Southern Charred - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Southern CharredSouthern Charred

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

46 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 46
Hads: 380
rAvg: 4.28
pDev: 9.81%
Wants: 86
Gots: 114 | FT: 21
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
American Strong Ale |  12.60% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: SuperbikeShaun on 11-08-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

2012 Double Bastard Ale aged over a year in three types of barrels, including virgin charred American oak.
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 46 | Hads: 380
Photo of pmlondrigan
4.04/5  rDev -5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

2012 vintage, held onto for a little while and finally decided to pop it. I don't have the appropriate vocabulary to describe the color of this beer. Red, brown, copper, and orange. Initially a good one finger head, drops, leaves lacing, whispy foam on top of the beer. Aroma, complex, first impression - woodsy with hops that are grapefruity and piney, caramel, saw dust, dank wet leaves, but not funky wet leaves just wet leaves. Kinda a wierd aroma but I dig it. There is also a little alcohol on the nose. The flavor hits you with woodsy-ness, saw dust, vanilla, and toasty macadamia nuts. Pithy, grapefruit bitterness on the backend, funny how after so long the hops still break through. There is, like on the nose, a strange stale plywood thing happening...hmmm. Its an american strong ale, it is thick, it is oily on the palate.
In the end I honestly like regular double bastard more. the barrel treatment is a little weird. Maybe just one barrel treatment would be better, I think the raw oak gives it a weird flavor. But, that is just comparing this to the regular. This beer standing on its own is very good. I do love a lot of the flavors, though I wouldn't go out of my way to trade for or buy this beer again. (1,224 characters)

Photo of Kurmaraja
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage. Surprising combination of aroma and flavors to me. Aroma gave me a lot of fruit - peach / apricot along with some almond / marzipan / vanilla. Flavor moves quickly through that into toffee, cotton candy, carmel terrain. Finishes with oak, bourbon, vanilla, kissed with smoke, touch of meaty tobacco. The smoke is beautifully subtle, fleeting, accumulates across the glass.

I actually found this more elegant and less bruising than expected. Stone can still surprise. (482 characters)

Photo of Phyl21ca
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Bottle: Poured a murky dirty brown color ale with a medium size foamy head with good retention and some light lacing. Aroma of wood and rye whiskey is pretty dominant with some light hoppy relics notes. Taste is also dominated by rye whiskey notes with quite a bit of woody notes with some residuals sugar notes and light fading hoppy notes. Body is full with good carbonation with some well-balanced warming notes. One of the best nightcap beers I’ve tasted in the recent months. (482 characters)

Photo of drdiesel9483
4.41/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Look - big head that last with a dirty brown color. Only thing it's lacking is lacing.
Taste - strong alcohol bourbon smell with sweet molaces.
Taste - strong alcohol taste with charred sweet bourbon taste and sweet molaces just like the smell.
Feel - fairly smooth had first but you can really feel it afterwards for a long while. Great medium body and pretty creamy.
Overall - strong strong beer but completely expected. I really like the bourbon taste. (458 characters)

Photo of Damian
4.22/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.25

Drank from a 500 ml (1 pt 0.9 fl oz) corked and caged bottle purchased at Craft Beer Cellar, Newton, MA
2013 series
Batch No 7
Served in a snifter

The dark yet nearly clear, garnet tinged mahogany liquid was topped by frothy, bubbly, one-finger tall, ecru colored crown. Chunks of drippy lacing stuck along the glass. The head faded to a bubbly ringlet.

The aroma was outstanding. Toasted coconut and vanilla immediately smacked me in the face. The bourbon and barrel character was in full effect. Raisin notes also came through strong. Loads of brown sugar and dark fruits. Hint of port wine. Toffee and caramel were apparent as well. All in all, quite sweet, yet not overly so. Remarkably intense and complex, but also super smooth.

Rich caramel malts and toasted oak came through strong in the flavor profile. Sweet and malty up front with intense raisin and plum notes. Loads of bourbon and brown sugar. Touch of port. Very barleywine-esque. The beer turned super oaky on the back and in the finish. Slightly boozy. Almost a bit tannic. Piney, resiny hops came through as well. A dry, pithy bitterness lingered on my palate long after each sip.

The mouthfeel was a bit thin for the style. Creamy and somewhat frothy. Decent but fairly nondescript.

Like all of Stone's "bastard" beers, this one too is apologetically brash. I really enjoyed the rich malt, dark fruit and bourbon notes in the flavor profile, but the intensely hoppy and bitter finish was bit much for my liking. Perhaps another year or so of aging might smooth out some of this beer's rougher edges. (1,573 characters)

Photo of BenwayPHD
4.75/5  rDev +11%

Pours a dark orange brown color with a one inch tan head. Smells delicious. orange, bubblegum, sweet bread, cardboard. The bourbon is milder on the nose than i would have thought, but that's probably because of the heavy hop aroma. In the mouth you get all that sweet vanilla and caramel from the bourbon with a strong wood presence. It's very creamy. I like this beer a lot. One of my favorite of Stone's barrel offerings. (423 characters)

Photo of portia99
4.28/5  rDev 0%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

2013 vintage bottle poured into a Bruery tulip.

L - Pours a muddy, murky medium brown color, translucent with a small cap of khacki head that is foamy and shows good staying power. Even sheet of lace coats the glass.

S - Pretty boozy with plenty of bourbon up front. Lots of buttery aroma too. Faint gingerale, tons of toffee and caramel. A lot going on here.

T - Matches the aroma pretty well. Bourbon is front and center with noticeable alcohol warmth. Hops still come through surprisingly well giving some balancing bitterness. Lots of estery flavors from the base beer which I thought would be overpowered by the bourbon, but manage to push through quite nicely. Buttery flavors are a bit too firm for my liking, becoming especially potent as the beer warms in the glass. Smokey, charred aspects come on towards the swallow. Plenty of caramel, burnt sugar and vanilla flavors. Quite complex.

F - Lowish/medium carbonation that is lightly prickly on the tongue and gives a lively feel overall. Medium body...a bit thinner than expected, but still appropriate and appealing. Noticeably boozy/bourbon with a faint tingle and some alcohol warmth felt on every sip. Firm bourbon presence but not heavy handed - intensity matches well with the base Double Bastard.

O - Very good barrel aged strong ale. Great beer to start with and barrel aging only added more complexity to it. Most all of the aspects of this beer work well for me. My only complaint is the intense buttery aroma and flavor that is found here. A case where a little bit is good, but a lot is just too much. I know my palate is particularly sensitive to this flavor so it may not be as intense for others, but a bit much for me. Other than that...this is a great combo of bourbon, hops and various sugars all melded together very well. (1,825 characters)

Photo of Ri0
4.32/5  rDev +0.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

poured 500ml bottle into chalice. Bottled Oct, 2013.

A - A murky brown color with a thin head. Fades quickly and leaves the slightest ring with some spotty lacing. Not the most attractive beer, but that is not what it is about.

S - Sweet brown sugar, molasses, burnt caramel, and some dark fruit. The bourbon, vanilla, and oak all stand out and there is some butterscotch. I don't find any of the hops in the nose.

T - Starts off sweet with brown sugar, molasses, and some dark fruit. The vanilla and butterscotch stand out more and there are notes of bourbon and oak. The hops are muted from the Double Bastard base with some noticeable alcohol. Has some Old ale and Scotch ale qualities.

M - Medium body with nominal carbonation. Somewhat of a syrup feel, but smooth with a warming finish.

O - This was really nice and shows you just how versatile Double Bastard can be. It had some qualities that reminded me of a old ale or barrel aged scotch ale. (960 characters)

Photo of cbutova
4.11/5  rDev -4%

Thanks Dan and Emma for sharing this.

A- Split a few ways and poured to pint glasses with a muddled dark amber brown body. A crown forms atop the brew to over a finger with a semi-thick creamy consistency. A big sheet of lace forms for about an inch with

S- Sweet caramelized sugars, brown sugar and crystal malt sweetness with a large dose of Bourbon and oak. Big vanilla and whiskey come out with toasted and fresh oak tannins. Some raisins ala Old Ale as well.

T- Oak and whiskey complexity really comes out in this beer and I guess it makes sense with the blend of barrels. Tons of vanilla, sour whiskey, pepper whiskey, fresh oak wood as well as toasted oak; just a plethora of oak barrel hints. The base Double Bastard feels aged but not all that much with a huge amount of brown sugar, musty caramel, slight alcohol and raisins.

MF- Medium bodied and oily body with a silky and creamy texture. Warmth in the finish is towards the high side. Carbonation at a medium level just a shade towards low.

A lot of whiskey and oak complex flavors but it doesn't drown out the base beer that much or make it feel alcoholic. The body is somewhat thinned out but it still holds up enough to make for a great experience. (1,219 characters)

Photo of scottfrie
4.43/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle into snifter. Bottled October 2013.

A: Pours a deep, murky, maroon with a finger of thick tan colored head that slowly faded into a greasy film and thick collar. Sheets of wispy, bubbly, lace were left down the glass.
S: Rich notes of boot leather, vanilla custard, earthy hop resin, smooth bourbon, camp fire toasted/singed marshmallow, leaf tobacco, dark roasted malt and a hint of medium chocolate. Smells as I would imagine this beer would smell given what it is and how it was made.
T: Follows the nose with rich flavors of leather, milk chocolate, vanilla, and slight char. I also get sweet and stick flavors of caramel, brown sugar, candied sugar, and maybe toffee. The finish is full of very mellow and smooth bourbon, oak, and bitter, leafy, hops. The aftertaste is rich, sweet, and lingering with flavors of booze, chocolate, and hop resin.
M: Full body, greasy, oily, thick and smooth mouthfeel that has a solid bitterness and a very mild alcohol presence. The carbonation is medium-low with a good chew without being distracting.
O: A very flavorful and decadent beer. The age and the barrel really add another layer of complexity and smoothness to the base beer. I wish I had purchased more bottles. (1,230 characters)

Photo of bluejacket74
4.46/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500 ml caged and corked bottle, bottled October 2013. Served in a Great Lakes Brewing chalice, the beer pours a murky hazelnut brown color with about an inch tan head that stuck around for a little while. There's also a decent amount of lacing. Aroma is sweet and malty, the brew smells like toffee, caramel, bourbon, vanilla, dark fruit (raisins), and wood. Taste is similar to the aroma, but with the addition of some plums, dark bread, candied oranges and a little bit of peppery spice. Mouthfeel/body is full, it's syrupy and creamy with moderate carbonation. I thought this was a pretty good brew. It's pricey at $19.99 a bottle, but definitely worth trying. I'd consider buying another bottle if I found some again. (721 characters)

Photo of sweemzander
4.07/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Corked and caged bottle poured into a snifter.

(A)- Pours a cloudy caramel colored amber brown. Some off-white froth.

(S)- Slightly smoky/brine profile meets lots of vanilla and oak. Subtle sweetness of caramel.

(T)- Lots of caramel meets the charred oak. Very subtle smokiness in there with plenty of oaky vanilla.

(M)- A good carbonation level and balance. Sweet, but balanced well with the smoky oak.

(O)- I like this. Remnants of an old ale and barleywine with the charred oak and smoke. (496 characters)

Photo of spoony
3.07/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

From a 500 ml bottle (bottled October 2013) into a tulip. Reviewed from notes dated June 20, 2014.

A-The cork required pliers to remove....Anyway, the brew is murky and tea-colored with a short, tan head. The foam dissipates quickly and leaves a little ring round the glass. The lacing is decent at first and then fades.

S-The aroma is heavy on the oak barrel...like I'm in a sawmill heavy on the oak. I sniff dry tannins from the wood and beneath the lumber I get some caramel, heat, vanilla, some dried fruit, more heat, alcohol, burnt sugar, and more alcohol heat. Seriously, I understand that this beer is supposed to be intense, but the alcohol and wood here are on another level.

T-The taste is similarly hot and heavy. I detect alcohol, caramel, prune, spice, alcohol, and oak barrel. The aftertaste is sort-of vegetal and rough, and suggest hops in the vaguest sense. This beer tastes like what I imagine would happen if Stone messed up on a batch of Oaked Arrogant Bastard. Not impressed.

M-The feel soft, but slightly gritty on the palate. Heft is medium.

O-My notes say "Ugh all around." I understand the desire to push boundaries, but this beer did not work for me. It is unbalanced, too hot, and generally undesirable. I guess they can't all be winners. (1,271 characters)

Photo of jdprmd
2.7/5  rDev -36.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 1.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2

A - Generous pour into an oversized snifter a what/tan head that dissipates quickly.

S - Taffy, butterscotch oak and bittering hops… no smell of bourbon…but looking forward to this.

T - It hits your tongue and I got excited, toffy characteristics of a true old ale… then it hits you. EHH this is almost more of a mess that double bastard. The faded hops and mix of barrel aging make this taste like a bitter toffy shit storm. This seems to be very acidic from the various barrels it was aged in adding to the bitter taste

M - With each sip I cringe more but still a balanced mouthfeel

O - I was expecting great things from this beer… maybe I drank it to late or to early, either way right now its a drain pour. (723 characters)

Photo of macher0
3.85/5  rDev -10%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Pours a cloudy dark amber with orangish tints on the extremes. Minimal head that retreats ti a fine bubble rim. The nose bursts with bourbon soaked prunes. The smell is quite complex: sweet dried prunes, plumes, oak, stale oranges and malts. The taste follows the nose, which doesn't always happen. Full body, low carb and as smooth as a ba dipa can be.

This was way talked up by my beer guys helper. I'm not disappointed but not overwhelmed. Kind of so so. This is the definition of a hybrid with qualities of several entities but not necessarily the best qualities. (568 characters)

Photo of Braseltonage
4.25/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

500ml Bottle, Prairie Teku.

A: Initially large bubbled, off white head. Dies to near zero retention, a little lacing. Cloudy deep amber.
S: Bourbon on bourbon. Sweet, vanilla, candied fruits. Mild hints of cinnamon.
T: Boozy cherries, vanilla. A fading bitterness on the finish, perhaps the last remnants of the great hop presence that once was. Once I get a little acclimated, the DB based shows up. Starts to get a little drier, let you know it wasn’t a sweet barleywine in there afterall. Gives a fair dose of balance for the finish.
M: Honestly pretty easy drinking given what it is. Always thought DB finished fantastically as a large beer, this still holds onto some of that but with all the sweet bourbon-ness of the barrel aged version.
O: A real Thursday night treat, but not totally blowing me away. The barrel has teamed up with Father Time to knock a lot of the DB signature out of it, although it did make a nice appearance on the finish. I tend to give high marks to anything coming out of barrel and this is no different, just saying it didn't necessarily stand apart the way I might have expected. (1,118 characters)

Photo of richj1970
4.34/5  rDev +1.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured from 500 ml bottle into double bastard glass.

A: Pours a cloudy mud colored brown with a small one finger tan head. Reminds me a bit of unfiltered apple cider in appearance.

S: Oak, bourbon, vanilla, and raisins.

T: Fairly significant oak flavors coming through. Sweet malts mixed with a nice hop punch. Dark fruits and some nice bourbon influence. The bourbon being much more apparent as it warms.

M: Full bodied with a bit of syrupy quality to it.

O: A very nice variation on the base beer which was already a favorite of mine. (541 characters)

Photo of PaulyB83
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a tulip glass.

A- Pours a muddy milk chocolate brown, slight bit of light coming through when the glass is at an angle. Small light toffee head that stuck around long than expected. Doesn't look to be huge in body as the ABV my suggest.

S- Oak, vanilla, caramel, definite alcohol presence, salt water taffy, some raisin, and a good amount of hops.

T- Similar to aroma. Getting lots of the bourbon upfront with the oak and vanilla, plus some of the big caramel malt character from the Double Bastard. Nice dark fruits in the middle and ends with a big hop character that I think is a bit too much. I'm just not one that thinks hops and bourbon really pair well together.

M- Very nice and creamy that is on the lighter side of a heavy mouthfeel.

O- This beer has a great barrel character and the malt of the base beer really pairs well with it, I just don't think the hop character of the Double Bastard pairs as well. Having aged for about a year in barrels i was figuring the beer would have been a bit more mellow in the hops but it actually kinda tasted more hoppy than regular Double Bastard to me. But the barrel aspect is just fantastic to me, not too much alcohol and still fully flavored with oak and vanilla. A really nice beer and I will definitely be looking for more of Stone's barrel aged stuff. (1,349 characters)

Photo of elNopalero
4.76/5  rDev +11.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Official/written review #1100!

For a special occasion. Poured this from a bottle gifted to me.

Bottled in October, 2013, from a series of beers aged for years.

My expectations were extremely high for this beer and it did not disappoint.

This poured a raisin brown-amber in color with lightly brown foam. It has an amazing aroma that reveals itself in successive waves as it warms and opens. Let’s see… There’s bourbon, cornflakes and vanilla, that moves over allowing some stone fruits, with a rum and raisin character, which then dances with some caramel malt complexity and just a hint of what must be the lingering hop presence, all green and sticky like a drop of pine sap on the finish. The flavor is no less layered and rewarding. Fiery, hot, vanilla, oaky, spicy, and smooth, with a peppery kick and a long, dry finish. With each successive sip I get more and more out of this beer. The closest I can compare it to is Founder’s Backwoods Bastard, but even there the comparison falls somewhat short. Worth a try if you can still find it, worth a share if you get it, and worth another once it’s gone. (1,123 characters)

Photo of cvm4
3.74/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A - Pours a deep, bold copper in color with a light tan head.

S - Oak, caramel, burnt sugar, char, vanilla and faint bourbon.

T - The taste pretty much matches the nose. The only difference is the presence of dark fruits.

M - Full bodied and medium carbonation. Heavy mouthfeel, almost syrupy.

O - I thought it was good, an interesting take. But, not sure I agree with the high rating. May'be the burnt aspect turns me off to it? Not sure really. (450 characters)

Photo of Dope
4.21/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Bottled October 2013.

A: Pours a dark reddish-brown. Tall, dense and frothy tan head. Thin but wide swatches of lacing left behind. Great island of foam too.

S: Very oaky with a bit of char. Mild bourbon behind that with some caramel and vanilla. Some breadiness peeking through - just a little.

T: Oaky up front with lots of bourbon this time around. Loads of vanilla, toffee, a little burnt sugar and caramel. Get quite a bit of raisins in there too. Heavy bready malt, particularly in the middle and finish, giving it almost a raisin bread flavor briefly. Burnt raisin bread in fact. Pretty boozy. Charred oak in the aftertaste and lots of it, mixing with a lingering bourbon flavor. Plenty of stinging alcohol. For lack of a better description, there is quite a bit of stale hops in the aftertaste too. Makes sense as this is aged Double Bastard.

M: Thick, thick and thick. Heavy. Viscous. Syrupy. You get the idea. The big booziness is the only thing that cuts it.

O: One boozy, oaky and malty brew. Lots going on in this one with; quite complex. (1,058 characters)

Photo of arizcards
4.42/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Picked up a 500 ml bottle in late November from Total Wine for $16.99. Bottled in October 2013. This was an oh by the way brew as i was picking up my Firestone Walker Anniversary brew. Looking back November was probably the best release month i have experienced. FW Anniversary, Abyss, the Bourbon County series, Ivan the Terrible, and Charred led to a huge beer bill but well worth it!

Beer poured brown with a nice off white head upon the initial pour.

Nose is huge with the barrel characteristics of oak, vanilla, light smoke, and a generous snootful of bourbon.

Taste matches the nose and then some. I was greeted by a huge warming bourbon presence. In addition to the oak, vanilla, booze, and smoke i am picking up on dark fruit and dark cocoa. The hop fade from the original beer is pretty significant but there is enough to make this well balanced.

Overall this in a very intimidating brew at first but one that evolves as one sips from the snifter. The complexity is right up there with the BB brews that are heavily barreled. Check it out if you see it on the shelf and you like heavy barrel aging! (1,111 characters)

Photo of ThickNStout
4.53/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500mL bottle from Total Wine (Kennesaw, GA). 16.99. Bottled 10/13. Served in a Terrapin snifter.

Pours a murky, opaque, ruddy brown with a half finger pale head which quickly settles to a lingering haze and leaves smalls spots of lace.

Beautifully sweet nose with vanilla, butterscotch, caramel and bourbon. I get no hint of Double Bastard other than a whisper of bready malt and earthy hops. An incredible smelling brew that I keep going back to enjoy.

The aromas weren't lying. Layers of smooth sweet bourbon-tinged vanilla, butterscotch, caramel, plum, bread, a hint of smoke, some faint leafy hops and a mellow bite of alcohol. Absolutely delicious.

Oily, slick medium full feel with soft carbonation. The aftertaste is full of butterscotch and vanilla but it's also where I detect the strongest remnants of what this beer used to be with a mild piney bitterness and caramel malts.

This is perhaps the biggest impact I've ever tasted of barrel aging to a beer. In all the right ways the Double Bastard has become something altogether different. Nothing like the brutal hop monster it began life as but utterly fantastic. I really hope that I can drink more of this someday. (1,187 characters)

Photo of CrellMoset
4.26/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Last of the bottles I obtained from 99 Bottles in Singapore, and the priciest of the lot by far ($55 SGD, which is something like $45 USD - no clue what it's going for stateside, but I imagine not that much). Regardless, I saw the good reviews, love Stone, love barrel aging, love Double Bastard ... too much potential to pass up. Plus, it was my honeymoon. Poured in to a cognac snifter.

Appearance: An inauspicious beginning, though who would expect a barrel aged, highly hopped, high abv% brew to flow forth from the bottle bright, lively, with a gorgeous permanent head and amazing lacing? Instead, I got what I was expecting - a dull copper colored brew, filtered clear, but with a maximum head height of about a half inch that lasted less than the same fraction of a minute. Almost no lacing of which to speak either, and after a little while in the cognac glass and enough sips to make you ever so slightly absentminded, one could mistake this for cognac, given the lack of visible carbonation.

Aroma: Surprisingly subtle for the treatment + base beer, in my opinion. DB is a bracingly biting brew; even aged (of which I've had several, including a five year vertical once upon a time that was a large contributor to a worthwhile night but painful subsequent morning) showcase fierce hop aromatics, leafy, piney, piercingly sharp notes that make your nose hairs curl. Which is why it's surprising that the same beer - allowed to age for the same amount of time in a barrel as I've had mine aging at 68F in a dark cellar - is so delicate here, even at room temperature. That's not to say it's not complex - just not as in your face as many (most?) Stone offerings and many barrel aged brews are.

That said, it's even more interesting that--with such a potent base beer--the barrel really dominates the nose. Of the fifteen or so different notes I get dancing around here, the strongest--vanilla, wood aldehydes, smooth, mellow, warming bourbon--are all barrel-imparted. Does American oak have a particular diffusional affinity for hop acids/oils? Not sure how else to explain the relative lack of evidence of this beer's origins. Not to say they're absent - bready and heavily caramelized though not quite toasted malts are prevalent, intermingling beautifully with the aforementioned. The added benefit of almost no heat despite the intimidating abv% is an added bonus.

Taste: First impression is again, surprisingly, one of subtlety. The irony of a beer company that aggressively markets itself as "arrogant," brash, and in-your-face producing a barrel aged double-strength highly hopped strong ale that manages to be this subtle is worth noting. Toffee and caramel base notes provide support for a ton of vanilla, some chalky wood tannins, barrel sugars, and a crisp, spicy, but nuanced bourbon overtone. The hop presence that features so prominently in Double Bastard (well, in every Stone beer, but, yeah, particularly in Double Bastard) is still here, mellowly bitter, leathery and leafy, with a decent if not groundbreaking interplay with the barrel notes, particularly the the heat and spice of the bourbon.

Mouthfeel: Ahhhh. A perfect compliment to the aforementioned taste profile. Just the right amount of lift - a moderate, fine aeration that asserts itself for quite a long time - keeps this beer from becoming a fat, cloying, hot, sticky sweet mess, perhaps more than any other factor. Instead, you get a really good interplay of substance and style.

Drinkability: I'd be lying if I said I didn't regret not sharing this one. It's been quite some time since I enjoyed craft beer, and so I blew through my newest acquisitions fairly quickly (three pretty pricey imported and then checked-through-customs brews in three days), but in hindsight this beer would have been a great one to share with some potential craft beer converts. Yeah, it's harsh at times, high in alcohol, and probably too ambitious, falling short of what it would be ... but isn't that why we love (American) craft beer? Pushing the envelope, taking something simple and making it more unique, more complex, more personal. Even when you fall flat on your face (note: not saying this beer falls flat on its face, as it does not), the spirit is what's important, and the possibilities bounded in potentiality only by the limits of the human imagination are (or were for me, at least) one of the reasons craft beer is so alluring.

All in all, as far as 12.6% abv brews go, this one's fairly quaffable, save the price point/availability (at least for me - it's not every day I can afford to fly across four countries to buy a $45 beer). Was it worth trying once? As with so many examples of envelope pushing/creativity, yes. (4,716 characters)

Photo of chanokokoro
4.39/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Poured from a 500ml formerly corked and caged bottle into a branded Stone Brewing Company pairing glass (short stemmed goblet).

Pours a murky amber capped by a one and half finger fluffy beige head. Amazing head for a barrel-aged brew; excellent retention and tons of sticky lacing. Huge complex nose, charred oak, deep toffee notes, accents of butterscotch, and very mild bourbon notes in the background. Opens with bold, smoky caramel and hints of vanilla. Charred oak joins in, molasses, toffee, piney, spruce-like hops in the background. Finishes with understated accents of bourbon booziness, but much more prevalent smoked wood. Fairly smooth full body, pleasant velvety creaminess. Wonderful mouthfeel. Really impressed with this brew. Definitely exceeded my expectations. I wish I had a nice smoked cheddar on hand; without a doubt it would be the perfect pairing. (874 characters)

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Southern Charred from Stone Brewing Co.
93 out of 100 based on 46 ratings.