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.