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RATINGS: 509   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.52/5   EST. CALORIES: 195   ABV: 6.5%
Collaboration Stein beer from Tomme Arthur and Tonya Cornett of Bend Brewing.

It’s not too often the brewing process requires us to make beer in a mind over matter sort of way. Hot Rocks Lager presented us an opportunity to work with Tonya Cornett of Bend Brewing Co. on a collaborative project. Working with our brewers to bring her recipe to fruition, she decided to "Rock It" old school.

You see, not too long ago, brewers produced beers by pulling glowing orange rocks from raging fires. The sizzling rocks were heated until they glowed like hot magma and were then dropped into the wort causing it to boil. Smoke, steam and volcanic rolling boils became the hallmarks of what German brewers call "Stein Beer". Hot Rocks Lager was brewed this way and transported us back in time. The production of this beer made for a memorable experience. As collaborations go, this one ruled. Because as everyone knows, playing with fire is cool.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
JCB (3999) - Durham, North Carolina, USA - MAY 26, 2009
Bomber from Capone’s. Somehow I was surprised to see how dark a pour this was, but it was certainly quite a handsome chestnut brown with a pretty decent amount of carbonation. Strong nutty nose with sweet malts and deep brown sugar. The body is nicely full, with more depth than the average dunkel. Sweet roasts blend with sharp nut and smoke flavors, with an earthy bitterness to the finish. Pretty enjoyable.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
SamGamgee (2452) - down the whirlpool, California, USA - MAY 26, 2009
22oz bottle picked up down in OC. This was an interesting beer. I went into this not really knowing what to expect from it. Very malty overall, with a rich sweetness that makes it drink like a bigger bock beer than it is. I would almost call it a doppelbock in the malt department, but the steinbier thing has given it a malt profile that is truly unique and intriguing. Dark red-brown in color with a thick light beige head that leaves a lasting slick after a few minutes. The aroma is sweet and malty with a smooth lager character, caramel, burnt sugars, licorice, and light smoke. The flavor is squarely malt driven and sweet with caramel, some chocolate, burnt marshmallows, dried fruit, light smoke, and a light spicy hop bitterness. Medium-full bodied with medium-low carbonation. I liked this beer because of the cool malty flavors, but couldn’t help but with it was a little drier or hoppier for balance. By the end of the bomber the sweetness became a little too intense.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
gkost (1709) - Tampa, Florida, USA - MAY 25, 2009
Poured amber. Sweet malt nose. Flowery and "old" smelling. Flavor is sweet malts, bread and spice. Good full body.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
gunhaver (1030) - Tampa, Florida, USA - MAY 24, 2009
Bottle, courtesy someone. Light caramel reddish color, light thin lacing and nice small head. Some flowery notes in the nose, brown sugar and spicy caramel. Smooth creamy malts, grain in the finish. Balanced and yummy.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
FlacoAlto (4152) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - MAY 24, 2009
A vigorous pour into my 25cl tulip glass produces an almost three-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer is a dark amber, brown color that shows a clearish, bright cherry hue when held up to the light. The aroma has a full, malty, caramelized (very much so actually) note that is quite a bit more distinct than I was expecting. This has an almost fruity caramel not to it that sort of reminds me of something like cotton-candy or marshmallows. There is a backdrop of toasty, bread-crust like and biscuit leaning maltiness.

This has quite a spicy, herbal hop note to it along with a clean, biting bitterness. The malt, while distinct, is almost secondary to the hop character; this is quite a departure from the nose. The beer might be a bit too cold (the low to mid 40s), but when warmed it becomes more creamy in texture. This is still quite hoppy though, but that fruity-caramel / caramelized cotton candy note becomes more noticeable in the flavor. The beer almost has a sort of roasted character to it; it is a touch sharp, with a faint hint of roasted character, even a touch of coffee like notes, but not really roasted. This definitely has a toasted malt edge to it that picks up lots of biscuit character in the finish.

In the end this is quite malt focused, even if I can’t quite decide if the initial hop focus in the flavor was distracting or intriguing. This is quite a tasty beer and the unique notes, presumably from the stoning process, makes this that much more interesting to try.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
asedzie (786) - San Francisco, California, USA - MAY 22, 2009
Bottle. Pours deep ruby brown, slight head. Aroma is mild caramel, lightly sweet, some minor spicy notes. Flavor is wonderful. Rich caramel flavors, mild touches of roastiness, some slight burnt malt flavors, not too sweet, lightly bitter earthy hops. Malt flavors have rawness and depth. Mild bitterness and roasty flavors lingering in the background. I seriously love this beer. A very complex lager, reminiscent of traditional old world central and eastern European styles. Wish there were more out there like this.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 5/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
Beerlando (3342) - Orlando, Florida, USA - MAY 20, 2009
Bomber. Pours a dark, lightly hazy mahogany color. Chestnut tinted translucency shows when the beer is backlit. A medium sized, foamy, khaki colored head settles to a splotchy film with a substantial edge. A soapy wash mostly rejoins the body, just a few spots remaining behind, holding on for dear life. The nose hints at a mild infection, estery yeast and hints of band-aid mucking up a pretty nice mix of underlying chocolate malt, dark fruit, and hazelnut. Hints of earthy hops nearly get lost in the plasticy scent. Flavors show the infection as well, band-aid overtones fouling an otherwise tasty mix of dry cocoa, vanilla, dark caramel, and nuts. Medium-light in body, overly carbonated, and too dry for the style, even the palate feels the ill effects of this brew’s disappointing condition. It’s still drinkable, as the infe tion hasn’t fully taken over, but it is still a letdown. Too bad, because this seems like it cold be a top tier dunkel.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
HopheadHans (804) - Bay Area, California, USA - MAY 20, 2009
Interesting beer. Pours with a darjkish brown color and a medium size head. Has some hops and almost smiokiness in the aromas. Flavors have some classcial German lahger grains, togther with tons of malts and some nice subtle hops. Just the right amount of carbonation and fairly smooth mouthfeel.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
SDalkoholic (2359) - Linda Vista, California, USA - MAY 16, 2009
Bottle from South Bay Drugs and Liquor: Thought this was a very interesting method of beer making and was impressed with how well it turned out. First off, the aroma is a sweet and subtle balance of malt that relaxes the nose. The flavor is a delicious and perfectly balanced between sweet rich malt and harmonious hops thrown in. While I sip away at this dunkel I really can’t think of anything negative to say other than I wish it were able to grant me a better buzz.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
BillKismet (3857) - Seattle, Washington, USA - MAY 16, 2009
Deep amber, ring of head, and rather placid body. Mild musky malt and notes of sweetness waft off the glass and beckon you to recall brewing times of old. Similar to an altbier or lightly hopped amber with some added dashes of complexity. Nice base malts. Light crystal malts. Lightly metallic or "stony" quality. Perhaps some brown malts. Toastiness, roastiness, and hints of fire. Nice on the palate. Exceptionally drinkable/sessionable.

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