All notes on beers brewed by

Stone Brewing Co.

Stone
26th Anniversary

12 oz pour, J K O'Donnel's, Fort Wayne, IN. Happy to stumble across this purely by chance on a random Tuesday afternoon. Great clarity on the mid-orange pour. Some lace, light film on the surface. As expected. The nose has a surprising, stinky cheese note which I wasn’t anticipating. The hop aroma here is a little odd. Lightly oily in the mouth, a little slick, but again approriate. Tastes are dank, but not at all aggressive. Bitter, quite green. Clean and a lingering sweetness evens things...

20th Anniversary Encore Series: 02.02.02 Vertical Epic Ale

2016 Encore 20th Anniversary re-release, sadly not the original. $13.90 from Beer Lime & Sunshine, Pittsburgh, PA. Solid orange/tan pour with large head that recedes. Some lace, decent surface head retention. A little malty oxidation in the nose, along with some muted orange. Tastes reflect the nose with a surprising drying finish and more alcohol than the aroma suggests. A little cardboard oxidation, at 5 years old this feels past its best. Drinks fine, dryness continues and alcohol helps...

Stone Old Guardian BELGO Barleywine

22 oz bottle from The Beer Dispensary, Apex, NC, USA. I approach this beer with a mix of trepidation, excitement and interest since I feel that it is likely to bring together two elements of beer that are usually at opposite ends of the enjoyment spectrum for , namely Belgian yeast and character at one end (the good), and aggressive, hoppy, high ABV American Barleywines at the other (the bad) - it promises to be quite the experience. The pour is a VERY attractive, bright dark copper with some...

Lukcy Basartd Ale

22 oz bottle from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Magnificent clarity on the garnet pour with a head that is initially good but fades quite quickly. A little lace. The color is very attractive. There's a big, 'ole piney West Coast nose upfront with this one. Quite herbal too. Tastes are largely as expected with drying hops, aggressive bitterness and some hot alcohol, but this beer lacks the richness and complete, malt intensity that the other Bastards do. It feels like Arrogant Lite, and the...

Stone 10.10.10 Vertical Epic Ale

=== Updated Review 03/11 === Curious to see what this has done in a few months. Definitely more Belgian yeast character for me, and the grape elements seem to have dropped off quite a lot. This is not good news for me, since I really embraced them in the fresh beer and that is what I enjoyed the most, back in October 2010. Alcohol seems a little more prominenet too. A few peppery notes have come to the fore as well. I still really like this, but it has changed somewhat over the last few months...

Saison Du BUFF

12 oz single from a recent trip to NY. The pour is a very bright orange color with a fizzy head that fades quickly to leave no lace but some thin film on the surface of the beer. The nose is very strong. It's a sweet, citrusy, herbal mix with the emphasis on the herbs. This is something that I usually enjoy, but this seems unusually aggressive and wears a little. The tastes reflect that nose, but here the orange-like citric notes come much more into play. There is also a soapy bitterness that...

Stone 14th Anniversary Emperial IPA

22 oz bottle, usual Stone presentation. Arbor Place Beverage, Douglasville, GA, USA. OK, off the top I think the name is tacky. There, got that out of the way, now back to the beer. Very light haze on the mid-orange pour. The body looks a bit like a cask pour. Not much lace as the beer forms a light, thin film on the surface which has some good retention. The nose is very odd - it literally smells like cheese to me. Like a slightly overripe soft cheese - perhaps French. The tastes are a...

Stone 09.09.09 Vertical Epic Ale

Suprised to see so few reviews of this (only 5 at the time of writing), since I've had this in my posession since last week. First time that I've drunk a VE on the actual day! Pour has a jet black body with a lovely, high head with fine bubbles. The bubbles are extremely fine in the way that creates that almost perfect, horizontal line between the body and the head that one finds in many nitro pour beers, or more commonly in Guinness. The head is not amazingly well retained, but it does leave...

Juxtaposition Black Pilsner

12 oz bottle as a single from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Can't remember the exact price but I remember it as being very expensive for what I was getting. The beer starts off with a great looking black pour that appears totally opaque with little or no colored highlights when held up to the light. Head is small but the film across the top of beer is surprisingly complete. Looks good. Would have been better if I just looked at it rather than tasted it! The beer exudes a smell that is similar to...

Stone 13th Anniversary Ale

=== Updated Review 08/10 === OK, it's now a year old, but the total write-off that 14th is, inspired me to re-visit 13th. $6.49 from Highland Beverage, Hiram, GA, USA for the 22 oz bottle. Stone suggest NOT to cellar this, but... ...not quite the clarity from a year ago, but still a great head and super retention. Really frothy and dense. Nice. As expected the malts have come to the fore but it is still a beer that delivers a decent amount of bitterness, especially in the back end. Still a...

Belgian Style Tripel Ale/Collaboration

Thanks go out to my BA secret bunny 2009, mday. 12 oz bottle. The usual screen-printed, Stone style. One of my favorite styles from a combination of three (generally) superb breweries looks like a winning combo! Pour is a slightly hazy, golden body with a touch of carbonation. A few floaties. Nose offers a light, chardonnay grape note with a mild, alcoholic fruit. The fruit has some dry character. The tastes reflect the alcohol and the mild fruit. It's grape based, but is also quite dry like...

Stone 12th Anniversary Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

22 oz bomber as part of a trade. I've been hanging on to this one for a while - time to give it a whirl. Pour is get black with no light penetrating it. Little lace, but a tan film and collar soon appears. Not quite as viscous as the initial color and pour would suggest. Nose and tastes are pretty much as you would imagine. There are very few surprises here. Dark, bitter chocolate, decent warming alcohol and some hardcore hop and malt combos. Alcohol comes through more and more as it warms....

Special Holiday Ale

12 oz single from Tower on Piedmont. $2.99 for the pleasure. Well, the marriage of these three breweries certainly makes for an intriguing combination, but at the same time it makes me a little nervous. Jolly Pumpkin has been very hit and miss for me (I just don't want funk in EVERYTHING), Mikkeller aren't exactly know for their subtlety and Stone have pushed a few boundaries of their own. Dark garnet pour with a tan head and sticky lace. It looks rich - and that's good because it IS! (In fact...

Stone Cali-Belgique

Interesting beer as is often the case with Stone. 22oz bomber with the usual Stone screen printed bottle. Thanks go out to BA PatronWizard for the chance to try this one. Stone special releases have not yet made it to GA. Very nice, light golden pour with the very lightest hint of haze in the clear body. Head is above average but light but it does leave decent lace. Looks strong. Has a Tripel appearance. Nose is hoppier and more IPAish than the beer drinks. The nose points more toward the West...

Stone 08.08.08 Vertical Epic Ale

Many thanks to Pretzelcity for the excellent trade. 22 oz bottle with the typical Stone VE presentation. Golden pour into the Duvel tulip. Very bright golden hue, but frankly a disappointing lack of head and lace. More head and lace would give it a better appearance score. Aromas are a combination of medicinal hops and floral hop notes. If I had to describe the taste in simple terms, I would say this is a Belgian Pale/Belgian IPA/ Tripel combo. Plenty of sweetness from the Tripel element, but...

Stone 07.07.07 Vertical Epic

Had a chance to try this for the first time back in July (just after its release) at a Brick Store, BA get together but I didn't take notes. Thanks go out of Bleedingshrimp for the trade, and for the opportunity to get a crack at this one again. 22 oz bomber. Poured into the Duvel tulip. Very deep, bright orange color (marmalade like) that belies the "Pale" part of the moniker. Alcohol and citrus based spices in the nose. Wow - there's a lot going on here. Hot alcohol, spice and citrus notes....

Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale

Combined review of two, 12oz bottles that I recieved from both Hoppymeal and Brewfan in seperate trades. Thanks guys. Initially I have to say that I am a bit confused by this beer. Frankly I hardly get any "oaked" character at all. I guess that there is a very slight vanilla note in there, but without knowing I was drinking this beer I'm not at all sure I would have noticed it. This seems largely like a regular AB to me. If there is one significant difference it's the lack of sweetness that I...

Stone Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale

Thanks go out to RustyDiamond for the chance to sample this one at The Brick Store, Decatur, GA, USA. 22 oz bomber. VERY dark pour, almost black with a substantial head. This "looks" like a stout. Plenty of roasted malts present, even with some burned character. A little cooking chocolate in there too. Couple that bitterness with an extremely hoppy taste and aroma and you have a beer that drinks with some stout characteristics. Not really my cup of tea for an American Strong. I prefer the...

Stone Pale Ale

12 oz bottle, thanks to ArrogantB for the trade. Pale orange pour with a nice head, some decent carbonation and some nice, simple lace. This is a very nice beer. The kind of beer that revels in its simplicity and the kind of beer that the top US brewers are making way too few of. Some mild hop presence in the nose but not overpowering. Lovely smooth mouthfeel with a soft, biscuit malt presence that is reminscent of many bottle conditioned English beers that we get in the States. Lovely balance...

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2007

22 oz bomber, thanks to ArrogantB for the trade. Pretty much pure orange color with a very fine amount of head and lace. To be honest, more head and lace than I was expecting considering the ABV. Before getting into the specifics, this is obviously still way too hot. The alcohol is going to need at LEAST a year to even out and after that we are probably looking at several more years of great cellaring ahead of it. Very typical of the American version of the Barley Wine style. Initial sweetness...

Stone Levitation Ale

12 oz single, thanks go out to ArrogantB for the trade. Nice mid-orange pour with very little carbonation but a nice formation of creamy head and some sticky, creamy lace. Looks classically good. Very hoppy nose - seems quite dry. Clearly a simple beer, but why such huge hop presence even in this simple brew? I understand the Stone/West Coast philosophy, but this strikes me as a perfect beer to have more malt balance, and at 4.4% *could* be presented and marketed as a perfect session, easy...

Stone 10th Anniversary IPA

22oz bomber (#7 of 10) thanks to BigLove as part of Blue Max BIF (#48). Mid-orange pour with some lovely lace and a small but well formed head. Aroma and tastes are one and the same. Layers and layers of West Coast resinous, pine hops, loads of Christmas based orange citrus fruits (satsumas and tangerines) and lots of alcohol sweetness. I was very suprised at the level of sweetness in this beer. Coupled with the rather significant orange and alcohol content this drank a bit like a beery...

Stone 06.06.06 Vertical Epic Ale

04/08 (Almost two year old bottle) === Purchased at Kybecca, Fredericksburg, VA, USA. $7+ for the last bottle in the cooler. Poured in to the Val-Dieu goblet. Still has the dark, dark brown almost black body. Very thin spotty head despite the aggressive pour. Some flakes and floaties in the body of the pour. Aroma is deeper now than I remember from a couple of years ago. Mouthfeel is still creamy. The taste really doesn't seemed to have mellowed out much - a tad disappointing. It certainly...

Stone 8th Anniversary Ale

Thanks to Boolshot for a great trade. 22oz bomber. This is not the best beer that I have had from Stone - not by long chalk. The main problem here is with the style. In a Brown Ale I'm looking for a simple, malt based (low hop presence) easy drinking beer with some sweet notes and probably a pretty low alcohol. This fails on three counts and as a result the drinkability is low. There is a high alcohol taste combined with a hoppy note, all amongst a chocolate-cocoa powedery mouthfeel. A poor...

Stone 05.05.05 Vertical Epic Ale

Poured into the Duvel tulip. One half inch, dense pock marked head sits atop the dark brown, almost Dubbel like body. Color is not the most attractive. The head fades but leaves that tell-tale spotty and creamy deposit for the remainder of the beer - a sure sign of a quality product. Rich nose with the classic figs, prunes, dark sugar and raisin notes. Excellent. Taste has all the characteristics of a Belgian dark, but has an added bitterness. The bitterness lingers a little too long for me,...

Stone 04.04.04 Vertical Epic Ale

What an unusual beer. Poured into the Duvel tulip, there is an orange/golden body (looks a lot like lucozade) with a big frothy/rocky head but very little lacing to speak of. We get some spotty thin head left on the surface of the beer, and the Duvel tulip engraving continues produce bubbles of carbonation. Yeast and peach/apricot are the overwhelming aromas - the peach/apricot is really strong and reminds me of an aromatic shower gel! I know this doesn't sound really nice, but it is not bad!...

Stone 9th Anniversary Ale

Bright, golden pour with a light looking, large frothy head. Very nice, very distinctly layered lacing and pretty good retention. Some chill haze, but this is a very attractive looking brew. Some light, sweet hops in the nose. Taste continues to reflect that with sweetness alongside the well defined hop profile. Some lingering bitterness in the finish. I get a little yeast taste upfront too, accompanied by some dryish powder feel. Definitely some "tinny" metallic aftertaste too. Mouthfeel has...

Stone Smoked Porter

Jet black body but with some ruby red highlights at the bottom of the glass. Only at the bottom though. Definite "Guinness like" appearance with some very nice lacing. About one-eigth of an inch of dense, tan colored head persists all the way to the bottom of the drink. Very smooth mouthfeel. Liquorice start, with sweetness prevailing upfront. Increasingly sweet as the bottle is consumed. I was suprised at the lack of "smokiness" given the name, but I enjoyed more because it was lacking that...

Stone Old Guardian Barley Wine Style Ale 2005

Pale orange, almost peach colored pour, with a very attractive slightly orange tinted head that comes from the aggresive pour. Of course, the head is small and doesn't last long, but that's to be expected with the ABV. Typical AMERICAN Barley Wine, and I increasingly feel, that when you get to this level of ABV it can start to get difficult (even for an excellent brewer like Stone) to start making distinguishing charateristics. Lots of warming alcohol in the taste, you can feel it going down,...

Arrogant Bastard Ale

Utterly delicious with the perfect combination of a sweet start and a hop finish. The pour is dark brown with great clarity and a lovely half-inch of solid looking head. Lots of sticky lacing. Lovely, almost orange colored head. Aroma's are hops, but not too large and they intice you into a gulping of the first few inches in the glass. Refreshing, tasty and satisfying, this stuff slips down with an alarming ease. The alcohol is obviously there, but compliments the rest of the attributes...

Stone IPA (India Pale Ale)

In many ways this is my favorite Stone beer. It may not score as highly as say, IRS, Ruination or either of the Bastards, but the whole point is that this a simple, everyday beer that doesn't need any kind of huge hop presence or massive alcohol content to stand on its own and say, "I'm a great example of simple, excellent brewing". Classic orange marmalade and hazy pour, with lovely light head and some sticky lacing. Aroma and initial tastes are obviously West Coast hops, but they are loose...

Stone Ruination IPA

Very unusually I found myself craving some hops. What better way to take care of that than with some Ruination? Thanks to Prostman. Crystal clear, golden orange pour with a fantastic, large, billowing, rocky head and some sticky lacing. A treat to behold in the glass. Some huge hops in the nose and the initial taste, but they are simply not over-powering. In fact, the taste was sort of mild! Very surprising. Very refeshing with a smooth ending and a classic metallic bitternes at the back of...

Double Bastard Ale

=== Updated Review, '06 Vintage 11/24/07 === That cloudy, dark orange, chill hazed appearance remains. Lots of malts up front that continue to balance the high hops. Drinkaility remains very high considering the ABV. === Original Review, '05 Vintage 03/08/05 === A much better experience that I was anticipating. I was expecting a lot of hops, but was pleasantly suprised by the balance of this brew and the prominence of the malt character. Beautiful, deep mahogany pour, just a classic looking...

Stone Imperial Russian Stout

What a great surprise. A sweet, delicious, thick treacle like beer that drank superbly and left an amazing feeling of well being and satisfaction. Poured into a Westmalle chalice to reveal a thick, inky blackness that has yet to be matched by just about anything I can remember pouring - except black ink! Small tan head that left quickly to leave a classic, spotty cream film over the surface of the beer. Looks like a small oil slick in the glass! An interesting juxtaposition of complex notes...