30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 952 | Reviews: 655 | Display Reviews Only:
2.63/5 rDev -38%
On-tap @ Comet Cafe and served in a tulip glass.
Pours motor oil black with a dense, one-finger mocha head. Exceptional lacing of foam along the sides of glass throughout the session.
The nose isn't entirely distinct. There's an overall roasted quality to it with subtle notes of burnt coffee, chicory, wet cardboard and damp woolen socks. Maybe even the essence of a wet dog. Not incredibly pleasant.
Saying this beer tastes like bad (is there any other kind?) office coffee is being kind. Actually, it's more like chilled Muffler Shop coffee -- the kind that's been welded to the burner for 72 hours. To this, we add a few redeeming notes of chicory and an abundance of campfire smoke. Ack! I thought it might improve as it warms, but not the case. Finishes with hints of earthy grain and peat.
Medium-bodied mouthfeel with an adequate level of carbonation.
Not a great experience. My drinking buddy likened the taste to "licking your hands after tarring a roof." Personally, I thought it was more like licking a dirty ashtray.
05-28-2010 16:53:35 | More by CaptainIPA
2.7/5 rDev -36.3%
On tap at Brixies in Brookfield Il, served in a 10oz. snifter
It poured a pitch black with a dense mocha head which hovered at a one finger height for a while. The lacing on this beer was great with a complex labyrinth of foam all along the sides of the glass.
The nose starts off with an insanely large roastiness to it. It's like my nose is right next to a coffee roaster where some of the coffee smells are present but because of my proximity to the roaster the acrid burnt notes are almost overpowering. At least thats the closest comparison I could make to the smell. Behind the roast was a surprising off-smell that I couldn't pin-point. It was like a dry worn sock but not as pungent. I don't have very much experience with off flavors or smells in beers so I'm not the best in describing them but this was just out of place and not very pleasant.
Unfortunately the taste mirrored the roast level of the nose. There was also a level campfire smokiness present. I've had some roasty beers before and can find a high level of roast enjoyable but this was just overwhelming. I couldn't really detect much hop flavor as described in previous reviews as the astringent roastiness overwhelmed my mouth. The off-smell I described in the nose was present in the flavor but in a much lower level thank goodness.
Mouthfeel was actually pretty creamy given the roasty beer and dryer finish which was nice. Drinkability suffered greatly because of the taste for me but I am happy to say that the ABV did not show itself in the least.
Overall I'm sad to say I was really disappointed in this beer. I had such high hopes for it and was glad too see the great reviews coming in. Unfortunately this beer just did not sit right with me. I'm happy that I found it on tap so I did not have to open up my bottle. Hopefully it will age nicely and in a year or two the roastiness will integrate into the beer better and will become a much tastier beer to me.
05-02-2010 20:33:10 | More by weatherdog
2.83/5 rDev -33.3%
Huh, this one surprised me. Too bad, as I love SN and can't remember the last time I was disappointed by one of their brews.
Pours a deep black with slight ruddy edges in the light. Nice, dark tan head forms at the top, chunky, and fairly long-lasting. Nice lacing. So far, so good.
Smell is good, if a bit muted. Roasted notes, a hint of chocolate, maybe the slightest trace of black licorice. Not much alcohol presence.
Taste. Well, this just wasn't what I was hoping for. The roasted notes are overwhelming. I usually like a bit of roast as a balance to the sweeter, deeper flavors associated with the RIS, but roast is the dominant component here. Smoke, and just a touch of bittersweet chocolate and alcohol warming. But damn, the roastiness is overdone. Too bad.
Mouthfeel was solid. It could have been a bit creamier... some time in the glass let it smooth out a bit.
Drinkability... not great. Unfortunately, I dumped about a third of the bottle because my palate was fatigued from battling the charred flavors.
I have two more bottles. I don't plan on opening them anytime soon. Maybe a year or three in the cellar will do them good. On the other hand, there seems to be a lot of headspace in the bottle, so maybe a few years in the cellar will just cause them to drop off the face of the earth. Only one way to tell, I suppose...
04-02-2010 17:50:42 | More by davod23
3/5 rDev -29.2%
A - dark with no red tall dark head that is slow to fall.
S - mild hop. Malts with a little chocolate.
T - bold stout with mild hop taste. It even seems to have a mild bourbon aged portion to it.
M - good coating and a mild tingle on the tongue.
D - I do not care for hops or bourbon so both seemingly present here hurts.
06-26-2010 01:51:10 | More by biglite351
3.05/5 rDev -28.1%
Sierra Nevada's 30th anniversary Imperial Stout. ~2 years old at this point. C&C 750 poured into a snifter.
Dark but not black hole dark; good dark brown head with good retention. Aroma has plenty of sweetness, dark fruit, roast and anise. Tastes sub par with medicinal notes; some roast is present. Medium body, medium carbonation. Overall just an Imperial Stout with nothing too compelling about it.
4.5, 3.5, 2.5, 4, 3
04-25-2012 04:23:51 | More by tewaris
3.15/5 rDev -25.7%
Looks very nice, pours pitch black, with a nice thick, tan head that seems to have good retention. Does not provide a lot of lacing, but nonetheless, a very nice looking beer. The smell is somewhat muted, a bit of roasted grain in there, a little earthy hops, a slight note of yeast, and a tiny bit of malty, almost chocolatey sweetness. I don't think any of the smells are distinct enough to really be pleasing, just present enough to let you know what it is you're smelling. The beer is very dry, almost to the point of being more of a chore to enjoy. But as for the other flavors, they kind of resemble the smell, in that they aren't distinct enough. The most distinct flavor is this dry, slightly yeasty hoppy flavor, that isn't the most pleasant in a big stout. The chocolate flavor is there, moreso than a straightforward roasted grain flavor. I'm not picking much else up. This could kind of be like an IBA or something, but I don't think the hop flavor is quite right for that. The mouthfeel is a little thin - it's a fairly dry beer, and it's a little slick too. The carbonation is nice, and overall, the feeling seems pretty common among a lot of imperial stouts. You know, I'm going to give this a higher score for overall than I think I would expect, but it's not a bad beer. I'm just not sure that it stands out in any significant way.
07-25-2010 15:29:01 | More by taylorhamrick
3.2/5 rDev -24.5%
Pours with a creamy tan head that is thick like a milk shake. No light gets through this beer and the color appears to be about as dark as brown can get. Its as if the head will not fade. It turns to whipped cream. Much less lacing than I would have thought given the head.
Aroma is surprisingly hoppy with a slight pine touch. Certainly a lot of roasted malt and a whiff of alcohol.
I am really surprised how hoppy this beer is. Bitterness front to back with a dark roasted malt just below the hoppiness. You can taste some alcohol here in the finish.
Thick beer that lays on your tongue. Very slight carbonation.
I sat on this bottle for a few months. What was this like fresh?? Its ok, but doesn't approach my favorite big stouts.
09-01-2010 22:58:57 | More by Reagan1984
3.2/5 rDev -24.5%
Cork explodes out of the bottle, I'm just glad I didn't put a hole in my ceiling! Poured into a Seirra XXX sifter.
A thick oily, creamy, coco brown head. Leaves the bottle an extremely dark brown, but once in the glass I can't get anything but pitch black. This is LOVELY. Amazing lacing and it leaves just a wonderful effect on the glass.
Burnt malt with a sweet thin porter like smell. I really don't have a word in my vocabulary to explain it. But it's a smell that makes me think of a thinner and sweeter, but fair bodied stout. This often goes with lighter oatmeal stout. Almost sour but more of a fungus like smell. It isn't bad or anything you'd want to avoid, but I don't care for it either.
Nothing thin about this bad boy. Bitter! It opens sweet like any thick high abv stout will. That burnt malt is just a caramel pleasure, but it goes so bitter and funky. A piney hope profile with some off putting wood that blends amazingly well. I like to think of this as a beer where the sum of all the parts are much greater than the individual parts. This beer exemplifies this.
Part of me dislikes this flavor and a part of me loves it. It's really strange and hard to place.
This beer drinks and feels just amazingly. Smooth creamy and well carbonated. It is a sipper as all beers of this style should be. A hair too easy to drink but not going to happen tonight.
28.77 equivalent for a 6 pack. A bit expensive all things considered. 9.99 for a bottle which is what I base this on. Amazing honestly how that works out.
10-07-2010 08:10:44 | More by bobhits
3.28/5 rDev -22.6%
Pours a dark brown almost black color, very huge light brown head that fades very slowly and leaves a good amount of lacing along the glass.
Disappointing aroma, comes across as a bit metallic with hints of roasted malt, nothing complex for an imperial stout.
Taste is pretty much all roasted malt, finishes quite dry and heavily bitter (and not from hops, more like burnt malt), soft carbonation, fairly sticky in the mouth yet not overly viscous.
It started out so nicely with a great pour, sadly I feel it's just uninteresting, maybe some age on this puppy would improve it.
04-17-2010 00:40:32 | More by deltatauhobbit
3.3/5 rDev -22.2%
Bottle reviewed from notes. Had as the 5th installment of "A Beer Observed" with my boy, CP, back in July.
Pours an unsurprising deep black with a thin mocha head resting comfortably on top. The nose carries notes of charred wood, chocolate malts, and booze. The mouth is creamy and full. Very smooth finish. Deep alcohol flavors, with some wine-like character to it. Semi-bitter chocolate budges its way in. This is a slow-sipper, even after almost a year in the cellar. I liked the feel, but still could have used a little more to it. Rich beer.
10-19-2011 20:41:17 | More by Onenote81
3.4/5 rDev -19.8%
Chilled bottle into a glass. Purchased at WF Los Altos for about $10.
A: Pours a pitch brown body, nearly black in the glass but revealing some translucence around the edge. The head is surprisingly billowy and fluffy for an imperial stout, but I expected that when the cork nearly took my head off. It's a dark mocha color. It leaves wispy trails of bubbles on top of the brew, with a thin collar adorning the edge. Looks like caramel swirled into milk chocolate. My second pour (the next day) was still carbonated with good retention.
S: Roasted coffee -- pretty aggressive. Some cocoa beans, dark chocolate, and earthy hops are pretty evident on the nose.
T: Again, aggressive roasted coffee tastes with the bittersweet assistance of crushed cocoa beans. I pick up strong flavors of toast, too. I start picking up citrus hops in the mid-taste, which is interesting and surprisingly complementary with the chocolate (I normally feel that they clash). I suspect it's the pairing with earthy hops that smooths out the contrast. Hints of anise become evident as the beer warms. The taste finishes on a roasty note, continuing well into the aftertaste.
M: Medium-bodied; it has low-medium carbonation that seems to have been jolted out by the pour. It could stand to be a bit creamier, though.
D: At the price point, this classic-tasting Imperial Stout is a hell of a bargain. On a purely beer level, I enjoyed it more than the 09 Abyss, which is the first comparison I think of when I'm trying to describe how roasty this is. I don't love it, but I like it. It's going to take me at least two nights to finish this one, sadly. I had to recap it and put it away.
03-31-2010 07:39:13 | More by Arbitrator
3.45/5 rDev -18.6%
Poured from a 750ml bottle into a North Coast Brewery pint glass...
A - Pours black with a generous three finger light brown head on a fairly passive pour. Head sticks around for a good amount of time, and there is a decent amount of lacing to be had...
S - Lots of smokey notes along with some coffee and a hint of molasses, and something a little sweeter...
T - Dark roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee. The sweetness that cam through in the smell doesn't make an appearence here. Ends on a smokey note with a hint of hop bitterness in the mix. Abv is very well hidden; however, I think I would have perfered a little alcohol bite if that meant toning down the smokey flavors a little...
M - A little lighter than I was expecting. Medium bodied with a good amount of carbonation...
D - I can't help but feel that this could be a really good beer if the chocolate notes were a little more pronounced, and the smokiness wasn't so over the top. To each their own though. Not something I will be looking to revisit in the future...
01-14-2011 23:30:59 | More by comfortablynumb1
3.48/5 rDev -17.9%
Bomber into snifter
A- Nearly jet back, very thin dark head
S- Anise, wood, roast
T- Big anise flavor, lacking in malt/roast
M- Really thin for an IS, low carbonation
O- I didn't mind this beer. Its not much of an IS, but I really liked the strong anise flavor/aroma. If you don't like anise, there isn't much here for you.
04-14-2012 17:36:41 | More by Steasy66
3.48/5 rDev -17.9%
750ml bottle poured into Portsmouth tulip.
A - Pours black, huge frothy tan head, nice thick cap, large bubbles on top, some sticky lacing along the sides of the glass.
S - Lots of dark fruit notes, very sweet, slight chocolate, some oak, light roast. Mostly, a sweet dark fruit and oaky stout and not as much chocolate as I was expecting.
T - More chocolate on the palate then the nose, dark fruits, some oak, the alcohol notes are very evident (perhaps a bit too much). Could have a little more chocolate sweetness and less alcohol booze, which makes it a bit harsh.
M - Medium to full, good carbonation, creamy finish.
D - A decent stout, nothing special. Too much alcohol up front which needs to be hidden a little better. Perhaps some additional time in the bottle will help. Decent, nothing special.
02-26-2011 03:06:58 | More by Sean9689
3.48/5 rDev -17.9%
Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken's Ale
Served in New Belgium Tulip
A: Pours black with a creamy, mocha-colored head that sticks around surprisingly long and leaves some lacing.
S: Licorice, smoke, soy sauce, milk chocolate and roasted malts. Dark, dried fruits. There is an odd perfume note, too, which I suspect is year-old hops interacting with matured malts. It is something I've detected before, most recently in Dark Horse's Plead the Fifth.
T: In the Taste category, the first three smell characteristics hold the upper hand over the others. Roasted malts are manifested as char/burnt and are much more present than dark, dried fruits, which barely appear on palate. Big bitterness. Cocoa powder and roast finish.
M: Medium-heavy body with medium carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel. A little warming. Somewhat powdery in finish.
O: Fritz and Ken's Ale seems to be holding up well over a year after release. I think it is an above average Imperial Stout.
06-20-2011 03:06:40 | More by Wadsey
3.5/5 rDev -17.5%
750ml bottle. Pours a dark black brown with a huge foamy light brown cascading nitro-looking head that retains well and laces the glass. I poured this one a little too hard. :)
The aroma is sweet chocolate malts with some oatmeal and a touch of anise.
The flavor is sweet lactic chocolate and a little dark fruit with a roasted and anise finish with decent bitterness with noticeable alcohol. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with smooth carbonation but is slightly watery.
Overall, a nice imperial stout. Fun to try once, but not worth $15.
04-05-2010 05:55:43 | More by Beaver13
3.5/5 rDev -17.5%
A: classy label & fancy corked vessel, but petroleum sludge color with dirty head
T: Roasted & bitter, with slight espresso afterbite; burnt toast
M: astringent, creamy, medicinal
D: too bitter and high in alcohol to really be drinkable
Bitter like a cigarette or an eggplant. Roasted almost to a fault, but some slight coffee character. I think it's more tobacco-esq than coffee though. robust would be an understatement:)
04-02-2010 10:13:31 | More by n1ckels
3.5/5 rDev -17.5%
Bottle: Poured a pitch-black color ale with a large foamy head with great retention and very good lacing. Aroma of liquorice with some sweet malt is bordering on being grossly sweet but still manager to retain some balance. Taste is somewhat too sweet with some liquorice notes and some rich sweet notes with no coffee/black chocolate or roasted notes I usually associated with the style. Body is fuller then average with great carbonation and a creamy texture. Not bad but too sweet for my own taste, prefer my imperial stout to be more bitter.
06-11-2010 02:34:19 | More by Phyl21ca
30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 952 ratings.