Tag Archives: Stone

Beer Tasting Evening

Last Friday I arranged a small beer tasting event for some friends and we tasted through 7 of my homebrews and 11 other beers that I had hanging around in my beer storage. There were some fantastic beers during the evening and we had a good time. Here are some pictures and short notes on the beers:


The whole lineup (two of the homebrews were tasted from keg, so they are not in the picture).


First up was La Tourmente’s Blond, a belgian ale from France. The beer poured golden and had a slightly sweet and malty aroma, but it was surprisingly tasteless and bland. A good beer to start with though.


Next up was my homebrewed smoked vienna lager, which had lost a lot of its hoppiness, and now had more of a toasty and smokey edge. No off-flavors, and overall one of my favorite homebrews to date.


Then it was time for one of Alko’s 80th Anniversary beers. Prykmestar’s Hunajabock was a bit strange, I am wondering if it had started to go bad, as the aroma was a blend of honey, vinegar and mint, while the taste was sweet, malty and honey-like.


Then it was time for my homebrewed Tripel, which had aged nicely, with the spiciness and fruitiness blending together well, while the alcohol level was well hidden.

After this we tasted two homebrewed IPA/APAs straight from the keg (where they had been sitting for 6 days), and as expected with heavily dry hopped and recently kegged beer, they poured murky with a huge head. There was lots of fruity hoppiness in both beers, with the Citra leaning more towards the tropical fruits, and the Simcoe+Centennial towards grapefruits and other citrus. The beer felt a little young still, with the bitterness a little prominent still and some yeasty tones as well, but overall I find the beers very promising. Unfortunately there are no pictures of them.


Next it was time for the beer I was looking forward to the most during the evening, Cigar City’s Humidor Series IPA. There was a very prominent woodiness in both the aroma and taste, which blended together with fruity and resiny hops. The beer has been aged on Spanish Cedar, the same material used to make humidors, and one of my friends commented the beer smelled just like one. The flavors were quite well balanced, but felt the woodiness was maybe a bit too prominent.


Then it was time for a blended imperial ipa, as we tried Southern Tier’s Gemini (a 50-50 blend of their Unearthly and Hoppe). There was a lot of citrus and resin in both aroma and flavor, and this was backed up by a caramelly and quite sweet malt backbone. The bitterness was quite smooth, and felt the beer was well balanced. Really liked this one.


Next it was time to try Mikkeller’s and Three Floyd’s collaboration barleywine, Boogoop, which has been brewed with buckwheat. Haven’t tried any of the other beers in the series (Oatgoop, Hvedegoop or Ruggoop), but this was definitely leaning towards the imperial ipa category, as it was very hoppy and bitter, but backed up well by a malty and caramelly backbone.


Then it was time to try Stone’s Double Bastard (which was one of the few commercial beers of the night I had tasted before) and it also featured lots of hoppy tones, coupled with tones of caramel, red berries and even some raisins. There was some alcohol present as well.

After this we tried Brewdog’s and Three Floyd’s collaboration barleywine Bitch Please Islay, which has been brewed with peat-smoked malts and aged on Islay whisky casks. Tons of smokiness in the aroma and flavor, and it felt almost like sipping on a whisky. There was some sweet maltiness present as well, but overall a beer I wasn’t very fond of.


Then we tried three of my homebrewed imperial stouts, the breakfast stout to the left, black panther in the middle, and oak-aged black panther to the right. The breakfast stout had strong tones of coffee and dark chocolate with blended nicely together with the roasted malt tones. The black panther featured tones of roasted malt together with an earthy hoppiness, while the oak-aged version added in some vanilla tones. All of them had aged well.


Next it was time for the only Trappist beer of the evening, Rochefort 10, which featured tones of dark fruits, raisins, caramel and malt. Very smooth, and definitely different compared to the imperial stouts we just tried.


Then we tried a coffee-spiked imperial stout from Southern Tier. Jah-va, compared to the homebrewed breakfast stout, was smoother and more well balanced, with the coffee flavors merging perfectly with the roasted tones. Very easy to drink and tasty.


After this we tried one of Mikkeller’s breakfast stouts, Beer Geek Brunch Weasel, which has been brewed with Kopi Luwak coffee. Compared to Jah-va, the flavors were stronger and more complex, with lots of roastiness and bitterness blending with coffee and chocolate tones.


The last beer of the evening was Brewdog’s Tokyo*. The beer was completely pitch-black and the flavor featured tones of roasted malts, coffee, red berries and sweet caramel. The alcohol was surprisingly well hidden for being a 18.2% beer. Nice way to end the evening.

Thanks to everyone who made it!

Evening with Stone Brewing and other goodies!

Olutravintola Pikkulintu have recently imported a batch of 10 different beers by Stone Brewing, and yesterday they were released at both Pikkulintu and a number of pubs around the country, including The Gallows Bird in Espoo, where I myself headed yesterday afternoon, in hopes of tasting these praised beers. The beers available are: Levitation Ale, Pale Ale, IPA, Ruination IPA, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout, Double Bastard, Old Guardian Belgo, 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA, and 11.11.11 Vertical Epic Ale. So yesterday, me and a group of friends headed to The Gallows Bird to try through the list of Stone beer. When we came to the bar we were informed that we would have to wait a couple of hours for the Stone beer to arrive, so I tried some Danish beer in the meanwhile.

 




 

First up was Hornbeer’s Black Magic Woman, an Imperial Stout brewed with smoked and peated malt. The beer had a pitch-black color and slight tan-colored head. The aroma was very roasty, featuring tones of burnt malt, coffee, licorice, dark chocolate, caramel and some alcohol. The flavor was similar, with tones of coffee, chocolate, ash, licorice and roasted malts dominating. The flavor ended with a slightly bitter aftertaste, and I thought the beer was quite well balanced. The beer was quite full-bodied, with medium-low carbonation and a smooth finish. I thought this was a really tasty and well balanced Imperial Stout, getting a grade of 4/5.

 




 

Next up were Evil Twin’s Yin and Yang, an Imperial Stout and Imperial IPA brewed to complement each other. The label even recommends trying a mix of them, which I also did. I began with Yang, an amber-colored beer with a fluffy off-white head. The aroma was extremely fruity, with tones of mango, passion fruit, citrus and resin. There was also some caramel in the aroma as well. The flavor began with some caramel as well, but was quickly joined by lots of tropical fruit flavor from the hops. There were tones of mango, passionfruit, grapefruit and orange. The flavor ended with a sweet and bitter aftertaste. The beer was medium bodied, with a medium-low carbonation level. I liked this a lot, even though the fruitiness was a bit over the top. This one also gets a grade of 4/5.

 

Yin poured with a pitch-black color and a minimal tan-colored head. The aroma was full of roasted tones, featuring coffee, chocolate and some roasted malt. The flavor is similar, with tones of chocolate, cocoa, and coffee dominating, together with some caramel and roasted malts. The beer has a smooth and full body, and a low carbonation level. I thought the beer was quite well-balanced, a overall I found the beer tasty. The chocolate and coffee tones were especially strong in this one. Yin gets a grade of 4.5/5.

 



Yang to the left, Yin to the right, and the mixture in the center

 

When the two were mixed, a dark brown beer was formed, with a fluffy cream-colored head. Lots of the fruitiness from Yang’s aroma was still left, and it was coupled by a slight roastiness. The flavor on the other hand was dominated by the chocolate and coffee tones from Yin, making for an interesting mixture. The mixture was nice, but liked the beers more on their own.

 




 

While we were drinking Yin and Yang, a courier showed up outside the bar, and boxes full of Stone’s beer were loaded into the bar, hooray! It was probably a bad idea to start the day with the strong (both in flavor and alcohol content) Danish beers, since the list of Stone beers included some ‘lighter’ ones, but we did our best to neutralize the taste-buds with some water and salty snacks. We began the Stone tasting with their Pale Ale. The beer poured with an amber-orange color, and a fluffy white head. The aroma was mostly caramel, and not at all as hoppy as I was expecting. There were some slight tones of grapefruit. The flavor began with some bready maltiness, that followed with a slight fruity and citrusy hop flavor. The aftertaste was bitter and slightly dry. The beer had a medium body and carbonation level. Overall, this was my least favorite beer of the evening, and felt it being quite bland. Maybe it was because I had such strongly flavored beers before this. Still it was a drinkable Pale Ale, just nothing special. I give this one a grade of 3-3.5/5.

 




 

Next up was Stone’s Levitation Ale, which is an Amber Ale with 4.4% ABV (you can find it in Kesko’s larger supermarkets, e.g. K-Citymarket Sello and Iso Omena, as well!). The Levitation Ale poured a dark amber color, with an off-white head. The aroma was a lot fruitier than the Pale Ale to my surprise, and it featured tones of caramel, citrus, mango, and resin. The flavor begins with some sweet malty tones and caramel, and this is joined by the citrusy and slightly resinous tones from the hops. The aftertaste is bitter, and I felt the beer is well-balanced for such a low-ABV hoppy beer. The beer has a nice medium body and a medium carbonation level. I definitely thought it was better than the Pale Ale, and overall a tasty well-balanced package. I give this one a grade of 3.5-4/5.

 




 

Then, it was time for Stone’s Oaked Arrogant Bastard, which I have reviewed earlier. The beer pours with a dark amber color and an off-white head, and the beer has a very similar appearance to Levitation Ale. The aroma has tones of wood, dark fruits, malt and some resiny hops as well. Can’t find much of the vanilla, which I remember from the last time I tried it. Also remember that there would have been slightly more hoppiness in the aroma the last time I had it. The flavor begins with tones of caramel and just a slight roasted maltiness. This is joined by an earthy, citrusy, bitter and woody flavor from the hops and oak. The aftertaste is quite bitter. Couldn’t recognize any vanilla in the flavor as well. The beer has a medium body and carbonation level. I liked it, but felt it was a bit different compared to when I tasted it the last time. The atmosphere and tasting conditions are of course very different, which probably explain the differences in taste. I give this one a grade of 4/5.

 




 

The following beer was Stone’s India Pale Ale, an American IPA featuring 70+ IBU. The beer pours with a light golden-yellow color and a fluffy white head. The aroma is hoppy and floral, with tones of grapefruit, resin, pine and mango. The flavor begins with a slight sweet maltiness, that is quickly overtaken by a resiny and citrusy hoppiness, with tones of pine and grapefruit. The flavor finished with huge bitterness. The beer has a medium-light body and a medium carbonation level. The beer is quite well balanced, with the slightly sweet malt backbone backing up the bitter hoppiness. A nice IPA, but was hoping for something ‘more special’. I give this one a grade of 3.5-4/5 (leaning towards the 4).

 




 

The following beer was one of the bigger bottles: The Vertical Epic 11.11.11. This year’s Vertical Epic is a Belgian-style Ale, brewed with Anaheim Chilies and Cinnamon. The beer pours with a hazy amber-orange color and a slight off-white head. The aroma has tones of banana and spices (cloves and a slight hint of cinnamon), together with a slight maltiness. Can’t detect much of the chili. The flavor is similar, beginning with a slight caramel maltiness, together with some spicy belgian yeast tones (cloves and pepper) and some banana. The beer has a smooth and medium-full body, and a medium-low carbonation level. Makes a great sipping beer, and I quite liked it, even though I’m not a great fan of Belgian-style ale. Couldn’t detect much of the chili though. I give this one a grade of 3.5-4/5.

 




 

Then it was time for another beer I’ve had before, Ruination IPA, which I reviewed a couple of months ago. Last time I really liked it, even though it was a bit on the bitter side. This time the beer pours a golden-yellow color with a white fluffy head. The aroma is very hoppy and floral, with tones of resin and citrus. The flavor begins with a slight maltiness, but it is evident that this is a very hoppy and bitter beer, with resiny and citrusy (grapefruit) taking over and dominating the palate. The flavor ends with a dry and huge bitter aftertaste. The beer has a medium-light body and medium carbonation level. I liked the hop flavors in this one, even though they were not as strong as I remember (could have been the tasting conditions again), but felt the beer was slightly too bitter. I give this one a grade of 4/5.

 




 

Next up is Stone’s Double Bastard, a stronger, maltier and hoppier version of Stone’s Arrogant Bastard. This beer poured with a dark amber color and a fluffy cream-colored head. The aroma is malty, with tones of caramel and dark fruits (raisins), and citrusy (from the hops). The flavor begins malt forward, with tones of caramel, bread and raisins, which is joined by a earthy, resiny and citrusy hoppiness, that ends in a sweet, spicy and bitter finish. The beer has a medium body and carbonation level, and since the flavors are very strong in this one, it seems a bit unbalanced. I liked this one, but it was a bit heavy. I give this one a grade of 4/5.

 




 

The following beer was the 15th Anniversary Escondidian Imperial Black IPA, which is one of the first Black IPAs I’ve ever had. The beer pours a black color, with a fluffy tan head. The aroma is hoppy, with resin and citrus dominating. There is a slight caramelliness, roastiness and alcohol presence in the aroma as well. The flavor has a bit more roastiness, with some tones of coffee, but the hops are very prevalent here as well, with tones of resin and grapefruit. The aftertaste is bitter. The beer has a smooth medium body with a medium carbonation level. This was an interesting blend of an IPA and a stout, that I thought worked quite well. I give this one a grade of 4/5.

 




 

The second last beer of the evening, which was also probably my favorite of the Stone’s, Belgo Anise Imperial Russian Stout. This Imperial Stout has, as the name implies, been spiced with anise and oak chips, and has been brewed with a Belgian yeast strain. The beer pours with a pitch-black color, and a slight tan head is formed. The aroma is dominated by lots of licorice and anise tones, but there are some tones of coffee, roasted malts, and a slight salmiakki. The flavor is roasty, with tones of licorice, coffee, chocolate and salmiakki. There are some slight hop flavors as well, and the flavor finishes quite bitter with anise in the aftertaste. The body is full, and the carbonation level is low. Felt the beer was quite well balanced, but this was definitely a slow-sipping beer. I like licorice, so this suited me fine, but I understand that people not liking licorice would find this beer quite unpleasant. Great flavors in a nice package. I give this one a grade of 4.5/5.

 




 

The final beer of the evening is the Old Guardian Belgo, a Barleywine brewed with a Belgian yeast strain. The beer pours with a clear dark amber color, with an off-white head. The aroma is sweet, malty and has some fruity tones from the Belgian yeast. The flavor is sweet and malty, with caramel and dark fruits, and is some hop flavor present as well. There is only a slight presence of the Belgian yeast in the flavor. The flavor is slightly boozy as well, but the alcohol is quite well hidden behind the sweetness. The beer has a full body and a low carbonation level. It was a little too sweet for my taste, and a bit heavy to drink. I give this one a grade of 3.5/5.

 




 

Overall, this was a very pleasant evening, with some great tasting beers. I recommend visiting Gallows Bird, Pikkulintu, or any of the other pubs around the country offering these beers, and at least try some of them. Thanks Pia, Jonny, Rasmus, Artem, Paulina, Teemu and Kimmo for the company!

Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard

  • Brewery: Stone Brewing
  • Country: USA
  • Style: American Strong Ale
  • ABV: 7.2%
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: Brewdog Web Shop, ~7 euro
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

 

Today it’s time for post number 100 on this blog, so I thought I would celebrate with a rarer (at least in Finland) beer. Today it’s time to try Stone’s oak-aged variant of their Arrogant Bastard Ale. They have been brewing their Arrogant Bastard since 1997, while the Oaked Arrogant Bastard as been available since 2004. Stone are usually very willing to give information about what’s in their beer (malt- and hop-wise), but for some reason they keep the contents of their ‘Bastard’-series beer classified. There are a number of homebrew recipes circulating around the web, with the majority of them suggesting a malt bill containing some 2-row, crystal malts, and a slight amount of roasted malts, and a hop schedule with 100% Chinook. The beer should be quite bitter (probably close to 80 IBU) as well. I liked Stone’s Ruination Ale, so am really looking forward to this one as well. Happy 100th Post!

[easyreview title=”Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a dark amber color (there are some hints of red) and an off-white head. The beer is slightly hazy. The head collapses leaving lots of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by a toasty oakiness, lending tones of wood and vanilla, but there is plenty of caramel and citrusy hops to back it up as well. A very interesting aroma. The alcohol is well hidden, and can’t be detected.” cat2rating=”4.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins with a caramelly maltiness, along with some hints of roasted malt, but this is quickly joined by a (massive) resiny hop flavor. There is slight hint of vanilla and some earthy tones, which I presume is from the oak. The flavor ends with a quite bitter and complex aftertaste, featuring a mixture of wood, caramel and earthiness. The flavors are well balanced, and contribute each other very well.” cat3rating=”4.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium full and smooth body, along with a medium carbonation level, making it pleasant to drink.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall an excellent beer, featuring a complex mixture of interesting aroma and flavors. I really liked the massive resiny flavor from (supposedly) the Chinook hops, mixed with the caramelly roastiness, and the hints of vanilla and wood. Unfortunately you can’t currently find almost any Stone beer in Finland, but after Christmas Pikkulintu (and some other bars around Finland) will be selling 10 different Stone beers for a limited time. The price I paid for my bottle was of course on the high side, but felt it was worth the price. A great beer for Post #100!”]

Stone Ruination IPA


 

  • Brewery: Stone Brewing
  • Country: USA
  • Style: Imperial IPA
  • ABV: 7.7%
  • Size: 355 ml
  • Bought from: Brewdog Shop, 7€
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer
  •  

    Decided to try one of the beers from my recent order from the Brewdog Online Shop, so I chose Stone’s Ruination IPA, since I’ve been wanting to try out their products for some time. California-based Stone Brewing are one of the larger and more famous craft breweries in the USA. The bottle promises an extreme IPA, with a bitterness of 100+ IBUs. This beer has gotten some great reviews on both Beer Advocate and RateBeer, so am really looking forward to trying this out. I don’t have any information on the malt used, but it has been hopped with Columbus and Centennial. There are no indicators of freshness (e.g. bottling dates or best before date) on the bottle, but hopefully this one is quite fresh. Let’s see how it tastes!

    [easyreview title=”Stone Ruination IPA” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a golden-amber color, is slightly hazy, and forms a slight off-white colored head, that quickly collapses to leaving lots of lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is dominated by citrusy, floral and resiny hop tones, with slight undertones of honey and caramel. A slight presence of alcohol as well.” cat2rating=”4″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor is, as expected, also very hop-dominated, with resiny, citrusy and earthy hop tones in the front. There is a slight caramelly maltiness to counter the hoppiness as well. The flavor ends with a spicy, dry and bitter finish. The beer isn’t very balanced, as I feel there is too little maltiness to counter the, quite harsh, bitterness of the beer. Still, the hop flavors are great, and I would really like this beer if it had slightly less bitterness, or a bit stronger malt backbone.” cat3rating=”4″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a smooth and medium-full body, and a moderate carbonation level. The bitterness slightly decreases the otherwise great drinkability.” cat4rating=”4″ summary=”Overall a great beer, packed with hop flavors and huge bitterness. The reported 100+ IBUs can definitely be detected, and are a bit on the high side for me. I think this one could be even better with slightly more balance. This wasn’t really worth the price I paid for it, but would definitely buy again if it were available locally for half the price.”]