Monday, December 11, 2006

Beer Tasting: Stone Double Bastard

"Ye Shall Know The Bastard, And The Bastard Will Set You Free." Say again? Wait, there's more. "Warning: Double Bastard Ale is not to be wasted on the tentative or weak. Only the Worthy are invited, and then only at your own risk. If you have even a modicum of hesitation, DO NOT buy this bottle. Instead, leave it for a Worthy soul who has already matriculated to the sublime ecstasy of what those in the know refer to as 'Liquid Arrogance'." Want more?..."This is one lacerative muther of a beer. It is unequivocally certain that your feeble palate is grossly inadequate and thus undeserving of this liquid glory..." That's only the first 25% of the rambling diatribe on the back of Stone's Double Bastard Ale. I wasn't quite sure to take it as an insult, a challenge, both, or neither. Maybe it's just silly marketing. Maybe some one is angry. In any case, I bought the Bastard (Double, that is). And, I tried it. Hm, what did I think? Well, for starters it sure poured slickly. This is one characteristic that many deride in Stone's beers. The slickness, the stickiness, the cloying and viscous nature of the beer as it passes through the mouth. It seems to be intensified even more so in the Double Bastard, though I didn't seem to mind. Taste? Uh, big malt, big hops, and big alcohol (big alcohol, for sure, at 10%). This is truly a sipping beer and one that seems to be optimally enjoyed on the cooler side of room temperature. And, at that, it's also a sharing beer. So...yes, I enjoyed it and look forward to my next encounter! I'm a bit confused by the bottle stamp that reads "Enjoy by 1/11/07" but then goes on to instruct that the beer be aged at a cellaring temperature of 55F or below. Perhaps one of our loyal readers could have an explanation for this? At the San Francisco airport, it was quite a scene at the TSA checkpoint when the empty bottle was pulled from my bag for inspection. Quite the roar went up from the two agents trying to figure out just exactly what it was. Of course, I attempted to sell them on the merits of drinking better beer, but I warned not to begin with the Double Bastard! Because, as the last line of the bottle jargon states..."Double The Bastard. Bastard The Double."


TheName said...

I put one down last week and was, frankly, quite disappointed. I'll stick with my Hog Heaven for a big big beer.

With all that alcohol, the "freshness date" is almost irrelevant and pretty much there to give you an idea of when it was brewed. At that ABV you ought to be able to cellar it for years and it'll probably get plenty o' better with age.

Eli said...

I think (and thats key here because I'm probably wrong), that the freshness date is for those that like their beers at the hoppiest levels they can get them.

As the hop aroma and flavors degrade err diminish, over time, new malt flavors begin to appear and while cellaring it for a few years will enable a fuller range of maltiness, if you're a hophead, you'll want this beer as fresh as possible.

That said, I have yet to try this one. I've been meaning to pick one up though, quite soon.