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

Stone Arrogant Bastard Ale

Arrogant_bastard_aleBrewer: Stone Brewery, Escondido, CA
Style: Strong Dark Ale (bit indeterminate)
ABV: 7.2%
IBU: ??? (high)

Description: First brewed back in 1997, Arrogant Bastard Ale was a tribute to craft brewing and a giant middle finger in the face of mass brewing and generic beer. Employing strong malts, a high alcohol content, and a hefty dose of unidentified hops, this beer defies convention and classification.

Tasting Notes: This beer is aptly named, and I do feel like it was brewed with people like me in mind! I mean, just look at the name on my blog. And I have been hearing its name uttered for quite some time by craft beer enthusiasts, so its high time I drank some. In terms of taste, it comes off in the vicinity between a strong dark ale and an IPA, with a darkly roasted malt base and a hefty dose of hops. It’s not exactly well-balanced, or easy-drinking, but it makes its point, and without a hint of subtlety!

Appearance: Dark reddish-brown, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Roasted malt, grassy, herbal notes, floral and citrus hops
Taste: Rich malt, hint of sweetness, strong notes of dry, herbal and citrus hop flavor
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, citrus rind and malt flavor
Overall: 8.25/10

Bomber Blood From a Stone Red Rye IPA

Blood-from-a-stoneBrewer: Bomber Brewery, Vancouver BC/ Stone Brewery, San Diego CA
Style: Rye India Pale Ale
ABV: 6.6%

Description: A collaboration brew between Vancouver-based Bomber and San Diego-based Stone, Blood from a Stone is a rye-based India Pale Ale that combines hops and yeast from the US, malted barley and rye from Canada, Australian hops, and German and Belgian malts to achieve a beer that is truly international in character.

Tasting Notes: As combination beers go, this was definitely an unusual experience. It started with a fruity, richly malty nose which gave way to an unusual flavor. Here, the combination of rye and European malts, along with a heavy dose of Australian hops, made for a beer that had tons of grassy hop flavor, but also had some discernibly dry, ESB-like characteristics.

Appearance: Deep ruby, clear, good foam retention and carbonation
Nose: Good malt, notes of baked bread, citrus, pineapple, dry hop aroma
Taste: Sharp malt, good tang, mild citrus and strong grassy, dry hop finish
Aftertaste: Lingering hop bitterness, strong grassy notes
Overall: 8.3/10