Kinz (3514) - Glen Allen, Virginia, USA - NOV 14, 2003
4.3 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 18/20
2003 release. Pleasantly surprised to find one case of this available at Carytown. According to the Stone website, no specialties make it to this region. I took 2, leaving the rest for other intrepid samplers. Pretty deep red with brown tint, decent head, good lacing. Aroma was a hop assault with good malt underpinnings. Hint of pineapple. Flavor starts with a rich caramel malt, followed by a full hop bitterness to balance. Something vaguely fruity in the finish. Quite balanced, I daresay. Very much in a barleywine style vein IMHO. Stone is really, really good.
FlacoAlto (3850) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - NOV 13, 2003
3.9 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 7/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
UPDATED: NOV 6, 2004 2004 Release, Sampled November 2004
Wow, this is certainly pungent and fresh smelling, it is a solid punch of citrus hops that is approaching the level of candied fruit. I get notes of apricot, tangerine, ruby red grapefruit, tangelos. The aroma is really quite interesting, and before my first sip of this beer, I am going to hazard a guess that this is the best part of this beer. The beer itself is a brilliant deep amber color that is topped by a creamy tan head.
The taste is definitely not quite as intense as the aroma. It is full bodied, with a certain creamy fullness to it. The taste is definitely hoppified, with a nice mixture of apricot, grapefruit, and an astringent herbal character. This beer is not overly bitter, in fact the bitterness is pretty well in balance, there is a lingering astringency that sticks to my tongue long after the beer has slid down my throat, this seems to be from the copious amounts of hops added. I am sure this will fade with time, but so will the fresh hoppiness that I am enjoying right now.
There are some notes of hot alcohol in the finish as well, but nothing overwhelming. This is not nearly as malt dominated as I remember last years being. Basically this beer is quite tasty, and quite a bit better than I have previously given credit for.
2003 Vintage, Sampled November 2003:
A brown head, that as you pour starts deceptively small and then blossoms in my tulip Duvel glass to about 3 inches (7.62 cm for the non-Americans) thick. A hazy amber color with beautiful garnet notes when held up to the light. A malty hoppy aroma, evokes the thought of a sticky sweet hop smell. Surprisingly, very malty was my first thought upon tasting this beer. The hops are there, but not over the top and in your face. This is a thick bodied beer that seems to leave a coating film even after I have swallowed. Definitely hoppy, the more I sip the more I can detect the bitter finish in this beer. A syrupy hop flavor hits your tongue at first, and then finishes with a drying bitterness. Rating 3.3/6/3/7/4/14
Prostman (1077) - Pennsylvania, USA - NOV 11, 2003
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 18/20
This is one great beer. It poured a reddish color with a thin white head. The taste was very hoopy yet extremely balanced. The finish was clean and hoppy with a nice bitterness that remained. Outstanding.
hotchick (20) - Delaware, USA - NOV 11, 2003
4.8 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 19/20
This could be one of my favorites! An awesome treat. It pours a garnet color with a small off-white head and some lacing. The aroma is citrucy and hoppy with hints of pineapple. The taste is smooth and well-balanced. There are distinct tastes of hops, pineapple, and caramel.
Cobra (1100) - - NOV 10, 2003
4.9 AROMA 10/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 10/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 20/20
UPDATED: MAY 22, 2004 It's beer:thirty here gang. I've been waiting 2 years to try this beer. Let's see if the wait was worth it. 2003 batch. Bought a full case at Norm's in Vienna, Va. Am I worthy of such a beer? Hell Yeah!
22 oz. brown bomber bottle, with a red & white gargoyle painted on it. Poured out a brilliant, clear copper color. Excellent clarity. It had a massive tan head at first, then slid back to a sticky lacing down the sides of the glass. Aromas right away are of sticky, resinous hops. Evergreen aromas, and some grapefruit hops aromas also.
Malts almost overpower the hops, which is a surprize in itself. Very aromatic as far as beers go in general.
Taste: Like a malty milkshake. Very thick mouthfeel. Coats the tongue with malty goodness. Hops bring up the rear, and aren't shy in the effort to overtake the malts. A battle in the mouth.
Finishes hoppy, with sweet caramel malts in the mix. A really good beer from Stone.
...It WAS worth the wait. Good thing I bought a whole case of it.
Next year, I'll buy two cases.
May 2004 update:
This beer has aged well, and the alcohol is much higher than when it was bottled. It's about 12.5% ABV by now, as it continued to ferment in the bottle.
Hops are more subdued now, and the alcohol is overpowering. Cloudy appearance now, not clear as before. Would go really well with a smoked turkey, a filet mignon, or a big ole beef roast. This ain't no wussie beer. It's a manly man beer. Once again, Stone kicks ass.
Steib (613) - Queen Creek, Arizona, USA - NOV 9, 2003
4.5 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
2003 release. A joy to behold as it finally came in, here in desert country. Deep reddish brown hue. Head is minimal but appealing. Aroma is distincly banana with hints of honey. Nicely balanced with a fullbodied flavor of a good barleywine. The best of the winter seasonals, so far. The dark side rules again, outstanding.
blank (996) - Austin, Texas, USA - NOV 9, 2003
3.7 AROMA 7/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 6/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 15/20
"Muther of a beer" is a good term. Very complex ale. Citrus and hops with a lovely brown color. Definately a kick which is expected and deserved condsidering the name. An execellent brew.
Wakie (612) - Centreville, Virginia, USA - NOV 9, 2003
4 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 4/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 3/5 OVERALL 16/20
Great American strong. Interesting amber color with a lingering golden head. Complex aroma of caramel and hickory. The taste was a pleasant blend of caramel, hops, hickory, and (dare I say it) grapefruit. Quite enjoyable. Really has a powerful kick.
drinkbeer (283) - Redondo Beach, California, USA - NOV 8, 2003
4.6 AROMA 9/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 9/10 PALATE 4/5 OVERALL 19/20
UPDATED: NOV 10, 2003 I almost wept with joy when I saw this at the store last night. Then I jumped about 3 feet in the air due to my unabashed excitement and grabbed a bastard for each hand. Wow! Finally a double bastard for me to try! God bless this 2003 release. God likes beer. The look of it!! Clear dark caramel, touch of ruby. What a head! tan and swirly puffy, sudsy like all awesome IPA's. Imagine this: my favorite style is IPA and I'm about to take a sip of Stone's coveted DOUBLE BASTARD. Now do you understand the context of this action? Smells like an orchard. Fresh piney hops and citrus notes. Alcohol is unbelievably well hidden...not surprising because of all the fresh, pungent bracing hops. This bitterness however is complemented by the most delicious sweet malt that will make you almost cry and thank stone so much for making a double bastard, let alone an arrogant bastard.
kujo9 (1095) - North Ridgeville, Ohio, USA - NOV 7, 2003
4.2 AROMA 8/10 APPEARANCE 5/5 TASTE 8/10 PALATE 5/5 OVERALL 16/20
2003 release: Light copper with a small light beige head. Heavy caramel malt and piney hop aroma at the first sniff. Toasty malt and surprisingly a little bit of raisiny fruit, and the usual subtle alcohol. Very strong hop flavor is well balanced by the sweet caramel malt and fruitiness. Light alcohol flavor with a hoppy aftertaste and surprisingly sweeter finish. Warming well hidden alcohol, very moderate carbonation, and a full body make this a winter warmer for sure. Although atypical of an American Barleywine, this is a damn good one!