30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
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Ratings: 949 | Reviews: 655 | Display Reviews Only:
3.85/5 rDev -9.2%
Sierra Nevada XXX
Live review. Poured from the 1 pint, 9.4 ounce dark brown bottle that I bought for $9.99 at Heinen's in Gates Mills this past Tuesday into my Brewery Ommegang Westvleteren style goblet. Absolutely beautfiul label with an golden imbossed, raised "SIERRA" over top of a background "XXX" and a just great looking, large main image.
A Absolutely great looking medium brown head over an absolutely black body that lets no light through. The head took about 4 minutes to reduce down to a centimeter. I was too impatient to wait for it to go all of the way down. 4.5
S Dark roast malt for sure but a somewhat unwelcome, strong peppery, dark fruit smell with a rather obvious sting of alcohol. I let the beer warm for a while to see if the characteristics might change but these descriptions did not change significantly. 2.0
T Dark roast malt that has an almost "burnt" quality about it. The smell that I described above did not carry over into the taste with some of the negative aspects that I picked up. Instead was the "burnt" nature of the dark roast malt and a nice dark syrupy sweetness, akin to a dark molasses. This is a big, mature tasting beer, very appropriate to the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of Sierra Nevada. 4.5
M Silky smooth head and a nice sticky syrupy feel along with a bigness derived from the dark roast malt make the feel of this beer very good indeed. There is really a lot going on with the feel. I find it interesting, challenging. 5.0
D Fair to good since it is such a big beer with an aggressive ABV too. 3.5
Notes: A suitable tribute to Sierra Nevada's 30th Anniversary from the brewmasters there as well and Fritz from Anchor Brewing Company. The smell that was initially off putting was made up for in a significant way by the taste and feel.
03-27-2010 05:40:28 | More by adamette
3.8/5 rDev -10.4%
For me this is a beer that did not entirely live up to my expectations, however that does not mean it is a bad beer in any respect.
The beer comes in the lovely bottle you see the picture. It opens like a bottle of champagne and smells of richly roasted malts. It poured black as coffee with a thick toffee colored head.
The taste was very good, but where I was hoping for more. I detected alcohol at the forefront of the flavor and on the finish. In between it is very malty, roasted, and earthy. I suppose I was expecting a little more sweetness for the high abv. It was also very bitter, a characteristic of the Sierra Nevada influence I suppose.
The glass held very thick and beautiful lacing. The drinkability suffered due to the high prevalence of the alcohol.
I drank this bottle on 3/25/10 in the same month the beer was released. I will likely save my second bottle for aging; the bottle and Sierra Nevada website have suggested that this beer is perfect for aging.
03-26-2010 19:13:46 | More by Spider889
4.47/5 rDev +5.4%
This beer pours a dark opaque black with a nice creamy tan head. The aroma is mostly roasted malt, then some coffee, dark chocolate and a bit of smokiness. The smokiness became more pronounce as the beer warmed up of the hour of drinking. The flavor is alot like the nose, roasted malt, coffee, with a hint of toffee and vanilla. I didn't notice the alcohol level, very well hidden behind the flavors. The carbonation was on the low side, as it should be. Overall a very good to excellent beer definitely worth trying.
03-26-2010 16:38:55 | More by orsulacp
4.33/5 rDev +2.1%
Aroma: Light hint of dark fruit up front in the nose with some lingering chocolate. Hop aroma comes off the beer as floral, and there is some slight roasted grain in the background. Overall nose is generally light.
Appearance: As expected this beer pours ink black and easily forms a rich nut brown head with good retention. Some foam lacing clings to the side of the glass as you drink it down, and the alcohol seems to provide some legs to the beer as well.
Flavor: Hard hitting dark chocolate smacks the mouth right away. The chocolate comes off as nearly burnt as roasted character blends into deep chocolate sweetness. Alcohol spice enters the labyrinth of flavors as dark fruits find their way through to your tongue. Hop bitterness bites the back and top of your mouth before the beer finishes off with yet more roasted bitterness.
Mouthfeel: Full bodied with medium carbonation. All the roasted and burnt chocolate flavors play on your palate with nearly puckering dryness, but there is just enough sweetness to leave slight stickiness behind. Hop bitterness tingles the back of the throat toward the finish.
Overall: The aroma doesn't compare to the deeply complex flavor profile of this beer. Incredibly dark, roasted chocolate create almost a battle between the alcohol spice and dark fruit inside your mouth. Palate fullness warms the mouth throughout and the hop bitterness is just enough to show a noted presence. While it lacks some aromatic beauty, this is an engaging beer to behold.
03-26-2010 04:36:15 | More by DanOLeary
4.05/5 rDev -4.5%
Pours an almost impenetrable black with amber edges when backlit. The head is pillowy and soft, with a medium brown tint, and lingers for awhile, lacing the glass nicely. The smell is very good. Dark, roasted malts, some chocolate, a hint of coffee, and plum.
Tastes a lot like what you've come to expect from Sierra Nevada: good quality, but always safe. This one's not going to blow you away by any means, but it is solid. Chocolatey all the way through, which leaves a lingering sweetness. Dark fruits, mostly plum. A little roastiness in the finish that mingles with the hop character to leave a slightly bitter aftertaste.
Mouthfeel is definitely better out of the bottle than it is on tap. Much thicker and creamier, and well carbonated. The drinkability is good.
03-26-2010 01:39:41 | More by jdklks
4.43/5 rDev +4.5%
A: Pours a nearly opaque black color. A large, pillowing, tan head rises to over two fingers with excellent retention. Sheets of sticky lace is left all the way done the glass.
S: A soft toasted malty aroma. Chocolate and coffee linger. Some smoke is in the nose as well. A light spicy and piny hop aroma lingers.
T: An incredibly smooth milk chocolate flavor. Toasted malt, coffee, sweet toffee. A very light hop flavor lingers. Excellent stuff.
M/D: A full body and low carbonation. Really creamy, smooth, and decadent. Hardly any alcohol to be found. So smooth and easy to drink. A great beer to sip on.
This is amazing. A fitting 30th anniversary, and collaboration beer. Something I highly recommend. Really well done.
03-26-2010 01:24:27 | More by champ103
4.38/5 rDev +3.3%
Poured into an oversized red wine glass. I was surprised at the lack of smell. Good light brown head, tight bubbles, some but not allot of lacing.
Excellent taste, robust,choclatey, small amounts of coffee and licorice/anise. Some toasted malt. Slightly boozy at the end.
Mouthfeel was lighter than you might expect which adds to the drinkablity.
Very nice example of the style and nice colab.
03-26-2010 00:49:12 | More by Smokee
3.6/5 rDev -15.1%
First off, I have to say that it is pretty cool to see these two brewers work together, as they are some of the originals in the craft beer movement. In general, all of these collaborations between brewers is a positive thing IMO. This stout pours out pitch black, with a slow to rise, creamy looking tan head. Nose is on the roasted side, with some dark bitter chocolate, earth, and smoke. Taste has all of the elements from the smell, with the roasted character taking the lead. This certainly ranks as one of the more bitter double stouts I have had, which is sort of what I expected, as I could not see these two coming out with something overly sweet. Mouthfeel is smooth, creamy and full bodied. Drinkability is hindered a bit by the roasted character, which can get a bit tiresome. You can tell that a lot of care went in to this beer, but I am not overly impressed. Having said that, I am very interested to see what age does to this beer, so I will definitely be getting one or two more. Cheers
03-26-2010 00:07:00 | More by jamie2dope
4.38/5 rDev +3.3%
Had this last night. Review from notes. Poured into a standard pint glass.
First off, really impressed by the presentation of the bottle. Very classy looking bottle and artwork. Modest pour produces a three finger tan head that hangs around forever. There was still a full fingers worth of head after letting it sit for a few minutes. Color is black with a slight brown coffee tint. The cap of foam on this beer is a good few cm the entire way through, and my glass had a wall of lacing on it. Really amazing looking beer all around.
Scents of coffee, chocolate, roasted dark malts are up front. Herbal, flora and citrusy hops are in the background as well.
The taste mostly follows smell. Very chocolate-y up front followed by chared malts, roastiness, smoke and a bit coffee (not as much coffee taste as scent though). This gives way to earthy, herbal, floral and light citrus (orange/pineapple) hops. The taste is a bit sweet with a roasty and hoppy flavors to balance this out. Found the flavor very interesting.
Creamy mouthfeel. On the high end of medium bodied. Quite low carbonation. Pretty smooth. Some warmth on the way down.
Very drinkable, but one bottle is plenty. I was pretty impressed by this beer. Can't wait for the next installment of Sierra Nevada's 30th. I think this will greatly improve with ale. Reminds me of a fresh Big Foot stout style. Anyway, if you can, try one for yourself.
03-25-2010 23:54:38 | More by billshmeinke
4.13/5 rDev -2.6%
The beer pours a very dark brown color with a chocolate milk-colored head that dissipates rather quickly but leaves a lot of lacing.
Aromas of roasted malt, coffee, and cocoa... but these are quite subdued. They get a bit more pronounced as the beer warms, but still rather muted.
Flavors of dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and a slightly burnt flavor, but these are muted as well... no one flavor dominates. After swishing the beer in my mouth it feels like a chocolate meringue... very airy but thick.
Not really as heavy as some other Imperial Stouts, which improves the drinkability. It's definitely worth a try.
03-25-2010 15:44:09 | More by JerryBullfrog
3.7/5 rDev -12.7%
A - Pours super dark, nice dark tan head that dissipated eventually.
S - Roasted, toasted, malty chocolate nose that gets more alcohol hints as it warms up.
T - Tastes like it smells, lots of roasted chocolate that finishes on a coffee note. I can definitely taste the SN malts in this beer. Nothing fantastic, a really well brewed stout.
M - Good carbonation for an imperial stout. Medium body when it's cold from the fridge, as it warms the body turns heavy and slightly syrupy.
D - The warmer it gets the heavier it gets. I drank the last glass over the course of about an hour to see how it warmed up. Those last few sips were good but thick.
Overall I did really like this stout. I'll probably buy one more and throw it in the cellar and let it age for a year or so.
03-25-2010 15:15:08 | More by mpensworth
4.08/5 rDev -3.8%
750mL bottle into Duvel tulip
A - pours black with a really nice 2.5" mocha head. head reduced rather quickly, but left good lacing
S - a hint of leather, then a wash of smoked bacon(a first for me...)
T - toasted/roasted/burnt malts, oak and big (like after sitting by a camp fire all night) smoke flavor
M - tingles the tongue with medium carbonation, has a dry finish and hides the alcohol well
D - did not disappoint, drinks very well
03-25-2010 14:47:25 | More by alamode
3.98/5 rDev -6.1%
Pours a motor oil black with some transparency around the garnett/brown edges. Big, voluminous tan head that sports some great retention. Only the slightest hint of spotty lacing.
Nose is pleasant, but didn't blow me away. Roasted malts and chocolatey. The taste makes more of an impression - roasted malts, chocolate, smoke and a dash of hops...and boozy. It's not intensely hot, but it's definitely there.
Mouthfeel is very good. Medium bodied and perfect carbonation. Personally, I tend to like a slightly fuller mouthfeel from my big stouts; but other than that, this thing is spot on.
Very drinkable. Despite having some slightly rough edges, it all comes together nicely.
03-25-2010 12:04:25 | More by Mavajo
4.18/5 rDev -1.4%
Pours a deep black color (like heavily used motor oil) with a frothy cola colored head that retains amazingly and leaves really nice lace...a stunner in the looks department. The aroma has some big roastiness upfront, along with chocolate, coffee, dark fruits, burnt bread, piney hops and some alcohol. The flavor starts out with some burnt roastiness, along with some dark fruits, chocolate, a little coffee, piney and citrusy hops, and only a touch of alcohol. The mouthfeel is full and rich, and drinkability is very good considering the ABV and style. A very solid imperial stout, it reminds me a lot of Smuttynose's version, nothing spectacular but nice nonetheless.
03-25-2010 04:24:44 | More by silver0rlead
3.83/5 rDev -9.7%
A: Pours a nice black velvet with a mocha chocolate milk head. leaves real nice lacing and for some reason reminds me of a nitro beer. But real nice i must say
S: I dont get to much out of the smell. its very faint but all i get out of it is some charey hops. not very impressive. not sure where people get these off the wall flavors for this beer but oh well. to bad for me i guess
T: MMM the taste is i big capow compared to the smell. lots of charred malts and real nice balancing hops. Yes its not as big as one of the more well known big stouts for fruity or chocolatey characters but it tastes really well made and real nicely balanced
M: Just a hit of carbonation in the background with a slick velvety mouth feel.
D: Goes down super easy. Not super intense so I dont have to wait a minute in between sips. I could take out a bottle of this in 30 min or so.. if i felt like it that is. overall tastes really well made but nothing to crazy like. I'm gonna get a few more for the cellar and enjoy another one later
03-25-2010 04:23:43 | More by chefmikeanderson
4.13/5 rDev -2.6%
Big bang from the cork, and the pour almost overflows with carbonation, presentation much like a Belgian ale. Dark cocoa black and brown, the foam on this beer is killer. Serious retention. Extremely attractive.
Aroma and flavors are full of deep sweet chocolate, dusty malts (esp carmel and chocolate), rich dried fruits, and a mighty bitter roasted note that prectically overtakes the beer, sans the acidity and with plenty of sweetness to balance it out. Hops only provide an underlying bitterness but don't play a major role here. Some vanilla, some tabasco, some virgin oak, some mineral water. Very well done. Complex and enduring aftertaste. Approaches the complexity and sophistication of the Abyss. Heat? No. Alcohol? Just the slightest hint.
Just a hair too much carbonation for my taste but well within the acceptable realm. Mouthfeel is on the creamy side. This would be awesome on a nitro tap. Big, rich, and full-bodied.
Delicious! A bit much to call highly drinkable, but interesting and savory enough to keep you sipping for a long time. Cheers!
03-25-2010 03:04:56 | More by rayjay
4/5 rDev -5.7%
Glad I got to try this beer and hope that I get to try the other three beers in the series as well.
The beer pours a black color with a huge tan head. The aroma is smoke and roasted malt. The flavor is chocolate, roasted malt and quite a bit of smoke, which was unexpected. Thick mouthfeel and low-medium carbonation.
03-25-2010 02:49:58 | More by Mora2000
4.65/5 rDev +9.7%
Superb stout with unique flavor...it tastes like a camping trip.
Appearance: Very dark, black with thick tan head
Smell: Smokey with toasted malt
Taste: Piney, smokey, toasty...like a campfire
Mouthfeel: Smooth, thick, lingering malty finish
Drinkability: Excellent sipping beer, full flavored, woody, stock up on it while you can
03-24-2010 20:11:00 | More by Norfawkers
4.65/5 rDev +9.7%
Deep chocolate aroma right off and then roast malt and just a hint of earthy hops. There's some bread yeast as it warms up with fruity fermentation esters.
Deep, deep black colored and completely opaque held up to the light. Pours with a solid 2 inch layer of tan head that settles to a half inch very thick head with small bubble "wholes" around it. There are several lines of fine bubbles rising around the glass keeping that head full.
Flavor is in a word, intense. Lots and lots of roast character, almost comes off as smokey. Lots and lots of chocolate. Solid hop bitterness but no hop flavor which is right on for a big stout. There's so much yeast and malt complexity that it's hard to pick much out. I get dark caramel and molasses and dark ripe fruits and grape nuts grain and a lot else. The aftertaste is a combo of base malt sweetness and coffee flavored roast malt.
Thick and big bodied. I don't get any hot alcohol which is impressive in this big a beer. It almost coats my mouth but there's the creamy carbonation level that clears it out after.
This is one impressive big sipper. Drinkable in the sense that you want to have one everyday or on a hot afternoon, no. Drinkable in the sense that I really love it? Hell Yeah!
03-24-2010 03:47:14 | More by czechsaaz
3.63/5 rDev -14.4%
Yep, I got this bad boy on tap at the great Pizza Peel in Charlotte During the CHARLOTTE CRAFT BEER WEEK!!
Pours a deep black body with a firm khaki head
Smells thick of cocoa, mocha and roated barley
Taste of sweet caramel, thick chocolate, a little dry mocha and some nice roasted malts.
This is the perfect example of a double great stout, not a russian imperila, not a double, not an extreme stout, just a great double stout.
Very easy to drink for the abv
03-24-2010 03:15:06 | More by chaz410
4.03/5 rDev -5%
750mL bottle poured into a tulip.
The massive pop of the cork surprised me a bit, but it wasn't a gusher by any means. It did pour with a huge mocha head that shows exceptional retention and sheets of lacing on the sides. A great looking stout.
The aroma is all about the roasted black malts. There is a sweet licorice and espresso presence as well as a solid earthy and herbal hop aroma. Not extremely impressive.
The taste is a step up for me with all the aforementioned aspects of the nose, but they all seem to come together better. The initial taste is a a mixture of earthy hops up front with some semi-sweet chocolate. The heavily roasted malts aren't as dominant but still form a big backbone. The finish is sweet chocolate, citrus hops and toasted malt bitterness.
The mouthfeel is medium bodied and extremely smooth with lots of carbonation and roasty in the finish.
This is an excellent beer from Sierra Nevada and on the better end of things as impy stouts go. It's got a solid hop bitterness on top of a big roasty backbone. Good.
03-24-2010 02:14:00 | More by gford217
3.88/5 rDev -8.5%
Sunset Grill & Tap just put this on draft today, I spent a good 10 minutes discussing it with the bartender after ordering.
A - Poured in a tulip glass, jet black with a thick, foamy head of a dark-roasted coffee color. The head dissipated faster than other reviews indicate, but thick lacing remained to the end.
S - Not nearly as strong a smell as I would expect. Primarily a roasted coffee/malt aroma; some hints of chocolate, and faint earthy undertones. Hops and alcohol were also present, but almost entirely overshadowed.
T - Very darkly roasted coffee, bittersweet chocolate, and malt. Hints of tobacco, pine (the hops), and a dark fruit I couldn't put my finger on. Flavors mesh well, but aging will definitely yield a better flavor profile.
M - Medium-heavy body, very chewy and coats the mouth well. The alcohol (and perhaps the malt too?) dried out my mouth quicker than I would have expected, and I think otherwise each sip would have lingered for a very long time.
D - Overall delicious, though perhaps a bit unbalanced for now. Took me a good 45 minutes to get through a 10oz pour. Definitely worth drinking on tap, though I'd recommend finding a bottle or two and aging for a while.
03-24-2010 00:56:39 | More by FunkyMacGroovin
3.55/5 rDev -16.3%
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.
03-23-2010 23:02:44 | More by MbpBugeye
3.78/5 rDev -10.8%
Appearance - Pitch black, with a thin but persistent tan head.
Smell - A lot of alcohol, chocolate malt, oak, cherry, and raisin.
Taste - At first you're hit by the big alcoholic punch, then the cherry comes out to dance on your decimated taste buds. Molasses, chocolate, and roastiness are also clearly evident. The aftertaste is somewhat bitter, perhaps to provide balance to the next sip.
Mouthfeel - Thick, medium carbonation.
Notes - This is a good imperial stout. The prominent cherry makes it interesting and different. Unfortunately, the cherry combines with the bitter aftertaste and alcohol to give a cough-syrup-like vibe. I bet if it were aged for a year or two, to mellow the heat a little, it would be excellent.
03-23-2010 19:10:39 | More by Fnord
3.8/5 rDev -10.4%
A: Incredible look to this one. Pours a thick black with a Duvel-esque dark tan head which lasts for ages and settles down to a permanent half-finger at the top of the glass.
S: Not the greatest. The roasted malt seems to take everything over and the faint hints of coffee, chocolate, and brown sugar really get left behind.
T: Not quite as off-balanced as the nose, but the roasted character of the malt still gets a bit in the way, overwhelming everything else. Once you get past that, some pretty good flavors.
M: A little too must roast, leaving a dry taste in my mouth. Sometimes nice with a good coffee beer, but this was strictly a malt-driven dryness, and I didn't particularly care for it.
D: Not bad overall, but I was definitely expecting better from two legendary brewers. I've got some more to hang onto, and I'll see how it develops over time.
03-23-2010 10:57:26 | More by Thorpe429
30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 949 ratings.