Stone Lucky Bastard Ale

Stone Brewing Co. – Escondido, CA  22 oz.

Lucky Bastard Ale – 8.5% ABV,

“Triumvirate of Arrogant Bastard Ale, Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale and Double Bastard.”

Purchased today at Super Food Town in Lansdale, PA for $6.99.

Lucky Bastard pours a solid red color.  It’s almost the color of a pale red wine.  There is no haze or sediment resulting in a clear glass.  I tried to create some head in my glass, but was unable to do so.  There’s just a thin layer of foam on top.

The aroma is amazing and definitely a good start.  There is a ton of complexity.  There’s simply a bevy of descriptors: fresh, bright, hoppy, pine,  wood, peppery, spicy and malty.  Having recently brewed a batch of home brewed beer, it actually smells like “young beer”, which is beer that hasn’t been put into a fermenter.  Interesting…

The flavor is intense!  High bitterness, but like the aroma, it has such complexity which is certainly from the three different ales that make up Lucky Bastard.  The hops are very much there, but they are a bit subdued by the oak from the Oaked Bastard Ale…  But, the Oak isn’t as strong as it could be because of the maltiness of the Double Bastard Ale… But, the malt isn’t as sweet as it could be because of the hoppiness of the Arrogant Bastard.  It’s like a big game of “Rock-Scissors-Paper”.  Oak beats Hops!  Or maybe it’s like the “Circle of Life” song where each ingredient compliments the others…

Lucky Bastard is sweet, but it’s not.  It’s hoppy, but it’s not.  It has lots of Oak flavor, but it doesn’t.  The idea here is Balance.  If anything, this ale is balanced. 

Now obviously, it’s a member of the “Bastard” series,  so it’s a powerhouse of flavor.  With that said, Lucky has a level of subtlety and complexity that isn’t present in the others.  For example, Double Bastard is good, but it can be a bit harsh for the un-initiated.  Lucky Bastard isn’t quite as harsh.  It brings a lot of the positives from the other three with fewer negatives.

One difference is the hops taste ultra-fresh!  They bring a certain level of bitterness that characterize some fresh hop flavors.  It’s not bad, just know to expect it.

One negative is the bitter aftertaste lingers too long.  It’s OK for the hops to bring bitter notes.  They’re supposed to do that.  They just hang around too long here.

The mouth feel is pleasant and a bit warming from the 8.5% ABV.  The drinkability is decent for an 8.5% ale.  Just don’t expect to session this beer all night.  One or two will do most people fine.

Incidentally, I would love to taste one of these in one or two years!  I guess I’ll have to buy a couple more to add to the cellar.

I think Stone does some pretty cool things with their Bastard Series and Lucky Bastard is my favorite of the bunch.

Overall: A-

Published in: on December 30, 2010 at 8:18 pm  Comments (1)  

Weyerbacher Double Simcoe IPA

Weyerbacher Brewing Co. – Easton, PA  25.4 oz.

Double Simcoe IPA – 9% ABV

“IPA brewed using Simcoe hops.  Bottle conditioned.”

Purchased today at Super Food Town in Lansdale.  It had just arrived on 12/17, so it’s pretty fresh.  It’s also selling fast!

The pour on this unfiltered beer is darker than I expected from an IPA.  It’s a deep orange with hints of red.  Difficult to see through.  The Head is tan and has great retention, starting off as 2 inches and fading slowly to ½ inch, which lingered.  The head lasted the better part of the glass.

The aroma is a bit yeasty, surprising for an IPA.  The hop aromas are nice.  A different hop aroma than I’m used to.  Lots of fruit in the aroma.  There isn’t much pine in the aroma, but also not much citrus.  It smells a bit woodsy.

It’s not quite the “hop bomb” I expected, but there’s a bitterness that’s not surprising.  The flavor is balanced with the hop flavors of the Simcoe hops, a great malt profile and some high ABV.  There is a tangy funkiness that underlies.  The malt backbone is the most prominent aspect of Double Simcoe.  The Simcoe hops have a bitterness that balances out the malt.

The alcohol provides a kick here, with a 9% ABV.  You can definitely taste the heat from the alcohol.  It’s not bad, but anyone tasting needs to be aware of it’s presence.  You can taste it.

The mouth feel is medium bodied and the carbonation is medium to aggressive.  The drinkability would be higher  if the ABV wasn’t so high.

Double Simcoe is a nice IPA.  Not available all the time, but can be purchased now.  Hop lovers would do themselves well to check it out.

Overall: B+

Published in: on December 20, 2010 at 10:48 pm  Comments (1)  

New Holland – Envious, The Cellar Series

New Holland Brewing Co. – Holland, MI

Envious – Vintage 2010 – The Cellar Series – 7.5% ABV

“Brewed with pear juice, with raspberries added and aged in oak.”

Envious poured brown with a candy apple red hue with dark characteristics.  A head fizzed to life quickly, but dissipated just as fast as it arrived.  There is a tiny bit of observable carbonation and just a narrow ring of bubbles at the top.  Swirling doesn’t create a head.

The aroma is very fruity, having lots of berry-like aromas.  It smells very sweet.  Lots of ripe fruit sugars are present in the aroma.  I also get cooked apples, like applesauce.  The aroma doesn’t resemble any other beer I’ve tasted.

The first sip is not a good start.  The flavor is very bizarre.  A watery mouthfeel doesn’t develop any flavor for a few seconds.  There are hints of fruit that I almost think are over-ripe (as in “rotten”).  The flavor reminds me of mushy strawberries or raspberries that sat in the container too long.  There are no malt flavors.  There are also no hop flavors.  Just an insipid, un-identifiable fruit.  There is a hint of alcohol flavor, but no bite.  It just tastes like alcohol.  Possibly cleaning products?  There are also major oak flavors, but none of the pleasant, vanilla-like flavors that a beer would normally derive from the wood.  Just a woody undertone.  Like chewing on a pencil when I was a kid.

I’m really trying to give Envious the benefit of the doubt, so I’m determined to finish one glass.  I will not be pouring a second and the rest will visit the bottom of my sink and the “Black Hole that is my Drain”.

The carbonation is there, but barely makes its presence known.  The mouth feel is watery with barely any substance or body.  The drinkability is poor because the taste is so bad.  I just don’t want to drink it.

I’m kind of surprised that this made it out of New Holland.  I’ve enjoyed other beers they’ve brewed, but this just tastes like a mistake.  The last few sips of my first glass were unpalatable and got poured down the drain.  What makes it worse is that the 22 oz. bottle was $15 bucks!  What a waste.

This beer is awful!

Overall – F

Published in: on December 9, 2010 at 8:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Stoudt’s Brewing Beer Tasting Tomorrow

There will be a Stoudt’s Brewing tasting tomorrow at The Blue Dog Pub in Lansdale, PA.  Starting time is 6:30 pm.

Rumour has it they will be serving various brews including Smooth Hoperator.

The location is at Allentown and Valley Forge Roads in Lansdale.

Blue Dog Pub contact information: 215-368-6620

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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