Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale review

Stone Oaked Arrogant BastardIt's time to revisit one of my favorite California breweries. During one of my most recent beer runs, I managed to pick up a bottle of Stone Brewing Company's popular American Strong Ale. I've had their Arrogant Bastard Ale before but this wasn't it, instead it was their Stone Oaked Arrogant Bastard Ale, the same ale aged with oak chips. Oak treated beers change a beer dynamics. It can mellow strong hops over time and give the ale added flavors imparted from the wood.

Before sampling the Oaked Arrogant Bastard (OAB), I pulled up the tasting notes I had on the regular non-oaked version. I wanted to compare the two as much as possible only I'd have to do it from memory. I haven't had the regular version since last March.

Appearance: The OAB poured with a big frothy tan head and left a light lacing on the side of the tulip glass. The bottle was just 12oz but it barely fit into my glass. The beer appears dark with crimson overtones. Very similar to the regular brand. The beer was cold out of the fridge and I knew I'd have to let it breathe a little bit before being able to get the full taste and aroma.

Aroma: The initial aroma was of subdued hops. It had a very slight oaky smell but it was hard to pick out at first. The more the beer warmed, the more the aroma came out. Later on I could detect a nice dark roasted malt aroma with some brandy-like traces. The smell comes out best when you swirl the beer around in the glass. Be sure to leave adequate room in the glass for swirling else you risk not being able to detect the full aroma.

Taste: The first taste seemed more "tame" than the original. It had a rich, full mouth feel with moderate carbonation. It felt somewhat creamy on the tongue and initially left a bitter finish when cold. It was nice and malty but not sweet at all. My initial thoughts were that I'd need to have 2 bottles of this beer to fully appreciate it, but later on as it warmed the beer really came to life.

I've had a few other brews that have been treated with oak or stored in oak barrels. This one was only moderately conditioned with oak chips but it made it's mark well. I felt this was a slightly better beer than the original. The wood imparted some nice flavors that weren't over done.

Overall: By the end of the glass, I was wishing I had another despite it being high in alcohol content (7.2% ABV). The IBU's may be off the wall on this beer but the oak chips control the bitterness well. This is a beer I'd love to have again. I'm going to give it a thumbs up. It IS worthy. It gets a 3.5 out of 5 rating from me.

Related articles:
- Brew review - Arrogant Bastard Ale.
- Stone Imperial Russian Stout.
- Stone Ruination IPA at Choice City.

This article came from FermentedlyChallenged.com
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