30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale - Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
Ratings: 951 | Reviews: 655 | Display Reviews Only:
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
4.33/5 rDev +2.1%
Very pretty caged and corked bottle poured into snifters.
A = Impenetrable mahogany bordering on obsidian, with a huge mocha brown frthy, thick head that exhibits extremely good retention as it slowly breaks into large bubbles and foam settling into a mere cover of foam on the surface and good lacing on the glass.
S = Freshly ground deep roasted coffee beans, light hints of pine needles, vanilla.
T = Treacle, espresso, grapefruit rind, toffee, fudge, pipe tobacco. Very complex and tastes meld together very well. Still it is just a bit on the wild side at the moment, so I would think a little time in the cellar would improve it even more.
M = Thick, heavy body, creamy, luscious feel and great mouthcoating. At the moment there is a hint of the alcohol but at a level that is not unpleasant and should fade with proper cellaring.
D = A sipper but a very good sipper. Easily one of the best imperial stouts I've had. I am going to pick up some more of this since I think it should age out very nice.
03-23-2010 00:36:43 | More by Traquairlover
4.33/5 rDev +2.1%
Pours inky black, espresso head is about two inches tall initially and actually grows until the crown is out of the glass. This magnificent crown retains for several minutes before the nose is even apparent, and another few before a proper first sip may be had. Even at the end of the glass, a substantial ring of foam remains.
The nose is chocolatey, with a bit of coffee added to the bitterness, a touch of alcohol, and a smidgen of dark fruit and herbs. Not bad.
The flavor is right back up into 'great' territory. This one has all the right marks for the Imperial stout: dark fruit, like raisin and fig; bittersweet chocolate and roasted black coffee; anise and herbal pine. The body is creamy and smooth - that head was bolstered by a really high level of carbonation. This is a double-edged sword, as 30th Anniversary never descends into kick-your-ass-stout-to-hurt-someone-for, but then again it is one of the most drinkable of the style I've ever had.
Bottom line: get it if you see it. I'm not sure what I paid, but it was worth it. Very high quality.
03-22-2010 03:38:06 | More by BretSikkink
4.3/5 rDev +1.4%
Pours a dark black, nice tan creamy head with amazing lacing. Smells of roasted coffee, lots of citrus notes, cocoa, raw earthiness, hint of smoke, . Tastes of chocolate and coffee like malt with a lemony citrus supporting. Big bold chocolate flavors yield to coffee roastiness and finally charred dryness. Nice full creamy mouthfeel, carbonation fairly low, alcohol really well hidden.
A really nice beer, has lots of potential. Big bold chocolate and coffee flavors and a nice hop profile as well. Would love to see how this ages, the burnt roastiness is a little much, probably would fade nicely with time. Fantastic!
03-22-2010 03:03:50 | More by bum732
4.47/5 rDev +5.4%
A- dark and black as a stout should be with an awesome creamy head.
S- notes of hops and coffee and roasted malt. A slight note of alcohol
T- fantastic! lots of roasted malt flavor with coffee, dark chocolate and cream flavor. A good hop presence but in perfect balance with the beer.
M- perfect. Not light, not heavy but just perfect. Perfect carbonation with a creamy feel .
D- very drinkable now and later!
This beer is a home run and Im glad I bought six bottles of the stuff!. This is how an imperial stout should be, big bold flavors but in perfect balance. This beer is going to age beautifully and I cant wait to try on in five years!
Alas, I would expect nothing less from two of the pioneers of the craft beer industry. Its amazing that they can up the ante on Imperial Stouts after 30 years of making beer. Ken and Fritz, thank you for making an epic beer!
03-21-2010 06:52:40 | More by rossthefireman
4.38/5 rDev +3.3%
Found a lone bottle at a store and had to try it. 750 ml bottle poured into a snifter.
Upon pouring slowly, this beer is jet black and produces a three-inch head that takes forever to settle. The head is the color of brown sugar and has almost Belgian-like texture. Lacing and head retention are both excellent.
The smell is one few faults this beer has. There is some coffee, chocolate, and toast, but it's covered a bit with alcohol.
Taste is awesome. Espresso, bitter chocolate, and toast shine, while subtle notes of dried berries and vanilla liger in the backround. Alcohol is present, but only slightly.
Mouthfeel of this brew is creamy, rounded, and very full-bodied. For the power and depth the beer has, it's very easy to drink, and a perfect sipper for a cool night. It's excellent right now, but it would do great with a year of age or so. A great way to celebrate a 30th Anniversary.
03-21-2010 05:43:18 | More by WYVYRN527
4.28/5 rDev +0.9%
I've been waiting a while for this series and what a surprise to see it in stock!
Pours a pitch-black color with a thick, frothy brown head that lingers for quite a while. Great way to start off this brew.
Aroma is full of creamy chocolate and light-roasted coffee. A hint of alcohol warmth as well but otherwise, very good.
Taste starts off creamy with cocoa, dark fruits and a slight hint of roasted coffee.
Mouthfeel is full of lingering cream and coffee. Carbonation seems rather high but otherwise, solid.
Very nice! Highly drinkable but I believe that with proper aging, this beer will only mature and hopefully the cocoa and cream flavors will shine over time.
03-21-2010 05:09:51 | More by Brad007
4.88/5 rDev +15.1%
After scouring the greater Sacramento area I finally managed to grab a bottle of this at Total Wines out in Roseville. I know it'll make it out to most places around here eventually, but I couldn't wait to get my hands on this.
The bottle opened with a huge pop, shooting the cork clear across the room. I poured a small amount into my snifter and set out to see if the bottles beautiful packaging could be matched by a beautiful beer inside. This baby's black as night with a pretty thick deep brown head. I immediately smell some dark roasty malt character and an aroma that makes my mind associates with chocolate cake. The taste delivers on the aroma. Very roasty, notes of coffee and chocolate are dominant. It amazes me how smooth this one is, especially when you consider that its above 9 ABV. Even after 22 ounces I'm dying for more. Fritz and Ken did good on this one. I'm thinking about making the hour drive again tomorrow to pick up a bottle to age. Can't wait for the next sierra 30 release!
03-21-2010 04:26:22 | More by IrieJackalope
4.3/5 rDev +1.4%
Corked and caged 750 ml bottle into my snifter.
Looks heavenly. A huge milkshake looking tan head sits ontop a dark colored body. Divine.
Smell is OK. Roasted malt, molasses, some notes of coffee and chocolate covered cherries. Touch of leather. Meh.
Taste is better than expected after a rather subdued nose. Nice burst of roasted, nay, even burned malt gives way to a molasses and cola nut wave of flavor. Touch of smokey hints. Nice amount of bitter chocolate in the finish. A great tasting beer.
Feels almost perfect in the mouth. Slight carb lends to a creamy milkshake feel, supported by a nice thick viscosity. This was very drinkable as well, I had no problem polishing off the 750 myself. A great start to this series.
03-21-2010 02:32:40 | More by jampics2
4.38/5 rDev +3.3%
Couldn't think of a better beer for my 89th review. Jet black, with a thick and creamy tan head. Leaves thick lacing on the glass as it goes down. Superb looking beer.
Smell is superb as well--ashy, roasted malts, dark chocolate, vanilla, a little tobacco, and coffee all come into play, with the roasty malts and chocolate being the most assertive. A hint of some blueberry as well. Quite complex aroma.
Taste begins with smoke, ash, and roasted malts, followed by some hoppy notes. Dark chocolate, a hint of leather and blueberry, and coffee grounds come in and carry to the finish.
Mouthfeel is velvety and smooth, with a little bit of carbonation.
Good drinkability on this one. The alcohol is fairly well-hidden. Excellent beer.
03-21-2010 01:44:24 | More by Parrotbeak
4.38/5 rDev +3.3%
Great to see this collaboration.Poured into a tulip glass a ink black,a large billowing mocha head atop that left rings of lace behind as it settled into a frothy top.Big bitter chocolate,mollases,and espresso roast in the nose,a lingering fruity tinge shows through as well,alot of good stuff going on.Robust dark roast coffee on the palate,even a light smokiness come in to play.Highly roasted with bitter chocolate,this is a nice not overly sweet impy stout,I really enjoyed this alot.
03-20-2010 22:29:07 | More by oberon
4.47/5 rDev +5.4%
750 ml caged and corked bottle. Served in a snifter, the beer pours black with about an inch and a half tan head. Head retention is very good, with a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is very nice, it smells like milk and dark chocolate, coffee, roasted malt, and a good bit of hops are noticable too. The taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of a charred/burnt malt taste. Great balance between sweet and bitter flavors, with the sweetness coming first, then having the hops show up in the bittersweet finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's very creamy and a bit coating, while also having good carbonation. Drinkability is pretty good, this brew is very smooth and easy to drink. I think this is a very good beer, I'll have to pick up a couple more bottles and save them for later.
03-20-2010 22:14:03 | More by bluejacket74
4.43/5 rDev +4.5%
750 from BevMo in Salinas, CA on 3/19/10. I bought a handful with the intention of laying them down for a while, but couldn't wait to try at least one. Breaking Bad marathon on the TV today, so seemed like a good time to crack one open.
A - Black as night, no light whatsoever getting through this bad bwoy. Enthusiastic pour yielded a three-finger head that lasted 2-3 minutes before receding to a thin tan cap that left patchy rings on the glass on the way down.
S - Cocoa powder, dark chocolate, some coffee in the background. A swirl gives some nutmeg and brown sugar. As it warms, I get more cocoa and less sweetness.
T - More dark chocolate and bitter coffee here. While I'm not getting as much sweetness as the aroma made me expect at first, it gets sweeter as it warms up. It does make me think of high-end desserts; seems like it would pair fantastically with chocolate cake. It does have maybe a touch of alcohol burn in the back of the throat. But I really, really like it. While I think a year or two will benefit, it's tasting just fine right now. Not the best imperial stout I've ever had, but real close.
M - Silky smooth, like velvet going down. Carbonation is just right on this one, and it coats the tongue.
D - Well, it may be 9%, but one bottle was enough to make me ready for a nap. Not that it's a bad thing in itself.
If the 30th is any indication, I look forward to the 40th, 50th, and any other anniversaries that SN would like to celebrate. This was a great beer. It'll be a struggle to keep myself from opening the rest for a while.
03-20-2010 18:28:59 | More by djmichaelk
4.8/5 rDev +13.2%
Before going into the description, go to their site and learn why this is not just any ordinary stout. Ok now that you did that, you will know why this is the best non bourbon stout on the market. I love stout and my first smell was wow but not a step back. You could smell the roasty stuff in the beer. However when you drink it...oh wow... this is the best. The carbonation is just right. Its head forms fast but let it settle and warm up for the full experience. It gets better the warmer...a sign of a good stout.When it enters your mouth your gonna think this is gonna be thick and flat..but you are wrong. Its got this zip to it that makes you want to swish a bit before swallowing. Now here comes the best part of the beer...its not a stout that makes you sip. You can chug, gulp or whatever, Its a great beer and one of the best I have had in a very long time if not the best ever.
03-20-2010 05:43:59 | More by Vancoubeer
4.03/5 rDev -5%
Poured from bottle into a tulip glass. Note on bottle - very nice label, cool bottle, corked and caged. Even the cork is branded. I don't frequently comment on a bottle's appearance, but this one is impressive.
A: Inky black with a super thick, dense tan head. I just picked this up today and it had only been home from a car for maybe 30 minutes before opening, so some of the excessive head was likely due to that. The head really lasted with a lot of lacing on the glass.
S: Big coffee flavors with decent chocolate thrown in as well. A slight bit of smoke and chicory. Maybe a faint smell of licorice, but not enough to be a turn-off (I don't like licorice).
T: Huge roasted malts - coffee and chocolate dominate. A little wood type flavors along with some very faint smoke creeps in as well. No off flavors, but also not remarkable complex either. A fairly straight forward imperial stout. A slight amount of heat on the finish, but not bad at all considering the age. Seemed a little harsh, which may improve with some age.
M: Big, but not syrupy at all. Actually a little on the dry side.
D: This is a good, albeit somewhat simple imperial stout. But the flavors work well together and it was enjoyable to drink. And the price is decent as well. I picked one up today as a trial, but will be back for several more to throw in the cellar tomorrow. I can see this being a solid stout that is enjoyable over the next couple years.
03-20-2010 05:15:34 | More by oregonskibum
3.73/5 rDev -12%
Shared of a bottle of this on my 2nd year anniversary with the very lovely Aimstatus. Here's to you babe!
A: A black colored body with tints of brown around the brim of the glass. This beer supports a tan hued head that holds it's retention for almost the entire beer. Looks highly carbonated as well.
S: Super roasty right off the bat with strong notes of chocolate malt and macadamia nut towards the backend. The hop profile is evident as well, but doesn't distract from any of the Imperial Stout aromas I come to expect with beers from within this style.
T: Similar to the smell, this beer packs a powerful roasted malt punch upfront with perhaps an even more robust hop bitter finish. The chocolate hits the palate lightly, but dissipates quickly with some of that hop "sweetness" that some Sierra Nevada beers tend to have. Even though all the above mentioned flavors are not perfectly balanced, they all seem to come together in the end.
M: A creamy and full-bodied beer at first, but then turns into a dry and overly bitter finish on the palate. Nothing to stop me from taking another sip, but as time goes on...that extreme roast/burnt flavor fatigues the palate a bit too much. Therefore taking away some of the positives the beer had earlier.
D: Even though this may be an "over-the-top" roasty stout, I found it quite easy...and enjoyable to finish.
Overall: Another solid beer from the guys in Chico. I think this beer will age beautifully, but it's in great condition to drink now as well. A must try. Cheers!
03-20-2010 05:04:00 | More by OlieIPA
4.03/5 rDev -5%
This beer poured almost black and formed a huge dark tan foamy head that receded very slowly and left a latticed lace. Much like a float. An aroma of malt, coffee, chocolate and a hint of anise. The flavor was of malt, chocolate, burnt cocoa and anise. The body was medium light and the finish slightly sweet with a warming aspect of the alcohol present. This is not a bad stout.
03-20-2010 04:09:34 | More by Wildman
4.3/5 rDev +1.4%
The beer is black, very black, with a possible hint of brown when being poured. The head is beige, settles slowly and leaves lots of lacing.
The smell is roasted tones of malt and caramelized sugar, typically burnt bread, dark roasted coffee and sweet licorice.
The taste has sweetness, dark syrup, a dry burnt roasted flavor. A warm and persistent bitter experience.
Low carbonation, small bubbles, a soft feeling.
The beer is good, but for me possibly i like more roundness, the bitterness stands out a bit too much. Should possibly be stored for a couple of years.
03-20-2010 03:21:11 | More by rarbring
3.78/5 rDev -10.8%
Copied from a live-review on Twitter. Nerdy to the max, but whatever.
Some of the nicest packaging I've seen; a cork'n'cage 750 with a beautiful label. http://twitpic.com/191w9k
Corked and caged but...can take a standard crown. Showing love to the homebrewers? Could be a cool shout out: http://twitpic.com/191wr5
Pours beautifully: nearly pitch black with an explosive ran head that retains endlessly and leaves great lacing: http://twitpic.com/191x88
Aroma is the first aspect of this beer that falls short of perfection. Dark-roasted coffee grounds, cola, licorice, earthy hops, alcohol.
Tastes strongly bitter, ashy & earthy. Very dry. Licorice, cocoa powder & espresso. Hot finish.
The finish is very dry, that is. There's a fair deal of sweetness throughout this beer, but it's really restrained throughout.
The beer sits comfortably within the realm of "medium bodied," thanks to some aggressive carbonation and the dry, bitter, finish. Quite hot.
Overall, this is complex and interesting, but not exactly my cup o' tea. I prefer stouts (especially big ones) that are fuller in body, creamier, and less aggressively bitter and carbonated. An obviously well-made beer that I probably won't purchase again.
03-19-2010 01:33:21 | More by photomike
4.45/5 rDev +5%
Beautiful bottle and georgeous label design. To be sure - they care about this beer. It's corked and caged. This is going to have to be good to fit the presentation.
Pours dark brown and then produces a darker than expected head. To me, dark head is a good sign that this beer is going to be about roasted flavors.
Aroma is fine. Good aroma but nothing too stand-outish. Its there with the pack on aroma. This one has a nice malty smell - sweet with roasted nuts and molasses - and smokey.
Flavor is topnotch - So smooth and roasted with really nice bitterness and slight sour acidity. There are hops and roasted coffee/ unsweetened chocolate flavors balanced by slight sweet malt presence and lingering roasted bitterness in the tail (for sure). I'm going to give it a 4.5 because it is so darn good, but with age I hope to appreciate some more complexity from it. I'm so lupulin shifted that I am going to say, "more resiny hops would be appreciated", but it's not needed - just in my mind as an ideal for me - It is indeed ideal for style.
Mouthfeelis creamy, medium body for style.
Drinkability is a function of the gestalt of these pleasures. Its a really nice beer, a great suprise. To enjoy this beer you have to appreciate the bitterness that comes from the roasted flavors of a American style stout. It is not fruity like a RIS.
I hope at least a seasonal comes out of this special release.
03-18-2010 22:34:41 | More by WickedSluggy
4.25/5 rDev +0.2%
A- Pitch Black with a thick creamy tan head. Head retention is good as well as the lacing.
S- Toasty, chocolate malt.
T- Toasty, Roasted chocolate malt.
M- Smooth and creamy.
D- At 9.2% this is quite smooth and hides it's alcohol level quite well.
Although I haven't drank many stouts in my day I would have to say that I am pretty impressed with this brew. This is one of the smoothest beers I have ever drank and the chocolate malt flavor is just amazing. I bought 2 bottles to age indefinitely. I can only imagine how they will taste after a couple years. Get it while you can!
03-18-2010 04:41:16 | More by hopstacle
4.68/5 rDev +10.4%
I picked up this beer at Ledgers in Berkeley, sort of accidentally (didn't realize it was a stout till later that evening). I then had it the following day at Jupiters, on tap.
Pour was quite similar both times, jet black with a nice gray head, on the smaller side. Nose was nice but subdued, sweet with only faint notes of stout (chocolate, smoke), and some slightly unusual (in a stout) malt and hops aromas. I was a bit nervous after the nose that it would be weak. BOY was I wrong. As far as I'm concerned, this stout was phenomenal. It had an unusually solid and delicious foundation of sweet malty hops in the middle of the sip, and this mingled amazingly with your more standard stouty flavors. It also stopped the beer from feeling at all watery, without adding any gasoline, astringent after notes. Totally delicious and unique, highly recommended. ABV is at a good sweet spot as well, my experience is that it's just nicer to drink 9% big stouts (or even %8...) rather than %11 concoctions which are never as consistently delicious.
Good on Sierra Nevada for releasing such a delicious beer! Hope the rest of their 30th anniversary brews will be as good.
03-15-2010 19:45:09 | More by lewallen
4.18/5 rDev -1.4%
Bottle opens with a big pop! Kind of surprised by that.
Pours a dark black with a pretty substantial tan head. Nice lacing.
Aromas are of cola, chocolate, and a little cream.
Taste is very malty, and not really that sweet. Some dark roasted malts, brewed coffee, bitter chocolate and a hint of creamy sweetness. Finish has a slight alcohol bite, and some burnt toast.
Mouthfeel is very good, nice carbonation.
Drinkability is quite good. I like the more traditional flavors here, and the lack of excess sweetness is appreciated. Very drinkable, I dig this. Not the best Russian Imperial Stout I've had, but still a darn good one.
03-15-2010 00:48:27 | More by flexabull
4.18/5 rDev -1.4%
Appearance: Black as night. Head was chocolate colored. It provided some nice lacing as well.
Smell: Not very pungent, surprisingly. However, there was a lot of toasted malt flavor with smoked flavor, chocolate, licorice, and a hint of alcohol in the background.
Taste: Much like the smell. Toasted malt flavor takes the day. Everything else is also present but to a much lesser degree. Very sweet and thick overall.
Mouthfeel: This was probably the most noticable thing about the beer. It was a thick brew with a high ABV but the brew drank surprisingly smooth. The carbonation was very spot on.
Drinkability: The bottle went down over a period of several hours. I didn't feel compelled to drink it fast but it was a very good brew to enjoy over the course of a night. If you buy to enjoy properly you will not be displeased.
03-13-2010 08:50:02 | More by TheFlern
30th Anniversary - Fritz And Ken's Ale from Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.
94 out of 100 based on 951 ratings.