30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
93
outstanding

658 Reviews
THE BROS
94
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 658
Hads: 978
rAvg: 4.18
pDev: 6.22%
Wants: 62
Gots: 181 | FT: 7
Brewed by:
Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Double / Imperial Stout |  9.20% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: bigbelcher on 03-13-2010

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 658 | Hads: 978
Photo of CaptainIPA
2.64/5  rDev -36.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

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.

Avoid. (1,045 characters)

Photo of weatherdog
2.72/5  rDev -34.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

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. (1,948 characters)

Photo of davod23
2.88/5  rDev -31.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

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... (1,347 characters)

Photo of biglite351
2.99/5  rDev -28.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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. (325 characters)

Photo of tewaris
3.11/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

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 (424 characters)

Photo of bobhits
3.16/5  rDev -24.4%
look: 5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

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. (1,533 characters)

Photo of taylorhamrick
3.21/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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. (1,348 characters)

Photo of Reagan1984
3.21/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.
Sublte sweetness.

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. (760 characters)

Photo of deltatauhobbit
3.25/5  rDev -22.2%
look: 5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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. (580 characters)

Photo of Onenote81
3.33/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (549 characters)

Photo of Arbitrator
3.41/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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. (1,670 characters)

Photo of comfortablynumb1
3.46/5  rDev -17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

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...

Cheers... (1,046 characters)

Photo of Wadsey
3.48/5  rDev -16.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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.  (985 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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. (545 characters)

Photo of Steasy66
3.5/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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. (323 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
3.51/5  rDev -16%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

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. (542 characters)

Photo of n1ckels
3.52/5  rDev -15.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A: classy label & fancy corked vessel, but petroleum sludge color with dirty head

S: Tobacco

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:) (439 characters)

Photo of Sean9689
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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. (811 characters)

Photo of LilBeerDoctor
3.53/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed on 4/18/2010. Bottle (first impy I've seen with a cork). Pours black with a huge, foamy, late rising tan head that lasts. Aroma of roasted malt, bitter chocolate, cocoa, light coffee notes. Flavor of roasted, smoked malt, light coffee. A little bland in the flavor, especially as I continue to drink. A pretty good impy, but nowhere near great in my book. (364 characters)

Photo of mjaskula
3.54/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served in a Guinness glass. The cork popped out with a furry. The beer pours jet black with a thick rusty tan head. The head thins but never disappears and leaves a bunch of lacing.

The aroma is a bit faint mostly roasted malts and coffee, but also some dark fruit and sweetness. The flavor is much stronger, dark roasted malts bring bitterness, coffee and dark chocolate. There's a little bit of the fruit sweetness and alcohol in there rounding out the flavor.

Carbonation is not overly strong, despite the force put on the cork. The mouthfeel is dry and it's a pretty heavy beer, the large bottle is a little much for one sitting. (635 characters)

Photo of JamisonM
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours out pretty dark, into my tulip. An aggressive pour yields A nice 3 finger head. Color is black cant see anything through it The head color is mocha.

S: Dark fruits roasted notes campfire and smoke. Dark chocolate with some sweetness like a 70% chocolate bar. A bit of acidic notes are there as well...

T: a bit of smoke and dark fruit hit hit the palate first. Roasted notes with smoked malt. Camp Fire kind of stuff going on. Alcohol is well masked, the smoke is unusual for this style. Its got this earthy smoke in there. I think the smoke blends together in an unusual way.

M: Med to heavy mouth on this one, med carbonation.

Overall: overall this one is good but not great, it may age well and I did save one for the cellar but so far its fairly good. I think I would have preferred to leave the smoke out of this one. That is strange for me to say since I love Islay Scotch and smoked beer. However I am not sure the smoke works here. (955 characters)

Photo of EvilGnome6
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 1 Pint 9 Oz. bomber into a Belgian tulip.

A: Pours a deep, almost black brown with a generous tan head that holds up very well. Leaves very nice lacing. Quite appealing overall.

S: Chocolate and coffee but somewhat understated and subtle. There's also an earthy hop aroma mixed in.

T: Espresso and dark chocolate. A LOT of espresso. There's a bit of hop bitterness blended in the mix. Has a somewhat sweet finish and a very sweet aftertaste. Lots of roasted malt flavor.

M: A little difficult to describe. On one hand it feels dry and crisp but it also clings to the top of your tongue and the roof of your mouth like maple syrup. It's not unpleasant but a little unusual.

D: Pretty good for a beer of this style but not necessarily something I would want in large quantities.

Overall: A very good effort. Could use a bit more complexity and drinkability but this is definitely something worth checking out while it is available. (950 characters)

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Giving this a higher rating boost here because I love the big corked bottle. Classy, classic looking label. Looks expensive.

The beer forms a large wet sand colored head that has good retention and lacing.

S- Really roasty with hops noticeable on the nose. Herbs and spices, jerky, char, and grassy hops.

T- More of the same from the nose. Spicy, and pretty bitter. Grassy hop finish. Dry cocoa powder and roasted coffee. I think this really should be aged. It seems a little bit rough around the edges. I would like some of the bitterness and hoppyness fade and give way to the cocoa and coffee.

M- Medium carbonation, The body is a little bit thinner than I had hoped.

D- I want to see this with some age. I think it would calm down and fall into place. (766 characters)

Photo of hardy008
3.56/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Dark black color with a tan 3 finger head with great retention. It slowly fades down to two fingers, and then one. Smells of roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee. The aroma is lighter than I expected.

The taste is also roasted malt, chocolate, and coffee. There is a sweetness, balanced by a good deal of bitterness. Full bodied, low carbonation, and creamy. Finishes bitter. A good beer, but I wish this was available in a smaller bottle. (439 characters)

Photo of Chico1985
3.58/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Very loud pop from the cork. Lots of smoke but no overflow. Pours black with a great-looking 1-finger beige head. Only shrinks a little below that, great retention and decent lacing.

Smell is your standard stuff from an imperial stout - milk chocolate, coffee, roasted malts. A bit of earthy hops too. I will say it is very strong, smelled it as soon as I popped the top.

Lots of roast in the taste. Milk chocolate and fruit, coffee with cream. Plenty of hops and a pretty boozy kick to the taste buds, which only seems to grow over time. A strange smoky, almost end-of-a-cigarette aftertaste from time to time. The flavors are a bit average, a little too big on the hops.

Mouthfeel leans towards 'meh'. Thickness is decent, a little thin, but the problem lies in high carbonation and a too much booze and roasted malts being present. Also the hops are a bit much, so I think this could definitely benefit from some aging.

Hate to say it but I really had to force myself through this 750ml. Alcohol taste and hops too high, flavors not interesting enough to make up for it. I was expecting alot more here. Give this a year and maybe you'd have a better beer, but for $12 I don't feel like taking the chance. (1,214 characters)

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30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 658 ratings.