Stone Brewing Company has some sort of obsession with Satan. After all, their logo is a demon, and their website’s beer descriptions make references to sin and hell. I guess this represents their intensity and passion for their work, and it pays off, because they produce some very nice brews. Based in Escondido, California, Stone was founded in 1996, and the company and its beers continue to receive extremely high ratings by experts. Characteristic of American, California brews, they are heavy on the hops. In addition, their beers tend to have relatively high alcohol content, which is just fine in my book.
Stone Brewing Co. Double Bastard Ale (11.2% ABV) is a bit of a mystery. The company’s website description seems like someone used a thesaurus to find all sorts of high-impact words that actually mean nothing. Moreover, the hops variety used is listed as classified, and they say nothing about the malt itself. When companies refuse to give information to consumers, it really irks me — it is one of my pet peeves. It makes my job (and that of reviewers everywhere) more difficult than necessary. But in any case, I can tell from the color and aroma of this ale that it uses medium-dark roasted malts and some aromatic hops. As an ale, it is top-fermented and warm-fermented. Other than that, the company gives us no clues, so let’s have a little taste and see.
Everything On Tap Review: Stone Brewing Double Bastard Ale:
Bottle: The black-glass bottle is 22 oz. The label has a black background with with silver lettering. The logo includes two circles, vertically-aligned. The top circle is red, and the bottom, silver. Each circle has a demon illustrated as coming out of the circle.
Pour: The color is metallic copper and gold, and fairly hazy. The head is a combination of elephant-tusk ivory, and calla-lily off-white. It is about two fingers thick, very creamy and foamy and thick, and it dissipates slowly, leaving thick lacing.
Aroma: The strong scent of dark-roasted (almost burnt) malt hits the nose on the attack. Then the hops impart a grapefruit, bitter, and lightly-noticeable lemon peel. Following this on the aromatic finish is the very faint bouquet of figs, currants, dates, and caramel.
Flavor: The overwhelming presence of sweet molasses, caramel, and burnt and roasted malted grins punches the palate on the attack. There is also the clear impression of strong ethyl alcohol. The finish imparts bitter hops with touches of citrus and grass. Overall, the flavor is perfectly-balanced, and just the right combination of sensations for an ale. The ethyl alcohol flavor is very strong, but remember that this ale is 11.2% ABV.
Mouthfeel: The mouthfeel is thick, luscious, and creamy, especially for an ale. It is a bit syrupy for my preferences. The carbonation is low to medium, and the warmth of ethyl alcohol permeates.
Structure: The structure is broad and firm.
Food Pairing: This strong, creamy, dense ale would stand up well to strong red meat, especially game like venison. It would also pair well with sharp, tangy cheddar cheese, or mushrooms au gratin.
Overall Rating Out of 5 Possible Beer Mugs: