30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 952 | Reviews: 655 | Display Reviews Only:
4.38/5 rDev +3.3%
I bought two bottles of this a couple weeks ago - one to drink, one to age. Finally got around to opening the one "to drink". Poured into a snifter.
A: Pours a very dark brown-black with ruby-brown edges. I was surprised by a slim, 1/2-finger head, but the lacing more than makes up for it with gobs of foam sticking all over the glass.
S: A very elegant, intricate nose. Bitter chocolate, tobacco, roast espresso, vanilla, and dark fruit with a slight hint of citrus.
T: Smoke and espresso up front. Other flavors that mirror the nose - chocolate, sweet vanilla, etc. Big, bittersweet malts. The finish is unexpectedly hoppy and dry: piney hops offer a little twang and depth for the luscious maltiness on display here. The hops never overwhelm or upstage the other flavors though, they just provide a nice unassuming foil to the smokey and bittersweet profile. It could benefit from some age, but as it is, I'm really enjoying the hop presence as it doesn't step all over the malts. I'm actually kind of speechless...there's just an extraordinary unity of flavor here.
M: Smooth, creamy texture...not syrupy, though. Good amount of carbonation that never becomes obtrusive. Some faint warmth from the alcohol. Top notch.
D: A definite sipper. Nonetheless, I think I want more. I need to stock up on this before it's gone.
This is just a refined, well-crafted imperial stout. It's not extreme or boundless in its flavors, but it doesn't aim to be. It finds a perfect balance between ambition and restraint. Sierra and Anchor, the grandfathers of craft beer, embody this balance and it shows in their brews. I could not think of a better way to celebrate 30 years of craft beer than with this marvel of an imperial stout. Bring on the Imperial Helles!
04-03-2010 11:06:09 | More by Musition12
4.25/5 rDev +0.2%
I had a recent craving for some Anchor Porter, only to find my Kroger store isn't carrying it at the moment. This Anchor, SN collaboration may be the perfect substitute.
Anchor Porter was the beer that got me into the big league, being the first really classy brew I ever tried. It was my favorite for some time, I was amazed at how dark it was.
SN 30 pours pitch black into my pint glass. Too hard of a pour leaves a 6-7 finger brown head and I have to wait for it to slowly recede before I can finish pouring my glass. Partway through my glass, I transfer to my weizen glass to compare darkness with AP. SN 30 wins hands down. AP will show ruby highlights in the neck of my weizenglass while SN 30 is pitch black throughout.
Sweet milk chocolate aroma with a bit of citrus. The most vanilla I've ever smelled in a beer.
Big roasted taste. Dry on my tongue at first, but soon developed a bit more sweetness. Plenty of bitterness in the end with citrusy tartness as well.
Smooth and creamy with a nice (but slight) bite. Alcohol feel is very noticable in the belly early on, but settles down later. Full-bodied. Great flavor retention.
After a slow start, this beer really comes together. It gives me a feel approaching that of Firestone 13 (my current favorite) An elegant brew in the end.
04-03-2010 05:28:34 | More by obywan59
4.9/5 rDev +15.6%
From the classy label artwork, fantastic wire cage and natural cork topped bomber packaging, the cascading pour that settled into a pitch black body and a gigantic khaki head, this beer was visually perfect. The aroma was not overtly stout like, as the hops were the first thing evident, there were notes of toffee, vanilla, and chocolate under that blanket, and everything was melded oh so beautifully. The taste was another "oh my gosh" moment as the sip revealed a flavor profile worthy of a king's feast. Toffee, coffee, vanilla, raisins, licorice, chocolate, and possibly even banana flavors raced past my tongue with each sip, and amazingly none dominating the other. Silky smooth across the palette with nary a harsh edge to be found. What a beer this is. I got to get me some extra bombers to lay down. A fantastic way to celebrate the 30th anniversary. You remain a class act Sierra Nevada, with your original vision undiluted despite tremendous expansion.
04-03-2010 05:12:08 | More by rajendra82
4.28/5 rDev +0.9%
Pours a deep black with decent tan head that starts big and settles quickly with a very slight minimal amount of lacing.
vanilla, chocolate, coffee, roasty maltiness in the nose, *nutty -- rose???? think this rose may be some sweetness
Taste - very roasty, almost smoked malts not really much of the caramel sweeter malts I experience in many stouts - dark chocolate that's almost powdery - vanilla - coffee/espresso - a bit of an alcohol burn and some bitter ever so slightly cirtusy hops. Slightly too smokey for my taste but I'm a stout lover and I must admit I do enjoy this, molasses dark syrupy bitter-sweet.
Very thick and smooth stout a bit bitter with warm alcohol warm.
04-03-2010 02:39:00 | More by Zaplt
4.05/5 rDev -4.5%
Pours a solid black with a huge creamy tan head that takes forever to recede.
Smells of milk chocolate with hints of roasted grains and coffee. Slight twinge of caramel or toffee and a sweet smokiness there as well.
Taste is roasty and chocolaty up front follower by a bit of a piney citrus hop bite that segues into a lingering almost smokey roast and hop bitterness in the finish.
Creamy mouthfeel, medium body, medium to high level of carbonation for the style.
Great Imperial stout. Its a bit hoppy for my taste, but everything works well together. In a couple of years when the hops have died down I will revisit.
04-03-2010 00:56:56 | More by johnnnniee
3.93/5 rDev -7.3%
Just a great looking beer as it patiently waits for me in my DFH snifter. Gorgeous dark, dark brown color with a deep tan colored head on top. Mildly metallic like aroma-somewhat grainy and astringent. Deep, mellow espresso and dark chocolate like flavors abound. Very grainy roastedness to it. Slight floral hop bitterness-just enough to notice. Grainy and dry body. Overall a decent beer but lacks the umph of a great one. This is my 3rd or 4th bottle and in the long run it is not all that impressive.
04-03-2010 00:51:47 | More by lackenhauser
4.55/5 rDev +7.3%
Poured in a Two Bros. Domaine Dupage tulip. I would like to note that the packaging on this bottle turned out looking really sharp.
A: poured a deep pitch black with 3 fingers of brown head that reduces about 1 cm. Leaves a thick coating of bubbles on the sides of the glass.
S: huge earthy hops and incredibly bold and robust malts, notes of bitter coffee, lots of dark chocolate, some licorice, tobacco, and lots of bittering hops. The balance between the roasty malt profile and the big earthy hops is quite interesting and complex. This smells great.
T: the front of the palate features the earthy hops which quickly turns into one of the boldest and darkest roasted malt profiles that I have experienced. This has all of the features that I like in an imperial stout, and that starts with the roasted barley and coffee notes.
MF: the body is incredibly smooth and silky while being thick and viscous, makes for a great mouthfeel...low carbonation, everything works well with the flavor profile
D: Wow... this beer is a winner! I expected nothing less from a collaboration that involves two of the pioneers of craft brewers...but until now, I have never had an imperial stout from either Anchor or SN. I must say that this is greatly successful.
04-02-2010 23:44:36 | More by homebrew311
4.2/5 rDev -0.9%
pours a jet black with a medium size brown head, and good lacing.
smell is of some pine, some cocoa, and a little coffee.
taste is of cocoa, coffee, malt, and a little licorice, ends dry with a little bitterness.
overall a very good imperial stout.
04-02-2010 23:42:13 | More by froghop
4.08/5 rDev -3.8%
Appearance: Audacious-looking black body crowned with a head of tan-colored foam.
Smell: Roasty, charred maltiness with full notes of bold coffee, cocoa bars, blackstrap molasses, and acrid smoke. Minor secondary notes of citrus and quality, soul-warming alcohol buried underneath the stronger malt scents.
Taste: The well-roasted malts unquestionably have command over the taste, imparting deep flavors of espresso, bittersweet chocolate, molasses, and smoked French vanilla beans. Medium sweetness. Solid load of hops with tastes of pine needles and citrus zest. The fair amount of hop bitterness couples with a hint of astringency from the burnt malts. Roasty, warming, bittersweet finish.
Mouthfeel: Full-bodied. Medium-low carbonation. Very smooth mouthfeel.
Drinkability: Simply, it's a quality, tasty stout. I'll cheerfully chuck a few bottles away in the cellar.
04-02-2010 21:47:25 | More by ChainGangGuy
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
District of Columbia
4.1/5 rDev -3.3%
A very rich and nicely crafted stout. A great anniversary offering...
Presentation: 750 ml corked brown bottle. Elaborate dark label with a busy Sierra Nevada emblem and one of their classic landscapes at center, gold and warm touches to note the 30th anniversary celebration. Front label offers a small paragraph noting intent, main description and serving indication. Back label with perfunctory legal note and name of the brew. Bottled on 2010 as per the anniversary indication... Notes Alc. by Vol. (9.2%) Served on a snifter.
A - Black pour with a tall creamy head, great retention with a rich surface memory, rich lacing on the vertical pours, and luscious stroke on the glass as it is sipped.
S - A bit subdued but nice range of roasted malts, touch of coffee, and a small hint of caramel chocolate.
T - Deep and rich roasted flavors with a very consistent and pleasing bitter-sweet backbone. Coffee, dark chocolate, and a woven hoppy touch that does not pierce the profile
M - Full body, with a generous carbonation early on and a nicer subdued tingly texture as it progresses and in the finish. Rather smooth and creamy with a minimal biting insinuation.
D - Great sipper of a stout. Top-notch quality of a brew.
Notes: Very nice and richly balanced stout. Starts a bit slowly but as the drink progresses it shows a great composure, a nicely crafted profile, and a very pleasing feel, not to forget that it was an absolute looker too. Brilliant Anniversary offering... I look forward to the rest of the brews in this series.
04-02-2010 16:46:47 | More by Daniellobo
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
District of Columbia
4.28/5 rDev +0.9%
Pours a black/brown with a thick and fluffy foam. Good retention, and there is a layer of foam that stays.
Aroma is roasty, chocolatey and coffee like. Typical stout flavor profile.
Taste is very chocolatey and coffee-like, with a bitterness in the finish from the coffee. Roasted malt comes in too. Not so much of an alcohol presence, but I can certainly get a bit of the booze in this one.
Mouthfeel is full bodied and creamy. Drinkability? In comparison to what? I don't know, this bottle was huge. But double/imperial stouts are not made to be session beers. Its drinkable in the sense that I can finish the bottle, though.
04-02-2010 03:37:25 | More by kshankar
4.4/5 rDev +3.8%
Pours black with a sticky tan colored head that leaves sheets of lace as it disappears. Aroma is full of roasted malt. There is some cocoa, booze, and a hint of hops.
Taste is more roasted goodness. There is semi-sweet dark chocolate flavor. A roasted espresso-like bitterness is present. There is also some molasses, grain, and a faint smokieness in the background along with some bitter, slightly piney, hop flavor. The roasted bitterness lingers long after the finish. Mouthfeel is velvety smooth. And this drinks very well for an imperial stout. A very great beer to celebrate 30 years for Sierra Nevada.
04-02-2010 02:57:18 | More by hckyfn9999
4/5 rDev -5.7%
Poured from a 750ml bottle into a pint glass. It's a rather nice-looking bottle; decorative label with a champagne-style cork. Let out a rather exciting pop upon opening.
A - Pours an absolutely midnight-black, with a big, foamy, tan head that took ages to dissipate.
S - Lots of roasted malt scent, along with a hint of molasses. Maybe some licorice as well.
T - A very complex taste, at first a little overwhelming. There's an initial taste of roasted malt, followed after by a bittersweet dark chocolate. Finally there's a slight warming bite of alcohol.
M - Medium-bodied, fairly typical RIS mouthfeel. There's very little carbonation, somewhat reminiscent of an Irish Dry Stout. Satisfying.
D - A tasty stout, but not particularly mind-blowing. I can see it possibly benefiting from some aging, but it's pretty good as is. It's certainly worth picking up, at the very least as a collectible, seeing as how this is (theoretically) a one-time brew.
04-02-2010 02:55:15 | More by NefariousR
4.35/5 rDev +2.6%
Poured from a 750ml into a Dogfish Head Signature.
A: Pours black with about 2-3 fingers of tan head. Black enough to see your reflection in the glass.
S: Roasted malt. The smell reminds me a lot of the stout coming from the UK.
T: Love the taste. The taste follows the smell up front with the roasted malt and a little chocolate. When allowed to circulate, there is almost a fruity, prune taste follow by the hops on the back of the tongue. I'm almost reminded of a Belgian ale near room temp.
M: Full bodied. There is a fair amount of hops here so it leaves the mouth a little dry(not in a bad way obviously.)
D: Because it's fairly heavy and comes in a 750ml, it takes a while to finish on your own, but is enjoyable throughout. One could take this to a party and need nothing else or share a couple with friends. Either way, you'll really enjoy this.
Realizing that once this is gone, there won't be another 30th, buy at least two of these; one to enjoy now and another to age and see what happens in a year or so.
04-02-2010 02:48:34 | More by titosupertramp
3.58/5 rDev -15.6%
First off, this was too damned expensive at $15 a 750. Second, it wasn't half-bad. Dark black with a serious roast-like smell, whew, roast coffee beans ground up. The taste was a little burned but also had a hint of hops, not bad at all. This beer was grossly overpriced and I'm not sure I'll be buying any more of their 750's despite the fact that I am a big fan of Sierra Nevada.
04-02-2010 01:51:50 | More by ArrogantB
4.08/5 rDev -3.8%
Pours an opaque very dark brown with a dense, monstrously big light brown head, of which two fingers sticks around forever. Smell: roasty, with a little smokiness, brown sugar, powdery chocolate, with an earthy, spicy, and faint orange citrus hop note. Taste: lots of roast, borderline astringent, dark brown sugar, chocolate syrup, and a little bit of a sweet prune flavor. This all fades into a decent hit of raw earthy and citrus-tinged hops. Mouthfeel: medium-full bodied with a great balance of syrupy and creamy. No hint of the abv. Very nice way to kick off the 30th brews.
04-02-2010 01:07:45 | More by babaracas
3.88/5 rDev -8.5%
I was going to save this for my 100th review but I won in traffic court today so time to celebrate.
Pours a deep shade of red/brown almost black. There is a huge thick tan head with a long retention. Lots of lacing too.
The smell is a little off. The first thing I get is a wet dog, next is roasted meat, then comes the coffee, and some nice sweet scents. It has a rubbing alcohol scent also.
Taste is right on! Coco and coffee with bitter and sweet along with an alcohol presence give it a coffee liquor taste.
Medium body, creamy, with just enough carbonation to make the flavors dance on my tongue.
A highly drinkable American Double / Imperial Stout. Smooth and delicious.
04-01-2010 23:33:17 | More by sitarist
3.88/5 rDev -8.5%
Purchased from The Wine & Cheese Place.
750ML caged and corked bottle.
Cage and cork easily removed, it had a Champagne like pop with puffs of smoke shooting out of the bottle.
With a fairly vigorous pour, I see a black liquid with a 1 finger head of tannish foam. Checking on the lacing...it looks to have an ample amount.
The smell is rather light for a big brew. Some light roasted malt notes with a bit stronger nose of black liquorice.
The taste, served near room temp btw, is fairly roasty with some notes of chocolate and a light dark chocolate like bitterness, liquorice, some grain, a bit of toffee, and some sweet caramel. Pretty tasty oh and some alcohol sneaks through.
Close to full bodied with lightish carbonation, the mouthfeel is pretty darned nice as in creamy.
Drinkability? April 1st and it is cold and snowing outside so given the conditions, it's going down rather well. A little bit off the beaten track for an American Imperial Stout but surely worthy of the effort to seek it out. Sierra Nevada, again, does *not* disappoint.
04-01-2010 23:11:40 | More by Bitterbill
4.3/5 rDev +1.4%
Bought a bottle of this today. I chilled it and then pulled it out and let it sit about 30 mins in bottle to warm up a bit. After pouring, I let it sit another 5 minutes (partially to allow the head to dissipate).
A - Nice thick head that took awhile to dissipate. Thick dark black body. Even holding up to the light there is nothing coming through. This is a dark dark beer.
S - Slight chocolate smell with a slight hop citrus.
T - First sip. Whoa?!?! Second sip I start to break it down. The first hit is a sour balsamic vinegar followed very quickly by a chocolate bitter. Aftertaste lingers with strong coffee bitter. 30 seconds after my sip this beer is still opening up. Each sip I seem to discover something new. This beer has depth. The flavors though sometimes seem to contradict. Initial salty vinegar rolls into a sweet malty coffee.
M - This beer lingers like an old friend. Definitely a heavy chewy beer. I do get a slight sticky mouthfeel after I swallow, but this is typical of stouts.
D - This is not a sipper, but not definitely not a session beer. For a stout, this is about as drinkable as it gets. I think numbing the taste buds after a pretty intense first few sips makes this beer better. The 24 oz bomber bottle is about the right size. I don't think I would want too much more than that in one sitting, especially if I planned on walking.
Overall - I think this is a great stout, but it has a little too much acidity in the initial taste for me to make this perfect. I like that it forces me to think while I am drinking it, but I also know for some drinking and thinking is an oxymoron. This beer can be a little too much at times. I still give it a near perfect rating based on the flavor profile and the fact that at 9.4% it is easy to overwhelm and this beer does not.
04-01-2010 00:09:26 | More by nelson4
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
4.43/5 rDev +4.5%
Cork and cage bottle into a Guinness tulip.
A careful pour doesn't stop this beer from cascading like a pint of Dublin's finest, leaving a tan-coloured head that takes up fully 50% of the glass... and doesn't go away for a long, long time. Topping it up from the bottle leaves a deep fissure in the head.
The aroma coming off it is just amazing. Deep wafts of coffee, dark chocolate, molasses, high roast malt, and a subtle sweetness.
Right, it's been 10 minutes, I reckon the foam has subsided enough for me to taste this brew. Well, it's a little sweeter than I prefer a stout to be, but I have to give it close to top marks. There's a strong smoky element to the beer, a vaguely spicy flavour in there somewhere, gorgeous burnt malt bitterness, and a lingering dark finish. Superb.
A thick, creamy mouthfeel with muted carbonation (which is surprising considering the earlier cascading and huge head), and a slight warming sensation from the ABV. It's going to be tough going towards the end of this bottle, I think, which is why I can't give it top marks for drinkability.
This is my 100th review and I decided to save it for something special. It doesn't get much better than this. I can't wait for the other three beers in SN's 30th anniversary series.
03-31-2010 02:12:27 | More by omnigrits
3.9/5 rDev -8%
Corked and caged 750 mL bottle presentation with signature Sierra XXX 1980-2010 cork and deadly gorgeous and classy label art. Pours black with a slowly expanding dark tan head resulting in a large, spoon-it-out thick head. The foam crowns the beer and goes absolutely nowhere, slowly turning into an ever more solid expanse of creamy goodness, leaving a carpet like layer of lace. The aroma screams roast along with raisins, flora, cotton candy, and a touch of spiciness.
The flavor is is roasty and fruit with raisins and grapes, but mostly overpowered by the roast factor, finishing very dry, almost like a Foreign Export. There is some spice or yeastiness that makes it taste unlike a RIS. The body is nice and slick with a certain thickness to it, however the carbonation is over the top (which no doubt helped make this look incredible, but the feel suffers for it). Tasty brew, a bit roasty. I am interested to see how this one develops over time.
03-31-2010 02:04:33 | More by vacax
4.28/5 rDev +0.9%
This beer poured an opaque dark brown, almost black with a rich, foamy head that easily covered the top 50% of the tulip I poured it into. The smell is dominated by rich, roasty malts, very reminiscent of dark roast coffee.
The taste is overwhelming to the taste buds, very complex for a stout. There's a mild smoky flavor, again, the dark roast coffee comes through, along with english toffee, dark chocolate and a warming alcohol feel in the background with a peppery finish.
Its very pleasantly carbonated without being overdone. Each sip desired my mouth to take another.
Overall, this is an amazing beer that showcases the talents of 2 amazing figureheads of the craft beer movement.
03-31-2010 01:35:30 | More by RocPorterFanatic
30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 952 ratings.