, and will be back with some of those just as soon as the right kind of weather rolls around. Somehow, it’s just got to be warm and sunny in order for fruit beer to be appropriate… Wait for it!